Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Crab And The Fisherman

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a fisherman who lived by the shore of a great lake.

So vast was this lake that from one side one couldn’t see the other, and when the storm winds blew from the north, the winds would blow the waves before them and bring them crashing to the shore as though they were breakers on the shores of the distant sea.

The fisherman was very poor. He lived alone in a hut by the lakeside. It wasn’t a big hut. The fisherman had built it himself, with mud from the banks and reed from the lake, and each rainy season it crumbled and leaked, so that he had to rebuild it again. He also had a boat, which was very old and had come down to him from his father and his father before him, and a net which was frayed with age.

Each day, rain or shine, the fisherman would paddle out into the lake and throw in his net. The catch was usually very meagre, for, truth to tell, the net was so frayed and full of holes that for every fish he pulled aboard, three managed to slip out and escape. Whatever was left, the fisherman would then take to the nearest village, and sell for what he could get.

It was a hard life, and the fisherman was not happy with it, but there was nothing else he knew how to do; and he worried, because he was growing old.

One morning, as usual, he went down to the shore from his hut, and looked at his boat, which lay upturned on the pebbles, and he saw how ancient it was, how the wood was almost worn out. And he looked at his net, which was spread out on the rocks to dry, but which, despite all his mending, was even more tattered than ever.

“I can’t buy a new boat or a new net,” he sighed aloud. “And I’m getting as old and decrepit as the boat and the net. Soon, I can’t fish anymore, and then there won’t be anything left for me but to starve.”

“Why don’t you take an apprentice?” a little voice enquired, apparently from right behind him. The fisherman turned to see, but there was nothing but the mud and pebble of the lake shore and the water beyond. “Take in an apprentice, train him in the work, on condition that he take care of you in your old age.”

“Who’s there?” the fisherman demanded. “Are you a ghost or a demon?”

“Ghost? Demon?” the voice laughed. “Hardly. Look in the pool by your feet.”

So the fisherman looked in the pool, which was hollow in the rocks by the water’s edge, and in the very bottom of it, there was a crack in the stone. Peering out at him, waving a claw, was a large crab.

“Do I look like a ghost or a demon?” the crab demanded. “I’m only a crab offering a word of advice. Find an apprentice, teach him your job, and he’ll take care of you in your old age.”

“Who would be fool enough to learn this thankless trade?” the fisherman asked bitterly. “Only those who are luckless enough to be born into it will pick up a net anymore.”

“Why don’t you try and see?” the crab persisted. “You don’t have any other choice, do you?”

The fisherman laughed shortly. “If any apprentice joins me under those conditions,” he said, “I’ll give him anything he wants that I can drag out from the bottom of the lake – anything at all.” And, paying no more heed to the crab, he pulled down the boat to the water and paddled out into the lake. Because the boat was leaking badly, he could only go a little way, into waters which the fish had already learnt to avoid, and threw in the net. And though he fished all day, he caught nothing at all – not even a single fish for his own supper. Nor could he go out again at night because by evening heavy clouds had gathered over the lake and thunder rumbled ominously on the horizon. So, not for the first time, he had to go to bed hungry.

The storm had broken overhead, rain lashing down, and the fisherman was huddled, miserable and hungry, on his thin mattress when there was a rapping at the door of his hut. At first he ignored it, imagining it was just the rain. But when it grew persistent and so loud that it rivalled the crash of thunder overhead, he got up to open the door, for he thought it might be a traveller seeking shelter from the storm. That it might be a bandit or some other malefactor, he didn’t even consider for a moment, for he was far too poor and insignificant for anyone to bother to do him harm.

Outside the door, claw raised to knock again, was the crab.

“Did you mean what you said, fisherman?” it demanded. “You’ll give anyone who becomes an apprentice whatever he wants of what you can pull out of the water of the lake?”

When the fisherman had got over his astonishment, he nodded. “I said that, and I meant it,” he said. “But it’s a pointless offer anyway, because I can no longer even find fish enough to feed myself, let alone find something for an apprentice.”

