Category Archive 'India'
28 Apr 2009
Americans responded to the election of a democrat-dominated federal government by buying enough guns in 3 months to outfit the entire Chinese and Indian Armies. We also bought 1,529,635,000 rounds of ammunition in the month of December 2008 alone.
You have to give him credit. Obama certainly has turned one sector of the economy around.
15 Apr 2009
Aynard carpet, Mughal pashmina, Kashmir, circa 1630-1640. . 4’. 1 ” x 2’. 11 ” (124.5cm x 90cm). Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid.
– Click on image for link to larger picture at web-site of Pakistan firm attempting to produce a reproduction.
One of the principal contributors at fellow boutique blog Maggie’s Farm has done several postings on the Oriental Rug, and I thought he’d enjoy a look at this particular example. I like rugs, too, but ours are all rolled up and stored away in our house right now, since we adopted a Basset Bleu de Gascoigne named Cadet. Dogs will reliably regurgitate the latest nasty thing they found out in the yard by preference right in the middle of your favorite and most expensive antique oriental rug.
[T]he Aynard carpet, considered one of the greatest pashmina knotted Mughal carpets, contains a bouquet of blossoms that resemble octopi floating languorously on a crimson sky filled with dragon-head chi clouds. Here, we enter the surreal world of the artist’s brilliant imagination, whose floral bouquet of voluptuous efflorescence sweeps us away into a metaphysical reverie.
09 Dec 2008
Richard Munday, in the London Times, observes that citizens of modern democracies are typically less safe in the event of terrorist attack today than they were a century ago in gas-lit London when policemen carried only a truncheon and ordinary citizens were allowed to own and carry weapons.
For anybody who still believed in it, the Mumbai shootings exposed the myth of “gun control”. India had some of the strictest firearms laws in the world, going back to the Indian Arms Act of 1878, by which Britain had sought to prevent a recurrence of the Indian Mutiny.
The guns used in last week’s Bombay massacre were all “prohibited weapons” under Indian law, just as they are in Britain. In this country we have seen the irrelevance of such bans (handgun crime, for instance, doubled here within five years of the prohibition of legal pistol ownership), but the largely drug-related nature of most extreme violence here has left most of us with a sheltered awareness of the threat. We have not yet faced a determined and broad-based attack.
The Mumbai massacre also exposed the myth that arming the police force guarantees security. Sebastian D’Souza, a picture editor on the Mumbai Mirror who took some of the dramatic pictures of the assault on the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, was angered to find India’s armed police taking cover and apparently failing to engage the gunmen.
In Britain we might recall the prolonged failure of armed police to contain the Hungerford killer, whose rampage lasted more than four hours, and who in the end shot himself. In Dunblane, too, it was the killer who ended his own life: even at best, police response is almost always belated when gunmen are on the loose. ...
The Mumbai massacre could happen in London tomorrow; but probably it could not have happened to Londoners 100 years ago.
In January 1909 two such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. Edwardian Londoners, however, shot back – and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down.
Today we are probably more shocked at the idea of so many ordinary Londoners carrying guns in the street than we are at the idea of an armed robbery. But the world of Conan Doyle’s Dr Watson, pocketing his revolver before he walked the London streets, was real. The arming of the populace guaranteed rather than disturbed the peace.
That armed England existed within living memory; but it is now so alien to our expectations that it has become a foreign country.
03 Dec 2008
John Lott notes that the state’s monopoly of force works well at disarming law-abiding citizens, only to leave them defenseless in emergencies. Today’s mass shooting incidents could never have occurred in the pre-Gun Control era in America, when ordinary citizens were routinely armed.
In India, victims watched as armed police cowered and didn’t fire back at the terrorists. A photographer at the scene described his frustration: “There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything. At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, ‘Shoot them, they’re sitting ducks!’ but they just didn’t shoot back.”
