Will Fugitive Scofflaw Zakir Naik Be Caught At All?

Could India’s officialdom be spreading glib lies about attempting to apprehend scofflaw hate-mongering Islamic preacher Zakir Naik?

He has reportedly applied for a Malaysian citizenship in the mainstream media.

Congress apologists and leading lights of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party are trading charges in the matter after Amir Gazdar one of his aides confessed serious wrongdoing on the part of Naik to Mumbai cops.

The real picture can be deduced from the following pointers reproduced from a blog in these columns published a year ago:

Naik’s bigger backers are located beyond the borders of India – many of them in the Middle-East. The current central government has extended olive branches to all of them to “contain terrorism” and expand trade.

Between 2013 and 2015, Naik was conferred several awards in the Middle East.

2013

Dubai International Holy Quran Award  

Islamic Personality of 2013 conferred on Naik by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai

Parenthesis

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Rashid Al Maktoum in 2015 August.

Modi had undertaken a two-day visit to UAE in August, a first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years.

UAE is home to 2.6 million Indians.

During the visit, the two leaders pledged to end terrorism.

On September 19 2015, Rashid Al Maktoum succumbed to a massive heart attack at the age of 33.

Parenthesis ends

Sharjah Award for Voluntary Work  

Conferred by Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah

Parenthesis:

Born in 1939, Sheikh Sultan III bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi is a member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and current ruler of the Sharjah emirate. He has ruled Sharjah since 1972. The rule was briefly interrupted during a six-day period between 17 and 23 June 1987. It was an attempted coup led by his brother Sheikh Abd al-Aziz bin Muhammad al-Qasimi.

Parenthesis ends

2015

King Faisal International Prize

Conferred upon Naik by Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud

Parenthesis

Some of the others who won this award include King Abdullah Ibn Abd AI-Aziz of Saudi Arabia himself, Al Qasimi of UAE, Presidents Dr Hamed AI-Ghabid [Niger] and [Alija Izetbegovig] Bosnia-Herzegovina and Abdou Diouf [Senegal]; Prime Ministers Mahathir Mohammad [Malaysia] and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [Turkey]  

On April 3 2016, Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud [who had won the above award himself] presented India’s PM Narendra Modi with the Arab nation’s highest civilian award.

Zakir Naik’s perfidy was publicly known a decade ago.

Naik was banned from entering the UK by the then Home Secretary Theresa May [currently British PM] in 2010.

“Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour,” May was quoted as saying.

The admirers of 1965-born qualified medical doctor Zakir Abdul Karim Naik have spread mayhem on a global scale since 2006.

They include Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan-American arrested for planning suicide attacks on the New York subway, Rahil Sheikh [1], accused of involvement in a series of train bombings in Mumbai in 2006 and Kafeel Ahmed, the Bangalore born man killed during a failed suicide attack on Glasgow airport in 2007.

Indian Journalist Shoaib Daniyal disagreed with Naik’s belief that “Americans swap wives at will because they eat pigs which also swap their wives”. He also pointed out that Naik’s statement that Islam allows a man to marry multiple women because “in the USA, there are more women than men”, was inconsistent with US demographic statistics.

Torkel Brekke, a professor of religious history in Norway, calls Naik a very controversial figure.

Naik’s rhetorical attack on other religions and other varieties of Islam are strongly disliked by many members of the Indian Ulema for ignoring their authority.

Indian journalists had issued warnings about Naik.

“It would be useful to consider the case of Zakir Naik, perhaps the most influential Salafi ideologue in India,” observed Praveen Swami, a senior Indian journalist in his seminal work part of a book published in 2011.Operative excerpts from its blurb:

Sections of Bollywood backed Naik.

Film producer Mahesh Bhatt supported Naik in 2010 saying the ban constituted an attack on freedom of speech.

Naik’s application for judicial review of the ban was dismissed on 5 November 2010.

The same year, Naik was forbidden to enter Canada after Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, warned MPs of Naik’s views.

The bans on the entry have not been lifted.

India’s mainstream media had begun their harangue in 2016.

Operative excerpts from a report in The Times of India dated July 9 2016:

Mumbai-based preacher Dr Zakir Naik, who is under the scanner after two of the Dhaka terrorists claimed he was an inspiration, seemed to have been followed by four youths from Kalyan, a Mumbai suburb. They had run away and joined the Islamic State.

Areeb Majeed, arrested for IS activities in Kashmir, is believed to have told interrogators of the National Investigation Agency that he was ‘inspired’ after hearing the lectures of Naik.

Copies of Naik’s lectures were also found in a library located in Bihar, a north Indian cow-belt state. Enquiries had revealed the facility was frequented by Indian Mujahedeen members.

One of those who regularly accessed Naik’s works is Yasin Bhatkal – now in custody in India.

Like the Dhaka terrorists, Mumbai youths hailing from well-to-do respected families are drawn towards fundamentalism-fuelled-violence caused by the speeches of Naik. Besides Areeb, the other Islamic State joiners in the knowledge of police are engineering students Fahad Shaikh and Amaan Tandel.

According to police sources, suitably brain-washed initially by Naik’s hate-speeches, Areeb Majeed’s hatred was honed by a woman, Tahirah Bhatt, who also helped him join the banned group. In turn, Majeed recruited Shaikh, Tandel and others. They fought in Iraq. Currently, Majeed is in jail. Shaikh had contacted his family a few months ago. The whereabouts of Tandel aren’t known.

“The named youths were provoked to commit anti-national activities citing the destruction of Babri Mosque and Gujarat riots. Primary sources of ‘inspiration’ were hard-copies of Naik’s works. Naik’s rallies used to witness huge footfall in Bihar,” the official added.

Families of 15 young men and women from Kerala state’s northern districts suspect their offspring may have joined the Islamic State, according to top sources in India’s southern-most state.

It is not exactly known whether Zakir Naik’s speeches had impelled the youths to take such a step. However, a Press Trust of India report published by the website catchnews.com revealed alarming aspects of this unlikely tale. Operative excerpts:

State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the police to launch a probe into the matter urgently, said Member of Parliament P Karunakaran. He represents the north Kerala constituency of Kasargod – located on the state’s borders that touch Karnataka.

“Family members of these youths were aghast reading Whatsapp messages. ‘We are not coming back. Here there is Divine Rule. You also should join us,’ one message said. ‘We have joined IS to fight US for attacking Muslims,’ said another. These youths were visiting the Middle-East for religious studies. We brought it to the notice of CM P Vijayan,” said Karunakaran. He had been apprised of the issue by a local body leader VPP Mustafa and a legislator M Rajagopalan.

This group comprises men, women, couple and even a child travelling along with parents.

The abhorrence of family members back home is apparent from the statement issued by Hakim, a male parent of one of the ‘missing’ youths.

“If my son returns as a good man, I will welcome him. If not, I do not want to see even his dead body,” Hakim was quoted as saying.

According to Rajagopalan, all those missing were below the age of 30 and highly qualified. This motley ‘missing’ crowd includes a medical doctor couple and an engineering graduate, his wife and a 2-year-old child. Before dropping out of sight, different persons in this group had presented varying tales for leaving Kerala. The reasons included visiting families far away job search.

The youths’ approach to life had undergone a sudden change during the last 2 years after accessing inflammatory Islamic literature, Rajagopalan added.

Surely Zakir Naik is an influential man.

Naik was ranked 89 on The Indian Express’s list of the “100 Most Powerful Indians in 2010”.

Naik was ranked 82 in the 2009 edition.

BBC’s Sanjiv Buttoo says he is acknowledged as an authority on Islam. However, he warns that Naik is known for making negative remarks about other religions.

US based senior journalist Sadanand Dhume observes that Naik has a ‘carefully crafted image of moderation’. This has been achieved through a gentle demeanour, dress sense of wearing of a suit and tie and his quoting of scriptures of other religions.

Naik was also listed in the book The 500 Most Influential Muslims under honourable mention from 2009 through 2014.

[1]

Seven serial blasts had ripped through Mumbai’s suburban railway network at peak hour on July 11, 2006, leaving at least 147 dead. The death toll had risen to 189 later. The incidents’ mastermind was Rahil Sheikh, currently in prison.