“Are you hungry?” the crab asked. “Just wait.” Turning, it scuttled away sideways into the night, and, before the fisherman could quite persuade himself that he was awake, not dreaming, it returned bearing a fish in each of its claws. “There you are.”

The fisherman cleaned and gutted the fish, but he couldn’t cook it, for the roof of the hut was leaking so badly that the water dripped on everything, and he couldn’t get a fire going.

“Wait a moment,” the crab said, and vanished into the darkness. In only a little while it had returned, dragging palm fronds in its claws, which it pulled up to the roof. In less time than it takes to tell of it, it had mended the roof, and the drip of water had stopped entirely.

“So,” the crab said, “will you now take me on as your apprentice? I can do much more for you than I’ve done just now.”

The fisherman, having eaten, was feeling a lot better, and nodded slowly, considering. “But who ever heard of a crab becoming a fisherman’s apprentice?” he asked.

“Who ever heard of a crab talking, either?” the crustacean demanded. “Or, for that matter, who ever heard of a crab repairing a roof?”

The fisherman had to admit the animal was right, and finally agreed to take it on as an apprentice. “But only if you do everything I tell you,” he warned. “Fail, and out you’ll go. And, of course,” he added, “if I can’t catch anything, there will be nothing for you. My boat and net are all but falling to pieces.”

“You won’t have to worry about that,” the crab said. “Now go to sleep, and I’ll meet you in the morning by the lake.” Waving a claw, it scuttled away.

The fisherman went back to bed, still wondering if he were dreaming.

In the morning the storm was over, and the fisherman went down to the lakeside, wondering if the wind and rain had battered the boat to pieces and ripped the net apart. To his astonishment, he found the net neatly repaired with strips of coconut fibre plaited and woven tight. As to the boat, it was upturned on the shore, and the crab was busy on it, sealing the cracks with resin. It saw him and waved a claw merrily.

“Now we’ll go out,” it said cheerfully, “and you’ll teach me the trade.”

So the fisherman paddled the boat out into the lake, and because it was in so much better repair than it had been, he could take it out much further, until the land was only a dark smudge on the horizon. And there, when he threw in the net, it filled with such an enormous catch that he would never have been able to pull it all aboard if the crab had not been there to help.

“See what taking me for an apprentice for you,” the crab said.

“You can have whatever you want from the net,” the fisherman said, “in accordance with what we agreed.”

“I want nothing of this,” the crab said. “When I want something you’ve brought up, I’ll tell you.”

That was the turn of the fisherman’s fortunes. Each day, he and the crab would go out into the lake, and throw in the net just once; and, each day, they would return with such a catch that the boat seemed about to be swamped by the lake waters. If ever the net tore or the boat sprung a leak, the crab would mend it instantly, so that their work did not suffer even for a single day. Little by little, the fisherman the fisherman grew rich enough that he managed to build a larger and better hut, and even put a little money by. But though each day he offered the crab whatever it wanted from the net, as always, the animal declined.

For a year and a day it went on like this; and then, one morning, the fisherman threw in the net as usual, far from the shore; and when he brought it up, among all the other fish there was one which glittered black and gold, and had eyes that looked human.

“I must take that fish to the king,” the fisherman thought. “He will pay me a goodly sum for it, and keep it in his royal pond, for surely this is a fish the likes of which have never been seen before.”

But the crab spoke up. “Fisherman,” it said. “Do you remember the promise you made me, to give me whatever I wanted from what came up in your nets?”

“Yes, of course,” the fisherman replied.

“Good,” the crab said. “In that case, I want that fish, the one that glitters black and gold and has human eyes.”

Though the fisherman sighed with regret, he had to admit his apprentice was within its rights. So, reaching in to the net, he brought out the fish with the human eyes which glittered black and gold, and handed it to the crustacean. At once, the crab took the fish in its claws and, holding it out over the side of the boat, dropped it into the water.

