Monday, March 09, 2009

When a Neighbor is Failing

It was two weeks ago, when I was talking to a gentleman whom I have known all my life, and have known to be very open-minded in terms of religious freedom and the _real_ situation between India and Pakistan's people [we are the same people, the enmity is manufactured by the powers-that-be etc.].

As I was asking him about the latest incidents in Pakistan, post attacks on the Sri Lankan cricketers, he said: "well, it is a failed state now".

That shocked me. Sure, we have talked about how things are better in India than Pakistan, but a "failed state" is a very strong term.

And today, I read this excellent piece by M.J.Akbar, whom some have [erroneously IMO] called a "hindu baiter and hindu bahser" and "muslim apologist".
Pakistan was born out of the wedlock of two inter-related propositions. Its founders argued, without any substantive evidence, that Hindus and Muslims could never live together as equals in a single nation. They imposed a parallel theory, perhaps in an effort to strengthen the argument with an emotive layer, that Islam
was in danger on the subcontinent. Pakistan's declared destiny, therefore, was not merely as a refuge for some Indian Muslims, but also a fortress of the faith. This was the rationale for what became known as the "two-nation theory". The British bought the argument, the Congress accepted it reluctantly, the Muslim League exulted.

The Indian state was founded on equality and equity: political equality through democracy, religious equality through secularism, gender equality, and economic equity. Economic equality is a fantasy, but without an equitable economy that works towards the elimination of poverty there cannot be a sustainable state. India, therefore, saw land reforms and the abolition of zamindari. Pakistan has been unable to enforce land reforms. India and Pakistan were alternative models for a nation-state. Time would determine which idea had the legs to reach a modern horizon.


On the day that terrorists attacked Sri Lankan cricketers, I had a previously arranged speaking engagement at a university in Delhi before largely Muslim students. I began with the suggestion that every Indian Muslim should offer a special, public prayer of thanks to the Almighty Allah for His extraordinary benevolence - for the mercy He had shown by preventing us from ending up in Pakistan in 1947. The suggestion was received with startled amusement, instinctive applause and a palpable sense of sheer relief.

In a similar context, Ketan posted this one on mutiny titled "Why are We tolerating Pakistan?".

I wrote a response, which I am reproducing here for your eyes :-).
@Ketan: The answer, in my opinion, is 3 ("because we don't know what to do").

When I think loudly about this issue, the following comes to mind.:

Problem context/assumptions:
  1. The Mumbai attacks [and a whole bunch of past crap] happened because it got support from Pakistan’s establishment, either overtly [Kargil war], or covertly/indirectly [uncontrolled terror camps]
  2. The people of pakistan do not actively want to mess with India. They, like people everywhere, want to lead their lives and raise their kids.
  3. Due to porous borders, if we don’t do something, we stand to lose lives/money

Assumption 1 includes ‘local support’ they got, but I assume that the main ideas for the big attacks still originated overseas
Assumption 2 above rules out options like nuking/war, not to mention the fact that they also have nukes :-).

So the _way to go_ to address the situation there, in my opinion, is
1. Figure out what action hurts their _government/army_. They don’t care if you send back their singers, hell it plays directly into their hands of “Indians are hegemonical, and we should hate them”. Until we hurt their establishment, there is no solving this problem. [focussed trade boycott anyone?]

2. The only way out, in addition to finding the magic bullet in point 1 above, is to _encourage_ the moderates there. Lets face it, a pakistan which is ruled by the Taliban is not in India’s interest. But it is also _not_ in the interest of the moderates there. [I have pakistani friends, and have heard a lot about how they feel threatened by the taliban/moral-police as much as you feel threatened by the Senes]. The only long term way out for us is to help the moderates in Pakistan get a voice. If it means letting some of them even show up on our TV Channels to make their case, so be it.

