This got me thinking about sharing my views on the woes of an international traveller from the Land of the Pure. Hence this blog post!
Here goes ..
Leave alone, USA, even the good folks of Tbilisi know what to do when they see a Packie passport, even if carried by a ‘celebrity’!
Here’s a ‘Travelogue’ of a Green Passport holder to Brazil – Mexico – Panama City – Brazil. Khoob ‘khaatirdaari’ hui! Interestingly, she reports that Mexico had a RED ALERT ON PAKISTANI PASSPORTS!
Do read the ‘Travelogue’ below before proceeding ahead!
Of course, there are people who vehemently cry that this supposedly photoshopped image below is denting the ‘image’ of those that hold the Green Passport!
And why this ‘paranoia’ against ‘innocent’ Packie ‘travellers’, you asked?
Well, here’s an example – the son of a V.E.R.Y senior Pakistan Air Force officer wanted to blow up the Times Square in New York not too long ago! Of course, he was unrepentant for plotting to murder!
Yup. Even the Hollywoodias know!
They too don’t trust those fcukers!
I’m not saying this, I’m merely quoting from this clip from ‘Homeland’ below.
Do watch. I insist!
Totally worth the 33 seconds of your life that it asks for!
Leave alone Americans, even fellow ‘birather mulk’ Malaysia doesn’t deem Pakistani airspace safe enough to fly over it! Here’s a report from a Packie newspaper itself!
Now why is this so, one might ask.
Well .. Pakistan is a country where Parliamentarians PROUDLY flaunt successful terror attacks that have been carried out by their own country in other Nations.
This one talks about the Pulwama ki KAMYAABI of Feb 2019.
Do watch this video below.
Also note the applause from fellow parliamentarians as he dedicates the success of that dastardly terror attack to his fellow citizens of Pakistan.
Then there are these ‘chhoti-moti celebrities’ who think nothing of doing what this one does. For context, this is Pakistani Singer Rabi Pirzada in a traditional dress remembering PM Modi!
Not just Parliamentarians and ‘Chhoti-Moti Celebrities’, but even the hoi polloi are just as ecstatic at their own youngsters picking up the gun and killing innocent people. Then they cry at being treated like potential terrorists when they themselves travel abroad, legitimately!
Khud ke desh mein Khotey bhi suspect hote hain. But then, they are aghast at being ‘thoroughly’ searched themselves!
Even Kenya knows that it is in their NATIONAL INTEREST to keep them from having a free run of their country as well! Heck, with Packies running amok in their own country and being .. well .. Packies, they have moved on to suspend the facility of visa-free travel that they had earlier granted to these holders of the Green Passport!
The list of your average, everyday Pakistani and their fascination with terrorism is a never-ending one. This one so casually talks about the 9/11 terror attacks!
And the same idiots complain when people are cautious, or even reluctant to let them enter their countries!
Here is a Pakistani Army General serving ‘fantastic’ tea to Shri Nek Mohammad at Wana in April 2004. The same Nek Mohammad that was killed by an American drone just about two months later, on 18 June 2004! Yup, grant them ‘hinder-free’ access to your countries, Dear World!
Of course, they will keep killing American troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere too. But Americans should NOT hold that against them when they come visiting New York, even if one of them tries to blow up the Times Square! Don’t miss the loud applause in this video!
Here’s the same Hamid Gul, who used to be the top man of the ISI of Terroristan, sharing the stage with ‘world famous’ terror leaders, including Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar ‘e Taiba that executed the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks
And NATURALLY, he complains when he himself is denied visa to visit foreign lands, including those whose soldiers may have died directly as a result of his actions!
Or maybe they are just worried for the ‘izzat’ of their chickens, and don’t want any more such specimens to immigrate and breed within their borders?!
Terroristan .. Since their very birth! Here’s ZA Bhutto, the most powerful civilian politician in 1971, greeting the hijackers of Air India ‘Ganga’ in Lahore in 1971. Open and Brazen support of terror comes naturally to Terroristanis of all hues!
Remember the screenshot of the Packie so casually talking about 9/11, above in this blog post?
Well, here’s his own Prime Minister, reverentially remembering ‘Shaheed’ Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani parliament not too long ago. Take that, world!
And this one is a doctor! He would have taken a solemn oath to protect and save lives. But thanks to his upbringing, he chooses to do otherwise.
And mind you, he is merely one of potentially thousands such countrymen of his that has been caught.
9/11 wasn’t the first attempt at bringing down the Twin Towers. Just about half a decade earlier was the first major attack whereby an explosives laden vehicle was detonated in the underground parking lot, with the aim to bring them down.
A Packie of course!
Of course when Shri Ramzi Yousef above failed to bring down the twin towers, his uncle and fellow Packie, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ended up masterminding the 9/11 attacks!
Yup, give them free access to your lands, you infidels!
Folks, sharing some thoughts on the Afghanistan situation as it unfolds. Been trying to gather my thoughts for the past few days, but events have been happening just too fast for that. So, I’ll just do this on the go.
Here goes ..
Firstly, the issue is not whether or not Kabul will fall. The real issue, IMO, is what happens AFTER Kabul falls, since it is more or less a given. This is what I hope to delve upon in this blog.
Firstly, let me plug a blog post from Feb 2020 when there was talk about Indian troops going to Afg. With the rapid rout of US military in Afg, I think that folks who were thinking about sending Indian troops there would have by now changed their opinions. Here’s that blog post – Indian Troops in Afghanistan
Yup, in case you noticed, I used the word ROUTfor what has happened to the US military in Afghanistan. To that end, I’ll just let these two pics – one from Saigon in 1975 and one from Kabul earlier today, make my point.
Call it whatever, but I’ll say they’ve been ROUTED.
Sneaking out of their biggest military base in the middle of the night without bothering to tell the hosts didn’t exactly look like a victory march out of Afghanistan now, did it? Well .. but they ARE the strongest military in the world, atleast in their own opinion, no?
Of course, in terms of hardware, software & manpower, they do make a compelling case for being the strongest that there might be.
But in terms of how their administration put these assets to use, one surely shakes his head, wondering about the logic they might have used to justify it!
While on the topic of logic of force application, I’ll just leave this 9.5 year old tweet of mine out here.
Mind you, this was amongst the first 50 or 100 tweets of mine when I joined Twitter!
Of course, I’ve said this many times since Feb 26, 2012 as well. It also figured in this thread quoted below that basically talked about the heads so far up the ‘Foggy Bottom’ in Washington DC that they thought that Soviets were still around!
But then, with the American rout from Afghanistan more or less complete, all these ‘I told you so’ kind of posts serve no purpose, especially when after two decades of willfully looking the other way, they are ok with the humiliation being heaped upon them.
So let me now try and make sense of what MIGHT happen next.
Mind you, no one can say for sure how the Afghan cookie will crumble this time round. So at best, I’ll offer my own guesses on the same.
Since the US has lost the two decade long war, it might be fair to start by asking who is it that has actually WON it?
A mighty difficult question, no?
On my part, I did try to answer this question as far back as March last year.
It formed part of a really interesting chain of thoughts in light of the recently concluded US-Taliban deal under the Trump administration. Do have look if you have five minutes to spare – On the US-Taliban Deal
But moving on to what might happen next, I’d say the decade of the 90s does offer a template of some sorts. Even though there are newer stakeholders this time round, the principal actors remain unchanged – Taliban and Pakistan Army.
Why PRINCIPAL actors?
Well, I’ll just leave this tweet here without any further comment.
Well, after Kabul fell in the mid 90s, came a wave of terror attacks around the world, mostly on American targets, ending up ultimately with the 9/11 bombings that brought the US back into the region with Operation Enduring Freedom.
Unfortunately, the operation was neither Enduring, nor did it bring about any Freedom!
The reason for that has already been mentioned above in the blog post.
In the days immediately after 9/11, America had famously asked Musharraf whether he was with them or against them. I guess they finally know the answer to that question atleast, even if at the cost of more than a trillion dollars and so many lives.
Of course, India too witnessed a surge of terror attacks in Kashmir as well as outside in rest of the country as a cocky Pakistan, drunk on the recent ‘victory’ in Afghanistan, channelized part of the terror machine towards us.
I remember reading newspapers during college days and for some time after that in the 90s, talking about Afghans and even Somalis fighting in Kashmir. At that time I couldn’t really fathom the reason why. But it became amply clear later on as I read more into the subject.
And then with the US finally back in Afghanistan, came the J&K Assembly bombing, the Parliament attack, the Kaluchak Massacre, countless bombings in the hinterland and finally the 26/11 attacks. Part of the reason why India didn’t take overt military action against Pakistan after the Parliament, the Kaluchak and the 26/11 attacks was thought to be the presence of Americans in Afghanistan and how diverting Packie military away from ‘helping’ them might impact their own war.
Well, the results are there for all to see.
So what is different now?
Well, first and foremost, there is a Govt in Delhi which will simply NOT accept terror attacks any more.
From the BSF plastering the Pakistan rangers in Oct 2014 all the way till Abhinandan shooting down an F-16, they have shown that they are willing to walk the talk. I’m sure the brown panted ones have not changed the colours of their pants for so long because they know it is good for .. err .. camouflaging .. their panic induced involuntary bowel movements. So to that end, I don’t worry too much. Here .. this video down below will help explain my point a bit more clearly
Mind you, I’m not saying that there won’t be any more terror attacks inside India, or on Indian interests abroad. In fact, knowing whatever little I do about the Paakis, I am actually COUNTING upon them to oblige sooner rather than later, of course with a fig leaf of deniability.
The euphoria of a ‘victory’ in Afghanistan is likely to result in a terror attack or two on India in the coming days and months. But then, what comes back towards them in the aftermath is perhaps a topic for another blog post some day.
However, I am willing to bet that sovereign Indian territory stands a good chance at expanding by whatever degree it does, in case of a future attempt at being a bit too clever by the Brown Panted ones.
But then, it is just a personal opinion!
So back to Afghanistan, reports just coming in that President Ghani has made good his escape. A wise decision, I’d say, especially since his so called ‘ally’ too has run away, leaving him alone.
What comes next in Afg is a vacuum.
Why a vacuum, when the Taliban are likely to establish a govt, you ask?
Well, because they cannot sustain an independent country based merely on terror and drug trade. They couldn’t do so in the 90s, and they can’t do so now.
At that time, it was Pakistan that was their surrogate mother – feeding them to the extent it could, and reaping a rich harvest from the terror factories for export to India and elsewhere.
Mind you, the first major attempt on the World Trade Centre had a Packie mastermind!
Back to the vacuum now.
Who might try & fill it up this time, is a question being asked far and wide.
China seems to be the obvious ‘winner’ in this debate, & for good reason too. A hubristic, self-anointed ‘Chairman for Life’ who has no option but to appear ‘strong’ rules China!
He wouldn’t want to be seen as shying away from leading the Middle Kingdom use its Mandate of Heaven to restore order in the ‘Barbarian’ nations on its periphery! So what if his much hyped PLA is just that – Hype!
Feel free to disagree, but do read this blog post below. I insist!
Add to that the fact that the Chinese have been eyeing the seemingly HUGE natural resources deposits in Afghanistan AND have the money power to make their play, makes them a viable alternative to fill in the vacuum. Further, add to that the fact that they already have a direct land route via Gilgit-Baltistan to Afghanistan, and this makes all the more sense.
