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Category: Current Affairs

MOURNING THE PASSING AWAY OF SHARAD JOSHI

I’ve been offline for a few days. Back online now, albeit with relatively limited connectivity. I’m copying my FB post here.

The first thing I’ve noted from my emails is that Sharad Joshi has passed away during this period. This is a great loss to India.

I last spoke with Sharad Joshi over the phone in mid-2014, and after significant hectoring finally persuaded him to send a delegate to the liberal political conference FTI had convened in July 2014.

Joshi and I have a long history now – I have known him since around 1999 when I returned to India from USA. He wanted me to be his PS and Deputy Secretary in Delhi while he chaired an agricultural task force in the rank of Cabinet Minister under the Vajpayee government. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

Later, between 2003 and mid-2005 we were in regular contact over email, and spent many days together in January 2004 at IPI’s 5-day workshop-cum-seminar.

Persuaded by his leadership at the workshop, I joined his party (Swatantra Bharat Party) as life member in January 2004. The IPI event and follow-up publicity it generated contributed, I understand, to his getting a NDA nomination for a Maharashtra Rajya Sabha seat later that year. Unfortunately, by mid-2005 I was forced to conclude that he could not lead the liberals of India and – much to my regret – left his party (and my citizenship of India).

Having revived my political work in 2007-08 with FTI, I had many further discussions with Sharad Joshi over the phone and email. One particular long discussion I had with him in late 2012 (or early 2013) when I first engaged with Ramdev who had committed me a broadly liberal party that would fight socialism. He was very sceptical about Ramdev (and Ramdev had an equally sceptical opinion about him). In the end, he proved to be right about Ramdev who turned out to be a man without integrity. I kept Sharad Joshi in the loop regularly with key progress regarding the new party.

Till late-2014/early-2015 I had hoped that we could work together; but that’s where his great flaw – failure to communicate – came into the picture once again. He was either not willing or physically incapable (being by then very sick) of endorsing (in-principle) the SKC agenda, some of which is almost taken verbatim from Swatantra Bharat Party’s manifesto. It can be stated that the SKC agenda is a hugely refined and improved version of Sharad Joshi’s own vision for India. I recall his contempt (for instance) of the MS Swaminathan report.

But without such in-principle agreement, there was no hope of working together.

Had Sharad Joshi been a better communicator and more willing to discuss any issues he had, he could had been the beacon that the Indian liberals have been looking for since the passing away of Rajaji.

But that was not to be.

But while I have lost all hope with the likes of Ramdev and JP of LokSatta, I never lost hope with Sharad Joshi till the very end of his life.

I had only recently requested Sanjay Sonawani​ to keep engaging with Swatantra Bharat Party delegates in Maharashtra, to keep looking for common ground.

I believe that there is some merit in the Swarna Bharat and Swatantra Bharat parties merging at this stage – a proposal I had been canvassing with Sharad Joshi for quite some time now. The modalities could have been considered, and can still be considered.

India has lost one of its greatest sons since independence. We must mourn that loss. I may have more to write in the coming days, time permitting.

But this must also be taken as an opportunity for the “rural” liberals and the “urban” liberals (a false dichotomy that Sharad Joshi created in his mind which, I believe, lay at the core of his disconnect from the group of liberals he had connected with in 2004) to come together as a single unit.

I’m cc.ing Shyam Ashtekar​, Manvendra Kachole​. I’m happy to convene a meeting of key leaders of both parties in the coming months. Only when the real liberals of India learn to discuss and to work with each other, can India get the liberal revolution that it desperately needs. Our goals for India are the same, but I find it impossible to explain why Swatantra Bharat Party is so silent, so inscrutable.

ADDENDUM

With ref. to this article, my FB comment:

There is reference in this article to the pivotal 2004 liberal workshop I convened – which agreed to accept Sharad Joshi as leader. Joshi did many good things after that, but for some inexplicable reason, he fell short of expectations. Just what exactly was missing in his leadership, I could never understand. He just wouldn’t communicate. Maybe he didn’t trust others – particularly those from urban areas. I don’t know. I’ll never know. If he had trusted and communicated better, things might have been so much different.

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Five solutions to Islamic violence – almost all of them non-violent

Now that it is clear that the underlying cause of the mayhem we see across the world is the same source (Quran, sunna) that caused mayhem in the past centuries, the question is: what can be done about Islam?

1. Never hide from the truth – that this is about Islam, not “Islamism”

There is nothing called Islamism. This is about Mohammed’s violent Islam. No Western leader should obfuscate this basic truth.

Directly challenge ANY Muslim or Muslim leader who suggests this is not about Islam (e.g. that this is about US foreign policy), or that Islam is a religion of peace. It is NOT (e.g. see this, this, this, this, this.). And be very aware of the requirement for deception imposed on Muslims (taqiyaa: see this, this and this). Do not trust ANY Muslim who claims that Islam is a religion of peace – unless that Muslim is deeply ignorant about his/her own religion (as many are).