/ these are initial thoughts, but I hope you see where I am going.
// am not saying that allow any T,D&H from pakistan on Indian TV. But for a change, lets stop focussing on the crazies there who call us “hindu zionists”, and focus on the more moderate voices there. I know it makes for better TRP to give airtime to the former, but the latter are the ones whom _we_ should give visibility to.
/// There are those who would say ‘just secure our borders, close all communications, and wait for it to implode’. I for one would _not_ want a Nuclear armed neighbor to implode, and last time I checked, we were nowhere near securing our borders completely.
//// Reiterating: Lets _not_ break cultural ties. If anything, let their artists perform here. If they have a good welcome, they will go back and share their experiences, which will only work to dispel the lies that their govt. has told their people.

Version 2 of my answer to your question in the title: “Why are We tolerating Pakistan?”
A. Define “Pakistan”. People/govt/army/what? Once we know what we are tolerating, we can focus better on why we are tolerating them :-).

Interesting stuff. What do you think?


  1. The last line of his article " I began with the suggestion that every Indian Muslim should offer a special, public prayer of thanks to the Almighty Allah for His extraordinary benevolence - for the mercy He had shown by preventing us from ending up in Pakistan in 1947."

    It was a real killer line!

    I just wanted to say one line about Pakistan. What do you expect the people of country to do where the future leader shoots his predecessor ? they obviously follow their leader

  2. @khanna: amazing line indeed. This guy writes very well. Another great article is here.

    But I am not sure what you meant by your line about Pakistan. What does "following your leader" mean? How does it compare to the population of Myanmar, whose [military] leader has all-but-killed their [civilian] leader? Do the people of Zimbabwe love Mugabe?

  3. On the thing about breaking cultural ties, my view is : Pakistan's loss is India's gain! Lets not bring in petty politics into that. if we enjoy what their musicians/artists have to offer, lets give them a stage to perform the melting pot of south-east asian culture :-)

    And whether Pakistan is a failed state or not depends on your definition of a "failed" state. According to me, if a government/state cannot provide for the basic rights of people (education employment etc.) and is willing to make *extreme* compromises with radical right wing elements (read Taliban in Swat valley), it *is* a failed state. Especially considering the fact that majority of the population in the valley is against imposition of Taliban laws.

    A country where democratically elected governments are at the mercy of armed forces to stay in power, and same forces have the capacity to uproot that government strongly suggests that its a failed state, if there exists a concept of state at all! Rule of law is almost gone: militants can vanish into thin air after trying to murder the entire Sri Lankan cricked team!

    And I have never bought into the two-nation theory propagated by the erstwhile Muslim League. Jinnah wanted power, and since he was refused that by the Congress, the only other way to it was create a country of its own. Sure the times were different then, but Hindus and Muslims had coexisted for much longer before that too.

    Standard disclaimer : The views are all personal and I could be wrong :)

  4. Talking about Zimbabwe. I am amazed how its surviving till now. Living so close to it i hear things about that place day in n day out. the problem is different there. Blacks were oppressed for zillions of years (yeah before even the earth started) so one day mugabe uncle decided we are more in number so lets oppress the whites. And then few months later they are wondering about that they should have looked at the bigger picture. Nw who will do the thinking work in their country. Anyways the world politics is a great issue which can be debated for days n months.

    Standard disclaimer : The views are all personal and I could be wrong :)

  5. @Manu: Good point about the definition. I should also look for it :).
    @Khanna: Being in SA now, it will be interesting to hear your perspective on the Zimbabwe issue. But my question remains - what does "follow their leader" mean? Does it mean they agree with their leader's PoV, or just that they submit to his rule since they cannot force him militarily?

    I wrote a fresh comment on Ketan's post, perhaps clarifying my own stance/proposal. Re-posting here for the record and wider readership.

    Ketan said: @ Animesh:
    Point taken sir. But so far wee have been considering the moderate voices only. So far. What has that yielded? Zilch! Nothing but frustration.

    Only if we boycott everything to do with Pakistan, will they, understand the how serious we are now. No doubt the Taliban will be happy, and give us a star, but also force the Pakistani moderates to push their govt into action.

    Hegemony so hegemony!