In fact the bomb attack on Chinese workers in Dasu in NW Pakistan too might have been an initial salvo in trying to lay down rules of ‘engagement’ by the Packies and their Talibani ‘friends’, for all I care.
But then, how might this affect India, is the question that bugs me at times.
Well, the answer that I am coming round to, is that it hardly has any material effect on India!
In fact, it will divert Packie energies away from own borders for the near future atleast, as they try to get the game to settle down to their advantage before looking elsewhere. It was easy in the 90s since Russia and China had absolutely no role to play.
But now, the USA, though having run away from the immediate battlefield, is unlikely to let the new benefactors of Taliban have an easy run, especially if they are the ones that bow to a certain Mr Xi.
Once the dust settles after the battle to formally capture Kabul is finally over, our brown panted ‘friends’ might just discover that they are caught bang in the middle of a shadow war between their two biggest clients!
Reminds me of this epic moment from the good old 90s!
This possibility of a shadow war leads me further to a conspiracy theory.
Feel free to dismiss it as a figment of my imagination, but I’ll still say it out loud here because .. well .. I can!
What are the odds that the sheer quantum of fully serviceable American military equipment falling into the hands of the Taliban isn’t merely a coincidence, but instead, a ploy to make things more difficult for the next superpower that tries its luck in Afghanistan?
However, that STILL doesn’t take away the fact the the USA has literally run away from battle. This tweet came to me via a DM earlier this evening and basically stole my thunder since I was thinking about saying pretty much the same thing in this blog post!
But then, the US does have a few military victories since WW2. Three, to be more precise.
These were in Nicaragua, Panama and Iraq (Gulf War 1).
The reason why they ‘won’ was simple – They pulled out in time!
I know there might be some who might be thinking this ‘pulled out’ thing is an attempt at inserting a pun in the middle of this blog post. Well, all I will offer to such folks is that you are entirely correct!
No bastards spawned out of these campaigns, atleast militarily!
In the current context too, pulling out after killing Osama might have been an honourable way out, regardless of who ruled Afghanistan thereafter. But time for that is long gone.
Then there are some who talk about Afghanistan being a graveyard of empires – mostly the Soviet & the American ones. To them, all that I will offer is this tweet once again, for them to find the common factor!
Q: What is the one common factor between the Soviet and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan? A: BOTH were accomplished by a combination of American money sent into Pakistan and Pakistan sponsored + Pakistan based 'enemy'!#JustSaying
As far as successful foreign rule over Afghanistan goes, the last empire to rule Afghanistan successfully was that of Maharaj Ranjit Singh. So it is not something that has not been accomplished before.
But for the time being, this point is moot.
Of course, China may ultimately choose to simply NOT to enter Afg, either directly or thru proxies. But knowing them, this is unlikely to be the scenario. Whether they like it or not, they are most likely to get sucked in, either willingly or unwillingly.
The recent bomb attack on Chinese engineers in Pakistan is quite likely to have been just the first of some more attacks that Chinese interests in Pak and Afghanistan are likely to come under, in the near future. Whether Paakis can control this or not, remains to be seen.
I say this because I know for a fact that Afghans are no fans of Pakistan. Heck, even the Taliban regime of the 90s refused to acknowledge the Durand Line despite Pakistan being one of the only three countries that recognised them!
@ashokkmrsingh Even the Taliban Govt didn't recognise Durand Line.Pashtun nation extnds rite upto Punjab's doorsteps.Definitly catastrophic!
Oh, and this too happened less than two years ago!
2/2 Oh, and here are some visuals from 09 Oct 2019 when the Afghan ambassador unfurled the Afghan flag in Peshawar City, claiming it to be a part of Afghanistan. On an 'unrelated' note, the Durand Line agreement lapsed in 1993.#JustSayingpic.twitter.com/KtEziTATbZ
Mind you, acrimony that Afghans feel towards Paakis goes beyond mere govt levels. It is a feeling that runs throughout much of the Afghan population who know for a fact that Paaki meddling in search for ‘strategic depth’ is the biggest reason for their misery
Historical baggage at Kabul airport https://t.co/eoM33DzwZH A Pakistani wonders why he's made to feel unwelcome in Afghanistan
To that end, I’d rather say that Afghanistan is indeed a strategic depth .. but for India!
Yup, feel free to read that again.
An Afghanistan that sucks in Packie energies and resources is always good for us. It will continue to be so for atleast another year or so, if not more.
Of course, there will be some spillover across the LoC into India .. perhaps even in the hinterland. But then, all that will serve to do is to give another reason for the Indian military to overtly punish Pakistan as has been the trend lately.
A terror factory will be of hardly any use in case the Indian Army or the Air Force or the Navy come calling across the LoC or even the IB. They’ve shown it before during the surgical strikes and the Balakot attack, followed by the shooting down of the PAF F-16.
I’m sure the Packies know this.
Or maybe in their hubris, they might still try and overreach .. who knows.
But one thing is for sure – it is China that is going to have another front active, in addition to the Himalayan front and the South China Sea / Taiwan fronts!
THATis something which needs to be looked out for.
THATis something that I am eagerly awaiting to see happen & then to see how things progress from thereon.
THATis something which I wish to see Packies try to turn into their favour with both their baaps as I mentioned earlier!
THISis what the game is in the medium to long run in the days, weeks, months and years to come, as the wheels of history churn towards another turning. And as they say, wheels of history require blood to give them motion.
Thus far it was American blood.
Will it be Chinese next?
Like I said, we will need to wait and watch for how things pan out.
But then, one more thing that I don’t see may folks discuss is the fact that aside from the fact that the US is out of one war, this also means that the next war is just a matter of time, given their history!
Tweeted this more than two years back!
Adding on to the thoughts above. We've mostly been seeing the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as merely a withdrawal. I wonder how many might be seeing as a re-mustering of troops for application elsewhere ..#JustAsking
All said and done, what I await next in the immediate future is the visuals of the Taliban taking over American embassy in Kabul. Hopefully, such visuals will not be as gory as in the case of Libya and the US staff will have been successfully evacuated by then.
Oh, btw, these beautiful visuals of the Chinooks that I tweeted earlier in this blog post just led me to thinking where will these Chinooks go after evacuating the Americans .. Will they not go across the Durand Line into Pakistan?
Especially since American planes targetting Taliban continue to freely fly over Pakistani airspace even today?
Btw, those who are aware of the Kunduz Airlift might also want to draw some parallels with this currently underway evacuation of American personnel from Afghanistan!
Yup, give it a thought and you might find some newer insights as well!
As far as India goes, people getting alarmed at what might happen to us now, may want to relax a bit because what is fated, must be endured, but all I’ll offer is that we’ve endured much worse at a time when we were much weaker and much isolated and yet we lived to tell our tale.
So I conclude this blog post by offering this single statement: The 2020s are a bit .. different!
#AanDeyo, is what I feel about the emerging situation, partly due to the fact that it is inevitable and partly due to the fact that the 2020s are a bit .. different!
Hope this long ramble has made some sense for those who cared to read!
Folks, sharing my experiences with an elderly COVID patient at home and how so many folks came together to help in the hour of need. Despite the loss, the coming together of so many people to help out in whatever way they could, was really heartwarming indeed.
He was a veteran from the armed forces, having served for almost four decades before retirement. Used to stay alone in a flat after the passing of my wife’s mother and his son having moved out due to a domestic dispute. Of late, he had developed a myriad of medical issues – diabetes, prostrate and some neuro issues following a brainstroke some years ago.
I order to look after him, my wife and kids had been staying with him for over five years now, even as I worked out of town.
He got some major work done in his flat a couple of months ago. As it turned out, in the midst of all this, he apparently stopped taking his medicines for a while and a few weeks ago, he told my wife that he was feeling dizzy. Taken to a doctor, his blood sugar was a whopping 498.
He was immediately put back on medication, this time under strict supervision of his daughter. She made it a point to prepare all three meals and take those to him every day, along with his evening cup of tea, all the while keeping a strict eye on his food intake and his medicines.
But the sugar continued to remain high and he fell down a couple of times as well.
Finally, last Saturday, she called me up frantically, saying that he needs to go to a doctor.
He had fallen down yet again and was thoroughly disoriented. Incidentally, this was also the day we had put him in an adult diaper, keeping in mind exactly such a situation. Rushed to a nearby doctor, his SPO-2 was detected at 82 & we were advised to take him to an emergency room.
We rushed him to a nearby hospital where we were told that they were only treating COVID patients and as such, even then they were short of beds. So the next stop was R&R Hospital where he was immediately put on oxygen and his SPO-2 went up to 93.
Even then we were under the impression that it was diabetes related. In fact he had been confined to his home for more than a month, coming in contact with just me, my wife and kids and two people who worked at his home. However, the doctors at R&R did a RAT test and told us he was COVID Positive.
This took us by surprise, as also changed a lot of things.
We were told that he needs to go to the Base Hospital since they were the ones nominated for COVID related cases. Moved there in an ambulance, we were dumbstruck at the number of patients out there.
Far too many, I’d say.
Finally when our turn came, the doctor said that he couldn’t admit him there and to arrange for oxygen, since he would need it.
What was said without words was that his condition wasn’t good.
Anyhow, we were given a cocktail of medicines for him, including one which the doctor said would further increase his blood sugar, for which an insulin injection was also given, that I was supposed to jab him with at night. So we went to the dispensary, standing in line with self-imposed social distancing, patiently awaiting our turn, till such time a gent with a Home Ministry strap around his neck cut right to the front of the line.
However we all in waiting in the line were far too drained mentally after all those hours waiting to get our loved ones treated that we let it be, not without disapproving looks, though.
After all, he might have had someone far more critically ill.
Finally, I got the medicines and we were on our way back, with my wife working the social media looking for an oxygen cylinder. Soon she got a lead of a guy called Ankit who promised to make one available for Rs 40K.
By this time my phone battery had run out and her’s was about to, so she requested her sister to transfer the Rs 15k advance. The oxygen would reach us by 10 pm.
Her sister called back that on PhonePe & Google Pay, the names associated with the number were showing Mushtaque Ahmed & Asmat Hussein respectively. Upon being called, he said that the names were of his associates. It looked dicey, but given our situation, I suggested we pay him.
Of course, no oxygen arrived and the number was soon switched off (more on this in a while).
It took till 2:30 at night before my wife’s networks worked their magic.
This was the first good samaritan to reach out to us. The first of many more.
A little known acquaintance said that he had a spare cylinder and that he would get it refilled the next day and get it delivered to our society. All that he asked for was for us to pay the person bringing it, the cost of refilling the cylinder.
He also said that we need to procure a kit to go with the cylinder – regulator, pipes etc for it to be used by my FIL.
That struggle would commence in the morning. Thankfully, he woke up in the morning quite energetic and aware of his surroundings, having hearty meals as well. So I put out a query for leads on the kit in my WA groups the next morning. And I got a prompt call by a classmate saying that he had tied it up, thanks to a doctor friend and that I should go to a particular pharmacy to pick it up.
Since my FIL was doing fine, I decided to go post lunch. In any case, the oxygen cylinder would only be available by evening.
So I reached the pharmacy, and was promptly told that they don’t have the kit I was looking for!
