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Making Sense of Jinnah Today : From EPW

Making Sense of Jinnah Today

It is high time we moved beyond seeing Partition largely along lines of religious affiliation with clear villains.

Jaswant Singh, former foreign minister of India and a long time leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been summarily expelled from his party for writing a book on Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence, Rupa & Co, New Delhi, 2009), the founder of Pakistan. In this book, Singh appears to have argued that the intransigence of Congress leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel practically forced Jinnah to demand Partition of Britishruled India and the creation of a sovereign Pakistan. Singh terms him the leader of Muslims in undivided India and apparently argues that Jinnah was merely trying to protect his constituency from a Hindu majoritarian democracy. Apart from the extraordinary irony of such a statement coming from a senior leader of the very party which has aggressively pushed the Hindu majoritarian agenda, such a position also goes against a widespread national consensus over the historical assessment of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his role in the creation of Pakistan. Whatever the other political and academic differences among the entire spectrum from the far left to the far right, Jinnah has been the universal villain of Partition in independent India’s historiography. While there may be substantial differences of opinion over the role of the Congress as a party and of individual Congress leaders in contributing to the Partition of the country, there has been unanimity over the destructive political role of Jinnah, especially in the last decade of British rule. Therefore, it is quite surprising and unexpected that the revision of this position has come, not once but twice in quick historical time, from political figures placed firmly in the far right of the Indian spectrum. In 2005, L K Advani had taken initial steps towards a similar reassessment of Jinnah. His comments calling Jinnah secular and praising his historical role could be explained away in two ways. One was the obvious, and perhaps superficial, explanation that he was being polite to his Pakistani hosts. But as the EPW columnist GPD wrote at that time, Advani calling Jinnah secular was merely a reflection of V D Savarkar’s Hindutva ideology, which claimed that once Hindus captured state power, they would treat the minorities with generosity. Jinnah, once he had acquired his Muslim state, was merely doing that by speaking of minority rights. It is instructive that these remained mere words in Pakistan and suggest that there was no contradiction in Advani applauding Jinnah, since he wanted India to be a similar polity. At most, Advani could be accused of making a tactical mistake but did not renounce any foundational idea of Hindutva. This was perhaps the reason why Advani got off with a mere rap on the knuckles. Jaswant Singh, it appears, forwards an argument which is a break from the Hindutva position. He suggests that Muslims were right to fear domination and discrimination in a Hindu majority India with universal suffrage and to demand special protections or rights. Further, he accuses Congress leaders, including Sardar Patel, of being complicit in the Partition. Therefore, it should have come as no surprise to anyone, least of all to a Hindutva veteran like Jaswant Singh that his party reacted with the fury it did. Jaswant Singh’s arguments are not novel. It is a well argued, and equally well contested, position in Indian historiography that, by the 1940s, Jinnah had emerged as the sole spokesman of the Muslims and that it was Nehru and Patel’s “intransigence” over devolution of powers from the union to the federating units, as well as their inability to accept checks on the absolute power of
the centre which pushed Jinnah to ask for a sovereign Pakistan. The controversy over Jaswant Singh’s book points to a little noticed dissonance in the way Jinnah’s legacy is seen in India and Pakistan. Unlike in India, where Jinnah remains universallyderided for entrenching communalism in the subcontinent, in Pakistan Jinnah’s legacy is the biggest political asset for the
liberal and left political forces to fight the fundamentalists. The very words promising political rights to the minorities, which form part of Jinnah’s speech to Pakistan’s constituent assembly in August 1947 and which were quoted by Advani and Jaswant Singh in his praise, are used by those in present day Pakistan who want to push back the fundamentalist forces and work for
a democratic state and tolerant society there. It is not Jinnah’s earlier record of working for Hindu-Muslim unity but rather, his post independence avatar which is the preferred political asset for secularism and liberal democracy in Pakistan today. The same person’s legacy serves diametrically opposite political purposes in the two successor states of British India. In India he is a symbol of right reaction, while in Pakistan he is the bulwark for the present day Left. What does this dissonance imply? The easy answer is that political conditions are so starkly different in India and Pakistan that a stable constitutional majoritarian democracy would be an advance in Pakistan while it would be a political regression in India. But there is something more troubling that this dissonance points to. Even 62 years after the traumatic events of Partition the two successor states of British India have not been able to encourage a historiography and national memory which does not demonise and vilify the founding fathers of the other. This surely does not help either of the two countries to move on and build more secure relations; rather it helps entrench the deep distrust that the national publics of the two countries have for each other. While there cannot be any denial of Jinnah’s crucial role in asking for division, it surely should be possible to move beyond the monochromatic visions of Partition seen largely along lines of religious affiliation with clear villains. Jinnah, Nehru, Patel or even Gandhi, were not merely representing religious or national interests. Rather, as any social scientist would aver, class, caste and a variety of other interests played an equally crucial role. Not only academic rigour but the pressing political needs of building peace in the subcontinent call for a renewed public debate on Partition.

Trouble in Xinjiang

China’s minorities are signalling that they will not put up with policies that favour the Han majority.

China’s inability to offer its (non-Han) minorities an equal and fair stake has been revealed once again in the recent violence in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. If it was Tibet in 2008, it is Xinjiang in 2009. Neither event has shaken Chinese government and party control over the two provinces, but both have surely reminded the government and chinese Communist Party (CCP) that they cannot continue to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that there is no disaffection among the minorities. The conditions in Xinjiang were considered serious enough to compel President and CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao to embarrassingly cut short his participation in the G-8 meetings in Italy earlier this month.

Ethnic violence leading to the deaths of more than 190 people rocked Urumqi on 5 July, when rioters belonging to the predominantly Sunni Islamic Uyghur denomination attacked members
of the Han Chinese in the city. The immediate trigger for the incidents in Urumqi was the violent targeting of Uyghur migrants by Han workers in a factory in the southern Chinese province of
Guangdong on 26 June. Upset by what some Uyghurs felt as Chinese government inaction in bringing the guilty Han workers to justice, protests were staged in Urumqi. The public anger was
transformed into a bloody ethnic riot with Uyghurs attacking the migrant Han Chinese population.

The official reaction of the Chinese government was to blame external forces for these incidents, pointing fingers at a Uyghur separatist leader (of the World Uyghur Congress) based in the
United States. But just as in the Tibetan events last year, the riots in Urumqi must be attributed to resentment among the minority ethnic groups of China’s population against government policies. One such policy is the “Western development” initiative launched in the latter half of the 1990s, which involved the large-scale capital investment in utilisation and extraction of natural resources in an endeavour to economically develop the western regions of China. Simultaneously, there was also an influx of ethnic Han Chinese to partake in the economic benefits of the growth process in these regions, including Xinjiang, a process which the CCP has been silently pleased about since it alters the demographic composition and facilitates control over the minorities. The Han migrants have been able to garner a large share of the employment opportunities. This combined with measures such as teaching of Mandarin in schools in Xinjiang has not gone down well with the Uyghur-speaking people. Thus, despite certain concessions to minorities such as the relaxation of the One-Child policy or other social measures, resentment against Han inmigration, corruption among the ruling elite, lopsided development and perceptions of cultural suppression have seen Uyghurs increasingly turning antipathetic to the Chinese government. This resentment also resonates with the perception of rising inequality and government corruption elsewhere in China.

China’s constitution and its 1984 Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law on paper provide ethnic minorities the right to protect, preserve and promote their cultures. The provision for diversity in the constitution and in the autonomy law have not been translated into implementation in Xinjiang (and Tibet), giving rise to open expression of grievances. The Chinese government will be foolish if it persists with its policy of conflating all forms of Uyghur dissent and grievances within “separatism, extremism and terrorism” and if it refuses to adopt a far more commodative
approach basing itself on the stated aims of the constitution. Merely blaming the separatist elements in the Uyghur diaspora for “fomenting” the riots is not going to help resolve the situation.The danger of a Han chauvinist and nationalist reprisal and consequent repression of Xinjiang remains, but thus far the Chinese government, both at the national and at the local levels, has tried to restore normalcy by appealing for calm while bringing those engaged
in murder and violence to justice. The relative freedom and access given to the press (both local and foreign) in covering the events after the 5 July incidents suggests a marked change from the Chinese government response to the incidents in Tibet last year. Beyond the political measures, the CCP and the government have to revisit the capital-intensive growth paradigm which is yielding some benefits to the Han majority but seems to be yielding little to the Uyghurs.

source : Economic and Political Weekly

Forum for Help

Hi friends since this is a blog everything cannot be possible. So I am making a post specially for Help. Below this post in comments section you can ask your questions, make suggestions and interact. It can help many people and at a single place.

