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VK Krishna Menon, Nehru’s close friend and ally, was India’s representative to the United Nations from 1952 - 1960. Known for his outspokenness and unapologetic championing of India all through the world, Krishna Menon was referred to by various names by the media in the west.
Among his many epithets were: - Mephistopheles in a Savile Row suit, India’s Rasputin and Nehru’s Evil Genius.
I had wondered why this was, given that in all of Menon’s interviews, I’d judged him for a surefooted, but softspoken man.
I had my questions regarding this, wondering if the portrayal was accurate or if it were a deliberate attempt to delegitimize Indian ambassadors during the time of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Fifteen minutes into searching for answers, an old Hindu article told the following story, of an old Krishna Menon interview:
(Interviewer begins the interview by elaborating Menon’s background and education, in a very derisive tone)
Meet the Media Interviewer to Krishna Menon: ”That is wonderful, Mr. Menon; from log cabin to White House in a manner of speaking. But tell me Mr.Menon - is it true that you are a communist?”
VK Krishna Menon to Interviewer: ”Thank you Mr.Stormwell, I would like to return the compliment; you too, sir, have risen from humble beginnings, from selling newspapers in the streets to leading this distinguished panel. I believe that you draw a salary higher than that of the President of the United States. Now that is wonderful, Mr. Stormwell, but tell me is it true that you are a bastard?”
NEW DELHI: The IPLspot-fixing controversy acquired a sinister edge on Saturday. Delhi Police sleuths investigating the crime said that D Company mobsters controlling the illegal betting operations were desperate to involve other young IPL players to join the spot-fixing racket.
According to transcripts of recorded phone conversations between bookies and gangsters, the criminals instructed bookies to threaten some young players with dire consequences if they refused to cooperate.
Cops refused to divulge the players’ names but added that the gangsters seemed desperate to drag them into the racket. “Sometimes, when a player refused to take money, he was threatened. Anybody would be scared hearing the names of Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. But we need to verify all these things,” a Delhi Police source said.
The underworld was also furious at Ajit Chandila for forgetting to signal before bowling the ‘fixed’ over on May 5. In a conversation with a bookie, a gangster is heard using foul language while referring to Chandila.
In an intercepted telephone conversation, a mobster can be heard asking a bookie to get Ajit Chandila to act as per plan or the bowler would face dire consequences.
“Saala… kaise nahi karega, paisa liya hai”. Cops also said that Chandila definitely took money from bookies on several occasions and that they used to visit his house too.
During the interrogation, some of the bookies revealed that they often travelled with the players on the same flights and stayed with them in the same hotels. “The bookies deliberately stayed around the players so that the underworld could be informed whether the work was being done properly or not,” said the source.
Police have footage of a few hotels where the tainted trio - S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Chandila - are seen in the company of bookies. “We have footage of players meeting bookies and also the delivery of money as evidence,” said the source.
Officials also said that these bookies are part of just one group working for the underworld. They have been focusing their interrogation mainly on Ashish Aggarwal, Chandresh, Jiju, Manan and player-turned-bookie Amit Singh. Cops also suspect such groups of bookies all over India, who work in silos for the underworld with one group unaware of the other.
“There are hierarchies of bookies who report to a master bookie. We suspect he sits in Mumbai and is continuously monitored by Tiger Memon from Dubai,” said the source.
Kabul: Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai will be on a two-day visit to India starting Monday. He will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on enhancing strategic ties, security and developmental work in the run-up to next year’s withdrawal of western troops. As Afghanistan braces for 2014, we travelled extensively in the AfPak region to find out whether the proposed end of war would impact India.
Braving for 2014, whether the exit of western troops will end the war in Afghanistan or start a fresh round of violence is a million dollar question, an important one for India’s security concerns as well. After the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Pakistan pushed the trained jihadis to fight the insurgency in India. Kashmir saw its bloodiest decade. 9/11 made Pakistan, America’s ally on the war against terror and gave birth to Pakistan Taliban - a group attacking Pakistan itself. Pakistan’s attention shifted to the western border and some experts believe Pakistan’s internal worries led to relative peace on its eastern front, one it shares with India.