I called up that classmate of mine and five minutes later he was there with me at the pharmacy. Check yet another good samaritan.
A quick call to that doctor friend and the pharmacist said that he indeed had a kit lying about. But to give it to me would be a difficult job since there were quite a few more people looking for the same thing right outside his shop.
As he tried to find a way to smuggle it out, my friend and I got talking.
He told me of an instance when the same doctor friend had to turn away two very senior bureaucrats looking for beds since he didn’t have any. At the same time he said with irony that one of them was probably the guy who had been sitting on the case file for increasing of the bed capacity of that very (govt) hospital for nearly one year.
Anyhow, I finally got the kit and paid the insane amount demanded for it and was soon on my way home. I reached just as the guy with the oxygen cylinder too arrived.
We thanked the guy who was from Delhi Police and had gone all the way to Ballabhgarh to get two cylinders filled, one for us and one for himself. That was the deal with the guy whom my wife had contacted. He had two cylinders and had requested the police guy to get both filled up as a pre-condition to provide him one cylinder for his own need. We paid him Rs 3k towards the cost he had incurred for the cylinder.
Incidentally, he was from the cyber crime branch and we gave him the details of the guy who had conned us the previous evening.
Finally I carted the cylinder to my FIL’s flat. Now came the question of installing the kit. The old man was doing fine, but still there was the urgency. In the meantime, biwi had spoken to the folks at the local Iskon Temple for oxygen. Not having oxygen, they said that they would send daily meals for my family.
Check another set of good samaritans.
Then they also mentioned that one of their volunteers had the special key needed to install the kit and got us in touch with him. 20 minutes later, I had the key and a set of quick instructions on how to install the kit. I requested if he could himself come over and install it for us but he said that he was rushing to get someone else admitted in a hospital. So I returned home, key in hand.
That guy didn’t even ask for anything other than requesting an early return.
And his positivity also took my mood a couple of notches higher.
By the time I reached home, my wife had got hold of a technician who came over promptly to install the kit. We paid him Rs 700 for a quick and professional job and as it turned out, it was just in time.
Almost as soon as he was finished installing, I got a call from the owner of the key asking for it back since he needed it for another installation. I rushed back to hand it over to him.
That person had been up and about for quite some time by now, helping out all who needed help.
Anyhow, the Iskon folks had delivered five meals by the time I reached back.
The sumptuous meals from Iskon were a big help indeed, especially for the kids who had been relying on Maggi for the past couple of days.
As I mentioned, the old guy was in good spirits throughout that day. So the day had been spent on video calls with all his children and grandchildren. In fact, even his long estranged son had called up and FIL was able to see his youngest granddaughter after nearly six years.
That night he started coughing.
I remembered what the doctor had told – he WILL need oxygen.
Thankfully, we had atleast 24 hours worth of supply with us which saw him through the night. Next morning saw another flurry of video calls to children and grandchildren.
However, his cough worsened and so did his overall condition.
At about 1:30pm, a technician from a nearby lab came over to collect my family’s swab samples for our own RTPCR test. It had taken nearly 36 hours to get that done after we started looking. They too were really swamped.
At about the same time, he said he wanted to go the the washroom. With his SPO-2 below 70, it wasn’t a good idea but he insisted that he needed to clear his bowels. I suggested he do it in the diaper, but disoriented, he kept pulling away the oxygen pipe and insisted on going.
I finally took him there quickly and realized that he had already soiled his diaper. Anyhow, after helping him sit on the toilet seat, I went out to give my own swab sample and my wife came over to clean him up. I soon returned and helped him put on a new diaper.
At about the same moment, the oximeter reading ceased. He was no more, even though he was expelling gases from his mouth, possibly due to the oxygen still flowing into him. He had gone. My wife and I were both there at about the time this happened.
The only consolation was that he had gone relatively painlessly and quickly.
Ironically, having cleaned him up just a few minutes before, his own daughter had given him a final bath of sorts as well.
It was less than 48 hours after his diagnosis at the R&R Hospital.
Now began another struggle – that of cremating him before the day was out.
And alongwith this struggle came about yet another bunch of helping hands, practically on their own.
After putting in a query about a hearse van / ambulance, another classmate called up and said not to worry, he was arranging for an ambulance. Next moment he added another guy on the call who would provide me an ambulance and an attendant to help move my FIL’s mortal remains. They happened to be from a hospital in Old Delhi and would take about an hour to reach.
So I took a wet towel and gave a sort of a ‘Panch-Snan’ to his dead body to the best of my ability. Meanwhile, my wife had stabilized and together, we both got him in a PPE suit for his final journey.
Just as we were finished doing this, the ambulance boys landed up. They had requested on phone (while enroute) that we try and arrange 2-3 people to help carry the mortal remains down. However, the attendants etc in the housing society politely refused, due to it being a COVID related death.
Looking back, I don’t blame them for it, even though it did take me by surprise at that moment.
The good samaritan of Iskon too was unable since he himself had gone into quarantine with a couple of suspected COVID cases within his own family.
Ultimately the ambulance driver, the attendant and I brought him down to the ground level where my wife joined us in lifting him up and putting him in the ambulance.
It was to be just me and my wife who would have to conduct the last rites.
No one else could make it. Both his other children were settled outside Delhi.
Anyhow, the same society attendants who were unable to help us with moving the body, had in the meantime, arranged for flowers for his last journey – something that we had just not thought about, swamped as we were making the arrangements for his funeral. And those folks were also there standing respectfully as the ambulance moved out.
Yet another bunch of good folks, doing their best under the circumstances despite their own fears.
I kept on the tail of the ambulance as the driver drove it fast and furiously through the traffic, seeking to reach the crematorium in time. Finally we reached the place, once again, in Old Delhi.
Here, yet another struggle awaited us.
At first, they were aghast that we had brought a body all the way over there, instead of going somewhere closer to home. Then they said we had not intimated them prior. Finally, the manager referred me to the Pandit Ji who was coordinating the cremations.
He was one hassled man. Not surprising, seeing the sheer number of funeral pyres all around. His first reaction upon hearing my request – get him tomorrow at 11 am. Nothing can be done right now.
Taken aback, I started calling people looking for a morgue.
I was in no mood to argue for a slot for cremating my FIL – firstly, because that just isn’t part of my nature and secondly, because that wasn’t the way he should complete his final journey – begging for a slot.
The ambulance attendant suggested that I ask him again.
But even before I could mull over it, the Pandit Ji himself came over and told us to wait for about 10 minutes and he would do something for us. Yet another good samaritan had decided to go out of his way. As I said, people are fundamentally good. He was just the latest one.
Finally he told one of the crematorium workers to load wood on a cart for the cremation. The guy, named Rahul, asked me to get a couple of people and come along. I told him I was the only one and together, we two went to the shed where wood was stored.
It took us about 30mins to choose and load the wood. Somewhere in this duration, both the ambulance guys too joined us, still wearing their PPE kits in the middle of the Delhi summer, helping us pick and load.
Right there were two more guys going out of their way in our hour of need.
They then also moved on to help make the pyre for my FIL, along with another crematorium worker who, though dead tired, was still in good spirits. As it turned out, he had made about 20-25 pyres thus far in the day, which thankfully, was coming to a close now.
Finally, the pyre was ready and my wife consigned her father to the holy agni, even as her siblings watched on a video call.
It was now time to call it a day. After thanking all those present and paying their fees as needed, plus a bit more, my wife and I started back. Enroute, she got a call from the lady who had been sending tiffin for my FIL for the past few months. Upon learning that he was no more, and realizing that no food would be cooked in the house for the next few days, she insisted upon sending tiffins for us as well.
She was one more good soul offering help without being asked for it.
It had been a long day indeed. We had been all alone, yet there were so many good souls all around to take the load off our backs. With hindsight, somehow it seems that the entire humanity had come together to ensure that things happen without much trouble.
The next day we went to the pyre again to pick up his ‘Asthiyan’ for the final visarjan at the ghat near the Gurudwara Saheb at Maju Ka Tila. Once again, as I carried the load all alone, there was a voice from behind, with one kindly Sikh gentleman asking if he could help.
I declined this time, carting the load all alone and finally handing him back to the Mother Earth.
On the way back, we got our RTPCR test results.
Self and the kids tested negative, while the Missus tested positive. That is a story for another day, after she recovers, though.
All in all, this had been quite an emotional journey which could have been far worse, but for the kindness of known as well as unknown people who took it upon themselves to help us navigate through it all.
Ok folks, carrying on from THIS blog shared two days ago, let me share some thoughts on the current situation in Pakistan and how I view it. Opinions shared here are strictly personal, and were initially shared on Twitter a few hours ago.
Firstly, in case u missed it, do go thru the blog linked in the paragraph above, before moving ahead. However, even if u don’t, it won’t matter because this chain of thoughts that I’m tweeting today, is mostly unrelated to the issue of yesterday, that was a bit personal, with my twitter handle too figuring in a Pakistani report!
Ok, firstly, a quick recap of things as they developed:
Last year, a young girl in a French school, in order to hide the fact that she had been suspended for skipping classes, lied to her father that her teacher had told Muslim students to leave class as he showed photos of Prophet Mohammed to the rest of the class. Unsurprisingly, the teacher in question was dead 10 days later, beheaded by a fanatic after the girl’s father went ballistic with rage on Facebook. Here’s a link to a report on the issue, for those interested:
Soon thereafter, the French President honoured the slain teacher and his Govt conferred upon the teacher, Mr Samuel Paty, the highest civil honour of France – the Legion d’Honneur. This happened on 21 Oct 2020.
Soon thereafter, a country whose capital city is almost 7,000km from Paris, erupted in anger and started burning itself down, crying hoarse at the happenings in France!
Not surprising at all, since the country in question calls itself the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan!
Of course, the fact that reactions across the dozens of Islamic countries elsewhere in the globe were far more measured, was lost on these self-styled custodians of their religion, what with their nuclear bombs, ballistic missiles and bottomless begging bowls!
Soon, the govt of Pakistan caved and promised the TLP (who were at the forefront of the outrage) that they would discuss the removal of the French Ambassador to Pakistan, in their parliament. ‘Phew! Crisis Averted’, the handsome Beggar-in-Chief must have thought!
But he didn’t move ahead to honour his promise, relying instead on the supreme guidance by Shri General Zia ul Haq who had, with a straight face, stated that, well, you can lie when it suits you!
Yet, there was a small hitch – the yahoos, that were so ‘lovingly’ nurtured by the Brown Panted custodians of Iman, Taqwa and Jihad fi Sabilillah, had not forgotten!
They came back on the streets with a vengeance some weeks ago, more so after their leader was arrested in order to prevent exactly what followed in the Theatre of Absurd that lies to our West! Hashtags about civil war in Pakistan / Pak Govt Stop this Terrorism soon trended there!
The Pakistani State acted SWIFTLY as always – by shooting and killing / injuring these folks!
Then they delivered the next BIG blow to TLP – By banning them under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, essentially calling them a terrorist organisation!
Sadly, the ban did practically nothing to help diffuse the situation on the streets! Finally, the govt of Pakistan realized that the yahoos on the streets were nothing but their own alter egos!
You don’t believe me? Well, the ‘Handsomest’ Prime Minister in this world HIMSELF said so!