“What are you doing?” the fisherman gasped. “It’s getting away!”

“It will be of great service to you someday,” the crab told him, “just as I was. And, in any case, it was my fish, to do with as I like.”

The fisherman had to admit the truth of this, and, albeit with many a sigh of regret, he turned the boat towards shore.

Now it so happened that the ruler of the kingdom had a treasury filled with gold and silver, which he hoarded jealously to himself, even when his subjects went hungry; for he was a vain and miserly king. But of all his riches, the greatest was a small box filled with jewels from all corners of the world, whose fame was known throughout the land. And word of it finally reached the ears of a particular thief, who prided himself on being able to steal even the smile from a baby’s lips as it gazed upon its mother. At once he decided he would steal that box of jewels, and vowed to do so no matter how securely it might be guarded.

That very night, having managed to enter the palace by an upper window, the thief found his way past locked doors and alert sentries to the treasury, from which he took the famous box and tied it in the folds of his turban. But as he was leaving the palace, though he easily passed by the guards and the locked portals, by ill chance a chambermaid, who was coming from an illicit liaison with a groom, saw him and raised the alarm. The thief, finding himself chased by all the guards in the palace, fled as fast as he could go. And though he ran like the wind, he was alone, and they were many; so that they raised the alarm and more of the king’s men began converging from several directions.

Finally the thief saw that there was no escape; he would be caught for sure, for on three sides of him were groups of onrushing sentries, while on the fourth was only the huge expanse of the lake, far too broad to swim. But there was a small hut near the lake shore, and there was just time for him to take the box out of his turban, thrust it into the palm fronds with which the roof was thatched, and walk quickly away. Though the guards caught him, they searched him and found nothing, so they let him go.

The fisherman was, of course, not so fortunate. Roused by the blows of the sentries’ spear shafts on the door, he hurried out and was instantly seized, while the troops ransacked his home. In moments they had found the box and, binding him with ropes, they dragged the fisherman to the king. But the monarch was still asleep, so they threw him, still bound, into a cell beneath the palace, to await his fate in the morning.

At dawn, the crab crawled out of his crack in the rock at the bottom of the pool as usual, to greet his friend the fisherman. But the hut was empty, the door broken down, the things inside strewn about, and even the roof ripped apart. Peering inside, the crab found no trace of the man. But, having friends among the rats and moles of the lakeside, he asked them if they knew anything. And one or two of them said that they’d seen the fisherman being dragged away with ropes in the direction of the palace.

So, keeping to the shadows and the shelter of trees and hedges, the crab scuttled in the direction of the palace, and, shortly after sunrise, he reached it. Hiding among bushes near the front door, he listened to the sentries talking and soon understood what had happened; and, by following them as they went on their rounds, he discovered where the cells were. Squeezing his flat, armoured body through a tiny ventilator slit, he dropped into the cell which held his friend, still bound and half dead with fright.

“Take courage,” he said to the fisherman. “I am your apprentice, and pledged to take care of you. And no harm will come to you as long as I live.”

“That is easy for you to say,” the poor fisherman groaned.  “But I lie here bound hand and foot, and in an hour the king will doubtless have me hanged or impaled, all for no fault of my own.”

“I have been listening to the conversation of the guards,” the crab said. “And that has suggested to me a course of action that will not fail. This is what you must do...”

The fisherman listened, but shook his head. “I could never get my hands free in time,” he said.

“I will cut your ropes through partly with my claws,” the crab said, “so that when you need to, you can break them easily. But until then, make no move to show that you are no longer tightly bound.”

“And then what happens, when my bonds are free?” the fisherman asked. “The soldiers will still be there with their spears, ready to stick them in me.”

“Don’t worry about that,” the crab said, busily working on the rope. “When the time comes, you’ll see. I think I can hear them coming for you now.” Squeezing through a crack between the wall and the floor, he found his way to the sewers, and from there, he made his way back towards the lake.

