April 3, 2012

Is the new Julia Roberts film a celebration of the assassination of Indira Gandhi?

Economist / blogger Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution has long admired my reviews of movies like Inglourious Basterds and District 9 that point out the overlooked intentions of the director. Now, he's come up with an iSteveian interpretation of his own of the new fairy tale movie Mirror Mirror, Tarsem Singh's big budget retelling of Snow White with Julia Roberts as the Wicked Stepmother Queen. 

Tyler thinks that the Sikh director has made up Julia to look like his people's historic enemy, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, whom her Sikh bodyguards assassinated in 1984 following her violent crackdown on Sikh separatists holed up in the Golden Temple in the tank in Amritsar. 

I haven't seen the movie, but the idea that a Sikh director would make an allegory about Indira Gandhi as the Evil Queen seems plausible to me. They've made her up to look rather Kashmiri and the castle looks a lot like the Golden Temple, and the dance number is Bollywood.

If you've seen it and know something about Sikhs, what do you think?

59 comments:

unclesol said...

After seeing this I was interested in going back and seeing your review of the Tarantino flick. I wasn't a reader back then, but I was certain your take would have been an interesting one. Unfortunately, the Taki's link appears to be broken now. Did they take it down?

morleysafer said...

So this is the one has dwarves? In addition to Phil Collins's daughter. The other new one is with Charlize Theron who isn't the allegory type, at least not geopolitical. Chiming in to say I know nothing about Singh except he went to film school near me and made that movie with J Lo I meant to get around to watching about 10 years ago...

Anonymous said...

I think Rpberts looks more like
Queen Elizabeth than anything else. I don't know much about Indira's private life, but she wasn't a flashy dresser in public. She seemed more the intellectual than a personality. And though she could be ruthless, she wasn't charismatic as a wielder of power. This Rpberts is like a cross between Queen Elizabeth and
Evita Peron.

More importantly, the wicked queen seems to be funny-endearing wicked than evil-wicked. It's like a gay feminist reinterpretation of the story where the queen's envy is made to be more sympathetic. And her power-mongering seems to be one for the sisterhood. She's like Hillary. It's like DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Though Streep was supposed to be like a wicked queen, the movie was ultimately sympathetic because she stood for woman power and independence. IF anything, all the men in this movie seems weak.

sn said...

There may be cultural elements that seep into the film but when I see Julia Roberts, I don't see or hear Indira Gandhi. Is there a link to Roberts in the final scene? The current Indian Prime Minister is a turban wearing Sikh (many prominent Sikhs no longer wear the Turban).

herr crumpelstein said...

Speaking of subtle and easy-to-miss messages, I like how Krikorian slips in a comparison of Israel to South Africa in a post purportedly in support of Israel. "Israel, you know what it reminds me of? South Africa!" would probably end his career, but he manages to put it in such a way that he comes across as a hardline Israel supporter. If you think through his logic and the picture at the bottom, he also compares Israel to the Nazis.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/295080/no-mr-bond-i-expect-you-die-mark-krikorian?toggle=y#comment-bar

Anonymous said...

Indira Ghandhi inadvertently created the Punjab Terrorist problem, Pakistan supported these terrorists. She instructed the Army to enter their sacred shrine Golden Temple to flush terrorists holed up; this was the cause for her assassination.

Congress party goons lynched thousands of innocent Sikhs in the North in reprisal

Rajeev Ghandhi's reply to lynching was " When a great tree falls, ground shakes".

This is Sikhs revenge.

Anonymous said...

good stuff

http://youtu.be/jw2FMVsZdTA

Anonymous said...

I just can't believe i heard.. beautiful.. white... skin in the same sentence from hollywood!

Anonymous said...

