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Let’s Finally Bring Home the WWII Arunachal MIA War Dead

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Many American soldiers served and died in the various bloody theaters of World War II.  They were called upon by the people of America and the wider family of civilized nations around the world to defeat burgeoning, horrific threats to the global order.  They enjoined what history has widely judged to be a just and necessary war.  Hundreds of thousands of these heroes’ remains were duly brought back home to be buried by their families and friends in somber funeral ceremonies across the 50 states.  While those war dead represented the greatest possible sacrifice to country at a critical moment in history, and also a tragic loss for countless communities, at least upon paying the terrible price they received the proper honor they deserved in a final resting place chosen by those who loved them the most after earning victory. In the 1940s and beyond their headstones would be adorned with inspiring inscriptions, soaring monuments, and beautiful flowers, or they could lie next to their brothers in arms in dignified venues such as Arlington Cemetery, their heroism to be cherished by the generations to come and most importantly, never, ever forgotten.

Yet the remains of too many of these brave souls unceremoniously languish even today under remote corners of Indian stone and soil, in the incongruously scenic mountains and fields of Arunachal Pradesh, a Northeastern state riven by contentious territorial disputes between the rising superpowers, China and India.

They were US Airmen whose planes crashed in the heat of battle, and the Great War is still not over for them at all.  We have a good idea of exactly who they are and where they lie, but the descendants and friends of approximately 400 men have been innocent victims squarely caught in the crossfire of endless bureaucratic disputes between nations- *nations whose soldiers fought alongside them as allies in WW II, no less.*  Government bureaucracies are preventing even basic access to the sites where these men lie, forever young.  Meanwhile, challenging and complex as the solutions may be, the United States government has not fought hard enough for a clean resolution, which should disturb all Americans who still benefit from the fruits of the MIA soldiers’ ultimate sacrifice.

As an Indian-American in particular, I feel the pain and helplessness suffered by the wives, siblings, and children who are living and over time, dying without the simple satisfaction of closure that society owes them.

What will it take to right this injustice?  Previous editorials in this space by Gary Zaetz, the leader of Families and Supporters of America’s Arunachal Missing in Action paint a  picture of tireless efforts, promising breakthroughs, productive archaeological surveys and digging expeditions, and minor victories on the rare occasion where a limited expedition turns up a small fraction of a soldier’s strewn body parts over 70 years after World War II ended.

The Pentagon has even sponsored a few ceremonies for a few of them.  Many journalists, government leaders, and concerned citizens around the world have encouragingly offered support for the cause.  But what sticks out most cruelly are the reams of red tape thrown forward by the halls of power in Washington, New Delhi, and Beijing which are stifling progress.  Please read these moving editorials by Gary Zaetz here with critical updates to the story published here and here.  Please take a few moments to scan the photos of the pilots and crew members, and look straight into the eyes of these young men and their families.

So what are the main challenges today?  The key roadblock is the fact that China and India disagree about who the land belongs to, along with thousands of other miles of far-flung border lands throughout the Himalayan Mountain region.  The two nations themselves have fought major wars in the 20th century over various little pieces of this turf in tragic pissing matches, with China defeating India badly, along with numerous smaller skirmishes that continue to this day.  None of these have served to permanently settle the disputes over territory between these two nuclear weapon-tipped rivals.  Hundreds of thousands of troops from both sides uneasily patrol the disputed regions in an ugly stalemate.  The United Nations and the international community have been helpless in helping settle the disputes.  Under the current postures of the involved nations, China will not allow peaceful expeditions to search for the remains safely behind a security cordon.  India, viewing its role in the matter as subservient to wider engagement priorities in dialogue with China, has been unwilling to support the expeditions despite claiming outright that the territory is Indian.  Perhaps understandably under the harsh realities, neither China nor India have decided to lead the discovery of American bodies.  More vexingly, successive United States governments under administration after administration both Democrat and Republican have not taken full accountability for their own war dead either.