Sheikh is a trained as a computer engineer.

Sheikh’s brothers – Faisal and Muzammil were charged in the 2006 bombings.

Sheikh’s telephone records had indicated that he had been receiving calls from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Also, it has been suggested that he was acting as the point man to collect funds and pass it on to the LeT which is said to have carried out the attacks.

Sheikh is said to have travelled to Pakistan.

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Remembering Rajiv Gandhi 20 August 1944 – 21 May 1991

As Indians should we be sorry about insulting the memory of Rajiv Gandhi on yet another of his murder anniversaries?

The answers could shock every patriotic Indian.

Readers are requested to go through every inbuilt link to get the full perspective.

Should the Congress Party that ruled India that is Bharat for over 70 years apologise to former India PM Rajiv Gandhi for posthumously stabbing him in the back?

Was Rajiv ‘sacrificed’ to help the Congress win the 1991 parliamentary elections that clearly triggered his widow morphing into exalted status of the ‘uncrowned empress of India’ from 1992 to 1999 and ‘unconstitutional authority’ between 2004 to 2014? Is that why Sonia had a ‘cosy’ relationship with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam – a party whose rule in TN was sacked in 1975 at the behest of the Congress [1] and was the raison d’être for pulling down the Gujral coalition at the centre? [2]

Should the Indian National Congress look over its shoulder to discern the suspicious nature of the meeting between Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rajiv assassin Nalini Sri Haran a.k.a. Murugan in 2008?

Should the current National Democratic Alliance regime take a close look at the role of Rajiv’s Widow Sonia Gandhi a.k.a. born Edvige Antonia Albina Maino in the ex-PM’s murder?

Is someone covering up her suspected double agent roles through her links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and former Soviet Union’s infamous KGB and its later-day incarnations?

Is there much more to Karti Chidambaram’s flight to London to escape imminent arrest and questioning in the matter pertaining to multiple shady deals of amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income?

Are such secrets linked to Harvard don and senior advocate P Chidambaram? 

On this day – May 21 2017, around 8.a.m., in the morning, this website: http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.in/2014/02/chidambara-rahasyam-tsv-hari.html could be clearly seen. It then disappeared and this line appeared in its place: “This website/URL has been blocked as per instructions from Department of Telecommunications of India.”  If this can happen on a Sunday, on Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary, obviously, someone close to P Chidambaram can pull strings within the ministry of telecommunications. Who could that be?

Meanwhile, this writer has picked up the gauntlet and is exposing the nice lawyer even more! https://haritsv.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/the-toxic-chidambaram-smokescreen Let us see if he can block that too!

At this point in time, the plausible answers to all these questions are in the affirmative.

[1]

Operative portions from a Times of India report dated June 26 2014:

“The Emergency in Tamil Nadu can be classified into two phases — before and after the dismissal of the DMK government on January 31, 1976,” said former Madras high court judge K Chandru.

“The President’s rule in the state was draconian. DMK leaders were thrashed in prison,” said Chandru, who was a member of the Justice Ismail Commission, which probed alleged prison excesses during the Emergency.

Senior DMK leaders Murasoli Maran, then MP Chitti Babu, M K Stalin, Arcot Veerasamy and several party volunteers were imprisoned and allegedly beaten up. DMK leaders say while Veerasamy lost his hearing, Maran never recovered from a back injury and Chitti Babu, who bore the brunt of the attack, died in Chennai prison in 1976.

[2]

Operative portions from the relevant Wikipedia dossier:

On 30 January 1991, the DMK government which had come to power after winning the 1989 was dismissed by the Indian Prime minister Chandrasekhar using Article 356 of the Indian Constitution. President’s rule was imposed on Tamil Nadu from 31 January. The reason cited for the dismissal was the deterioration of law and order in the state and the DMK’s alleged closeness to the LTTE. The union law minister Subramanian Swamy, cited (among others) the assassination of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) office bearers in Chennai on 19 June 1990 by the LTTE as the proof of collusion between the DMK government and the LTTE. The Samajwadi Janata Party government of Chandrasekhar at the centre was dependent on the outside support of Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress, which in turn was an ally of the ADMK in Tamil Nadu. The dismissal followed pressure on the Chandrasekhar government by the Congress and ADMK to dismiss the DMK government. The Chandrasekhar government fell on March 1991 after the Congress withdrew its outside support. Fresh elections for both the Indian parliament and Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly were scheduled for June 1991.

The real reasons for Modi’s absence from Parliament

Will the Government of India admit the real reasons which forced Modi’s hand to demonetise high value currency notes on November 8 2016?

Answer: Perhaps not.

Why?

Answer: Because the involvement of top officials of the Reserve Bank of India would expose India’s smelly financial underbelly.

Was the sinister connection between Pakistan’s inductions of counterfeit notes into India capable of destroying India?

Answer: Yes.

Did Islamabad and its shady links with criminal firms have a bearing on Modi’s November 8 2016 sudden demonetisation announcement?

Answer: YES!

Why is the opposition forcing Modi to reveal the truth?

Answer: The real answers could destroy the financial fabric of the nation – which is what Pakistan and other enemies of India want. The opposition seems to be acting at their behest by going hammer and tongs at the short-comings of the demonetisation move that flushed out the fake currency in one swift move!

India’s National Security Advisor [NSA] – Ajit Doval is said to be in possession of details of perfidious activities within India that could have [notice the past perfect tense] ruined Bharat’s economy.

Must read: https://haritsv.wordpress.com/2016/11/22/are-indian-oppositions-honourable-men-and-women-out-to-kill-bharats-neo-caesar-modi/ 

Due to the sudden demonetisation, presses run and maintained by the Karnataka based Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India, are working overtime to bridge the gap between demand and supply.

According to the company’s own website, the presses are the latest in ‘state of the art’ technology in bank note printing. One of the companies that supplied machinery at its Mysore site is De La Rue Giori, now renamed KBA Giori, Switzerland.

That is where the sinister portion begins.And that is also why Modi cannot expose his own central bank’s smelly crannies.

In January 2016, the Indian Express reported that the Indian Home Ministry had barred a German company, Louisenthal, from selling bank note paper to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) after it discovered that the firm was also selling raw notes to Pakistan, according to a senior official. Operative excerpts:

“We have proof that high-quality fake Indian currency notes are being produced in Pakistan and pushed into India through Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The availability of a common supplier could be one of the reasons behind such high-quality fake notes,” the official said.

Representatives of Louisenthal refused to comment when asked about its links with the UK-based De La Rue, which had been banned by the RBI after having come under the scanner following admissions of supplying paper that had “failed to meet certain quality specifications”.

India had sought help from the US, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit last September, in tracking countries where bank note paper used to print fake Indian currency is manufactured.

Also read: http://wp.me/p7bYkZ-Lk

At least five cases were reported last year of Pakistani nationals being arrested in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand and UAE with consignments of fake Indian currency notes.

The unholy links of these firms was known all along to the Government of India, says another website. Operative excerpts:

In 2009-10, the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] raided some 70-odd branches of various banks on the India-Nepal border and unearthed a counterfeit currency racket. Bank officials blurted to CBI sleuths that the notes had come from RBI. As a result, CBI raided RBI vaults and found a massive cache of Rs 500 and Rs. 1000 denomination notes that had been smuggled by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI into India.

In 2010 the Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU), was shocked to find out that the Government had outsourced the printing of Rs 1 lakh crore of currency notes to US, UK and Germany putting the “entire economic sovereignty (of the country) at stake”.

The 3 companies to whom the Indian currency printing was outsourced are American Banknote Company (USA), Thomas De La Rue (UK) and Giesecke and Devrient Consortium (Germany).

Following the scandal, Reserve Bank sent a senior official on a fact-finding mission to De La Rue‘s printing plant in Hampshire, UK.

A third of De la Rue’s profits did not include profits earned through new contracts – that encompassed sale of 95% of its security paper sold to many nations among whom India and Pakistan are important ones, was the prima facie finding.

As a result, De La Rue was blacklisted by the government with 2000 metric tonnes of its paper lying unused at printing presses and warehouses.

