Thursday, January 1, 2015

Magnificent Delusions by Husain Haqqani

Husain Haqqani, the author, is a former Ambassador of Pakistan to US. He was charged with conspiring against the Pak government and had to leave his country and take shelter in the USA. Haqqani a member of Benazir Bhutto's party PPP is an erudite in foreign affairs and Pakistani history. Having access to the corridors of power in the both US and Pak he was privy to secrets and top level Pakistani government and Army functionaries.

Haqqani elucidates the diplomatic and foreign relations between Pak and US starting from the conceptualization of Pakistan, which would serve as a home to Muslims of South East Asia and to the discovery and assassination of infamous mass murderer Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan in 2011. Haqqani describes how the US has played a pivotal role in harboring, nurturing and supporting the Pakistani establishment in the form of billions of dollars in aid and arms.

The most enlightening facet of the book is how each Pakistani leader starting from the civilian rulers like Liaquat Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to Military dictators like General Ayub to Zia and to Musharaff have begged for aid and money from the American Presidents. This is a recurrent theme in the book, as Haqqani is taking us through a tour of Pak history and its relationship with the most powerful nation in the world each new leader keeps on repeating the same things to the Americans ad nauseam, Pakistan's strategic location, its powerful military, anti-communism and the viscous machinations of India.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Blood Telegram by Gary J Bass

East Pakistan(present day Bangladesh) was in turmoil. West Pakistan dominated all aspects of East Pakistan. Although East Pakistan had more citizens than the West, but they had feeble representation in the Government and even lesser in the all powerful army. The Army which is by far the most dominant institution in Pak used to look at East Pakistanis as dark skinned lesser Muslims who were on friendly terms with their Hindu minority, on the other hand the Pakistan army dominated by Punjabis considered themselves a martial race and pious Muslims. East Pakistan was given step brotherly treatment in terms of investment and military support. Mujibur Rehman, head of the Bangladeshi Awami league wanted greater autonomy for the Bangladeshis but Pakistan headed by the Military dictator General Yahya Khan would never allow it. Yahya declared elections in Pakistan, which the Awami League trumped and Mujibur was all set to head the country but the army would never allow him to take charge. If Mujibur heads the country than Punjabis and in turn the army would lose their grip over the Islamic state.

Yahya dissolved the assembly and took over power(he was supposed to relinquish control to the civilian government). Yahya ordered his troops to kill members of Awami league, and arrest Mujibur Rehman. Then the Pakistan army proceeded to commit the most brutal and gruesome genocide in recent history.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Only Fatherland by Arun Shourie

Arun Shourie, one the of the leading intellectuals of the country and a member of the Hindu right wing political party, BJP, goes into the history of the CPI during the Independence movement. Communist Party of India, who we only know from their inordinately long regimes in the states of West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala have a sordid and secret history which the author has tried to expose.

Shourie brings irrefutable proof to the table that the communists were brainwashed by their overarching theory and sabotaged the Quit India movement, they colluded with the British Government in disrupting the Quit India movement and were especially vitriolic in their charge of supporting Imperialism and fascism against the Congress and SC Bose. Communists vacillate from an anti British stand to ardent support for the British government. Communists are driven not by their good intentions for the motherland, but by their sycophancy towards the only Fatherland.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter Bergen

Peter Bergen is the author of  4 books on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. He is CNN's national security Analyst and in the Manhunt, writes a detailed account of the search for Osama Bin Laden from 9/11 to his eventual assassination on May 2, 2011. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were the perpetrators of the greatest terrorist attack in the history of Jihad. which left the American people stupefied and enraged. While it also brought Jihad, which had been restricted mostly to two countries i.e. Israel and India to global prominence.

Thus started the manhunt for the leader of Al Qaeda( which translates to 'The Base' in English from Arabic). Bin Laden was of course hiding in Afghanistan under the protection of the Islamic fundamentalist group, Taliban, which was and is headed by the shadowy and enigmatic leader Mullah Omar. Taliban had been propped up by Pakistan to have control over Afghanistan and limit India's perceived hegemony in the region. Taliban is ultra conservative, with it's illiterate leader at the helm. It is mentioned about Mullah Omar in the book that the dude was so radical that he did not allow pictures of even himself, he refused to meet non Muslims and ordered the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas.

USA invaded Afghanistan to seek revenge, as Taliban had refused to handover Osama Bin Laden. America overthrew Taliban and launched scathing attacks on Al Qaeda. Many Al Qaeda leaders were either killed or captured but No 1 and No 2 remained elusive i.e. Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman Al Zawahiri.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Operation Blue Star by KS Brar

Synopsis:

Its 1984, Punjab is burning. Sikh fundamentalists are spawning the flame of communalism. The movement for a separate Sikh state, Khalistan, is being spearheaded by the legendary Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Bhindranwale's popularity has reached a crescendo, hailing from the Damdami Taksal, the sikh educational organization, Bhindranwale became a symbol of resistance to the perceived hegemony of the Indian state in the minds of the ordinary Sikhs. Some Sikhs even branding him as the 11 Guru of Sikhs.

Bhinderwale had unleashed a host of terrors on the minority community and all who opposed him, he had unmitigated control over the affairs in Punjab and the elected government had just become a puppet. He had set up his base in the Golden Temple, which is the holiest shrine for Sikhs and had put up personally over the room above the Akal Takht. Golden Temple had been turned into a military fortress with fortifications on all side, backed up by motivated, hardcore fundamentalists Bhinderwale looked invincible. Reports from the temple suggested that there were at least 500-600 militants holed up inside threatening the security and integrity of the Indian state.

While Lt Gen KS Brar fails to go into any details about the reason for discontent in Sikhs, he goes into intricate details about the Blue Star operation itself. Brar, a Sikh himself was handpicked to conduct one of the most dangerous and emotionally charged operations.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

India's Biggest Cover up by Anuj Dhar

Japan had been defeated by the Allied Powers and the INA was defeated along with them. All hopes of Independence of India through an armed struggle were dead. Japan surrendered to British on 15 August, 1945. was it a mere coincidence that India was granted independence on Aug 15, 1947?

On Aug 18, 1945, Subash Chandra Bose, former president of the CWC and the head of the INA died in a plane crash in Taipei while he was on his way to Tokyo to negotiate a separate surrender for the INA to the Allies.

This is what all of us have read in NCERT text books, but things are not always what they seem. Anuj Dhar claims that Bose or Netaji as he was lovingly called by his followers, did not die in the plane crash, and it was all a conspiracy hatched by Netaji and some of his closest followers.

I'm a total skeptic when it comes to conspiracy theories, the evidence and the arguments put forward by Mr Dhar have convinced me that there was some cover up, something happened on the fateful day of Aug-18 1945 that we are still struggling to comprehend.