    I read that article from M.J.Akbar, and it re -inforces by belief that we need to take concrete steps now.

    My response was:

    @ketan: Firstly, we have not been promoting the moderate voices in Pakistan. Let’s not kid ourselves here. What we have been doing is signing deals with politicians, which really mean nothing! Letting their artists perform here is a good step, but we need to work more in that direction (concrete plan below).

    Secondly, the moderates in Burma are totally isolated. And they are really getting somewhere, aren’t they? And what about the moderates in Afghanistan during the taliban rule? They _really_ revolted against their extremist leaders once they knew no one was coming to help them, isn’t it?

    There are enough and more dictatorships in the world to show that moderates do _not_ prosper when a country is boycotted. In fact, when a country is in _danger_, a more basic instinct of jingoism surfaces in everyone. ( I remember hearing a gay person from Iran saying “I am oppressed in Iran, but if someone attacks my country, I will surely join the army”. )

    Another fatal mistake you are making, IMHO, is that India boycotting Pakistan will really affect it enough. It will still get military aid from the USA to “fight terror” and “hunt bin laden”. If anything, a food shortage will only pump more money from Saudi Arabia etc. to the wahabi “charity” establishments which will get them more goodwill to spread their message of extremism and hate along with free food/medicine packets.

    Boycotting everything will only lead to _one_ way IMHO, the complete talibanization of Pakistan. Your way would have handed victory to them on a platter.

    Reiterating my suggestion: How about we actively hold “the way forward” discussions with Pakistan’s intelligentsia on _our_ TV with our moderates? We produce these series of programs where we can have civilized discussions without blindly defending our countries, and make them available for download free of charge.

    I am sure that the pakistani public will also want to listen to a civil discussion on the future of the two countries. Au contraire, the only way the moderates will be able to get their message out in a militarized Pakistan will be through secret radio channels etc. The reach of our media can be our most potent weapon to defeat the extremists there.

  6. Animesh,



    So Gujarat is a failed state?

  7. "follow their leader"

    This is an interesting phrase. I will tell you a small anecdote to explain it to you further.

    Since you are born you see your elder brother touching the feet of every other person who is > 30 years of age. So it automatically gets feeded into your system. It comes naturally whenever you see an oldie. Now the younger one may or maynot agree with the _PoV_ of the elder and may have his apprehensions about the people and unhygenic part of it. But some habbits can not be changed.

    Similarly when you join the school in 1st standard, for 11 years you see headboy hugging n giving the badge to the next person. So when you are passing out you also do that.

    Just copy this funda to pakistani government and you will get to know what i meant

  8. @khanna: Um, just to be clear, I still touch the feet of elders, like my dad does, but do NOT agree with him/follow him on a whole bunch of issues. In fact, if anything, I have modified the whole feet-touching ritual also slightly in my own way to convey the same respect without the hygiene issues.

    Even more importantly, when I am in-charge of my own family some day, feet touching will be entirely optional.

    My claim: Your claim that the population of a nation will automatically "follow their rulers" is not correct [at least, unsubstantiated so far]. In fact, if I use my example, a new govt in pakistan has all the potential (non zero probability) to follow radically different and pragmatic paths, if given a chance.

    On a slightly different note, I agree that _most_ people in any society choose the path of least resistance, and _follow their leaders_ [meaning do not try to change stuff]. But human history proves that time and again there have been people with new ideas who have changed the course of it (you are in one such place ;-) ). Mostly, these were people who were educated and therefore had access to written material which gave them a broader perspective on things.

    I stand by my belief that such people exist in the Pakistani populace (after all, someone from the Pakistani media _did_ say WTF to the allegations that RAW was behind the attack on cricketers [cite missing]). And it is _those_ people who choose to not be blind followers, and precisely the ones we should strive hard to promote.

  9. @Aman: Thanks.
    Also, while I am no unconditional fan of Modi, lets talk about Gujarat being "failed" when we have the state govt. officially cede a district to ManuSmriti-enforcing Hindutvis. Non-ideal? yes. Failed? not quite.