De la Rue’s CEO James Hussey who is the godson of the Queen of England quit the company mysteriously. De la Rue’s shares tanked and it almost went bankrupt losing one of its most valuable customers – RBI. Its French rival Oberthur approached De la Rue with a bid to take over the company which was fought back.

The complaints sent to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) by ‘unnamed officers of the Ministry of Finance’ mentioned other companies too. These include French firm Arjo Wiggins, Crane AB of USA and Louisenthal, Germany.

The scandal had just surfaced under the United Progressive Alliance government. Rather ironically, the potty ex-PM Dr Manmohan Singh proverbially termed the NDA kettle black!

Part of De La Rue was acquired by Privet Capital that prints and processes bank notes of 106 nations in May 2016.

Operative excerpts from a relevant press statement: Privet Capital, a private equity investor focused on creating value through operational improvement, acquired Cash Processing Solutions Limited [CPS] and its subsidiaries from De La Rue.

CPS specialises in providing cash processing hardware, software and related services to central banks, commercial banks, state print-works and commercial cash processing companies. Its sorting solutions process 125 billion banknotes per annum from operations in 106 countries, supported by a team of over 500 people.

De La Rue announced a windfall on November 22 2016.

De La Rue announced that it will continue to print currency at its factory in Malta. The company has been working in Malta for over 40 years and last year announced that it was creating a Centre of Excellence for Identity and Security Print in Malta, as part of a global investment of €33 million in equipment, factory upgrades and skills.

The facility at Malta is the World’s largest commercial printer of both banknotes and passports. The announcement came on the back of a solid business performance by the firm. Martin Sutherland, the firm’s CEO confirmed that the move was designed to provide the flexibility to meet current and future customer requirements.

‘We have refined the implementation plan for our Global footprint to give us a better blend of outsourcing with a more flexible in house production capacity, and as a result will be keeping the remaining banknote print line open in Malta,’ a company press release revealed.

Contrary to previous intentions, De La Rue will not be reducing its workforce and will not be offering further voluntary retirement schemes, the statement added.

Malta is one of the global centres of diabolically sinister financial activity.

In his report, journalist MK Venu [1] in 2015 – wrote the chilling words: Tax havens like Mauritius, Malta, Bahamas and the Cayman islands still operate in non-transparent ways”.

The nature of the scofflaw nature of Malta can be guessed with one simple yardstick. One of its new citizens is Lalit Kumar Modi – the man against whom India’s official ministry claims to have issued Interpol’s red-corner-notice.

The UN is aware of such developments – with a savage twist – terrorism – since 2004!

Excerpts from the relevant UN report:

The United Nations Questionnaire on the Nature of Links between Terrorism and other Forms of Crime” was sent to Member States pursuant to UN General Assembly resolution 58/136, adopted upon the recommendation of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and ECOSOC, on “the need to strengthen international cooperation and technical assistance in promoting the implementation of the universal conventions and protocols related to terrorism within the framework of the activities of the UNODC”.

The resolution invited Member States to provide the Secretary-General with information on the nature of links between terrorism and other forms of crime  and to comment on whether terrorist groups’ modus operandi.

India reported that terrorist groups are involved in organized criminal activities of various kinds, including arms trafficking, money laundering, corruption, trafficking in persons, and drug trafficking.

In India, specific instances have come to the attention of the authorities regarding the financing of terrorist acts and the use of informal money transfer systems such as the hawala system. India reported that such underground banking systems have substantial links with the underworld and money laundering channels which, in turn are linked to terrorist activities.

Important links between terrorist financing and economic crime were funded by counterfeiting of currencies. Fake Indian currency notes have been systematically used by terrorists to finance their activities in India. Organized crime groups have also contributed to the circulation of the forged currency in India and abroad. India reported that there had been cooperation between organized crime groups and terrorists for a long time, but that a significant new development on this front was the fact that organized crime gangs and terrorists outfits had begun to work “in consonance”. There are numerous instances of the involvement of organized crime 27 gangs in terrorism. The attack on the U.S. Information Centre, Kolkata (January 2002) is an example of such collaborations.

[All emphasised portions are by the author]

[1]

M.K. Venu is a Founding Editor of The Wire. As an active economic and political writer, he has held leadership roles in reputed newspapers such as The Economic TimesThe Financial Express and The Hindu. He has written extensively on economic policy matters for over a quarter century after India opened up its economy in 1991. He also wrote regular political economy columns on the edit pages of The Economic TimesFinancial Express and Indian Express over the past two decades. He hosts a regular political-economy discussion called ‘State of the Economy’ on the national public broadcast channel RSTV. He has also been invited by Parliamentary Committees to give his views on public policy matters. He is on Twitter @mkvenu1.

உளவுகாத்த கிளி – 10

அலுவலகம் சென்று, நான் அங்கு இருந்ததற்கான எல்லா ஆதரங்களையும் கவனமாக பொறுக்கி எடுத்து, ஒரு அட்டைப்பெட்டியில் நிரப்பினேன்.  அது நான்  நிறைவேற்ற வேண்டிய, இன்றியமையாத கடமை.

முன் அத்தியாயங்களைப் படிக்க, இங்கே க்ளிக் செய்யவும்.

என் இடத்திற்கு அடுத்ததாக யார் வருவார்கள் என்பது எனக்குத் தேவை அற்ற விஷயம்.

தேவை என ஏதேனும் உருவானால், அலுவலகம் வாயிலாக செய்தியோ, கேள்வியோ வரும். 99.99% அதற்கான தேவைகளே இராது.

நான் பின்பற்றிய அனைத்து விஷயங்கள், அவற்றின் புலனாய்வு ரிப்போர்ட்கள் – ஒன்று விடாமல் எனது பாஸ் ஸின்ஹாவிற்கு  தவறாமல் தினசரி நான் அனுப்பி இருந்ததாலும், அலுவலகத்தின் நிகழ்வுகள் அனைத்தும் வீடியோக்காமிராக்களில் பதிவாகி இருந்த காரணத்தாலும், புதிதாய் எனது இருக்கையில் அமரப் போகிறவருக்கு நான் எதுவுமே சொல்ல வேண்டி இருக்காது.

சுமார் 1 மணி நேரத்தில் மூட்டை கட்டும் பணிகள் முடிந்தன.

என் தொலைபேசியை ஒரு முறை இறுதியாகப் பார்த்தேன். அதிலிருந்து தான் கடைசியாகத் தன்னை பல முறை வனிதா எனவும், ஒரே ஒரு முறை சிவபுண்ணியம் எனவும் அறிமுகப்படுத்திக்கொண்டவளுடன் பேசினேன் என்பது நினைவுக்கு வந்த்து. அவளுடன் செய்த சல்லாபங்கள் மனதை நெருடின. ஆனால், அதெல்லாம் முடிந்த கதைகள். பிடிக்கும்போது, புகையும் சிகரெட் ஸ்வாரஸ்யமாகத் தான் இருக்கும். அது தீர்ந்தவுடன், அதைக் கடாசுவது இல்பு. வனிதா ஒரு அணைந்த சிகரெட் மட்டும் தானா? கேள்வி என்னுள் ஒரு கசப்புணர்வை உருவாக்கியது. ஒரு டம்ப்ளர் தண்ணீரைக் குடித்தேன். மறக்க முயன்றேன்.  

எனது பொருட்கள் அடங்கிய அட்டைப்பெட்டியை கொரியர் மூலம் தலைமை பீடத்திற்கு அனுப்ப ஏற்பாடு செய்தேன்.

இறுதியாக ஒரு முறை – கிண்டியில் எங்கள் கைதிகளின் நிலையை அறியச் சென்றேன். அவர்களுடன் நடக்கும் பேச்சுவார்த்தை வீடியோவில் ரெக்கார்டாகி, அதன் மொழிபெயர்ப்பு – ஆங்கிலத்திலும் ஹிந்தியிலும் ஹெட் ஆஃபீஸ் சென்று விடும்.

என்னிடமுள்ள வண்டியை நான் ஸ்டார்ட் செய்யும்போது, நான் உடுத்தி இருந்த ஆடைகளைத் தவிர என்னிடம், நான் – இன்னார் எனக் கண்டறியப்பட எந்த ஆவணமும் இல்லை.