The cave-in was swift and decisive, inspired no doubt, by the ‘exploits’ of their Brown Panted Ones on the battlefield! On that note, I’ll just leave this twitter thread from a couple of years ago, out here. Do browse thru it!
So the TLP leader was released from jail and the govt ‘promised’ that they would actually act upon their promise of last November by discussing the issue in the Parliament!
At the same time, the Beggar-in-Chief himself came on TV to address the outraged masses. However, what he basically said was that ‘Hamari Aukaat Nahi hai France ke Khilaaf kuchh karne ki. Oh, and one more thing .. blah blah blah .. Yahoodi .. blah blah blah!’
He also announced his latest ‘SCHEME’ – One where Pakistan, the custodian of the Islamic Nuclear Bomb, would share the responsibility for the mess on their streets with the rest of the Islamic world, well .. because as I said above – Uski khud ki aukaat nahi hai kuchh karne ki!
Ok, so with this as a primer / background, moving on to the events as they unfold now. The Pakistani Parliament finally took up the matter of expulsion of the French Ambassador earlier this week, thanks to the ‘gentle’ reminder by the TLP about their promise made last years!
Now this is a tricky situation for the parliamentarians of the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan – Who in their right mind would vote AGAINST the motion, especially on matters concerning the Prophet himself, Hainji?? More so when memories of Shri Salman Taseer Ji are still fresh?
Talk about a rock and a hard place, eh!
No wonder the PPP chose to valiantly RUN AWAY from the debate, citing moral outrage! Well Played, I must say!
Of course, the small matter of their Paise Ka Rishta’ with the French bore no weight in this matter. Sachchi!
Well, atleast the streets were empty. And this was a MAJOR victory over those Indians who had caused all that mayhem by trending ‘provocative hashtags’ on twitter!
However, all I will offer is this statement below:
Streets being emptied DOES NOT mean that the matter is resolved.
Yup. Feel free to read that again, even as the Pakistani Parliament hopefully puts the matter to vote soon.
It should be really interesting to see how the ‘Post Jumma Namaz Sessions’ pan out in Pakistan, btw, in case the Parliament verdict is not acceptable to the yahoos, provided it comes out by then!
The TLP have already tasted a few good doses of street power over the past few years. Make no mistake about that.
And where do they derive this street power from, even at the expense of the Pakistani State itself?
Answer to that lies in Pakistan’s Objectives Resolution of 1949 that said sovereignty belonged to ‘Allah Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the state of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust’
All that the TLP now needed to do was to prove to the Awam that they were working FOR the Almighty Sovereign.
Heck, they are even calling themselves ‘Ashiq ‘e Rasool’!
THIS, folks is the quagmire that the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan has gotten itself stuck into.
Talking about TLP, it is the same bunch of yahoos who were given cash by the mighty Brown Panted Ones not very long ago, along with a loving – ‘Kya Hum Aapke Saath Nahi Hai?’ Only thing that the Jernail didn’t do that day was kiss the yahoos!
Well, chickens have come home now!
Another question that comes to my mind is what next after the Pakistani Parliament votes unanimously to expel the French Ambassador? Do they really think France will just send another ambassador in lieu? Or will the diplomatic boycott have bigger ramifications?
The Beggar-in-Chief already partially alluded to it in his address, when he talked about their Aukaat. One thing seems for sure, however, that the Karachi Metro Red Line MIGHT get a bit delayed!
Add to that the ‘small’ matter of the large amounts of French origin equipment operated by the Pakistani armed forces, and things get even more interesting! All in all, Pakistan isn’t quite covering itself in glory with all this drama, which isn’t over yet!
On a more serious note, as I wind up this blog post, I can only wonder at how many new Mumtaz Qadris are slowly and quietly cleaning their weapons, waiting for their own Salman Taseers to show up in their gunsights.
Of course, like always, it is India’s fault that the TTP carried out a blast in Quetta in the middle of all this. Very convenient, I’d say.
Just as it was in the case of the massacre of little kids at APS Peshawar some years ago.
Keep being ostriches, and you will keep wondering ‘what went wrong’
Then there is the case of the boot being on the other foot, atleast with respect to the Beggar-in-Chief of Pakistan. Holding the state to ransom is fine ONLY when he is not in power! This is he saying exactly the same thing before being selected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan!
Watching the above video, can you really say the TLP did anything different from what their own Prime Minister did when he was not happy with the govt of the day?
Do mull over it for a while.
In the meantime, here is another ‘CANDID VIDEO’ of Shri Imran Khan calling himself .. err .. a Kutta, that was selected by the Generals who have no idea of leadership! Truly a Theatre of the Absurd, I’d say!
In the end, I really do pray that the TLP or some other set of yahoos in Pakistan do NOT stumble upon this depiction of their Prophet in the US Supreme Court, because expulsion of the US Ambassador won’t be a very good thing to do!
So Shri Shoaib Taimur from Pakistan did an analysis of the ‘Civil War Trend’ in Pakistan a few days back. A fairly deep research, I must say, and some really interesting data points were brought about by the handle.
Let me share some thoughts on it here ..
Now why I got interested in this topic is ‘coz my twitter handle too figured in the beautiful graphic tweeted by the Pakistani gent, for being tagged as part of the trend!
Hence this short blog post!
Thoughts are still disjointed. Let’s see how it goes!
Firstly, it would be naive to assume there would be no interference in the other’s internal affairs from across the LoC / IB because it’s a well known fact that the two countries don’t really count each other in their list of ‘friends’.
Just to reinforce my statement above, I’ll share this tweet from a thread that I call #PakTrends, which has been chronicling the exact same phenomenon from across the borders in Pakistan, even though I don’t have even 1% as many details as Shoaib Ji above!
So it is a fair assumption to say that the other side too is not very much ‘दूध का धुला’. Far from it, in fact!
Here’s one more tweet from the above thread, just to reinforce my point!
In fact, just take 100 seconds to go through my thread quoted in the tweet above, before moving ahead in this thread. Totally worth it. Promise! Here’s the link to that thread as archived in this very blog of mine –
Moving on! All I wish to say is that there cannot be a fire without fuel. And fire was aplenty in Pakistan in the days that have just gone by.
As was firing, and killing by security forces.
Whether or not it constituted a ‘Civil War’ is a matter of perception, but things were definitely quite ‘Uncivil’, to say the least. Here’s another citizen of Terroristan shouting that their own army is killing them!
I hardly think he was running any account on twitter to ‘DEFAME‘ Pakistan!!
And neither was this doctor!
OK, perhaps the Doctor Saab might have been on Twitter. But then I’m not quite sure he would have disagreed with the ‘Civil War Trend’!
Oh, and BTW, Indian accounts tweeting from India could NOT have trended any hashtags INSIDE Pakistan, no? That could only have been done by Pakistanis tweeting from within Pakistan!
And another interesting hashtag I came across was ‘Stop Govt Terrorism’!
Of course, our man Shoaib Ji had a ready answer for that – They were FAKE Pakistani accounts, or perhaps TLP themselves!
NO OTHER GENUINE PAKISTANI handle seemed to have been tweeting using that hashtag, it seems!
Yup. Here are some of the ‘Fake Pakistani Accounts’ or TLP that were trending the offending hashtag inside Pakistan. They do look the part, don’t they? #JustAsking
Of course, serving soldiers of Pak Army threatening to join the ranks of the protesters too was dismissed as Indian Propaganda and fake news! Even in case of a soldier who didn’t hide his face or name, for that matter. I doubt he breathes anymore. Seriously!
Here’s a video of the guy, btw. He looks straight into the camera with his one good eye, while the other .. well .. looks somewhere else!
Damn those Indians .. they could have atleast found a ‘MODEL’ who could atleast look straight with BOTH his eyes!
Yup, as per some Pakistanis, it was Indian handles tweeting with a ‘Civil War Hashtag’ that caused all this mayhem INSIDE Pakistan!
I’m sure even the ‘good’ agencies within India would be surprised at how potent they are seen to be by their adversaries!
And then there was this officer from the Lahore Police who logged on to Twitter, realized there was a civil war going on inside Pakistan, and ordered his men to ‘Shoot Straight’ instead of firing in the air! ‘Seedha Goli Maar’, he shouts, and ends the ‘Civil War’!
But then, deep within Terroristanis themselves know that it is they themselves who are to blame for the shit that they have landed their country in.
Poor Old Indians, once again DENIED credit by the SMART Pakistanis!
Let me wind up this blog post now, since I do think I have made my point. I’ll just reiterate what I wrote in the beginning – WELCOME TO SOCIAL MEDIA! THIS is how it works. THIS is how you too ‘exploit’ it for whatever happens here in India. I’ve shared the #PakTrends blog above.
For all the wonderful work at analytics, fact remains that the Pakistan State has had to backtrack in the face of the fanatics that descended the streets. No amount of finger pointing at ‘Hashtag Campaigns’ from India can hide away that fact.
What happens in the Pakistani Senate during the debate on the expulsion of the French Ambassador, as demanded by the TLP, remains to be seen. In fact, I plan to share some thoughts on that as well by tomorrow evening.
As this thread comes to an end, I’ll share a screenshot of the Brown Panted Propaganda-in-Chief here, running a ‘Brilliantly Successful’ hashtag campaign of his own, and DEFEATING India, even if on a virtual battlefield because, well, the physical battlefield is a bit difficult!
So Dear Bhikharistanis, do go on analyzing trends & patting yourselves on the back at ‘Catching India in the Act’, even as your own countrymen go about burning your country. This is how I look at your analytics! Thank you for your time & patience.
In the end I’ll just add this one tweet here as well.
Folks, sharing some thoughts on the farmers’ protest, twitter, Koo etc. Let’s see how it goes!
Let me begin by talking about the wave of euphoria that the global ‘liberal’ ecosystem has been riding ever since the defeat of Donald Trump in the just concluded US Presidential elections.
I’m not going to comment upon the controversies surrounding the conduct of the election because frankly, it doesn’t matter anymore .. atleast not for the time being. However, fact remains that social as well as mainstream media played a BIG role during that election.
And the biggest of the highs came when they banned a still sitting US President from Twitter!
How’s THAT for ‘Cancel Culture’, eh?!!
One can only imagine the mood in boardrooms of atleast a few social media giants in the immediate aftermath – they had shown Trump his place!
They had only dared to do so once it was crystal clear that he wasn’t coming back to power! They didn’t have the guts to do so when, atleast in their opinions, he was being a danger to flow of authentic information.
So much for bravado, huh?
However, it hardly mattered now. Not only was Trump out of office, but there was a brand new administration in place in Washington .. one that for most part endorsed their so-called worldview on ‘free’ speech!
Pretty soon, the next major ‘project’ was in sight – The Indian Democracy! It was merely ‘coincidental’ that the capital city of the Republic of India was besieged by so called farmers, bingeing on pizzas, foot massagers and other good stuff that was magically appearing at the ‘protest’ sites.
That they didn’t know, and STILL aren’t able to clarify what exactly was it that they were opposing in the newly passed farm laws was immaterial!
26th January was keenly awaited by the ‘champions of free speech’. The very foundations of the Republic of India were supposed to be shaken to their very core that day, thanks to the protesting ‘farmers’ stealing the thunder from the Republic Day celebrations!
And true to their form, the loonies on their tractors didn’t disappoint!
