West Asia, indispensable mess



The Syrian civil war is now a microcosm of everything that is wrong with West Asia. It’s about Shia versus Sunni, Persian versus Gulf Arab, Israel versus Syria, United States versus Russia and China, al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood, and so on.

Yet, as the impact of even the talk of a US strike had on oil prices and the rupee shows, India’s economic fortunes and, as its establishment really fears, it’s experiment in secular democracy are intricately linked to West Asia.

So New Delhi prefers secular dictators to the Muslim Brotherhood, wants the US to keep the Straits of Hormuz open but its troops off Arab soil, prefers Iran to Saudi Arabia but buys its oil from the latter. The contradictions in India’s West Asian views are plenty, but nothing compared to the gap between what it wants in the region and what it can do.

Since it has minimal influence and maximal dependence, India focusses on preserving its economic interests and limiting fundamentalist Islamic influences.

This largely worked when West Asia had a rough and ready equilibrium, especially the Persian Gulf. The US occasionally  intervened to keep the Gulf stable, Israel and Egypt kept the peace in the Levant, and all was well despite the odd eruption.

But equilibrium is now a receding state of affairs. The dictators are gone or struggling. Iran, Turkey and others are vying for regional hegemony. Sectarian tensions are everywhere. The borders of much of West Asia are being rewritten, largely in blood. An independent Kurdistan is a possibility today. So is an Alawite enclave north of Lebanon. It goes on. And the biggest change is a US which sees decreasing reason for it to invest blood and treasure in securing the region. Shale gas, terrorism, and war weariness are all taking their toll.

India is fretting about this, but has no clear response to how to handle this. Indians worriedly ask any senior US person if their country will remain committed to West Asia and worry more when they get a vague answer.

No one has a clear idea of what India can do. But it has a fair amount of goodwill, plenty of history and a belief among many oil rich countries that we are their future market. That’s a start. But India needs to become a lot more knowledgeable about the Arab world, prepared to take more risks and generally develop a rep for being something more than “a land of servants.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/richa.rajesh Richa Rajesh

    Raj Thackeray is like a spoilt, truant son of a great father who has popped out only to claim the legacy while he was no where in nurturing or taking further father’s legacy…. Maharashtra is among the most developed states and that cannot happen without some inherent good qualities about indigenous people. It has been the ‘karmabhoomi’ to great leaders like Justice Ranade, Jyotiba Phule, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and of course Baba Saheb Ambedkar who in their own way did tangible service to the state and to the country. Even today maximum taxes come from Mumbai. No wonder it is an attractive place to eye for goons.
    Post Independence Mumbai has acquired a unique place in the country which is primarily due to its multicultural population. Can one imagine Mumbai without Bollywood and Industry. People from all states have been part of Bollywood, and in industry it is the Sindhis, Gujratis, Parsis whose lead contribution is what makes Mumbai what it is of course with the help of local population. In any family, company, there are times when outsiders come in and with service help in evolving it to new heights. That is what multicultural groups have done to Mumbai in the last 50 years. The latest immigrants are of course Biharis and people from Uttar Pradesh who if they are staying in the land of dreams are surviving by giving their labour to the city which is also needed. Demographics of cities across the wold keep changing. Some decades ago London, Canada, Sydney did not have substantial Indian population. Today in New Jersey Indians outnumber Americans…Should they all be beaten and thrown out of those places as just some decades ago they had landed. What then is the starting point of immigration, assimilation for any place if boundaries have to be created on that basis.
    What is Raj Thackaray’s contribution in tangible terms to anything in Maharashtra. He has chosen to remain stuck in Shivaji Park and is claiming the Tiara of Mumbai by virtue of mother tongue for which no hard work effort is needed. I wonder how many Marathi writers he has read or poets he can quote in hope and praise of life, development. This kind of devious shortcut to claiming father’s legacy [he choses only Mumbai as his father, wonder why he does not move to villages of Maharashtra to talk of other issues of state? Is is it because he would rather remain in cosy confines of Mumbai] while denigrating the ‘outsiders’ ‘infiltrators’ who he wants innocent marathis to see as enemy, who are making tangible contribution to the economy of the state through hard work, labour. One need not bother about what Chavan and Nitish Kumar are arguing before each other…Raj Thackeray is just another criminal, anti social element who is a threat to Mumbai and should be dealt with under Indian Penal Code!