கிண்டியில் – வழக்கம்போல சங்கீதா சிற்றுண்டி விடுதி அருகே இருந்து எஸ் டி டி பூத்திலிருந்து ஒரு ஃபோன் கால். அதில் 8 வார்த்தைகள் மட்டுமே:. “அடுத்த 2 மணி நேரத்திற்குள் சென்னை விமான நிலையத்திலிருந்து கிளம்பவிருக்கிறேன்.”

நான் செல்ல வேண்டிய இடம், அதற்கான டிக்கட், கைச்செலவுக்குப் பணம், இத்யாதியுடன் ட்ரைவர் அங்கி அணிந்த ஒருவர் டிபார்ச்சர் பகுதியில் காத்திருப்பார். ஒரு கவரை என்னிடம் கொடுத்து, சாவியைப் பெற்றுக்கொண்டு, எதுவும் பேசாமல் சென்று விடுவார். இது எங்களது செயல்பாட்டு முறை.

கிண்டி மறைவிடத்தில் அப்பாஸும் மற்ற சகாக்களும் – “பாடும்” பயங்கரவாதிப்பெண்ணின் ஆலாபனையைக் கேட்டவாறு சிரித்துக் கொண்டிருந்தார்கள்.

அந்தப் பெண்ணின் உளரல்களிலிருந்து சில வாக்கியங்கள்:

“எங்கட தமிளீளம் பகடிக்கான விடயமல்ல. அதை அடைய நாங்க எதையும் செய்வோம். ஒரு சமயத்துல இந்தியா எங்களுக்கு தோக்குகளக் குடுத்து, இயக்கவும் கற்றுத்தந்தவர்கள். ஆனால், எங்கட தலைவர் தம்பி பிரபா கேட்டது போல, எங்கட கையில ஈளத்தைக் முறையாக் குடுக்க இல்லை. மாறா அந்தக் கயவன் செயவர்த்தனவோட ஒப்பந்தத்தை ராசீவு பண்ணினவர். ஒப்பந்தத்துல ஈள மக்களுக்குப் பங்கே இல்லை. முளு இலங்கையையும் இந்தியா பாதுகாக்குமென்டு ராசீவு ஜெயவர்த்தனகிட்டச் சொன்னவர், கையொப்பமிட்டவர். அப்ப, நாங்க 30 வருஸமாப் போராடினது பகிடிக்கா? இந்தியா இந்த விடயத்துல செய்தது பெரிய பிளை! பிளைய நாங்க தட்டிக் கேட்டவர்கள். தட்டியதுக்கு இந்தியர்கள் சுட்டவர்கள். மறுபடியும் பிளை. எங்கட சகோதரிகள் பள்ளி அங்கியில இந்திய ராணுவ லொரியில பாம்ப் எறிந்தவர்கள் தான். நாங்கள் நடாத்தியது சுதந்திரத்தை அடைய கொரில்லாப் போர். அதில எப்படி வேண்டுமெண்டாலும் செயல்படலாம். ஆனால் இந்திய ராணுவத்துக்குக் கட்டுப்பாடு உண்டு. அதுல உள்ளவர்கள் பதிலுக்குச் சுடறதுக்கு முன்ன கற்பளித்தவர்கள். டொர்ச்சர் செய்தவர்கள். அதுவும் பிளை அண்டு மட்டுமல்ல, போர்க்குற்றம்! உலகம் முளுதும் எங்கடப் பொடியர்கள் பரவி இருக்கிறவர். கனக்கப் பணம் சேர்த்தவர். அது அளியாது. மேற்கு ஐரோப்பா, அவுஸ்திரேலியா, நியூ ஜீலாந்து, ஃபிஜி, டுபாய், வட அமெரிக்காவுல கானடா, யூ எஸ் எண்டு 28 நாடுகள்ள 650 இளுபறி பார்லிமென்ட் தொகுதிகள்ள ஈளத் தமிளன் வெட்டி-தொல்வியை முடிவு செய்ய இருக்கறவன். வெள்ளையனாகட்டும், காப்புலி ஆகட்டும், அவன்ட நாட்டுல அமைதி வேண்டுமெடால், யாரோடயும் எந்த ஒப்பந்தமும் செய்வான். ஆனபடியால மத்த வளர்ந்த நாடுகள் எங்கட ஈளத்தப் பெற்றுத் தரும். அது நிச்சயம், செல்லுபடியாகாத, செல்லரிச்சுப் போன சோவியத் ரஷ்யா சொன்னபடியால, ராசீவ் திரிகோண மலையைப் பிடிச்சு ரஷ்ய வெள்ளையனுக்கு விக்க இருந்தவர்.  அது நடக்க இல்லை, ஏனென்டால், எங்கட இயக்கத்தை மேர்க்கத்திய நாடுகள் வளி நடாத்தின, நடாத்தறவங்க, என்ன விசர்றா? ராசீவ 1991ல போட்டுத் தள்ளினதால, காங்கிரஸ் செயிச்சது. போஃபர்ஸ் ஊளல் விவகாரம் நிரந்தரமா மறைஞ்சது. அந்த பீரங்கி விடயத்துக்கும், பாகிஸ்தான் ஐ எஸ் ஐ க்கும், அதோட ஒரு முன்னாள் தலைவர்கள்ள ஒருத்தரான ஸல்மான் தாஸீருக்கும், சொனியா அம்மையாருக்கும், அவரோட அப்பர் மைனோவுக்கும், ரஷ்ய உளவு ஸ்தாபனம் கே ஜி பிக்கும், இருந்த தகாத உறவுகள் பத்தி இனி யாரும் கதைக்கப் போவதில்லை. எங்கட ஈளத்தை அடைய, பாகிஸ்தான் மட்டுமல்ல, ஐ எஸ் ஐ மட்டுமல்ல, தாலிபான் மட்டுமல்ல, ஜப்பானோட செம்படை, ஜெர்மனோட பளைய நாத்ஸியிட வாரிசுகள் , பாடர் மைந்ஹோஃப் கும்பல், , ஹாங் காங்கோட போதை மருந்து வியாபரிகள், கிளக்கு ஐரோப்பிய-அராபிய ஆயுத பேர ஆட்கள்…இப்படி யாரோடவும் பேரம் நடாத்தி செயிப்பது எங்கட உரிமை. இந்தியாவ ஒரு முறையல்ல. பல முறையும், சமூக, அரசியல், பொருளாதார, ஆயுத ரீதியாக அளித்தால் தான் ஈளம் கிடைக்குமென்டால், கிடைக்கற வர அளிப்போம். ஒரு நாட்டோட சுதந்திரப் போர் என்டால் அப்படித் தான் இருக்கும். தம்பி [பிரபாகரன்] சனவரி [18, 2009]லயே தப்பி விட்டவர். எங்கே மறைஞ்சு இருக்கிறவர் என்டு எங்களுக்கும் தெரியாது. ஆனால், அவர் எங்கட தாகமான தமிளீளத்தை மீட்டுத் தருவர் எண்டு எங்களுக்குக் கனக்க நம்பிக்கை இருக்கு!”

இந்தப் பிதற்றல்களைப் பல முறைக் கேட்டு எங்கள் போன்றோருக்குப் போர் அடிக்க ஆரம்பித்து 1 மாமாங்கம் ஆகி விட்டது.  போரில் எல்லோரும் சமம். ஒரு சாரார் வரம்பு மீறினால் பலசாலியான எதிரிகள் பல முறை மீறுவார்கள். புலிகள் என்ற பயங்கரவாதக் கும்பலிடம் ஈழம் என்ற நாட்டை ஒப்ப/டைக்க எந்த ஒழுங்கான ஜனநாயக நாடும் தயாராகப்போவதில்லை. ஒரு வேளை ஈழம் உருவானால், அதில் புலிகளுக்கு இடமே இருக்காது.

பிடிபட்ட இவர்களது கதியைப் பற்றி நான் கொஞ்சம் கூடக் கவலைப்படவில்லை. ஒரு நாட்டை எதிரி எனச் சொல்லி, ஒப்புக்கொண்டு அங்கு போர் அங்கி அணியாமல் நாசவேலையில் ஈடுபட்டதால், ஜெனீவா முறைப்படை இவர்களைப் போர்க் கைதிகளாக நடத்த வேண்டிய எந்த சட்ட ரீதியான நிர்ப்பந்தமும் இந்தியாவுக்கு இல்லை.