Visuals of the ruckus created by them at the Red Fort soon occupied more newsprint than the Republic Day celebrations, what with the disrespect to the Tricolour and all that.
Yes, they were on a high!
What they didn’t know was that the govt, through its supposed inaction, had in fact given them a looooong rope, and now they had hanged themselves from that very rope!
Visuals of the Tricolour being disrespected soon turned their ‘victory’ over its head!
The ENTIRE Nation rose as one against them. The so-called ‘farmer’ protest had fallen flat under the weight of its own contradictions!
Of course, they refused to believe that and decided to march to the Parliament just about a week later!
But the ‘powers that be’ were aware that the damage had been done by the antics of the tractor guys at the Red Fort. They decided that for the movement to be salvaged, the march to the Parliament just had to succeed, no matter what the cost!
Thus they decided to bring out the ‘Big’ guns!
Rihanna Ji, Mia Ji, Greta Ji and many many more world famous ‘crusaders’ descended upon the social media talking about the poor ‘farmers’ of India. Their tears were as real as the best ‘makeover’ artists could make them to be!
But then, though they are renowned for their ‘outrage’, such folks are rarely accused of something far more sinister – That of being Intelligent!
Greta Ji soon leaked out the entire ‘cheat-sheet’, or the toolkit as she called it!
That mohtarma not only leaked out the entire plan, but also those associated with it! This international panauti resulted in atleast one FIR against a fellow ‘crusader’ in Mumbai and also forced quite a few twitter accounts to be self-deleted!
Needless to say, the mega march to Parliament too fizzled out without a trace! Farmer protest was now postponed to the month of October!
Oh, talking about panautis, I’ll leave this tweet here as well!
The Indian democracy had withstood a massive assault and emerged unscathed, atleast in this round.
Why I say this?
Because I am of firm conviction that this isn’t over yet. Kutte ki duum will never get straightened, not until it is cut off, that is.
The GOI requested Twitter to take action against some usual suspects that were seeking to fan violence through disinformation. Twitter obliged them and withheld some of the big handles .. TEMPORARILY!
The moment they realized, those handles were back!
Take that GOI, their boardrooms must have echoed!
But the GOI not only took that, but also hit it out of the ground for a six, when they now demanded a thousand plus handles to be sorted out for indulging in propaganda against the Union of India!
Unsurprisingly, STILL riding their hubristic high, Twitter folks simply REFUSED to do so!
TWEETS MUST FLOW, they said, and high fived each other! (Ok, so the ‘High Five’ thing is just a creative visualization of the offices of Twitter by yours truly!)
But there is no denying, the sanctimonious ‘crusaders’ of ‘free’ speech were far too drunk on their own preferred potions!
Until the Govt of India gave a ‘High Five‘ right on their cheeks and brought them back to Mother Earth!
These words uttered in the Parliament of India made it clear to Twitter and other such folks – Abide by our laws, or pack up.
Basically, here was the Govt of India, politely telling the social media ‘crusaders’ – SAADDA Kutta Tommy. Have no doubts about that!
Btw, it was the same Parliament that these ‘free speech crusaders’ had wanted to be seen besieged by their tractor mounted loonies!
Capitol Hill was an insurrection, but this would have been a ‘legitimate freedom’, just as the Red Fort mayhem was.
But then, no one has ever accused the ‘liberal’ ecosystem of double standards, right?
Well, back to the topic at hand, not only did the GOI slap them HARD, but also gave them the heebie-geebies when the Ministry of Electronics & IT itself moved on to a new platform – Koo!
I’m sure that the ‘good’ folks of Twitter must’ve got the message. They acted SWIFTLY, proudly proclaiming that they had blocked NINETY SEVEN PERCENT of the accounts reported by the GOI.
But like an errant child, who still keeps on sulking even after a resounding slap for his misdemeanours, they just couldn’t bring themselves to comply 100% with the GOI instructions.
TAKE THAT, GOI, their boardrooms must have echoed, even as they rubbed their reddened cheeks, trying to take out the sting of the slap somewhat!
What they STILL don’t realize is that just like their tractor mounted ‘friends’, they are also slowly hanging themselves by the rope!
Ok, time to travel back up this blog post a bit where I talked about the ‘inadvertent’ leak of the cheatsheet .. err .. toolkit; I dedicate this video to the collective intelligence of the ‘liberal’ ecosystem!
Moving on after that celebratory gunfire in the video above!
The GOI not only talked the talk, but they are also walking the walk.
A much needed step, I’d say. These buggers CANNOT be allowed a free run to interfere with our internal affairs.
Till such time they were mere platforms for expression of views, it was fine. But ever since Twitter, FB etc assumed the mantle of being ARBITERS of free speech, they chose to forego that immunity that comes by the virtue of being a mere platform.
To quote the late uncle of Shri Spiderman Ji here, ‘With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility’.
However, atleast a few of the social media giants simply failed to adjust to the power that they wielded over flow of information, and tried to regulate it to THEIR OWN LIKING!
Instead of being a neutral platform, they decided to ‘moderate’ the content in order to ensure that one set of beliefs gets a larger audience at the expense of another. In came shadow bans!
Here’s a thread on that.
In their hubris, they forgot one VERY IMPORTANT thing – No one lives forever!
Graveyards of the world are filled with people who thought they were indispensable!
Riding on a high of their ‘success’ in the recently concluded US Presidential Election, they think they can get away with anything. Over here, allow me to indulge in a conspiracy theory – they are going to try to replicate this ‘success’ in 2024 Indian General Election as well.
Of course, I may be entirely wrong in that regard, but then, so be it!
Not only the 2024 General Election in India gives them a chance to remove another (in their opinion) ‘fascist’ regime, but more importantly, it would also serve as a validating ground for the next US Presidential election that will follow some months later.
But then, like I said, it might just be a figment of my imagination!
However, it definitely seems that the GOI will NOT let that happen. I doubt that social media giants will be given a free run to screw our elections by misinformation.
With the benefit of hindsight, the ‘App Challenge’ of August last year does sound a step in that direction, no? Twitter was already a bull gone rogue by then.
Of course, there is also the small matter of personal worldviews of the owners of the new app. Once again, NO insinuations are intended here by me. Instead, I just wish to highlight a potentially unknown factor.
Then there is the small matter of a new platform ending up being an echo chamber for just one side of the political discourse. But then, isn’t twitter too well on its way towards becoming something similar?
In order to highlight the points I made above, I’ll leave this screenshot here.
The glee is quite apparent. But this dolt doesn’t understand that without a free exchange of ideas of ALL hues, social media would lose the very purpose behind its existence!
A LOT of people have alluded to this fact – free flow of all views. Here is what I too wrote not so long ago:-
Gut feeling tells me that days of Twitter are limited, atleast in India.
Somehow, I doubt that Twitter will be as big a player in 2024 General Elections, as it is today. However, that said, Koo will always face the stigma of being a ‘Sarkari’ App. Ideally, a new app should have seen individual users endorsing it in good numbers, followed by Govt handles. Unfortunately, in case of Koo, it has been the other way round. Once again, I am NOT saying that it is by design. I am merely stating a fact.
What is ideally needed is an ecosystem which will see atleast a couple of indigenous apps competing on their own merits to be the one that will potentially become the leader in the aftermath of the demise of the current giants that rule the ecosystem.
To that end, one other app that I have been waiting for a while now is Chirrups App, who are working on a chat as well as microblog. Though nothing has been heard from them since long, I only hope they come up with something soon.
Their app on Playstore does have chat and microblog both functioning, but they don’t seem to have officially announced it yet. One hopes that their own platform matures soon, and there is atleast one more alternative available with us.
In the end, as I close this thread, all that I’ll say is : ‘Cancel Culture’ works both ways!
Just look at Koo. Just look at how Gaana fared on 12 Feb 2021, thanks to a bigoted idiot on their payroll.
As far as Twitter goes, I see many folks anticipating a temporary ban coming their way soon. While I don’t discount this possibility, I’ll ask them as to what is more damning – A ban, or the THREAT of a ban?
One allows them to become martyrs at the alter of ‘free’ speech, while the other keeps them in liquid oxygen!
Just think about it!
I’ll now conclude this blog post by leaving this statement made in the Parliament here.
This report talks about reorienting bulk of 1 Corps of the Indian Army towards the China border in Ladakh. Sharing some thoughts on the issue.
Here goes ..
In essence, what this means is that atleast two divisions of the Indian Army will reorient, and possibly physically locate, to Ladakh, along with the Headquarters of the 1 Corps. Frankly, this is a much needed exercise in order to plug own vulnerabilities in that region.
However, this movement / reorientation of two infantry divisions towards the LAC also means that there are going to be two divisions less in case of a contingency demanding their application on the Pakistan border. This is what I intend to talk about here in this blog post.
Now this is an interesting factor which I didn’t find many folks talking about!
Next month is the second anniversary of the Pulwama / Balakot / F-16 Shootdown incidents.
That we prevailed ultimately was due to some deft and aggressive diplomatic maneuvers backed with a solid military posture. Remember the ‘Knees were shaking’ disclosure in Pakistani Senate by a senior politician, when they decided to release Abhinandan? Or more accurately, they were forced to release him.
Here’s the video for those who missed it:
The most important takeaway from the video above is the fact that India was not only prepared militarily, but also willing to use force. Hence Abhinandan returned home in quick time. While on that topic, this thread might be good read as well:
Now fast forward from Feb 2019 to Feb 2021 that is barely a day away. Here’s what the geostrategic scene looks like from Pakis’ perspective:
1. Indian Army already heavily engaged along the LAC.
2. Winters winding down in a month or so, and the LAC will heat up again.
3. A brand new administration in USA, which is willing to ‘re-engage’ with Pakistan.
4. Also, the USA having a rethink over withdrawal from Afghanistan (that much more leverage with Pakistan).
5. Indian polity and security apparatus focussing on internal issues for the time being.
6. The internal issues facing India include the border state of Punjab.
Now if I were a general saab sitting in Rawalpindi, I would most definitely be salivating at the prospects that await exploitation, if only I played my cards right!
A Pulwama type provocation at this point in time, especially once the winters are over and LAC once again active, may NOT draw a response similar to one in 2019, right?
Not when the Chinese are sitting pretty on the LAC!
Yes, there is already talk about de-escalation on the LAC, but then, no side can be really sure how it happens atleast till a couple of months well into the summer. And even thereafter, it might be fair to assume that a substantial number of Indian troops will continue in Ladakh.
Heck, that is exactly what is written in the report linked in the beginning of this blog!
As a Brown Panted General Saab sitting in Rawalpindi, one couldn’t have asked for a better set of circumstances. Their own country may be going down the drain and running out of money, but then, a military clash, or more specifically, the threat of one, will be a good diversion for the masses, no?!!
In all fairness, forces located elsewhere in the country can most definitely be moved from one border to another. In fact it was done during Operation Parakram as well, as chronicled in this report below:
But the big question is whether India will be able to move those forces under current circumstances, especially if a provocation from Pakistan pre-empts a de-escalation on the LAC?
THIS, folks, is the big question bugging me.
The answer seems quite obvious, no?
The window I personally will be watching out for is spread over two months or so, from mid-Feb onwards. In fact, with Khalistani links coming out wrt the ongoing ruckus in Delhi, part of that is already apparent because there is no Khalistan ‘Movement’ without a Pakistani link.
