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When the ugly comes knocking
An annual festival of fun and merriment was awaited at Dera Ismail Khan.
The small stream from Indus would be full-flowing as Indus flooded and men would try and swim in it. Seth Kalyan Das had a house there on the river bank, where every summer in the garden next to the river, his business partners, the sahukars, and family and friends would come together. Halwais were called and they would cook puris, kachauris, and halwa. Everyone would dip into the reservoir of the well. Kalyan Das had another tradition. Of welcoming the Raasdhaaris. The roving bands that would visit Dera Ismail Khan and share stories of Radha and Krishna. Poor people would either watch from their balconies or join in.
Everyone knew Seth Kalyan Das. Muslims in his area would come to him to have their community disputes resolved. They trusted him.
When the Muslim League National Guards started the attacks on Hindus and Sikhs in March 1947, Seth Kalyan Das was in his palatial mansion in Multan near the railway station. The Muslim National Guards mob had surrounded Seth’s mansion.
Seth Kalyan Das was sure he could pacify them. After all, he was the philanthropic figure in the area that he was - religious madness of the mob notwithstanding.
He confidently rushed out to reason with the mob.
However, they got hold of him, killed him, and then cut him to pieces.
They then went ahead and killed the rest of the family.
Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew, the Congress leader was in Seth Kalyan Das’ home at that time. He was brought out, stripped naked to see if he was actually a Muslim by checking his circumcision.
When some others came to the scene and told that killing a Muslim is against Islam, Kitchlew was saved.
This is the palatial mansion in Multan that saw many happy years after it was burned and destroyed.
The story of Seth Kalyan Das was representative of what happened across the land of Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Multan. But it is not just restricted to that geography and time.
The same stories were repeated in Kashmir. And Bengal.
Those who have money think that their love, their altruism is enough of a shield.
They have a swagger. A sense of confidence.
That when some madmen come knocking they can reason with them.
Seth Kalyan Das’ of the society have not realized until now that the mobs do not give a rat’s arse about their reputation, their money, their good heart, the puris and halwa, and kachauris and all the rest of it.
They are cut to pieces because a piece of their skin has remained intact!
(Sources for Seth Kalyan Das's story: The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed by Ishtiaq Ahmed and A Memoir of Pre-partition Punjab by Ruchi Ram Sahni)
One thought kept hounding me since I first read the story of Seth Kalyan Das.
He knew the top Congress leaders. They and everyone knew the intent, the preparation, and the weaponry of the Muslim League National Guards. Everyone knew very well about the hatred of Jinnah and his men towards the Hindus. Specifically, the Muslim leaders would have understood the dangers facing their Hindu friends.
- Why is it that Seth Kalyan Das did not invest in his security?
- Why could he not create a militia of his own, large enough to defend the common folks and his family from the madness of Muslim League National Guards?
- Why did his altruism and philanthropy only revolve around the kachauris, halwa, and puris?
- Why did his philanthropy not include investing in fighters and guns when it was needed for the defense of all that he held dear?
These are important and critical questions. The only explanation I can see is:
Because he believed in the goodness in everyone.
So much so that when the worse in everyone came knocking, he did not know how to handle it.
Altruists and the do-gooders want to only engage with the goodness in a human being. What they don’t understand is that there are enough power-hungry folks who can arouse what is the ugliest in a human being.
Or it will cut you and your family into pieces.
Having money, wealth, and comforts will not ensure the security and safety of you and your family. Least of all your culture and all that you hold dear. So part of your responsibility has to be to create a structure that anticipates and defends against the madness that ran amuck during the partition, the 1980s, the 1990s, and the rest of the years.
If you aren't investing and creating such structures, then you are an ally of the mob cutting you or someone dear into pieces.
A war beyond weapons
Japan had announced its surrender after the nuclear attack at the end of World War II.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below...
Frank Buchman, a former Lutheran pastor from Pennsylvania, and his group sang the Doxology on Mackinac Island. That night they met and rededicated to the battle for the new world. Buchman said - ‘There is just one war left—the war of ideas.’