This should not stand.  In fact, there is a duly appointed Pentagon office called Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) whose entire mission and reason for being is to find, recover, and repatriate the US military’s MIAs around the world.  Unlike MIAs in Vietnam and elsewhere, where it may seem like finding them is sort of a “cold case,” there is more accurate information as to where to look in the case of Arunachal’s MIA soldiers.  However, since 2004 communications and efforts of the Families and Supporters for Arunachal’s Missing in Action with the DPAA has resulted in limited progress.

The group has also earnestly reached out to US Senators, Representatives, State Department officials such as multiple US Ambassadors to India over time, senior Indian government officials such as retired Indian military officers, the Chinese Embassy in Washington, media groups, and others.  Unfortunately, these communications have largely resulted in finger pointing about who is responsible for the lack of accountability in leading the long-overdue MIA discoveries.  Over the last several years I have felt increasingly hapless due to the sea of red tape that has risen up.

We can certainly do better!  I have contemplated what simple actions can be taken by concerned readers, regardless of where you live in the world, your politics, culture, or your religious background in the face of what seem like insurmountable challenges as large as the Himalaya mountains themselves.  After all, this is purely a humanitarian issue with a potential solution in sight, a light at the end of the tunnel.  You can join in by doing the following:

1)   Join the Facebook page for the latest updates and offer your support in any way you can to this nonprofit organization, including financial.

2)   Reach out with targeted messaging to the relevant government authorities individually, or as part of an organization you belong to such as local VFW or American Legion posts.  Feel free to use the content from this editorial or others we have shared here as a guide, such as copying and pasting into emails, letters, or social media:

* DPAA http://www.dpaa.mil/Contact/Contact-Us/

* The US Embassy to India https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/new-delhi/

* The Indian Embassy to the United States https://www.indianembassy.org/

* The White House https://www.whitehouse.gov/

* Your Senator and Congressperson

3)  Publish these letters and emails in local newspapers, newsletters, or social media outlets that you have access to.

4)  If you can, set up meetings with government leaders who may have the power to assist in finding and bringing home the MIAs of Arunachal Pradesh.

5)  Communicate any fresh ideas you might have to usindiamonitor or to Gary Zaetz, as you may think of new angles not yet considered for achieving elusive progress.

If enough people join this fight, the Arunachal Pradesh expeditions can continue apace once again with the approvals of all the relevant authorities- a long and hard slog in its own right so far led by a team including Clayton Kuhles, despite the government resistance.  Indian-Americans, other NRIs, or Indians residing in India itself can join with this cause in solidarity.  But of course, all comers would be most welcome.

The saddest aspect is that the loved ones of the US war dead will themselves be buried without the satisfaction of burying their own hero family members.  This suffering is unnecessary and unacceptable, if there is something that can be done about it.

To some I understand that this may all appear to be such a small and unimportant priority from a long bygone era, when there are so many active problems going on in the world of today.  To those, I would respond that if we patriots can’t take care of these little things as a society, then how can we possibly hope to tackle the grand global challenges society faces today?

I look forward to hearing from you on this conundrum.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor
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WAR BREAKS OUT BETWEEN US & INDIA VS. CHINA & RUSSIA: WHO WOULD WIN?

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindamonitor

While browsing the quite engaging war scenarios by the Infographics Show, I came across a video that describes in advanced level of detail what could happen if a potential US-India alliance came to battle a Russia-China offensive.  This video is relevant for several reasons.  Most importantly, many have come to believe that these two sides present the front lines of the new 21st century “Cold War,” which needs to be recognized as a new world order slowly replacing the previous Cold War and its unstable aftermath we are living through today.  This is in fact even the topic of an upcoming novel by usindiamonitor.  Secondly, the world needs to prepare for these new alignments.

Is this terrible war scenario likely in the near future?  We don’t think so.  But we foreign policy mavens should get mentally prepared for what it would look like, and this video does a very good job of laying out the likeliest possibilities in the heat of a battle involving millions of soldiers and affecting billions of human beings.  It’s worth watching!  If nothing else, you will learn what the capabilities are of these four powerful militaries when thrown onto the chessboard in a time of grave peril.

