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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Price Hike Among Commodities Makes India's Growth Story Suffer

Domestic violence has been a silent relationship killer since time immemorial

The country's economy grew by 7.8% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, the latest government figures showed. For the financial year to March, the economy grew by 8.5%, lower than the government's forecast of 8.6%.

India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, but has been hit hard by rising consumer prices. Analysts say a surge in prices of essential commodities, coupled with measures to cool the economy, has started to take a toll on growth. The central bank has increased interest rates nine times in 15 months. The last rise on 3 May boosted the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 7.25%

Losing momentum

India's economy has posted robust growth since the global financial crisis. However, the Reserve Bank of India's monetary tightening policies have seen a loss of momentum. Analysts say that as the central bank continues its fight against rising prices, the pace of growth is likely to be slow for some time.

However, analysts warned that though a slowdown in growth had been broadly expected, continued loss of momentum would have an adverse effect on the economy. "It is significant because it is the first quarter of sub-8% growth since the crisis," said Sonal Verma of Nomura. "The last four quarters we have been growing above 8%, so this is really a slow starting point for the next financial year," she added.

The Indian government had set an economic growth target of 9% for this fiscal year. However, in May Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee admitted that India could miss that goal because of high inflation and rising commodity prices. "When you look at India, it is perhaps going through a slight soft patch," said Mr Wood.

"Most countries would be delighted with the growth numbers India is recording, but it's lower than government growth targets." Mr Wood added that while India's had grown robustly compared to developed economies, compared with China, it was lagging behind. China's economy expanded 9.7% in the first three months of this year compared with the same period the year before. "They would love to emulate China's growth, but we don't think they are there yet," said Mr Wood.

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IIPM Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri on Internet Hooliganism

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nawab Wajid Ali Shah makes it to Facebook

IIPM Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri on Internet Hooliganism

Around Lucknow, his face is as difficult to miss as tales about his alleged waywardness. But now, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the tenth and last nawab of erstwhile Oudh is getting an image makeover, courtesy Facebook.

Besides having a dedicated page, the Nawab also has a Facebook Nawab Wajid Ali Shahgroup with 66 members. His introduction in the latter reads: “Contrary to popular notions, Wajid Ali Shah was a man of the highest moral character. He did never (sic) taste alcohol, nor indulge in any other sinful activity. He is not known to have missed a single day's prayer.” The Nawab is lauded for having taken on female servants as wives, only for purposes of offering them financial security while abstaining from any intimate relations with them. It also points out that critics who count his wives would do well to also look at the 1,700 men of letters and 500 physicians and scientists employed by the Nawab. His dedication to art and culture and his role in the revival of kathak is also highlighted.

Further down, the page draws comparisons with men of note elsewhere, with similar images, but to whom history has been kinder. The list includes Ataturk Mustapha Kemal, the father of modern Turkey and British Prime Minister Lloyd George.

Tales of the Nawab’s fondness for wine and women have long drawn derision. But as argued by Kaukab Qadr Sajjad Ali Mirza (great grandson of the Nawab) in Iqleem: Sakun Kai Tajdar such stories were circulated by the British to justify the annexation of Oudh, for had the Nawab’s debauchery and consequent indifference to administrative affairs been the reason behind the takeover, a better solution could have been found by replacing the ruler.

Meerza Zaigham Uddin Haider, retired principal of Lucknow's Shia Degree College holds forth that the Nawabs, for all their human failings, were, “benevolent and munificent”.

Another Nawab in desperate need of an image correction, Nasir-ud-din Haidar (the second nawab of the province) has also found refuge in a Facebook page which lauds him for his strong belief in Astrology and Astronomy and for setting up an observatory “bedecked with exceptionally good astronomical instruments".

British observations on Nawab Nasir-ud-din Haidar have been routinely ugly with Governor General of British India from 1793 to 1798, John Shore describing him as “a profligate and a sod devoid of sense who thinks of nothing but his own licentious pleasures”. Similarly Sir Henry Lawrence, British chief Commissioner to the Oudh wrote of the Nawab being “. …Engaged in every species of debauchery and surrounded by wretches ... of the lowest description, his whole reign was one continued satire…”

Centuries after such loathing, Facebook might just offer the chance for a reasoned and balanced take on the Nawabs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A "secure" Internet

IIPM Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri on Internet Hooliganism

Sachin Pilot, Union Minister of StateSachin Pilot, Union Minister of State, Communications and Information Technology and Member of Lok Sabha, Government of India.