பயங்கரவாதிகள் யாருக்கும் கருணைகாட்டுவதில்லை.

பிடிபட்ட பின், பிற நாடுகளிடம் எதிர்பார்ப்பது முட்டாள்தனத்தின் உச்சகட்டம். மேலும், அவர்களது இயக்கத்தினர் நமது முன்னாள் பிரதமரைக் கொன்றிருக்கிறார்கள். அதற்கு யாரும் மன்னிப்புக் கேட்கவும் இல்லை. அப்படி கேட்டாலும், யாரும் வழங்கப்போவதும் இல்லை.

தோழர்களுடன் இறுதியாகக் கை குலுக்கினேன்.

விடை பெறும் முன், எங்கள் டெக்னிக்கல் டீமிந் தலைவர் எம்மானுவெல் சகாயராஜ் அவசரமாக வந்தார்.

“நாம சரியான நேரத்துல இந்த ஆயுதங்களைக் கைப்பற்றினோம். ஒவ்வொன்றும்  9,000 மீட்டர் பறந்து, 40,000 அடி உயரம் வரைப் பறக்கக்கூடியதாக இந்த ஏவுகணைக்களோட தன்மையையே மாத்தி இருக்காங்க. புலிகள் கிட்ட இந்த அளவுக்கு டெக்னாலஜி இல்லை. நிச்சயமாக இதுல ஐ எஸ் ஐ வேலை இருக்கு ங்கறதுல சந்தேகமே இல்லை! கொஞ்சம் யோசிங்க. எந்தப் பயங்கரவாதி வேணும்னா, இதுகளை வெச்சிகிட்டு ஏர்போர்ட்களுக்கு வெளியே தள்ளி நின்னு, ப்ளேன் டேக் ஆஃப் ஆகும்போது ஃபைர் பண்ணி, எதுவும் நடக்காத்து போல மோடார் ஸைக்கிளில் ஏறித் தப்பிக்க முடியும். அது நடக்க அனுமதிச்சா, நாம மரமண்டைகள்! நடந்த்துக்கு அப்புறம் வருத்தப்பட்டா, முட்டாக்கூ…”

எங்களுள் பேசிக்கொள்ளும்போது கெட்ட வார்த்தைகள் சகஜமாக வெளி வரும். அவற்றை யாரும் பொருட்படுத்துவதில்லை.”

எக்ஸைட்மென்ட் காரணமாக, சகாயராஜின் மூச்சுத் திணறியது.

“குட் வர்க், இம்மானுவேல். பாஸ் கிட்டச் சொல்லிடறேன். நீங்களும் ஒரு டீடெயில்ட் மெமொ அனுப்புங்க. இந்த ஏவுகணைகளோட டெக்னாலஜியை ப்ரேக் பண்ணி, நமக்கு யூஸ் ஆகுமான்னு பாருங்க. உங்களுக்கு வேண்டியதை ரிடெயின் பண்ணி, மத்த்தை எல்லாம் பேக் பண்ணி, தாம்பரம் ஏர்பேஸுக்கு அனுப்புங்க. அங்கிருந்து ராணுவத் தலைமை பீடத்துக்குப் போயிரும். இன்னிக்கே செஞ்சிருங்க.”

அவரிடமும் கை குலுக்கி விடை பெற்றேன்.

வண்டியைக் கிளப்பினேன்.

விமான நிலையத்தில் எனக்கு  இதை எல்லாத்தையும் விடப் பெரிய அதிர்ச்சி காத்திருந்தது என அப்போது எனக்குத் தெரியாது.

-தொடரும்.

India’s Demonetisation Tale’s Untold Parts

Prime Minister Modi’s sudden demonetisation trashing Rs.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes achieved many things.

The move successfully forced around Rs.8.5 lakh crores [US$128 billion] worth stashed ill-gotten wealth back into the economy.

Among other things, the step exposed the camouflaged meadow-snakes’ poison-dripping fangs.

The trashing of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes was the second surgical strike against Pakistan. Its singular success is the binning of the only flourishing business in Pakistan – printing of counterfeit currency – for the time being.

Reports reveal that Pakistan had pumped as much as Rs.20 lakh crores into the Indian economy to fund terrorism and cripple Bharat financially using diplomatic bags and human mules through Nepal, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa and UAE, to name just a few.

According to intelligence inputs, the illegal currency funded sabotage in the Kashmir valley and encouraged Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in Muslim pockets of Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Significantly, pro-Pak street protests in Kashmir have simmered down.

It also lined the pockets of what passes for ‘sections of the secular press in India,’ reports added.

Peeved at the loss and with nothing better to do, the anti-Modi channels are yelling blue-murder on the demonetisation issue.

Significantly, a huge cache of cash was being burnt in Uttar Pradesh. Some of the smoking embers have been recovered and sent for forensic tests to find links with Pakistani sabotage. This news disappeared from headlines almost immediately after it appeared for the first time. 

One probable reason is that the Modi regime does not want to give more credit to Pakistan than what has already been done. Further, such talk could trigger a run on Indian economy.

The cobra in the grass

My tweet early Wednesday: “Did anyone bother to notice [Union Finance Minister] Arun Jaitley’s silence on the surgical strike against black money?”

Operative portions of Jaitley’s mischievous response 10 hours later that has a lot of hidden meanings: [Jaitley’s statements are in a different colour for easy identification.]

“A lot of currency operating outside system will now have to get in to banking system”.

The unsaid part:

At least 48 hours before the demonetisation, there were serious attempts to turn some Rs.25,000 crores from black to white. Premiums amounting to 25% were on offer – in Chennai. This writer has personal knowledge of it.

Simply put, the ‘system’ is rotten, per se. And Jaitley propagates the rotten system.

“It will change the course of the way people spend and keep their money”.

Read between the lines:

Jaitley implied that moneybags would rethink on bankrolling the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP].

“The new step is also of significant advantage.”

The tricky double-Dutch

The significant advantage has been introduced already. Small-time shopkeepers and/or housewives and/or other individuals can shove money into the banks in minor tranches – from Rs.5 lakhs to Rs. 40 lakhs. It would result in at least 35% of the ill-gotten stash to change colour and crawl back into the crannies of the economy.

It doesn’t nudge the economy in the direction of a cashless economy, but, significantly pushes it toward one.”

The Houdini act – to escape criticism – the reality:

There are no 100% cashless economies anywhere in the world.

There are only hopes – to achieve this utopian concept, or so said the Harvard Business Review some 4 months ago. Operative excerpts:

Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are already considering it, while the European Central Bank is considering getting rid of large-denomination bills.

Cash, according to a recent MasterCard study, accounts for nearly 85% of global consumer transactions.

Some of Sweden’s neighbours, in response to EU’s increasing regulations on restricting cash usage, are demanding a “constitutional right to pay in cashfuelled by concerns around negative interest rates and a perceived loss of privacy that comes with digital money.

Mobile payments today account for over 70% of all e-commerce transactions in China due to wallet wars among three major players – whose acronym is BAT. They comprise Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.

Keeping ATMs stocked and working properly is a cost to banks. These ATM maintenance costs are disproportionately high in many parts of the developing world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America , with myriad security and infrastructure challenges, as well as in geographically large, sparsely populated countries, such as Canada, Russia, and Australia, where the logistics challenges are high.

The absolute cost of cash to consumers, based on average transit time and cash access costs are high in some of the world’s most populous countries: Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, China, and the United States. They are high in many of the major European countries, such as Germany and France, as well as in Japan. These costs are lower in several Scandinavian countries with relatively entrenched mobile payments systems, such as Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, as well as countries with rapidly evolving mobile payment systems, such as South Korea and Kenya.

Countries in the developing world tend to have a greater tax gap and a greater degree of uncertainty about the reliability of the estimate of the gap. Developing countries have the largest tax gaps, with their shadow economies as large as 30%-44% of GDP. In India, for example, the tax gap could be as large as two-thirds of overall taxes owed.

