Coal Mining and Reforms

The recent strike by coal miners which was called off within a couple of days brought into focus key issues facing Indian economy and its energy sector.

India is energy deficient, with rampant power cuts for domestic as well as industrial consumers. In fact this is something unusual, even by the standards of the third world. Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and many other countries do not face such debilitating and image destroying power cut that Indians have been living with for decades.

This affects production, economic growth, employment and contributes to poverty. We are not even talking about vast areas that don’t even have electricity connection, let alone supply!

But it also presents a huge opportunity. While other countries have to desperately look for new economic models and sectors to drive economic growth, like Malaysia or Taiwan, India can find growth simply by meeting the scarcity for energy, transport and so many other products and services. The demand is there, just produce it and it will sell! It will have obvious multiplier effect on overall economy as well. An employee working for power producer will buy TVs and fridges and so on.

Coal is destined to be the most widely used energy source for power generation for years to come, whether we like it or not. Even China has not been able to get away from this reality. Nor Germany for that matter although they can bear much higher costs imposed by renewable energy. Over time, solar can replace coal for peak consumption in particular, but base load has to be carried by coal or similarly polluting or ‘dangerous’ technology such as nuclear or hydro.

That makes coal sector highly critical to India’s  economic growth as well as the basic needs of its people.

Every player in this sector – Government, private players, labor unions have a key role to play to ensure its growth, survival, viability and success. It is obviously the government’s responsibility to lead the way but that doesn’t mean other players can be irresponsible or careless.

Unions have the most critical role because they have the capacity in their hands to wreck the sector and their own futures, on top of damage done to the Indian economy, if they allow politicians to sell them dubious ideological goals and use them as canon fodder to pursue them.

There is more than enough scope for private coal miners, be they captive or not, to replace the huge amount of coal we are importing from overseas while it is practically lying under our very feet untapped. To wait for CIL to mine them is unrealistic given its pathetic track record. Even if by some magic wand, CIL were to be turned into an efficient producer, the sheer magnitude of the task and the urgent needs of the power hungry economy and the future of jobless youth calls for increased involvement of private players.

If the unions have apprehensions about CIL going ‘private’ or their jobs threatened that is a valid concern. As citizens and workers, they have rights to demand good working conditions, safety standards, decent wages for private coal miners. They can of course, insist that mines should be auctioned at proper prices set through transparent method and not allotted using dubious and corrupt UPA style tactics. These and other such legitimate demands can be pursued and discussed.

With good cooperation and right investment CIL can become a jewel in the Indian state’s crown, mining a lot more coal a lot more efficiently, paying its workers a lot better if only it is run well. Nothing should stop it from doing so even if other private players mine coal elsewhere.

But the ideological direction for the economy should not be forced through strikes and sabotage. That battle should be left for the democratic battleground through elections that take place every five years. If the Indian voter is convinced that the CPM with Stalinist policies of 1930s represents the best bet for India, so be it, they can be elected. And re-nationalize all mines like Hugo Chavez did. Until then it is better to allow elected government to set policy.

It would be ridiculous to argue that Gautam Adani can invest tens of billions of dollars in Australia to mine coal there and import, paying foreign exchange, but not be allowed to do that in Bihar or Jharkhand! This is the same dubious argument used to stall domestic defense production. That only benefited corrupt middlemen.

And those that argue that Mr. Modi is beholden to the Adanis because they funded his election campaign should stop to ponder – the easiest option for the Government is to kill CIL through benign neglect, turn it into another BSNL or Air India, let Adani import coal from Australia for huge profits. He can even turn down the SBI loan because global banks would be happy to fund him, knowing India’s coal needs can never be met by domestic mining through CIL!

It is time to shed ideological blinkers and work for the larger needs of the economy. Miners’ children are not going to be all miners. They have to find jobs in the real economy, in businesses that require power at reasonable cost to survive competition from China and elsewhere.

Coal workers should think carefully about the sort of economy they want their kids to seek jobs in, before destroying it though reckless strikes. They should look at sectors that have benefited hugely from competition such as Airlines, Telecoms, Automobiles, the list is endless.




Three (Media) men and a boat

Collateral damage!

Whoever sent the boat laden with explosives or, if you choose to believe our liberal, secular media elite, flowers and mangoes never had one collateral damage in mind – the credibility of our media elite. That stock has never traded above par anyway but then it always shows there are more depths to plumb.

Rabid bias and visceral hatred for the present dispensation at the Center was out in full flow even before the ink on the Defense ministry press release had dried.