This possibility was already alluded to by me in a thread on twitter after the revocation of Article 370:
You may call it a conspiracy theory, but then, I have my own views as seen in this tweet below!
Bottomline: We may be pre-occupied with the ruckus over the Farm Bills, and pretty soon, with the upcoming tensions on the LAC, it might be worth our while to look west as well, esp with our military machine pre-occupied at the LAC.
Ok folks, so since Gilgit-Baltistan has been in news quite a bit in the past few days and weeks, let me share some perspective on PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. In this thread, I intend talking about a historical perspective to the issue and the legal status of PoJK / GB.
Here goes ..
But first, let me share this video of the Prime Minister of India speaking from the Red Fort not very long ago.
Then last year, after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, came these statements from the Home Minister, clearly specifying the territorial limits of Jammu and Kashmir:-
Of course, questions were raised by the media here in India, leading to this statement from the Chief of the Army Staff soon thereafter:-
Before moving ahead, a quick word on the geography of the area. Total area of J&K is approx 222,236 sq km. Area under illegal occupation of Pakistan is about 78114 Sq Km. Are under Chinese occupation = 47,815sq Km (Including Shaksgam). India controls 101,437 Sq Km (45%) of J&K.
Now coming on to the HISTORY of J&K .. To begin with, it is important to note that the widespread ignorance about the historical background of Jammu & Kashmir has perpetuated various myths about its evolution
The main myths include the beliefs that the princely state of J&K was an artificial entity created by the Dogras, also that the entire region was never a part of the same political dispensation and that G-B always existed as a distinct political entity separate from Ladakh & J&K.
There is another belief professed by Pakistan that it was an indigenous movement by the local population that actually led to the separation of Gilgit-Baltistan from the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
All these myths are nothing but Pakistani attempts to merge Gilgit-Baltistan as her Fifth Province, so that international apprehensions on CPEC could be assuaged. THIS is the bottomline as far as all these issues in highlight over the past few days go.
Hence this blog post. Let me go about trying to bust these myths created by Pakistan over the past few years and decades.
Both Ladakh & Jammu & Kashmir, have been part of India’s political & cultural domain and spiritual consciousness since the Mahabharat period. These linkages manifest visibly in the Ganpatyar, Shankaracharya & Kheer Bhavani Temples located in the Kashmir Valley.
In the Third Century BC, Emperor Ashoka introduced Buddhism and the Mahayana School of Buddhism originated in Kashmir. It subsequently attained pre-eminence during the Fourth Buddhist Council held here by Emperor Kanishka in the First Century AD.
Emperor Lalitaditya’s reign from 724 to 760 AD marked the golden age of Kashmir and the Zenith of the Hindu Karkota Empire and the Kashmiri Shaivism.
Islam came in gradually in the 14th Century giving birth to a Sufi tradition of Kashmiriyat, influenced by Muslim saints, one of whom, Sheikh Nuruddin Noorani also known as Nund Rishi, lies laid to rest at Charar-e-Sharif.
Throughout history, ALL the regions of Jammu & Kashmir have been integral parts of the Kashmir Empire and continued so until the Dogra Empire of the nineteenth & the twentieth century. (Second Pic – Maharaja Gulab Singh)
As a matter of fact, Rinchen, the first Muslim King was a Prince of Ladakh, who was rechristened as Sadruddin Shah (Pic 1) on conversion to Islam & the last major independent Muslim Dynasty that ruled Kashmir – The Chak Dynasty – had migrated from Gilgit.
These facts highlight close intra-regional cultural and political connections. Moreover, it goes to prove that the history of the Areas under present Pak Occupied Jammu & Kashmir including Gilgit-Baltistan have an umbilical connection to the history of Kashmir itself.
With Mughals, Kashmir became a province of Delhi Empire in 1540 AD and continued to be ruled by its Governors for three centuries.
A six decade Afghan rule under the Durranis succeeded the Mughals and thereafter in 1819 AD, Kashmir came under the Sikh Power of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
It is important to note that the Sikh Rule was initially confined to the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu Region was given to Raja Gulab Singh as a Jagir by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1820.
After consolidating his position in the Jammu Region, Gulab Singh assisted ably by General Zorawar Singh captured Ladakh & Baltistan by 1840.
On the other hand, Gilgit was captured by Col Nathu Shah for the Sikhs around the same time.
By this time the 11 peripheral principalities of the state in and around Gilgit-Baltistan, which historically had remained Vassal States to the ruling dispensation at Srinagar became independent of the Central Authority in Srinagar. Do note Chitral too as part of those!
In 1846, Treaty of Lahore was signed after the defeat of the Sikh army at the Battle of Sabraon in the First Anglo – Sikh War. This forced the Sikhs to cede all territories between the Beas & Sutlej and Pay Rs 1 Crore as war indemnity.
Lal Singh, the then Prime Minister of the Sikhs offered all Hill territories of the Kingdom including Jammu & Kashmir in lieu of the indemnity. The British then offered to make Raja Gulab Singh the Independent ruler of Jammu & Kashmir provided he paid the indemnity amount.
Thus, at a reduced amount of Rs 75 Lakhs, the British transferred the territory of Jammu & Kashmir to Raja Gulab Singh at the Treaty of Amritsar.
This treaty made Gulab Singh the absolute ruler of Kashmir and a full-fledged sovereign of Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh, as well as Gilgit & Baltistan, but like elsewhere Britain retained exclusive authority over Defence, Foreign Affairs & Communications.
Thus, the demographic fabric of the Princely State consisted a Buddhist majority Ladakh, Muslim majority Kashmir, Western Jammu, Gilgit & Baltistan & a Hindu majority Jammu region – stitches that proved to be reasons for Hari Singh’s indecisiveness and the rapid annexation of the Western Jammu regions in the subsequent tribal invasion of 1947.
The British, interestingly, encouraged Gulab Singh to spread his political influence in Gilgit – Baltistan, so as to establish a safe buffer state between Russia & British India as by 1866, the entire region had come under the control of the Dogras.
The British Policies towards Kashmir fluctuated with developments in India & Central Asia and were necessitated by a need to prevent the growing Russian influence.
They interfered with the Maharaja’s administration on the pretext that the Maharaja was inflicting severe hardships on his subjects, especially in Gilgit.
Thus, Gilgit Agency was established in 1877 with a nominated British Political agent, who was withdrawn & later reappointed in 1889 in view of the growing Afghan influence in Chitral as well as Russian activities in Central Asia.
However, consequent to the Russian Revolution, British anxieties over the Gilgit region increased & the Maharaja was forced to lease the Gilgit Agency to the British for a period of 60 years with effect from March 1935. Thus, Gilgit region was divided as the Gilgit Agency and the Gilgit Wazarat (District). The Gilgit Agency, directly under the British rule, included Principalities of Hunza, Nagar, Chitral, Punial, Yasin, Kuh Ghizer, Ishkoman, Chilas, Gor & Darel-Tangir. Once again, note Chitral!
The Gilgit Wazarat retained under the Jammu & Kashmir Darbar, included Gilgit, Astor & Bunji. As a result, despite being a part of the Maharaja’s territory, a huge portion of Gilgit including the vassal states were under British civil & military administration.
The announcement of independence forced the British to hand the Gilgit Agency back to the Maharaja in July 1947 – A ploy & an arrangement that would play a major role in the illegal annexation of the Gilgit Agency to Pakistan in 1947.
Hari Singh’s ascension to the throne of Jammu & Kashmir in 1925 coincided with the awakening of mass political consciousness throughout India, which found an echo in Jammu & Kashmir as well.
However, the popular movement in this princely state was directed more at the rule of Dogra dynasty spearheaded by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah through the All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference.
He rechristened the party All Jammu & Kashmir National Conference indicating his leaning towards the Indian National Congress, thereby foreclosing any collaboration with Jinnah & the Muslim League. He was later, in favour of accession to India, but on favourable personal terms.
In 1946, ‘Maharaja Quit Kashmir’ movement was launched against the Maharaja by Sheikh Abdullah, leading to his immediate arrest. But the movement gathered enough momentum in the Princely State as India & Pak approached the dawn of independence preceded by a nightmare of partition.
At the announcement of partition, the Maharaja was still contemplating on a probable deep-within desire to retain sovereignty. He sent standstill agreements, each with the two Dominions of India & Pakistan with an intent to temporarily maintain status quo; Pakistan consented but India clearly conveyed ‘No Standstill Agreement without Accession’.
The horrifying events that unfolded after Jinnah’s call for Direct Action, irreversible polarization of people & ghastly communal riots in Indian provinces in the run up to Freedom added greater concerns to an already indecisive Maharaja.
In the end of Aug 1947, a number of Pakistani Nationals infiltrated into Poonch Jagir of the Princely State and began inciting the Muslim Sutti & Sudhan Tribes to launch protests against the Maharaja to force him to join Pakistan.
Spanning from Aug to Oct , these protests turned into a wildfire of killings of minorities and raids on frontier posts of State Forces all along the Western Jammu Region. Actions by armed & radicalized local groups assisted by 60,000 battle hardened demobilised soldiers, dispersed the State Forces into feeble penny-pockets, thereby preventing cohesive & coordinated counter-actions.
Sudhan Separatist Leaders, Sardar Ibrahim Khan & Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan masterminded these vicious actions and overtly collaborated with the Muslim League & Pakistan Army earning epithets of ‘Ghazi-e-Millat’ & ‘Mujahid-e-Awwal’ respectively.
On 21/22 Oct 1947, Pakistan unleashed OP GULMARG spearheaded by a notion of Jihad and radicalised Pashtun Tribal Lashkars led by Pakistani Officers. Muzaffarabad, Uri & Baramulla were attacked.
Maharaj Hari Singh dispatched Brig Rajendra Singh, his Army Chief towards Uri to contest the raiders. Brig Rajendra Singh, along with his handful of men, despite being outnumbered, fought a successful battle along Uri- Baramulla road, before he was martyred at Buniyar.
He was awarded India’s First MVC for a decisive action of delaying the raiders.
By 25 Oct 1947, the raiders reached Baramulla and stalled there to let loose barbaric acts of loot, plunder, savagery & rape, thereby, in a way, delaying their attack on Srinagar.
The J & K State Forces saw large scale desertions & defections in the Western & Northern frontier districts, which led to negligible or weak defence of border towns. Moreover, reinforcements did not reach in time except for Poonch & Kotli, which held out initially. Owing to the mass defections & desertions Kotli, Muzaffrabad, Bhimber, Rajauri & Mirpur fell early & easily.
On 24 Oct 1947, Sardar Ibrahim Khan declared Bhimber, Kotli, Mirpur & Muzaffarabad independent as ‘Azad Kashmir’ and himself came to be known as ‘Bani-e-Kashmir’.
These Western Districts, forcefully occupied by Pakistan owing to deceit, defections and treachery, today constitute the 10 districts of the PoK.
In order to salvage the deteriorating situation, Hari Singh approached India for help and on 26 Oct 1947 signed the Instrument of Accession to accede to India.
Consequently, Indian forces landed in Srinagar on 27 Oct 1947 to push back the intruders.