TSI: The new set of rules notified by the government have had mixed reactions. What is the government's rationale behind bringing these new set of regulations?

Sachin Pilot (SP): The new rules notified by the Department of Information Technology in April, 2011, are absolutely in line with the global best practices and set standards worldwide. The idea is to ensure a clean, safe and secure cyberspace for individuals, organisations and financial and business transactions. Moreover, this move by the government is not something new to the world. It already exists in most countries and we have just replicated these global best practices and introduced them in India. What we have tried to do is put a standard structure in place which will prevent the rising cases of cyber crime, fake identities, phishing, financial frauds etcetra.

TSI: There have also been discussions on how the new rules could hamper the right to freedom of speech and expression and critics, including bloggers, have gone loud on this issue. How do you respond to these apprehensions?

SP: I am saying this once again. The idea here is to ensure a safe and secure cyberspace for Internet users in our country and they are in line with the accepted norms worldwide. As for the allegations on the rules curbing freedom of expression, I don't think they hold any merit. The right to freedom of speech and expression is recognised as a human right under India's Constitution and we are nobody to challenge it. We are actually the custodians of what has been put down in the Constitution. So, contrary to the views that have surfaced in the media and over the Internet, there is absolutely no attempt or intention to curtail the freedom of speech or impose any sort of a gag on anybody.

TSI: With the new rules in place, certain critics have said that the new rules will provide the Government of India an opportunity to exercise control on all content over the Internet. May not be true, but really, is this an aspect that the government is interested in?

SP: Let me make something very clear. The government has absolutely no role to play here and hence there is no question of us [the government] controlling content in any manner. The onus here will actually rest on the users and the intermediaries. The new rules require hosts or owners of websites to take action against objectionable content that is considered disparaging, harassing, blasphemous or hateful. It has to be understood that people have used the Internet to indulge in character assassination and financial frauds. The new rules are an attempt to put an end to such malpractices which are thriving on the misuse of the Internet.

TSI: In the event of a complaint, regarding an intermediary, say Google, how would you bring them to task? Do you think the companies will abide by the new rules set?

SP: India is an open society and it also has one of the world's best systems of jurisprudence. If anybody thinks he has been wronged, he has all the right to take legal recourse. The laws of the nation apply to everyone, irrespective of their might and status. Moreover, a fair open house discussion was held by the IT department will all stakeholders before framing the rules. Critics' concerns over personal information being leaked out are also unfounded. There is no need for any apprehensions or fears over the new set of rules.

TSI: In the given context, how is the new set of regulations going to translate for the industry?

SP: We believe in free Internet. We have a high Internet penetration of 8% to 9% and with broadband internet catching up fast, the numbers are only going to shoot higher. With such a promising scenario, there is an urgent need to apply global best practices in terms of Internet usage while keeping our priorities right. Anything that threatens the unity, integrity, defence or safety of our country cannot be allowed to flourish. The new rules are a right step in the right direction and these rules will help in the growth of the Internet industry in India.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Arindam Chaudhuri's Success Mantra

Arindam Chaudhuri: We need Hazare's leadership

There is no shortcut to success — the only way is through continuous effort’ they used to say in the old days. It is something that celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor largely agrees with, having learnt from his own experience of hosting a cookery show on television for the last 17 years.

“If you want to succeed, the only way is to put in an equivalent amount of continuous effort,” says Kapoor. “You have to put in the requisite labour each time in order to achieve success and cannot afford to rest on the laurels of your last success.

Arindam ChaudhuriManagement guru Arindam Chaudhuri believes implicitly in the principle of consistent effort and he illustrates this with an example. Arindam had a problem with the topic of differential calculus while he was doing his management studies. “Every paper that had an element of differential calculus in it, I couldn’t do well in initially. But then by practising non-stop, I remember I topped the paper finally!

One has to keep trying hard, at times fall, get up and try again. This is one of the key secrets to success.I believe that passion is of no use unless it’s backed by sustained sincerity.”

