The actual story referred to in the title of Lieut.-Colonel Frank Sheffield’s How I Killed the Tiger (1902) amounts to only 36-pages (including numerous, highly evocative, illustrations), but even the second edition is not easy to find and will cost you something in the neighborhood of $100.
But we happily live in the age of marvels, in which even such esoteric treasures are already scanned in and sitting there available in electronic form at the touch of a fingertip.
Col. Sheffield’s yarn is quite a story.
I would not myself want to take on a fully grown Bengal Tiger with an unreliable percussion fowling piece, even if I had a couple of General John Jacob’s explosive bullets in my pocket. But, if I had been so foolhardy as to do so and wound up once knocked down and mauled by a tiger, I’d like to hope that—like Col. Shefield—, faced with another charge, I’d still have “some kick in me” and stand there, Bowie knife in hand, “determined to make a hard fight for it.”
Former Yale English professor William Deresiewicz, in the American Scholar, gives a travel anecdotal spin to the usual liberal statist claptrap.
We were living in a middle-class suburb of a small city: lots of single-family houses with neat gardens, all of them surrounded by walls. Here are some of the things you would see on the other side, the public side: overflowing dumpsters; unpaved streets lined with garbage; smoldering trash fires; little rows of shanties tucked into corners of the neighborhood for the local servant class, the kind of miserable hovels that stretch for miles in places like Mumbai; and a small, polluted lake that no one in their right mind would have swum in. We never drank from the tap, of course; even certain kinds of produce were said to be unsafe. The phone was temperamental, too, and so was the television cable. One thing we were thankful for, however: we could breathe without feeling like we were damaging our health, something that could not be said in any of the larger cities we visited and the reason we were living where we were.
Being rich in a poor country, I discovered that year, is like being rich and poor at the same time. We could eat in any restaurant we cared to, could have had a fleet of servants at our disposal had we so chosen, but we couldn’t buy our own electric grid, or water system, or air.
I’ve thought of all this during the debate we’ve been having this election season about the extent to which business owners are responsible for their success. On the one hand, Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama, trying to remind entrepreneurs that they didn’t build the highway system themselves, or put their employees through school. On the other, people who continue to insist that they pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. Well, let them go to India and see what it’s like to live in a place where you can’t take public services for granted. We’ll see how far their bootstraps get them there.
Too many Americans, goes the common complaint, want other people to pay for them. Yet the same is true in generational terms. We have been able to live well, and do well, because we inherited a rich, well-functioning country, but for a long time now—I’m thinking of the tax revolt that began in 1978—we have refused to do our share to keep it going. Essentially, the bootstrap crowd is living off the civic-minded willingness to sacrifice of those who came before.
Left-wingers like Deresiewicz look at the world through pink, political lenses, seeing everything around them as the creation of the coercive administrative state. They also consistently award the State credit for the achievements of Society, Culture, and the Individual.
It has somehow escaped Mr. Deresiewicz’s attention that both America and India only have electricity in the first place because Thomas Edison lived in an economically free country where he could profit from invention.
America doesn’t have more reliable electric service than India because of Government. Our power grid works more reliably than India’s because we possess cultural traditions promoting individual responsibility and India is only slowly overcoming very different cultural traditions of dependence, exploitation, collectivism, and corruption. Our power system is the creation of private companies operating in a competitive market system governed by the rule of law.
The reliability of our power system is assured by self interest and the profit motive. In India, the delivery of power is a consequence of political decree as is any economic return to its providers. In America, if you fail to deliver services, even in a natural monopoly context, competitors are available to step in, you are replaced and go out of business. In India, politicians simply decide which satrapy will exploit what and whom. Performance, like profit, is secondary and beside the point.
People like Mr. Deresiewicz are, in reality, agitating for us to become more like India rather than vice versa. Their goal is to take decision-making power out of the hands of consumers generally, and give it instead to politicians. Instead of the free enterprise feedback system of profit and loss based on performance and competition, they want a system in which politicians, as in India, are simply allowed to select winners and losers.
If William Deresiewicz had his way, we would very shortly become a lot more like India.
Atherton and Palo Alto receive regular visits from mountain lions who travel down the dry arroyos from the nearby mountains, and similar haute bourgeois suburbs of Bombay have leopards from a nearby wildlife refuge dropping by.