The ensuing battles in the region for the next 14 Months is a heroic saga of recapture of territory, highlighting ingenuity & perseverance, preceded and succeeded by iconic defensive battles. The Battles of Budgam, Jhangar, Naushera, Rajauri, Tithwal & Zojila stand out as a sterling testimony of the Indian Military character in its nascent days itself.
Poonch Town, besieged in Nov 1947, remained so for almost over an year. The bravery & steely resolve displayed by Lt Col Pritam Singh, alias ‘Sher Bachcha’ & Air Commodore Mehar Singh alias ‘Mehar Baba’ prevented its fall against all odds.
Op Easy launched by the Jammu Division for linking up Poonch via Rajouri, finally relieved it on 20 Nov 1948.
Now coming over to Gilgit-Baltistan. With the lapse of paramountcy in Aug 1947, Brigadier Ghansara Singh was made the Governor of Gilgit on premature British termination of the lease of Gilgit.
The region had at that time, one State Forces Battalion & 500 troops of Gilgit Scouts commanded by Maj William Alexander Brown. Muslim officers & troops of the State Forces and the Gilgit Scouts established contact with Maj William Brown to establish Pakistani Rule in Gilgit.
However, all the Rajas of the region professed loyalty to Maharaja Hari Singh except the Mehtar of Chitral.
On accession of Kashmir to India, there was a pandemonium in Gilgit and on 01 Nov, Ghansara Singh was arrested by the troops of Gilgit Scouts leading to the disintegration of the State Forces which resulted in massive killing of non-muslim comrades by Muslim troops of the State Forces Battalion & Gilgit Scouts.
On 04 Nov 1947, Pakistani flag was hoisted by Maj William Brown at the Gilgit Scouts lines & Peshawar was informed of Gilgit’s accession to Pakistan along with principalities of Hunza & Nagar.
Justifying his actions under a clandestine operation called OP DATTAKHEL, as ‘Coup-de-Etat’, he had remarked, “My actions appeared to possess all the elements of high treason, yet I know in my own mind that what I had done was right”, unquote.
From Indian point of view, Maj Brown’s action indicated British complicity, various conspiracy theories and Pakistani-British connivance, which surely gets substantiated by him being awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the third highest civilian award in Pakistan, posthumously in 1993.
By the end of Nov 1947, Pakistan was in complete control of Gilgit, paving way for incursions into Baltistan. However, the onset of winters prevented immediate action.
In the meanwhile, Lt Col Sher Jung Thapa of the State Forces took up defences at Tsari, 20 Miles North West of Skardu. Tsari was attacked and overrun on 8/9 Feb 1948 and Skardu was beseiged on 14 February 1948 which continued until 14 Aug 1948, a total of 185 days.
Skardu fell only when it ran out of ammo, but the heroic & determined stand of Sher Jung Thapa & his men at Skardu delayed the operations of the raiders towards Kargil & Leh.
The raiders in the meantime had bypassed Skardu & took control of Kargil, Dras & Zojila Pass – threatening Leh. Leh could only be saved by air landing troops on a newly constructed airstrip by Sonam Norbu, a local engineer.
Subsequently, Operation Bison led to the recapture of Zojila & Kargil prior to ceasefire on 31 Dec 1948.
Seeing the geographic proximity of areas & alignment of the CFL, many questions are raised that seek an answer even today, that why this pursuit of raiders was left incomplete?
However, whatever be the reason, fact remains that history can no longer be changed, though no one knows what the future might hold!
Folks, let me share some thoughts on the latest developments in Eastern Ladakh over the past few days. As always, writing this blog post on the go, in the hope that it will eventually make sense!
Here goes ..
Firstly, I will NOT talk about the specific military situation in the area because, frankly, there is far too much noise on social media for me to paint a correct picture of what exactly has happened on the ground.
That said, the only fair assumption that I am going to endorse is that Indian troops have actually gone and occupied some heights with the aim of pre-empting Chinese movements. In fact, this seems to have been the line of the Chinese as well. So before moving ahead, let me delve on this particular aspect for some time.
At the outset let me say – This is HUGE!
And why do I say that?
Well, this is because it seems to be the first time that Indian soldiers have actually done something like this on the LAC (Doklam notwithstanding. That was a different ball-game altogether).
So much so, that the Chinese themselves didn’t know how to react to this event. Such was the confusion that Shri Hu went crying on Twitter that ‘THIS TIME’ it was the Indians that had changed the status quo, implicitly acknowledging that thus far it was China that was doing so!
In fact, so rattled were they that they went into a ‘statement frenzy’, ‘denouncing’ India for trying to emulate what they themselves have been doing for all these years! I guess they didn’t get the memo that says ‘Imitation is the best form of flattery’!
This brings me to yet another question – Have we really gone 4km inside Chinese territory? Well, who knows! Regardless, fact remains that the mere occupation of commanding heights implies that if not physically, we would still be able to visually dominate a large area beyond and if need be, interfere with PLA movements there. Remember Kargil, and the threat to NH-1 posed by the Pakis?
How far ahead can we do that, depends upon the geography of the are which again, I have absolutely no idea about. But then, the 4km figure does get some context.
Next question is whether we have actually crossed the LAC or not.
Out here, what I’ll offer is the fact that firstly, the LAC has NOT been officially demarcated by India and China. Instead, what exists is a perception of where the LAC lies. This naturally means that there are areas that both sides claim to be on their side of the LAC.
In fact, this was what the initial fracas over the various Fingers from 4 to 8 all about in the months of May and June.
So what my guess is that the Indian armymen might very much be on their own side of what they claim, while having physically crossed and occupied areas that China thinks belongs to them.
From various accounts, one thing that is crystal clear is that it was a tactical move, undertaken to pre-empt the Chinese.
That it caught the Chinese by surprise says a LOT about the mental faculties of the PLA commanders and their rigid decision making.
Oh, talking about ‘rigid’, I’ll just leave this tweet from a few days ago over here.
Ok, coming back to this blog post, it is a fair assumption to say that the PLA are justified in crying buckets at having ‘lost’ territory to the Indian Army. Well, here is a piece of news for them – they have a LOT more territory to lose .. all of Aksai Chin, in fact.
Another V.E.R.Y interesting aspect that more or less is agreed to be true is the fact that Tibetan troops of the ‘hush hush establishment’ (which has its own wikipedia page, btw!) were involved as well!
No wonder that the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokie was a bit .. err .. curious about Tibetans serving as Indian troops!
This fact is as symbolic in the perception realm as it is deadly on the battlefield. The Tibetans are universally acknowledged to be under tremendous suppression by China. The news of they actually fighting back to re-enter their lands, even if in a small increment, is bound to pique interest in a LOT of world capitals, not to say galvanize their fellow countrymen who are still under Chinese occupation within Tibet itself.
So herein lies yet another symbolic victory, going more than the 4km being talked about.
In fact, it goes all the way to Lhasa!
Of course, lest I be declared guilty of getting carried away in a premature victory dance, let me put it out that the ongoing fracas in Eastern Ladakh is still very far from resolution. Things can still get resolved amicably (till the next round, that is), or go far south.
But one thing is for sure – For the time being it is China that seems to be in uncharted territory. I say it not only due to the fact that there have been so many statements from so many Chinese stakeholders (refer a few tweets above), but also since it is now the PLA that have the unenvious task of reacting to an Indian move.
Do they go and physically dislodge the Indians from those heights now?
But isn’t the era of nail studded clubs and stones and fisticuffs over, thanks to the sacrifice of the boys of the Bihar Regiment & their CO?
And what about the tens of thousands of troops amassed by India in the region?
Bottomline: I wouldn’t be envious of the situation that the Chinese commander would be finding himself in at this moment. And no, it is not just about the events on the battlefield, but also the pressure he must be under from the very highest political echelons in Beijing!
Btw, talking about the tens of thousands of troops, I’m not too sure about the PLA being very excited about staying the winter in these areas, their heated and oxygenated tents notwithstanding!
On the contrary, I saw reports on my TL that the Indian Army had procured (or was in the process of procuring) additional winter gear for 30,000 soldiers!
Call it whatever, but I call it a brilliant psychological punch right in the solar plexus of the PLA!
By amassing all those young boys flaunting their shiny toys, the PLA would have thought that they could just roll over the Indians without even having to fire a bullet. But here was the Tiger showing the finger to the Dragon by not just hastening his infrastructure projects but also signalling his readiness to take on the Dragon, man to man as well!
But jokes apart, on a more serious note, two large masses of armed men sitting not very far from each other and that too, under such circumstances, is never a good news.
All it takes is one little misunderstanding, or one error in judgement on part of any commander at any level can result in things getting out of hand at a moment’s notice.
Not that I doubt our boys aren’t prepared for that, mind you. Our boys are amongst the best soldiers anywhere in the world, a fact that wasn’t lost to the PLA in 1962 as well!
On the other hand, empirical evidence suggests quite the contrary about the PLA. Here’s what I blogged about their performance under fire by rag -tag militiamen some years ago :-
Yet, once the guns start booming, there is not knowing when or how will they stop. Add to this the fact that there is a real possibility of such a contingency spreading to other areas as well, including Sikkim and Arunachal. Wrote about it some months ago the blog post linked below:
This brings me to another question, or a flight of fancy, if you choose to call it that – Will a military clash, if it happens, stay confined to merely the Himalayas, or will China find guns shooting at it from the South/East China Sea and/or Taiwan Strait as well?
Yup, you may want to read that question above once more.
I have no doubts in my mind that the days of the world at large blindly believing the crap of ‘peaceful rise’ of China are well and truly over. All it takes is a mere glance at various statements and more importantly, ACTIONS around the world and you know that a LOT of paradigms related to China are changing.
Add to that the upcoming US elections and things don’t look too rosy for Xi ‘Winnie The Pooh’ Jinping in the days and weeks to come.
I wrote about this as well, some months ago in THIS blog post just as the world was learning how to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Must read the blog post linked above. I insist!
So here it is – all this hype and hoopla on social media notwithstanding (including this blog post by me), what speaks the LOUDEST is, in fact, the utter quiet on the part of the GOI, even as the PRC goes ballistic with statement after statement.
This silence has a LOT to say indeed. Call it whatever u may, I choose to draw an analogy with the golden silence of India against Pakistani ramblings in all recent border tensions, starting with the BSF mortars playing havoc with Pakistan Rangers in Oct 2014, right upto the abrogation of Article 370.
All in all, the coming days, weeks and even months are going to be testing times for our Nation in particular and the world in general.
The PLA, in any case not very keen to spend the winters in the middle of nowhere, may even end up forcing the hand of their political masters.
How might that manifest remains to be seen.
I’d assume that the weather will start getting colder and colder from October onwards. So that leaves the entire month of September open for any contingency that they might seek.
Call it a personal bias, but September is something that I have been looking at since long, not just on the Himalayas but elsewhere as well.
But one fact remains crystal clear – the PLA knows all too well that the Indian soldier is no pushover on the battlefield, a fact that was further underlined on the night of 15-16 June in Galwan at the hands of Col Santosh Babu and his Vir Biharis.
The PLA may signal their willingness to stay the winter all that they want, but fact remains that the moment the first gun fires, they might be worse off logistically than the Indian Army.
The areas in contention today are the same where the PLA lost hundreds of their men at the hands of ill-equipped Indian soldiers in 1962, who earned TWO Param Vir Chakras that winter.