Meanwhile the fisherman, still in his ropes, was brought before the king, who sat on his high throne, looking down angrily at the court.

“This is the man who stole the box of jewels,” the guards said. “We found it hidden in his roof.”

“He must answer with his life for this crime,” the monarch said, frowning terribly. “Take him away and hang him at once!”

At these words the fisherman felt weak at the knees and about to faint, but he took a deep breath and pulled himself together, remembering the crab’s words. “I am innocent,” he said. “But if I must die, as an innocent man, let me at least choose the way I leave this world.”

The king considered a moment. “I see no harm in that,” he said. “How do you wish to be killed?”

“I have always lived by the waters of the lake,” the fisherman responded, “and I have earned my living from it. The only proper way for me to perish is in its embrace.”

“Very well,” the king said. “We shall take you out in a boat and throw you into the water; but beware lest you come up again, even for a breath, for my men will be ready to cut you into pieces.”

“He won’t come up even once,” the commander of the guard laughed. “Not with the knots my men tied him, he won’t.”

So they took the fisherman to the bank, near enough so he could see his own hut, perhaps for the last time; and they then put him on his own boat, and rowed him far out into the lake, until they were in its centre, where the water was deepest.

“Remember,” the commander of the guard said, “if you come up, even for a breath of air, our spears are ready and waiting.” And, without a further word, they threw him into the water.

As the water of the lake closed over his head, the fisherman, fighting down panic and remembering what the crab had told him, worked his hands and feet so that the weakened ropes broke and fell away. But even so he was under the surface, and he did not dare rise again because of the spears waiting for him. It seemed to him, as his lungs felt about to burst for want of air, that he’d merely exchanged death by hanging for death by drowning, and it would be the end of him, after all.

But all of a sudden he felt something swimming beside him, and a hundred slippery bodies crowding around him and pushing him along; and when he opened his eyes, he caught a glimpse of a hundred shining bodies of black and glittering gold. They pushed him along so swiftly that when he finally could no longer last without breathing, he came to the surface far enough away from the boat that the guards didn’t see him at all. Then the fishes pulled him under again and swam with him out to the far side of the lake.

There, at last, they brought him to a cavern at the base of a cliff, the only entrance to which was under the water; and there he found, waiting for him, his old friend the crab.

“I told you that the fish would be of help to you,” the crustacean said, waving a claw in greeting. “And here you can stay in this cavern with me, and nobody will bother us ever again. There’s no shortage of things to eat, and I’ll bring you whatever you want.”

“You’re supposed to be my apprentice,” the fisherman replied, when he’d somewhat recovered. “I’m supposed to teach you how to fish. But here in this cavern, how can I?”

“We can bring you the boat and net, if you like, when the soldiers have gone,” the crab said. “Would you like that?”

The fisherman looked at the black and gold fish flickering back and forth under the water, and once in a while raising their heads to look at him.

“No,” he said at last. “I don’t think I’ll be catching fish again.”

A little later he asked the crab: "And you? Why are you doing all this? I can't teach you any more than I have already, so why are you doing all this for me?"

The crab was silent for a moment. 

"You gave me the chance to be more than just a crab," he said.





Copyright B Purkayastha 2016



Das Threat

Monday, 15 February 2016

Analysis of a New ISIS Video

As you all know by now (if you’ve been paying any attention at all, that is), I watch rather a lot of the extraordinarily slick videos ISIS is so kind as to put out on the web for everyone. Most of them, frankly, aren’t all that special; there’s only that many beheadings you can show, after all, before it gets old. So ISIS has shown a shift from beheading videos in recent days to other methods of offing people it doesn’t like.

One of the recent videos which made the news depicted – allegedly – a four year old ISIS kid blowing up three “spies” in a car. It was one of the many cartoonishly evil things ISIS does that seems calculated to make people think it’s mindlessly evil, and there’s definitely a method to that madness, as I’ll discuss in a moment.

