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  • 20th January, 2006

    The sad state of Hindus in Pakistan

    by Sunny at 1:38 am    

    The idea that religious minorities in Pakistan (anyone non-Sunni) get a fair treatment by the government and other institutions has always been a highly suspect claim. But whereas massacres of Shia and Ahmadiyya groups are regularly in the news, much less is known about the roughly 2.6 million Hindus that still live there.

    Over the last few months, the issue of Hindu women being abducted and forcibly converted to Islam within Pakistan has been getting increasing coverage, a move that is likely to raise the political temperature until something is done. Last month in London, a demonstration was also organised on the issue.

    Continue Reading...
    19th January, 2006

    Are the women to blame?

    by Sunny at 1:32 am    

    Ten days ago Rohin wrote about India’s 10 million missing girls, a result of India’s problem with female infanticide and foeticide. Talk of educating them is not enough, as the stats pointed out, because the problem was most prevalent amongst India’s relatively wealthy states and a problem with the global Indian diaspora. Who were the women in the pictures protesting against? Themselves maybe?

    Shravan from Lucknow had an interesting take on the issue, saying:

    I do not even believe that female foeticide is a problem. I believe that it is just a symptom. A symptom of a deeper mindset. A symptom of Dowry. A symptom of under-development to an extent that a child means two hands, and not one good brain. A symptom of the fact that the women always leaves home after marriage and goes to her husbands.

    So what could be a way forward? As Rohin also pointed out, the problem is that the women themselves have persuaded themselves that they are less important and should follow the whims of the men. Shravan himself suggests:

    Therefore, dear lady-with-the-banner, if you want to make a difference, do not try to fight female foeticide, because its only a symptom. Fight the issues that cause female foeticide. It will take time, but begin at home.

    Stop celebrating lavish weddings where the bride’s family pays for all of it. Why, stop attending them. Stop having a silly “bidhai” ceremony where the bride is tearfully sent off to her husbands. Lobby hard for nuclear families. The older generation holds these mindsets, they should be effectively cut off from decisions of which gender of a child to be had.

    Do Indian women need to be saved from themselves? And if yes, by who? Feminist men? Or maybe a million versions of Nisha Sharma?

    Filed under: Culture,India,South Asia
    18th January, 2006

    Muslims doing it behind closed doors

    by Sunny at 6:02 pm    

    Brian Whitaker wrote a hilarious piece in the Guardian yesterday on the Islam’s increasingly confused relationship with sex. As he notes, “Unlike Christianity, which tends to be squeamish about sex, Islam has a long tradition of talking about it openly.” What that means in practice, combined with the globalised nature of the internet, is that every next imam is issuing fatwas online with sometimes conflicting advice on sex. For example:

    Delivering a fatwa on oral sex, 79-year-old Dr Qaradawi describes it as a disgusting western practice, resulting from westerners’ habit of “stripping naked during sexual intercourse”. But he continues: “Muslim jurists are of the opinion that it is lawful for the husband to perform cunnilingus on his wife, or a wife to perform the similar act for her husband (fellatio) and there is no wrong in doing so. But if sucking leads to releasing semen, then it is makruh (blameworthy), but there is no decisive evidence (to forbid it) … especially if the wife agrees with it or achieves orgasm by practising it.”

    On this issue, Dr Qaradawi’s views are more permissive than those of several other clerics on the internet. One states that oral sex is definitely forbidden, adding that “this hideous practice will draw the anger of Allah”. Another, asked if oral sex is permitted, replies: “I don’t know what is oral sex, please define it.”

    All this is peanuts to Hindus of course, who wrote the definitive book on male-female sexual relations - i.e. the Kama Sutra. In fact Hindu mythology is so open about sex, as I’ve noted before, that the big poems of the Ramayana and Mahabharata openly use very sexual terms. Wish I had more time to research this properly, heh.

    Another point to note is that both Islam and Hinduism are very decentralised with regards to religious edicts, unlike Christianity and Sikhism, so you inevitably get a whole range of opinion on what is and isn’t acceptable. Personally I think that is better than just having one person legislate what is right or wrong.
    Thanks to Leon for the tip.

    17th January, 2006

    Do we want Nick Griffin to get convicted?

    by Rohin at 9:02 pm    

    I hardly need discuss whether BNP leader Nick Griffin is a racist git, in fact I’m sure that’s one thing upon which most of our readers can agree. But as he goes on trial along with BNP member Mark Collett, should we really be hoping he goes down?