Thank You !!!

India and Balochistan Insurgency

Question of provincial rights: Islamabad cannot get away with blaming India for the unrest in Balochistan.

Why is Manmohan Singh under fire in India? Many Indians, including the Opposition, are not happy about the reference to Balochistan in the joint statement released at Sharm-El-Shaikh, Egypt, after the meeting between Dr. Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned summit. Some feel Dr. Singh stabbed them in the back by accepting the claim that India interferes in Balochistan. There are reports that Mr. Gilani pressured Dr. Si ngh at Sharm-El-Shaikh by handing over a dossier of evidence alleging Indian involvement in cross-border terrorism in Balochistan and that was how the Prime Minister was forced to accept the reference to Balochistan. I was present at Sharm-El-Shaikh. Many Indian journalists were shocked on reading the joint statement. They asked me why Balochistan was mentioned in the statement. In fact, many of them, like many common Indians, were not aware of what was going on in Balochistan. Within a few hours, I started receiving calls from many Indian television channels asking what evidence Pakistan showed Dr. Singh of the alleged Indian involvement in Balochistan.

While Mr. Gilani did mention Balochistan to Dr. Singh, he never handed over any dossier. The situation in the province came in for detailed discussion during the first meeting of the Foreign Secretaries at Sharm-El-Shaikh in the evening of July 14, two days before the meeting of Dr. Singh and Mr. Gilani. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told his Indian counterpart, Shiv Shankar Menon, that India must delink the composite dialogue process from action on terrorism, otherwise Pakistan would be forced to produce before the international media at least “three Indian Ajmal Kasabs” who were directly or indirectly part of the terrorist activities in Balochistan. He added that Pakistan would easily establish that the Indian Consulate in the Afghan city of Kandahar was actually a control room of terrorist activities organised by the separatist Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). The three Indian nationals were arrested in Pakistan in the last few weeks. According to Pakistani officials, they have undeniable evidence of the links of these Indians with Baloch militants.

Mr. Bashir told Mr. Menon that Pakistan and India could not afford a blame game. If Pakistan were to come out with evidence of India’s involvement in the attack on Chinese engineers in the Gwadar port city, not only would India’s credibility be damaged but also more anti-India feelings would spread in Pakistan. The extremist forces would be the ultimate beneficiaries, Mr. Bashir said.

One must understand why the Pakistani authorities are very careful in exposing the alleged Indian involvement in Balochistan. First, this new blame game will only help the extremist forces who successfully organised the attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 to derail the India-Pakistan peace process. Secondly, it will harm Afghanistan-Pakistan relations. The U.S. does not want tensions between Islamabad and Kabul at this stage because the NATO forces are trying their best to conduct a presidential election in Afghanistan in a few weeks. Thirdly, the PPP-led coalition government is aware that Balochistan is not a serious dispute like Jammu and Kashmir; it is a problem of provincial rights. Instead of internationalising the issue, therefore, Islamabad should address the problem realistically. It cannot get away by blaming India alone for the unrest in the province. It has engaged many Baloch militants in talks behind-the scenes. Good news is expected soon.

Pakistan is making noises about the alleged Indian involvement in the Baloch insurgency in a careful, calculated and “limited manner.” The U.S. magazine, Foreign Affairs (March 2009) published the report of a roundtable discussion on the causes of instability in Pakistan. Christine Fair of RAND Corporation said, “having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Balochistan.”

Where is Zahedan? It is the capital of the Irani province Sistan-o-Balochistan bordering Pakistan. More than two million Balochis live on the Iranian side of Balochistan. Iran is building a big port of Chabahar in the same area with active help from India. Top Iranian leaders have repeatedly alleged that the Central Intelligence Agency is supporting the Iranian Balochis to destabilise the Islamic Republic. American journalist Seymour Hersh admitted in July 2008 that the Bush administration gave millions of dollars to the separatist Iranian group, Jandallah, which is responsible for violence in the Iranian part of Balochistan.

If Pakistan plays the India card in Balochistan, many anti-U.S. forces in Pakistan will demand to know why it is silent on the CIA’s role in Balochistan.

Keeping in view the sensitivity of the problem, it is difficult for India to openly support the Baloch insurgency because it may harm its relations with Iran. If Indians come out openly in support of the BLA, anti-Indian elements in Pakistan will quickly bracket New Delhi with the alleged great game of the U.S. against Iran.

The Balochis are Kurds of South Asia. The Kurd population is distributed in Iran, Turkey and Iraq, while the Balochis are spread over Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Separatist groups in Pakistan and Iran want the Baloch areas unified. This is not acceptable to both countries. Balochistan has huge quantities of natural gas and unexplored oil reserves and is the largest Pakistani province in terms of area, covering almost 48 per cent of the country. But it accounts for only five per cent of the total population. A tribal society, it is the most underdeveloped province.

The first military operation in Balochistan was launched by General Ayub Khan in the late 1950s. The second was launched in 1974 when Iraq tried to destabilise Iranian Balochistan with the help of pro-Soviet Afghan ruler Sardar Daoud in collaboration with some Pakistani Baloch leaders. Daoud tried to exploit the slogan of independent Balochistan, on the one hand, and Pashtunistan, on the other. Afghanistan’s interference in Pakistan forced Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to use Ahmad Shah Massoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar against the Kabul regime. The two Afghan rebels became guests of the Pakistani security forces in 1975. Later, General Zia-ul-Haq used them against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

Pervez Musharraf gave Gwadar to the Chinese for development in 2003. Three Chinese engineers were killed and nine injured on May 3, 2004 in a remote-controlled car bomb attack. Two months later, Pakistan claimed for the first time that India was involved in the attack. Locals were not happy over the employment of non-Balochis in the main development projects of their province. They also wanted a fairer share of royalties generated by the production of natural gas. Instead of addressing their grievances, the Musharraf regime launched a third military operation against them in 2005, further aggravating the situation.

Why must India discuss Balochistan with Pakistan? For, it will be the transit route of at least two multinational gas pipelines — one from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan and the other from Iran to Pakistan. India could be a beneficiary of both pipelines, which could be extended from Multan to New Delhi. A stable Balochistan will, thus, ultimately benefit India.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China and India should join hands, and stop proxy wars in Kashmir and Balochistan. They can then change the fate of the whole region.

source: The Hindu

Who are the Taliban?

Pakistan Taliban member
The Taliban are now active in both Afghanistan and Pakistan

Recent years have seen the re-emergence of the hardline Islamic Taliban movement as a fighting force in Afghanistan and a major threat to its government.

They are also threatening to destabilise Pakistan, where they control areas in the north-west and are blamed for a wave of suicide bombings and other attacks.

The Taliban emerged in the early 1990s in northern Pakistan following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

A predominantly Pashtun movement, the Taliban came to prominence in Afghanistan in the autumn of 1994.

It is commonly believed that they first appeared in religious seminaries - mostly paid for by money from Saudi Arabia - which preached a hard line form of Sunni Islam.

The Taliban's promise - in Pashtun areas straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan - was to restore peace and security and enforce their own austere version of Sharia, or Islamic law, once in power.

In both countries they introduced or supported Islamic punishments - such as public executions of convicted murderers and adulterers and amputations of those found guilty of theft.

Men were required to grow beards and women had to wear the all-covering burka.


The Taliban showed a similar disdain for television, music and cinema and disapproved of girls aged 10 and over from going to school.

Taliban militia in a pick-up truck in Kabul 26 September 2001
The Taliban first came to prominence in Afghanistan in 1994

Pakistan has repeatedly denied that it is the architect of the Taliban enterprise.

But there is little doubt that many Afghans who initially joined the movement were educated in madrassas (religious schools) in Pakistan.

Pakistan was also one of only three countries, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which recognised the Taliban when they were in power in Afghanistan from the mid-1990s until 2001.

It was also the last country to break diplomatic ties with the Taliban.

The attention of the world was drawn to the Taliban in Afghanistan following the attacks on the World Trade Centre in September 2001.