[Source]

Before I go further, let me say that there’s absolutely nothing unique about child “soldiers” in Syria murdering prisoners. The blood soaked war criminal Barack Hussein Obama’s pet “moderate” cannibals were doing that back in 2012, as you can see right here:

[Source]


Nobody except us Putin trolls and Assad apologists, all card-carrying enemies of freedom and democracy, had got hot under the collar then, though.

This ISIS video allegedly depicts the kid with the “new Jihadi John”, claimed to be one Siddhartha Dhar, which, going by his name, means he’s not just of Indian origin, not Arab, but from the same ethnic group as me.  Ah well.

This is definitely not me. [Source]

This Dhar allegedly converted to Islam, or more precisely to the ISIS creed of ISISlam, and went to Syria from Britain with his wife and kids. And it’s allegedly a British kid called Dare who stars in this video, along with the three doomed “spies”.

For several days I held off on watching this video. I thought I’d had enough of violence and mayhem. And then I decided that it couldn’t hurt to have a look and at least satisfy my curiosity. So I looked, and...

...and I’m of the opinion that, like the Jordanian pilot burning video, this one is a well-made fake.

Let’s go over the salient points of the video once. According to the usual ISIS credits at the beginning, courtesy their al Hayat media office, it was shot in or around Raqqa.

Three (oddly calm) bearded men in the trademark bright orange jumpsuits are apparently in a dark room ; only their faces, shoulders, and clip-on-microphones are visible. They “identify” themselves (subtitles are helpfully available) and “confess” to spying and membership of sleeper cells. They say how much money they were given, and what kind of cameras, and where they went and what they did. Whenever they speak somebody’s name, though, the names of their “handlers” or “contacts”, the name is bleeped out and (this is another proof of the extreme sophistication of ISIS videos) the mouth of the speaker is blurred out so nobody can do a spot of lip-reading. 

After all these confessions are over, the kid and what might be Dhar – the former in camouflage fatigues – appear in front of a white car parked in the desert with the three men visible inside. 

The following images are all from here - and you can see more photos there from the video:








Dhar delivers a rant aimed at Cameron, kid points off into the desert and talks about killing kaffirs there. The camera shifts back to the three “spies” in the car, who tell of how those who are against the Islamic State must repent while they still can. Kid’s shown pressing a remote control, or a box resembling a remote control, and the camera shows the car from a distance. The car then blows up in a fountain of sand and flame and shattered metal.



Let’s see some of the things in this video which stink to high heaven. First of all is the bleeping out of the names of the “handlers”/”contacts” and the blurring out of the mouths when talking about them. Why on earth should this be done, if the “confessions” are genuine? Assuming the “spies” identified themselves by their real names, their presumed handlers would know who they are, isn’t that so? Wouldn’t they then take the usual precautions? So, if the confessions are genuine, what’s the point of blurring out the names – unless said names are of people who don’t exist? People whose existence, or otherwise, can be checked up on?

The second is the fact that the “blowing up” occurred in a car. One can suppose ISIS has cars to blow up for fun – after all, it captured enough Humvees to turn them en masse into suicide bombs – but what’s the “value”, if any, of using one of them to blow away prisoners? What’s the deterrent effect of an execution where all you can see is a tiny speck of car in the far distance before it explodes?

In other videos where prisoners were blown up, which I’ve watched, said blowing up was always shown in gruesome detail, including fragments of flesh and body parts raining down from the air afterwards, to bounce on the ground in front of the camera. In this instance, for some strange reason, there was nothing like that. At least the reason is strange, unless you take it that it was all set up. There was no such execution, and the “spies” are no such thing; perhaps, in fact, ISIS men dressed up for the part.

Why should it do any such thing, though?

Remember I said something about ISIS being cartoonishly evil? In fact, ISIS goes out of its way to act like a Hollywood Evil Incarnate, even though, in actual terms, the suffering it inflicts is probably less than what less flamboyantly murderous groups like al Nusra or al Shabaab do. But those two groups are at least, whatever else they are, wholly genuine. ISIS, at least in its top levels, is an objective ally of its alleged enemies in the west.