Meanwhile, according to the hotel company’s chairman, P.R.S. Oberoi, security at “the hotel had metal detectors, but none of its security personnel carried weapons because of the difficulties in obtaining gun permits from the Indian government.”
India has extremely strict gun control laws, but who did it succeed in disarming?
The terrorist attack showed how difficult it is to disarm serious terrorists. Strict licensing rules meant that it was the victims who obeyed the regulations, not the terrorists.
29 Nov 2008
“Alleged gunman” holding perfectly visible gun
John Hinderaker of Power-Line loses patience with the mealy-mouthed political correctness of the mainstream media.
The very same media which gleefully lynches opponents to the right, like George W. Bush or Sarah Palin, on the basis of its own trumped up charges has no enemies to the left, so any terrorist (even one captured in a photograph holding an automatic weapon in the midst of a murderous mass attack) is always only a potential suspect, someone whose status requires a full-scale courtroom procedure, and a complete professional defense, before it can possibly be pejoratively characterized.
Reuters’ caption for the photo begins: “A suspected gunman walks outside the premises of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus railway station in Mumbai November 26, 2008.”
Notice the object the terrorist is holding in his hands. It’s a gun. He isn’t a “suspected gunman,” he’s a “gunman.”
28 Nov 2008
José Guardia is blog-tracking events and has the best collected news links.
First link collection
01 Sep 2008
Here is a recent acquisition: a boar spear blade made by
Bodraj of Aurangabad, one of the preferred models of blade used for Pig-Sticking, the finest sport in Asia, by British officers and colonial administrators in the pre-WWII days of the Empire.
(Click on the above picture for more. The link goes to another web-site I use for image and file distribution. I plan to post more photo collections of antique weapons from my personal collection from time to time.)
Sir Robert Baden-Powell describes it, thusly:
The Bodraj head is a flat oval blade tapering to a point. It is 4 inches long, three-quarters to 1 inch broad at the widest part, with a neck and socket of 4 inches long ; a projecting rib runs from point to socket along the centre of each side of the blade, standing about one-sixth of an inch, and sharpened along its back. This head is particularly adapted for use in Pig-sticking Cup Competitions.
“Snaffles,” The Finest View in Asia, 1928
02 Jun 2007
It used to be Texans who made news with unprecedentedly large outlays on conspicuous forms of high living. These days, it’s billionaires from India.
The DailyMail reports:
India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is planning a palace in the heart of Mumbai with helipad, health club, hanging gardens and six floors of car parking.
His wife, mother and three children will live there with him, looked after by 600 live-in staff.
Construction has already started on what will eventually be a 175m tower and planners are aiming to complete it in September 2008.
Earlier this year, Forbes rated Mr Ambani as the richest resident Indian with a net worth of US$20.1 billion.
He came 14th in Forbes’ 2007 worldwide rankings.
Currently he is chairman of petroleum major Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest private sector company
The building, already worth £500 million, could start a rush on skyscrapers.
The Age reports:
The building, named Antilla after a mythical island, will have a total floor area greater than Versailles.
Hat tip to Dominique R. Poirier.
29 May 2007
Elephas maximus indicus
Reuters reports an epidemic of highway robbery in India.
An elephant in eastern India has sparked complaints from motorists who accuse it of blocking traffic and refusing to allow vehicles to pass unless drivers give it food, a newspaper reported on Monday.
The Hindustan Times said the elephant was scouting for food on a highway in the eastern state of Orissa, forcing motorists to roll down their windows and get out of the car.
“The tusker then inserts its trunk inside the vehicle and sniffs for food,” local resident Prabodh Mohanty, who has come across the elephant twice, was quoted as saying.
“If you are carrying vegetables and banana inside your vehicle, then it will gulp them and allow you to go.”
If a commuter does not wind down his window or resists opening the vehicle door, the elephant stands in front of the car until the driver allows him to carry out his routine inspection.
Forestry officials told the newspaper that the elephant is old and is therefore looking for easy food.
“So far, it has not harmed anybody,” said Sirish Mohanty, a forest ranger working in the state.