Evil queen or not, Indira Gandhi certainly had hegemonic ambitions. In 1975, in a feat not unlike Saddam Hussein's attempted annexation of Kuwait, India sent in a column of army trucks to annex Sikkim. The only difference between Iraq and India is that India manage to orchestra the whole takeover much more sophisticated than Iraq, without registering more than a blimp in the radar of the Western nations.

Here is an article on what happened that infamous day.

http://www.nepalitimes.com.np/issue/35/Nation/9621

travis said...

I don't know...Julia Roberts doesn't look like Indira Gandhi in that trailer to me. She looks more like Queen Elizabeth I.

Anonymous said...

Advice #1-Don't crackdown on Sikh separatists.

Advice #2- Don't tease your fellow workers for their bad English either.

Douglas Knight said...

It seems to me that it is a big jump from Sikh and Bollywood imagery to the assassination. Don't all of his films have Sikh imagery?

It doesn't seem like a crazy hypothesis, but virtually everything claimed as evidence supports the simpler hypothesis that he just used Sikh fairy tales to spice up a western fairy tale. Tyler claims that the Queen is made up and dressed differently, more like Gandhi, in the final scene. If so, that draws attention to her death. But I'd have to see what she looks like.

idealart said...

Steve, minor quibble but I believe the Sikh's function, historically, was to protect the Hindu from invasion through the Punjab. They are not historic enemies. The enemy, including partition in 1947, has been Islam. At the time of 9/11, a Sikh headed India's internal defense agency - can't think of his name, another Singh I believe. He gained prominence by ruthlessly cracking down on Sikh separatists in the Punjab following Gandhi's assassination. Sikhs are more like a minority population within Hinduism, almost a sect, combining elements of Hinduism and Islam.

I haven't seen the movie but I will. I'd like to recommend "Delhi Belly" for a really good and funny Indian movie that's geared to videshi (foreigners). You can Instant Watch on Netflick.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Singh is gay but he sure is gayish. His THE FALL was like a gay version of NUREMBERG RALLY.

The queen in SNOW WHITE is the sort gays love. She's sooooooo vain. Snow White is pretty but modest in dress and manners. It's the Queen who is the one-woman fashion show. In the Disney version, the Queen is just evil but in this version, she seems to be the flamboyant life of the party.
I think this SNOW WHITE version is more a tribute to the witch than to the princess. And I highly doubt if the cosmopolitan Singh whose style is homo-decadence has much in common with puritanical Sikh nationalists.

So, I see this as a revisionist version of SNOW WHITE where the 'wicked' queen is a sort of symbol of WOMAN POWER and GAY FASHION.

Anonymous said...

Thats really Sikh!

Chris said...

Did Indira Gandhi have a British accent that kept lapsing into an American accent?

Seriously, this looks like a horrible, horrible movie.

jody said...

is the new oakland college campus shooting a celebration of the nascent "white Asian" category?

CNN has to make sure the guy who just shot and killed 7 people in california can be fit into their rigid narrative of european men bad, everybody else good.

anybody taking bets on how many liberals demand more control due strictly to this one particular shooting?

Anonymous said...

Sikhs. An immigrant group i could sure do without.

Matthew said...

Thrre off-topic stories:

1) The shooting at Oikos University, an unaccredited college in Oakland. The shooter, a Korean immigrant named One Goh, "felt he was being teased -- particularly about his English skills -- and treated differently by them." Teased by white Americans? No, but apparently by other Asian immigrants.

2) The Maryland purchaser of one of the winning lottery tickets has gone underground. Apparently she bought the ticket as part of a lottery pool for herelf and 15 McDonald's co-workers. Her name? Mirlande Wilson. She is a Haitian immigrant.

3) Barack Obama's illegal alien, alcoholic uncle, recently busted for a DUI, is back on the road.

Immigrants: they're better Americans than real Americans!

Anonymous said...

Bollywood, of course, got its dance numbers from hollywood....

Glaivester said...