    /also, don't change the subject ;-)

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I remember hearing a gay person from Iran saying “I am oppressed in Iran, but if someone attacks my country, I will surely join the army”.

    This is a very telling statement and the most risky fallouts of agrresive postures.

    Your "solution" is reminiscent of the great resistance movements of the not so recent past but less covert. The question is it gonna be effective in the present volatile situation.

    The regular ordinary man is mostly concerned with having a decent regular when this issue is addressed via economic prosperity, the extreme societal elements will die a natural death. So my take is strengthen trade, reduce dole,reduce rhetoric and pray it all works!!! :-)

  12. Animesh,


    I know your views. And you know mine.

    I wanted to add the names of Orissa, K'taka & Kashmir to the question as well. I wanted to make a point to the safety of citizen's & compromises with extremist forces "definition"; but your ceding a district point is well taken.

    I guess I am also guilty of carrying over baggage from previous discussions.

    No malice intended.

  13. @Aman. On Gujarat, I agree with Animesh. Your Kashmir point would have been well taken too, if this was mid-90's. As of now, I'd like to think, its turning around.
    And what I didn't add before, "failed" would also depend on the scale at which, for the lack of a better term, bad things are happening. Crime (of any kind) is a part of life, and utopian society is a dream. We have to live with what we have. What we can actually do is to keep things in check. From the looks of it, doesn't seem like anyone (government, Army, whoever) in Pakistan is even trying for that. Sorry, if I wasn't clear before.

    And why do you call Karnataka a failed state? Because of the Mangalore incident?

  14. Manu,

    I think we all agree on the difference between "non-ideal" & "failed" as Animesh described it.

    While I do try to exercise restraint, it's often only after the arrow has left the bow.

    So while I want to brand Pak. a failed state, I can faintly feel my restraint kicking in now. :-)

    Karnataka? Not just the recent Mangalore incident. The one before that & the ones in Bangalore too! Utter madness!

    But "non-ideal" not "failed". Some say gotta live with that. Some say won't. I'm undecided. :-)

  15. Here in hostel I usually say that when in a debate , any person starts making personal remarks instead of going into proper mode of discussion/debate, thats the the first sign of his surrender

    Same case I found here where you are making fun of a person just because he found a country like Pakistan to be a failed state(I hope you all would declare it a failed state only after Nuclear weapons are brought into action or something so big occurs, handing over nuclear weapons to talibans is a trivial issue for all of you)
    Quite surprising you rose in support of a person who indirectly made fun of a nation by saying "Thank God, we didnt end up in Pakistan"
    Was it a cognitive disonance or u dont understand indirect remarks?
    I could have given u many citations of cognitive disonance in ur own statements when u alleged me of such hypothesis, but I restrained. Even if unknowingly made a personal remark over some friend's ideology, I apologize
    But definitely blaming someone so openly is not a healthy thing, u should have proven that even after surrender in Swat valley, next likely overturning of democracy, killing of guests, the great ISI propaganda, the great hatred program being run in POK, terror camps excess, despite so many lies by elected representatives over Mumbai terror attacks and the list is long, Pakistan is not a failed state

    I was also surprised to know that gujarat would become a failed state for u if it imposes Manu smriti. I can only hope that u know that Kashmir runs on shariyat laws(link i posted as my status message, but unfortunately couldn't find that link again, unfortunately these things get wiped out early). Infact many muslim countries run on shariyat laws, are they failed state for u?

    One of my friend took the names of Orissa, Gujarat, Kashmir and Karnataka only as if riots have occured in these places only, One can only laugh at such blind assumption.
    Modi is communal for you but the parties who attend muslim seminars and openly ask for muslim votes, what are they?
    My dear friend, please let me know

  16. @Mayank.
    Lets start with your first two points:
    1. I am "making fun of a person just because he found a country like Pakistan to be a failed state".
    I am _making fun_!!!!!
    How? where? Show me the quote, and I will give you this point. In my article I haven't even claimed to know the answer to the "failed state question", and have asked for the reader's opinions. Again, show me the quote!