TV actor Sweta Keswani, who while believing in the usefulness of luck in success, also believes that one has to back it up with effort. Effort is an indispensible pre-requisite for success. Don’t expect luck to find you, you have to go out and seek it.”

And as Sanjeev Kapoor says, success when achieved is the biggest motivator. “Once you achieve it, you’re motivated to go out and make even more efforts.”

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Professor Arindam Chaudhuri - A Man For The Society....

Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri's Profile....

Professor Arindam Chaudhuri is a celebrity Economist and Management Guru of India. Professor Chaudhuri is also the Dean, Centre for Economic Research & Advanced Studies at IIPM (The Indian Institute of Planning & Management, New Delhi). In numerous surveys IIPM has been ranked amongst the top 10 B-schools in India, under Professor Chaudhuri's guidance. IIPM is ranked No.1 in India in global exposure and is ranked specifically high in the industry interface category of B-school rankings in India.

In the year 1996 Professor Chaudhuri founded Planman Consulting. Planman Consulting today has more than 750 intellectual MBAs contributing to its ever increasing growth making it one of the fastest growing Management Consulting Firms in Asia and the largest Indian multinational management consulting firm. With branches in Asia, Europe and America, it provides consulting solutions to leading Indian and Global firms.

In 2001 he launched Planman Motion Pictures : A fully dedicated production and communications venture. Planman Motion Pictures' first film, a Bengali venture called Saanjhbathir Roopkathara (Strokes & Silhouettes) received numerous awards and got selected in more than 12 International Film Festival worldwide including being selected as one of the 7 outstanding international movies of the year at London Film Festival 2002. He also directed a Hindi feature film ‘Rok Sako To Rok Lo’ in the year 2004. In the year 2006 Planman Motion Pictures FALTU won the National Award for the best feature film in the family welware category. In the year 2007 Planman Motion Pictures 'Dosor' got selected at the prestigious CANNES FILM FESTIVAL & its lead actor Prosenjit Chatterjee got the National Award for his performance in Dosor. In 2007 itself, 'The Last Lear' starring the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, Shefali Shah & Priety Zinta got selected for the GALA section - the red carpet center-piece event of the Toronto Film Festival. The Last Lear also got selected at the prestigeous ROME & LONDON Film festivals and went on to win the prestigious National Award for the best feature film in English '07 and the STAR-SCREN Award for the best feature film in English for the year 2008. Shefali Shah also won the National Award for her sterling performance in The Last Lear.

In the year 2002 Prof. Chaudhuri started The Great Indian Dream Foundation in memory of his brother Aurobindo Chaudhuri. With focus on education, health and employment, today, GIDF supports developmental activities in 18,000 villages across various states in India wherein it runs primary schools, medical camps and medical vans, supports low cost open heart surgeries, does developmental and employment generation work through varied activities like donating sewing machines to building of check water dams, toilets, schools etc. Cricketing Icon Sachin Tendulkar has supported GIDF activities by lending his endorsement in GIDF ads and campaigns.

In the year 2004 Prof. Chaudhuri diversified into IT enabled services through Planman Technologies which now has over 1000 people working in Delhi, serving more than 20 international clients.

In 2005 June Prof. Chaudhuri started Planman’s media arm through two best selling magazines : Business & Economy and 4Ps Business & Marketing. In 2006 he launched The Sunday Indian, a news weekly. Today The Sunday Indian comes out in 14 languages - making it the world's largest edition news weekly.

His book 'Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch' fetched him the highest ever advance for a non-fiction work in India and created a new benchmark in India by selling more than 1,00,000 copies in record time! It has been in all national best seller lists from the first week of inception, till date. He broke his own record for the highest advance with his last book "The Great Indian Dream", published by Macmillan India which he co wrote with his mentor, guru and father Dr. Malay Chaudhuri. It also went on to become a #1 best seller.

Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri has also been conducting workshops, seminars and lecture tours on Comparative Management Techniques worldwide. His talks have always had a spell binding effect internationally. As a management consultant he specializes in the areas of Strategic Vision, Leadership, Social Sector Consulting, Comparative Management Techniques and Global Opportunities & Threat Analysis. His contribution to the field of management studies can be found in the iconoclastic "Theory 'i' Management" which he has developed for India Inc. "Theory 'i' Management" is about India centric management ideas with global applicability. For the last few years he has been conducting workshops on Leadership and Strategic Vision exclusively for CEOs, MDs, Directors and Presidents from the corporate sector. From the Managing Director of Hero Motors to the President of Tata Chemicals, from the Executive President of A.V. Birla Group to the CEO of Ernst & Young. have all taken LEADERSHIP TRAINING WORKSHOPS from him.

As a celebrated speaker he is regularly invited to speak at various annual conferences and national conventions. He also happens to be amongst the highest paid speakers in the country. An economist by passion and education, during Bill Clinton's historic visit to India in 2001 he launched his ‘Great Indian Dream -: India can beat America’, a series of seminars for every Indian. Held in all the metros of India, these seminars had thousands of people pouring in from all walks of life. In these seminar's he not only highlights the inherent strengths of the Indian culture but also talks about an alternative resource mobilization and allocation package for an Indian turnaround. It is to facilitate social activities based on these thoughts of his that he started The Great Indian Dream Foundation.

Since the year 2001 he has been presenting IIPM Think Tank’s Alternative Budget every year a day before the budget is tabled in the parliament on national TV channels and is called upon regularly on the budget day by leading TV channels for post budget analysis. The alternative budgets he has been presenting coupled up with his weekly editorials in The Sunday Indian has had its visible effect in various manners on the government policies from time to time. The IIPM Think Tank which he heads also takes out a quarterly journal called The India Economy Review – which is today a highly regarded journal in the country.

His original contribution to the field of economics can be found in the three theories that he coins in his book "The Great Indian Dream". They are the theory of 'Survival of the Weakest', 'The Trickle-up Theory' & 'The Law of Increasing Marginal Utility'. His concept of an ideal economy is what he calls 'Happy Capitalism' in his book.

Professor Arindam Chaudhuri's competitive edge.

Professor Chaudhuri's outstanding ability is his strength to integrate macro and micro economic concepts with both strategic management techniques as well as personnel management techniques employed in organizations. At a macro level, his thoughts focus on the growing degeneration of the American socio-economic setup, the dangers of mindless imitation of the free market system and the innate strength of the Indian society. He does not agree with economists who have blind faith in the market system and feels the market needs to be constantly monitored and it is dangerous and harmful to allow the market to rule the human race, thus, he says 'the market system is a wonderful slave but a dangerous master'. His original research work is an attempt to explain how the levels of satisfaction and happiness in any country depends upon the kinds of economic systems prevalent there. In his new book "The Great Indian Dream" he clearly explains that "survival of the fittest" is an animalistic term and vouches for "Survival of the Weakest" as the guiding force for the next millennium and calls it a human way of living. He strongly condemns the attempts wherein some countries are trying to become the neo Zamindars (a term used for typical Indian fuedal landlords) of todays world in the name of making this world a global village. He feels developing countries worldwide as well as India can only adopt these principles once their internal industries become globally competitive. He doesn't believe in the current way of functioning of the Indian government and feels the whole style of functioning seems to be following the principle of privatization of all profits and nationalization of all losses. He strongly believes that a double digit growth rate is not a dream for Indians provided that the right policies are implemented with honesty. This he feels can be achieved by following policies of trickle-up rather than trickle-down, like in the case of China.

Professor Chaudhuri's Books

Count Your Chicken Before They Hatch, is the maiden book written by noted economist and Internationally Acclaimed Management Guru Prof.Arindam Chaudhuri. CYCBTH is for all the individuals who want to achieve super success in life.....it is about counting your chickens before they hatch, because successful people donot wait for things to happen, they make things happen.The book presents principles of success through a wide range of issues like passion at work, motivating people and winning friends,effective communication and leading extraordinarily from the front.

It also makes an interesting and lucid illustration of the India centric Theory i Management development by Prof. Chaudhuri himself.

The book extensively employs winning experiences and illustrations of a myriad of success icons- from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King, from Mr. Honda to Fidel Castro, from Stevie Wonder to Sir Don Bradman.... from Swami Vivekananda to Gautam Buddha. The section on Theory i Management draws liberal inspirations from the cultural nuances of India and the life experiences of Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Krishna in Mahabharata to develop principles of success for an India specific management model.