“We are telling commuters regularly not to tease the elephant. But if people don’t heed to our advice and harass the tusker, then it can retaliate.”
Elephants are a protected and endangered species in India, which has nearly half of the world’s 60,000 Asian elephants.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
07 Oct 2006
The Telegraph reports:
George David Garforth-Bles was born on October 5 1909 at Knutsford, Cheshire. He was the grandson of Sir William Garforth, the inventor of the coal-cutter and a safety lamp and breathing apparatus for miners. David was educated at Rugby, where he played for the first XV and the hockey IX and was Master of the Rugby Rat Hounds (ferrets).
After going up to Jesus College, Cambridge, to read Military Studies and German, he served with The Guides Cavalry (10th Queen Victoria’s Own Frontier Force) on the North West Frontier Force from 1931 to 1939; in the latter year, he played in the regimental polo team which won the last Indian Cavalry Polo Tournament.
In the Second World War Garforth-Bles commanded the 4th Battalion, 3rd Madras Regiment, in fierce fighting against the Japanese in Burma. He was mentioned in dispatches.
In 1948 he retired from the Army and emigrated to Canada, where he took up the post of secretary at the Eglinton Hunt Club in Toronto.
On his return to England, he ran a small family business. In retirement, at Farnham, Surrey, he enjoyed fishing and gardening. He was co-author of Now or Never (1946), an account of his regiment’s experiences in the Burma Campaign.
David Garforth-Bles died on September 27. He married first (dissolved), in 1939, Susan Muir-Mackenzie. He married secondly, in 1948, Ann Deshon. She predeceased him, and he is survived by a son and a daughter from his first marriage and by three sons from his second
His sporting career in India provides one of the most remarkable pig-sticking stories:
Lieutenant-Colonel David Garforth-Bles, who has died aged 96, served in the Indian Cavalry on the North West Frontier and was the central figure in an episode which must rank highly even in the bizarre chronicles of oriental field sports.
In 1937 Garforth-Bles, a young officer in The Guides Cavalry, was attending a course at the Army Equitation School, Saugor, Central India, when he went pig-sticking with a colleague, Denis Voelker. As he wrote shortly afterwards to his parents: “A sounder [herd] of pig broke between us and the heat on the right.
There were three rideable boar amongst them and Denis and I were on the largest. Everyone else was chasing the other two and we were quite by ourselves. Denis had a very fast horse and was about ten yards in front of me and just going to spear the pig. Suddenly the pig and Denis and his horse vanished completely.”
Garforth-Bles at first assumed that his friend and his quarry had descended into a deep nullah (gully), but he could find no evidence of one. He turned his pony round, and came across a well, which was overgrown with long grass.
“I had a nasty moment wondering what I should find at the bottom,” he continued in his letter home, “as most of the wells here are very deep indeed, and some are dry at the bottom. Luckily this was a very wide well and the water was very deep and only about twenty-five feet down from the top, and there were large flat stones sticking out to form steps down to the water.”
When he peered down into the gloom Garforth-Bles made out Denis Voelker hanging on to the bottom step; his horse was plunging about in the water, while the pig was swimming round and round, occasionally rushing at the horse and at Voelker and trying to get on to the step.
Garforth-Bles descended into the well to find that his friend had broken his left arm and had a six-inch cut down to the bone of his elbow. He helped the injured man up the steps, then got hold of the horse’s bridle, trying to keep the animal’s head above water.
Garforth-Bles wrote: “It was rather difficult, as he was terrified of the pig, which kept swimming at him and trying to bite him. Then the horse would rear up in the water, beating with his fore legs, and turn over backwards and sink. I thought that he was certain to be drowned.
“By this time several village people had come up and one of them held the horse’s bridle, while I speared the pig several times until it sank. We then got a rope with a stone on the end and lowered it down one side of the horse and brought it up on the other side underneath its belly. I had to dive under the horse to get hold of the rope. We could now keep it from sinking, and there was nothing to do until the others came up. They had killed the two other pigs and arrived at last, seeing the village people round the well.”