Interestingly enough, the Herblock cartoon of June 27 1975 had Gandhi staring at a mirror asking "Who's the Fairest One of All?" holding a club in her left hand. The left hand and the feet of a woman labeled "Civil Liberties" are sticking out from behind the wall.

Nanonymous said...

Seems quite possible! Cowen strikes me as a not very original man whose main talent is incredible rate of information consumption. Wonder if it's truly his original observation...

Anonymous said...

I think this came out around the time of MAN WHO WOULD BE BLING.

Anonymous said...

I saw this post this morning and was intrigued. Checked back to see 23 comments posted!

I was excited and sure at least 1 comment would be from a thoughtful commenter who has seen the movie and knows a lot about Sikhs, or is a Sikh.

Alas, 23 comments read and I am no closer to discovering how valid the claim of allegory is.

Anonymous said...

@unclesol

Took some digging, but here is a current link to the Inglorious Bastards review.

http://takimag.com/article/kill_adolf#axzz1qzy6JtAn

Marlowe said...

It seems possible. Many persons considered L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz an allegory on the Populist movement of the 1890s and the conflict between Silverites and Goldbugs although the jury seems to have returned a negative verdict. Tolkien warned off the allegory hunters from his fairy tale (Allegories ought to remain on the banks of the Nile): I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of its readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.

Lucille said...

Bollywood, of course, got its dance numbers from hollywood....

Yeah, but dance numbers have lost a lot of their popularity in Hollywood movies. In any case, go to youtube and watch that scene - the instrumentation and some of the choreography are definitely Bollywood-influenced.

jody said...

"She is a Haitian immigrant."

single mother of 7 is what i read. seriously, the US allows a single mother of 7 to come to the US so she can compete in that critical unskilled fast food labor market?

soon we're looking at a scenario in which almost all africans in the US will be raised by a single mother who is supported by wealth transfers from the US government. we're only 10 years away from this. 15 at most.

DSK's Buddy said...

Richard Descoings is the Director of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, aka "Sciences Po".

He's been bent on opening this once venerable institution to "diversity", for example, by suppressing the culture generale test in the admission process.

True to his word, he apparently used a similar admission process to his Manhattan hotel room.

Tony said...

Sikhs are to the rest of India what Koreans are to the rest of East Asia. Both are the most violent and warlike of their respective groups.

Anonymous said...

"Sikhs are to the rest of India what Koreans are to the rest of East Asia. Both are the most violent and warlike of their respective groups."

Koreans seem hot-tempered and hot-headed--in their movies and street protests--, but warlike? Whom did they invade? I think the warlike Asians tend to be Mongols(the golden horde), the Japanese(samurai), and Vietnamese.

I think hot-headed people generally tend to be less warlike. They may be socially more abrasive but they are not good at working together as a fighting force. Italians are more hotheaded than Germans, but Germans were more warlike in WWII. Italians talked loud but they were the first to run. Impulsive people tend to be first to be angry and throw fist but also first to cower and run. They don't make good warriors.

Anonymous said...

"Bollywood, of course, got its dance numbers from hollywood...."

Partly. Bollywood got its dance/music ideas from all over: Hollywood, India, Europe, Asia, Africa, MTV, etc. It's like a crazy world buffet of various styles. Stylistically, it's also a mix of comedy, romance, farce, parody, and self-parody.

On the other hand, this guy is in a league all his own.

Duke of Qin said...

Koreans are neither violent nor warlike in the least. Their culture is staunchly Confucian even more so than China or Japan. They are however the surly alkies of East Asia. I suppose to their immediate neighbors they can seem somewhat uncouth, but comparing them to Sikhs is more than a bit of a stretch.

Regarding Anonymous 8:23's interesting segway about Indira and Sikkim, I would argue that the annexation wasn't due to any ambitions of Indira but rather the Hindustani vision of Akhand Bharat. After the consolidation of the princely states there have been two successful Indian territorial expansions and one failure. Sikkim is one successful example while Goa is the other. The failure would be Bhutan.

