Friday, November 26, 2010

Boycott Pakistan business!!! - 2nd anniversary of Nov 26

Today is a solemn day for all Indians.... the 2nd anniversary of the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai.
And what rankles me is that the masterminds who actually perpetrated this crime are still walking free in Pakistan, while we have just caught the foot soldier.
The Pak government doesn't seem to be either willing or wanting to prosecute them.
The world has given enough time and evidence for them to have taken action.

Obviously, the Indian government is too weak to do anything politically or militarily, so we - the common folks - cannot rely on them to do anything other than the usual talk.
I won't be surprised if there is another attack soon (the terrorists unfortunately aren't as ineffectual as the Indian government) and the government runs to the US to put "pressure" on Pakistan.
The same song and dance. We have seen that movie too many times before, right from the 1993 Bombay blasts.

So it got me thinking as to how as individuals we can make a difference in this situation and here's something that I think each one of us can do in our day-to-day lives.

The plan is simple:
(till the time those responsible for the Mumbai massacre are prosecuted in Pakistan)

if enough of us do so, it just might put pressure on the Pakistani government through their own citizens to take action against the terrorists.

Money talks and if enough people (Indians or otherwise) take up this cause, it would make an impact on the Pak businesses and they would notice.
The hope is that the owners of those businesses understand the language of money and will indirectly put pressure on the powers that be in Pakistan to take concrete action against the terrorists.
I have nothing against the common man of Pakistan, but economic disobedience / boycott is the only way I could think of us as individuals influencing the powers in Pakistan.

I agree it's a lofty goal and will take time but if enough of us band together, perhaps a media story would be made on this and slowly the power of the boycott would grow till it reaches the ears of the Pakistan government and as a grassroots movement, they would not be able to ignore it.

So don't buy "Made in Pakistan" goods anywhere you see them. check labels at Walmart, Target or wherever you shop.
In fact, point out to the manager why you are boycotting that product, thereby spreading the word.

Also, don't go to restaurants that have a Indian-Pakistani cuisine tag on it. You know a Indian restaurateur doesn't need to put that strange hyphenated sign on his door. I am assuming these are owned by Pakistani origin people who want to utilize the Indian brand to get one to spend our hard-earned dollars.
(for example, in the Bay Area, it means like Pakwan, Naan 'n' Curry, Chutney, Shalimar are off limits... to gain something, we have to lose something).
Note: there have been reports that some of the remittances being sent from businesses overseas to Pakistan - whether knowingly or unknowingly - end up at "charities" which are often fronts for terrorist organizations.
We don't want to contribute even a cent towards that.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stark contrast - India's elections and Pakistan's struggles

What a stark contrast, isn't it?
Pakistan is fighting for its existence and meanwhile India - its sibling born the same time - is going for its 15th general elections. What a different path they have taken 60 years on!!!

There is a good discussion on the India and Pakistan situation by some leading thinkers in the US here.

Also, there is an interesting article called "Could Pakistan Dissolve?" in the Mother Jones website.

There are reports today that the Pakistan state is fighting the Taliban in the NWFP provinces and the MQM - the main party in Karachi - is doing the same in the port city of Karachi in the south.
So maybe Pakistan has woken up to the cancer eating it alive. I hope its not too little, too late.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The dream of Pakistan turns into a nightmare

Mr. Jinnah - the founder of the state of Pakistan - must be spinning fast in his grave given that the Pak government is handing over parts of his dream to the Taliban.
That dream of founding a nation solely based on religion is fast turning into a nightmare.

M.V.Kamath has written a good article on the beginning of the end of Pakistan here.
How can this be allowed? How long before this monster eats up the rest of the nation?
There is a saying which is apt here: "Give a camel an inch, it takes a ell" (meaning the entire space).

India has to be really worried on three accounts:-
  1. Taliban / al Qaeda on its western borders, which is more a worry than the Pakistan army.
  2. Refugees poring in from across the border, particularly Sindh. (Karachi has more than 15M people who hate the Punjabi domination and want to live in a more secular state).
  3. Eventual implosion of the Pakistan state, with NWFP, Balochistan and maybe even Sindh seceding from the Punjabi Pakistan, like what happened with Bangladesh.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pakistan storms closer to civil breakdown

Well, this state of affairs in Pakistan could have been predicted ever since General Musharraf dismissed the justices two years back. Whenever the balance of power is so blatantly abused, the ultimate result is disaster for the state.

The backlash eventually ate up Musharraf and looks like its going to eat Zardari too.

Nawaz Sharif has played a shrewd, waiting game so far. If one remembers, he joined forces with Zardari's PPP to ensure the general was pushed out.
But he didnt grab power at that time, knowing for a fact that the nation was heading for disaster.