Mullah Omar, pictured with other Taliban in northern Afghanistan
Mullah Omar's precise whereabouts are still unknown

The Taliban in Afghanistan was accused of providing a sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda movement who were blamed for the attacks.

Soon after 9/11 the Taliban were driven from power in Afghanistan by a US-led coalition, although their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was not captured - and neither was Osama Bin Laden.

In recent years the Taliban have re-emerged in Afghanistan and grown far stronger in Pakistan, where observers say there is loose co-ordination between different Taliban factions and militant groups.

The main Pakistani faction is led by Baitullah Mehsud, whose Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is blamed for dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks.

Observers warn against over-stating the existence of one unified insurgency against the Pakistani state, however.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are still believed to be led by Mullah Omar, a village clergyman who lost his right eye fighting the occupying forces of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Afghans, weary of the mujahideen's excesses and infighting after the Soviets were driven out, generally welcomed the Taliban when they first appeared on the scene.

1. Emerged in Afghanistan in 1994

2. Mainly supported by ethnic Pashtuns

3. Toppled after US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001

4. Fugitive leader Mullah Omar wanted, whereabouts unknown

Their early popularity was largely due to their success in stamping out corruption, curbing lawlessness and making the roads and the areas under their control safe for commerce to flourish.

From south-western Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly extended their influence.

They captured the province of Herat, bordering Iran, in September 1995.

Exactly one year later, they captured the Afghan capital, Kabul, after overthrowing the regime of President Burhanuddin Rabbani and his defence minister, Ahmed Shah Masood.

By 1998, they were in control of almost 90% of Afghanistan.

They were accused of various human rights and cultural abuses. One example was in 2001, when the Taliban went ahead with the destruction of the famous Bamiyan Buddha statues in central Afghanistan, despite international outrage.

US onslaught

On October 7, 2001, a US-led military coalition invaded Afghanistan and by the first week of December the Taliban regime had collapsed.

Mullah Omar and his comrades have evaded capture despite one of the largest manhunts in the world

Mullah Omar and most of the other senior Taliban leaders, along with Bin Laden and some of his senior al-Qaeda associates, survived the American onslaught.

Mullah Omar and most of his comrades have evaded capture despite one of the largest manhunts in the world and are believed to be guiding the resurgent Taliban.

Since then they have re-grouped in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, but are now under pressure in both countries, from the Pakistani army and Nato respectively.

Despite ever higher numbers of foreign troops, the Taliban have steadily extended their influence, rendering vast tracts of Afghanistan insecure, and violence in the country has returned to levels not seen since 2001.

Their retreat earlier this decade enabled them to limit their human and material losses and return with a vengeance.

source: BBC

Imagining a Nation : Great Article from The Hindu

Rethinking the nation: A cohesive and just space for all...

July 18, 2009 marked the world’s first Mandela Day. Mandela Day is celebrated to honour the life and legacy of the 91-year-old veteran freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela. Mandela spent 67 years of his life, 27 of these in prison, in South Africa's struggle against apartheid. Mandela Day marks the moral authority of this great statesman and is a global call to action to each and every individual to devote their time and effort to the service of their communities.

The history of the struggles of many nations across the world has shaped each country’s basic beliefs and core national values. This evolves into a nationally upheld value system which is usually institutionalised in that country’s constitution.

The United States of America has laid out its core democratic values in its Declaration of Independence and its Constitution. These core values of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, justice, truth and common good are taught to every elementary school student in America.

Members of the European Union have been working on a consortium for European values and in 2005, the Atlas of European Values was published. This atlas presents the values, norms, and beliefs of Europeans at the turn of the millennium. The results of this study have turned out surprisingly conservative. An overwhelming majority of folks has chosen “married-with-children” as their preferred lifestyle, dispelling influences from the liberating 1960s, with its messages of emancipation and individualisation.

Our Indian heritage is awash with values that have been emphasised and passed down from generation to generation. The Indian national pledge calls for treating parents, teachers and all elders with respect. The Indian interpretation of respect differs slightly from those of Western nations. As a mark of respect for elders, we rise to offer them a seat, we refrain from calling them by their first names and are taught not to backchat to them.

Refreshingly different

United States President Barack Obama demonstrates an understanding of and is at ease with different world cultures. After being sworn in as President, when Obama personally saw off his outgoing counterpart George W. Bush onto his helicopter Marine One and off to his home in Texas, the President was practising a value that is well understood in the Eastern world. Another unprecedented act in the realm of Western campaign politics was the dinner that President Obama hosted for his defeated opponent, John McCain. Many people of Eastern descent would recognise the act of seeing off an elder statesman to be a mark of respect for his age, for his stature and for the services rendered to his country. President Obama has had global life experience — having spent four of his formative teenage years in Indonesia.

The Indian constitution embodies many of the core values that have been part of the Indian ethos. It has resolved to secure to all its citizens justice, equality, liberty and fraternity.

The Preamble to the Constitution of India seeks to establish what Mahatma Gandhi described as “The India of my Dreams”:

“I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country, in whose making they have an effective voice, an India in which there shall be no high class or low class of people; an India in which all communities shall live in perfect harmony. There can be no room in such an India for the curse of untouchability or the curse of intoxicating drinks and drugs. Women will enjoy as the same rights as men. We shall be at peace with all the rest of the world. This is the India of my dreams.”

We have other core values handed down to us over the generations — values such as respect for women, caring for the old and the sick and empathy for the poor and downtrodden.

If morality is the answer to the question “how ought we to live”, group morality develops from shared beliefs and helps regulate behaviour within a community. The reality of today’s society is that many countries are faced with endangered values.

In answer to the question, “What is the world’s greatest challenge in the new millennium?”, Jimmy Carter has stated in his book Our Endangered Values America’s Moral Crisis: “The greatest challenge we face is the growing chasm between the rich and the poor on earth”. He goes on to explain that the gap is steadily widening. At the beginning of the last century, the 10 richest countries were nine times wealthier than the 10 poorest ones. Today that ratio is 131:1.

Many independent studies are being conducted on the factors affecting changes to the moral fabric of our society. There is a need to put into perspective the values that are changing as a result of globalisation. George Matafonov in his book Fire and Water: Market Morality and Civil Society states that the root causes of global social unrest are not primarily the result of the rise of terrorism, but should be attributed to the new model of society whose core has become economic theory rather than traditional human values. He argues that in a span of less than 50 years, economic theory has turned the world upside down by insisting that our chief value should be competitive self interest. The challenge therefore for modern societies is to bring back the sense of traditional morality without negating the advantages of economic theory.

Our choices

India is a country of many cultures and ethnicities. Our common binding force doesn’t have to be drawn from Western influences, food, language or dress. Our history can be taught as a proud acceptance of our diversity or can be spun into a grim reminder of assault and plunder. Our attitude can be forward looking as an all-inclusive and tolerant community or can be backward looking, exclusionist, reactionary and violent. Our behaviour can be marked by belligerence and suspicion or we can be cosmopolitan and yet preserve our individual cultures.

Every so often, the moral fabric of our nation must be whetted and reaffirmed. Refreshment of our core values has to be an ongoing process. While attempts have been made in different communities to define a benchmark set of moral standards — enforcing these standards is quite another issue. Coersion is not the best form of adherence. If we perceive an individual or group of individuals to be violating a core value, the appropriate response is one which is within the framework of justice and equality.

Our most steadfast and enduring values are those that were introduced in our early years. Character education shows best results when introduced early in life. This makes schools a vitally important instrument in the character education agenda. Also, cohesive nationalism is a concept that needs broader definition and support. We need to champion this cause — something that we can practise everyday until it resonates in our lives. To teach our children to be divisive is a very dangerous game to play. They grow up looking at all relationships from this lens. The dangers of stoking the embers of hatred for this or that ethnic group are that the ensuing fire sometimes turns around to ultimately consume one of our own loved ones.

True progress has no room for mutual suspicion or divisiveness and can be achieved collectively, not individually. Our greatest moral challenge today is our poor. As a country with about 25 per cent people in poverty, this should be our primary focus. Our second biggest challenge is finding a way to live peacefully and amicably with all of our cultures and to preserve and promote our diversity.

source: The Hindu

Download India Year Book - 2009 E-Book

India Year Book is a great compilation of the facts and important things involved during a year. It is a must read for General Studies. Here is the download link for E-Book


Remembering KARGIL

Its been 10 years since Kargil War ended. Today 26th July, We are celebrating Vijay Diwas due to the sacrifices made by our Jawans. In this regard I would like to post an article I came to see through on Kargil War' Victory in Sainik Samachar.