Comments by an ex-Muslim here, show one example of such deception (in relation to actions of some Muslim women who participate in staged demonstrations – “A Muslim woman cannot even think repeat cannot even think of going out and be part of a demonstration even if it is for religious purposes. They would go out and demonstrate only repeat only when commanded by their men to do so.”)

The real enemy is Mohammed. Recognise this basic fact. His violent approach towards “infidels” should be diligently studied and “outed”.

If Western leaders obfuscate matters by calling Islam a religion of peace, then expect the common man to be confused, becoming susceptible to far more violence, for much longer. The Western leaders do no one a favour by misleading their citizens about Islam.

Let the detailed study of Islam’s PRESCRIBED violence towards “infidels” become a part of school curriculum in the West. Know your enemy, or your enemy will overcome you.

Know that your enemy will not die till there remains any follower of Islam. This is not a battle of one or two decades. It is a battle for the centuries, even millennia. Be prepared. Let children in the West learn why some Muslims will always seek to kill them, and that you can never known in advance which Muslim will do so, just like you can never know in advance in India who will suddenly give up his/ her family commitments and become a sanyasi.

When Islam is pinned down globally as the world’s most violent religion ever, Muslim leaders – particularly in the West – will be forced to do something about it. Currently, they are having a jolly good time by pointing fingers at the victim (West), even as they take advantage of the freedom of speech guaranteed in the West.

2. Demonstrate to Muslims the many problems with Quran and Sunna

There other day I proposed a possible solution, here: Not bombing the ISIS but demonstrating the problems with Quran and the sunna, might help.

This post summarises the many other problems with these books, not just about violence: Three conclusive proofs that God had NOTHING nothing to do with Mohammed’s Quran.

This DIRECTLY attacks the assumption of Muslims that God created the Quran. Now, in the liberal tradition of separation of church and state, this information should be propagated mainly by private individuals in their private capacity.

However, there could be some role for the Western governments in this regard, as well – particularly Western leaders in their private capacity. They could potentially help fund the republication of the blogs and writings of “apostates”. Get these writings widely translated into English, French and other Western languages and circulate within the West, so Muslims born in these countries there can understand why “apostasy” is the only sensible solution to this false and violent belief system.

The goal should be to end all religion, for religion has only brought misery upon mankind.

3. Export liberalism to Muslim majority nations

Islam is hard work, and requires constant violence. Such violence on a daily basis is not sustainable, so over time in every Muslim society gets smothered by laziness and becomes benign – till a fundamentalist ruler revives violence once again.

Today the Saudis are funding and exporting Wahhabism throughout the world, supporting the revival of the real Islam.

To retaliate, the West needs to actively export liberalism to the middle-Eastern nations. We need evangelical liberalism.

At its core, this is a battle between Islam and liberty. Let’s identify that as the key issue.

How can this be done? It is worthwhile funding a range of institutions and individual writers to tailor the message of liberty and critical thinking and spread it to Saudi Arabia and other Muslim majority countries (particularly Pakistan and India).

The cost of such a strategy would be small, possibly just a hundred million dollars each year; but its benefit would be huge, as people across these countries learn something useful about mankind’s struggle for liberty. My manuscript, The Discovery of Freedom is the kind of material that could be customised for such purpose.

How do we reach out to these countries?

a) I found that it is relatively cheap to reach out to a lot of these countries through Facebook. But that’s just one example. Anyone can reach out through social media to these countries.

b) Massively funding honest Muslims who live in the West (such as the Muslims mentioned in this article) AND who understand liberty, would be another strategy.

4. Make foreign aid conditional on generating public support for the US and the West

Syed F. Hussaini’s solution (I quote directly):

In the history of international relations, the present and the previous US administrations would be logged as utterly incompetent in making use of the dozens of billions of dollars they doled out to Pakistan.

The US ambassador can simply tell the prime minister and the military that all TV channels and the newspapers from now on would have to be praising The United States of America as The Greatest Friend Of Islam And Pakistan In The History and, only then, Pakistan would get the aid–strictly on the basis of the performance and on monthly basis and subject to penalty in case of poor performance.

The anti-American sentiment in Pakistan would calm down in 29 days and would disappear in 90 days.

My question: I think your solution is innovative – quite innovative. It is based on incentives. It could very well work, although I suspect any Islamic government that tried this solution could be thrown out by the organisations of mullahs.

Syed Hussaini’s response: The mullahs, historically, are employees of the rulers. They have no power to throw out a ruler. It is the rival Power, with a P-Cap which takes over. The mullah simply changes the allegiance and collects his stipend.

I think this solution must form part of the toolkit of the West to reduce the spread of the real (fundamentalist) Islam.

5. Use violence when absolutely necessary

This is an ideological battle. Violence will almost always be counter-productive. As Robert Higgs says,

So, one might propose, for example, that the U.S. government stop blundering around in the Middle East carrying the “iron rods” that will attract the lightening of aggrieved Muslims whose friends, relatives, or causes have been harmed or killed by American actions. Absent such general palliatives, one must simply resign himself to the reality that occasionally — albeit very, very infrequently — bad things will happen.