Firstly let us accept the fact that media exists to question. This is a fundamental right and no one is talking about taking it away. Although the news traders often play victim and pretend they are under some sort of grave threat. But it also places tremendous responsibility on the part of media. The underlying assumption behind that right is that journalists seek and speak the truth and are not political propaganda mouthpieces or biased shills using their press pass as a camouflage.

Our media, particularly sections of the shrill secular/liberal media has, time and again, through Tejpal affair, Radia tapes saga and various other episodes., shown clearly it has no credibility, integrity, financial probity or intellectual honesty. Today Indian media is riddled with rapists, criminals, shady funding and nepotism as much as, if not more than the political class who they seemingly protect us against with their fearless reporting.

MOD Release

Let us first be clear on what the press release says, and more importantly, what it does not say. It should be obvious to anyone reading it, that it has been drafted using remarkably restrained language.

  1. It does NOT say the boat was sent by Pakistani military establishment, let alone its civilian regime.
  2. It does NOT mention the word terror or terrorists anywhere.
  3. It talks about explosion and major fire.
  4. It does NOT try to score any propaganda brownie points against Pakistan at all. Nor did any senior defense ministry official or even the minister attempt that.
  5. It stresses that operations are ongoing.

A couple of grainy photos were attached to that release.

Nitpicking, semantic jugglery and convenient interpretations

Pakistan had no time to react but our secular liberal media elite immediately jumped to attention. They started posting ‘doubts’ and retweeted other comrades that expressed their ‘doubts’ without once giving benefit of doubt to the government officials. It was as if anything they uttered is, by default, a lie.

When solid facts were not available, there was nitpicking and meaningless semantic pseudo issues to rake up. Comrade S. Varadarajan known for his proximity to the Congress camp and anti-Modi stand, questioned the word ‘maritime boundary’, even seeking legal opinion on the term, as if this were some patent lawsuit in the Supreme Court! This despite the fact that the Coast Guard chief called it ‘notional boundary’. After all, there is no fence in the sea.

Need lawyers?!




And of course, he promptly retweeted tweets questioning the GOI version.

Even as they stressed that there was ‘no evidence’ for the Government to say anything, our media friends did not let that stop them from jumping to conclusions and questioning the GOI version, which should ordinarily be taken as correct unless clear proof is available to counter that!

Mihir Sharma, yet another media elite known for his anti-Modi rants and blatant partisanship, retweeted many such posts dismissing the entire story as a ‘smuggling’ one.

And some called for ‘investigation’ over the affair. By who? By the same media gang that were unable to unearth a single scam or scandal for the last ten years (that’s like digging all over Kuwait and claiming there’s no oil!) and were simply parroting UPAs propaganda as gospel?





When they do ‘investigate’ our secular comrades are not going to jump into the deep sea and retrieve the sunk boat or its remnants but simply quote mysterious ‘anonymous’ sources to justify their ‘story’!

Inconvenient truths

None of the ‘journalists’ that were issuing certificates of innocence to the occupants of the boat cared (dared?) to explain one simple fact – Why did the ‘smugglers’ blow themselves up? The usual trick is to offload the cargo and surrender, leaving no proof to prosecute. Certainly not a life or death issue, unless you are a jihadi on a suicide mission.

Moreover, if the Coat Guard simply wanted to destroy a boat carrying ‘poor people making a living’ as Praveen Swami puts it in Indian Express, to score brownie points with the media, why chase the boat for one hour? They could have simply picked up any random boat, blown it out of the sea and made exact same claim any day of the month!

In fact Praveen Swami’s piece not only was making absurd claims simply to score points against the Narendra Modi regime, it also contained inaccuracies which is understandable given the ‘urgent’ need to put a anti-Government spin on the facts.

Oh my Swami!
Oh my Swami!





In a subsequent interview, Mr. Swami also talks about Coast Guard vessels being ‘faster’ (thereby discounting the one hour chase version) without providing any basis for this assumption! Are there no small boats that are capable of going faster than larger boats? Is ISI scrapping the bottom of the dollar barrel?!

It should also be mentioned that NONE of the defense analysts on TV panel discussions most of whom were not by any stretch of imagination BJP sympathisers, were as hostile towards the GOI version as these secular warriors were.

Not all are black sheep

Let us not leave you with the impression that every journalist in India is a paid or unpaid yellow journalist, Congress stooge or a Marxist fake ‘liberal’ out to create anarchy and stop the Government from doing its job.  Some reports, such as this one by Nikhil Gokhale for Rediff did a fairly thorough and objective job. Hindu too has been uncharacteristically restrained in its coverage, by and large giving credence to the “official” version. It even came out with an article that seemed to debunk Mr. Swami’s fast boat theory which clearly a journalist not known for his sailing or boating exploits is unqualified to pass judgement on.

