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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Churchill's Secret War – a review

‘Churchills’ Secret War’ by Madhushree Mukerjee has been a great yet melancholic read. The book talks about the complete disdain that Winston Churchill had for India and its people, how he looked the other way when there was an artificial famine created in India during World War II so that the British soldiers got food elsewhere as a result of which many thousands of poor Indians starved to death.

When the world was besieged by fascism and nazism and democracy and equality were threatened by the Axis powers, Britain under Churchill was supposed to be the harbinger of freedom and democracy. Hence they fought against tyranny and in-humanity unleashed by the Axis powers Japan, Germany and Italy while indulging in tyranny themselves in India and other colonies. Britain and Churchill fought for democracy and freedom while denying India, its colony then, those egalitarian concepts.

Churchill was and is still regarded as the hero of World War II and is called as the savior of millions of freedom loving people all over the world, but what is not known is the complete travesty of these very same ideals by him on Britain’s colony, India. The ways he employed to quell the independence movement, the methods he adopted to kill the unity among the different religions in India so that they would remain un-united and thus ensure Britain’s domination of the Indian subcontinent- speak less respectfully of Churchill. His stature as a world statesman certainly takes a dent as one goes through reams and reams of evidence of Churchill’s’ rough handed treatment of the natives.

Churchill was utterly disrespectful of Gandhi’s peaceful movement. He made fun of the Mahatma ( great soul ) many times, called him names, was not in the least bothered about Gandhi’s fast-unto-death protests and wanted to ensure that Gandhi died so that the trouble maker and the ‘personification of evil’ as he described Gandhi ,gets out of the scene. A leader of Churchill’s stature would call Gandhi such and would stoop to such a low level of public discourse and treacherous behavior speaks volumes of the much acclaimed British love for decency in public life. All these he did in the name of his ‘love of Britain’.

Millions of tons of rice and wheat were siphoned off to Egypt and Arabia where the British soldiers were fighting wars when thousands of Indians were starving for food. Churchill authorized these acts despite claiming that the small island was protecting the vast land scape that was India. He was ensuring the complete bankruptcy of India while ensuring that Indian soldiers were fighting for a cause that they were not going to derive any benefit from.

During the great depression, President F.D.Roosevelt banned selling of gold and silver from the US thus strengthening the dollar. But Britain took large quantities of gold and silver from India to the UK thus depleting the purchasing power for the nation expressly for fighting the war. Such callousness during such a time of economic depression  can only be the hallmark of economic exploitation. And Britain excelled in that.

Churchill is quoted as having said that the unity of hindus and muslims would be a deterrent to Britain’s holding on India. He was a strong proponent of the partition of the Indian continent into India and Pakistan on religious lines and all means at his disposal to instill distrust in the minds of the Muslims of India. He transacted in secrecy with Mohammad Ali Jinnah ( the creator of Pakistan ) and ensured that the latter stood fast in his stand for a separate nation for the Muslims. And the world has had enough problems from Pakistan since then.

I adore Churchill for the gift of the gab that he had but I also despise him for his acerbic tongue that he used with impunity to describe Indian leaders and ordinary people from India.

It is a matter of surprise as to why the Indian government, after all these years, has not made such books as part of essential history for the Indian students.

Madhushree Mukerjee has put in exemplary efforts to bring out the happenings of those times. And it shows in the volume of reference material that she quotes from to establish her lines of thought.

An essential read for Indians in particular and students of history in general on the atrocities that ‘democratic’ Britain willingly committed on its crown jewel of a colony – India.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in English Posts

 

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Churchill’s Secret War – a review

‘Churchills’ Secret War’ by Madhushree Mukerjee has been a great yet melancholic read. The book talks about the complete disdain that Winston Churchill had for India and its people, how he looked the other way when there was an artificial famine created in India during World War II so that the British soldiers got food elsewhere as a result of which many thousands of poor Indians starved to death.

When the world was besieged by fascism and nazism and democracy and equality were threatened by the Axis powers, Britain under Churchill was supposed to be the harbinger of freedom and democracy. Hence they fought against tyranny and in-humanity unleashed by the Axis powers Japan, Germany and Italy while indulging in tyranny themselves in India and other colonies. Britain and Churchill fought for democracy and freedom while denying India, its colony then, those egalitarian concepts.