The elephant may be a reluctant fighter, but when it does, it tramples all in its path.
I think it is time to wind up this blog post with another ‘flight of fancy’ – What are the odds that the current situation on the LAC is actually a manifestation of a political upheaval going on in Beijing?
This too might be worth ruminating over, for what it’s worth.
Talking about Tibetan brothers getting back to their lands, the Global Times may let out all sorts of propaganda videos in the vain hope that these will scare the Indians, but fact remains that they can NEVER even come close to making something like this of the Tibetan Warriors!
In the end, I’ll just leave this tweet here to sum up this chain of thoughts.
This is just the beginning, mind you .. the beginning of the end, that is. The process may take days, weeks or even years, but it is well and truly underway.
Before signing off, let me just link THIS blog post that I wrote some years ago on the Doklam Standoff. Plz do read this one as well. I insist!
Folks, sharing some thoughts on the current state of India-Nepal relations.
I remember watching this above news break some days ago. My first reaction was not anger, but instead, sadness. Deep sadness is indeed what took over me when I saw this finally happen.
It was also partly the reason why I chose NOT to write anything on this issue. But now I think it is time I share my thoughts. As always, I am going to be writing this on the go, with only a very vague structure to my thoughts. Let’s see how it goes.
Firstly, the map being passed was inevitable. No politician worth his salt would want to vote AGAINST a resolution calling for ADDING territory to his country.
It doesn’t matter that Nepal chose only now to come up with an entirely new map after all these years of existence as an an independent Nation. Heck, even in their boundary agreement with China in 1961, where there was practically NO involvement of India, their map was what is shown below – WITHOUT the now famous finger-type protrusion.
Yet, now the Commie govt decided they needed that additional land.
Talking about the communist led govt in Nepal, what adds to the incredulity of the entire situation is the sheer timing of the act of claiming Indian territory – right in the middle of a standoff with China that is ruled by fellow commies.
With both their VERY large neighbours involved in a serious conflict, any prudent govt might have thought of delaying raking up the issue.
But then, the key word here is ‘Prudent’.
With Comrade Oli and his credentials, I have no doubt that he was batting on behalf of his commie masters in Beijing who were only seeking to open up another front against India.
Yes, I call them Masters because that is what they are, rosy ‘ideals’ of communism notwithstanding. TheMiddle Kingdom considers NO ONE as an equal, least of all a small country like Nepal.
But whatever be the motive, now the deed is done. Suffice it to say, it cannot be undone by any future parliament of Nepal – which parliamentarian would vote to ‘give away’ territory to another country, huh?
I will come back to this thought in a while.
Leaving aside the fact that a loony commie is in charge of Nepal these days, let me delve on the traditional relationship between Nepal and its neighbours.
To be fair, it is natural for a small neighbour to try and get out of the shadow of a ‘big brother’ every once in a while. However, this time comrade Oli seems to have gone beyond all earlier norms by taking things beyond a point of no return – neither is India going to accept ceding of her territory to Nepal, nor is Nepal going to take back its claims on the land it now claims.
That it has come at a time when India-China tensions are at a peak and the Lipulekh Pass is a strategic gateway into Tibet only adds to the rising sentiments in India which also brings into question the impartiality of Nepal in this entire India-China fracas.
The road in question didn’t just appear overnight, btw!
But then, there is just no way that you can wake up someone who is merely pretending to be asleep, isn’t it?
That is a question that will never find a satisfactory answer for jilted Nepali brothers and sisters.
China definitely has far more money to throw around, especially as bribes to amenable politicians – The Aussie lawmaker whose properties have recently been raided by law enforcement agencies is just one of the many that has gotten exposed. WHO Chief too comes to mind.
To that end, I’ll just leave this screenshot doing rounds on Twitter, here.
Of course, it will be panned as fake.
I don’t mid that one bit!
What I am coming to is that China and Nepal can NEVER be what India and Nepal have been over millennia – bound by a common cultural and even familial ties. Now add to that, the ties of blood that countless Gorkha brothers of Nepal have shed with fellow soldiers of the Indian Army.
I call it a ‘rishta’ of Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.
This is a bond that has lasted through thick and thin for more than two centuries.
Even today, as per a newspaper report I came across some days ago, more than 30,000 Nepalese citizens continue to serve in the Indian Army.
One thing that surely must have crossed the minds of the powers that be in New Delhi in recent weeks would have been their continued availability in case Nepal didn’t permit those on leave to rejoin in this moment of grave crisis on LAC, citing Coronavirus related lockdown. Heck, with Nepal still under lockdown, I’m not sure if the Indian soldiers out there have actually been able to rejoin their battalions or not.
This is potentially a really serious issue, with attendant repercussions on continued recruitment of Nepalese citizens in Indian Army.
I’m sure there will be atleast a few in Nepal who say they don’t want their fellow citizens to serve in another country’s army.
Logically, it is a fair demand as well.
But then, how might they employ the 30,000 odd citizens who might find themselves out of a job if that happens?
Add to that an average salary of approx INR 40K per month that would translate into INR 120 crore of remittance to Nepal every month, and repercussions are apparent.
Heck, there already are more than just a handful folks in Nepal already demanding cessation of Nepalese citizens joining IA. I’m sure none of them have given any thought to the economic impact to their own motherland in case this demand actually fructifies.
With a nominal GDP of $30Bn (source: wiki), I doubt the economic impact of such a thing actually fructifying will be easily bearable by Nepal.
Of course, I am not even talking about pensions to retired Indian soldiers of Nepalese origin who must be more than 1,50,000 in numbers.
Then there is the question of countless other Nepalese citizens travelling and working freely in India, thanks to treaty privileges.
Hope you get where I am getting to.
But thankfully, this is NOT going to happen anytime soon!
India-Nepal relations are different, much different than India’s relations with any of its other neighbours.
To be fair, it is natural for a small neighbour to play bigger neighbours against each other for its own benefit. In fact, Nepal is not the only Indian neighbour doing that.
In the larger scheme of things it hardly matters, so long as it doesn’t impact own national interests.
So much so, that not many know that Nepal is one of the VERY FEW countries of the world that actually provide VISA-FREE entry to Pakistanis!
Yup, IC-814 hijackers too got logistical assistance from Kathmandu.
Sanctions imposed on Nepal in the aftermath were not very helpful to their economy either.
Yet the visa-free entry to Pakistan continues.
India never made a fuss about that.
Yet, fact remains that Nepal has also long been a preferred entry point into India by Pakistani terrorists.
Of course, this fact too is largely unknown.
But coming back to the India-Nepal border issue. The question now to be asked is how will Nepal enforce it.
Mind you, I ask this in all seriousness.
The area where Lipulekh lies is one of the remotest areas of Nepal. I doubt whether even a decent road exists out there.
But even that question is moot.
The biggest question is how does it get enforced without use of force?
You know why I ask this?
Because the day force is used by either side, it will be the end of a civilizational linkage spanning over millennia.
A linkage of Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.
Of course, Nepalese border guards recently killed a few Indian citizens in Bihar. Yet, the GOI sought to downplay the entire incident, hoping for better sense to prevail. Sad as it might be, that seems to be the only pragmatic way ahead if we need any chance of normalization.
But soon thereafter there were reports of Nepal moving additional forces in that area. This is in addition to the news that Nepal is planning to establish an army outpost towards Lipulekh as well!
Then there are bombastic statements by so many on Nepalese side about they enforcing their claims by use of military.
Well .. to them I’ll say .. be my guest.
But before that I’ll ask them a few questions.
The first question is – what happens after the first bullet is fired? Is there any realistic way in which they can claim that they’ll prevail?
Yes, the Gorkhas make some of the best soldiers in the world. I have absolutely no doubts about that. It is a well deserved reputation, earned through much blood and toil.
But to say that they can just go an grab territory under Indian control is a bit .. well .. fantastical IMO.
But thankfully, this is something I don’t see happening. And thank God for that.
In any case, I find none of them having an answer to what happens elsewhere, in case bullets do start flying – status of Nepalese soldiers in IA, other Nepalese workers in India and such likes.
There is one more question I wish to ask of them, btw.
Are there any similar plans for retaking Nepalese territory currently in Chinese control?
Of course it took the commie govt of Kathmandu a really long time to even acknowledge this loss of territory and subsequently dismiss it as a fake news.
Well, you’ve made your bed.
And China is already occupying much of it.
But then, it is between Nepal and China, so I won’t comment on that any further.
Instead, what I wish to delve upon for a bit is to see how do we go back to a de-escalation of emotions from here.
All said and done, it would be a sad day indeed if the GOI ends up enforcing another blockade of Nepal.
Or if remittances / financial grants etc from India, that could be upto 10% of their nominal GDP, get affected.
Will China be able to provide economic opportunities to Nepalese citizens that India provides? Or a conduit to oil and other essential imports?
Or continue to provide opportunities to hoodwink the SAFTA as Oli and his ‘boys’ were caught doing recently by importing Malaysian palm oil after India stopped imports, and then re-selling it to India as ‘Nepalese’ palm oil?
Bottomline – India has been a ‘Big Brother’ in the neighbourhood, no doubt.
That is a function of our geography that just cannot be wished away. But then, India has been a really benign Big Brother.
And this DESPITE the ENORMOUS leverages India holds.
Now compare that with China and how it treats its own neighbours.
Yes, the same China on whose tunes comrade Oli is dancing with reckless abandon.
To some extent, it is also a failure of Indian diplomacy that things have come to such a state. But then, the fact that comrade Oli is feeling threatened too is a natural outcome of the civilizational ties between India and Nepal re-asserting themselves.
Of course, even if he loses his job, it will be another member of the Nepalese Communist Party coming to power. But then, they have been in power earlier as well. ‘Prachanda’ has been in power in various avatars before. For all we know, he might end up coming back to power again.
But commie or not, I doubt he is as big a loonie as Comrade Oli.
However, even if that happens, thing remains that Nepal has CONSTITUTIONALLY adopted a new map.
This is a fact that just cannot be wished away.
This is something that can potentially be a lasting thorn in India-Nepal relations.
Might there be a way out of this mess that Oli has ended up creating?
The only option that comes to mind is for Nepal to go to the International Court of Justice or some such international forum to settle the issue either which way.
That apart, I don’t see any way out that might be acceptable to both sides. But it will be better to sort out this mess any which way possible, at the earliest. Once again, even if at the cost of repetition, I’ll say that civilizational ties cannot be wished away.
Nepalese economy is currently 100 times smaller than Indian economy. Over time, this discrepancy will only grow.
PERHAPS .. sometime in future Nepal might actually come into some form of a loose federation with India.
Remember, much of it was in any case a part of King Ashok’s empire more than two millennia ago. Terai region of Nepal itself continued in some form or another to be a part of a number of subsequent Indian kingdoms as well.
I know it is a flight of fancy, atleast for the time being.
But then, who knows ..
In any case, a China just cannot come to your aid the way India did after the recent earthquake. That’s because they are not only physically but also emotionally as far from Nepal as can be.
Time to end this blog post.
Nepal is free to build new bridges. It is their inalienable right.
BUT, burning old bridges in the process is something that is bound to raise a few eyebrows, especially when the new bridges have not yet been tested fully.
All I’ll say in the end is a repetition of something I said a number of times before in this blog – Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.