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  • http://twitter.com/WwwAshuks Ashutosh

    Thackeray is misleading innocent marathi. He is not bother about other issues in Maharastra. Only trying to divide country for his own personal benefit(for ruling on marathi). Becoz of his recent act, Manipuri students are also soughting for eliminating migrant people. Gradually other state people may start the same thing. govt must take a severe action against him to avoid upcoming serious problems.

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  • Annu

    Chavan is spineless. Raj is his proxy. Next election like last one is like this. marathi vote – 45% divided between cousins. Muslim votes 15-20% goes to Congress n NCP. Migrant votes atleast 30% to congress n NCP. More Raj will go anti, Udhav will follow that less votes of migrants to BJP Sena. This is alll congress policy. And this Bihari cousins are not understanding. In name of Manoos killing the manoos.

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  • santosh

    where has my comment gone , why it is not displayed because i have accused you of having bias againt Marathi or you do not have answer to the question raised

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  • Anonymous

    in one of her blog post , she accepted that in her young age , one fine night she slept with Sharad pawar ..If you don’t trust me then check her old blog posts

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Fern/100002936991363 Sean Fern

    This lady should get her facts right kayastha, brahmin etc all caste travelled from north to south-east-west of india so no point in saying that CKP came from UP bcoz the Aryans travelled in the indus valley for fertile land from the today’s date european region, She doesnt even know about the maratha Empire which was from tamil nadu to delhi and upto present day pakistan so if you say a maharastrain coming to mumbai from lahore one should not be surprised the Maratha Empire was the last to fall in front of the british empire the only left anti-british warriors were the SIKH who eventually became british soldiers after their surrender who later beacme the soldiers of indian army after independence Raj is doing good till now but not in a right way Wat good has this lady done for the people, at least do your job right put up the facts right !

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Fern/100002936991363 Sean Fern

    $$$$$$$$This lady should get her facts right kayastha, brahmin etc all caste travelled from north to south-east-west of india so no point in saying that CKP came from UP bcoz the Aryans travelled in the indus valley for fertile land from the today’s date european region, She doesnt even know about the maratha Empire which was from tamil nadu to delhi and upto present day pakistan so if you say a maharastrain coming to mumbai from lahore one should not be surprised the Maratha Empire was the last to fall in front of the british empire the only left anti-british warriors were the SIKH who eventually became british soldiers after their surrender who later beacme the soldiers of indian army after independence Raj is doing good till now but not in a right way Wat good has this lady done for the people, at least do your job right put up the facts right !

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    jay maharashtr Reply:

    exactly…!!!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Fern/100002936991363 Sean Fern

    i just made it post so many times so that you may read it a line before you delete / hide / refuse to reply

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  • jay maharashtr

    well said……. keep it up

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  • jay maharashtr

    hindi news channel always hates marathi ppl….

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  • jay maharashtr

    all the journalists is bought by congress….. many of the are partners of netas

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  • Ambedkar

    The write of this article “Will quota in promotions serve any purpose?” is totally stupid. her article is purely anti-dalit and anti-reservation. either she does not know about the black past and present of Dalits in India which is the half of the total population or she hates or fears Dalits so much just because some dalits made some progress in the some urban areas of India despite the protest of people like her. I think she fears that one day Dalits will become her boss and she has to follow their orders or do some Chakri for them. people are talking bullsh***t about the reservation on some baseless argument I ask them all Do you know Why reservation was made for Dalits in Indian constitution? Do you know anything about the history of Shudras in India? Dalits just want their rights and they will take it either by talk or by force and no body can stop them (at least the half-mind writer of this article cannot)…..let dalits make some progress let them make some name and position in the society. She is mixing the rights of Dalits with the Politics of Maya and Mulayam and we condemn that. She has no right to write such things when she has not done good for any Dalit. One the one hand people like her did not allowed the Dalits to make progress in the society in the name of caste for more than several thousands of years, on the other hand today when dalits are making some progress despite the hostile environment and discrimination that they have to face no matter whether it is in school, college or any other educational or non-educational institutions. in the villages the situation is more worse than urban areas of India. your people were discriminating and denied Dalits from their right for several centuries then it was ok for you and today when we making some progress and got some rights you are making fun of us, you are protesting against Dalits and our rights. shame on you guys shame on you. merit will always be there and nobody can deny the importance of merit. merit will never become some causality……………..

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    Manik Reply:

    Amazing….The writer is bringing the issue of current politics of reservation and politician system…..Reservation is never solution for any reforms and reforms has to come from within and with social reforms. the first step is electing candidates who have track record than electing an idiot who belongs to their caste/religion or is a crook….