The website of Royal Palms Estate says that the township is your ‘world in a village’. Located in Mumbai’s Goregaon suburb, this ‘village’ is a 240-acre settlement that has five-star hotels, recreation clubs, lakes, swimming pools, a golf course, bungalows, villas, row houses and marble statues, apart from a little hill as part of its natural landscape. It even has the Sanjay Gandhi National Park as its neighbour.
It is a world apart, in many ways. Literally so, at some points. The past ten days have seen large grilled fences, at least 15 feet high, come up around the backyard of row house No 3. A large tree nearby has its trunk entwined in a creeper of barbed wire. And it’s not just this compound. Row houses No 4 and 5 are fortified too.
What warrants such self-encagement? An unwelcome guest, it turns out.
East or west, there is a good deal of inadvertent comedy in the inability of deracinated Homo affluentus urbanicus to cope effectively with his own oblivious proximity to Nature in its most potent and primordial forms.
In Palo Alto, the locals protest and build shrines with flowers and candles to the memory of invading pumas who get shot by the police when found lurking in tree branches near suburban elementary schools.
Michael Yon (mercifully) takes a break from his recent role of crusading journalist telling truth to power and exposing the errors and inadequacies of the US military’s Afghanistan chain of command to share some information on one of India’s most exotic sects (and one of its American converts descended from a famous author).
The fundamentals of Aghor—perhaps the most extreme religion in the world—are fantastically simple, though nonetheless repugnant to most. Repugnance, or rather the quest to overcome it, is in fact a central tenet of this belief system. Aghor is an extreme sect of Hinduism. Its adherents principally worship Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Aghoris live by a simple creed: 1. The gods are perfect. 2. The gods create everything: Every thought, every action, every bird and diamond, every birth and every death. 3. Since the gods are perfect, and everything is made by the gods, everything—everything—is perfect.
Since everything is perfect, being repulsed by anything or forbidding any behavior as taboo is tantamount to rejecting the gods. While this accounts for the willingness of more moderate Aghoris to work with lepers and other so-called untouchables, it also explains why some ardent Aghoris aim to overcome some of the more gruesome targets of revulsion. In my travels I’ve met Aghoris who would just as soon pluck an eyeball from a rotten human corpse and pop it into their mouths as eat chicken. He or she might carry a rotting dead dog over their shoulder for a week, or have sex with a dead cow (holy to other Hindus) or with a rotting human corpse. One Aghori in northern India ate part of the rotting penis of a bloated, vivisected corpse on the banks of the Ganges, engaging in this “sacred ritual” in full view of onlooking police.
Mossad-mouthpiece DEBKAfile reports that the assault on the US dollar as reserve currency by America’s most prominent foreign adversaries (including our trading partner China) is about to get underway.
India is the first buyer of Iranian oil to agree to pay for its purchases in gold instead of the US dollar, debkafile’s intelligence and Iranian sources report exclusively. Those sources expect China to follow suit. India and China take about one million barrels per day, or 40 percent of Iran’s total exports of 2.5 million bpd. Both are superpowers in terms of gold assets.
By trading in gold, New Delhi and Beijing enable Tehran to bypass the upcoming freeze on its central bank’s assets and the oil embargo which the European Union’s foreign ministers agreed to impose Monday, Jan. 23. The EU currently buys around 20 percent of Iran’s oil exports.
The vast sums involved in these transactions are expected, furthermore, to boost the price of gold and depress the value of the dollar on world markets.
Leopard (Panthera pardus) attacking and wounding a Pintu Deyan, an Indian laborer in the residential neighborhood of Silphukhuri in Gowhatty, a large city in the northeast Indian state of Assam on January 7, 2012.
Three people were seriously injured in the leopard attack before the leopard was tranquilized. A former journalist and lawyer called Deva Kumar Das succumbed to his injuries on Sunday. The condition of the other two was said to be stable.
The Times of India reports that recent renovations have detected the presence of a sealed chamber.
A mysterious room has been discovered in the 250-year-old building a room that no one knew about and no one can enter because it seems to have no opening of kind, not even trapdoors.
The chamber has lain untouched for over two centuries. Wonder what secrets it holds. The archaeologists who discovered it have no clue either, their theories range from a torture chamber, or a sealed tomb for an unfortunate soul or the most favoured of all a treasure room. Some say they wouldn’t be surprised if both skeletons and jewels tumble out of the secret room.