That is the only war that really counts.
Buchman was the person who started a Moral Re-Armament movement in 1938, where he said that arming with weapons is great, but military rearmament in Europe was not enough. The crisis was a moral one.
You see, power and defense against destruction have three main legs to stand on:
Power is exercised via means of power. Most important being ways and weapons to inflict damage in case of a battle. You cannot have power if you cannot show its impact.
Money is needed to manage the resources for power to be exercised.
Ideological clarity and superiority become the basis of using and managing the first two in an effective manner.
Seth Kalyan Das had money. Only money. Power was compromised and helpless - visible in the stripped naked Kitchlew showing his circumcised penis to the mob! Ideologically, Kalyan Das was confused at best.
Ask yourself - how are the Tatas, the Mahindras, the Goyals, and the Ambanis of today any different?
Read Issue #271 - The Rich Indian Sitting Ducks to see how one American billionaire can play with the businesses and lives of Indian billionaires with far more money in their OWN backyard!
Because of the Seth Kalyan Das mindset.
Islamists and Wokes - a powerful force
Wolves have always needed those who were dressed up as lambs to be their flag-bearers.
It was the best way to make the adversary comfortable and confuse him with the double-speak and arguments of various dichotomies while war could be planned and unleashed. Once the unsuspecting adversary was done with - then focus shifts to those dressed as lambs. They are then annihilated.
The ideological war of this century is no different.
The power-hungry and the ruthless ones have found the perfect ally - Liberalism.
That front can provide you with complete immunity against any crime that you may want to commit. Even taking away the most fundamental rights of Americans for which they would destroy other countries. But watch as their own slides into anarchy.
Four years before he became the 40th US President, Ronald Reagan shared a very simple, yet profound formula with a friend. It was the mantra on how to handle the Soviet Union. (Source)
"We win and they lose."
Reagan was not looking for containment, détente, or accommodation. He was looking at winning and making sure the Soviets lost on his own terms. The American terms.
The 1983 National Security directive shared the way forward.
“U.S. policy must have an ideological thrust which clearly affirms the superiority of U.S. and Western values of individual dignity and freedom, a free press, free trade unions, free enterprise, and political democracy over the repressive features of Soviet Communism.” (Source: Washington Post)
Reagan’s war, as black and white as it was, was predicated upon his understanding of what the “American values” meant to him. While fighting the war against a formidable adversary, he could not leave aside his values. Specifically of Freedom.
“Freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth, but that every individual life is infinitely precious, that every one of us put on this world has been put there for a reason and has something to offer.”(Source: Washington Post)
But the war of this century is not with just an enemy who has a regressive way of life. But one who has that while having coopted an ally who has always claimed a monopoly on the American set of values - the ideological liberal left. Only now it is neither left nor liberal.
We are looking at a civilizational battle being fought around the world. The two sides are:
The question that everyone has been trying to grapple with is - how have the Wokes (fringe elements of and offshoots of the Liberal Left) come to sleep with the Islamists?
Let us look at this today.
Islamists and Wokeists: Strange bed partners?
Who are the Wokes and how are they similar or different from the Islamists? Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes this in the best possible way in her Oped in Wall Street Journal.
The stance that my way is the God's way and yours therefore needs to be killed because it is the way of the Satan is an old Abrahamic construct. But it has been weaponised in many avatars over the centuries.
Wokes simply have found the way to do it on the back of Islamists who they legitimize as well, as part of the bargain.
Wokes have defined everyone who disagrees with them as the Rightists (and Fascists and the rest of it). Just as Islamists call their ideological adversaries "Kafirs".
Being similar in their approach is not new. Most Abrahamic beliefs have a ditto approach to ideological challenge throughout history.
What is different in this case is the intermingling of the character and identity of two extreme ideological groups.
This phenomenon was best described by the Swiss-Moroccan writer Kacem El Ghazzali
This combined identity stance with joint attacking strategy is breaking up the modern society.