    2. You said that MJA 'indirectly made fun of a nation by saying "Thank God, we didnt end up in Pakistan"'
    Where did you pull that "Thank God.." quote out of? Are those his words? Or your interpretation?

    The way I see it, his words were
    " for the mercy He had shown by preventing us from ending up in Pakistan in 1947."

    And you, in your propaganda-filled mind (I have no other explanation) read it as "Thank God, we didnt end up in Pakistan".

    Why the misquoting game dude? Why?

    /side note. Consider that you are in a car, and there is an unguarded train crossing. You and another car are waiting. The other guy gets impatient and tries to cross it, and gets hit by an oncoming train. Don't you say "thank got for preventing me from taking that stupid decision"?? And when you say that, are you in any way degrading your current situation?

    No. You are appreciating it, and thanking the almighty for preventing you from taking a decision you consider as bad. And that is what MJA's statement meant. Alas, you only hear/read what you _want_ to hear/read, no matter what is actually said.

    //only addressing the misquotation in your first two points. After you clear your stance on them, we will proceed to others.

  17. "Thank ....." was the gist i made out of his statement, unfortunately u thought that it is a quote(I think we make this kind of gists in common language)
    By saying "mercy...." is he saying something better?(for me having mercy stuff and thank god stuff seemed same, maybe i am too naive)
    I can also say that u also look at thing the way u like
    Mr MJA is obviously happy for not ending up in Pak based on current scenario, that means that the current situation there is not worth living for a common man like guys present in that assembly.
    That means that pak is unsafe for people, hence failed(It depends on definition though). Here your aastha wasnt crushed, but when Mr Vasudevan called it a failed state considering the very same facts, he becomes aastha crusher
    Now to further vandalise , u mention how u respected him earlier and now how u find him erroneous, doing all this stuff publicly(surprising that u blamed guy for openly taking ur name at the site...For me it was unethical everytime)

    The best way my friend is to show that this ideology is not correct, MJA is correct but Mr Vasu is wrong, doing all this with logics and then forwarding ur article to Mr Vasu for his views and to let him know of your views

    If u r now trying to be diplomatic, I can only say that the first impression from your blog manifests what i said previously, holding 2 different views at the same time
    I would recommend u ask for other person's view, here my friends agree with me :)

    The person felt blessed for mercy by almighty obviuosly bcoz he considered that the other person was insane enough, his decision was foolish enough...or u just see/read any accident and start saying the prayer. Even u have used the word stupid, that means that this kind of prayer is made only when u find the other person stupid
    That means MJA is trying to say that residents of Pak made a stupid decision and his this PoV is based on facts like taliban etc(read accident in analogy)...isnt he blaming a country indirectly? calling them as stupid and himself as smart?

  18. Meanwhile your tussle/fight/debate/war should always be with the ideology and not with the person
    Hate sin and not the sinner

  19. @Mayank:
    1. You still haven't proven that I "made fun" of the guy who said that Pakistan is a failed state.

    Do that.

    2. You are making the assumption that the "guy" referred to in the opening lines of this sentence is Vasu.

    It isn't.

    3. You think I am saying that Pakistan is not a failed state, or that I am trying to use MJA's article to prove that Pakistan is not a failed state.

    I am not.

    Seriously, stop making claims when you cannot support them by quotes/citations.

    No, seriously, stop it!

    /come back when you have proof to prove any of the points you have been making.

  20. @Mayank: I re-read your comment, and believe that you _are_ agreeing with MJA's statement that Pakistan is a worse country to be in today as compared to India.

    My bad for misreading it. I guess I got carried away seeing your misuse of the double quotes :-).

    That said, points 1 and 2 in my comment above still hold.

    Also, you have still to provide proof that I am claiming that Pakistan is not a failed state.
    P.S. Minor edit in the previous comment
    "opening lines of this article".