Beard of Harmony & Yann Phayphet of India ROCK OUT with Tool Cover

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

For close to 25 years Tool has been considered one of the mightiest bands in the rock music universe.  Rightly so- who else better encapsulates the intellectual lyrics, the genius mathematical precision, the mesmerizing vocals, heavy personal journeys, punishing drum solos, guitar riffs and bass lines, the deeply spiritual and even religious overtones with genre-bending orchestration?

Nobody, that’s who.

In a previous post about the best Western music ever inspired with Indian influences, unsurprisingly Tool made the top 5 list  of Indo-American fusion songs of all time with Right in Two, a song about humanity’s own predictable demise.

Separately, we have talked about the blistering hot hard rock/ metal scene which is taking hold in India, especially among young people.  Some ferocious bands who have mixed metal with Hindu religious influences in the last few decades deserve to be heard around the world.

Today I would like to introduce you to another little pleasure bomb: an engaging acoustic cover song recorded live by talented Indian dudes of the aforementioned song, “Right in Two.”  This is a homage within a homage, as an Indian band covers an American band that deftly utilizes India’s ageless somnambulance perfectly back in America for the whole world to enjoy.

And what better way than with a tight video by Beard of Harmony & Yann Phayphet where you can see an Indian neighborhood and hear Indian background noises like nowhere else in the world?

CAN YOU DIG IT:

 

 

 

 

Violated in the Temple: A Victim Speaks Out

 

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Editor’s Note: The following is a real firsthand account of unfortunate events involving someone I know, which happened in summer 2018.  I have watched her grow up since she was born, and this story has filled me with anger.  Even worse, she was not the only one.  But her response deserves attention.  She has courageously fought back against the holy priest and the management of the otherwise outwardly beautiful Mangueshi Hindu temple pictured above, visited by no less than former US Defense Secretary Ash Carter himself (!)

The story has received national media attention in India (links below).  

It is high time that India sees the rise of its own powerful #MeToo movement and we are beginning to see the saplings grow as victims bravely engage the patriarchal and supposedly religious systems stacked against them.  Ultimately, there is an uplifting future embodied below, if others are inspired to act.  

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A monumental victory was achieved yesterday, all thanks to my family for fighting tirelessly over the last month for my rights, a lot of strangers for their support, the media all over India who shone light on this issue, and the Indian legal system for ensuring that justice was served against a perpetrator who wronged me. I’m not one for sharing intimate life details with everyone on Facebook, but by my sharing this experience, I hope that others can avoid the same situation.

This past June when I was in India, my family and I made a day-trip by flight to Goa to visit our ancestral temple, as we have been doing at least once a year for as long as I can remember. Single women are not allowed in the innermost sanctum, so I have always sat and watched my parents and brother perform the rites inside. On this particular trip as I was sitting outside the sanctum, our family priest in his 50s, Dhananjay Bhave, beckoned me to the side, grabbed me, and attempted to kiss me. I turned my cheek and body away just in time to avoid him. I told my parents what had happened, and they confronted the priest who then admitted it and requested us not to escalate the matter.

Finding this to be completely repulsive and unacceptable, and yet wanting to preserve the reputation of our family temple, I sent a formal complaint to the management committee of the temple charging Bhave for his behavior, demanding he be fired, and pointing to the CCTV security footage from that area of the temple as evidence. THREE WEEKS later the committee responded saying they would not be taking any action and we were free to take up this case with the ‘relevant authorities’. During this time, we found out by chance that another 20-year old girl from Mumbai had filed a complaint against the same priest for a nearly identical incident 8 days prior to my visit, and had received the same noncommittal response from the temple management. The day after we received their response from the management, my mom filed a police report/ FIR on my behalf with the Goa Police, and a few days later the other girl also lodged another FIR.

Around this same time, the formal complaints which the both of us had written to the temple management went viral on WhatsApp to everyone in the community, and news sources picked it up. Overnight every regional news source in Goa and every national paper all over India was carrying the story. 10 days ago the matter went to court for the first time for Bhave’s bail, where his defense argued that me and the other girl must be conspiring together for publicity and to tarnish the reputation of the temple, and we had mistaken his gentlemanly affectionate behavior for something more sinister. Our public prosecutor argued that me and the other girl had never met (and have still never met) and could have no ulterior motives, and Bhave was already a HABITUAL offender and would possibly target many other girls while out on bail. Yesterday, the judge in Goa gave her verdict of DENYING Bhave’s bail. As of now, Bhave is ABSCONDING from arrest and is yet to go to jail where he now legally belongs. I don’t know where this case will go in the years to come, but for now this court ruling is a big victory for everyone who has been fighting for me and the other girl, and for all the girls who have undoubtedly faced similar experiences at his hands in silence, and the many more who would have suffered in the future if not for this ongoing case.