It should be no surprise to Steve's readers that in all instances the principal instrument of Indian territorial expansion has been demographic expansion. Sikkim in the 19th century was a Buddhist kingdom populated by a people ethnically similar to the Tibetans. The demographic balance gradually shifted in the 20th century and the arrival or more Hindus of subcontinental ancestry eventually swamped the natives. Hence the parliamentary shenanigans that ultimately led to annexation. Native Sikkimese today are barely more than a quarter of the total population. A similar set of circumstances occurred in Goa where after nearly 5 centuries of Portuguese rule and the Inquisition the state is also little more than a quarter Christian.

Bhutan remains an independent state today because of active resistance to emigration from India which triggered a "refugee" crisis and cries of ethnic cleansing in the 90's.

morleysafer said...

As I trust you've seen in other reviews by now, Sailer, the filmmaker's longtime costume designer was a Japanese woman known also by her couture for Bjork, Julie Taymor, and the Olympics. The wicked queen art direction is more consistent with those than with the Nehru look. So, this "Straussian reading" may need work

Anonymous said...

To Duke of Qin,

Yes I know this Akhand Bharat stuff, isn't this just another name for hegemonic aggression? All this Asoka and Maurya empire are mostly likely make up stuff for political purpose. By the way India expansions also include the annexation of Tawang in 1951 which at that time is still administered directly from Lhasa. India went in and kick out the Tibetan officials there.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

I liked Tarsem Singhs Cell with Jennifer Lopez but little else that he did was noteworthy.He has a talent for imagery but thats about it.

The Indira Gandhi thing is rather far fetched.I dont buy it.

BTW not ALL Sikhs were against Indira Gandhi,most(especially in the military remained loyal to the Indian state).

It is interesting that during the 80s ,two favorite martial races of the British ,Pathans and Sikhs took a severe beating while "non martial" like the Tamils in Sri Lanka gained a reputations for ferocity,valor and discipline.

All this Asoka and Maurya empire are mostly likely make up stuff for political purpose. "

Haha! I suppose the Greek and Chinese travellers and pilgrims of Maurya(BTW Ashoka was a Maurya,there is no Asoka AND Maurya) and Gupta era were time travelling propagandists for the neo Indian empire builders of the 21st century.
It seems I was misinformed,thanks for enlightening me!

Dr Van Nostrand said...

I think hot-headed people generally tend to be less warlike. They may be socially more abrasive but they are not good at working together as a fighting force. Italians are more hotheaded than Germans, but Germans were more warlike in WWII. Italians talked loud but they were the first to run. Impulsive people tend to be first to be angry and throw fist but also first to cower and run. They don't make good warriors."


Good point.This is what people dont realize about "aggresive" and hot tempered people.
Being good at war requires a lot more than "aggression"!Heck it is more often counter productive.
Training,discipline,morale,logistics,unit cohesion,communications,organizational structure and a sense of duty and mission is far more important than vague epithets like "tough","aggressive" and "hot tempered"

The Romans were able to defeat the taller Gauls and the braver Germans because they had the above in the military and the latter did not.

There are hardly any people more hot tempered and aggressive than Arabs.How have they fared in wars?

http://www.meforum.org/441/why-arabs-lose-wars


And I keep telling people till Im blue in the face that Pushtuns come under the same category!The only reason they havent been conquered is mostly due to a few things

1)Propaganda ,since atleast the Victorian era when the British lost there and had to save face.
2)Geography..the terrain is a bitch
3)They always have another super power backing them up.The Great Game prevented the British from undertaking any more (mis)adventures.U.S in the case of the Soviet invasion and now Pakistan,Iran ,China and Russia implicity and overtly agains the U.S efforts.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Bollywood, of course, got its dance numbers from hollywood....

Yeah, but dance numbers have lost a lot of their popularity in Hollywood movies. In any case, go to youtube and watch that scene - the instrumentation and some of the choreography are definitely Bollywood-influenced."