  21. Perhaps you are talking of 2 different persons
    Later on u have mentioned quotes of Mr vasu, so i thought that the first para statement is by Mr Vasu too. Now look at your own lines supposing as if they are talking about Mr Vasu
    First u claimed that u thought him to be open minded, then u claimed that u were shocked, then u claimed that he blamed ur ideal to be Hindu basher(That is where i thought all these lines are about same person), u mentioned his comment as well so that anyone can trace who Mr Vasu is, then u claimed that he made an error by calling MJA as hindu all this things appeared to me as if u r trying to openly disclosing the identity of a person and calling him erroneous...dont go for the literal sense of made fun of, but by mentioning someone's name like this, it appears u r trying to show that he knows nothing by using words like shocked etc etc
    But if they talk about 2 different persons as disclosed by you, then there is a discontinuity and not actually making 'fun of' but combined effect smells of such effort
    at one side u r saying that u were shocked to hear so and ur aastha was crushed and the other side u r saying that u support that pakistan is a failed state. at one side u say that failed state is a strong term(and hence plz dont use such terms) and on the other side u r saying i am not proving that pak is a failed state
    What is ur actual stance?
    If it is a failed state then y were u shocked to hear a truth and y u advised that such strong terms shouldn't be used? May be u got shocked bcoz of hearing the truth or hearing the final verdict by the person as if his verdict was long awaited and after his verdict world war 3 would start(and this prospect shocked u)
    A person is shocked when he hears something unexpected, isnt it? so failed state was unexpected for u
    and if it isnt then y u said so in point 2
    I am getting confused
    Kindly let me know what shocked u?
    "I re-read your comment, and believe that you _are_ agreeing with MJA's statement that Pakistan is a worse country to be in today as compared to India"
    In a country where hindu population decresed from 15% to less than 1%, I have always believed that it isnt better than india where minorities are incresing in population(do u want census 2001 as proof, i can only hope that u know this)

  22. @Mayank:
    1. Use paragraph breaks (blank line). They help readability.

    2. Re-read the intro to my post to clear your confusion. When referred to Vasu's comment, I did not use a pronoun phrase such as "whom the above-mentioned person has called". If I want to disclose a name, I will. If I don't want to, I won't drop hints, esp in these matters.

    You misread. Admit it. Read my previous comment for a sample of how to take a point in an argument.

    3. My shock was because it was something I did not expect this person to say, and has nothing to do with what I believe about Pakistan's current pass/fail status. It is like hearing Obama swear at something. I may or may not agree with him, but the words will surely be unexpected, and hence, shocking.

    4. The tone, right from the title of this post, is leaning more towards the notion that Pakistan _is_ a failed state than to the other side. That said, I did NOT make a claim one way or the other in the post simply because I am not sure.

    I wondered aloud, and if you see the initial comments, a decent (and well-formatted) discussion ensued, thanks to my readers.

    So do I think "failed state" is a strong term? Yes.
    Would I rather live in India than Pakistan? Of course yes.
    Do I think Pakistan is a "failed state"? Not sure.

    Would really like to get a well-researched and good definition of "failed state" first. Kinda like what Manu pointed out from Chomsky.

    and finally, I assume you were alluding to muslims when you said "minorities are increasing in population". Did you mean "minorities have a non-negative growth rate" or "minorities have a higher growth rate than Hindus"?

    On that note, I dare you to:
    1. Say clearly what you meant by "minorities are increasing in population". If you have apprehensions about muslims having a higher growth rate in India, say them clearly!
    2. Give me data. No really, that 2001 census you speak of, give me the page number and a link. Do it.

    And please, for FSM's sake, format your text properly. Non-paragraphed text is very hard to read, and therefore resembles uninteresting and incoherent ramblings.