Let’s see what we have: ISIS tries to show the world how evil it is, in a new and eye catching fashion. It creates a new “Jihadi John”, who of course, in order to attract attention, has to be even more evil than his predecessor. In order to do that, he’s got to do something more evil, more depraved, than beheading. Having a kid do the killing is something that would at once achieve the goal of being eviller than thou.

Of course, you can’t really expect a four year old kid to hack off heads. He doesn’t have the muscular strength. But he can be given a box and be expected to press a button, after making a few rehearsed remarks, That’s all it takes.

But why should ISIS want to appear so cartoonishly evil? Well, that’s got everything to do with it and its Western de facto allies’ mutual antipathy to the legitimate Syrian government of Bashar Assad. According to the standard propaganda spread by the minions of the blood soaked war criminal Barack Hussein Obama, Assad “created ISIS” (in fact, no, it was the blood soaked war criminal Barack Hussein Obama himself who did), and is not fighting ISIS (in fact, no, it’s the blood soaked war criminal Barack Hussein Obama himself who isn’t). According to them, Assad must be overthrown first in order for the (nonexistent) “moderate opposition” to join forces to beat ISIS. Since these “moderates” don’t exist, and since Assad, with Russian, Iranian, and Hizbollah help, is exterminating the terrorist gangs of all sorts, it’s obviously in ISIS’ interests to try and shift the focus to unseating Assad, something the blood soaked war criminal Barack Hussein Obama is frantic to do anyway.

Quite apart from all that is the secondary benefit of spreading suspicion and hatred against Syrian kids among the refugees in Europe; and the racism in that continent is already bubbling over. Hatred of children may well be all it takes to make it even more official than it already is.


At least that’s my reading. If you have a better one, go ahead and let me know.


Dispatches from Hindunazistan

Back in the early 1990s, when I was a student in Lucknow, I had a friend from Kenya called Thomas Nicholas Otieno Ogutu.

There was nothing very special about Tom Ogutu except for his height; he was about two metres tall. But, of course, he was black – and that was the problem.

Lucknow is in North India, and if there’s one place I’ve ever seen that’s crawling with racism, North India is it. At that time, twenty-odd years ago, there were a lot of African students in Lucknow: mostly Kenyans and Nigerians, but with a smattering of Malawians, Sudanese, and the odd Somali and Ghanaian. But whatever they were, they faced the same brutal racism from the Lucknowites.

I’ve seen black people called “monkeys” to their faces. I’ve seen them terrified even to be seen in the company of Indian women (my cousins, who visited me in Lucknow in 1992) because, as one said, they “would be skinned alive”. My roommate and his best friend, who were both ethnic East Asians from the state of Arunachal Pradesh and hence was considered to be “Chinese” or “Nepali” by the Lucknowites and subject to racial discrimination as well, thought it hilarious to call Tom Ogutu “Homogutu”  and asked me to “autoclave myself” after visiting him because, being an African, he was naturally crawling with germs, specifically HIV. (The sister of the best friend is now married to a Tanzanian; wonder if he remembers the “Homogutu” slur and what he thinks about it now.) I’ve myself had to explain to many Africans that not all Indians are alike and that I had no racial animosity towards them, and I don’t know how many of them believed me.

That was in North India and back in the pre-internet, pre-cable TV age, and since then India’s gone through a cultural convulsion; we’ve even had a sexual revolution which the Hindunazis have tried, and failed, to contain. One would have thought that with increasing interaction with the world, the tide of racism would’ve ebbed.

One would’ve thought wrong.