Adds Prof. Arindam,”Inspite of having the best talent pool in the world, our organizations have not been doing well-One of the most significant reasons for the failure of Indian management has been our failure to develop an indigenous management style, which resolves around our cultural roots and upbringing. Theory i is an attempt to understand and define the indian worker just like the Japanese had tried to do with their theory z.

Just be passionate about what you think-is how Arindam Chaudhuri urges us to delve deeper and make headway into what the title of the book has in store for us. He also urges us to be the change agent.

Finally, this inspirational book reminds us that-” Success does not come to you, you have to go to it.”

His book- Discover The Diamond In You , is for all the individuals who want to achieve super success in life.

It is Prof. Chaudhuri”s latest book. This 59 minutes guide to success is amongst the exceptional few globally has been released in 14 different Indian languages simultaneously.In the book, Arindam Chaudhuri lucidly explains about 9Ps of Success from Passion to Patriotism.Lots of references of successful people are given. Arindam says just identify your dreams and merge them with the 9Ps.

The book not only embodies the mantras to success, but also has extraordinary remarks from Mr. Shah Rukh Khan and admiration from Mr. Amitabh Bachchan complementing the sincerity of the book. It is a book for anyone and everyone, who aspires to break out of the cocoon of self-satisfaction and choose to tread the path of self-improvement. The book talks in layman's language about the meaning of success and the principles that will help one to become super successful. It is a book of self discovery,self belief and optimism. This book inspires the readers to trust in his dreams and work relentlessly towards its fulfillment. The book is meant for all those who are brave enough to be the change they want to see...Using the diamond as a metaphor for human beings, Prof. Chaudhuri has drawn parallels between the 4Cs that the excellence of a diamond is judged on and the corresponding 9 qualities in human beings.
The book”s language is lucid,simple and would help everyone in his/her quest of ultimate success.

Prof. Arindam - Awards And Felicitations

Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri has won several prestigious awards till date. Some of the awards won by him are-

In 2000, he was awarded Management Guru 2000 Award by chennai based Om Venkatesa Society. In 2003, Prof. Chaudhuri was awarded the Personality of the decade award by KG Foundation,Coimbatore. On 14th Feb,2004, he was awarded the Example to the Youth Award by the Rotaract Council in Chennai. On 19th september 2006, he was awarded the Priyadarshini Academy”s Biennial Global Award for outstanding contribution to the field of Management. On 28th september 2007, Prof. Arindam and his father were awarded the JJ Irani Award. On 10th August 2008, Prof. Chaudhuri was awarded the Best B School Teacher(North), at the Best B Schools Awards organised by the Deccan Herald Group. On 4th Feb,2009 he received the Star Youth Achiever Award at the Global Youth Marketing Forum held in Mumbai. Prof.Arindam has also written three world famous bestsellers The Great Indian Dream ,CYCBTH & Discover the Diamond In You.

Recently in Singapore, Thought Leadership Award was conferred to Professor Arindam Chaudhuri,Dean,Center for Economic Research and Advanced Studies,The Indian Institute of Planning and Management.

The Award was given by Mr. Rre Elijah Litheko,Chief Executive Officer, Institute of People Management,South Africa and Mr. Bhaskar Chattherjee,Secretary to the Government of India,Department of Public Enterprises,Ministry of Heavy Industries, and Public Enterprises and Chairman- Asia's Best Emloyer Brand Awards, Asia Pacific HRM Congress and World HRD Congress.

In a recent ceremony held in Delhi, Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri was voted as the Most Fearless Journalist/Editor of Indian Media Circle...

Initiatives of Professor Chaudhuri towards Society...

Management Guru Arindam Chaudhuri and his IIPM has been for the last few years doing their bits and pieces for the Indian Society. Professor Chaudhuri has given away numerous awards to various famous personalities of India who had played their part for the upliftment and betterment of our society. In 2010, Professor Chaudhuri and his IIPM awarded Manipur social activist Irom Sharmila with a cash prize of Rs. One Crore . Keeping with the same tradition, Professor Arindam has announced a cash prize of Rs. One Crore to be given to activist and leader Anna Hazare this year. The prize money is to be given on 9th May,2011 on the occasion of 150th birth centenary of India's first Noble Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Professor Arindam also gave away the Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar of Rs.5 lacs each to activists Binayak Sen,his wife Illina Sen, Kiran Bedi , retired justice V.R Krishna Iyer and social worker Ms. Prakash Kaur in a recent award ceremony organized by the IIPM....

