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POSTED BY A. Sanzgiri ON May 12, 2010 AT 21:01 IST ,  Edited At: May 12, 2010 21:01 IST

Dear Amitav,

We are members of an internet mailing list concerned mainly with South Asian literature.

In light of the recent letter campaigns, online petitions, opinion columns and blogs variously urging you to reject the Dan David prize and/or condemning you for refusing to take such a position, we thought of writing to you expressing our admiration for your writings, especially for your responding to these with grace and firmness while sticking to a principled position.

We have no common position on the Palestinian question. We do have a common position on the need to expand the common ground that writers such as yourself seek to establish - a ground on which all human beings can celebrate their commonalities and negotiate their differences.

With regards

Manisha Amin
Farah Aziz
Amitabha Bagchi
Rumjhum Biswas
Razia Husain
Soniah Kamal
Anu Kumar
Karen Leonard
Latika Mangrulkar
John Matthew
Victor Rangel-Ribeiro
K. V. Bapa Rao
Ajit Sanzgiri
Denton Taylor
Ekta Thakur
Pamela Tweedy

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POSTED BY A. Sanzgiri ON May 12, 2010 AT 21:01 IST, Edited At: May 12, 2010 21:01 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Mar 11, 2009 AT 17:08 IST ,  Edited At: Mar 11, 2009 17:22 IST

An Israeli arms dealer, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, apparently decided to spice up their presentation at Aero India 2009, organized by the Ministry of Defence.

Saurabh Joshi of the Defense and Strategic Affairs Online News Magazine, StratPost, which uploaded the video on youtube, thought it was "innovative video marketing".

But Stephen Trimble of The Dew Line seems to have got it right. Describing it as "catastrophic collision of Bollywood and the arms industry,"  he went on to say, "No introduction by me can give justice to this attempt at arms marketing ...Just watch, and, if you're able, immediately erase the awful tune from your brain."

Yes, indeed, it is difficult. It left the Wired's Danger Room blogger Noah Shactman frothing at the mouth. Clearly, he speaks for all of us:

we may have just found the most atrocious defense video of all time, just days into the Iron Eagles — our celebration of the awesomely bad videos of the military-industrial complex. Trust me, Slumdog Millionaire it ain't...

Every element of the promotional film is just plain wrong. The sari-clad, "Indian" dancers look all too ashkenaz and zaftig. The unshaven, hawk-nosed, leather-clad leading man appears to be a refugee from You Don't Mess With the Zohan. Then of course, there's the implication that the Indian military is somehow like a helpless woman who "need(s) to feel safe and sheltered."

But for my rupees, the worst thing about the video is the damn theme song they've concocted for the thing. To pimp its weapons, Rafael produced a sitar-heavy twist on Rick Astley's love letter to Satan, "Together Forever," complete with a new chorus: "Dinga dinga, dinga dinga, dinga dinga, dinga dinga dee." The rest of us now have to suffer for that bad, bad choice.

Full Wired post is here: Iron Eagle Nominee: Israeli Armsdog-Millionaires Assault Bollywood, Good Taste

Hat tip: Priyamvada Gopal

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Mar 11, 2009 AT 17:08 IST, Edited At: Mar 11, 2009 17:22 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 16, 2009 AT 01:06 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 16, 2009 02:15 IST
Mukul Kesavan in the Telegraph:
Why would someone like Edward Said give his life to intellectually opposing a majoritarian Jewish state if its successor was to be a majoritarian Muslim nation? Why would the Palestinian struggle have a claim on our solidarity, if it’s only goal was to create yet another denominational state?...
A radical friend of mine objected to my characterization of Hamas as a fundamentalist and sectarian party. Think of its extraordinary record of public service, he said, the schools it runs, the hospitals and orphanges that it has built, the commitment it has shown to constructively improving the lot of the Palestinian people. I had to point out to him that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh could claim credit for exactly the same achievements. And since he wouldn’t want Indian Muslims, Christians and Sikhs to live in an India defined by Hindutva, we should be wary of a party like Hamas that would have Christians, Jews and Muslims live in a state defined by political Islam.
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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 16, 2009 AT 01:06 IST, Edited At: Jan 16, 2009 02:15 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 15, 2009 AT 13:41 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 15, 2009 13:45 IST

King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah of Jordan wrote and published this essay in America way back in 1947:

Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration continues we shall soon be outnumbered—a minority in our home.

Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews. We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more...

Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country, over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to that?

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 15, 2009 AT 13:41 IST, Edited At: Jan 15, 2009 13:45 IST
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