Yes but also as Steve pointed earlier in his review of Bride and Prejudice if I recollect that most of the consumers of the Hollywood musicals were women and similarly the target market of Bollywood seems geared toward women than men.
So much so that a young male star making his debut is invariably cast in romantic film as his first rather than an action(which makes headlines onthe rare occasion when it does occur).
Telenovelas have nothing on Bollywood melodramas,but they do throw some action scenes and titillating songs of the actress dancing in the rain in sheer ,white clothing to keep the male escorts from dashing for the exits!

Dr Van Nostrand said...

"It should be no surprise to Steve's readers that in all instances the principal instrument of Indian territorial expansion has been demographic expansion. Sikkim in the 19th century was a Buddhist kingdom populated by a people ethnically similar to the Tibetans. The demographic balance gradually shifted in the 20th century and the arrival or more Hindus of subcontinental ancestry eventually swamped the natives. Hence the parliamentary shenanigans that ultimately led to annexation. Native Sikkimese today are barely more than a quarter of the total population. A similar set of circumstances occurred in Goa where after nearly 5 centuries of Portuguese rule and the Inquisition the state is also little more than a quarter Christian."

I was under the impression that Sikkim had a "choice" to go with China or India and they reluctantly chose the lesser evil.

But I still agree with you regarding demographics, something similar occured with the Shimla regions of Himachal Pradesh ,where Punjabis ,fellow travellers of the British swamped the summer capital of British India.

Regarding Goa, hardly any of those Hindus are from afar, they are of native Maratha,Kannada and Konkani stock.

Ivan said...

Whatever else you may think of Mrs Indira Gandhi, she was not against Sikhs or any one else for that matter for personal reasons. It was her own Sikh bodyguards who killed her. She herself had refused to review her security detail earlier. What the fanatics holed upped in Amritsar had wanted was to create their own version of a Taliban regime. If they had succeeded (with the help of Pakistan and well-heeled Sikhs in London, Canada and the US) the regime would be no different from what will transpire in Afghanistan soon enough. For a while the Pakistanis sought to create a wedge between the Sikhs and Hindus, but in reality the martial aspects of the Sikh religion had its origins in the dire need of this frontier people to confront the depredations of the Muslims.

Peter said...

It's a strange coincidence that comments to this thread have mentioned Sikkim and the Oakland college shooting, for one of the shooting victims, the only male among the seven, was from Sikkim.

Anonymous said...

I know that Asoka is the emperor and Maurya is the empire. But if you look at the territory purported to be the Maurya empire, it is next to Persia on the western front. The Greek and Persia certainly has no record of this Maurya empire. The people of the sub continent also has no recollection of such a historical figure until an Englishman by the name of James Princep discovered it in the 19th century. These two facts alone makes me very suspicious of this Asoka narrative. Its like saying the Europeans don't remember Julius Ceasar or the Iranians don't remember Darius or the Chinese don't remember Qin Shi Huang.

Of course aside from Sanskrit for a certain local area, the lack of a live written language (the Hindi script and other modern Indian lauguage script are a recent invention) for the most part of the Indian sub continent makes the study of the sub continent's history very difficult.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as a choice for Sikkim to choose between China and India. India works for years to annex Sikkim. It is no accident. The book

Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim by Sunanda Datta-Ray

documented the process.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

The Greek and Persia certainly has no record of this Maurya empire. The people of the sub continent also has no recollection of such a historical figure until an Englishman by the name of James Princep discovered it in the 19th century. "
Well guess what, most Indian dynasties even those of the Northwest hadn't heard of the Persian or Greek empires either.Does it mean they didn't exist?

Oh and Greek ambassador Megasthenes does comment on the Maurya empire.
As for an Englishman "discovering" asoka, well guess what another Englishman discovered Gilgamesh and the Sumerian civiization.Guess you should be suspicious of the existence of that culture too huh?