People know who to believe

Even a simple, casual perusal of the the readers’ comments in various newspapers and tweets show clearly  the aam aadmi chooses to believe the Government version, knowing Pakistan’s nature and more importantly, knowing the capacity of our media to obfuscate, suppress and spin anything to suit their political agendas.

Therein lies the solution. The media, by raising silly doubts and reckless point scoring over a critical national security issue, has further eroded its credibility and is widely seen as incapable of speaking the truth.


Tarek Fatah’s interview for Rawal TV

A golden Interview

Tarek Fath is a Canadian Pakistani journalist, commentator and author who is famous for his articles and strong opinions on Pakistan and its military establishment. His twitter handle is @tarekfatah.

The interview can be watched on Youtube here.

Once in a while you come across words described as ‘golden words’. But rarely do you come across an entire 45 minute conversation and hundreds, thousands of words spoken that can be described as ‘golden’. Each and every one of them. If I had enough money to spare, I would get them carved on sheets of gold and display them somewhere for all to read. But then I don’t 😉

Instead what I am trying to present is a transcription. At the outset, let me clarify, my Urdu is not that good and a lot of words went over my head. Quite a few I can make out based on context but some were lost in translation. But I have tried to preserve accuracy as much as possible.  I am leaving out the interviewers’ words as the focus is on what Tarek says.

My words/comments etc are in italics.

Corrections and additional comments are welcome!

On Good and Bad Taliban

They are twins. Their faces look identical. Only the mother can tell them apart, that mother is Pakistan! (I think he is referring to an excellent cartoon by Ponnappa for Times of India). This game you are playing, from 1947..a game of blood!

On Pakistan’s ideology

The context of this question is the Peshwar massacre of 150 odd children of military officers in the recent December 16th incident.

The ideology is one of hate. That One community (groh?) is better than other.   That Muslims cannot live in country where they are in minority (Dar-al-harb) unless they are in conflict with the majority or be a fifth column. In the name of religion, Hindustan, a civilisation of more than 5000 years was split. That is being harvested now, that is normal.

The Pakistani army, after slaughtering 3 laksh Bangladeshis, threw up their arms in the face of Mukti Bahini on this day in 1971. (Dec 16). If they are not ashamed of this, would they be of the mere death of 140 kids?

On Zaki ur Rahman Lakhvi affair

There is no one command here. There is civilian intelligence, there is military intelligence, then there is ISI that is different. There are officers that drink whiskey in the evenings, then there are others that recite Quran. The country itself has no ideology, it is artificial!  You can never say anything good about this country (my interpretation of his ‘tareef mein zikr’ words)

This country was created by UK/US by force, joining together provinces like Balochistan, Sindh to stop communism. Now that purpose has been served. So like fish out of water, it is gasping, no one can predict when it will breath its last!

Why are people crying now? On December 16th 1971, Pakistan was finished. Pakistanis were told Bangladesh was good riddance, a country that suffers from annual floods. They, not knowing death in their own homes, are playing death games. Killed mother earlier, now killing father (accurate?)

Earlier poor kids were being killed. Now kids that wear suit and tie are. These are officers’ kids. When 100+ Christians were killed, no one bothered because they were, well, Christians.

Pakistan can exist or its army, not both.

On Pakistan’s post war history

He talks about dissolution of assembly, Liyaqat Ali Khan becoming PM etc. The words below are a bit rambling because I am skipping some and not literally translating.

Until 1956, it was Republic of Pakistan. Then the provinces were made into one. Balochistan was captured, killing many. Bengal was 60% of Pakistan. To keep Bengali language out, Sindhi, Pashto and even Punjabi was suppressed. Because the Mohajirs and Punjabis could not tolerate the thought of this inferior language becoming a state language.  They took military help to do all this.

In 1953 martial law was imposed for the first time over the Ahmedi massacre affair. Then in 1958, when National Party was certain to win. They had two demands. Pakistan should get out of SEATO/CENTO and the provinces should be made separate again. Even Sheikh Mujib (of Bangladesh) was with them at that time. Ayub Khan instead made himself Field Marshal, abrogated the constitution.

Within a few months, Pakistan’s history changed. This army..they took oath to serve the British. In 1947, they had a choice. They could join Netaji Subhash Bose and fight the British or serve them. There were Pakistanis like Col. Durrani that did do that. But the ones that served the British became Pakistan’s masters. The others (like Ghaffar Khan, Shaukat Hayat) went to jail.