A few points that I want share about this entire experience for other girls who hopefully won’t, but one day may find themselves in a position similar to mine:

1. A lot of people asked why I didn’t yell or even hit him right when it happened. Or why my family didn’t file a police report in Goa the same day. In the moment, I reacted with shock because I have been raised to have utmost respect for the temple and our priests, and not question many practices associated with them. I was genuinely shocked about what was happening given that this is someone I have seen once a year while growing up. I needed time to process the incident, and my family needed time to decide on the best course of action. In hindsight while I could have reacted differently, I also believe that the actions that have taken place in the last month will have a more permanent impact on the running of the temple and putting a stop to such behavior.

2. “Is this honestly really even a big deal? These things happen all time. Why don’t you just forget about it and move on, that’ll be much easier.” This is actually what makes me the saddest, and is something I’ve heard mostly from women. The bottom line is that nobody can touch me ANYWHERE without my permission. Yes, it would have been easier for me to forget about this incident and move on, but the complacency we’ve come to have as women from facing these sorts of incidents regularly from passersby on commutes etc. is truly depressing. As a result, many women have become desensitized to being taken advantage of, and because most of the time no action is taken at all, repeat offenders continue to get away with it. In this case, Bhave’s perverted behavior stops with me, and I hope in due time, that we develop a no-tolerance policy to such behavior.

3. I have been very fortunate with a lot of factors in my favor: the good judgement to recognize that what was happening that day was in every way wrong, the education and support to take steps to stand up for myself, and that my family has taken this forward. I recognize that not everyone who experiences these things has these resources, but I HIGHLY encourage everyone to at least tell someone they trust. Information is power, and it is only because the secretary of the temple confused our two cases and accidentally told us about the other girl’s complaint that we were able to connect with her family and our case became twice as strong with our joint police reports. It was also by reading the Facebook post of another acquaintance a few years ago, that I remembered that perpetrators are discouraged from doing such acts not by harsh punishments, but by the fear of being caught. It is imperative to trust your gut about how a situation is going and call out such behavior.

4. “It’s a pure reformist attitude and these girls have links to America, and are broad-minded. They are not village girls. This is the new generation of girls” — If you can believe it, this was part of Bhave’s defense attorney’s statement AGAINST me in court. I never imagined these words would be used in a negative connotation, because honestly they sound like the biggest compliment anyone could have paid me. However, what he was implying was that we were too educated and too bold for our own good. Little did he expect that these are the very factors that have now determined that his client belongs in jail.

5. This point should not even bear mentioning, but since it has become a point of debate: A lot of people have questioned what I was wearing that day. Just to clarify, whether it was a prom dress or a saree, Hindu priests never, ever touch any part of a woman’s body. As it happens, the priest’s traditional dress is a simple silk cloth around his waist, and I was wearing a traditional salwar kameez and was covered from head to toe as I am when I visit any holy place, but as I said this detail is totally irrelevant to the case. On a similar note, many (including Bhave’s defense) questioned the caste of the other girl and whether she should have been allowed into the temple in the first place. I can’t even bear to get into how it doesn’t change the actions that the managing committee should have taken when they first received our formal complaints.

6. Lastly, although I took the first step of writing a formal complaint to the temple committee, every step taken in this process since then has been by my parents, my dad’s brothers, and the rest of my extended family in India who have been working round-the-clock to ensure justice. I have been back at med school for the last 3 weeks, and if it wasn’t for their indignation on my behalf and unconditional love, I would probably have given up a long time ago. Countless others have been instrumental in working towards this. Also, in every article about this incident, I have been referred to as a “victim” or the “U.S. based medical student”. Part of the reason I am sharing this whole experience is because I refuse to be the anonymous victim to someone else’s wrong doing. Instead, I will claim ownership over this incident, have ensured that the guilty party has been shamed and punished, and then move on with my own life.