Churchill was and is still regarded as the hero of World War II and is called as the savior of millions of freedom loving people all over the world, but what is not known is the complete travesty of these very same ideals by him on Britain’s colony, India. The ways he employed to quell the independence movement, the methods he adopted to kill the unity among the different religions in India so that they would remain un-united and thus ensure Britain’s domination of the Indian subcontinent- speak less respectfully of Churchill. His stature as a world statesman certainly takes a dent as one goes through reams and reams of evidence of Churchill’s’ rough handed treatment of the natives.

Churchill was utterly disrespectful of Gandhi’s peaceful movement. He made fun of the Mahatma ( great soul ) many times, called him names, was not in the least bothered about Gandhi’s fast-unto-death protests and wanted to ensure that Gandhi died so that the trouble maker and the ‘personification of evil’ as he described Gandhi ,gets out of the scene. A leader of Churchill’s stature would call Gandhi such and would stoop to such a low level of public discourse and treacherous behavior speaks volumes of the much acclaimed British love for decency in public life. All these he did in the name of his ‘love of Britain’.

Millions of tons of rice and wheat were siphoned off to Egypt and Arabia where the British soldiers were fighting wars when thousands of Indians were starving for food. Churchill authorized these acts despite claiming that the small island was protecting the vast land scape that was India. He was ensuring the complete bankruptcy of India while ensuring that Indian soldiers were fighting for a cause that they were not going to derive any benefit from.

During the great depression, President F.D.Roosevelt banned selling of gold and silver from the US thus strengthening the dollar. But Britain took large quantities of gold and silver from India to the UK thus depleting the purchasing power for the nation expressly for fighting the war. Such callousness during such a time of economic depression  can only be the hallmark of economic exploitation. And Britain excelled in that.

Churchill is quoted as having said that the unity of hindus and muslims would be a deterrent to Britain’s holding on India. He was a strong proponent of the partition of the Indian continent into India and Pakistan on religious lines and all means at his disposal to instill distrust in the minds of the Muslims of India. He transacted in secrecy with Mohammad Ali Jinnah ( the creator of Pakistan ) and ensured that the latter stood fast in his stand for a separate nation for the Muslims. And the world has had enough problems from Pakistan since then.

I adore Churchill for the gift of the gab that he had but I also despise him for his acerbic tongue that he used with impunity to describe Indian leaders and ordinary people from India.

It is a matter of surprise as to why the Indian government, after all these years, has not made such books as part of essential history for the Indian students.

Madhushree Mukerjee has put in exemplary efforts to bring out the happenings of those times. And it shows in the volume of reference material that she quotes from to establish her lines of thought.

An essential read for Indians in particular and students of history in general on the atrocities that ‘democratic’ Britain willingly committed on its crown jewel of a colony – India.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Writers

 

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Raising my voice for Pallikaranai Marshlands

This blogger who is concerned about Chennai’s marshlands in pallikaranai writes about the the need to preserve the lands. Worth a read.

UmaS Reflections

Our PM, Mr Modi, has been inspiring the people of this country with his impressive speeches.  And every one of his speech calls out to people to do something for this country of ours and not wait for the Government to come and do everything.

My special liking is for those calls to make a cleaner India.

I am a self-obsessed cleanliness freak.  And its a proud moment to say that none of us in my family litter or spit on the roads or public places.  Even if we collect some trash after eating out, I pack it all and bring it home to be thrown in the dust-bin.  It saddens me when people throw things out of buses, trains and even spit out of them too.  What about a dangerous cigarette butt with fire, being thrown out of a car !! How insane are these people !!

And then…

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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in English Posts, Writers

 

Churchill's Secret War – initial notes

Madhushree Mukherjee’s ‘Churchill’s Secret War’ is a damning account of the British Raj’s handling of India in general and Churchill’s handling of the great famine of 1940-43 in particular. Churchill’s hatred for India and disdain for the hindus are well known. But his lack of concern for the thousands of hapless Indians that perished in Bengal and elsewhere as a result of the man-made famine caused as result of massive export of food grains to soldiers fighting for the British elsewhere has not been adequately recorded in India’s history books.
Madhushree’s well researched book provides un-deniable insights into the period when India was plundered for the final time by the British.
A sad read that makes one’s blood boil considering the opulence and wealth that Britain and the other western powers exhibited for a long time as a result of the loot from their erstwhile colonies.
Detailed review once I overcome the melancholic effects of the book.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in English Posts