While one brings the regressive elements to the fore as a matter of faith, the other provides liberal cover that defines the modern Western society with all its principles of democracy, freedom, justice etc. Just that this liberal identity, while usurping these principles as their own, does so with the approach and objective of the exact opposite - subjugation and destruction of freedom.
Speak against the regressive ways of Islamism and the Wokes will come after you calling you the enemy of Freedom, Democracy, and all the rest of it.
So who bells this cat?
America is lost. British have capitulated. Nordics have been taken over.
The fight is now on in the bastian of Liberal Democracy - France.
President Macron has framed the debate in his own way.
It is interesting that he mentions something that is often not talked about.
English media Vs Real Liberal values
Macron brought forth the term Islamo-gauchisme to the fore-front of his national politics.
In recent days, the French government under President Emmanuel Macron has stepped up its political and rhetorical offensive against what’s known as “Islamo-gauchisme,” or Islamo-leftism in English. The concept, which first proliferated among the French far right, explicitly lumps together Islamist extremists with left-leaning intellectuals and activists. The former’s radicalism, the implication goes, is enabled by the latter’s worldview. (Source: Washington Post)
Islamo-gauchisme was coined by academic Pierre-André Taguieff in the early 2000s. He did this to make sense of the connection between left-leaning academics and France’s Muslim community. Specifically post Charlie-Hebdo and Bataclan attacks.
When France’s higher education minister, Frédériqu Vidal asked for an investigation into the Islamist-Leftist connections in the universities, there was a hue and cry and debate over this term - and its ramifications amplified.
Vidal's aim was to distinguish academic research from activism and opinion.
She was criticized for that effort. (Source) The American ideas of liberal values as had taken root in the Woke circles had started shaping the debates in Europe, specifically France, as well.
The French quarters of establishment are now fighting for the ownership of the liberal values as they pioneered them. Not as the Americans morphed them into.
The fissures in the American high culture and intellectual circles on the question of Islamism and Liberal values came to the fore in that famous exchange between Sam Harris and Ben Afleck on Real Time with Bill Maher in October 2014.
As Sam unpacks the problems with Islam and its beliefs and how they are at loggerheads with the modern Western liberal values, Ben Afleck calls Sam's arguments as "Gross and Racist."
How the heck did critique of an ideology or a religion become a racist thing?
Because of the combined identity - Attack on one invites retribution from another.
Genuine and factual criticism of one ideology becomes grounds for labeling of the critic with irrelevant stigma that is enforced via repetition and self-righteousness from its ally.
The Woke values that defend the regressive Islamist ways is deeply and fundamentally posited against the Western liberal creed. It is not a representative of the liberal ways that the West has espoused.
Yet, the Wokes usurp the mantle of the Western liberal values while they stand for the exact opposite in terms of what they allow when they have the power to enforce their way.
Take for instance this discussion on NPR between Steve Inskeep and Shadi Hamid, the author of the book "Islamic Exceptionalism." (Source of audio)
While discussing the fight between liberal values and Islamists in Egypt; Hamid charges the Western world of facing the same dilemma over Democracy that Egypt is facing.
He was talking about an America with Donald Trump as the President and the Wokes hell-bent on 'cancelling' him.
I thought that was a foreign thing that we would just talk about in the Middle East, this fear of the masses voting. But it's interesting that a lot of the rhetoric I used to hear in Egypt, I'm hearing now even in the U.S. or, for that matter, in Europe. So this isn't - it's no longer just a Middle Eastern thing, this question of - democracy is great when the people you like win, but when the people you don't like win, you're like, do I want to stick with this? (Source: NPR)
The fundamentalism and the fascist streak that Hamid is referring to here in Europe and America is being unleashed by the Wokes. Not those who have believed in the Western liberal values. Specifically, by people who have allied with the Islamists.
