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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Michael Jackson’s Love Affair with India

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2016 MJ Statue Unveiling Ceremony in Chennai.  via indiawest.com

We now know that American Empire reached its peak in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s before the inevitable downward slide we’re now stuck on.  While American power was bringing the USSR or Iraq to its knees (a favor those Cold Warrior Comrades and ISIS monsters are paying us back in {//:spades//} this moment), it was also ripping the existing world’s popular music scene playbook to shreds and tossing it into the ocean.  Michael Jackson, the foremost cultural artifact that America produced at the apex of its very highest peak, romped freely across the Earth to sold-out stadiums and crying adult fans who urinated themselves and thought suicidal thoughts paradoxically stemming from uncontrollable pure love and joy emotions.  People didn’t know how to feel the feelings they were feeling around the King of Pop.

That transition from 80’s into 90’s was also MJ’s peak as far as we can tell on all objective metrics except what was in this bizarre and gifted human’s mind.  Physically he was indisputably in top dance and voice form.  He was simply the greatest entertainer to ever live.  Not only was he pair bonding with the attractive spawn of Elvis Presley himself, MJ was as yet unstained or unsullied by charges of child molestation and other uniquely weird and mysterious life trajectories which would dog him around until his premature but perhaps merciful death in 2009 (on usindiamonitor‘s wedding day).

In the neverland that time forgot, before Internet and social media, MJ went more viral than a vicious flu outbreak.  His raw and sexual tentacle porn tentacles tickled everything and everywhere.  Virtually all of India’s youth knew Michael Jackson, the endless child.  In this the nation was truly unexceptional.  India was just another domino in the collective soul of North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Australasia to fall for Michael Jackson’s dance moves and inimitable androgynous silken voice despite thousands of years of glorious indigenous music tradition.

Michael Jackson’s torrid love affair with India was the song and dance- the very pillars of the mutual admiration society.  Here’s Michael Jackson dancing Bharatanatyam in the Black or White Video! And we couldn’t hate him for it despite its canned and ambitious theme of racial tolerance, which Indians were in desperate need of in the United States and India and everywhere else.  Here’s Michael Jackson emerging on a stage in Bombay from a f***ing spaceship in a f***ing spacesuit!  In an alien world, Michael Jackson fit right in, right as rain during monsoon season.

India was all in for MJ.  If you peer close enough, the various shades of MJ’s skin over the years exactly matched those of different Indian gene pools.  Lookalikes and lounge acts sprouted up from Kashmir to Kannyakumari, from Bajagoli to Bengal, from Chennai to Chowpatty Beach to Chandigarh.  Kids and adults at home, in the streets, at wedding halls, in the slums and on the riverbanks danced joyously to MJ’s music as only Indians can.  College students dressed up and jerry-curled like him, riding their BMX bicycles to class like it wasn’t no thing.

At many a nadir in US-India relations, MJ was a far superior and more effortless US diplomat, friend, and representative than any government official could hope to be.    He represented so much that was great about the American story.  In a land littered with brutal racists, religious bigotry, misogyny and caste chauvinism, Indians loved this black man as their own.  In this, again, India was no exception.  MJ’s blackness is almost an afterthought in society, so transcendental was the King of Pop.

There will never be another Michael Jackson in pop music, just as America will never be great “again.”  There will be an endless parade of mediocrity and self-absorbed pop tarts grabbing their 15 minutes of fame until the next generation completes their first menstrual cycles and nocturnal emissions just in time to grab the frame and assault our sensibilities on what is good in this world.

Michael Jackson lives on in India.  In 2016, a 10-foot statue cut from a single black stone from my home state of Karnataka (like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial) was dedicated to Michael Jackson utilizing an unmistakably Indian sculpting method, the star forever frozen in a hot place to the soundtrack of Beat It.  In a meta-story for the ages, at the unveiling was the Tamillionaire Prabhu Deva himself (pictured above), India’s answer and living homage to Michael Jackson.  The sizzling Indian dancer owes much to his spiritual mentor, just as Martin Luther King, Jr. did to Mahatma Gandhi on the time/space bridge of black and brown. The statue of Michael looks suspiciously like an Indian holy man.  And that suits us just fine.