    Both men are charged with using words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred.

    The trial itself has caused controversy, with protestors clashing outside the court. Pub Philosopher has an interesting comparison of the media’s numerical inconsistency. The Recorder of Leeds (I don’t know what that means), Judge Norman Jones, said that the protestors were trying to influence the outcome of the trial and remarked:

    “People have every right to expound views in relation to any argument. This is a free society and it is important that public demonstration is permitted.”

    So should Nick Griffin be allowed to criticise Muslims?

    Continue Reading...

    For the love of London

    by Sunny at 2:58 pm    

    Coming back from sunny Los Angeles to dreary London can be a bit depressing at times, to be honest. I even got a slight tan, yay! LA has much going for it in terms of nice weather, nice people (everyone says hi to each other there, even random people in the street!), and tons of mexican food (yum).

    Though the food situation in London is improving constantly, when it comes to niceness, it lags far behind. Not that people are rude - they’re just too afraid to be friendly. Many there speculated it could be due to the weather - people in New York behave very similarly to London.

    While in LA I partied hard in Las Vegas and then down in Mexico. I went to see Basketball games, clubbing, drinking, chilling, sightseeing, shopping etc., and I felt like moving there many times. But whatever it is, there is a lot to be said for London. It has a certain down-to-earth character and a buzz (and public transport) that is unrivalled. Once you get to know the city better, its difficult to avoid getting sucked into it.

    A few years ago it was Toronto, but I’ve decided that place is way too boring and under-populated. So, for now, Los Angeles will have to wait.

    [Note: my internet connection is buggered, and will be another 10 days before coming back on speed. So apologies for sparse coverage]

    On another note if you’re at LSE, I’ve been invited by the SU debating society to talk about multi-culturalism etc today (6:30pm). My fellow panelists? Wait for it…. Charles Moore (Telegraph), Minette Marin (Sunday Times) and the gen-secretary of the MCB. Sparks will fly ;)

    Filed under: Current affairs
    13th January, 2006

    Faces of Asia

    by SajiniW at 7:26 pm    

    The piercing eyes and torn clothes of the girl with the green eyes, convey significantly more than the thousand words colloquially-attributed to a picture. Her face, symbolising the anguish and suffering experienced by those caught in conflict around the world, drew emotions and hope in a manner few textual articles in the very same (1982 National Geographic) managed to accomplish.

    Continue Reading...
    11th January, 2006

    Don’t criticise us…. please?

    by Sunny at 8:57 am    

    You have to feel sorry for George Bush. Ok, maybe you don’t but he would like you to. Sick of the hammering his ratings are getting over Iraq, he has hit on a new way to deflect criticism - say that their criticism is helping the enemy. Genius! Karl Rove must have been proud to come up with that one. In a warning to Democrats he said today:

    “In a free society, there’s only one check on political speech and that’s the judgment of the American people,” the president said to sustained applause from a friendly audience, a gathering of Veterans of Foreign Wars. “So I ask all Americans to hold their elected leaders to account and demand a debate that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries.”

    Allllrighty then! Which basically means, please “demand the debate” but don’t actually have one (since that may lead to criticism), because that will end up helping Bin Laden!

    I’ve mentioned before that the American President will try to stifle or change any debate because it is “in national security”, and this is no different. Kos has similar thoughts. Absolutely hilarious! And typical.

    9th January, 2006

    Me fail English? That’s unpossible!

    by Rohin at 4:48 pm    

    The BBC reports:

    Stonehenge, the FA Cup and the red Routemaster bus are among England’s most popular icons, according to a new poll. But what do the choices say about the English? And what about the rest of the UK?

    To John Major it’s warm beer and cricket. To the Sun newspaper it’s Jordan’s chest and chicken tikka masala.

    Apparently ol’ Blighty isn’t such a United Kingdom. /shock. Scotland, Wales and Ireland have their national identities clearly defined.

    Scotland: Headbutts, haggis Loch Lomond, Edinburgh Castle
    Wales: Leeks, Charlotte Church, Sheep Severn Bridge, Millennium Stadium
    Northern Ireland: IRA, leprechauns, liver cirrhosis The Giant’s Causeway

    But Inglande is all confused. A Portrait of England is a two year, one million pound white elephant which seeks to find the things the English cherish most. The first round of shortlisting, drawn up by professors and academics (i.e. normal folk) includes Alice in Wonderland and the SS Windrush. People were not eligible and as such, Diana, Churchill, Newton and Zippy were not on the list. Most shocking of all - no PUB!