Will Pakistan push the trained militants again in our direction? Over the last decade India has earned immense good will in Afghanistan. At a certain point, the timing of soap opera ‘sans bhi kabhi bahu thi’, popularly known as ‘Tulsi’ here, coincided with the time of the prayers. This was taken up in the parliament of Afghanistan, so the shows timing could be adjusted. India has made friends across the ethnic groups through cultural connections and developmental work.
None of this pleases Pakistan. Rawalpindi has always thought of Afghanistan as a no go area for India, a strategic base for themselves in event of war against India. In the past Kashmir insurgents have received training in mountainous areas of Afghanistan.
Retired Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul of Pakistan’s army once headed the ISI. Credited in Pakistan for pushing hard line policies against India, he played a pivotal role in the insurgency that began in Kashmir.
He warns India of tomorrow’s reality. “Tomorrow’s reality is, if Afghan freedom fighters come out freely then they will give a fillip to the idea. It is going to kindle a new spirit, because yet another superpower has been defeated. They will think why we can’t do it, the Kashmiris will do it.”
In Afghanistan, the governor of Nuristan tells us, “Many border areas are full of anti-India groups. LeT is here, they are more powerful than Al Qaeda. If Afghanistan is a trouble area, if there is a war here, I think India will never feel safe. The war is going to come to their borders.”
Sources in the United States government have told NDTV, for months now the US has been trying to convey to India of a change of heart in Pakistan’s deep establishment, though most Afghan leaders like Amarullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s former chief of intelligence do not buy into that.
“They define Pakistan as a vulnerable country, which if truly put under pressure, may collapse. We don’t buy the argument. We see it as a calculative strategy. India should strengthen Afghanistan. Every spectacular attack in Afghanistan one way or another is linked to Rawal Pindi and every spectacular attack in India is linked to LeT. So why is the root of terrorism not drying up in our region? One primary reason is the ambiguity of the Western policy vis-a-vis Pakistan,” said Amarullah Saleh.
India’s decision-makers acknowledge that India’s own internal security would be at risk especially if the drawdown of international troops from Afghanistan leaves behind a security vacuum that is filled by militant groups backed by Pakistan. India is aware of Pakistan’s sensitivities but is not shying away for defining it as a long-term relationship with Afghanistan. India’s former ambassador to Afghanistan confirms “In terms of being able to contribute more to Afghanistan security, to regional security through co-operative activities, yes that is possible. But as always it is something that has to be decided and we have to take into account their requirements, we have to take into account our capacities, and we have to take into account regional stability. So whatever we try to do, we would do in a responsible way in a responsible direction.”
The Afghans want India to play a bigger role, not only in developmental work and investments but also security cooperation. While president Karzai’s visit is unlikely to bring any major surprises, sources have told NDTV, India has not yet revealed its entire plan for Afghanistan. Policy they say is work in progress.
Pakistan’s new Prime Minister says Afghanistan would be left to Afghans and has made all the right noises on relationship with India. The big question, will his words become reality?
Protesters have taken to the streets in various parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, angry at the killing of a pro-independence Kashmiri leader.
Sardar Arif Shahid was shot dead by unidentified men near his home in Rawalpindi on Monday night.
It is the first time that a pro-independence Kashmiri leader has been targeted in this way in Pakistan.
Mr Shahid led the All Parties National Alliance (APNA), which advocates independence from India and Pakistan.
Both countries claim the region, which is divided between them across a ceasefire line known as the Line of Control.
Demonstrations were also held in other cities and towns in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Witnesses told the BBC at least five people had been injured in Mr Shahid’s native town of Hajira, which is close to the border, when police fired teargas shells and baton-charged protesters.
Protesters carried banners with slogans against the Pakistani army and the ISI intelligence service, which they blamed for the killing.
