Meaningless musings

I read Ian Buruma’s piece on the politics of Islamophobia. It was a very underwhelming piece of arm-chair (‘liberal’) intellectualism with no solutions on the table. Armchair (‘liberal’) intellectualism is good at spelling out what it opposes. But, it has nothing useful to propose.

Some samples from his Op.-Ed:

The only way to combat revolutionary Islamist violence is to gain the trust of law-abiding Muslims in the West. This will not be easy, but arbitrary arrests are surely the wrong way to go about it.

Most French citizens are now so frightened of Islamist attacks that such measures are widely supported. But they are almost certainly counter-productive.

So, does he have other answers? He does not. IF he had, he would have proposed them.

The one that he does not propose which others in the ‘Comments’ Section have done is to suggest that, for the Western world to become trusting of their immigrant Muslim population, moderate Muslims denounce and distance themselves from acts of terrorism and from terrorists acting in the name of Islam. They should cease and desist from moral support and financial support, directly or indirectly through seemingly innocuous sounding and seemingly charitable organisations. They must do this sustainably and meaningfully. They can do much more too (see the comment on the Pew Research document below).

Education at Madrasas has to be demonstrably different. The onus is on Muslim governments. Mr. Buruma has nothing to tell them. Individual terrorists may not pose an existential threat and, arguably, even terrorist organisations alone may not. But, organisations supported, backed and allowed to operate, by sovereign States can, do and have become existential threats.

Perhaps, Mr. Buruma could be excused for not having seen a Pew Research document that was published on Dec. 7. His article appears to have been written earlier. Nonetheless, he could have done some homework. There is so much information on the Internet that it would have not taken much effort to convince himself that it takes two to tango.

Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning one important detail from the Pew Research:

Across the seven Muslim-majority countries and territories surveyed, a median of 68% of Muslims said they view Westerners as selfish. Considerable shares also called Westerners other negative adjectives, including violent (median of 66%), greedy (64%) and immoral (61%), while fewer attributed positive characteristics like “respectful of women” (44%), honest (33%) and tolerant (31%) to Westerners

These attitudes are the bedrock on which hate, hate crimes and terrorist attacks are built. Given such attitudes on the other side, it does not take much intelligence to figure out that matters such as Islamophobia can hardly have a one-sided narrative.

Finally, his last paragraph about Obama’s moderation and other ‘big talkers’ is disingenuous. There would have been no room for the provocations of Donald Trump and others but for the failures of the so-called ‘moderate’ politicians and their approaches.

Mr. Buruma needs to think a lot harder. Post-Paris attacks, if the actions of the French police are counter-productive as Mr. Buruma writes, Op.-Eds. such as these are counter-productive too.

Tipping the hat to the Government

A friend sent me the pictures in this post. I gather that the person
with a moustache in the water with a white head covering in one photo
is C. Sylendra Babu, an Additional Director General of Police who had
no real need to get into the water if he did not want to. He is also
the one in the other photo with two children. The others in the
picture (with the boat) are probably constables. The children are not his:-). Clearly, he is not the typical ADG of Police, but there
were many officers and staff who went beyond the normal call of duty.

If you know more stories, please send them to me.

So, while we write critiques on the government’s lack of disaster
preparedness – justified too – let us also be grateful to the Almighty
for giving us selfless officers like these, cheer them and cherish
them. Doing both are not mutually exclusive.

ADG of Chennai_1

ADG of Chennai_2




Proliferating polarisation

Good friend Bala had sent me a story from ‘Times of India’ website on how a supermarket in Austria had to pull Halal Meat from its shelves because of reaction from some of its customers on its Facebook page. The story appears to be true.

If so, it confirms that the aims and objectives of outfits like ISIL are succeeding –  polarisation and fanning of extreme opinions in non-Muslims towards Muslims. This is what Islamic terrorists want to achieve and this is what the world is moving towards.

The only way it can stop in an effective and lasting manner is when moderate Muslims rise up in large numbers and decimate extremism on their side. Then, Islamophobes will have no voice.


Drowning in the flood of secularism and tolerance in India

Probably, my Chennai-based friends might get a nervous breakdown on seeing the words, ‘drown’ and ‘flood’. They should relax. It is a different kind of rain we are going to discuss.

Came to know that the Bharatiya Janata Dal MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda has been served a privilege notice by 6 MPs belonging to the Rajya Sabha for suggesting that Rajya Sabha may have to be reformed. It is holding the popularly elected Lok Sabha hostage. India’s situation is unparalleled globally – that is what the header of his article in ‘Times of India’ says.

He has pointed to reforms undertaken by the UK, Italy and the United States that have made the Upper House more accountable or less obstructionist or both. Therefore, six MPs have served a privilege notice on him!

Writers who did not like the views of Vikram Sampath got him to resign from the Organising Committee of the Bangalore Literary Festival.

Secular commentators have become suddenly tongue-tied on the call for greater evangelism on the part of the Chief Secretary of the Government of Kerala.

The real problem

I receive a weekly mail titled, ‘Weekend Reading’ from It is a great collection. That email is open to non-fee paying subscribers. One of the articles I read is on the heroin addiction in America caused by prescription drugs. It is gripping and it is frightening. Do not fail to grasp the significance of the role of the patients (public) itself.

You might wonder what is common between this, stock market investors’ behaviour, the outbreak of excessive political correctness in U.S. University campuses and the reluctance in several quarters to label and acknowledge that almost all terrorists in the world today are Muslims?

The common thread is DENIAL. It is the reluctance to come to terms with the problems and be happy with symptomatic treatment.