The following countries have the greatest potential for unlocking value by policy and innovation led migration to a cashless society: U.S., Netherlands, Japan, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Czech Republic, China and Brazil. The U.S., for example, incurs a cost of $200 billion annually to keep cash in circulation; nearly a third of all store sales are still cash based despite its long history with plastic money

The second group that could go cashless in the long run includes parts of Eastern Europe such as Poland and Russia, and countries with large populations such as India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Egypt, and the Philippines. Cash imposes severe costs on consumers in India and Mexico as we detail in our Cost of Cash studies

New Delhi’s 11 million inhabitants collectively spend some 72 million hours per year chasing cash.

Mexico’s small businesses suffer a 21% incidence of cash fraud — nearly twice the rate faced by larger businesses in the country.

“The government’s decision has given a sense of satisfaction among honest tax payers.”

The hidden prose:

Suddenly the middle-class with cash available on their declared returns would be in demand and make a killing – by merely circulating the ‘available balance on their cash-books to help money change colours and thus help financial villains.

“Long term advantage to the economy is significant. We appeal to the people to bear the minor inconveniences for the short period of time.

It is a big feint for a future sucker punch.

Ground is being prepared through this guarded statement on short-term inconveniences to assail the PM in the future.

Post script:

Question:

Will this end black money?

Answer: NO!  Persons with leeway in their income tax returns will make a killing by helping cash change colour from black to white and then to black again. Help could come from sources that owe allegiance to – of all people – FM Arun Jaitley!

Question:

Will Pakistan stop its misadventure?

Answer: No. The ISI goons will try to counterfeit the newer notes

Verdict

One should view the demonetisation exercise in the final analysis. The longer term reactions will be the ones to watch.

Slick, Sleek, Sneaky, Snaky, Slippery Leak!

Did Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence contain a strange flipside meaning the exact opposite?

Are Indians who settle in UK and its capital London comfortable?

Do white persons treat them as equals?

Does racism affect those South Asians living in London?

Read on to find one set of answers laced with humour.