Once again, I am writing this to raise awareness that unfortunately incidents like these are commonplace, even when you least expect it and from people you least expect it. Some people have reacted to my story with disbelief because the perpetrator was a holy priest in the most famous temple in Goa. Many people also expressed doubt that this case would go anywhere because of the power and money behind the temple (ironically donated by many families like ours over many decades). Unfortunately evil can lurk anywhere, but regardless of who it is, you ALWAYS have a voice, options and the rights to never let anyone take advantage of you.

 

Sexual assaults in Goa temple: ‘Charges stem from reformist attitude, aim to gain publicity’

Two Mumbai women accuse Goa Mangueshi Temple priest of kissing them

https://www.ndtv.com/…/medical-student-accuses-goa-temple-p…

https://indianexpress.com/…/goa-mangueshi-temple-us-studen…/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/…/articles…/65275344.cms

photo credit: alchetron

 

HOW TO END ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN 30 DAYS

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One of the many pitfalls of our current climate in America is the severe breakdown in identifying causal links between policies and outcomes.  All too predictable in a country where science and logic are being trumped by emotions such as fear.

Let’s take an example from the 2018 frame.  Forget the raging immorality of separating 3,000 young children from their parents at the US border and throwing them in cages using my hard-earned taxpayer dollars.  Is it at least an effective policy?

The answer is of course, no.  It ain’t working.  We spend billions to protect our borders, billions to prevent illegal drugs from pouring in, and billions more to protect our cybersecurity.  But America is a total and absolute failure at all of these aspects of protecting Americans, which is the federal government’s #1 job.  American efforts in these areas are a complete joke and everyone around the world knows it.  Locking up kids in cages doesn’t work, either.

Emotions are quite simply the reason why we are in the current state we are in. Americans are overall pretty uneducated, misinformed, and ruled by our lizard brains.   We elect leaders who are disproportionately crooks that prey upon our emotions.  The solution itself is easy: pursue policies that make logical and scientific sense.

I can end illegal immigration in 1 month.  Requiring nothing more than manipulating the simple laws of supply and demand.  Pass a law that any corporation, restaurant, bar, farm, cab company, family, or individual who employs illegal immigrants will immediately be thrown in jail for 10 years.  Go out and arrest them en masse.  Such employers are explicitly breaking the law by hiring workers under the table.  Yet nobody ever goes after these criminals simply because they come out of the political donor class that fuels both parties.

But, uh, justice is supposed to be blind right?  F*** the political donor class.  After this swift administration of justice, let’s see if illegal immigration drops dramatically or not.  Yes, the president and his family and his cronies would be even more knee-deep in trouble with the law than they already are, because among other projects Trump Tower itself was built by many- you guessed it – illegal immigrants.

Of course the policy will work.  The supply and demand curves don’t lie.  Illegal immigrants would be unable to find work in America again, and they’d stop coming here soon enough.  But good luck keeping the child care, the factories, the farms, the armed services, the restaurants, the cabs, and the food supply running.  Those are different problems for different days.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

VIDEO: Pervert Orangutan is Worshipped by More Indian Goondas

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Mahanth is Editor of usindiamonitor

One of the most fascinating and strikingly bizarre aspects of the Pervert Orangutan Presidency (POP) and its Fourth Reich happens not in America, which is the least great we’ve ever been, but in rural India where poor, uneducated Hindu nationalists have latched onto this Pervert Orangutan as if he is some kind of god.  As a Hindu, I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve got some issues.  If you need proof, just watch this brief video by Ruptly…

I don’t blame these people, who clearly have very little in their lives; I blame the United States for creating a long con where the poorest in both America and India are the most cruelly victimized.  The rest of us can only look on with horror and disgust until the nightmare mercifully ends.

The irony? These poor brown folk and Hinduism surely disgust Pervert Orangutan far more than they could ever bother you or I.

