Explosions at Bodh Gaya!

My tympanic membrane is tired, and hardened from the continual onslaught of explosive news. Not only tired of the terrorism, I’m sickened by the endless rapes that women suffer mercilessly. Add to that the helplessness one feels, reading about the pointless deaths of hundreds, thousands – en masse!

Now, worse, am defeated by the mindless attempt at destruction of something sacred… not merely from a religious perspective; but it’s the sanctity of a brick structure that withstood the test of time, and weathered the elements for over two millennium – The Mahabodhi Temple! By using explosives, miscreants shook the foundations of an edifice that is symbolic of ‘ahimsa’, non-violence, and is sacred to millions of people across the globe.

A while back I posted photographs from a visit to the ruins of Nalanda, not far (56 miles) from Bodh Gaya in Bihar; also an institute of higher learning in Ancient India, particularly for Buddhist monks. I dread to think of the damage that depraved minds are capable of doing… and shudder at the thought of the pain they are causing those who are perhaps the few among the peace-loving people remaining in this world.

Mumbai Police blasted… after three explosions in Mumbai!

6.56 p.m. through 7.01 p.m. Indian Standard Time… 20 people dead, 113 injured… in  terror attacks across Mumbai…  in Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar, and Dadar!

Protests against Chief Minister of Maharashtra, and anger towards Mumbai Police, who… are caught sleeping!

Yet again… was the Intelligence in a slumber… while terrorists orchestrated these heinous attacks?

Public furor seems valid. Recall Mumbai’s 26/11?

India says terror attack kills 21, injures 113

Visuals

What a sad state of affairs…

For a succinct overview of  today’s terror attacks on Mumbai visit Wikipedia… 13th July, 2011 Mumbai Bombings

One more rebel… yet again, an American!

A sick mind, a sickening situation, or is it the beginnings of a sick nation???

Way back in July 2009, I referred to Bryant Neal Vinas, an  American rebel who trained with Al Qaeda; he had actively engaged in discussions to blow up the Long Island RailRoad in NY. Then, there’s the  case of Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado-resident, who, in 2009, had plotted to blow up NYC’s subway system. Then again, the case of David C Headley, age 49, a Chicago resident, also American, who colluded with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist group, which caused havoc in Mumbai in November 2008. Since then, ostensibly, all these guys have co-operated with the FBI and/or other authorities, to reveal further details regarding proposed heinous crimes. There are others… many others, in the US, American-born rebels in their 20s who have been uncovered… many others may be in hiding, or in the making, who knows… until next time!

The Tucson terror last weekend is not likely to be the last, I’m so sorry to say so.

For the families who lost their loved ones, the pain must be deep; the anguish unforgettable! If it turns out that the gunman is “sick of mind”, it is unlikely to lessen the pain caused by the crime/s he committed…

For the nation, Tucson will be yet another event – sad – but again, sorry to say so… soon to be forgotten. After the initial angry outbursts, and a few op-eds later, each of us will get on with life. What’s more, some may even callously say, “So what, s..t happens.” Can’t you hear those NRA guys touting that? “To prevent that in future, let’s make it even easier, to procure guns…” Are Americans progressive in their thinking? Think again… if so, NRA couldn’t possibly have such a strong lobby.

In the war against Al Qaeda, how will the US cope with rebellious local youth!

Billions of tax dollars are spent by US to wage a war against terrorist groups outside the nation. But then a young man from Long Island, New York, travels all the way to Afghanistan, receives training from Al Qaeda, then plots a terror attack over his home base, then goes on to confess… who and what should the American people fear more?

The anger and terror lies within the common people of the US. The reasons may be varied… frustration about the status quo, ignorance, prejudice, poverty, skewed perceptions, unreasonable expectations of life…

It’s odd though… people from other parts of the world have thus far believed that Americans have it all… with no reason to be frustrated, that they are all rich, beautiful and smart! The irony of it all… and now in the present downturn, we have already heard of how these pent-up emotions of frustration and anger of the unemployed can take shape!

How will it feel if India is grouped with the Middle-East!

Will India be grouped with the Mid-East?
Will India be grouped with the Mid-East?
What troubles India? What disturbs the Middle East?
What troubles India? What disturbs the Middle East?
The Peace Process
The Peace Process

To read the article in The New York Times, please visit:

Trouble in the Middle-East By ROBERT D. KAPLAN, Published: December 8, 2008, Washington


They Hate Us — and India Is Us

In the New York Times, Patrick French, opines thus…

They Hate Us -- India Is Us
They Hate Us -- India Is Us

Michael Pollack’s tale of terror, horror and hospitality at The Taj Mahal Hotel

This morning, over a week after the news of gunshots and terror struck Mumbai, I read a first hand account from a word doc that appeared in my mail box: Michael Pollack and Anjali’s story of their nightmare at the Taj. But through it all, they express their gratitude towards members of the hotel staff who were so hospitable despite the adverse conditions; some of them even lost their lives in efforts to protect the guests at the hotel. This narrative epitomizes the Indian cultural belief of “Atithi Devo Bhava“, translated from Sanskrit loosely, as “The guest to your home is divine; treat him thus.”