Today the Pakistani army makes cornflakes, cement, coffee, trucking, does business, smuggles, makes bombs, sells bombs to the Taliban, kills them and takes money from Americans for doing so. How long can this go on?!

On Pan-Islamism and Arab wet dreams of Pakistanis

Pan Islamism is a Indian Muslim disease. Arabs always consider themselves Arab and Muslim. Not as separate. That is why the ones that go from sub continent to join ISIS become cooks, washerman, polish shoes etc. there. The Arab girls sold to the ISIS – these Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis cannot have any relationship with (sex with). Only Arabs can do. Shariah prohibits that. Look at the racism! These Arabs believe Islam is their brand and their superiority. Can you imagine Iran without Nowroz?  Their identify is not with Hindustan. These inferior Muslims (Wahid Duniya ke Musalmaan?)  even their names are in Arabic so they consider themselves slaves of Arabs and embraced pan-islamism. This became a fourth formula like Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Islamic Republic of Iran

When the interviewer asks if Pakistani women will be sold for $300 to Arabs when Islamic state happens there..

Why not? You prostituted 1 lakh Bengali Muslim women. In 1971 so many Muslim Bengali women were left pregnant by the Pakistani army, UN had to open special abortion clinics! There was a major crisis in mid 72. These have been done with Muslim women. Shariah has been implemented already! It is written there – a POW or non-Muslim woman can be a sex slave. There is no need for debate. It is clear.

The following sections may have inaccuracies in names, and his exact words

Read Sirah by Ibn Ishaq, its there.  Over 1000, 1200 pages. It is decided you are inferior to Arab. Taimi clearly says it is sin to consider non-Arab as equal to Arab. The prophet said all are equal but then the Shariah was written 200 years later.

I will skip some of the words on Shariah, Arab history, conquest by Mongols/Tartars etc as they are somewhat irrelevant to the main topic

Arabs never had sovereignty after 13th century. The only way they felt superior was by using Shariah. No one in Pakistan reads these shariah hadeez etc.

Indian Muslims are not like this, they are far more advanced.

This is the effect..we become client state. Till 1973, Pakistan had some respectability. Because KSA was not ascendant. Oil prices then shot up to $20-$30 from $3. KSA never had the money to purchase people like they do now. When the Emir of UAE visits, he was received by Deputy commissioner of Karachi! Iran, Turkey and Pakistan were the front states against communism. Then we sold ourselves to KSA. Started playing with Iran too. When they became a republic and Shias started ascending. Pakistani Shias changed themselves .Rizvi became Ridwi, bizarre identity complex and declared themselves Irani!

Pakistan’s main problem is that they have no identity. When they say they are not Hindustani, where are you from? Any Arab will never deny his identity, same with Turki. In this inferior country, a Punjabi says he is not a Punjabi! Even a guy that moved from Bhopal, Bihar or Hyderabad, a born Hindustani, claims he is not! Which world are you talking about? Peshawar was Hindu city! Lahore was Ram’s sons’ city! You can say I am Indian Muslim, that is fine. Once you say you are not Indian, you are nothing!

In this vacuum, anyone that could pay $2, $10, $1000 can fill their identity. The emir of Saudi, Khoemeni of Iran..

On conspiracy theories surrounding Peshawar attack

We are sending our kids to ‘top’ schools, they dont even know how Arabic is spoken! They are in Peshawar, they dont even know Pastho! Because they are Punjabi, Mohajir kids. Which Patan kid is there? Some say the attackers are Indian, some say Arab?! You brew this poision in your garden now you are fated to receive it.

Why talk of ISI? Your own army, killed Balochi kids. using Mengal (?) Schools were destroyed. When bodies were exhumed, they had nothing in the stomach! They had been buried alive. More than 500 balochi kids! Yet no one shed a tear.

You are keeping Asia Beebi (Christian blasphemy accused) in jail for 6+ years, isn’t there a God up in the heaven listening to her curses?

On Nawaz Shari

He was made to be and he is clerk. It is all business. Laughs..

Escaping from dictatorship, he took refuge in KSA, not England, India. Where you are not allowed to breathe, Pakistanis are treated worse than dog, you took refuge here! At least Bhutto went to UK!

In a country where educated praise the army, which has done nothing! Shocked to hear Dawn senior correspondent tweeting how proud he is of Gen Sharif!  Now they want to kill 600 prisoners! Educated women, Imran fan club members dancing, that now there will be final war?! Which law? Which judge?