 

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Churchill’s Secret War – initial notes

Madhushree Mukherjee’s ‘Churchill’s Secret War’ is a damning account of the British Raj’s handling of India in general and Churchill’s handling of the great famine of 1940-43 in particular. Churchill’s hatred for India and disdain for the hindus are well known. But his lack of concern for the thousands of hapless Indians that perished in Bengal and elsewhere as a result of the man-made famine caused as result of massive export of food grains to soldiers fighting for the British elsewhere has not been adequately recorded in India’s history books.
Madhushree’s well researched book provides un-deniable insights into the period when India was plundered for the final time by the British.
A sad read that makes one’s blood boil considering the opulence and wealth that Britain and the other western powers exhibited for a long time as a result of the loot from their erstwhile colonies.
Detailed review once I overcome the melancholic effects of the book.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Writers

 

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Are we becoming a Zombie nation ?

Is Singapore a nation of zombies ? Well that is what it seems to be. It suddenly became a nation of zombies once smartphones became affordable.

When iPhone-3 was the only smartphone available and was not yet affordable, there were not many zombies around. But once Android came along and Samsung and cheap Chinese phones started flooding the market in Singapore, the nation suddenly became a zombie.

So, what is a zombie ? A Zombie is a person that walks on the road like a robot without paying any attention to the surroundings. In this case, people walk on roads, looking not at the on-coming traffic, but at the phone in their hands so much so that they don’t know if are about to dash against a wall.

Dashing against a wall is okay. But bumping on another person is not acceptable. Zombies bump on people coming in front of them and then, with a jerk, take a side step and walk ahead, still looking at the phone.

The other day, a zombie tripped and fell down while negotiating a step on the escalator. I dread if he would be looking at his phone while sliding out of the emergency exist of an airplane.

Yet another kind of zombie is seen in restaurants. When the waiter waits for the order, the zombie, seated in a table, is absorbed in a Facebook chat on his smart phone. Then he realizes the presence of another homo-sapien next to him, apologizes for his aversion, quickly asks for the menu card and immediately starts looking at the phone. He keeps looking at the phone even after some eatable is placed in front of him.

Then the routine of the zombie happens. The zombie takes a picture of the food in front of him, updates a status as ‘Having a nice meal in Little India Restaurant’, chats for a while on the phone even as the food gets cold, realizes his mistake, gulps the food in one go without enjoying the process and not knowing whether he ate a rice-pudding or a live rat, takes a picture of the empty plate, posts a comment ‘horrible food at Little India Restaurant’ and leaves the table even as he keeps looking at the phone.

Same is the case in the library. Instead of browsing through the pages of physical books, the zombie browses the pages of the web site that he sees in his smart phone thus defeating the purpose of coming to the library. Probably the Zombie came to the library for browsing from his smartphone, enjoying the aircon.

I see Zombies everywhere in Singapore – in temples, hospitals, dentists’, in a public rest room, on the train and even in a plane. I also see drivers looking at Facebook in their smartphones while negotiating a difficult U-turn.

Friends sitting next to each other in a park, family dining in a restaurant, worshippers in the local church and some even during a funeral ceremony in the neighbourhood are hooked to their smartphones.

People are becomimg zombines while phones are becoming smart.

I only dread the day when a surgeon, with a surgical knife in his right hand, and a smart phone in his left, begins a surgery while I lie terrified on the operating table.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in English Posts

 

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What Uday Kotak should learn from Citi: Bigger banks can end up as liabilities

No comments from me, for obvious reasons. A short story of a company called Citi.

Easy Money

635266189203244874_Kotak Mahindra Bank
Over the weekend Pramit Jhaveri, the CEO of Citi India, had a thing or two to say about the size of Indian banks. He said that other than needing more banks, India needs bigger banks to compete on the world stage. “At this point, sensible consolidation would be one way to achieve scale,”
he said.
The comment comes right at a time when the Kotak Mahindra Bank has decided to acquire the ING Vysya Bank. The irony here is that Citigroup, of which Jhaveri is a part of, was rescued by the Federal Reserve of the United States from going bust, only a few years back.
The Fed came into rescue Citigroup because it was too big to fail. And if it had been allowed to fail, the repercussions would have been felt by the entire financial system.
The United States Congress passed the the Glass–Steagall Act in1933. This…

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in English Posts, Writers

 

The Japan Singapore Symposium – My experience

I was pleasantly surprised when the Institute of Policy Studies of  National University of Singapore invited me to the ‘Japan-Singapore Symposium’. It is an annual event where eminent people discuss the social, economic and geo-political situation prevailing in SE Asia in general and Japan-Singapore relations in particular. I went there in my capacity as an independent blogger.