Belvedere House as the National Library building was known during the Raj was among the many buildings Mir Jafar built in Alipore in the 1760s after he was forced to abdicate his throne in Murshidabad. He gifted it to the first Governor General of India, Lord Warren Hastings. What happened to the house between 1780, when Hastings is said to have sold it, and 1854, when it became the official residence of the Lt Governor of Bengal, is uncertain. But from 1854 to 1911, Belvedere housed a number of Lt Governors till the British capital shifted to Delhi.
After Independence, the National Library (which was then in Esplanade) was shifted to Belvedere House. Since the Belvedere House is of great architectural and heritage value, the treasure of books has been shifted to a new building on the 30-acre campus while the old building is getting restored.
The ministry of culture that owns the National Library decided to get the magnificent building restored by the Archaeological Survey of India since it is heavily damaged. Work has already started. It was while taking stock of the interior and exterior of the building that ASI conservation engineers stumbled upon a blind enclosure’ on the ground floor, about 1000 square feet in size.
A lot of effort has been made to locate an opening so that experts can find out exactly what it was built for or what it contains. But there is not a single crack to show.
“We’ve searched every inch of the first floor area that forms the ceiling of this enclosure for a possible trap door. But found nothing. Restoration of the building will remain incomplete if we are not able to assess what lies inside this enclosure,” said deputy superintending archaeologist of ASI, Tapan Bhattacharya. “We’ve come across an arch on one side of the enclosure that had been walled up. Naturally speculations are rife,” said another archaeologist.
Was it used as a punishment room by Hastings or one of the Lt Governors who succeeded him? It was common practice among the British to “wall up” offenders in “death chambers”. Some sources say this enclosure has exactly the same look and feel. The British were also known to hide riches in blind chambers as this.
“It could be just about anything. Skeletons and treasure chests are the two things that top our speculations because it is not natural for a building to have such a huge enclosure that has no opening. We cannot break down a wall, considering the importance of the building. So we have decided to bore a hole through the wall to peer inside with a searchlight,” said D V Sharma, regional director, ASI.
National Library authorities have written to the ministry of culture seeking permission for this. “The ASI cannot drill into a building of such great historical significance as this without permission.
There was pushback from the Pentagon press office, and in a piece by Jonathan Weisman in a Wall Street Journal blog, pooh pooh’ing yesterday’s report from two major Indian media outlets, the Press Trust of India (PTI) and New Dehli Television (NDTV), that an entire US carrier group of 35 ships had been dispatched to hover off Mumbai to inderdict sea lanes and potentially provide air cover for the presidential visit.
The Pentagon press officer characterized the reports in the Indian media as absurd.
I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy — some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier — in support of the president’s trip to Asia,” said Morrell at today’s Pentagon briefing. “That’s just comical. Nothing close to that is being done.”
Thus, 20% of the American carrier force was already in the neighborhood.
It would not be completely surprising if one of the two groups was tasked in addition to its normal duties with operating special patrols looking for terrorist ship traffic approaching Mumbai and assigned air patrol duties in connection with the Obama visit.
Wikipedia says: “On October 17, 2010, the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and guided missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) arrived off the coast of Pakistan to support the coalition troop surge in landlocked Afghanistan”
If you have a carrier group “off the coast of Pakistan,” it is indeed in a suitable position to interdict the sea lanes off Mumbai and to provide air support in the region of that city.
How reasonable presidential security measures are, and how justifiable their cost, is inevitably a matter of opinion. A recent video taken in Seattle during a campaign visit just before the recent election by President Obama gives some indication of the scale of ordinary domestic security measures. Watch the video and tell me you don’t think they’d put a carrier group on alert.
Theo Spark labels this video “Obama Goes for Pizza,” but the French source merely says that Obama Has Quite an Escort.
The video’s British title, referring to going for pizza, like the Indian press reports, may feature an element of exaggeration in phraseology. Obama may simply have been traveling anywhere in Seattle or leaving for the airport. The carrier and its 34 escort ships were clearly already somewhere not terribly far away.
But all you have to do is look at the video and read about the tunnel and the removal of coconuts and you know that, give or take a shade of self-indulgent reportorial emphasis, the substance of the story was not wrong.
Obama didn’t “take” a carrier group with him. It was already in the general area, but New Dehli and Mumbai are not Republican strongholds. The Indian media has no dog in domestic American political fights, and if they felt moved to poke fun at the scale and expense of security measures going on in their own backyard for the presidential visit, their reaction was not partisan or contrived. They really were amused.