Personally, I feel an affiliation to this heritage hotel not only because I have frequented the hotel’s restaurants often, but my friends and family also worked at the Taj a long time back, including one noble Parsi gentleman who dedicated 42 years of his life in this ‘company’ as their Chief Cashier; while another – today a proud American with over 500 Americans on his payroll commenced his working career at this hotel as a Clerk! I have other fond memories associated with this place, including their cake-shop “La Patisserie”, the bookshop “Nalanda’s” and the shoe store “Joy”. Nothing elitist about that, simply an association of excellent quality, service and yes, premium prices but for the best choices. In the classical sense, it symbolizes all that spells “excellence” as opposed to “cheap” or “shoddy”.

Michael & Anjali survived at The Taj
Michael & Anjali survived at The Taj

We have, by now, read many accounts of horror and negligence by government authorities. This story pays homage to those who died – commandos, staff members – during “service”. There are a few comments to this story published in Forbes, who refer to the staff sacrifices as “servitude”. I guess, one can understand Indian hospitality only if you have been fortunate to experience it first-hand. No matter how much the West has influenced India, or that Westerners condemn India and Indians, certainly today, Michael, and others like him who survived, may value India’s heritage of  “Atithi Devo Bhava“!

To read more, and to listen to Michael and Anjali’s interview with Charlie Rose, visit: NYC Hedge Fund Manager Saved by Heroes at the Taj Hotel.

Michael is a General Partner of Glenhill Capital. Glenhill is a global, multi-sector equities investment firm. Prior to co-founding Glenhill in 2001, Mr. Pollack served as an Associate at Reservoir Capital Group and as an Analyst at Colony Capital, both private equity firms.Mr. Pollack graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and son. (Source: Zoominfo)

Anjali Pollack specializes in hi-end interior design.


Terrorists tutored and trained by retired Pak Army officials in coordination with ISI!

Names of all the 9 terrorists have been revealed by Ajmal Amir Kasav, the terrorist in captivity. In the age-group 20-28, all 10 recruits received training at Lashkar camps, after their initial congregation in Karachi in September 2007.

To incite the trainees and to provide ‘motivation‘, their tutors – retired Pakistani Army officials – used video footage depicting the Gujarat carnage and Gujarat’s Chief Minister “spitting venom” against jihad.

These new recruits were imparted training for all of this past year, beginning last December. They learned to use weapons, grenades, and also received maritime training.

Rigorous training in terrorism – one year only!

To find these recruits for this crash course I wonder what they used by way of advertising; or were they cherry-picked! Here’s the ad, presumably?

Campus Recruitment

“Crash Course”

Hands-on training for one year.

Vacancies Limited. Hurry, to apply!

Guaranteed: Successful trainees will have a lifetime job.

Compensation Package: Above industry standards

Handsome stipend even during year-long training period!

For applications, please contact: Retd. Army officers A2Z.

Infamous Chief Minister of Kerala hurls insults on slain commando’s family!

Had NSG commando, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan not been slain and turned martyr, not even a dog would have visited Sandeep’s family home!

Uttered in Malayali, to translate thus, this unfelicitous, tasteless remark was an insult over injury!

Apparently, prior to his ‘condolence’ visit to the slain Indian commando’s home, by way of security measures the uncouth Chief Minister of Kerala Mr Achyutanandan sent sniffer dogs to check Unnikrishnan’s family home for ‘signs of any danger’! Obviously enraged, Sandeep’s grieving father, snapped and asked the CM to “Get out” of his house. Not to be outdone, the peeved CM hurled the above parting shot. Further, in defiance, he refuses to apologize for his unsavory remark.

It is indeed no surprise that the people are so incited that they are demanding the resignation of the minister, who has not been in favor in any case.

So much for respect for the martyrs of the nation! So much for cheap politics, and so much for a 100% literate, leftist state in an otherwise democratic nation!

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, may your soul be at peace.

Corporate America… now will you be on Indian shores in droves?

Or have the events of the past three months numbed your gray cells?

Or then again, surely 10 young men slinking on to Indian shores in the past week are not going to drive you away from those Western shores of Mumbai; nor displace you from India’s Silicon Valley on the Deccan Plateau! Is it possible that you will continue to bloom in Bangalore, India’s Garden city, or is your romance with the city on the rocks? Oops, who was it that claimed responsibility for the terror that the 10 young men inflicted on Mumbai’s millions – not the Deccan Mujahideen? I shan’t mention Hyderabad, from neighboring state Andhra, also in the Deccan region. The Andhraiites are kind of touchy at the moment, given the plight of their people – students, actually, studying in and around US campuses.

Nah, none of the above is going to scare away Corporate America from raking it in. Unless, of course, new laws on outsourcing impose steep taxation on companies – high enough to erode the profits they make using cheaper labor.  The US believes in free markets, is a capitalistic society, the strongest will survive, to the rest we can safely say, “goodbye”.

We, the people, will spend… unemployment government benefits, stimulus packages, new careers, career changes, sabbaticals, further education, distance learning, upgrading skills, etc. are options always available to American citizens. If all else fails, an ongoing war somewhere means there’s always room, albeit, for those interested in enrolling with the US Army. Now how about that, eh?

India has millions of people… hungry for work, for way too long! If the current crop of workers is laid off, the next one will be ready to replace them, and again, and again. But here, at home, it may be another story.

Come what may, fear not, because as American citizens, we’re unlikely to go hungry. We’re innovative, a lot of good will eventually emerge from the current morass. In the short run, a McDonalds can’t be far away…  not on American soil! So what if they’re also dishing out Big Macs and fries, as far away as on Indian shores!