Mahanth Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor.   He is OK with sharing initials with the more famous person in this case.

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Trump’s Pakistan Aid Threat is Not so Easy

Donald Trump’s first tweet of 2018 made a huge splash around the world.  It was that rare sort of Trump foreign policy statement that didn’t deny collusion with Russia, or taunt North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.  It was about withdrawing US aid to Pakistan.

My first instinct was to agree with the premise.  I was shocked by positive truths while visiting Pakistan, but I have long thought that the United States should predicate the billions in military and civil aid to Pakistan on effectiveness and measurable progress towards eliminating terrorism and increasing economic development, respectively.  It would be fair to take some of that aid away at this point.  Pakistan’s government has proven over and over again that a large chunk of US aid will go to build up its armed forces against India and twist the spigot of American blood in Afghanistan to and fro.  This dirty double game has been going on ever since 9/11.

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credit: Pfc. Cameron Boyd

Ending the double game is a noble goal.  But it’s not so simple.  The Trump administration is ramping up the US military presence in Afghanistan by thousands of troops, even as yet another American soldier was killed and four others critically injured there on the day of Trump’s above tweet.  The longest war in American history continues even further into Year 17.  We are in endless territory when it comes to US blood and treasure and the suffering of the Afghan people.  We hardly know or understand who we are fighting and why.  The media hardly bothers to cover that war anymore even when Americans die.  It’s the textbook definition of mission creep.

Pakistan has been a beneficiary of this war’s largesse from the start, from Bush through Obama to Trump, partly because the US military supply lines run heavily through Pakistan’s ports, airspace, and roads.  America pays dearly for the right to use Pakistan’s resources.  Cutting off US funds to Pakistan could also result in an explosion of fire and fury as terrorists are unleashed from Pakistani territory and other parts of the world in retaliation by dark networks we aren’t very good at tracking.

Like most half-cocked Trump policy prescriptions, the foreign policy establishment in the United States has no plan prepared to follow through on the threat.  The Tweet was poorly timed.  How can you cut off aid to Pakistan when you need them for your war?  Without winding down the war in Afghanistan, or being able to control Pakistani terrorists or nukes minus the local government’s help, Pakistan still has America by the balls.  Even drone strikes in Pakistan require local human intelligence.  These things cannot be separated.  India’s rejoicing may be premature, and I’m not the only one saying so.

We shall watch now how it all unfolds.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

 

VIDEO: A Shotgun Wedding in Bihar

People across the United States and India often joke and laugh about “shotgun weddings,” where a man is forced to make an honest woman out of a woman by marrying her, and if he were to refuse, he’d be staring down the barrel of a gun, which say somethin’ diff’rent.  Usually it’s the bride’s father holding the firearm, and it’s almost always due to the girl having gotten pregnant.

Most people have never had to see one happen.   However, a real-life shotgun wedding caught on video this week has taken the world by storm.  Engineer Vinod Kumar was actually kidnaped from a friend’s wedding, beaten up or “thrashed” as they like to say in India by the bride’s family goondas, and then forced to get married at gunpoint at another location.  He was brought there bound, as you can see in the video, and clearly against his will.  It’s not funny at all.  The poor guy cried during the ceremony, while it’s unclear whether the veiled bride on the left was trying to console him, or felt sad for what her family was doing to this guy.  Fortunately, the police are investigating in this case, although sometimes people are even scared to report cases to a corrupt government apparatus which may do nothing but more harm.

It’s now 2018.  Marriage kidnappings are unfortunately all too common in India, but usually it’s a woman who is captured to be the bride.  Whether it’s a bride or groom, this type of behavior is completely illegal, morally unacceptable, and wholly unbecoming of a country that wants a larger role in world affairs.  We show this video not as entertainment, but to inform and galvanize a society that should never let this happen to men or women, period.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

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