Sunday, April 09, 2006

Silence On The Blog

This blogger has been away for a couple weeks -- traveling and working and not blogging at all.

Sorry about that.

But you know sometimes, as bloggers, we find ourselves reading and writing a great deal, therefore thinking we know what's going on. But, on reflection, this is much like placing one's ears on a cold steel rail -- listening for the distant murmur of oncoming trains -- and thinking we have a good window on the world.

One's really got to get away to regain perspective.

So, this blogger's been in the Middle East -- and thinking about Iraq and America and, of course, India. Thinking more than reading or writing.

You know, we had a train fire in 2002 that killed nearly 60 people and pogroms followed in Gujarat. In Iraq, suicide bombers seemingly take out more people daily and, yet, we do not see rioting in the streets of Baghdad. What does this say about the inner strength and patience of the Iraqi people -- and what does it say about our own?

In America, there's a huge political battle being waged over illegal immigration -- mainly from Mexico. The contours of this battle match our own challenge from similar migration out of Bangladesh. Americans are frustrated as Indians are -- and, yet, for all the walls we build on our frontiers (which we support, don't get us wrong), such migration can likely only be slowed, not stopped.

We ran into a man from Karachi on a flight from Dubai. He complained that Americans do not let direct flights originate in Pakistan for security reasons (surprise, surprise!) -- he tried to reason that North Indians have little in common with South Indians, that Indian Muslims are structurally deprived, and that trade with India would be bad for Pakistan. Wasn't a fun flight at all.

The Indo-US nuclear deal is likely in trouble. President Bush is very unpopular these days and is unlikely to get much of his agenda through the US Congress. The key thing to remember is this: given how the world is shaping, US will need India even more tomorrow than it needs us today. They might turn away the deal today, but will be back -- then, we should up the ante and demand a better deal. The current deal, which we've supported, would then be the minimum marker on what India would rightfully expect -- that would be just fine from our point of view.

Blogging resumes now. Our ears are back on the cold steel rail. Looking forward to our ongoing conversation.

6 comments:

RS said...

Rioting in India is organised by political goons. About Iraq I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

You know, we had a train fire in 2002 that killed nearly 60 people and pogroms followed in Gujarat. In Iraq, suicide bombers seemingly take out more people daily and, yet, we do not see rioting in the streets of Baghdad. What does this say about the inner strength and patience of the Iraqi people -- and what does it say about our own?


Probably because Iraq doesn't see as much Muslim-baiting as India sees Hindu-baiting. "Train fire"? Well, a "train fire" was followed by some "revenge". Given the mundaneness of train fires and revenge killings, there's no need to accord any special significance to these ordinary incidents that happened 4 years ago.

Instead, let's focus on what's happening right now, in this year. Thousands of Iraqis came on the streets, rioted and looted in opposition to a set of silly cartoons. Did people in India riot, kill and loot over Husain's nude "art"? What does it say about the inner strength and pateince of Indian people, and what does it say about Iraqis'?

Kaunteya said...

You know, we had a train fire in 2002 that killed nearly 60 people

UC Banerjee's hypothesis has finally prevailed, it seems.

sudeep said...

>> In Iraq, suicide bombers seemingly take out more people daily and, yet, we do not see rioting in the streets of Baghdad. What does this say about the inner strength and patience of the Iraqi people -- and what does it say about our own?

Indians have refused to riot under grave provocation, attacks on ram janmbhoomi temple, sankat mochan temple, raghunath temple in Jammu, the yatra to Vaishno Devi, Akshardham, diwali eve terror attacks etc. A terror attack carried out by a few terrorists differs from a communal terror attack, carried out by a mob of 5000, all belonging to the same religion. Since the spark is mob violence - by definition, a communal action - it is very difficult for the repercussions to be contained, IMO.

I dont grudge any appreciation that you may have for Iraqis, just dont diss Indians cause you have to scratch your secular itch.

Anonymous said...

The current deal, which we've supported, would then be the minimum marker on what India would rightfully expect -- that would be just fine from our point of view.

Do you still support this deal in light of comments from Brahma Chellaney and Rajiv Srinivasan? If yes, please defend your position against their comments.

Anonymous said...

The comparison with Iraq is invalid. Iraq is a manifestation of a clash between Christian bigotry and Islamic bigotry.

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