 

DOCUMENTARY SERIES REVIEW: Wild, Wild Country Perfectly Captures a Bizarre Episode in US History

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

Growing up in the 80s as Indian-American kids with parents from India, many of us often heard rumblings about the mysterious Indian figure Rajneesh, also known as Osho or Bhagwan (God).  At dinner parties and picnics, Indian parents and other adults would talk animatedly about this cult of personality and his myriad followers who forcibly parked themselves on an exceedingly white and conservative part of Oregon in the late 70s and early 80s to form a weird religious cult commune.

The hushed tones and liberal use of the language Hindi by adults in those gatherings, which most of us kids didn’t know very well, always denoted to me that there was something deeply sinister going on in conversation about the Rajneeshis.  My parents thought that they were being discrete, but using Hindi as a covert device was the biggest dead giveaway that the talk was of nefarious things, and probably involved something called sex, and it had gone awfully wrong.  And it sure did make us Indian people look bad throughout that decade on the global stage.

This was an exceedingly unique American story and a touchpoint of its time: mostly white hippy American types by the hundreds falling over themselves to drop everything, move to Oregon, and unconditionally worship the (admittedly interesting) teachings of a brown man from India who presented himself as no less than a God floating around in flowing colorful robes in a fleet of expensive Rolls Royce cars and private jets.   Rajneesh was the ultimate figurehead of an American Mega Church movement, if that person was not only considered a God but also a rock star.  His core message was promoting the guilt-free enjoyment of materialism, pleasure, and spirituality side by side.

Once I was old enough to know a bit more, the Rajneesh story bored me.  It seemed like a typical trope about cultural appropriation of Indian traditions, fueled by Americans and Europeans flocking to ashrams in India to “find themselves” and engage in large sex orgies and liberal drug use in Indian clothes in a misplaced quest for spirituality and personal growth.  When the predictable downfall of the highly suspect cult/commune arrived, it all came crashing down with an avalanche of financial embezzlement, illegal surveillance, threats of violence, and the long arm of the law coming down hard in the form of FBI raids and prison sentences.  Everything about this just seemed so cliche to me, that I never cared to research too much into it below the surface knowledge I had as described above.

As it turns out I was completely wrong, at least in terms of how interesting and intricate the narrative actually was.  Until this spring when I started watching Wild, Wild Country, Whatever little I had picked up about the Rajneeshi cult was more than I cared to know.  I had been dismissive of it all.  But that changed in one fell swoop, further evidence that a lot of what I think I know, I really don’t after all.  It was easy to dismiss these failing sannyasins as a bunch of gullible nutjobs and posers trying to build their own obviously unattainable utopia right here in the United States.

But then a flip switched.  Until I recently watched the Wild, Wild Country documentary series on Netflix out of vague curiosity, I learned there was much I didn’t know about the Rajneeshis.  I had no idea how big they became, with thousands of members at their peak in numerous outposts around the world.  I was especially unfamiliar with the tiny young Indian woman named Ma Anand Sheela, the hand-picked deputy of Rajneesh who effectively launched and then ran the massive communal enterprise of Rajneeshpuram in Oregon with an iron fist.  I mean this chick was feisty, fearless, smart, tough as nails, camera-ready, and a formidable manager and leader by any objective measure.  She was for some reason empowered by Rajneesh to lead the vast religious, political, and sociological experiment, and managed to accomplish large things within a few short and eventful years.

Wild, Wild Country is absolutely fascinating and so is its subject.  It has certainly earned its 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Built upon many hours of original archival footage, it shows not just a commune but an entire city government being built from the ground up in rural Oregon, surrounded by communities who downright despised the Rajneeshis to pieces.  Suddenly an airport, roads, farms, homes, buildings, police force, defense force, city hall, and city council rose from empty land through the sheer will of the Rajneeshis, their collective sweat equity and organizational acumen.  This intrigued the city government official in me.  They built something special.  The cult even began to perpetuate their own laws and justice proceedings, somewhat akin to a Native American tribal reservation, within the United States but somewhat separated from it.  They sure had balls.