Democracy in the West is not being shattered or denied by those who believe in Western values. But by the Wokes who are convinced that their interpretation of liberal values trumps other interpretations. So, they have the right to "cancel" (or kill/dehumanize/silence) them using the tools and weapons at hand.
Remember the Concentric Circles of Islam that Sam Harris talked about? Look here in terms of the Pew research reports.
This set of concentric circles is true of liberals as well.
At the center are the militant Wokes. They are empowered by leftists who believe in freedom of expression. Theirs.
These both are given legitimacy and platform by the traditional left. This group espouses the Western liberal values but finds strength in narrative building by the Wokes and extreme Leftists. After all, they provide the social media and outrage firepower.
Even when a traditional leftist may not agree with the Woke or extreme Leftist ideologies, s/he finds the rhetorical double-speak difficult to decode but easy to praise for its inherent focus on ideological purity.
Challenging totalitarianism and accompanying pigeon-holes
While Macron and others focus on the actions of people and not on the 'fundamentals' in terms of theology of the religion that poses the threat to Western values, Trump's team openly challenged the 'fundamentals'.
Andrew McCarthy was the architect of the Executive Order 13769 or what was being called the "Muslim travel ban". Sharia-Supremacism - that is what he called the threat from Islam and Islamists to be as.
This became a nation-wide issue.
Just as Sam Harris got (and keeps getting) the pushback against his considered stance of how Islam hits at the very roots of Western democracy, so did Trump and Andrew McCarthy for their "Muslim ban", when it wasn't so.
By aligning with the leftists, the Islamists were able to overturn it when the Democrats buoyed by the Wokeists came to power. (Source)
But how did the left become such a major force in American politics and indeed that of the world?
Freeing the Leftists
During the Cold War, the American opposition to the Soviets was not just military. It was more ideological.
With Soviet-American rivalry at its peak, Communism was a dirt word. Called "Red Scare". Communism was an "un-American" way of being. So the government created a House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) with a focus on beating back Communism.
The threat from the Soviets was real and militarily obvious. The battles in Vietnam and Afghanistan posited the two forces against each other. The Leftist ideologies, focused on Marxists and other hues, that had a charm of its own with the youth around the world, was countered by characterising it as an enemy's way to be.
And that position was very effective.
Leftist ideology and its charm was kept at bay. In fact, it was a crime and linked to sedition or its variant - "loyalty to the US government".
One of the pioneering efforts to investigate communist activities took place in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was formed in 1938. HUAC’s investigations frequently focused on exposing Communists working inside the federal government or subversive elements working in the Hollywood film industry, and the committee gained new momentum following World War II, as the Cold War began. Under pressure from the negative publicity aimed at their studios, movie executives created Hollywood blacklists that barred suspected radicals from employment; similar lists were also established in other industries. (Source)
People were targeted for being aligned to the Communist ideologies.
This legitimacy of "Us vs Them" was what Ronald Reagan referred to in his mantra "We win and they lose."
And win the US did.
Ironically, that victory against the Soviets achieved on the back of ideological superiority and exclusivism released and unfettered the leftists once the military threat of a large adversary vanished.
Leftists could now peddle their ware without the ideological backlash that Joseph McCarthy used as a weapon.
In fact, leftist ideologies became emboldened as their full power was unleashed on the Western world sans any enemy state holding it back. By 2008, Left forces had become the most dominant force in American politics.
As bizarre as it may seem, the Cold War victory may have turned out to be a pyrrhic one.
Communist collapse had paved the way for communist takeover of the US!
This is the force that the Islamists backed.
Video corner: The Coming Debt Storm
The 24th Geneva Report authored by Laurence Boone, Joachim Fels, Òscar Jordà, Moritz Schularick and Alan M. Taylor (Source) shared now debt in the world is soaring. And, made worse by the pandemic.
Debt ratios in nations across the world were unmanageable and made worse by the pandemic. This unprecedented situation could become unmanageable and lead to economic, financial, social and political instability across the world.
Here is a clear and incisive report by Palki Upadhyay.
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