‘Pool of blood’
Mr Shahid’s driver, Rizwan Khan, told the BBC he saw a man running from the scene of Monday night’s shooting with a gun in his hand.
“I drove Mr Shahid home last night, and got out of the car to open the gate of his house. That’s when I heard the shooting.
“I ran towards the car, and found him lying in a pool of blood,” he said.
The politician was taken to a military hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Mr Shahid was a vocal critic of Pakistan’s alleged role in sending militants to fight a “proxy war” against India in Indian-administered Kashmir. He also criticised Pakistan’s policy of treating Kashmir as its “colony”.
The Ministry of Interior told a court in December 2012 that his documents had been confiscated due to his “anti-state activities and on the recommendation of the director-general of the ISI intelligence service”.
The Pakistani government banned him from travelling abroad in 2009, and later confiscated his passport and other identification documents.
Three months ago, police in Rawalpindi registered a case against him for publishing a monthly magazine which it is alleged contained anti-Pakistan material.
He was given pre-arrest bail by the court in that case.
A spokesman for the APNA, MA Khalique, told the BBC that Mr Shahid was “the victim of targeted killing by some state actors”.
Pacer Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and uncapped bowlers Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested last night for alleged spot-fixing during the T20 cricket league. The Delhi Police alleged in a press conference the cricketers had made deals with bookies for spot-fixing in three matches of the current T20 cricket league and had elaborately planned how they would cheat. The BCCI has suspended the three players. HT reports. Take poll: Has India done enough to curb cheating in cricket?
Delhi police special cell arrested three cricketers of the Rajasthan Royals team, including test-discard Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, in a late night raid on Wednesday after surveillance confirmed telephonic talks between bookies in India and Pakistan over betting in the ongoing T20 tournament.
In a swift follow-up, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ordered suspension of the three till further inquiry. The trio would be produced before a court in Delhi.
Sreesanth was arrested from his friend’s house, while spinners Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila were picked up from the team hotel in Mumbai. Apart from the cricketers, seven bookies from Mumbai and two from Delhi have also been arrested, police sources said. Raids were on to nab two more bookies in Delhi.
In a statement, BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said, “The BCCI is shocked and saddened at the recent developments. The BCCI has zero tolerance to corruption. We will offer all cooperation to the Delhi police and all other authorities in their investigations in this matter. The IPL Governing Council has met and decided that the cricketers found involved will be dealt with severely.” He said, “It is wholly unfortunate that despite best playing conditions and terms of engagement offered, some players seem to be indulging in such activity.”
All the three would be produced before a court in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Sreesanth’s father Shantakumaran Nair has squarely blamed Indian captain Mahinder Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh for implicating his son in the match-fixing scandal. He said his son was the victim of a larger conspiracy.
The Mumbai crime branch, which arrested three top bookies, said that a well-established link with some bookies in Pakistan, has been established. It is not ruling out the possibility of the underworld links.
Discussing the lead, police sources said the calls between India and Pakistan bookies were not disconnected till the end of the Wednesday night match with Mumbai Indians. AroundRs. 400 crore was betted per match on the current T-20 tournament. Everything, right from match result, sixes hit, balls bowled, was up for betting, the sources said and added another former Indian test-discard, who bawled no-balls at a crucial juncture in a match, was also under the scanner.
The arrests were made after the special cell of the Delhi Police conducted months of investigation into alleged spot-fixing in the T20 league. The cricketers were arrested for spot-fixing in matches played this week and the last, said police sources.
Of the three bookies arrested, Ramesh Vyas had earlier been collared in 2005 in a similar betting case with notorious bookie Shobhan Kalachowkie. Vyas is a resident of Napeansea road in South Mumbai, and is believed to be in the same league as top Indian bookies, including Jupiter, Kothari and Bunty.
Jupiter is on the list of bookies wanted by the Delhi special cell, the sources said.
It is for the first time over a decade that Indian cricket players have come under scrutiny or have been arrested. The match-fixing scandal of the late 90s and early 2000 had seen some top Indian cricketers being arrested and banned from playing cricket.