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    reply to manik Reply:

    Bro do not mix the war of rights with politics. Mayawati is not doing politics over reservation she is fighting for Dalits right which people like that writer and you think is an opportunity for raising votes through reservation politics. you believe it or not reservation may not not be the sole solution for social justice (dalits deserves more than just reservation) but it is way to get social justice. reservation in itself a kind of reform- reform started for the welfare of half-population of India. yes you are right Social reforms comes from within but can you tell what reforms that “your” society has started for Dalits. think think. your society in totally Brahmanical. Brahmanism is sh**t and you people lives in this Sh**t. Brahmanism is the second name of discrimination. it is Anti-Dalit, supports caste system, in fact caste is the most integral part of this sh**t. your society never took and will never start any reforms for the welfare of Dalits (at least til now I do not see it). Dalits are the one who started reforms for that you should be thankful to Dalits. 1 kahawat hai hindi mai “Zisko chot lagti hai, dard kya hota hai usi ko pata hota hai” dalits have no option but to vote either Congress or Dalits Own BSP. Dalits are now organizing themselves to fight for their rights, to fight for social justice and equality and one think I must tell you Dalits will start the reforms not your people. quota is not a politics at least for BSp and Mayawati. It may be a politics for Congress and definitely it is the Mulayam singh who is using caste for vote bank not Mayawati.

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    Manik Reply:

    Amazing stupidity by bringing in caste like brahmanism etc etc cinto the play…..For last 60+ reservation has not stopped castism in India and will never be…..Social reforms and education will and def. revolution against caste based politics will….You are totally fixated on reservation is amazing….

    Jitendra chaturvedi Reply:

    Dear Ambedkar ji ,
    Author has rightly concluded “worst is that merit will become a casualty.’Which is what is the concern of everyone including I am sure you.There is no doubt that dalits were deprived of their due historically and precisely for this reason Dr Ambedkar provided for reservation in the constitution for Dalits and weaker section for limited period of 10 years.After 65 years of independence reservation still continues and now we want to extend it in promotions also. Do we stop fostering and rewarding excellence???Dont you think we need to create and ecosystem which produces world class Doctors,Scientists,Engineers???
    In the heart of heart all of us want it irrespective of cast or backround.
    Progress of Dalits is imperative in the progress of Nation.Now it is no longer rare to find Dalits doing well in different walks of life and this is a heartening sign.

    Problem is this- reservation policy is being used by politicians for their vote bank politics.Congress has been doing it since independence and now Mayawati is using it as a tool in UP.I dont think you will disagree with this.

    It is meant for the progress and prosperity of poor dalits not for making Mayawati more and more prosperous.

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  • Ramesh Kumar

    THE PROBLEM IS A BIAS WHICH EXISTED IN THE PAST AND HAVE NOT BEEN ADDRESSED PROPERLY TILL DATE.THE ANSWERS ARE EQUALLY FAULTY.
    IN MY VIEW THERE HAD BEEN FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG APPROACH OF CONGRESS RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING.
    LAWS HAD BEEN MADE BUT NEVER IMPLEMENTED.WE HAVE LOT OF CATEGORIES IN DALITS ALSO.I CONSIDER ALL POOR, OR DEPRIVED FALL IN THAT CATEGORY.
    I FEEL FEW THINGS THAT SHOULD HELP.
    1.EDUCATE ALL ECONOMICALLY WEAK.
    2.WHY NATION CANNOT COMPLETELY ERADICATE MANUAL SCAVENGING.OTHER DAY JAI RAM RAMESH WAS APOLOGIZING.IS THAT ENOUGH?A MINISTER IS SUPPOSE TO DELIVER!WHY MAYAWATI DOESNOT SPEAK ON THIS ISSUE.
    3.NO FORM SHOULD HAVE CASTE COLUMN.
    4.WHY TV CHANNELS DISCUSS ELECTIONS WITH DETAIL LIKE PATEL ETC.DO THESE CHANNEL INTEND TO CREATE MORE DIVISION.THIS NONSENSE MUST STOP.
    5.THERE IS A MERIT IN ALL COMMUNITIES.IT MUST BE BROUGHTOUT AND SUITABLY REWARDED.
    6.EVERY HUMANBEING MUST BE RESPECTED.WHEN MONTEK AHLUWALIA CONSTRUCT A TOILET FOR 30 LACS,HE SHOULD REMEMBER ,IT IS POOR NATIONS MONEY.

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