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Ajmal Kasab Hanged At Pune’s Yerwada Jail This Morning
Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, 25, the only terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, was hanged at Pune's Yerwada Jail at 7:30 this morning, in a swift and secret execution.  Doctors confirmed that he was dead. CNN IBN quoting a Pakistani press source as saying, “We respect judicial process in India. We have everything is done under proper scrutiny. Our understanding says President has jumped the queue in rejecting the mercy petition of Ajmal Kasab and till last minute it was under wraps....

Shaheed Bhagat Singh: Can A Non-Muslim Hero Be Honoured In Pakistan?
Amna Lone

That Pakistan is afflicted with the evils of bigotry and prejudice is no secret. But however much one gets accustomed — sadly, even immune — to this state of affairs, one is still left aghast at the extremely narrow worldview held by certain quarters. Another argument offered is that Singh was essentially an Indian hero, not a Pakistani one, and that there are many who have served Pakistan diligently over the years and are perhaps, more deserving of such an honour....


Once there was A Tiger: Death and Bal K. Thackeray
Bal K. Thackeray

We have reasons to be grateful that Bal K. Thackeray has died, a normal, natural death. Several of those whom he admired, didn’t. Adolf Hitler, the fellow ‘artist’ he often invoked, killed himself, his mistress and his dog. Indira Gandhi, and her son Sanjay, the mother and son firm of despots that Bal Thackeray endorsed, didn’t go gently into the night either. Sanjay Gandhi, the ‘bold young man’ whom Thackeray recognized as a fellow spirit came spiralling down in his own airplane,...

Shiv Sena: An Authentic Indian Fascism
Bal K. Thackeray

The Shiv Sena chief gave voice to a Nazi impulse in Indian politics — one that poses an ever-growing threat to our Republic “Fascism”, wrote the great Marxist intellectual Antonio Gramsci, in a treatise Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray likely never read but demonstrated a robust grasp of through his lifetime, “has presented itself as the anti-party; has opened its gates to all applicants; has with its promise of impunity enabled a formless multitude to cover over the savage outpourings of passions, hatreds and desires with a varnish of vague and nebulous political ideals....

Girish Karnad on Naipaul
Asghar Ali Engineer

Girish Karnad on Naipaul
Asghar Ali Engineer

Girish Karnad defended himself by saying that my conscience did not accept this and there could not have been a better occasion that this when award is being given to him. Being a Nobel awardee Naipaul does have celebrity status but that does not mean he is beyond any criticism, literary or otherwise. And as a secular activist myself I agree with Girish that iron must be struck when hot and he chose right moment to attack the views of Naipaul….

Israel’s Short Sighted Assassination
Gershon Baskin

Israel’s government has declared that the aim of the current strikes against Gaza is to rebuild deterrence so that no rockets will be fired on Israel. Israel’s targeted killings of Hamas leaders in the past sent the Hamas leadership underground and prevented rocket attacks on Israel temporarily. According to Israeli leaders, deterrence will be achieved once again by targeting and killing military and political leaders in Gaza...

Badal and Nitish’s Embrace Of Pakistan Stands In Contrast To the BJP's Reflexive Hawkishness
Tridivesh Singh Maini

Both are part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. C Rajamohan, in an article titled, Ambassadors to Pakistan, (November 12) highlights this interesting point: "Badal's Akali Dal and the Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) are both allies of the BJP." Their embrace of Pakistan stands in contrast to the BJP's reflexive hawkishness.  Apart from the fact that their visits reveal the increasing influence of states on Indian foreign policy, both visits were fascinating for a number of reasons….


Is Obama About to Take Over the Internet?
Dana Liebelson

The Obama administration isn't sure, so it's moving to beef up cyber-security measures and to require companies to explain how they plan to defend against cyber-attacks. But some conservatives are accusing Obama of trying to take over the internet. "If you let the government take over some part of the internet, it's going to take over more and more,"...


Extramarital Affairs: The Moral Order Is Out Of Order in the United States
Murtaza Haider

The moral order is out of order in the United States where cheating on a spouse can cost you your job; whereas causing the death of thousands of innocents poses no harm to your career. The surge did not work in Iraq. After decades of wars and sectarian strife, Iraqis got tired of killing and they reorganised along the sectarian lines in cities. With Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds retreated to the safety of their respective ghettos, the killing spree ended in Iraq. However, this did not happen before nearly 120,000 civilians died in the American imposed war on Iraq, which was waged on false pretences....

A Reward for Mr. Naipaul Means Affirming Not Just His Great “Craft” But Also His Idea of India
Githa Hariharan

In a festival session at Neemrana in 2002, the Great Man threw darts at two of his fears: women and Muslims. He said women writers are banal; he finds them boring. In response, Shashi Deshpande said she found Naipaul’s preoccupation with the loss of an imaginary India boring. Naipaul cut off Nayantara Sahgal as she spoke of post-colonialism, again complaining of banality....


A Matter of Debate: Anil Dharker Responds to Girish Karnad’s Criticism of V S Naipaul for Being Ant-Muslim
Anil Dharker

Your other assumption of Naipaul being anti-Muslim is debatable, to say the least. He is married to a Muslim, and has been for the last 17 years. His wife’s two children by a previous marriage are being brought up as Muslims, all of which would be unlikely if he were so against the religion as you claim him to be. We will see you next year, and talk about theatre....

What Makes America Great  Is Its Diversity: Obama’s Re-Election Victory Speech – Full Text
US President Barack Hussein Obama

We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened up by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. 
We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and the best troops this – this world has ever known, but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. 

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag , the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner, to the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president. …
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared, that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great. 
America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you're willing to try. 