July 26, 1999 will go down in the annals of Indian history as a day when the determined Indian forces achieved a glorious victory over the retreating Pakistani army.

It was on this day that the Indian victory over Pakistan was complete. True to its character despite having to pay a heavy price for fighting a war within its territory, the Indian forces allowed the Pakistanis to return across the Line of Control (LoC). It was a gesture which depicted the great Indian tradition of forgiving even the enemy, when it pleads for it. For Pakistan, it was another lesson which it would probably not forget for a long time. It would also put Pakistan to shame, for it chose to torture and kill the Indian prisoners of War (PoWs), rather than handing them over safely as was done by India through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Fighting against all odds in the icy heights of Kargil, a remote region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian forces ensured that the supreme sacrifice made by their gallant soldiers did not go waste. As the nation stood like a rock behind the men fighting a war forced upon India by Pakistan, the plea from Islamabad to allow a safe passage to the trapped Pakistani soldiers was an ultimate proof about the capabilities of the Indian defence. The successful eviction of Pakistanis by the concerted action of the Indian Armed Forces clearly demonstrated that while India remains a votary of peace, it has the will and the capability to fight and win a war. The advancing Indian forces left no stone unturned to ensure that not even one Pakistani soldier remained on the Indian soil. With the backing of the Indian Air force (IAF), the Indian Army achieved a feat which would be hard for any of the armies around the world to match. It was also a milestone in the history of military aviation, as it was for the first time that air power was deployed with such effectiveness in such a hostile environment. The lessons from Kargil would also be applicable to all Air Forces for the world.

Though Indian forces initially suffered some losses, they were able to gain control of various heights very quickly. From Patalik to Chorbatla, from Valdor to Shangruti, the Indian soldiers were victorious everywhere. The Pakistanis were surrounded from all sides. Despite fighting uphill, the brave Indian officers and jawans cut through the Pakistani barricades. And for once the nation stood united like never before. The religion was relegated to the background and all communities were one. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari there was an outpour of emotion for the valiant Indian soldiers. Every time a body returned from the battlefield, entire nation shed tears and only vowed with further resolve to show no mercy for the Pakistanis. The nation also did not lag behind in lending the much needed financial support for the families of the soldiers who had laid down their lives protecting the Indian sovereignty. Aware of the need for a boost in the morale of the soldiers going to the front who had knowledge that they may never return home, singers and stars turned up in large numbers at the railway stations. The Indian cricketers also palyed their part and visited the hospitals where the wounded were being treated. It was an effort to show India was not divided as the enemy was hoping.

Incidentally, our policy of restraint and resolve during the Kargil crisis was appreciated by the international community. The blatant misadventure of the Pakistani military establishment in Kargil failed miserably on the politico-diplomatic and military fronts. The Pakistani attempt in Kargil has had such far reaching effect that it has still not been able to emerge from the indignity it invited upon itself.

Viewed against the background the historic initiative taken by Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee to visit Lahore in February 1999 and the signing of the Lahore Declaration, which clearly reflected India’s willingness and determination to resolve its differences with Pakistan through a process of dialogue and confidence building, the Pakistani intrusion in Kargil was a betrayal of trust. Even while accepting India’s extended hand of friendship in Lahore, Pakistan was planning its clandestine, unprovoked full-scale intrusion across the LoC. Taking undue advantage of the unheld gaps in the continous and glaciated terrain, Pakistan attempted this aggression against India which led to the occupation of strategic territory on the Indian side of the LoC.

But in the end a great disservice was done by the Pakistani Army to not only all their countrymen but particularly to their soldiers, who were laying down lives in a war which had no idea, ideology or purpose. They did not know as to why they were fighting. While here in India there was an outpour of emotion and solidarity, the Pakistani soldiers died an unrecognised death. They were also not given a decent burial by their own men, whereas the Indian soldiers despite knowledge that these were the bodies of the enemy choose to give them a burial. For it goes by the Indian tradition to pay respect to the dead human, whoever he or she may be. Instead of recognising their sacrifices, the best traditions of the Armed forces, the Pakistani army not only treated their soldiers as cannon fodder, but adamantly refused to acknowledge their presence across the LoC. Later, despite being made fully aware of the identities of their slain soldiers, it continued to turn its back on the dead. This evidently was so because it would have immediately exposed the direct involvement of the Pakistani army.

Unable to face the humiliation inflicted by the Indian forces, Pakistan finally did acknowledge that some of the dead were their men. But then it asked India to hand over the bodies to the ICRC rather than accepting them directly. This again reflected little or no concern of Pakistan towards its own dead soldiers who will never return home and to their families. In fact, by this refusal, the fate of many Pakistani soldiers will remain an unsolved mystery, a pain that will be very hard to endure. And, the pain and agony suffered as a result by the families of these soldiers who are no more will squarely rest with the Pakistani army.

Kargil has lessons for both, India and Pakistan. India’s policy of peace has earned her recognition from world over, yet it must not take defence preparedness for granted. The lesson for Pakistan is, it must understand that dialogue is the best course for sorting out mutual problems between the two countries.

source: Sainik Samachar

Collection Of Websites For Your Preparation

Hi all... We all know that Internet is a huge pool of knowledge.But without knowing what to read it will be a disaster. In the same way we have many websites for our preparation for UPSC. But you might know some and you might not know some.So in this post I will post some of very useful websites for your preparation. Use this post as a way to share the links of the website you think are worth to mention.

1. Saptarshi's Blog -- LINK -- If you are out of mind and you are messed up with lots of current affairs stuff then you should visit this blog for important articles with great presentation.

2. General Studies Daily Quiz -- LINK -- A great blog to test your knowledge daily on a certian topic in 5 minutes.

3. Indian Current Affairs -- LINK -- One post per day and you will get the whole news in a concise form. Best site for to keep updated with News in 3-5 minutes.

4. Help For UPSC Prelims -- LINK -- A great blog for all your questions and queries about UPSC prelims. You can also find strategies for preparation of various subjects.

5. General Knowledge Today -- LINK -- One of the best blogs for your General Knowledge and Current Affairs knowledge.

6. Civil Service India -- LINK -- Are You preparing for UPSC ? Then dont miss this site Its like our Mini Bible

7. Exam Race -- LINK -- Where can you get so much of material and previous papers in an organised way? Here is the answer.

8. CSGS India -- LINK -- UPSC General Studies Bible.

9. UPSC Portal -- LINK -- Another great website with large user database providing free material and a free monthly competitive magazine. Shouldnt miss it

10. Indian Officer Forums -- LINK -- A great forum for your questions and helpful information about preparation of the concerned subject you are opting for.

This is not the entire list. I will update it whenever I find any worthy website. If you know any good website other than these mentioned here , please make a comment here.

Download IGNOU: Sociology Notes ebooks for Free

Hi everyone one of our friends asked me to upload IGNOU's Sociology notes. I have uploaded the files and providing links here.But there are some gaps in between.I downloaded everything from their site and couldnt find some missing files. So please find their relevant material some where else.

So here are the chapters included in Sociology
1. The Study of Society
2. Society in India
3. Sociological Thought
4. Society and Stratification
5. Society and Religion
6. Social Problems in India

Following are the download links. As of now I am providing mediafire links I will soon upload them to rapidshare too.

MediaFire Links :

The Study of Society

Society in India

Sociological Thought

Society and Stratification

Society and Religion

Social Problems in India

The Rest of the Chapters will be uploaded ASAP.

IGNOU - Indian History Notes ebooks Free to Download

Here goes the Indian History notes..

The following are the chapters as of now uploaded by me

1. Modern India (1857-1964)

Rapidshare OR Mediafire

2. India - Earliest times to the 8th century AD


3. History of India from 8th - 15th Century AD


I will post rest of the chapters soon....

An Editorial on ACES Bill,2009 : From Economic Times

During her recent visit, the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton forcefully urged India to contribute to carbon-emission reductions to combatglobal warming. India’s environment minister Jairam Ramesh responded with equal force stating that emission caps would not cut ice in India. Widespread criticisms of this response in the western press notwithstanding, Ramesh is on a strong wicket when refusing to accept mitigation obligations.