Today, Prof, Chaudhuri is seen as a Youth Icon , an Entrepreneur par excellence and India”s youngest Management Guru. He has indeed become a multifaceted personality with varied business interests in diverse fields.

Friday, May 06, 2011

End of Osama bin Laden, trouble for Pakistan

Islamabad will have to stand up to tough questions from Washington: what was Osama bin Laden doing in high security garrisoned Abbottabad? Shahid Husain reports from Karachi

There is jubilation in the air in the US as well as other western countries over the killing of Osama bin Laden. In all likelihood President Barack Obama will win the elections in the next term despite the worst recession the US is facing for the last several years.

But in Pakistan, enlightened and progressive forces, despite heaving a sigh of relief over his death, now apprehend the worst type of backlash once NATO forces in Afghanistan start leaving – and like the Afghan War which ended in the humiliation and ouster of the Soviet Union – Pakistan and Afghanistan in particular will bear the brunt of suicide bombing, a fresh injection of the arms and drugs culture and enhanced terrorism. Needless to say, narco-money will also play a more dominant role.

Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces which intruded into Pakistan territory, without taking the Pakistani government into confidence, indicating its mistrust of the Gilani-Zardari duo.

Mansion where Osama bin Laden was killed
The mansion where Osama bin Laden
was killed by US Special Forces.
The distrust is also understandable because since long, remnants of military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have been playing a double game.

The influence of fundamentalist forces in the ISI can be gauged from the fact that apparently they are not even willing to listen to the Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief General Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Both, according to wellknown south Asian security specialist Stephen Cohen, are secular, professional and the best generals in the Pakistan army.

Unlike the meek and thoroughly corrupt civilian governments, they are also tough negotiators and have the gall to terminate the supply lines of NATO forces from time to time. This does not mean taking sides with the army vis-à-vis the fragile civilian government of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. On the contrary, what is needed in Pakistan is a third option led by enlightened and progressive forces.

According to a story published in the prestigious The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, “The Obama administration is demanding an explanation from Pakistan on how Osama bin Laden was able to hide in the country for so long before he was killed by US Special Forces.”

Hasan Askari-Rizvi, Pakistan’s top defence analyst, agrees that the Pakistan government will have to face tough questions. “The current strain and distrust that marks the relationship between Pakistan and the US will continue to persist and Washington may ask Islamabad to become vigilant for searching other senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders,” he told TSI.

Mourn the death of Osama Bin Laden
Members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa at a prayer meeting in Lahore to mourn the death of Osama.

Laden was hiding in a luxurious mansion in the vicinity of the Military Academy in Abbottabad, some 30 miles from capital Islamabad. John Brennan, a counter-terrorism adviser to the US President, told journalists at the White House: “People have been referring to this as hiding in plain sight. We are looking at how he was able to hide out there for so long.”

Barack Obama said: “The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden.” The world might have become “safer” for US citizens, but not for the billions residing in other parts of the world because under one pretext or the other, consecutive US governments along with their allies have been attacking sovereign countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Interestingly, their stated aim may be to democratise these countries, but the real purpose seems focused at their energy resources. The Guardian noted that “Although Obama, Hilary Clinton, the secretary of state, and Brennan expressed the importance of Pakistan in helping to fight al-Qaeda, the presence of Bin Laden so close to the capital and just streets away from the principal training ground for the country’s officer corps threatened to create a fresh rift in US-Pakistan relations.

According to it, “Members of Congress threatened to withhold economic aid to Pakistan over the affair,” The Guardian newspaper said.

Hasan Askari-Rizvi agrees. “The US will use economic assistance for building pressure on Pakistan by delaying assistance, raising the issues of accountability and how the funds are being used,” he states. “Carl Levin, a Democrat who heads the powerful Senate armed forces committee, reflected the scepticism in the US about Bin Laden’s ability to remain hidden in Pakistan,” said the Guardian story.