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Humour

    10 million missing girls (updated)

    by Rohin at 12:23 pm    

    Asian women have a long, long way to go in the fight for equality. What’s more upsetting is that the perpetrators of crimes against females are often female themselves. Society has managed to convince men and women that females are inferior.

    Just yesterday, a PP thread drifted onto the topic of female abortion in Asia. Today The Lancet published an Indian-Canadian study into the horrific practice in India. The Lancet requires a paid subscription for full access to articles, so I thought I’d add to the BBC summary. The study and an accompanying article by Dr Shirish Sheth will go to print next week.

    The study, led by Dr Prabhat Jha and Dr Rajesh Kumar (Toronto and Chandigarh respectively), sought to ascertain the reasons for the unequal balance of females to males with specific reference to pre-natal sex determination and abortion. Across India the ratio stands at 933:1000, but is markedly more pronounced in certain areas such as Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. The study estimates that 500,000 female babies are aborted every year, for no other reason than their gender. However the study discovered that gender screening was most likely to be utilised when the family already had a daughter.

    Continue Reading...
    7th January, 2006

    Kennedy Resigns

    by Nush at 3:56 pm    

    Charles Kennedy has resigned as Liberal Democrat leader.

    Kennedy at resignation

    In a statement at Lib Dem HQ, Mr Kennedy said he had been “inundated” with support from party members since admitting having a drink problem.

    But it had become clear he did not have strong enough support among MPs and had decided to quit with immediate effect.

    It comes after 25 MPs delivered an ultimatum saying they would refuse to serve on the Lib Dem front bench unless he resigned by Monday.

    You can watch the video of his resignation here

    I guess we all knew that this day was coming, sooner rather than later.

    In someways I say that this has all come full circle. The Tories are now riding a wave with Cameron shaking things up and wellLabour as usual they are spinning a dream (no pun intended heh!) it seems inevitable to me that the Lib Dems should now have their spot of bother.

    I commend Kennedy for admiting he had issues but as ever it slapped him in the face. I hope he gets everything sorted that kind of scrutiny is typical of the politcial back stabbing arena!

    So what is the future for the Lib Dems now?

    By the way, what does everyone make of Blair’s comments yesterday that Brown will be leading Labour next?

    6th January, 2006

    Well whaddya know?

    by Rohin at 12:14 pm    

    Surprise! In an update to Sunny’s thread, the MCB are back in the news. They’ve decided that homosexuality is okay and that we should all just get along. They’ve said that holocaust memorial day is an important day to remember an horrific genocide.

    Sort of.

    Continue Reading...

    Is Bush and the Republicans going down?

    by Sunny at 10:46 am    

    If President Bush thought 2006 could not get any worse than a year in which his ratings dropped to a record low – he could be in for a nasty surprise.

    It started with revelation of unauthorised wire-tapings, and now the shit just keeps hitting the fan. Will it drag the Republicans down? More importantly, will it help the Democracts grow hair on their chest?

    Continue Reading...
    5th January, 2006

    Rising violence in Iraq

    by Sunny at 10:47 pm    

    Today was the deadliest day of attacks by terrorists in Iraq, with about 120 people killed by two bombs - one near a Shia shrine in Karbala and the other at a police recruitment centre. Clearly, the last thing these people want is for Iraq to get back on its feet and take control of its own destiny.

    Filed under: The World

    Gorgeous George

    by Rohin at 10:14 pm    

    George Galloway is in Celebrity Big Brother, the ultimate in shit TV! So is Faria Alam, so that’s another reason I’m entirely justified in postin this here!

    DISCLAIMER: I’m not watching it, I’m on the phone to my girlfriend, who is keeping me posted. Honest.

    Filed under: Culture,Humour

    End of Sharon’s era

    by Al-Hack at 11:08 am    

    Whether Ariel Sharon survives the massive stroke he had today or not, most observers reckon it is all over for him because he won’t come back fully fit.

    Is that a good thing or a bad thing for Israeli-Palestine peace? I haven’t quite made my mind up about that, so maybe our readers would like to share their crazy opinions? Don’t be getting nasty now though… let’s keep this civilised folks.

    Filed under: The World
    4th January, 2006

    Is political correctness out of control?

    by Sunny at 10:59 am    

    Or has the hype of there being “too much political correctness” out of control? The think-tank (I use the term loosely here) Civitas published a pamphlet today by journalist (even more loosely) Anthony Browne who claims that PC thinking is “harming society”.