A few days ago, in Bangalore – a cosmopolitan, modern city in South India, which has many foreigners from all over the world living and working there – a car driven by a Sudanese man knocked down and killed a woman. The Sudanese was duly arrested, and that should’ve been the end of the story. However, this is India. Intent on revenge, a mob gathered, and, half an hour after the incident, stopped a car in which a young Tanzanian woman was travelling, along with a couple of other men. They beat the men, burned the car, stripped the Tanzanian woman naked and “paraded” her as punishment. The police who were at the scene watched, making no attempt to interfere. When a decent, honest bystander tried to protect her, he was thrashed by the crowd as well.

It was only several days later that the incident made the news, and then the police and the state government tried their best to pretend it was a “case of road rage,” not racism, and that the woman was not stripped. In fact it was the government at the Centre which was more proactive in the matter, and the Tanzanian diplomatic authorities also stepped in. Black African students in India were quoted in the media as saying that this was something they knew perfectly well could happen to any of them, any day, and for a brief instant of time the spotlight was on Indian racism. But of course that won’t change a thing, just as the “new tough” anti-rape laws didn’t decrease rapes in the slightest.
  
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That was the first of three little vignettes on Hindunazistan I’m going to bring you today, as a window on what’s been happening here during the last few weeks I’ve not been writing. I’m still not fully recovered and there’s a way to go before I can write like I used to, but I need to start because each day I stay away makes it harder to get the mental discipline back which is necessary to write.

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Siachen is a glacier in the mountains of northern Kashmir, sandwiched between China in the north, Indian Kashmir to the south, and Pakistani Kashmir to the west. When India and Pakistan fought their first “war” over Kashmir back in 1948, which left Pakistan occupying about a third of Kashmiri territory (hilariously, India still pretends it “won” the war), the status of Siachen was left undetermined in the UN-mediated ceasefire that ended the conflict. Since the early 1980s, though, India and Pakistan have faced off over the glacier, in a slow-motion high-altitude conflict which has seen small scale attacks, counterattacks, and some bloodshed. Mostly, though, the casualties have come from the brutal climate, where both sides maintain posts on mountain ridges throughout the year, because to withdraw in winter would mean the other side might be in possession of those heights when one’s own troops are sent back as summer comes round again.

On 3rd February, an avalanche in Siachen struck an Indian Army outpost, burying ten soldiers. A rescue party attempting to dig out the corpses found one of them, Lance Corporal (Lance Naik in the Indian Army rank nomenclature) Hanumanthappa Koppad, alive six days afterwards. Despite being immediately airlifted to hospital, he died on the 11th February of massive organ failure.

Grateful to have a distraction from the racism issue, the media went wild over Hanumanthappa, declaring him to be the “Siachen braveheart”, and celebrating his life and death. While I have no problem over the overfed, overentertained, overpaid Great Indian Muddle Class deigning to take a sympathetic look for once at one of the working class people who fill the ranks of the armed forces, I noticed one signal omission; the media seemed incapable of asking a simple question – what the hell are we doing in Siachen, anyway? What’s so damned important that we have to hold on to it at colossal expenditure of lives as well as money and equipment?

If you ask the Indian Army top brass this, the boilerplate answer is always that it’s a “strategic” location which can’t be given up under any circumstances. To which my answer is: horse dung.

In the interval between 1948 and 1984, India and Pakistan fought three full scale wars. Two of them were fought over Kashmir, in 1947-48 and 1965, while the one in 1971 did involve combat operations in the state as well. During these decades, India had not occupied Siachen and as far as is known Pakistan hadn’t done so either. Did it affect the strategic position adversely in any way?

No.

In 1999, India and Pakistan fought another “war” over Kargil, to the south of Siachen – a conflict which included Indian airstrikes, artillery duels across the frontier, and mass WWI-style frontal assaults up mountain slopes. At that same time, India and Pakistan were faced off over Siachen. Did India’s occupation of Siachen stop Pakistan’s alleged “aggression” in Kargil? Of course not.