Ashokas inscriptions could be found as far north as Afghanistan in Aramaic, the lingua franca of the Persian empire.


ts like saying the Europeans don't remember Julius Ceasar or the Iranians don't remember Darius or the Chinese don't remember Qin Shi Huang."

If it wasn't for the Catholic Church and the monks valiant attempts at preserving history and the Latin language , Julius Caesar wouldve indeed been forgotten.The later Romans wouldve viewed theier script as the later Egyptians saW theier hieroglyphics.
Of course aside from Sanskrit for a certain local area, the lack of a live written language (the Hindi script and other modern Indian lauguage script are a recent invention)

1. Sanskrit is not associated with any "local area"Mit was never a spoken language even during the Vedic era.It was always a sacerdotal language whose learning was not just resticteed by caste but by gender.
2.Yes the Devanagari script is a modern invention.Of course by Indian historical standards, writing is a modern invention.Most knowledge even after writing was transmitted by oral form
3. Indians by the standards of the other ancient peoples were poor historiographers.The devastating Invasions of Huns and Muslims which destoyed a good deal of culture didn't help.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

The Greek and Persia certainly has no record of this Maurya empire. The people of the sub continent also has no recollection of such a historical figure until an Englishman by the name of James Princep discovered it in the 19th century. "
Well guess what, most Indian dynasties even those of the Northwest hadn't heard of the Persian or Greek empires either.Does it mean they didn't exist?

Oh and Greek ambassador Megasthenes does comment on the Maurya empire.
As for an Englishman "discovering" asoka, well guess what another Englishman discovered Gilgamesh and the Sumerian civiization.Guess you should be suspicious of the existence of that culture too huh?

Ashokas inscriptions could be found as far north as Afghanistan in Aramaic, the lingua franca of the Persian empire.


ts like saying the Europeans don't remember Julius Ceasar or the Iranians don't remember Darius or the Chinese don't remember Qin Shi Huang."

If it wasn't for the Catholic Church and the monks valiant attempts at preserving history and the Latin language , Julius Caesar wouldve indeed been forgotten.The later Romans wouldve viewed theier script as the later Egyptians saW theier hieroglyphics.
Of course aside from Sanskrit for a certain local area, the lack of a live written language (the Hindi script and other modern Indian lauguage script are a recent invention)

1. Sanskrit is not associated with any "local area"Mit was never a spoken language even during the Vedic era.It was always a sacerdotal language whose learning was not just resticteed by caste but by gender.
2.Yes the Devanagari script is a modern invention.Of course by Indian historical standards, writing is a modern invention.Most knowledge even after writing was transmitted by oral form
3. Indians by the standards of the other ancient peoples were poor historiographers.The devastating Invasions of Huns and Muslims which destoyed a good deal of culture didn't help.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

here is no such thing as a choice for Sikkim to choose between China and India. India works for years to annex Sikkim. It is no accident. The book

Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim by Sunanda Datta-Ray

documented the process"

Oh Mr sunanda Dutta, that upper class,over educated anglicized India hating,leftist Bengali twit!Who was also a good friend of the King of Sikkim sure there's an unbiased,objective source!
I will get right to it as soon as he finsihes his magnum opus on the prequel
Smash and Grab: Chinese seizure of Tibet

Anonymous said...

This 'Chinese seizure of Tibet' narrative is either for the gullible or for the politically motivated. On the other hand, there is India seizure of Tibet, South Tibet to be precise. Tawang, the main city of South Tibet, also the birth place of the sixth Dalai Lama, was seized by India in 1951.

Tony said...

Koreans proved themselves to be very able warriors during the Korean war. Ask any American who fought with or against them. I call the Koreans warlike in the personal sense in that they are quicker to fight than other east Asians. I still remember them shooting it out with the LA rioters in the early 90's. Hot tempered and being a good warrior definitely do go hand in hand sometimes. Think of the Scotch-Irish. Koreans are also more heavily represented in the American military and police forces than other east asians. Don't have exact statistics on this, just an observation.