On Imran Khan

Mediocre guy! Has never read a book in his life or written any! What a country to make a cricketer a political leader! No thinking, no idea of how railway works,  taxation system etc. All his campaign is about injustice to himself. A Patan says he is Punjabi (accurate?). Musharraf a mohajir claims to be Punjabi. A country full of people with no identity! When they see their own faces in the mirror they are afraid!

Then only ending is dismembering into constituent units will help. Punjab will know fate of land locked country – they commit attrocities vs Afghanistan, deny it water, then they will know when Sindh becomes independent. After all there is Karma. You helped British break India.

On Indian conspiracy over Peshawar

Cursed nation! They lift your dress, look at penis and say the terrorists are Hindu! In India thousands of  kids prayed for the dead. Yet a TV anchor threatened India with words full of sexual inuendo. And women in Hijab aunties cheered and clapped! Moral decadence.! Don’t know what’s truth! 30 lakhs Bengalis killed, and yet they call the killing of 180 as black day! When the two nation theory died that is black Day. If (truth) came by horse bullock cart, message should have reached by now

On transformation in Pakistan after Peshawar

No terrorist will get killed. The ones that kisses Qadri’s face now has been made judge of Islamabad court! (this is the guy that killed Salman Taseer) He’s not hanged till now, will not be hanged.

There must be a way to judge like you say someone is Muslim if he recites the Kalima. I am against death sentence, but Just like that, the day they hang him (Qadri) that is the day of turning point. No 2. Release the Dr. Afridi who risked life identify Usama Bin Laden (who is in jail).. Now you say your’re against Taliban. now who are you fooling

On Jinnah, bribe culture etc

JInah wrote to US, if you don’t give this much money, he will go with Russia. Milayat (?) Ali khan was dispatched. Hyderabad  was free at that time. . $50,000 cheque was sent back to Jinnah. They have been using blackmail since then! Time Life interview is there with Jinnah. If a Pakistani does not want to know that’s different. Mirza demanded bribe to accept donation of jewels given to army! Ayub Khan, Yahya, Zia Ul Haq …they all ate American money! Even Mullah Maududi went to US not to KSA, Iran for treatment.

A strange country.. military should not become judge. Farce martial law courts. I have been sentenced twice. Let’s cut it short.

Each Karachi Mohalla has goonda. His dadgairi lasts 4-5 yrs. Beats up people. Then each gets so much beaten, he goes away another one comes. Pakistan also trying the same thing.  (Here the reference to Atom Bomb not clear to me).  Not educated people. No rational reasonable debate with a Pakistani is possible. No possible to engage on facts of matter. They talk of family, perform poojah of Jinnah, Iqbal etc. Even a Pakistani envoy never read UN resolution on Kashmir (1948) they defend!   It is the dearth of education (not the terms Malala uses, that is waste of time),  in understanding how to have reasonable conversation on merits of the matter. There is an absence of it.

Until an unless Pakistan breaks up, we will have major crisis. There will be goondagiri. Continue to blackmail America with bombs. For India we need 200km, Delhi is hardly 200 miles away!  You have missiles 6000 km for what? Blackmail who? Europe? Tel Aviv? Just a way to bribe army guys. Get 10% of anything. Obama now has given $1 billion!  (Refers to spying allegation vs US diplomat, the NY policeman killing by Muslim etc, some words not clear).

We are always in wrong direction and not able to sit back and reflect on wrong I have done. They say we never did wrong.

If Pakistan splits

Pakistani will get independence in his fate . He can speak his language. Learn what his heritage / culture is, he will say he is Hindustani! Till when this Urdustaan will go on?

(Makes some remarks against Altaaf Hussein, talks of old Karachi leaders) Left or right, they were well read educated, pleasure to converse with . In comparison, now what sort of leaders we produce! They have never read a book in their lives! Sitting in London! No engagement with his MPs. Talks of mohajirstan, Jinnapur, why not talk of Karachi as separate country! That’s more viable!

On Pakistani Canadians

Clear cut goal is fraud, lies, fake in every respect! Fake in being Canadian, fake in being Pakistani. Pakistan basis is not to live in non-muslim land. If he comes here he should give that ideology up. Don’t celebrate Pakistan day which is founded on opposite ideology! Then they become Canandian citizen, who are they fooolsing? You can fool a MP for ten days, not more!

I told some Imams I know, why not pray to Allah for this country and its kids?. We are living in dignity in a civilised country. We have own TV channels, may Allah keep these kids happy!. Instead they are praying for their destruction (words not clear to me)

On Jewish conspiracy theories over anything and everything

Here Fatah talks about various murders in Islamic history going back to 7th century, Aurangazeb killing his whole family including mother, were they all Jewish, American conspiracies?