According to the Hindunazis who now rule India, the nuclear “deterrent” India possesses makes any aggression by Pakistan suicidal, because India can wipe them out. In that case, what’s the point of hanging on to Siachen? Or are the Hindunazis admitting that their cherished nuclear deterrent isn’t really a deterrent at all? It certainly didn’t deter Kargil!

Then there’s the question of how long this Siachen thing is going to be maintained. Obviously, Pakistan isn’t going to just evaporate like the morning dew. It’s not going anywhere. Nor is India ever going to reoccupy the third of Kashmir it lost in the 1948 war, whatever the rhetoric. So how long does India hold on to Siachen, and condemn its soldiers to death and incapacitation from the weather? Ten more years? Forty? Till the end of time? Is it just the prestige issue of “fighting on the highest battlefield in the world” which is keeping this ridiculous warlet going?

Someone should demand the answers.

 
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The “sacrifice” made by Hanumanthappa hadn’t yet died away in the media before being revived as a cause celebre and a weapon against students in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. JNU has historically been a bastion of left liberal thought in the desert of brain-dead Hindunazism that covers North India in a blanket. JNU’s current student union president, Kanhaiya Kumar, is from a student’s association affiliated with the Communist Party of India.

Before I go on further, I must say something: I’m less than enthusiastic about student’s unions and student’s politics, though I recognise (from personal experience) that there have to be safeguards to protect students from official high-handedness. Back in Lucknow I watched faculty members browbeat and hound students they didn’t like literally to suicide; I was myself warned not to contradict teachers in class (when they said things not to be found in any textbook) or else I’d never be permitted to pass the examinations. So, yes, students do need some kind of union to look out for their interests. But that union should be kept totally away from party politics; and in India, party politics is next door to criminal gangdom. JNU’s union is a bone of contention between parties, and the Hindunazis’ constant failure to co-opt the union has merely made them desperate to bring it down in any way they can.

I have written elsewhere about Afzal Guru, hanged as a “terrorist” by the Indian state though even the Supreme Court of India admitted the evidence against him was unclear and lacking. Clearly, Guru was hanged because he was a convenient scapegoat, someone who was being thrown before the public as a way to vent their anger. Though it was the last Congress government which hanged him, not coincidentally shortly before the elections, it was the Hindunazis who had been raving, ranting and rabidly salivating in their demands to have him executed. Recently, the JNU students union held a commemorative function for Guru in which, it is alleged, some slogans were raised saying the Indian state would pay for the crime of hanging him, or words to that effect.

What happened? The police entered the campus, arrested Kanhaiya Kumar on the charge of sedition, and dragged him off to prison. The Hindunazi troll brigade, and Modi’s slaves in the Great Indian Muddle Class media, attacked the JNU, calling the students “traitors”. The Hindunazi BJP Home Minister, one Rajnath Singh, claimed that the Pakistani jihadi outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba’s chief Hafiz Saeed was “behind” the event. Called out on it by all the non-Hindunazi parties – including the Congress, which had committed the crime of hanging Guru – and asked to prove his claim, Rajnath Singh, last I heard, hasn’t attempted to do so.

As of this writing, the faculty of the JNU, as well as other universities across India, and all non-Hindunazi major political parties, are united in supporting Kanhaiya Kumar and the JNU student’s union. The students themselves have gone on strike. Modi’s troll brigade, and his acolytes in the media, have been reduced to dragging up Hanumanthappa as some kind of weapon against the students, as though there was any relation between the two. But then Hindunazis are Nazis, and there’s no expecting sense from them anyway.

I’ll just say this to the Modi brigade: If you have to impose “patriotism” by diktat, it’s likely that your country doesn’t have one hell of a lot to be “patriotic” about anyway.

 
Indian troops at Siachen. Note the obsolete INSAS rifle, rejected even by the Nepali army, which the Indian army still uses. [Source]

Update: While the anti-Hindunazi protests are continuing and spreading, it turns out that the tweet Rajnath Singh cited as "proof" that Hafiz Saeed was behind the original protest was fake.