While Voelker was taken to hospital, Garforth-Bles asked the nearby veterinary hospital to provide one of the slings used for supporting lame horses; when this arrived he returned to the water, and fitted it to his friend’s distressed horse.
“It was quite tricky work, as I had to dive underneath it several times and it plunged about a bit. However, in the end, the village people, directed by Griffiths, a Sapper officer on the course, got a strong beam across the top of the well, and hauled the horse out. It came out remarkably easily and was not much scratched, though very exhausted and cold, but recovered in the sun and walked home.”
Garforth-Bles added: “General Wardrop, the ultimate authority on pig-sticking, says that it has never been known for pig, horse and rider to fall down a well. Far from spoiling their drinking water, the villagers were delighted. They fished out the pig and ate it!”
21 Jul 2006
India this week blocked access to “more than 15 websites,” including both a number of individual blogs, and (evidently on the basis of some technical confusion) to several major blog host sites, including Blogger.com, Blogspot, Typepad, and Geocities. The South African Clickatell.com was included.
The Government of India claimed in July of 2003 the right to ban websites in the interest of
sovereignty or integrity of India,
security of the state
friendly relations with foreign states and public order
preventing incitement to commissioning of any cognisable offences.
Some 17 individual blogs were originally banned. The Indian Government’s list (image here), according to CNN, included:
Two Hindu political sites:
12. Hindu Human Rights
The personal blog of one Indian grad student studying in the US:
personal website of an Indian kid earning an MIS at Indiana University. Blocked for having a few links to Indian political sites.
Seven US Conservative Blogs:
2. The Jawa Report
5. Pirate’s Cove
6. “http://commonfolkcommonsense.blogspot.com” – previous url, currently a Japanese language blog. Should have been: Common Folk using Common Sense
7. My Vast Rightwing Conspiracy
8. Princess Kimberly – Url works, but ceased publication in March of 2004
9. http://merrimusings.typepad.com – previous non-working url banned. Should have been: Merri Musings
10. Macker’s World
Yahoo’s image search url:
15. http://imagesearch.yahoo.com – should be: http://images.search.yahoo.com/images
Four badly typo’d or defunct sites:
11. Dalitstan – an art site, whose name refers to Salvador Dali.
13. http://nndh.com – does not exist
14. http://bloodroyaltriped.com – does not exist. There is also no “http://bloodroyaltripod.com.”
16. http://imamali8.com – does not exist. Tried http://imamali5.com and http://imamali6.com without success as well.
A pretty motley collection, demonstrating some serious incompetence at the Indian Attorney General’s office. Obviously, any American blog which has criticized Islamic extremism (including this one) is just as worthy of the Indian Government’s ban as those on its current list.
The Indian Government, under criticism, yesterday retreated to the extent of issuing a clarification, stating that its intention was to ban only specific blogs, and not entire hosting sites. But the American Conservative blogs listed above remain banned today.
Rusty Shackleford’s original report.
20 Jul 2006
Playing with Google Earth is pretty popular in tech circles. One can snoop into all sorts of earthly matters from heaven’s perspective. Lester Haines at the Register reports on one of Google Earth-ers’ most al-time intriguing finds: a Chinese military installation at Huangyangtan features an astonshingly detailed 900×700m scale model of a very mountainous landscape.
The army of Googlers applied ther obsessive analytic skills and identified the model’s subject location: a disputed region of the China-India border.
The extraordinarily elaborate model was obviously painstakingly produced for some sort of military training. The Google General Staff College theorizes that the purpose may be to familiarize Chinese pilots with the landscape in preparation for some future conflict. Considering just how much trouble and expense the Chinese have gone to with this one, India had better be prepared for a renewal of Chinese pressure for concessions, backed up by military force.
——————————————————Hat tip to PJM.