Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: USA

Rajat Gupta case

Rajat Gupta was found guilty of insider trading in June 2012. His sentencing is on 24/10/2012. Sentencing should follow immediately after someone is found guilty. Keeping a gap of several months is not good. In Rajat Gupta’s case, many people including Bill Gates, Kofi Annan, Rajat Gupta’s wife and four daughters have written to the judge Jed Rakoff to let off Rajat Gupta lightly. Trying to influence the judge should be an offence and anyone who does that should be sentenced to minimum one year imprisonment.

Bill Gates has exaggerated Rajat Gupta’s work as chair of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by writing many millions of people are leading better lives – or are alive at all – thanks to the efforts he ably supported. Kofi Annan wrote “I urge you to recognise Rajat for the good he has done in the world, to give him the credit that he deserves for helping others and to take into account his efforts to improve the lives of millions of people.”

Rajat Gupta’s humanitarian work is irrelevant to the trial. He revealed secrets of Goldman Sachs investments in September-October 2008 to Raj Rajaratnam who is serving 11 years jail sentence. That was the time when many banks and companies including Goldman Sachs lost billions of dollars and were rescued by bail-outs at the cost of taxpayers. Many people lost their jobs and homes. The judge should consider only the crime and proper punishment. He should issue a public warning to people who wrote him letters that trying to influence a judge will invite punishment.

Hitler Store

Last year some Jews objected to the title of a TV serial Hitler Didi. Some Indians who generally support freedom of speech and expression supported the Jews. I wrote in favour of the title. The producers held on to the title.

This time a store in Ahmedabad is under attack for its name, Hitler men’s garment store. The proprietors said they decided to change the name due to political pressure and it may take a few days to change the shop’s board.

Israeli Consul General Orna Sagiv was in Ahmedabad on 3/9/2012. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had received many e-mails demanding a change of name. Employees of AMC visited the shop and showed the copies of e-mails to proprietors. Proprietors used to get at least 10 calls daily from USA, UK, Dubai, Germany and Israel, many at odd hours.

Americans make fun of many things. Sometimes some Indians get hurt. Jay Leno once showed the picture of Golden Temple as Mitt Romney’s summer palace. Sikhs were offended. Indian government protested. American government spoke of freedom of speech and expression. When after Assam riots Indian government shut down some sites and pages because they were posting misleading and provocative content with morphed pictures that led to threats and attacks of people of North-East and demanded to know the ownership of miscreants from Facebook and Twitter, American government spoke of internet freedom. Here AMC instead of defending freedom of speech and expression succumbed to pressure.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Thomas Jefferson had at least six children from a slave, Sally Hemings. Abraham Lincoln ordered terrorist activities against Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Harry Truman ordered dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is no demand to change the names of Washington DC, Washington State, and many places and institutes named after George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Harry Truman.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) immigrants to USA killed “Indians” and conquered their lands. Surviving Indians were confined to reservations. These Wasps are heroes for their descendants. Hitler was like Wasps. The difference was that Wasps kept their conquered territories, Hitler lost.

Many in USA and Europe defended Danish cartoons. When there were protests more newspapers published the cartoons. Hitler has admirers even in Russia. AMC should permit the name Hitler and tell protestors India has freedom of speech and expression.

Peace with Pakistan

On 18/4/2012 Pakistan’s General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called for resolution of Siachen and other issues. He said the two countries cannot keep spending on defence alone and forget about development. This came after Pakistan’s 127 soldiers and 11 civilians were buried alive by an avalanche on 7/4/2012 and searches are on for them.

Kayani’s statement is welcome but India should not throw caution to the wind. India should not vacate Siachen in a hurry. We know what happened in Kargil. After Kayani’s retirement next General may have different ideas about peace with India. Nawaz Sharif wanted peace with India. Atal Behari Vajpayee took bus to Lahore. A few months later Kargil War happened. Then Pervez Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif and sent him to jail.

Pakistan’s relationship with USA has been hostile for some years. Now China is also not happy with Pakistan due to terrorism in Sinkiang. Pakistan does not have many friends. After American helicopters entered Abbottabad, killed Osama Bin Laden and dumped his body into the sea, Pakistanis have questioned their army’s usefulness. After the death of some Pakistani soldiers in an American air raid Pakistan stopped NATO supply routes in Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have made progress in recent years. Asif Ali Zardari’s private visit on 8/4/2012 helped to move things forward. Sometimes USA has played a spoiler in Indo-Pak relations. USA opposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. Days before Zardari’s visit USA announce 10 million dollars bounty on Hafiz Sayeed. Hafiz Sayeed appeared on TV channels and said he was not hiding and if USA gives him 10 million dollars he will tell them of his whereabouts. USA said they knew about his whereabouts, the bounty was for evidence to prosecute him. Strange that USA declares bounty without evidence.

On 15/4/2012 there were attacks on American, British, German and Russian embassies and many other buildings in Afghanistan. Indians were not attacked. The attackers whether Taliban or Haqqani network, operated from Pakistan. They also freed around 380 prisoners in Pakistan.

Will Pakistan agree to vacate Kashmir? It gave some territory to China in 1967. China is in illegal occupation of Indian territory. Gen. J. J. Singh (Retd), Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, said India should give and take to solve border dispute with China. What does he mean? Does he mean India should give up Aksai Chin because it is in Chinese occupation? What will India take from China? China has nothing to give to India. If China claims two parts of India as its own and occupies illegally one part that does not mean India should accept China’s claim in return for China’s recognition of other part that was and is India’s. China claims whole of Arunachal Pradesh and calls it South Tibet. There are some Chinese sympathizers in India who say cartography was not correct when the maps were drawn. India did not have border with China. India had border with Tibet. China annexed Tibet. India should tell China to get out of Tibet. If India accepts Chinese claim on Aksai Chin because China occupies Aksai Chin, India will have to give up its claim on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Trade between India and Pakistan can increase and that can cement peace between two countries. Solving some issues can take a long time.

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