The push secretary Clinton has made for emission reductions by India partially reflects a switch in the US policy towards climate change under President Obama. The Congress, which has also come to be dominated by the Democratic Party following the November 2008 elections, reinforces this switch. Specifically, the House of Representatives recently passed the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Bill of 2009, which provides for a “cap and trade” program that would place an annual cap on the overall carbon emissions in the US.

The cap would progressively tighten to 80% of 2005 emissions in 2020, 58% in 2030 and 17% in 2050. Each year, the government would issue tradable permits matching the amount of the carbon cap. Companies would be required to acquire permits for every tonne of carbon they emit either from the government or the marketplace. To become law, Senate must also pass the ACES Bill.

While “cap and trade” programs have existed in Europe as a part of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the proposed US program differs from them in one key respect: beginning in 2020, it requires the US President to impose tariffs on selected carbon-intensive goods from countries that do not introduce caps on carbon emissions. It specifically targets India and China by requiring the US Trade Representative to annually certify that these countries are adopting emission standards at least as vigorous as those prevailing in the US.

According to legal opinion, the import tariff is likely to violate some key World Trade Organisation (WTO) provisions. Even President Obama who has actively sought the passage of the ACES Bill has expressed disappointment with the insertion of the import duty provision. Nevertheless, if the Bill does become law, India will have to eventually challenge any carbon tariffs the US imposes on it in the WTO dispute settlement body and be willing to retaliate in a WTO-consistent manner.

But a more immediate and perhaps bigger battle on climate change looms in Copenhagen in December. According to the UNFCCC, which came into force in 1994 and is currently subscribed to by 192 countries, developed countries must periodically negotiate mitigation commitments to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The convention explicitly exempts developing countries from similar mitigation commitments. Consistent with this provision, the Kyoto Protocol, ratified in 2005, requires only developed countries to mitigate.

The US, which had refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol but is now keen on a post-Kyoto climate change treaty, insists, however, that China and India undertake binding mitigation commitments. It reasons that these countries are among the world’s four largest emitters in absolute terms.

But beyond this size-based argument, there is little else on which the US case can be pegged, especially against India. Given India has the second largest population in the world with the US being a very distant third, it is hardly surprising that India is among the top four emitters in absolute terms. But in per-capita terms, it ranks a low 137th. Forty percent of the households in the country are even without an electricity connection. And there are 300 million people living in abject poverty. If India were to agree to even cap its emissions at current levels, let alone mitigate, its growth process will be crippled. And with it, the country would lose any hope of bringing electricity to all households or of eliminating poverty.

Therefore, from the viewpoint of its own citizenry, India has every reason to refuse mitigation commitments for some decades to come. It also has a good moral case. Rich countries have been responsible for more than 70% of the emissions between 1850 and 2000. India’s contribution to emissions during these same years was a paltry 2%. Even setting aside this history, Canada, US, Europe, Eurasia and Japan together account for more than 50% of the current emissions and India only 4.4%. If environment were to be viewed as a common resource, which it is, almost any principle of moral philosophy would say that developed countries must bring their emissions down very substantially before they demand similar reductions from the poor countries. The fact that they have emitted a lot in the past and they continue to do so today ought to give them rights to less, not more, future emissions than the poor countries.

The exemption to the developing countries from mitigation commitments unless they choose to voluntarily undertake them is also enshrined in the UNFCCC to which developed countries are signatory. In its preamble, the convention explicitly recognises that “the largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries, that per capita emissions in developing countries are still relatively low and that the share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs.” The UNFCCC requires mitigation commitments only from developed countries.

The US knows that it is on thin ice when it insists on mitigation commitments from India in the near future. The principal reason it targets India is that it is ill-at-ease targeting China alone. It can be scarcely unaware that mitigation by India from its current low emission levels would do little to alleviate global warming problem.

At Copenhagen, India should clearly indicate to the US that it would not sign an unjust and inequitable treaty permitting trade sanctions against other countries; that it would challenge any attempt at enforcing such sanctions against non-signatories in the WTO dispute settlement body; and that if necessary it would exercise its right to retaliate in WTO-legal fashion.

source: economic times

Download Aspirant Times Magazine 4 Volumes ebooks : Mediafire links

Hi friends I hope you all follow if not you should follow. Its one of the best sites i have came across . They provide so much material with honesty and hardwork. Recently they started monthly magazine which serves us for many purposes like that of Competition Success Review , Pratiyogita darpan and all. And on the top it is free. I went through those magazines and found very good and upto the mark. But the only problem is that you dont get a direct download link in their website, you should get registered , then login and you have to order the book. Then you will get a mail with download link. But it expires after you download the file. So if you want to download it again its a big problem , you hae to order again. So to remove this i have uploaded the magazines to mediafire so that they remain forever and you dont have to get registered and order again and again. So use them properly.

Download Links:

Volume 1 (Special: Free Mock Test Prelims papers for UPSC 2009)

Volume 2 (Special: IES Exam Special)

Volume 3 (Special: IFS Exam Special)

Volume 4 (Special: IAS Mains Special Part 1)

P.S: I will post these on scribd and embed here so that you can read here itself in the next post.

Tutorial : National Rural Employment Gaurantee Act (NREGA)

The following is a fantastic article on NREGA by The article wasnt changed.Here is the link for Original article.

What is NREGA?
  1. NREGA is designed as a safety net to reduce migration by rural poor households in the lean period through A hundred days of guaranteed unskilled manual labour provided when demanded at minimum wage on works focused on water conservation, land development & drought proofing.
  2. Notification of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act came in September 2005. It was launched on February 2, 2006.
  3. NREGA is the flagship programme of the UPA Government that directly touches lives of the poor and promotes inclusive growth.
  4. The Act aims at enhancing livelihood security of households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  5. The ongoing programmes of Sampoorn Grameen Rozgar Yojna & National Food for Work Programme were subsumed within this programme in the 200 of the most backward districts of the country, in which it was introduced in phase -1 .
  6. In phase-2 it was introduced in 130 additional districts.
  7. The scheme was extended to 274 rural districts from April 1, 2008 in phase-3.
  8. NREGA is the first ever law internationally, that guarantees wage employment at an unprecedented scale.
  9. Dr. Jean Drèze, a Belgian born economist, at the Delhi School of Economics, has been a major influence on this project.

What are Objectives of NREGA?

  1. Augmenting wage employment.
  2. Strengthening natural resource management through works that address causes of chronic poverty like drought, deforestation and soil erosion and so encourage sustainable development.
  3. Strengthening grassroots processes of democracy
  4. Infusing transparency and accountability in governance.
  5. Strengthening decentralization and deepening processes of democracy by giving a pivotal role to the Panchayati Raj Institutions in planning, monitoring and implementation.

What are the Unique Features of NREGA?

  1. Time bound employment guarantee and wage payment within 15 days
  2. Incentive-disincentive structure to the State Governments for providing employment as 90 per cent of the cost for employment provided is borne by the Centre or payment of unemployment allowance at their own cost and emphasis on labour intensive works prohibiting the use of contractors and machinery.
  3. The Act mandates a 33 percent participation for women.

How NREGA is Implemented? The following image shows the key processes in the implementation of NREGA.

  1. Cost sharing : Central Government 3/4th , State Government 1/4th
  2. Adult members of rural households submit their name, age and address with photo to the Gram Panchayat.
  3. The Gram panchayat registers households after making enquiry and issues a job card. The job card contains the details of adult member enrolled and his /her photo.
  4. Registered person can submit an application for work in writing (for at least fourteen days of continuous work) either to panchayat or to Programme Officer.
  5. The panchayat/programme officer will accept the valid application and issue dated receipt of application, letter providing work will be sent to the applicant and also displayed at panchayat office.
  6. The employment will be provided within a radius of 5 km: if it is above 5 km extra wage will be paid.
  7. If employment under the scheme is not provided within fifteen days of receipt of the application daily unemployment allowance will be paid to the applicant.