When the enemy is diffused and sprouts right below one’s nose, there is no hope of success through widespread violence. The West lost Vietnam despite massive carpet bombing, so also the West will lose the ideological battle if it sends drones or otherwise uses violence.

Someone mentioned to me that shooting thousands of Sikhs (including hundreds of innocents) demolished the Khalistan movement. That was a terrible way to do things, but there was a fundamental difference between the Khalistan movement and Islamic terrorism: Khalistan was a fight for separation from India; Islamic terrorists want to take over the minds of people across the entire world – it is far more ideological than geographic, although there is the issue of a Caliphate.

Having said that, violence can be used in highly restrictive circumstances, e.g. to take down key leaders of the terrorist movement. But only these leaders. That involves James Bond-type solutions (i.e. killing specific individuals). Such solutions are very challenging but effective, when carried out well.

I suppose the another could be the specific (if needed, violent) targeting of terrorist cells within the West.

What about attacking the ISIS directly? That’s probably best done by laying a siege on the ISIS, and – of course – disrupting their communications. Hitting their key logistics including ammunition supply, motor vehicles and oil, is likely to work best. Much of this can be done from outside the ISIS borders. And put in no-fly zones.

Other potential solutions

What about arming the people in the West, so they can defend against attacks? I’ve not formed a clear view on this at the moment, given the many pros and cons, and because this doesn’t deal with the underlying problem: Islam. Let me not advocate this as a solution at this stage. At best this can be a band aid, a palliative. It may help save a few lives, but it will not prevent the sprouting of even more terrorists.

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Not bombing the ISIS but demonstrating the problems with Quran and the sunna, might help.

In relation to this news article: David Cameron to order ‘decapitation’ of Islamic State chiefs, my FB comment.

The more you decapitate, the more it grows. Not billions of dollars in bombs, but billions of dollars in spreading the truth about Quran and sunna – and demonstrating the benefits of liberty – could help. The violent “word of God” can’t be eradicated by bombs. ISIS is merely doing what “God” said.

The West is playing FULLY into the hands of the ISIS. It is treating a war of ideology as a war of geography.

Do these fools know the kinds of images of devastation in Syria that are going around on Facebook, among the Muslims? Do they not know that the Islamic propaganda machine is blaming the West for mass murder and genocide? Each bomb by the West potentially creates 100 more terrorists.

The armed forces are designed to destroy an attack on territory. This is an attack on the mind. The armed forces should be used very sparingly, or not at all – in this case. This is an entirely different war.

ADDENDUM

Found this on Facebook

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100+ innocent lives is NOTHING, for religion. Religion consumes millions, being the work of Satan.

There may be some good in religious belief, but that good has nothing to do with religion. People are born good and the vast majority of them will be good, regardless of religion.

It takes religion to convert good men into butchers.

It is astonishing that people are pointing fingers at Islam, as if it is the ONLY source of poison in this world. Yes, Islam is poison, but so are ALL other religions.

For well over 35 years I have argued that ALL religions are poison, evil. My survey of religions finds these to be (a) 100% man-made; and (b) overwhelmingly evil. I once thought that the founders of various religions were good people but I’m no longer sure about that.

In getting worked up about Paris, People forget the sheer scale of killings from religion.

100+ is NOTHING, for religion. Religion consumes millions. It is the greatest technology of death ever invented by our species.

Till religion continues, expect to see this butchery continue. In India, Modi leads this butchery today. But he is not the cause of the butchery. It is his religion.

In my manuscript, Discovery of Freedom, I’ve conducted a historical review of all major religions. I’ve given credit where it is due. In a situation where criminal sociopaths led the world till relatively recently, the diversity of religions helped mankind save some of its genuine advances. Islam was of great help to humanity, just like Hinduism and Christianity had their role to play in saving us from total disaster.

But the greatest advance for the human species was made in the USA. It was led by Jefferson, a half-agnostic. Without his approach to liberty and complete rejection of religion as a basis for the new nation, the USA would have been a country of Christian maniacs by now.

To this one man, Jefferson, we owe almost everything meaningful that we see around us, today. Defending Jefferson’s intellectual legacy and expanding it across the world is the only meaningful task for our generation, and for many more generations to come.

ADDENDUM

Here’s the basic problem.

1) You can’t (should never!) try to kill all Muslims for the crimes of some of them. It would be the worst outcome for everyone if people took upon themselves the idea of fighting ONE out of so many religions. This is definitely about Islam, but fighting it in isolation will only strengthen it.

2) You can’t stop the flow of ideas, people and goods across the world (and shortly, 3D printed guns will be widely available).

3) You can’t stop some young teenagers from getting swayed by terrorist dreams. So you can’t stop the never-ending flow of killers.

SOLUTION?
You have to have a long term (VERY long term) plan to disband religion. This has taken around 400 years in the West, but even then religion continues to be fairly strong. It will require a concerted effort to educate young children across the world about the dangers of religion. 100 years of such effort may help reduce religious violence. But currently no country even remotely wants to identify the real problem: religion.

Let me repeat again. This is an Islamic problem, but it is not about Islam, alone. This is about religion. [Source]

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