The Delhi Police held a press conference in the national capital at 3pm where they explained how the three players and bookies allegedly went about spot-fixing.
The police claimed spot-fixing took place during three matches this season: Rajathan Royals’ May 5 match with Pune Warriors in Pune; Rajathan Royals’ May 9 match with Kings XI Punjab in Mohali and when Mumbai Indians defeated Rajasthan Royals on May 15 in Mumbai.
The three arrested players had a deal with bookies and gave “signals” to them before overs in matches, alleged Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar and Sanjeev Yadav, deputy commissioner of police, special cell, at a press conference in New Delhi.
But for the May 5 match in Jaipur Chandila failed to give signal to the bookie and had a fight with the bookie because of this. For the May 9 match, Sreesanth’s signal was to put a towel in his trouser before his over.
For the May 15 match, Chavan was to signal the bookie by turning his wristband before he began bowling his “fixed” over. Chavan had allegedly agreed to give at least 13 runs in his second over. Chavan was to getRs. 60 lakh and perform as per the bookies instructions, the police alleged. Chandila, who was not playing this match, took some money as advance.
“It is a coincidence that players of the same team have come under our radar, but we cannot say that it is not happening in other teams,” said Kumar.
NEW DELHI: India is hoping Nawaz Sharif’s return to power in Pakistan will herald an upturn in ties between the nuclear rivals as long as he can keep the generals who ousted him last time at bay, analysts say.
Sharif’s last stint in power from 1997-99 saw India and Pakistan clash in a limited conflict known as the Kargil war as well as Islamabad declaring itself a nuclear power, weeks after New Delhi said it had carried out its own tests.
But observers say Indian policymakers are keen to engage with Sharif and are more inclined to blame the military for ratcheting up tensions during his time in office.
Sharif later claimed Kargil was launched without his consent by the then-head of the army, Pervez Musharraf, who ousted him in a coup months later.
In a sign of his eagerness for a fresh start, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among the first to congratulate Sharif, saying he hoped they could chart “a new course” and inviting him to “visit India at a mutually convenient time”.
For his part, Sharif told India’s NDTV network in an eve of poll interview that “civilian supremacy over military is a must” for Pakistan — comments that analysts say bode well for future ties.
Former Indian foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh said Sharif had shown a willingness during his time in office to improve ties, citing the 1999 Lahore Declaration which set out steps to cool nuclear tensions.
“We have dealt with him in the past and he is easy to work with. No other Pakistani leader has been as emphatic as Nawaz Sharif has been to resume the dialogue and improve relations with India,” Mansingh told AFP.
Pakistani commentator Ahmed Rashid said the key to better relations would be whether the army kept its distance — something he says it refused to do when Sharif was in power in two spells in the 1990s.
“Both times he made genuine efforts to make peace with India but was thwarted at every step by an aggressive and uncompromising army,” Rashid wrote in a piece for the BBC.
“This time around, the army — faced with an apparent collapse of the state — is also more amenable to the idea of improving relations with India,” Rashid added, while warning that outgoing army chief Pervez Kayani was uneasy at the idea of greater Indian investment in Pakistan.
Brahma Chellaney, a foreign policy analyst in New Delhi, also said the army’s willingess to take a back seat would be crucial and it was in India’s interests to bolster rather than undermine Sharif.
“Unless Sharif’s government is able to change the civil-military equation, I don’t see the relationship between the two countries changing radically,” Chellaney told AFP.
“From Kargil to the Mumbai attacks, we can see the Pakistan military’s hand. So India must invest diplomatically in a strong civilian government in Islamabad, or nothing will change,” Chellaney said.
India and Pakistan have fought three full-scale wars, two of them over the disputed region of Kashmir.
Since the limited Kargil conflict, Kashmir has continued to be a running sore and the two sides engaged in deadly exchanges earlier this year across the unofficial border.
New Delhi broke off peace talks with Islamabad after the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed by Pakistani gunmen. But lower-level talks have resumed, focusing largely on trade and visas.