And the problems started right there.  Predictably, a minor war ensued between the suspicious locals and the passionate Rajneeshi cult members who were performing all manner of rituals in their little city, and rubbing their newfound wealth, power, and peculiar culture in your face.  Copious amounts of interviews were filmed in the modern day with some of the people involved from opposing angles, including conservative local retirees who hated the foreign influences they were seeing around them, law enforcement personnel who were eventually called upon to investigate the cult, and several key Rajneeshi members including Ma Anand Sheela herself calmly explaining the history of the downright bizarre events that permanently shaped all of their lives during that period some four decades ago.  This stuff is stranger than fiction.

The documentary series spends far more airtime on Ma Anand Sheela, her tight inner circle, and her wheelings and dealings than the overall leader Rajneesh.  After all it was she who ran the nuts and bolts of the movement, while Rajneesh seemed to just float through the scenery sort of above and outside of it all, saying and doing little of consequence.  The filmmakers were wise to do this.  Though I wish I could have seen more about Rajneesh and where the hell he came from, and what the hell it was this fraudulent Indian con man did all day, Sheela is a far more complex, interesting and intriguing character in this play.  She was no doubt a true believer.

Even if you know how the story ends, the journey holds many plot twists, escalating conflicts, outright danger, and thrilling moments leading up to climax.  There is plenty of well-timed suspense.  During some parts of the 6 episodes, it almost felt like I was actually there immersed in the city of Rajneeshpuram during that time in history.  The townspeople splinter amongst themselves.  The Rajneeshis also suffered epic meltdowns and schisms within their ranks, some self-inflicted and others by force of outside influence.  Although many of the key figures come across as batshit crazy at times, on both sides of the war, it’s hard not to feel sympathy for both perspectives as much of the conflict falls into the gray fog between what was right and who was wrong.

As for Ma Anand Sheela, she goes through a long and most wonderful metamorphosis worthy of comparison to a butterfly, and the series documents this arc well.  It is in fact near impossible to reconcile what she was, to what she later in life became.  And this may be the best part of all for those who believe self-improvement is possible.   It is a phenomenon within the Rajneeshi phenomenon that I came to learn more about them despite my own chauvinistic blinders.

I encourage all of you to drop everything else in your queue and enjoy Wild, Wild Country.

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VIDEO/EDITORIAL: US FAST FOOD CHAINS NEED TO STOP OVERLOADING INDIAN CONSUMERS

usindiamonitor true to its name has been monitoring in fascination the wild growth of fast food franchises, many of them American, in Indian cities.  When I was a kid visiting or living in India in the 80s and 90s, American fast food was one of the things I missed the most about America.  It was so vastly different from what was being served in Indian households and restaurants- of course, that food was healthy and delicious in its own right but something would be missing.

But fast food has gone gangbusters in India since that more isolated, innocent, idyllic time in India.  McDonald’s India was perhaps the canary in the coal mine, even though the corporation has of late been mired in massive legal troubles with its local business partners.  In the past we wrote a business case study about McDonald’s India on these pages.  Now we also have Pizza Hut, Domino’s, KFC, Subway, and many other brands making deep inroads with Indian consumers.  And this was to be expected.  As we repeat every single day, American corporations MUST have an India strategy to survive.  The market is too huge, and the economic growth is on too high a trajectory to be ignored.

One the one hand, it’s great to have access to quick, cheap, and admittedly tasty food for working Indian families.  As with fast food in America and around the world, things have taken a decidedly darker turn though.  India’s obesity epidemic is crushing the nation’s youth, with much of the responsibility falling on America’s food and soft drinks.  And now, we have news that fast food companies are dumping saltier, fattier, and more calorific food on the Indian market as compared to the US market, with at times, MULTIPLES of the sodium and fat content of the exact equivalent food item in America.

This is just not right at all.  It’s actually evil, and my bet is that the joints are trying to addict a new market of people with this salty behavior.  WE CALL ON ALL US FOOD CORPORATIONS TO STOP OVERLOADING INDIAN CONSUMERS WITH TOO MUCH JUNK IN THE JUNK FOOD.  Sure, we all know it’s junk food and we make the choice to eat it freely.  But this targeted overload is an outrage and the Indian government and people should not stand for this highly unethical behavior.  All that we ask is that you don’t make the Indians eat junk that’s junkier than the Americans do.  You don’t have to trust me- just watch this video here.  It should make you sick to your stomach.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

 

Meet the Biggest Indian-American Traitor in US History

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Indian-Americans tend to be loyal to the United States.  They generally work or study, raise their families, and peacefully go about their business as doctors or cab drivers or hotel owners.  Some sign up to be in government (like me) or the military.  They tend to be liberal, but they do float across the political spectrum.  They win almost every spelling bee.