So he let Zardari take the fall and now he can swoop into power if elections are held.
Who else will the populace turn towards. They are disgusted with the Army, the PPP is not the same as when Bhutto was there and hence the Sharifs are the only one left out.

The US I think will "engineer" this eventually, unless of course General Kayani fancies his chances with a coup. The analysts are saying that he wont do it due to the Army's "bad" image and will let the political process weaken his rivals before he makes any move.

So Nawaz Sharif holds the cards and if he plays them well now, he may emerge from this mess as the sole survivor. The wheel will turn full circle then and he may expel both Musharaff and Zardari.

Pakistan as a entity would survive, but will always be beset with basic problems till true democracy takes root.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cricket must go on

As ICC chair David Morgan, puts cricket must go on, even in the face of the senseless attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan.

Of course, there would be many "I told you so" comments and playing any international sports in Pakistan itself will be well nigh impossible now till the situation improves.
But Pakistan cricket and fans should not suffer and they should have neutral venues outside of the country to continue playing.

There will be recriminations, finger pointing, conspiracies etc after this, a-la the Mumbai attacks.
Who was behind this and what was their objective in attacking cricketers needs to be dug out.

But Pakistan has been shamed for sure... attacks on the sri lankan guests after the government had promised them utmost foolproof security means that the govt cannot be trusted. Add to that the confusion of banning the Sharif brothers means Pakistan will be in this abject condition for the rest of the year or atleast till fresh elections are called. Who knows, there might be a army coup before that and we will be back to square one. Time will tell.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slumdog wags its tale

Slumdog Millionaire, the underdog, "almost gone to DVD" movie sweeped the Oscars yesterday.
I won't go into the usual fawning that most articles give it since this movie too fits into a pattern.
That of the Westerner's obsession with India's squalor and poverty.

To support my theory, go watch/read any of the following which have achieved acclaim in the West while not claiming those heights inside of India.
  • Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray
  • Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair
  • Shantaram by Gregory Roberts - English fiction novel (parts of it use crazy English)
  • White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, 2008 Booker Prize - English fiction novel (atrocious English)
There is also an interesting take on this from a Chinese perspective and I tend to agree with the author's views there when he comments on an outsider's view of one's own country.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One small (MIS)step for Indian politics, One giant leap for India?

Friends, as we near another election, we need to think back on what would affect it. Terrorism is definitely one thing. But what about the nuclear deal on which the govt might have collapsed much earlier and triggered a election in 2008.

July 22nd 2008 was a seminal day in the annals of Independent India.

The Government of India survived a historic confidence motion in Parliament, primarily brought about by the Indo-US nuclear deal.

This day might have huge implications on the future of India with the US and maybe even the world, if the promises of clean energy come through.

For those who missed it, here is the final tally:- 275 for, 256 no

The misstep of course was the dramatic allegations of vote buying, with millions of rupees being dumped in the Lok Sabha LIVE!!!!

There were some good things too:-

Omar Abdullah’s passionate speech

Rahul Gandhi’s “I am speaking as an Indian first” speech

And of course Lalu’s hilarious speech

Maybe the end (i.e. India’s national interest) justifies the means (i.e. vote buying)?

Time will tell whether that’s the right way or not…but on that day, the PM must have sung “Singh is King” as he staked his government and political career on it.

A “crying for Indian politics but smiling for India” Indian.

All of us should watch and see for ourselves the frailty of the much-touted Indian democratic politics.

And the sad fact is that this “democracy” was not of, for and by the people of India but it was of, for and by the elected politician of India…the debate hardly touched India’s supreme national interests.

I hope the Indian people have gotten a good jolt out of this and in the next election, they vote a party in with absolute majority.

They say it will not happen till the basic needs of the millions of poor people are taken care of first…they don’t care about a nuclear deal when they don’t have food to eat and their local issues dominate.

But then how did China do it? She faces the same problems, but yet their political system – however dictatorial – at least puts their country’s interest first.

We need a change in the political system with strong national forces given pre-eminence…maybe the voting should be directly for the PM (like in the US where everyone votes for the president).

Really doesn’t matter whether he/she is the Congress, BJP, SP etc but whoever gets in should have a mandate to proceed with their vision without being hampered.

The UPA-Left alliance has been an impotent govt for at least the past 4 years….India has had upwards of 8 PMs from different parties in the last 20 years!!!

I wonder when will India rise up over this crass self-interest of the regional parties and naked greed of the politicians and take our place in the world order.

Not surprising that we still don’t have a permanent seat in the Security Council, even though we represent one-sixth of humanity.