NREGA & Union Budget 2009-10:

  1. During 2008-09, NREGA provided employment opportunities for more than 4.47 crore households as against 3.39 crore households covered in 2007-08.
  2. Govt. is committed to providing a real wage of Rs.100 a day as an entitlement under the NREGA.
  3. To increase the productivity of assets and resources under NREGA, convergence with other schemes relating to agriculture, forests, water resources, land resources and rural roads is being initiated. In the first stage, a total of 115 pilot districts have been selected for such convergence.
  4. Govt of India has proposed an allocation of Rs.39,100 crore for the year 2009-10 for NREGA which marks an increase of 144% over 2008-09 Budget Estimates.

How Monitoring & Evaluation is Done in NREGA?

  1. The Ministry has set up a comprehensive monitoring system. For effective monitoring of the projects 100% verfication of the works at the Block level, 10% at the District level and 2% at the State level inspections need to be ensured.
  2. In order to optimize the multiplier effects of NREGA, the Ministry has set up a Task Force to look at the possibility of convergence of programmes like National Horticulture Mission, Rashtriya Krishi vikas Yojana, Bharat Nirman, Watershed Development with NREGA.
  3. These convergence efforts will add value to NREGA, works and aid in creating durable efforts and also enable planned and coordinated public investments in rural areas.

Critical Issues of NREGA, how they are addressed?

  1. Issues Related to Job Cards: To ensure that rural families likely to seek unskilled manual labour are identified & verify against reasonably reliable local data base so that nondomiciled contractor’s workers are not used on NREGA works . What is done for this problem? Job card verification is done on the spot against an existing data base and Reducing the time lag between application and issue of job cards to eliminate the possibility of rentseeking, and creating greater transparency etc. Besides ensuring that Job Cards are issued prior to employment demand and work allocation rather than being issued on work sites which could subvert the aims of NREGA
  2. Issues related to Applications: To ascertain choices and perceptions of households regarding lean season employment to ensure exercise of the right to employment within the time specified of fifteen days to ensure that works are started where and when there is demand for labour, not demand for works the process of issuing a dated acknowledgement for the application for employment needs to be scrupulously observed. In its absence, the guarantee cannot be exercised in its true spirit
  3. Issues Related to Selection of Works: Selection of works by gram sabha in villages and display after approval of shelf of projects, to ensure public choice, transparency and accountability and prevent material intensive, contractor based works and concocted works records
  4. Issues related to Execution of Works: At least half the works should be run by gram panchayats . Maintenance of muster roll by executing agency -numbered muster rolls which only show job card holders must be found at each work-to prevent contractor led works
  5. Issues related to measurement of work done: Regular measurement of work done according to a schedule of rural rates sensitive Supervision of Works by qualified technical personnel on time. Reading out muster rolls on work site during regular measurement -to prevent bogus records and payment of wages below prescribed levels
  6. Issues related to Payments: Payment of wages through banks and post offices -to close avenues for use of contractors, short payment and corruption
  7. Audit : Provision of adequate quality of work site facilities for women and men labourers Creation and maintenance of durable assets Adequate audit and evaluation mechanisms Widespread institution of social audit and use of findings

Some Points:

  1. Rozgar Jagrookta Puruskar award has been introduced to recognize outstanding Contributions by Civil society Organizations at State, District, Block and Gram Panchayat levels to generate awareness about provisions and entitlements and ensuring compliance with implementing processes.
  2. The government has engaged professional institutions like IIMs, IITs and agricultural universities to assess the implementation of NREGA across the country.

Criticism of NREGA :

Here are some points raised regarding the implementation and success of NREGA in various news papers and magazines:

  1. In last 3 years on average only 50% of the households that registered under the scheme actually got employment. (times of India)
  2. There is a wide variation of performance across states. In terms of the percentage of registered households provided work, Maharashtra has averaged an abysmal 13% over the three years while Rajasthan at the other end of the spectrum has averaged 73%. (Times of India)
  3. The rural poverty line, which is now in the region of Rs 400 per capita per day, means that an average household that is below the poverty line (BPL) will have an income of something in the range of Rs 24,000 per annum or less, assuming a five-member household. In other words, if a BPL family were to get the full promised benefit of NREGA they could earn the equivalent of more than 40% of their annual income from this one scheme alone. That should be enough to see why NREGA should not be seen as just another of the plethora of poverty alleviation schemes that India has had since Independence. (Times of India)
  4. If this scheme is implemented the right way, there will be no need for MP and MLAs funds. Look at the figures: At Rs 2 crore per 543 MP, the allocation comes to Rs 1086 crore (most times this remains underutilized). In his budget, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has increased the NREGA allocation by 144% and it's now Rs 39,100 crore. (Times of India)
  5. The Planning Commission has sought the Reserve Bank of India’s intervention in streamlining the mechanism of paying wages under the NREGA. In a letter to the central bank, the Commission said that the RBI should give directions to banks to ensure that payments to the beneficiaries of the NREGA are made only through banks or post-offices. The Commission has pointed out that disbursing funds under the NREGA, which has an annual allocation of Rs30,000 crore, needs to be strengthened to ensure that no leakages happen as the canvas of the programme is bound to expand in the near future. (Live Mint)
  6. Despite the political and economic importance NREGA has generated, there are lack of studies on the working of public employment programmes. (Live Mint)

Download Digital FRONTLINE for Free : July 18 - 31,2009 Issue



* Rhetoric & reality


* GENDER ISSUES: Defining moment
* Queer politics
* Interview: Arvind Narrain, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore
* COMMUNALISM: Disturbed city
* DELHI: Power of profit
* HERITAGE: In a shambles
* Invisible work
* ESSAY: E.C. & Opinion Polls
* ECONOMIC POLICY: Retail debate
* POLITICS: Terrible twins
* EDUCATION: School question


* HONDURAS: Countering a coup
* NORTH KOREA: Open defiance
* Political recession
* IRAN: The dust settles
* IRAQ: Surge in reverse
* SRI LANKA: A new dawn?
* CHINA: Sparks of separatism
* OBITUARY: Death of a star
* OBITUARY: Man of many hats


* Rising metropolis
* Abode of faith
* Going the SEZ way
* Vizag's Visva Bharati
* In mission mode


* The English Language
* Bhaskar Ghose: First peace, then development
* R.K. Raghavan: Issues of policing
* Praful Bidwai: UPA's early drift




First BRIC Summit by R K Pandey of

First BRIC Summit

Developing World Rendered New Power

By R.K.Pandey (

Brazil, Russia, India and China ended the first BRIC summit at Yekaterinburg in Russia by calling for an increased role in global financial institutions by emerging economies and developing nations. At the conclusion of the first BRIC summit on June16,2009 BRIC countries issued a joint statement calling for increased economic reform. The four nations, representing emerging economic powers, demanded that developing economies have a greater voice and representation in international financial institutions, and their heads and senior leadership should be appointed through an open, transparent and merit-based selection process. BRIC countries said that they also believe there is a strong need for a stable, predictable and more diversified international monetary system, it showed a warning against the global domination of the US dollar as the world’s standard reserve currency.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had voiced similar sentiments before the summit, saying the current reserve policies have not managed to perform their functions. Chief economic aide, Arkady Dvorkovich, suggested that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should revise the basket of currencies used to value its financial products to include the Russian ruble and Chinese Yuan. At the moment the currencies included are the dollar, euro, yen and sterling.

The range of topics on the agenda and the line-up of presidents attending showed the growing economic and political power of the world's emerging nations, including India and China, and their desire to forge new levers of influence. Host president Dmitry Medvedev of Russia hailed the Urals city of Yekaterinburg as the epicenter of world politics.

BRICs New Affirmation
The so-called BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China called for reform of international financial institutions, sweeping changes to the United Nations to give a bigger role to Brazil and India and a stable and predictable currency system. Iran's president, re-elected in a disputed vote, fired a salvo at the United States, the leaders of India and Pakistan had their first one-to-one meeting since the Mumbai attacks and the four top emerging market economies held their first summit.

A common thread running through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit and a separate meeting between Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) was discussion of a new world order less dependent on the United States. President of Russia told that existing reserve currencies, including the U.S. dollar, had not performed their function and said it was time for change and countries should use their national currencies more for trade. The BRIC summit ended with a statement by Medvedev and a communique which demanded more power for developing nations. It did not mention two key Moscow initiatives a smaller role for the U.S. dollar and a supranational reserve currency.

