Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Party by Richard McGregor

Image result for the party richard mcgregorChina, the last bastion of the communists. Who had imagined that almost after two and half decades of the fall of the soviet union the communist party of China would survive? not only have they survived the CPC, Communist Part of China, has thrived. They effectively control the world's most populous and powerful state. The Party is a secret club of a select few, its tentacles are spread to all walks on life in China from the state controlled media, to the economy and the Army. The Politburo members are not elected by the citizens of China but are selected internally by the party, making China a single party system with no elections and no democracy. China is in a lot of ways an Oligarchy.

The book keeps the majority of its focus on economics and how China evolved from a third world struggling economy to the economic power house it is today. A myriad of Chinese leaders starting from Deng Xiaoping, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin have been successfully able to transform China into what it is today. Chinese ingenuity and their passion for making money was the real factor behind this success.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Men Who Killed Gandhi by Manohar Malgonkar

Image result for the men who killed gandhiIn recent months the national discourse has been about Nathuram Godse, the man who shot the Mahatma. I like most Indians have little idea about this man, except that the Hindu extreme right consider him as a savior and the left and centrists think of him as evil personified who was egged on by the Hindu right to plan and then the execute the assassination of MK Gandhi. The truth as in most cases was completely different.

1947, the year of liberation, what should have been a time of celebration and joy had turned into grief, desperation and for people in Punjab and Bengal, sheer horror! Jinnah, had called for Hindus and Sikhs to be driven out of their homes from East and West Pakistan to make partition a success and ensure a homeland for Muslims. Tens of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs were murdered, women raped and paraded naked. Millions more were displaced from their homes. Hindus and Sikhs responded by culling hundreds of Muslims in Hindu dominated areas in Punjab.

During this time of upheaval and chaos, Pakistan sent its troops disguised as tribal into Kashmir to annex it,  the Hindu king of Kashmir called on Patel and Nehru for help, India flew its troops to Kashmir to stop the massacre. This meant India and Pakistan were now officially at war.

During these times of cacophony, their was the Mahatma, the harbinger of peace. Gandhi, now touching 80, wanted Hindus and Sikhs to stop the violence and even implored them to go back to their homes in Pakistan. The refugees were dumbstruck they could not believe their ears, they came to Delhi for support and refuge instead the Gandhi wanted them to go back, to what? slaughter more rape. To compound their troubles, Gandhi went on a fast to death urging the newly formed Congress government to release 100 crore to Pakistan, this during the time of war with Pakistan.

At the other end was Godse and his partner Narayan Apte, In Pune, they both ran a nationalist news paper. They were appalled by what Gandhi was doing, as per them he was holding the nation to ransom and was anti Hindu. they also blamed him and the leadership of Congress for the split of Mother India. It was then that they deiced to kill Gandhi. They did not know how, when and where but in their head if India had to live then Gandhi had to die.

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.