An American president visiting a foreign country needs to bring along some staff, equipment, and a protection detail. Brarack Obama seems to need a little more staff and protection than most presidents. He needs 800 rooms worth of staff and requires a fleet headed by a carrier for protection.
The White House will, of course, stay in Washington but the heart of the famous building will move to India when President Barack Obama lands in Mumbai on Saturday.
Communications set-up, nuclear button, a fleet of limousines and majority of the White House staff will be in India accompanying the President on this three-day visit that will cover Mumbai and Delhi.
He will also be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his two-day stay there beginning Saturday.
He even needs a tunnel to get to a museum.
Barack Obama’s planned visit to Mani Bhavan —the Gandhi museum — on November 6, soon after he reaches Mumbai. On Monday, US secret agents visited the museum to plan Obama’s security detail.
They were accompanied by officers of Mumbai Police and civic officials of the D ward (where Mani Bhavan is located). While inspecting the route and the buildings lining up the route to the museum, the Americans detected a skyscraper near Peddar road and also found the area to be highly populated.
Since it is difficult to monitor such a congested area, they came up with a quick solution which left the Indians accompanying them amazed: A bomb-proof over-ground tunnel — to be installed by US military engineers in just an hour.
The tunnel would be a kilometre long and measure 12ft by 12ft — enough to let Obama’s cavalcade pass through. The tunnel would be centrally air-conditioned, fitted with close-circuit television cameras, and will be heavily guarded at every point, including, of course, its entry and exit.
Even with his own personal tunnel, there remained a coconut threat to be neutralized.
While President Obama may have taken one on the jaw in Tuesday’s elections, officials in India are seeing to it he doesn’t take one on the head during his upcoming visit.
City officials in Mumbai have ordered the removal of all the coconuts from the trees around a museum dedicated to Gandhi for fear one could come loose and fall on the President’s head.
“We told the authorities to remove the dry coconuts from trees near the building,” Meghshyam Ajgaonkar, executive secretary of the museum, told the BBC. “Why take a chance?”
Isn’t all this getting a little out of hand?
Meghrajji III was the 45th and last ruling descendant of the Jhala clan of Rajputs, of the Suryavanshi lineage, claiming descent from Surya, the Hindu Sun god. They were a warrior clan who originated in Baluchistan and arrived in India during the eighth century. The clan name derives from a miraculous feat by its founder Harapaldev’s wife, Shaktidevi, who caught up her children through an open window when they were charged by an elephant in must. Jhalvan is Gujarati for ‘catching’ and her children and descendants thus began to be called Jhala.
[I]n 1952, he opted out of what he described as “that rare and gubernatorial prison” for the freedom of a commoner at Christ Church, Oxford. There was some grumbling about his lack of academic qualifications, but he enjoyed the friendship of the House’s senior censor Hugh Trevor-Roper. When it was objected that Raj (as he signed himself in private correspondence) had not done any military service, Trevor-Roper pointed out that he had been commander-in-chief of the Dhrangadhra armed forces for six years.
The prince drove a sky-blue Jaguar at great speed around Oxford, and in 1953 received an invitation to the Coronation in Westminster Abbey. Over a period of six years he read Philosophy, took a diploma in Anthropology, and earned a BLitt with a thesis on the Brahma Samskâras (sacraments) as well as finding time to study drawing at the Ruskin School of Art and design ties as part of his heraldic studies. He also played the flute.
At his parties the champagne flowed freely. Allotted a set of four rooms, he had a retinue that included an ADC, a secretary and two servants dressed in dove-coloured coats and black caps. In deference to his age and position, he was made a member of the senior common room.
Dhrangadhra and his fellow princes had governed 565 states that covered almost half of the subcontinent, and at first they kept themselves aloof in the new republic. But on returning home from Christ Church he found that his fellow former rulers were gradually taking to democratic politics, proving an increasing irritant to the Congress government.
In 1967 he was elected to the legislature in Gujarat, the western Indian state into whose Saurastra peninsular Dhrangadhra-Halvad had been amalgamated. He subsequently became a member of India’s Lok Sabha (the country’s lower house of parliament), where he introduced measures to safeguard the constitutional rights of former rulers, particularly against the proposed abolition of the princes’ titles and their privy purses. Together with the Maharaja of Baroda and the Begum of Bhopal, he led the “concord of princes” which conducted a bitter battle over three years.