The Kremlin's top economic aide, Arkady Dvorkovich, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should expand the basket of its Special Drawing Right (an international reserve asset) to including the Chinese yuan, the Russian rouble and gold. The dollar fell 0.9 percent against a basket of major currencies on world markets after Medvedev's comments. Since the four BRIC nations represent around 40 percent of the world's population and 15 percent of its GDP. Russia and China lead the SCO, a security and economic co-operation forum which also includes four Central Asian states, plus Iran, Mongolia, India and Pakistan as observers. It can be say that such a type of coordination will allow developing nations to better explain their positions to each other and work out a novel path to resolving international financial problems and the reform of international financial relations.

Underlining its growing economic influence abroad, Chinese President Hu Jintao offered Central Asian states $10 billion of credit support to help counter the global economic slump, though he did not mention the proposals for diluting dollar dominance. In another ignore to the West, the SCO leaders welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, making his first foreign trip to attend the summit since his disputed re-election. Ahmadinejad arrived a day late in Yekaterinburg after mass protests against his disputed victory in Tehran but the SCO presidents had congratulated Ahmadinejad on his victory.

On the sidelines, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Pakistani leader Asif Ali Zardari for the first time since the Mumbai attacks and asked him to ensure that Islamist militants could not operate from Pakistani territory. His tough words offered little hope for a breakthrough in relations between the two nuclear-armed Asian powers.

Campaigning for Economic Modification
Those divisive issues are mainly political in nature which is why most observers correctly predicted that the BRIC summit would focus predominantly on economic issues. Combined, the BRIC countries currently have a 15-percent share of the world economy and a 42-percent share of global currency reserves. Their increased economic power was underscored when Brazil and Russia joined China in announcing they would shift some $70 billion (50 billion euros) of reserves into multicurrency bonds issued by the International Monetary Fund. The move was interpreted by some as an attempt to topple the dollar in part because the Russian president said at the time that his proposal to create a new world currency could be discussed at the summit.

But fiscal experts said that BRIC will tread carefully where the dollar is concerned, as triggering a dollar crisis would be akin to shooting themselves in the foot. The BRIC’s are putting the US on notice that there has to be a cutback on spending and that they need to get their house in order any attack on the dollar will hurt them. But they want to make sure this kind of mess doesn't happen again. Clearly though, BRIC is using its new influence to put pressure on the IMF to reshape its voting structure to better reflect the shift in economic power. Brazil, for example, is the world's 10th largest economy, but has just 1.38 percent of the IMF board's votes, compared to 2.09 percent for Belgium, an economy one-third the size.

Joint Statement of the BRIC Countries’ Leaders
Leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China, have discussed the current situation in global economy and other pressing issues of global development, and also prospects for further strengthening collaboration within the BRIC.

BRIC have arrived at the following conclusions:
» BRIC stressed the central role played by the G20 Summits in dealing with the financial crisis. They have fostered cooperation, policy coordination and political dialogue regarding international economic and financial matters.

» BRIC called upon all states and relevant international bodies to act vigorously to implement the decisions adopted at the G20 Summit in London on April 2, 2009. BRIC shall cooperate closely among them and with other partners to ensure further progress of collective action at the next G20 Summit to be held in Pittsburgh in September 2009. BRIC countries are committed to advance the reform of international financial institutions, so as to reflect changes in the global economy. The emerging and developing economies must have greater voice and representation in international financial institutions, whose heads and executives should be appointed through an open, transparent, and merit-based selection process. BRIC also believe that there is a strong need for a stable, predictable and more diversified international monetary system.

» BRIC countries are convinced that a reformed financial and economic architecture should be based, inter alia, on the following principles:

• Democratic and transparent decision-making and implementation process at the international financial organisations;
• Solid legal basis;
• Compatibility of activities of effective national regulatory institutions and international standard-setting bodies;
• Strengthening of risk management and supervisory practices.

» BRIC countries recognise the important role played by international trade and foreign direct investments in the world economic recovery. BRIC countries call upon all parties to work together to improve the international trade and investment environment. They urge the international community to keep the multilateral trading system stable, curb trade protectionism, and push for comprehensive and balanced results of the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda.

» The poorest countries have been hit hardest by the financial crisis. The international community needs to step up efforts to provide liquid financial resources for these countries. The international community should also strive to minimise the impact of the crisis on development and ensure the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Developed countries should fulfil their commitment of 0.7% of Gross National Income for the Official Development Assistance and make further efforts in increasing assistance, debt relief, market access and technology transfer for developing countries.

» The implementation of the concept of sustainable development, comprising, inter alia, the Rio Declaration, Agenda for the 21st Century and multilateral environmental agreements, should be a major vector in the change of paradigm of economic development.

» BRIC countries stand for strengthening coordination and cooperation among states in the energy field, including amongst energy producers and consumers and transit states, in an effort to decrease uncertainty and ensure stability and sustainability. They support diversification of energy resources and supply, including renewable energy, security of energy transit routes and creation of new energy investments and infrastructure.

» BRIC countries support international cooperation in the field of energy efficiency. They stand ready for a constructive dialogue on how to deal with climate change based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, given the need to combine measures to protect the climate with steps to fulfill our socio-economic development tasks.

» BRIC countries reaffirmed to enhance cooperation among our countries in socially vital areas and to strengthen the efforts for the provision of international humanitarian assistance and for the reduction of natural disaster risks. They take note of the statement on global food security issued today as a major contribution of the BRIC countries to the multilateral efforts to set up the sustainable conditions for this goal.

» BRIC countries reaffirmed to advance cooperation among our countries in science and education with the aim, inter alia, to engage in fundamental research and development of advanced technologies.

» BRIC countries underlined their support for a more democratic and just multi-polar world order based on the rule of international law, equality, mutual respect, cooperation, coordinated action and collective decision-making of all states. BRIC countries reiterate their support for political and diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve disputes in international relations.

» BRIC countries strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterate that there can be no justification for any act of terrorism anywhere or for whatever reasons. They note that the draft Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism is currently under the consideration of the UN General Assembly and call for its urgent adoption.

» BRIC countries expressed their strong commitment to multilateral diplomacy with the United Nations playing the central role in dealing with global challenges and threats. In this respect, They reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN with a view to making it more efficient so that it can deal with today’s global challenges more effectively. They reiterated the importance that attach to the status of India and Brazil in international affairs, and understand and support their aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations.

» BRIC countries have agreed upon steps to promote dialogue and cooperation among our countries in an incremental, proactive, pragmatic, open and transparent way. The dialogue and cooperation of the BRIC countries is conducive not only to serving common interests of emerging market economies and developing countries, but also to building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.

» Russia, India and China welcomed the invitation of Brazil to the next BRIC summit where it will host in 2010.

Cooperation Within BRIC
BRIC is a loose group of countries including Brazil, Russia, India and China, the largest economic growth and political influence centres among emerging economies. These countries have a substantial integration potential in their respective regions. The global problems of international terrorism and multinational crime, environmental degradation and climate change, plus food and energy security cannot be effectively solved without the involvement of the BRIC countries. BRIC partnership is becoming increasingly important amid the global economic and financial downturn, when the four countries should coordinate their efforts with the international community to weather the crisis on global financial markets and reform the world financial system.

Political dialogue within the BRIC format began in New York in September 2006, when their foreign ministers conferred during the 61st UN General Assembly. Since then, the BRIC foreign ministers have met four times, including at a full-scale meeting in Yekaterinburg on May 16, 2008. The joint statement adopted as a result of the latter meeting formulated common approaches to crucial issues on the international agenda.

Ties between the BRIC foreign ministers were completed by the meetings between their finance ministers in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 7, 2008 and in London on March 13, 2009. The finance ministers adopted joint statements on their meetings, which reflected common views of global economic problems, including the reasons for and ways to weather the global financial crisis.

At the initiative of Russia, the four leaders had a short meeting on July 9, 2008, during the G8 summit in Japan, to agree on drafting a full-scale BRIC summit. Official contacts in the BRIC format have been buttressed by interaction between the respective regional authorities and public organisations.

Russia would like the cooperation between the BRIC countries to become a major factor of multilateral diplomacy and to make a substantial contribution to promoting the nascent multipolarity and development of collective leadership by the world’s leading countries. By some predictions, the four nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China, a group referred to as the BRIC group, will surpass the current leading economies by the middle of this century, a tectonic shift that by this reckoning will eventually nudge the United States and Western Europe away from the center of world productivity and power.