Anonymous said...

"Koreans proved themselves to be very able warriors during the Korean war. Ask any American who fought with or against them."

You mean North Koreans, and that owed more to Stalinist-totalitarian organization than Koreanness. South Korean troops were worthless, and SK would have been overrun in 3 weeks if not for Americans. And when US entered in a big way, NK troops were destroyed overnight. Chinese had to save NK.

Anyway, in China, Korea, and Vietnam, the communists were fierce fighters while anti-communists were worthless. What happened to South Vietnam after US left?
So, there is nothing inherently warriorlike about Chinese, Koreans, or Viets. It was communist totalitarian ruthlessness that whipped them into shape.
Remember that Viets were ruled by French for over 100 yrs. Remember that Koreans succumbed to Japanese colonialism in no time.
If they are so warrior-like, why did this happen? They learned to fight back by being inspired by Western-style nationalism and communism.

Anonymous said...

"This 'Chinese seizure of Tibet' narrative is either for the gullible or for the politically motivated. On the other hand, there is India seizure of Tibet, South Tibet to be precise. Tawang, the main city of South Tibet, also the birth place of the sixth Dalai Lama, was seized by India in 1951."

But the Tibet that China took is much much larger than 'south Tibet' that India took.
If I steal a 1000 bucks and you steal 10 bucks, it's not the same thing.

Anonymous said...

"I liked Tarsem Singhs Cell with Jennifer Lopez..."

What are you, an idiot?

Tony said...

South Koreans fought along side Americans in the Vietnam war. They were considered very tough by the Americans as well as brutal. Of course the commies kicked the non commies asses. That seems to be the way it goes in Asia. My whole point being that all things being equal in America, I'd take a platoon of Korean- American soldiers over Japanese- American or Chinese - American soldiers.

Anonymous said...

"There are hardly any people more hot tempered and aggressive than Arabs.How have they fared in wars?"

The arabs, the real arabs, the brown ones from the arabian peninsual, are among history's great conquering (and converting) races. They conquered ALL of the Persian Empire, Most of the Roman Empire including Spain, Turkestan, and part of India. Unlike the Mongols the numerous peoples theu conquered remain in thrall of their religion, prostrating towards the ancient arab holy city of Mecca while chanting prayers in arabic.....

Anonymous said...

"If I steal a 1000 bucks and you steal 10 bucks, it's not the same thing."

Only difference is I didn't steal 1000 bucks but you did steal 10 bucks.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

What are you, an idiot?"

A well thought,articulate,sound, reasoned counter argument.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

"I liked Tarsem Singhs Cell with Jennifer Lopez..."

What are you, an idiot?"

If you will be so kind as to publish your list of favorite films,Im sure I will get a chance to return the compliment.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

If I steal a 1000 bucks and you steal 10 bucks, it's not the same thing."

Only difference is I didn't steal 1000 bucks but you did steal 10 bucks.

The gentleman who owned the 1000 bucks chose to reside in the house of the guy who "stole" the 10.
His gripe shockingly is the guy who claims didnt steal the 1000.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

The arabs, the real arabs, the brown ones from the arabian peninsual, are among history's great conquering (and converting) races. They conquered ALL of the Persian Empire, Most of the Roman Empire including Spain, Turkestan, and part of India. Unlike the Mongols the numerous peoples theu conquered remain in thrall of their religion, prostrating towards the ancient arab holy city of Mecca while chanting prayers in arabic....."

Yes,but they had reached their peak by the 12th century after which they themselves were ruled mostly by Turks.

The brown Arabs today are just as pathetic in warfare as their lighter skinned (and often blonde ) brethren in Jordan,Syria and Lebanon.