It was bleak and was raining that day in London.
It was springtime … yet … it was depressing weather to which, most born in the tropics are not accustomed to.
Rains are common in London – be it spring, summer, autumn or winter.
Weather changes in the Old Bailey at the proverbial drop of a hat … thanks to lip-blister-causing blustery winds that trigger hats’ displacements and temperatures’ downward spiral chilling to the bone anyone unaccustomed to the clime.
Having come from Chennai to take up his posting as the UK Bureau Chief a small India-headquartered news agency – Swaminathan Aiyar had become convinced that the unpredictable British weather was inimically disposed towards all those of his ilk.
Upon the advice of his family Ayurvedic quack, Aiyar had the habit of drinking 14 glasses of water a day. The term Ayurveda roughly translates into English as the Gospel for Prolonged Healthy life.
We call it water-therapy, son. This simple method will flush out all the toxins in your body through urine and thus keep ailments like diabetes away and hold the physician beyond your threshold more effectively than the proverbial apple. What is more, even when you sweat heavily in extreme heat, the water content in your system will remain balanced the natural way,” the ‘water-medicine-uncle’ had said when Aiyar had been merely 7 years old.
Aiyar’s mom had ensured he followed those orders unerringly every day till she had passed away a year ago.
That scheme was and is kosher for tropical weather systems.
London’s inclement weather, nevertheless, totally unsuited to this treatment always made Aiyar fear that his bladder would leak and shame him publicly at any moment.
The only alcoholic beverage Aiyar liked was beer which made life even more difficult.
In March, London’s temperature is usually in its early teens. So it was that day.
Those born in the tropics are created with blood-plasma that seems somewhat diluted.
The liquid’s thickness and character change upon migration to colder regions owing to the human body’s inbuilt immunity system after a few weeks’ acclimatisation.
That metamorphosis was yet to set in Aiyar’s body. Like all Indians, Aiyar had the nasty habit of calculating every item to be bought or every item of expenditure in Indian rupees by doing the currency conversion math in his brain.
The average bedsitter flat in London’s outskirts had a rent quotient of some £ 800 a month. That came to roughly Rs.64,000 in Indian currency.
Someone had told Aiyar that he could choose a somewhat ‘seedy’ neighbourhood to keep the rent low.
“Go find a place in say East Ham, Kilburn or Walthamstow. The neighbourhood isn’t great and the local gangs are always known for some kind of criminal activity. So, the rents are always low in those areas. The London criminal can smell money a mile away. And those without serious stashes of bobs are generally left alone,” Eddie Gilchrist, an acquaintance who worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation had opined.
Aiyar had chosen Kilburn because East Ham and Walthamstow had more Asian criminals who were infinitely smarter than their white brethren, who could steal his identity, passport and a few other knick-knacks.
Located a shade north of central London, Kilburn is known for the domination of persons from Ireland.
“The Irish are extremely difficult to understand,” said Sinead Murphy, a matronly Irishwoman who met him at a coffee shop in London’s fashionable Covent Garden.
“We Irish can be the best of friends and the worst of enemies of anyone without having any particular reason to be so,” the somewhat overweight lady, who, for no apparent reason, had foot the bill for Aiyar’s coffee in spite of being a complete stranger, had said.
Just for that act, Aiyar had decided to risk trying Kilburn out.
A complete fatalist, Aiyar was sold on the idea that every event on earth had been plotted by a premeditated Karmic conspiracy. He called it benevolent and unavoidable brutality beyond one’s control to be suffered inevitably.
Aiyar was on the slim side and blessed with a skin colour fairer than most south Asians.
Born to Tamil speaking Brahmin parents from Palakkad – a town bordering the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu Aiyar, like all south Indians was a near perfect personification of contentment whose yearning for success could be measured in minus value integers.
Palakkad is a town that steadily supplies stenographers and secretaries to India’s more affluent north – a habit that refuses to die despite the passage of over 150 years and the arrival of computer software that can get the work done by a secretary with quadruple efficiency and sans a salary.
Yet, Indian big shots hire secretaries and most of them are from Palakkad.
For some strange reason, during the colonial era, the education system created by the British to mainly spew out mindless clerks with a yen for servitude had inexplicably produced stenographers from that nondescript town.
Despite his pronounced lack of drive, Aiyar was the manifestation of an exception of the assembly line that produced serfs for the colonial masters.
Aiyar had chosen to become a journalist.
While Aiyar was as harmless as a 105-year-old virgin Catholic spinster who spends her time praying in churches, his reports were always incisive and aggressive.
He also had a handsome face to represent his 32 years that sat lightly on his slim frame.
A permanent lost look found always on Aiyar’s face made women want to smother him by mothering him. Some women even told him that.
That always bolstered Aiyar’s ego.
The realtor’s proposed rent of £ 140/week fitted his budget nicely leaving a decent bit to spare.
The furnished flat with two bedrooms needed a mere 2 months’ rent as deposit – almost non-existent to what Aiyar had been accustomed to in Chennai where he had stayed and worked.
It was one of those nice flipsides of the ongoing recession and global downturn in the real estate industry.
Aiyar had wanted to hire the place immediately.
But the realtor had cautioned Aiyar.
“Everything looks normal, advantageous and even hunky-dory to you Ayer, but you need to take a close look at the whole thing several times. The reason is the neighbourhood being completely dominated by Paddies.”
Aiyar looked blank.
“Oh, I forgot, Ayer.” the realtor chimed in very quickly apologising for mispronouncing the name.
“Paddies are a derogatory reference to people from Ireland – meaning people like me. In my opinion, most of the Irish, most unpredictably turn to petty crime for no apparent reason, though I have been straight since a toddler. We can be totally friendly to coloured people like you and seem openly antagonistic towards persons of African origin. The attitude may undergo a sea change like the weather here to satisfy some silly, inexplicable whim. That attitude would explain the problem of Northern Ireland … that part of the island neighbouring Britain … which has a culture almost completely common with the British … and whose populace speaks the English with a thick accent but can do infinitely better than the English. You see, George Bernard Shaw was Irish. Even now we are hankering after a free Northern Ireland despite knowing it isn’t going to work. And we have more in common with our brethren in the southern section of the island … the Irish Republic that has gone nearly broke now in a financial sense like most of Europe … we are both Christian but the south is Protestant and we are Catholic who propitiate the same Gods and yet we Irish are at each other’s throats over minor matters of religion. We Irish, to put it mildly, are crazy,” the realtor had said.
If the lecture hadn’t sufficiently unsettled Aiyar what followed did.
The realtor handed him a folder.
“This is the handiwork of a somewhat balanced British Jew Richard Hauser – who lived 5 miles south of here as the crow flies – in Pimlico. That bleeding heart socialist atheist wrote this … and it would help you make your mind.”
Thoroughly confused by the Irishman’s attitude, Aiyar realised that his bladder was full again and needed to empty it.
Spotting The Shaw, a tavern with an Irish name where he needn’t pay the outrageous £1 for a leak, Aiyar entered, went straight to the toilets’ section.
In his hurry, he did not notice that he had entered the section meant for women. Luckily, it had a single commode and hence Aiyar relieved himself undisturbed.
When he emerged, he saw a woman was waiting to enter and the legend ‘for women’ and realised his gaffe.
“Oops! Very sorry,” Aiyar blurted out.
“All of us females and males do more or less the same thing behind closed doors – in the loo,” the woman said in a sing-song Irish accent and went in laughing.
The embarrassment had fazed Aiyar and he decided to have a beer to drown the feeling.
“Could I have a pint of lager please?”
“Ever tried the Guinness Stout, gentleman?”
The barman-cum-owner of the joint Martin O’Shea asked in a voice louder than necessary.
Stout is a kind of dark-coloured beer whose taste is very akin to roasted and ground coffee.
Being a south Indian Tamil speaking Brahmin, Aiyar loved his filter-coffee brewed strong.
He had been introduced to stout at the favourite watering hole of journalists in London called The Club that is situated in the basement of Bush House – the central London office of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Liquor is subsidised at The Club where only members or members’ guests are served.
The ‘guest’ could virtually be anyone and would be signed in by any member.
The only thing any club member would baulk at is paying a stranger’s bill.
The coffee tinge had made Aiyar love stout.
“Need time to make your mind, olde son? The Stout looks strong enough to make a spoon stand in it vertically … but is light enough to make you love it like a slim, beautiful woman!”
The bartender’s sales pitch appealed to Aiyar as it jerked him out of his reverie.
He paid for his pint of stout and he took his tankard of the dark liquid to a less populated part of the pub by the door where a pool table stood.
He then began reading the brochure handed over by the realtor.
Two Irishmen Michael O’Dwyer and Reginald O’Dyer had done to Indians what very few persons from a civilised nation ever had anywhere on the globe but their acts hastened the quest for freedom, its opening paragraph said.
Intrigued, Aiyar continued.
To quell India’s quest for freedom that had become a kind of mainstream middleclass mindset even in the 1920’s through peaceful unrest, O’Dwyer, the lieutenant governor of Punjab, Aiyar had thought, had hatched a plot to turn the trigger happy O’Dyer loose on an unarmed gathering in northern India, in 1919 to simply cow down the Indians.
O’Dyer had ordered his Ghurkha soldiers to open fire on an unarmed group of peacefully protesting men, women and children in Jallianwala Bagh located virtually next door to the Sikhs’ holiest shrine – the Golden Temple.
The official toll itself is shrouded in mystery as it ranges from below two hundred to over a few hundred depending on which press statement one reads.
Several credible Englishmen have placed it to around a few thousands.
Besides the Jallianwala Bagh pogrom, O’Dwyer had also authorised the aerial strafing of another unarmed group of women and children killing dozens in Gujranwala, a border town now located within Pakistan.
Despite its tendency to look the other way when native Indians were at the painfully wrong end of colonial sticks, the then Labour Party British regime drew a line with O’Dwyer and O’Dyer by condemning their actions in the strongest possible terms.
On 24 June 1920, the British Labour Party unanimously passed a resolution during its Scarborough Conference that denounced the two Irishmen’s deeds as ‘cruel and barbarous actions’.
O’Dwyer, when 75 years old, was shot dead at a meeting of the Royal Central Asian Society in Caxton Hall, London on 13 March 1940, by a Sikh revolutionary, Udham Singh, in retaliation for the 2 pogroms in what had been undivided Punjab.
On his return to Britain, Brigadier Dyer was, however, presented with a purse of £ 26,000, a huge sum in those days, which emerged from a collection on his behalf by The Morning Post, a conservative, pro-Imperialistic newspaper, which later merged with the right-wing Daily Telegraph.
General Dyer wrote an article in The Globe on January 21, 1921, entitled, “The Peril to the Empire.”
Its opening gambit was India does not want self-government. She does not understand it.
In the British Army Museum in London, a testimonial to O’Dyer by the British Monarch is the first exhibit along the wall of the staircase as one ascends to the first floor devoted to the Indian Army. He died of cerebral haemorrhage and arteriosclerosis in 1927.
The acts of the two men hardened India’s quest for Freedom, despite old man Gandhi not being convinced of it at that point in time.