Russia’s president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, said the main point of the meeting was to show that the BRIC should create conditions for a more just world order. The four countries produce about 15 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and hold about 40 percent of the gold and hard currency reserves, but they are not a unified bloc and do not do enough business among themselves to justify a trade alliance. Russia and Brazil export natural resources, China exports manufactured goods and India bases its growth primarily on domestic demand. As such, India is not as concerned with the status of the dollar and is by no means as intent on scoring ideological points against the United States as is Russia.

The acronym BRIC was coined by a Goldman Sachs economist in 2001 to describe the four countries that were expected to surpass today’s largest economies by 2050, owing to their faster growth rate. A communiqué issued after the meeting highlighted the common goals of a greater voice in international financial institutions and a more diversified global monetary system. They agreed to meet again in 2010, in Brazil. The gathering was the second of back-to-back summit meetings sponsored by Russia in this city in the Ural Mountains on the divide between Europe and Asia.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security alliance intended loosely as a counterweight to NATO, met in an expanded format with many Eurasian nations holding observer status. It even included a brief appearance by the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed re-election last week has touched off street demonstrations in Tehran. In a sign of regional economic integration, China’s president, Hu Jintao, pledged $10 billion in aid to Central Asian nations in the group, which consists of China, Russia and four former Soviet states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Mr. Hu and Mr. Medvedev then met separately with India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Mr. Medvedev encouraged China, the world’s largest holder of dollar reserves, and other nations to put their money in some other currency or financial mechanism. He also urged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to use their national currencies in conducting bilateral trade.

There can be no successful currency system, and particularly a global system, if the financial instruments that are used are denominated in only one currency, Mr. Medvedev said. A top economic policy aide to Mr. Medvedev, Arkady Dvorkovich, said Russia would like to diversify its currency reserves away from dollars by buying bonds from Brazil, China and India, but only if they bought Russian rubles as a reserve. The dollar fell slightly against the euro and other currencies on Tuesday, though some traders quoted by Bloomberg News cited a more workaday cause: good results on new American housing starts were encouraging investors to move out of Treasury bonds and into equities.

The Path To 2050
The BRIC dissertation (defended in the paper Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050) recognizes that Brazil, Russia, India and China have changed their political systems to embrace global capitalism. Goldman Sachs predicts China and India, respectively, to be the dominant global suppliers of manufactured goods and services while Brazil and Russia would become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials. Cooperation is thus hypothesized to be a logical next step among the BRICs because Brazil and Russia together form the logical commodity suppliers to India and China. Thus, the BRICs have the potential to form a powerful economic bloc to the exclusion of the modern-day states currently of "Group of Eight" status.

Brazil is dominant in soy and iron ore while Russia has enormous supplies of oil and natural gas. Goldman Sachs' thesis thus documents how commodities, work, technology, and companies have diffused outward from the United States across the world. Following the end of the Cold War or even before, the governments comprising BRIC all initiated economic or political reforms to allow their countries to enter the world economy. In order to compete, these countries have simultaneously stressed education, foreign investment, domestic consumption, and domestic entrepreneurship.

According to the study, India has the potential to grow the fastest among the four BRIC countries over the next 30 to 50 years. A major reason for this is that the decline in working age population will happen later for India and Brazil than for Russia and China.

The Economist published an annual table of social and economic national statistics in its Pocket World in Figures. Extrapolating the global rankings from their 2008 Edition for the BRIC countries and economies in relation to various categories provides an interesting touchstone in relation to the economic underpinnings of the BRIC thesis. It also illustrates how, despite their divergent economic bases, the economic indicators are remarkably similar in global rankings between the different economies. It also suggests that whilst economic arguments can be made for linking Mexico into the BRIC thesis, the case for including South Africa looks considerably weaker.

A Goldman Sachs paper published later in December 2005 explained why Mexico wasn't included in the original BRICs. According to the paper, among the other countries they looked at, only Mexico and perhaps Korea have the potential to rival the BRICs, but they are economies that they decided to exclude initially because they looked at them as already more developed. According to that paper, Mexico becomes the fifth-largest economy by 2050, ahead of Russia.

A criticism is that the BRIC projections are based on the assumptions that resources are limitless and endlessly available when needed. In reality, many important resources currently necessary to sustain economic growth, such as oil, natural gas, coal, other fossil fuels, and uranium might soon experience a peak in production before enough renewable energy can be developed and commercialized, which might result in slower economic growth than anticipated, thus throwing off the projections and their dates.

The economic emergence of the BRICs will have unpredictable consequences for the global environment. Indeed, proponents of a set carrying capacity for the Earth may argue that, given current technology, there is a finite limit to how much the BRICs can develop before exceeding the ability of the global economy to supply.

Academics and experts have suggested that China is in a league of its own compared to the other BRIC countries. BRIC are the one with the big reserves. They are the biggest potential market. They are the U.S. partner in the G2 (imagine the coverage a G2 meeting gets vs. a G8 meeting) and the E2 (no climate deal without them) and so on. Deutsche Bank Research said in a report that economically, financially and politically, China overshadows and will continue to overshadow the other BRICs. It added that China's economy is larger than that of the three other BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia and India) combined. Moreover, China's exports and its official forex reserve holdings are more than twice as large as those of the other BRICs combined.

Another criticism is the understatement of GDP growth in China over the next 45 years; which predicts growth falling far below normal development. This contradicts the rapid economic growth that has already taken place in the country and the experience of countries like South Korea catching up with western GDP per capita, which China has been growing faster than in a similar period of development. There are many uncertainties and assumptions in the BRIC thesis that could mean that any or all of these four countries will not live up to their promise. The preeminence of China and India as major manufacturing countries with unrealised potential has been widely recognised, but some commentators state that China's and Russia's disregard for human rights and democracy could be a problem in the future, as is the possibility of conflict over Taiwan in the case of China.

Likewise, the population of Russia is steadily declining and aging, and Brazil's and China's populations will begin to decline in several decades, and with their demographic windows closing in several decades as well. This may have implications for those countries' future, for there might be a decrease in the overall labor force and a negative change in the proportion of workers to retirees.

Brazil's economic potential has been anticipated for decades, but it had until recently consistently failed to achieve investor expectations. Only in recent years has the country established a framework of political, economic, and social policies that allowed it to resume consistent growth. The result has been solid and paced economic development that rival its early 70's miracle years, as reflected in its expanding capital markets, lowest unemployment rates in decades, and consistent international trade surpluses - that led to the accumulation of reserves and liquidation of foreign debt (earning the country a coveted investment grade by the S&P and Fitch Ratings in 2008). How long such positive factors will stay in place remains to be seen.

Finally, India's relations with one of its neighbors, Pakistan, have always been frosty. In 1998, there was a nuclear standoff between Pakistan and India. Border conflicts with Pakistan, mostly over the longheld dispute over Kashmir, has further aggravated any economic ties. The BRIC countries have enormous populations of extremely impoverished people. This impedes progress by limiting government finances, increasing social unrest, and limiting potential domestic economic demand. Factors such as international conflict, civil unrest, unwise political policy, outbreaks of disease and terrorism are all factors that are difficult to predict and that could have an effect on the destiny of any country.

Other critics suggest that BRIC is nothing more than a neat acronym for the four largest emerging market economies, but in economic and political terms nothing else (apart from the fact that they are all big emerging markets) links the four. Two are manufacturing based economies and big importers (China and India), but two are huge exporters of natural resources (Brazil and Russia). Two have growing populations (Brazil and India), and two have shrinking populations (China and Russia). The Economist, in its special report on Brazil, expressed the following view: In some ways Brazil is the steadiest of the BRICs. Unlike China and Russia it is a full-blooded democracy; unlike India it has no serious disputes with its neighbors. It is the only BRIC without a nuclear bomb. The Heritage Foundation's Economic Freedom Index, which measures factors such as protection of property rights and free trade ranks Brazil (moderately free) above the other BRICs (mostly unfree).

In a not-so-subtle dig critical of the term as nothing more than a shorthand for emerging markets generally, critics have suggested a correlating term, CEMENT (Countries in Emerging Markets Excluded by New Terminology). Whilst they accept there has been spectacular growth of the BRIC economies, these gains have largely been the result of the strength of emerging markets generally, and that strength comes through having BRICs and CEMENT.