Arabs were great propagators of their culture and this complimented with their military conquests.

In Spain,they were actually invited by the ruling Visigoths who intended to use their military force to quell an internal dispute.And it went as with the Britons and Saxons,except that Saxons werent evicted 700 years later!

Also those who conquered Spain were Berber(Amazigh),not Arab.

Mongols like other Central Asians were animist speaking Altaic dialects.Despite their military conquests,all central Asians from Huns,Turks ,Mongols and what have you were consumers and adapted more urbane cultures and established religions and not the purveyors or propagators of their own.This why despite the mighty Ottoman,Safavid and Mughal empires( a vast expanse of Turkic power from Eastern Europe to the Bay of Bengal) used Persian and Urdu for their literature and administration.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Whatever else you may think of Mrs Indira Gandhi, she was not against Sikhs or any one else for that matter for personal reasons. It was her own Sikh bodyguards who killed her."


Right,her advisors insisted that she dismiss her Sikh bodyguards but she refused despite being fully aware of he risks as she felt that it would negatively affect the already tense Hindu Sikh relations.




"She herself had refused to review her security detail earlier. What the fanatics holed upped in Amritsar had wanted was to create their own version of a Taliban regime."

Right again.Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale,the leader of the movement was a totalitarian megalomaniac.Imagine Ayotallah crossed with Kim Jong Il.
Sikhs in India suffered from their terrorism just like the others.
As you mention below,The bulk of their support came from clueless,nostalgic Sikhs in UK,Canada,U.S(where they got most of their funding) and other diaspora Sikhs(similar to how expatriate SL Tamils were more sympathetic to the LTTE than native Tamils)



If they had succeeded (with the help of Pakistan and well-heeled Sikhs in London, Canada and the US) the regime would be no different from what will transpire in Afghanistan soon enough. For a while the Pakistanis sought to create a wedge between the Sikhs and Hindus, but in reality the martial aspects of the Sikh religion had its origins in the dire need of this frontier people to confront the depredations of the Muslims.


I have to disagree.

1)Pakistanis are too knuckleheaded to create any ideological schisms.Indian Muslims loathe Pakistani Muslims far more than Hindus.

2)The British were the first to create a rift between Siksh and Hindus by coddling the former(as martial races) and deriding the latter.So much so that it was the British who made the turban and bangle mandatory for Sikhs to join the army.Many Hindus took note and starting raising their sons as Siksh to improve their prospects for joining the British army.

3)Recruiting Siksh continued after independence but the martial races theory was on it way out and this resulting in a gradual decline in the placement of northwestern peoples such as Sikhs and Rajputs.

4) The green revolution coupled with government subsidies for Punjab and Punjabi refugees from Pakistan coupled with good old fashioned crony capitalism made Punjab the richest state in the country.

5)However it was not all one sided, the Indian government demanded that Punjab sell wheat to the central pool at a fixed price.From Indian gov POV it wasnt too much to ask since rich Punjabi farmers actively opposed the import of foreign wheat.

6)The emergence of Sikh jokes(similar to Polish jokes mocking their dim wit) coupled with ridicule of their rural lifestyle by other resentful communities, mostly urbane Punjabi Hindus ,didnt help matters either.

7)Sikhs were latecomers to the Hindu Muslim struggles.By the time they had become a formidable power,Mughals were in steady decline due to Maratha reconquista of Muslim areas.
Sikhs did stop Pathan raids and dealt the death blow in the Northwest but most of those not from the Northwest dont feel like they owed the Sikhs any gratitude.However the narrative that the Sikhs saved Hindus from Islam gained steam and stuck.

So we have here a militant,prosperous,rural community who was on the verge of losing its revered status in the military,felt exploited by the central government,humiliated and ridiculed by the majority community(who Sikhs believed had saved) and had by now nearly completed its political seperation from Hinduism and had a state in which it had a clear demographic superiority.

How could it NOT erupt?