    Now I hate political correctness more than the next person, specially when it involves Asians, but when someone like Browne tries to display some intelligence over the issue, he fails miserably, and annoys me in the process. Let me explain why

    Continue Reading...

    More raving lunacy from MPAC

    by Sunny at 8:45 am    

    The dimwits from MPAC scream and rant over mostly two things: (a) the global Zionist conspiracy, and (b) how Muslim leaders are sleeping and not doing anything (usually about the point a). The solution always being to support and give more money to Mpac of course.

    Sometimes they combine the two subjects and take bullshit levels to new heights. Their latest diatribe:

    This man and his sell out instincts know no bounds of decency and like a noxious vapour pollute all that he comes in contact with.

    Who? Lib Dem candidate Ajmal Masoor. Why? Because the Liberal Democracy Ethnic Minority Forum issued a press release stating:

    “The kidnap of Kate Burton and the subsequent fear that this imposes on foreign aid workers within Non-Governmental Organisations does little to help with the economic and social development of a Palestinian State in Gaza and the West Bank. Least of all, it does not provide the security and confidence for the international community to invest within such areas where there is a threat to their nationals.”

    And for saying something sensible, they write call him an “opportunistic traitor” and write this piece of crap. Idiots.

    Churchill: Let the fakir die

    by Rohin at 2:49 am    
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    Winston Churchill. The man millions of Britons voted ‘The Greatest Briton of All Time’ at the turn of the millennium, ahead of Newton, Shakespeare, Darwin and Brunel. The man who advocated gassing “recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment”.

    The man who described Mahatma Gandhi as “a half-naked fakir” who “ought to be laid, bound hand and foot, at the gates of Delhi and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new viceroy seated on its back” [Link]. The man who is in the news again - although there isn’t too much coverage.

    Hitherto unseen government documents have been released, which detail Churchill’s stance on several issues. The notes were recorded by deputy Cabinet secretary, Sir Norman Brook, and give the first detailed glimpse into what was discussed at the War Cabinet between 1942 and 1945. They’re open to the public just down the road from me at the Public Records Office in Kew, so I took a look. The rather difficult to read shorthand revealed some fascinating facts.

    Continue Reading...
    3rd January, 2006

    On dealing with homosexuality

    by Sunny at 10:42 am    

    I was in West Hollywood recently with my cousins trying to find a bar before we went into a club, and it dawned upon us that all of the bars on that strip were gay bars. I shrugged and was about to go in before being vetoed by my brother-in-law and his mate. I eventually persuaded them into entering a posher (but still gay) bar though the resistance was still there.

    Co-incidentally the same issues have surfaced last week in America over a new film and in the UK over comments made in a Gay and Lesbian magazine.

    Given that principles of tolerance should be wholeheartedly embraced by British Asians, why then are they so homophobic (specially Muslims). And is it right then for gays and lesbians to be angry at us?

    Continue Reading...
    2nd January, 2006

    The Return of Anti-Semitism

    by Rohin at 1:01 am    

    Rabbi Sir Jonathan SacksI say return, but had it ever left? Asians blogs or similar discussion fora often debate the undeniable rise in Islamophobia which has occurred over recent years. But, due to the obvious fact that there are less Jewish Asians, the issue of anti-semitism is not frequently addressed. Pickled Politics has objected to overt anti-semitism from the Iranian president and also criticised bodies like the MCB, who manage to overlook Ahmadinejad’s idiocy. We’ve come to expect anti-Jewish rhetoric from similarly-minded leaders, but is Europe following suit?

    Today the UK’s Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, told the BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme that he thinks anti-semitism is washing over the world like a tsunami [Listen here]. He considered the media, the Internet and best-selling books as vehicles which have created an image around the world that Israel is the root cause of all problems. As a result of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, violent campaigns waged by Islamic militants have won support. He feels that Jews outside Israel are being targetted as a result of events in the Middle East. He conceded that achieving peace in the Holy Land would make it harder for anti-semitism to flourish.

    Continue Reading...
    1st January, 2006

    Shubho Nobo Borsho

    by Rohin at 5:12 pm    

    Happy New Year from Pickled Politics

    A vid I took last night. It’s 1½ minutes long, but make sure you watch the last 30 seconds or so - the fireworks go completely nuts!

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Uncategorized
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