And what an experience it was !

Japan Singapore Symposium

Japan Singapore Symposium

Here was the panel :

  1. Prof.Tommy Koh – NUS
  2. Manu Bhaskaran – Singapore Economist, Adjunct Professor NUS
  3. Yoshiji Nogami -Japan’s Ambassador for UK, President of Japan Institute of International Affairs
  4. Moriama Toru – EVP and Regional CEO of Mistubishi Corp
  5. Prof.Oba Mie – Tokyo University
  6. Lee Yong Chye – SVP, Equities, GIC Asset Management
India Looks Good

India Looks Good

Manu spoke about the economic outlook for the region, currency situation and the relative political and economic forecast for the ASEAN countries. He was very positive about India due to the new government under Modi and the work Modi had earlier done in Gujarat.

Toru of  Mistubishi Corp spoke of his increased focus on South Asia and sounded extremely optimistic about India and Indonesia – both have new reform oriented governments. He particularly spoke about the uniform GST that the Modi government wants to implement that which the earlier Congress government was hesitant and did not even consult the states on.

Prof. Oba spoke of the recently founded AIIB-the Brics Bank where China and India played a role. She expressed apprehension about the rising clout of China and its hegemonic intentions. She brought an interesting point – the relation between FDI and political influence and how China could be increasing its political clout using the FDI route.

Why China matters ?

Why China matters ?

I agree with Prof. Oba. China has invested heavily in Sri Lanka and Africa and finances ports and oil terminals there. China  also extends cheap loans to nearly bankrupt but oil-rich quasi-socialist economies thus ensuring cheap oil for herself. They use the Sri Lankan ports and oil terminals to safely store oil sourced from South America.

There was an interesting and well informed exchange of ideas between Koh and Nogami. When Koh said that AIIB was the need of the hour as the America dominated Asian Development Bank (ADB) did not live up to its purpose and ADB was often useless and acted as per the whims and fancies of America, Nogami said it was China which had 51% holding in AIIB and hence it was a Chinese bank. When Koh countered that the USA and the west did not understand the emerging realities and still held on to old notions in the United Nations, Nogami said that expanding the security council to include Japan and India was opposed not by America but by China and Russia.

Every speaker spoke of the optimistic outlook for India and the way situation has changed in the last six months after Modi took power. I see a distinctly favourable image of India in many disciplines. That was not the case 6 months ago.

What change a determined leader could make ! Modi rocks.

Modi and China dominated much of the conversation.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in English Posts, Writers

 

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காரல் மார்க்ஸ் கண்ணனின் அவதாரம் ?

வெண்முரசு

வெண்முரசு

நடந்ததா இல்லையா என்று அறிய முடியாத மஹாபாரதத்தை இப்போது விரித்து, விளக்கி விளம்புவானேன் என்று வருத்தப்படுகிறார் மனுஷ்யபுத்ரன். அவருக்கு ஒத்திசைவு நடனம் ஆடுகிறார் ஞாநி. ஜெயமோகன் தன் படைப்புத் திறனை இப்படி இதிகாசங்களில் வீணடிக்கிறாரே என்று ஞாநி கண்ணீர் வடிக்கிறார்.

நடந்ததா என்று கேட்பதற்கு முன் ஒரு ஒரு நிமிடம் யோசிப்போமா ? ‘கல் தோன்றி மண் தோன்றாக் காலத்தே முன் தோன்றிய மூத்த தமிழ்க் குடி’யாக இருக்கிறோமே, அது எப்படி ? விண்வெளியில் அந்தரத்தில் நின்றோமா என்ன ? பகுத்தறிவின் பரிணாமத் தாவலால் ஏற்பட்ட மாபெரும் நிற்றலா அது ?