“I think the Pakistan Army and intelligence have a lot of questions to answer, given the location, the length of time and the apparent fact that this facility was actually built for Bin Laden and its closeness to the central location of the Pakistan Army,” he told a press conference, the Guardian newspaper said. “The US will step up pressure on Pakistan to hand over Taliban leader, Mullah Omar and Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, if they are in Pakistan. The death of Bin Laden could also lead to a rethink of the scale of the US involvement in Afghanistan,” the newspaper further said.

However, despite threatening postures, the US leadership is eager to further use Pakistan with sops and doles, never mind if they never brought solace to 180 million people of this impoverished country and only served the interests of civil and military bureaucracy, landed aristocracy and elitist politicians.

“Clinton, anxious not to alienate a partner that may yet be needed for actions against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, emphasised America’s “close cooperation” with Pakistan. In fact, co-operation with Pakistan helped lead us to Bin Laden and the compound in which he lived,” the Guardian newspaper cited her as saying.

Which leads to a key question: If co-operation with Pakistan helped the US locate the compound in which Laden was hiding since long, then what is the justification of a threatening posture and a demand from Pakistan to explain as to how Laden was able to hide in the country for so long before he was killed by the US Special Forces? The demand is self-explanatory. Is it because the US knew where Laden was hiding and killed him as a ploy to ensure that President Obama wins a second term?

Says Imiaz Ali, senior journalist at The News, “It is not necessary that in the death of Osama, Obama will win the election. Bush Senior, despite winning the Gulf War, lost the elections in second term.”

The government of President Hamid Karzai, whose jurisdiction is limited to Kabul, is equally worried because once the US-led coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan, it will not be able to resist the onslaught of the Taliban.

An Afghan government official has been cited to have said that he feared the death of Laden would give “justification for US’ premature disengagement from the region.” How long does the Afghan government want to rule on the crutches of the world’s sole superpower?

In fact, according to all indications, the US is eager to pull out from Afghanistan but wants an honourable exit and is already negotiating with “moderate” Taliban groups.

Despite spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan, the Americans have not been able to break the resistance of the Afghans. It brings back memories of the ill-planned Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan that relied on bad intelligence. The US had then quickly sided with the resistance forces and created monsters in Afghanistan.

These monsters are now threatening the very social fabric of Pakistani society in the form of suicide bombing, bomb blasts, sectarian strife and a plethora of other problems in a country where people are tolerant, peaceful and have respect for each other’s rituals.

Mutahir Ahmed, professor of International Relations at the University of Karachi and an expert on Afghanistan, is of the view that the military establishment in Pakistan will now have to face a tough time. “So far the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) has not issued any statement. Since Musharraf ’s time, Pakistan has been in a state of denial and has claimed varyingly that either Osama is dead or he is not in Pakistan, but all high value al-Qaeda operatives were being apprehended from urban areas of Pakistan,” he said.

Adds Ahmed, “One wonders if the nuclear installations in Pakistan are any safer. Kahuta is not far from Abbottabad. If the Americans can intrude in Abbottabad violating Pakistan’s air space, why can’t they go further. India will also insist with greater vigour that Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai carnage.”

Moreover, the US seems to have ignored the interests of regional powers. Iran, India, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Central Asian Republics, Kuwait. etc, have vital interests in the region and nobody knows who is behind the suicide bombings and acts of terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan since these are sort of proxy wars.

Even in Karachi, the financial capital of Pakistan, target killings and suicide bombing have assumed routine proportions and every political party vehemently denies that it has anything to do with these incidents.

Apparently, sectarian outfits, funded by Middle Eastern countries, carry on such exercises and have been so conditioned since Zia’s era that they don’t even know that they are being used.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dr Malay Chaudhuri, Founder Director IIPM, tells TSI why the IIPM Awards are in a league of their own

We want to break Western monopoly on awards

Rabindranath Tagore Memorial International Prize, Surama Chaudhuri Memorial International Award, Manavata Vikas Award... an array of prestigious prizes instituted by IIPM is set to alter the international awards landscape for good.

What is the rationale behind the IIPM Awards for excellence in the fields of literature, arts, journalism and social work?