Given his background in business, analysts say Sharif is likely to place more emphasis on trade.
“His pro-business outlook means he will make cross-border trade a priority and ensure that barriers to exports between the two countries are removed soon,” Mansingh said.
But for all the optimism in New Delhi, some observers say there are fears that China will use its historically close relations with Islamabad to ensure any thaw between India and Pakistan only goes so far.
Sreeram Chaulia, head of the Jindal School of International Affairs near New Delhi, said it was in Beijing’s interests that India and Pakistan remained at odds over issues such as Kashmir.
“They would like India to play the role of a local South Asian power, so it can’t compete with China on the global stage and in the wider Asian region,” Chaulia told AFP.
How India is throwing away the world’s biggest economic opportunity
IN THE past 35 years, hundreds of millions of Chinese have found productive, if often exhausting, work in the country’s growing cities. This extraordinary mobilisation of labour is the biggest economic event of the past half-century. The world has seen nothing on such scale before. Will it see anything like it again? The answer lies across the Himalayas in India.
India is an ancient civilisation but a youthful country. Its working-age population is rising by about 12m people a year, even as China’s shrank last year by 3m. Within a decade India will have the biggest potential workforce in the world.
Optimists look forward to a bumper “demographic dividend”, the result of more workers per dependant and more saving out of income. This combination accounted for perhaps a third of the East Asian miracle. India “has time on its side, literally,” boasted one prominent politician, Kamal Nath, in a 2008 book entitled “India’s Century”.
Reasons to be cheerless
But although India’s dreamers have faith in its youth, the country’s youngsters have growing reason to doubt India. The economy raised aspirations that it has subsequently failed to meet. From 2005 to 2007 it grew by about 9% a year. In 2010 it even grew faster than China (if the two economies are measured consistently). But growth has since halved. India’s impressive savings rate, the other side of the demographic dividend, has also slipped. Worryingly, a growing share of household saving is bypassing the financial system altogether, seeking refuge from inflation in gold, bricks and mortar.
The last time a Congress-led government liberalised the economy in earnest—in 1991—over 40% of today’s Indians had yet to be born. Their anxieties must seem remote to India’s elderly politicians. The average age of cabinet ministers is 65. The country has never had a prime minister born in independent India. One man who might buck that trend, Rahul Gandhi, is the son, grandson and great-grandson of former prime ministers. India is run by gerontocrats and epigones: grey hairs and groomed heirs. The apparent indifference of the police to the way young women in particular are treated has underlined the way that old India fails to protect new India.
India and Pakistan are two angry nations. Every now and then, there is an unfortunate incident, or two, that makes them mad at each other — really, really mad.
Currently a great deal of tension is mounting on either side of the border.
Although I find myself ineligible to be commenting on the current state of political affairs the two countries are embroiled in, there is this one message I want to send across the border.
On May 3, 1913, Dadasaheb Phalke, an Indian director, producer and screenwriter, released India’s first full-length feature film titled Raja Harishchandra. I did some quick math, failed, tried again and in due time figured that this happened 34 years before the partition. For over three decades after its first release, the Indian film industry produced numerous films many of which originated in Lahore, present-day Pakistan.
For a complete list of films and Pakistani film artists who started their careers before partition please direct yourself to the data graciously compiled by the Pakistan Film Magazine.
As the Indian film industry completes 100 years of cinema this year, quite certainly an achievement of mammoth proportions, I as a Pakistani who is also a direct descendent of a citizen of United India and a Bollywood fanatic, have every right to partake in the celebrations.
This is a rare and rather unique event where both nations have the opportunity to be jointly proud of achieving a milestone together, even if the team work to attain this goal comprised 34 per cent of the overall effort.
I have often seen Pakistani and Indian fans fantasising about a cricket team had there been no partition. The thought of a team which has Wasim Akram’s genius bowling attack and Sachin Tendulkar’s master class batting power makes us quiver.
Does this duet sung by Madam Noor Jehan and Mohammad Rafi have the same effect on you?