Rarely will you find an Indian-American shooting up a school, joining a gang, starting a supremacist militia, or getting recruited by ISIS or Al-Qaeda.  While these things might occur, they happen at far lower rates than with other diasporas.  Most people credit education and family structure for these things, like with other successful communities.

Therefore, when someone from our diaspora commits active treason against the United States, it becomes sort of a big deal because such cases are so few and far between.  Dig and scrape through the archives back to 1776, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find what’s right in front of our faces today.  I present to you Exhibit A, the deplorable White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary, Raj Shah, a traitor not just to Indian-Americans like Bobby Jindal is, but to the United States itself.

Unsurprisingly for a Trump appointee, Raj is reckless.  His DWI conviction for a booze-soaked BMW ride in New Mexico got him fired from a political job in 2010.  Want to bet that the time he got caught was the only time Raj went a-boozin’ and a-drivin’? Perfect fit in this administration full of boozers, wife-beaters, racists, traitors, misogynists, money launderers, gangsters, and perverts, right?

Now we don’t use the word *traitor* lightly, and not all of those cursed souls in the White House deserve that label.  Only the ones outright lying to cover up crimes against the United States, like Shah’s disgusting boss, Sarah Huckaberry Colonel Sanders whom the guy must have learned so much from.   He has been fortunate to learn from the very worst.  On February 8th, Shah gave her the day off and fumbled through a press conference about the administration’s extremely poor handling of wife-beater Rob Porter’s employment, and worse, personally defended Porter himself repeatedly.  Shah embarrassed all Indians around the world that day.  On top of it all, he was an overmatched, unprepared blathering idiot on the podium: he was not even good at being a bad human being.

But the treason against the United States has taken place in relation to Russia.  Shah is knee deep in the #TrumpRussia scandal, defending his boss’s illegal activities time and again, hyping up the obstructive Devin Nunes memo, casting aspersions on the Steele dossier, and repeating wing nut nonsense about FISA warrants, all of which smells very much like obstruction of justice.

Congratulations, Raj.  You are the biggest Indian-American traitor in US history.  I hope you go down hard along with your false idols Colonel Huckaberry and Captain Bonespur.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

PS: Nikki Haley today saved herself from joining the Indian-American treason this week by squarely blaming Russia for the chemical terrorism in the UK.  Raj, it’s not too late to get on the right side of history.

MILITARY PARADE? NO. WE NEED A US CYBER FORCE.

We spend upwards of $600 billion annually on our military, and yet we do a subpar job in protecting our business and political interests from the Chinese, Russians, and others robbing us blind, hacking our elections, stealing the plans from weapons systems and federal government personnel files, etc.

The problem is structural.  No entity is accountable for our cyber arena threat matrix- both offensive and defensive capabilities.  There’s the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Pentagon, Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, NSA, and the list goes on.

Whose fault was RussiaGate?  Whose job is it to respond?  WE ARE AT WAR.  We should be going on the offensive.  And the future isn’t tanks, and jets, and carriers, and missiles.  We already dominate those categories, and we are still left unprotected and vulnerable.  We can’t even run a clean election or a free and truthful press, those most basic tenets of democracy.

The United States must create, ASAP, a new military branch on par with the Army, Navy, and Air Force called the United States Cyber Force.  It’s not just land, air, and sea anymore. It must have cutting-edge technical and personnel resources to show overwhelming AND disproportionate force if any nation or terrorist group or criminal organization ever decides to attack America’s cyber infrastructure.

I’m writing a novel about this.  But this is more important than that.  It’s about patriotism, and it’s not partisan at all.  We need to make it reality. Today.  The clock is ticking, and no less than our democracy is at stake.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

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