Interviewed by Harold Sieve of The Daily Telegraph, Dhrangadhra was agreeable to letting slip princely trappings, but his fellow princes were proud of their titles and didn’t see why they should no longer be permitted to fly their flags on cars while every lorry and taxi driver could do so. There was a brief reprieve when the Constitution Amendment Bill, stripping them of their titles, was declared illegal. As a result parliament was dissolved. But on the day of the subsequent election Dhrangadhra was ill in University College Hospital, London, and narrowly lost his seat.
Under the new government the chief justice was replaced and the Constitution Amendment Bill was reintroduced. After it became law Dhrangadhra was most exasperated by his fellow princes’ failure to back the compromise he had proposed.
Born Mayurdwajsinhji on March 3 1923, his birth was celebrated with the beating of war drums and the release of all Dhrangadhra-Halvad’s prisoners. Although small in comparison with its neighbours, the state comprised 1,157 square miles with a population of about 250,000, and rated a 13-gun-salute.
Tika, as the eldest son was traditionally known, was allotted apartments with his two brothers and eight sisters, and they had limited contact with their parents apart from a meal on Sundays. They were educated at the palace’s royal school, where he learned to recite Kipling’s poem If, and started his day either riding or doing drill at 6.30am. Scouting, carpentry, ploughing with bullocks and tinkering with cars as well as academic work followed. The feudal atmosphere was tempered by the headmaster, Jack Meyer, a tough member of MCC. Meyer was pleased when he asked Tika whether, when he was rich, he would buy cars or dig wells, and the boy replied: “Dig wells.”
In 1933 the royal school moved to England, where it became the public school Millfield in Somerset. But although Tika was one of the first seven boys in the school, he soon left to end his English school days at Haileybury before returning to India in 1939. He next went to St Joseph’s Academy at Dehra Dun and started at the Shivaji military school in Poona before becoming the maharaja.
After the princes’ parliamentary defeat, Dhrangadhra abandoned politics for scholarship, concentrating on the history of the Jhala family, a warrior clan whose proudest boast was that eight succeeding generations had died in battle against the Mughals. While declining to send his historical work to academic journals, he set up a small palace press to disseminate his work to friends, and obtained software to re-create tartans worn by Dhrangadhra soldiers in the 1940s.
The Maharaja of Dhrangadhra was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1948, and was the last surviving KCIE. He was president of Rajkumar College in Rajkot; and a life member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association; of the World Wildlife Fund; the International Phonetic Association; and the Heraldry Society. He was also a member of the Cricket Club of India, the Fencing Association of Great Britain and the Bombay Masonic Lodge.
Cobalt-60 is a radioactive isotope of Cobalt with a half life of 5.27 years. Cobalt-60 is not found in nature, and is artificially produced by bombarding Californium-59 with slow neutrons or by placing Cobalt rods in a nuclear reactor.
Cobalt-60 in very small quantities is used to sterilize medical equipment, to irradiate food, and for medical and industrial radiography.
It can also be used to create a dirty bomb.
One week ago (April 8), in the West Dehli industrial area of Mayapuri, two local scrap dealers, Deepak Jain, Bablu, and five others fell ill as the result of exposure to “very powerful” radiation.
Gimme that old time religion department: the Times of India reports that Tekam Das, a Hindu priest in the province of Sind, on Tuesday sacrificed three daughters (all aged under six) and then himself to the goddess Kali.
Technological tour de force: Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque 6:20 video of virtual choir performance, 185 performers from 12 countries recorded on 243 tracks.
Strategy Page reports that a formidable new ally, a powerful fighter particularly skilled in mountain warfare, recently joined the Western Anti-Jihadist Coalition.
In Indian Kashmir, an Islamic terrorist leader, and one of his followers was killed by a black bear. Two other terrorists were wounded, but were able to flee to a nearby village. Although the terrorists were armed with assault rifles, the bear attacked quickly, and at night, and the men were unable to use their weapons in the restricted confines of the cave. Apparently the bear was going to use the cave to hibernate in, and was upset to find that the terrorists had moved in. The four terrorists thought the cave was abandoned, and a good place to hide out in.
The Asiatic Black Bear is related to the American black bear, but is larger (up to 400 pounds for an older male), and is much more aggressive towards humans. The Asiatic bear has a more powerful jaw, and bigger claws.