தமிழ் மக்களின் ஒட்டுமொத்த மனசாட்சியின் பேரெழுச்சியாக ‘வெண்முரசு’ பரிமளிக்கிறது. ஐம்பது ஆண்டுகள் நாத்திகவாதப் பேரலையின் அர்த்தமற்ற கொக்கரிப்புக்களிலும் திரை ஆட்டங்களின் ஆரவாரப் பேரிரைச்சல்களிலும் சிக்குண்டிருந்த தமிழ் மாந்தர் தமது அடக்கிவைக்கப்பட்ட ஆன்மீக, கலாச்சார எண்ணங்களின் விஸ்வரூபத்தை உணர்த்துவதாக ‘வெண்முரசு’ திகழ்கிறது.

நாளொன்றுக்கு 4000 பேர் படிக்கிறார்கள் என்கிறார் ஜெயமோகன். திரைவெளியில் லயித்து, மாட்டு மக்களாக இருந்த தமிழ் மனிதர்களை நாட்டு மக்களாக ஆக்குகிறார் ஜெமோ. மாநில மக்கள் மாநாடுகளிலும் முப்பெரும் விழாக்களிலும் அமிழ்ந்திருந்த காலத்தில், அழியாத காவியத்தின் அபரிமிதமான காட்சியை அவர்களுக்குக் காண்பித்துத் திசை மாற்றுகிறார் ஜெமோ.

மனித முயற்சியின் மகத்தான பேராற்றலுடன் ஆழ்ந்த அறிவும் தீவிர வாசிப்பும் கலந்தால் கிடைக்கும் மகோன்னதப் படைப்பு வெண்முரசு. அதைப் படைக்கும் ஜெமோ வாழ்த்தப்பட வேண்டியவர்.

மொழிவழிப் பிரிவினை பேசிய முட்டாள் மூடர்களின் காட்டுத்தளையில் இருந்து தமிழ் மக்களை மீட்டெடுக்கும் வேலை செய்கிறார் ஜெமோ.

இடதுசாரிப் பேச்சில் இடறி விழுந்த தமிழ் மகன் இப்போது ‘எது சரி’ என்று கேள்வி கேட்கவைக்கிறார் ஜெமோ.

வசைமாரி பொழிவதும், வம்பு பேசுவதும், காறி உமிழ்வதும் இலக்கியம் என்று நம்பவைக்கப்பட்ட சமூகத்தை நேர்ப்படுத்துகிறார் ஜெமோ.

மாநிலவெறி, மொழிவெறி, இனவெறி என்று தலைவர்களால் வெறி ஏற்றப்பட்டு கட்டுக்கடங்காமல் திரிந்த மூளை மழுங்கிய சமுதாயத்தைக் கிள்ளி விட்டு அறிவுச்சுடர் ஏற்றுகிறார் ஜெமோ.

நாற்பது ஆண்டுகளாக இருந்த எதிர்மறை எண்ண ஓட்டம் அழியுமாறும், சோகையிழந்த சோம்பேறி மனிதர் பண்பாட்டுப் புத்துணர்ச்சி பெறுமாறு, தேஜஸ் இழந்த தேவாங்கு மனிதர் துள்ளி கம்பீர நடை போட உணர்ச்சியளிக்கும் ‘வெண்முரசு’ இந்நாளைய கட்டாயத் தேவை.

‘உனக்கு வரலாறு இல்லை’, ‘உனக்கு நாடே இல்லை’, ‘உன் நாடு ஆங்கிலேயரால் ஒன்றுபடுத்தப்பட்ட பல நாடுகளின் கூட்டு’ என்ற கட்டுக் கதைகளை வரலாறு என்று நம்புவது மதச்சார்பின்மையாம். இந்த நாட்டின் பண்பாட்டுக் கூறுகளை முன்னகர்த்தி, கலாச்சாரச் செறிவைப் பறை சாற்றும் ஒரு காவியத்தை, இதிஹாசத்தை மீள் பார்வை செய்து, மீள் கட்டமைப்புச் செய்து விரித்துச் சொல்வது தேவை இல்லாதது என்று சொல்வது முற்போக்காம்.

கேட்பவனுக்குக் காது செவிடென்றால் காரல் மார்க்ஸ் கண்ணனின் அவதாரம் என்பார்கள்.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Writers

 

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கம்பனுக்கு முன் இராமன்" on YouTube

கம்பனுக்கு முன் இராமன்

 

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Writers

 
 
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