  23. May be you havn't used pronoun, just ask anyone don't they appear like to be talking about same persons? I am a normal man and I think my intuition was correct to believe that same persons were being talked about since people generally use this style in writing, isn't it

    Many monorities, be it Christian, Muslim etc, have increased in population...Therefore you see there is no point taking the name of a single community

    Since census got published in 2001, I have no proof, but I remember what I read in editorial of DJ
    It said that Hindu population has shrinked from 85 to 83 and Muslim population has incresed from a forgotten figure to a forgotten figure, all I remember is that it increased significantly
    This issue was raised by BJP,VHP etc so it was much in news, No wonders y u didn't saw that news
    There is another interesting story about manipulations in census 2001 published in DJ, but I would prefer to keep silent.This is not the place for it
    Kindly have a look at this

  24. Still not clear why were u shocked?
    Were u expecting him to say Pak is a good country?
    If the term shocked was free of ur beliefs about Pak, what actually shocked u?
    I think the replies r now getting diplomatic, appearing more like a work done to cover up a patch
    I would humbly say that the first reaction from your blog to a normal man is that u weren't expecting Pak to be failed
    May be you have deep values hidden in your statement, which I being a common man could not connect

    I would say shock is a strong term which we use for extreme cases like electrical shock.

  25. @Mayank:
    Thanks for the link, finally! I will read it and get back. Interesting how you say "Therefore you see there is no point taking the name of a single community" and then go on to focus only on Muslim population growth figures that you remember.

    Also, a google search for "indian census 2001" gives this official page. You could have done it too.

    And regarding the "normal person" thinking that I insinuated that it was Vasu's comment, I leave that decision to other readers to clarify.

    From my stance, I know that I DID not talk to Vasu about this issue, and he was NOT the person I was referring to in the initial line.

    And regarding the shock, I definitely _hope_ Pakistan does not fail, since there are a host of issues accompanied with having a failed state as a neighbor (think Pakistan's border with Afghanistan), and I would rather that India does not have to spend its energies there.

    Do I _think_ it has failed? I really don't know. The person I talked to does, and it shocks me, for it might very well be true.

    And paragraph breaks, please. When you press "enter", just press it again. Pressing it just once creates a new line, and does not clearly indicate that there is a new idea coming up.

  26. Syed Imran Btech IT BHU(Electrical) 200710:42 PM

    Having now lived 7 months in the US as a graduate student,I am truly impressed by the respect for law and order and the impressive level of freedom of speech,expression and religion here.

    Its one thing to have all these freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and another matter to see them in real life.When I see the utter disregard for human life in the Gujarat riots,the casual approach to bringing people to justice for the heinous crimes,where freedom of speech may land you in trouble with the Senas and the Bajrang Dals...This is hardly a democracy works..

    The same goes for rich Arab/Muslim states.They deny freedom to their people and then they have the nerve to criticize the record of western nations.

    A simple example is the right to religion..While a good number of non-western countries claim to give their citizens complete religious freedom but in reality they all whether it be India,China,Pakistan and the list goes on,harrass people who wish to pratcise a religion of their choice or who wish to propagate a particular religion...

    I welcome the repeal of Article 377 as an important step towards bringing real freedom to society,not simply having exqisite words in an elaborate constitution.

    I look forward to the day when every man and woman in India can live a lfe of his or her own choosing without being harrassed and having the right to freedom of speech or religion whatever be his background..I have more confidence of this happening in India than in anywhere else...

  27. Syed Imran Btech IT BHU(Electrical) 200710:54 PM

    Recently, I read an article about a woman being publicly humiliated in Patna..Another article was about an MLA slapping a shopkeeper..When I read it,I was forced to reevaluate my dream of India in the 21st century...As long as we allow a mob to do whatever they want to without fear of punishment we are never gonna be on the right side of history...Incidents like these just show a deep chasm between the values of the educated and urbane minority and the vast number of people for whom disregard for law and order is a mundane affair..I am positively sure that the ordinary mob does not even care about the values enshrined in the constitution such as freedom of speech...America has its share of disgruntled and bigoted people..but all they can do is shout on the radio or write virulent blogs which is their constitutional right...What they can't do is to organize a mob and attack or assault a place or an institution that they hate..There was a time when certain people in the US did terrorize a minority,but those days are now just pages in a history book...I wonder when we will be lucky enough to have these MLAs cast into the history books of our own...