These awards are a logical development for IIPM. In our very first prospectus – the year was 1973 – Dr Malay Chaudhuriwe spelt out that skill development would be a key element in our course content, but that it certainly would not be the only element. We stressed on two other dimensions – fostering a sense of commitment to society and active application of arts and literature to life. Commitment to society is essential in order to create economic parameters that favour the people at large. National economic planning should be a core pursuit. If planning is market-oriented, then it is skewed in favour of those who control resources. For us, management education has always had these three distinct dimensions. A sense of ethics should underline distribution. It is also imperative to develop appreciation of arts and literature. The IIPM Awards for excellence follow from our third commitment.

You have described the Rabindranath Tagore Memorial International Prize as a challenge to the Nobel Prize. In what sense is that the case?

This award has been instituted as a move to take away the West’s exclusive power to decide what is good in literature, art and peace efforts. The Nobel Prize for literature has not always gone to great writers. The Peace Prize has been, in recent times, given to people who have committed genocide. Therefore, the idea is to institute an award comparable with the Nobel as a public demonstration of our opposition to the Western monopoly on awards for excellence in various fields. I see a shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is happening in economics and planning. Why shouldn’t it also happen in the domain of awards? Our effort is to push an initiative based on that superstructure. We want to decisively intervene in the process of deciding on awards. We want to demonstrate that we are equal players.

So far the focus of the IIPM Awards seems to have been on Bengali literature. Will you be looking at recognising other literatures in the coming years?

Our focus is on literature, not on literature in any particular language. It is only by accident that Bengali literature dominates. The presence of Rabindranath Tagore and the influence he had on numerous writers in Bengal led to an explosion of great literature. The literature produced in Bengali has been of a very high quality. The dominance of Bengali stems partly from our acquaintance with the language and partly from our perception that many Bengali writers are comparable with the best in the world. They should have won the Nobel Prize. They did not because the awards mechanism was loaded against writers like them.

So, will you be giving the IIPM Awards to writers in other languages as well in the years ahead?
Of course, we would, without any hesitation. We would be proud indeed to discover and honour exceptional literary talent in other languages. We would, of course, need help from friends and experts in identifying the best writers in these languages. Once we have the guidance we need and a proper assessment system is in place, you will see the IIPM Awards going to more and more non-Bengali litterateurs.

And will you honour international writers as well?

Don’t be surprised if next year we choose an American or European writer for the Tagore Award.

How are the award winners chosen?

We have a small committee. We are in constant touch with people who are well-read and are aware of literary developments. We seek their opinion. They give us guidance. I myself have been a voracious reader since childhood.

What is the logic behind the big prize money on offer with these awards?

The Nobel Prize for literature this year will fetch the winner 1.08 million euros. Last year, the amount was 1 million euros. We wanted to match that. Veteran Bengali writer Ramapada Chowdhury has won the first Rabindranath Tagore Memorial International Prize. The prize money is Rs 1 crore. This award will be handed over to the writer on May 9, 2011, Tagore’s 150th anniversary. To make a real impact, we wanted the prize money to be equivalent of the Nobel. A small amount would not have had the same effect. The Surama Chaudhuri Memorial International Award for Literature and Journalism is accompanied by an amount of $100,000. The first of this series of awards has been won by Afghan-origin writer Khaled Hosseini.

Are you satisfied with the general awareness about the IIPM Awards?

No, I am not. The importance of these awards has not been fully appreciated by the media. Either we do not have the kind of high quality media that we deserve or there is a deliberate conspiracy of silence. Take the case of the leading Bengali newspaper. The Surama Chaudhuri Memorial International Award, in monetary terms, is worth 80 times more than the annual award that this newspaper group gives but they do not want to share that information with their readers. They haven’t mentioned a word about Ramapada Chowdhury winning the Rabindranath Tagore Memorial International Prize although the publishing house owned by this media group has published most of the celebrated writer’s work. I can understand if they black out our awards. But why should they black out Ramapada Chowdhury? It is completely unacceptable.

There is obviously no award in India with this kind of prize money. How important is this for the profile of these awards?

Well, I do not believe that money alone can decide the worth of an award. An award acquires prestige if it is consistently given to deserving people. This prestige is built over time.