In fact, the future father of the nation had written many times to the British Queen stating that he was not repeat not fighting for freedom as that would mean treason against Her Majesty. A decent level of freedom under the umbrella of dominion status would do nicely, or so Gandhi had said to the queen.
Ultimately India won freedom after the wily Churchill had signed on the dotted line in a secret agreement with the then US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to dismantle the colonial system so that the entire advanced first world could do business with the jewel in the crown during the second world war while seeking help from across the Atlantic.
Another reason was that the British had understood the real meaning of Gandhi’s walking with the help of a stick and mouthing nonviolence ad nauseam.
A young British MI6 officer had pointed out the obvious during a meeting in New Delhi even as a naval revolt was brewing in Bombay in 1946.
“We would be better advised to leave when the going is good, gentlemen. The old half naked fakir is saying one thing and he means something else altogether though he will never utter anything close to what he actually means. What he is constantly saying is: Look white people … I am old, frail … use a stick to help me walk … and keep mouthing platitudes against violence. But just think, boyos … what would happen if millions of Indian pick-up sticks like mine and use it for various chores into which walking isn’t included,” the officer is supposed to have said in New Delhi at the Vice-regal lodge that became the Indian President’s residence later.
That made the colonials’ minds up and they left India in 1947 a few months later … after dividing India … and installing a sex-crazed Nehru in charge … who was more British than the British.
That officer too, who shall for the time being remain unnamed, was an Irishman.
The brochure was full of illustrations of the two brutal men and scenes of what they had done.
Aiyar was fascinated and foxed at the same time.
Why did the Irish realtor give this to me? Does he want me to take up residence in this area or is he trying to scare me away?
The Shaw has enough chairs and tables to seat a big crowd.
Its big bar has lots of varieties of drinks – the most popular ones being Irish whiskey brands Jameson and Bushmills.
Those who had rolled the spirit on the tongues and savoured the taste would arguably bet a hundred bob that Irish spirits are infinitely better than the more famous Scotch.
It was close to lunch-hour.
The Shaw serves a strange variety of potato soup … thanks to its German migrant cook Hans – who hails from Hamburg.
Hamburg is famous for its 9 varieties of its Kartoffelsuppe.
Hans had added a few Indian condiments to the soup to make it a bit spicy before serving. That made it his personal recipe.
Aiyar liked it … especially with his beer.
The barman Martin O’Shea who also happened to be the landlord of the place served Aiyar it in a jiffy on the highly polished Mahogany topped table.
“The soup is very good, you know,” Aiyar told O’Shea when the owner of the pub wandered near his table.
Tá a fhios agam, a céad míle fáilte, mo chara!”
It sounded like Greek to Aiyar.
“What did you say and in which language?”
“Ah! I greeted you in Irish, the language of kings. I said I know … and added a hundred thousand welcomes. We Irish always are generous with our words and deeds. The English retort you are welcome is rather insipid,” O’Shea said.
Aiyar placed a ten bob note on the table and expansively added, “You keep the change, mate!”
O’Shea made an elaborate bow and wandered away to attend to the others.
The pub-crawlers were slowly coming in.
Aiyar was into his third drink and second soup when he heard her.
“Won’t you even look at me then, mate?”
The voice was musically Irish.
“Sorry?”
Aiyar looked at her.
The girl seated next to him was stunningly beautiful. Her long blond hair fell carelessly on her shoulders. She wore blue jeans and a cardigan leaving the top three buttons tantalizingly undone. Obviously she was enjoying the mild British weather that was making life miserable for Aiyar.
“I am Rosaleen. But I am Flower to friends.”
“I am Swaminathan Aiyar. My family name is what I am usually referred to in England and I am yet to realise why!”
She placed her pint of stout on the table.
“Thank you. But why are you not staring at me like the rest of the guys here? I like being stared at, mate!”
“I am …er… a bit shy, Ro…Flower,” Aiyar stuttered.
“Give the Paki cad a broom, girl,” said a huge white man with an accent thick as frozen marmalade.
Aiyar turned to face the Irish giant.
“First of all, I am an Indian. And don’t describe Pakistanis that way.”
“Why should we not now?”
There were six of them asking the question in a chorus.
“The Pakis come here illegally and to settle down here manage to worm their way into the hearts of white women here and then discard them after obtaining citizenship. The bastard offspring born end up becoming young Moslem terrorists.”
One of them said this in an angry tone … but slurred by liquor.
“I am a Hindu Brahmin and totally different from Moslems … if you can understand that simple truth,” Aiyar remarked in an annoyed tone.
His carefree tone made the Irishmen angrier.
“Why don’t you go find a bearded woman in a turban then?”
Another Irishman cracked that one loudly implying that it was a joke. His friends twittered.
“Ya all are behaving like shites. And I like Ayer ‘ere. At least he is not boorish like the lot of ya!”
Rosaleen’s cheeks were flushed in anger. She tossed her shoulder length blonde hair back and did a bottoms-up of her drink.
Suddenly she put her arm into that of Aiyar.
“Come on! Let us play pool,” she said.
“I have never played the game.”
“I can teach ya.”
More white men gathered.
Aiyar quickly noticed that he was the only brown man in the pub.
And Rosaleen was the only white female, wantonly ignoring and insulting them white men was sipping her lager and teaching Aiyar to play pool.
The murmurs were becoming louder and angrier.
Nobody noticed O’Shea make the phone call.
“Come on, me boys. Let us teach this olde son some manners,” the first man said.
A crowd of twenty-two men, all drunk, had gathered around the pool table.
Suddenly the sirens’ wails were heard.
A male Caucasian officer led from the front. He was accompanied by two men of South Asian and Jamaican origins respectively.
They waded through the menacing sulking crowd, which slowly started dispersing.
“I am Head Constable O’Halloran, more Irish and better law abiding than the criminals here. My colleagues here are Hafeez and Washington.”
The officers shook hands with Aiyar.
Aiyar explained who he was.
“I am looking for a place to rent in this district … and was doing my own thing. The girl was merely being nice to me, sir teaching me to play pool. The people here took umbrage. Frankly, I do not understand this as neither I was making a play for the girl nor was she flirting with me,” Aiyar said.
“Why don’t you vamoose right now? To understand racism you have to be its victim. And being a victim of racism isn’t some bloody picnic. And we have a lot on our plate to maintain peace hereabouts. The white majority here has a persecution complex … just as you Hindus in India have against the minorities back home. And it is not our job to make people understand that there are baddies in every religion, nation and have all sorts of skin colours,” O’Halloran said bitterly.
Somehow, Aiyar felt he was hearing a younger version of Yorkshire-man cricket commentator Geoffrey Boycott.
“Sorry, I am late, darling!”
Everyone turned and looked in the direction of the voice.
Someone looking like a spitting image of Brad Pitt was at the door.
His accent was public school, yet there was a very slight trace of Irish.
“Oh, no problem, Patrick, Ayer here was taking good care of me.”
“Actually the name is Aiyar … spelt A-i-y-a-r!”
Aiyar shook hands with the Irishman who hugged the girl indicating they were lovers.
“Why don’t we have a spot of lunch somewhere? Now that we have an Indian friend, let us go to Goodge Street. There are three Indian restaurants there. But the Krishna is the best.”
“It seems a good idea,” Aiyar said.
“Sure,” Flower said.
The trio took the London Underground rail system referred to as the tube, changed at Baker Street, Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and reached Goodge Street in thirty six minutes.
A two-minute walk later, they were at the Krishna.
Once owned by one Haridas Menon, another man from Palakkad who had worked at the Indian High Commission in central London, the Krishna now had new owners.
Hailing from south India, Aiyar placed the order, as he understood the cuisine.
After three double Bushmills, six Pappadams, rice, Avial, Sambar, plain yoghurt and Malabar pickles – that had filled all the three tummies, Aiyar took leave after footing the bill.
“I never know why, but women trust me. And I never betray that trust. I try to be as protective as possible. The Irish had a persecution complex completely surprised me,” Aiyar remarked as they took leave.
“We are friends now. When we get married, you must be my best man, Ayer,” Flower’s boyfriend Patrick said as he shook hands warmly.
“We will pick up the tab next time,” Rosaleen intervened to say and pecked Aiyar on the cheek thrilling him.
As the lift taking Aiyar down in Goodge Street tube station disappeared from sight, Patrick looked at Flower and smiled.
“Pa felt he was lucky to have spotted this guy. We had felt that our flat wasn’t being rented for a long time with at a decent sum. Pa had a brainwave, called me in and I made a play for this guy. The drunken slobs had had enough of their sisters’ delivering one too many half-Paki bastards. One of them big guys Fallon had expressed interest in the flat. Hopefully dad has clinched the deal. But, had it not been for this south Asian Patel, those guys in the pub would have crowded me. I was not in the mood to be crowded especially on my first night in London. Think of the coincidence of this simpleton being the only Indian in the pub, being chivalrous and all that.”
Rosaleen giggled as she said that.
“Nice touch, the police. Now let us call Martin and find out what happened on the flat front.”
Flower’s boyfriend called his future pa-in-law from the Samsung mobile.
“The deal is through! The big fella Fallon was threatened with arrest by O’Halloran for his racist misbehaviour. I interceded on his behalf and got him off the law’s microscope. ‘Next time I may not allow myself to be convinced by a shady landlord,’ O’ Halloran told Fallon in a voice like the devil’s and left. The grateful Fallon fell for a renewed pitch on the flat like a ton of bricks paid the outrageous cash deposit of £3200 then and there. Said he is moving in tomorrow, with his wife and half-caste bastard step-son at a rent of £400/week. Seems he has fallen for a local bitch who, in to my knowledge, is a cross-breed born to a Romanian gypsy drug peddler on the run and a Scottish woman with the morals of an alley cat. She sold the sob story to the idiot and the grapevine informed me that Fallon who had made a lot of money by getting 3rd World labourers to work on contract in first world construction sites during the boom had got married to that unwed mother after hearing her carefully authored yarn. This opens a new vista of real estate business, Pat. We can buy options on properties and find different realtors to lure newer greenhorn Asians to be the worms to catch the Paddy fish with a huge persecution complex, get all the places rented at a hefty profit and pocket the commission!”
O’Shea was careful and was talking in a near whisper this time.
“I can see that we will be having very tasty Indian lunches and dinners … all on the house … or on the expense accounts of Indian suckers. And don’t forget our share of the commission, you greedy old geezer!” Flower said overhearing her pop’s words and laughed.
“What was that brochure the Indian was reading? Something you gave him?”
O’Shea’s daughter asked the question.
“That was yet another of my tricks. Somewhere I read about a man called Richard Hauser. He was a well-connected Jewish, bleeding-heart Human Rights Activist migrant Quaker from Austria who lived in Pimlico. That was just a name from a telephone directory and I asked the realtor guy to use it with deadly effect on the Paki… oops… I perhaps ought to say Indian. He said there is a vital difference.”
“I can’t see any,” Flower said and laughed some more.
“Paint the town red, kids!” O’Shea said and disconnected.
“I hope that one of them Asians does not worm his way into your heart, a-Colleen,” Patrick said with a mischievous smile, attempting to kiss Flower.
“Make this crack once more and I will really find a turbaned Osama for a boyfriend and jettison ya, you shite,” Flower replied, punched her live-in mate playfully on his muscular left bicep and began kissing him passionately as they began walking towards Euston Railway terminal breathing the fresh, nippy afternoon air, ready to paint the town red as O’Shea had suggested.