Congratulations Mr Naipaul, At Last Your Anti- Islamic Stand Has Borne Fruit
Girish Karnad

Anyone can find his statements in the archives of the New Yorker where he is writing about the Indian writer. Even that turns into a tirade against Muslims and how they destroyed Indian culture! This is the white man’s view of Indian history, an Orientalist stance and view that is also echoed by the RSS. Naipaul’s writing is vibrant, but a lot of his thought, though it sounds original, is something he has just inherited....

President Barack Obama Creates History, Wins Second Term In White House

US President Barack Obama swept to re-election on Tuesday, creating history again by defying the undertow of a slow economic recovery and high unemployment to beat Republican foe Mitt Romney.Obama became only the second Democrat to win a second four-year White House term since World War II, when television networks projected he would win the bellwether state of Ohio where he had staged a pitched battle with Romney...

Why is Naipaul Being Honoured?
Girish Karnad

But Landmark and Literature Alive who have announced this Award have a responsibility to explain to us where exactly they stand with regard to these Naipaul’s remarks. Naipaul is a foreigner and can make pronouncements as he wishes. But do they mean to valorise Naipaul’s stand that Indian Muslims are raiders and marauders? Are they supporting his continued insistence on Muslim buildings in India being monuments to rape and loot? Or are they by their silence suggesting that these views do not matter?  The Award givers have much to answer for....

When War Passes For Foreign Policy
P. Sainath

“Take the profit out of war,” said Kevin Zeese, one of the more important activists of the Occupy Movement in the United States, “and you take out war.” His audience was made up mainly of U.S. war veterans gathered in New York to observe — and protest — the 11th anniversary of the conflict in Afghanistan. That is the longest war the United States has ever waged....

Can you be in a war involving weapons of mass destruction and not know it?  The answer: indeed you can -- and we are.  Now, American officials are suddenly raising the alarm that malefactors (like Iran) might already be doing smaller scale versions of the same to us with potentially disastrous results (since we are perhaps more dependent on computer systems and the world of the Internet than any country on the planet).  After all, cyber war does potentially involve the use of weapons of mass destruction in the most literal sense, as TomDispatch regular Karen J. Greenberg makes clear in today’s post.  And even if no cyber apocalypse hits, Greenberg vividly lays out how fear of it is likely to be used to further locking down “the homeland.” Tom


Secularism - Vote Based or Value Based?
Asghar Ali Engineer

Equality, human dignity and gender equality provide strong base for secular culture. These values are hardly ever mentioned, much less emphasized, in our education system. Indian society even today, despite its constitutional values and provisions, tends to deeply hierarchical and discriminatory. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to cultivate scientific temperament through educational system....

The Death Of Logic: The Way We Tolerate Extremism In Pakistan
Yaqoob Khan Bangash

... one thing which I have noticed repeatedly is that Pakistanis have become increasingly devoid of logic. And logic not just in the sense of the Greek fathers, but even simple common sense — which, of course, is not common. Most people have simply accepted the basic premise of the right that ‘the killing of an innocent is wrong’. While on the face of it, this statement sounds logical, but as pointed out by Ejaz, this statement is not only illogical but dangerous....

“The allegation that Muslim men entice Hindu and Christian women into marriage for reasons other than love, as part of an Islamist conspiracy, has recently been investigated by the Kerala Police and has brought out some ugly details,” the pamphlet said. The Indian Express had on October 1 reported that Justice K T Sankaran of the Kerala High Court had directed the state police and the Union Home Ministry to probe the alleged movement called ‘Love Jihad’, under which young Muslim men allegedly target college girls for conversion by feigning love.... The pamphlet claims 4,000 girls have been converted by now. -- Deepu Sebastian Edmond

'Love Bomb': A new RSS weapon against Muslims

Editorial in Jan-Satta Hindi Daily, New Delhi


Walk across at Wagah
Irfan Husain

Clearly, I had not factored in the mean-spiritedness of South Asian Babus and their political masters. With an unerring instinct for making life difficult for me, they have, with infinite malice, decided that senior citizens will only get visas on arrival at the land border at Wagah, between Lahore and Amritsar. This means that if I want to go to Mumbai from Karachi, I will have to take a flight to Lahore, then take a taxi to Wagah, cross the border on foot, take another taxi to Amritsar, and then get on a plane or train to Delhi….

Justice in Maharashtra (Local Muslims Need Not Apply)
Jyoti Punwani

In Bhartiya Janata Party-ruled Gujarat, a fair trial is an impossibility when the accused are Hindu BJP supporters, and the victims are Muslims. Thus the Best Bakery case, named for the incident during the 2002 riots in which 14 persons were burnt alive, saw all 21 accused acquitted in Gujarat. Tried in Mumbai, nine were convicted. The Bilqis Bano case had 12 of the 20 accused convicted in Mumbai....

The substantial public support for the movement in the first phase had made Team Anna over ambitious and they failed to acknowledge the dissenting voices both from within and from the various civil society members and groups. The outside support of civil society began to dwindle as one after another the members began to distance themselves from the movement….

An Appeal to a Naroda Convict
Najeeb Jung

We wish to purge ourselves of the prison of this memory by confronting it, by bringing the guilty to book, by doing what the South Africans did, by walking the path of truth and reconciliation. To quote Nelson Mandela, “ As I walked out of the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind I would still be in prison”. But truth first: no real reconciliation can come from the sort of willed nostalgia that the apologists for Gujarat government wish to inflict upon us....

The Face of the Gujarat Police
Ujjwala Nayudu

Dahyabhai Gobarji Vanzara, the “encounter king” of Gujarat police, was seemingly indomitable until his arrest in 2007 for staging the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. The flamboyant Chudasama, 47, is called “well-networked”, “star cop” and “dreadful” in the same breath....

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