Did Rudyard Kipling Regard India as a “White Man’s Burden”?

British felt they had a civilizing mission during colonial rule in India

During the period of European colonial rule in India, Europeans in India typically regarded many aspects of Indian culture with disdain and supported colonial rule as a beneficial “civilizing mission”. Colonial rule in India was framed as an act that was beneficial to the people of India, rather than a process of political and economic dominance by a small minority of foreigners.       Under colonial rule, many practices were outlawed, such as the practice of forcing widows to immolate themselves (known as sati) with acts being deemed idolatrous being discouraged by Evangelical missionaries, the latter of which has been claimed by some scholars to have played a large role in the developments of the modern definition of Hinduism.

Development of the definition of modern Hinduism

These claims base their assumptions on the lack of a unified Hindu identity prior to the period of colonial rule, and modern Hinduism’s unprecedented outward focus on a monotheistic Vedanta worldview. These developments have been read as the result of colonial views which discouraged aspects of Indian religions that differed significantly from Christianity. It has been noted that the prominence of the Bhagavad Gita as a primary religious text in Hindu discourse was a historical response to European criticisms of Indian culture. Europeans found that the Gita had more in common with their own Christian Bible, leading to the denouncement of Hindu practices more distantly related to monotheistic worldviews with some historians claiming that Indians began to characterize their faith as the equivalent of Christianity in belief (especially in terms of monotheism) and structure (in terms of providing an equivalent primary sacred text).       Hindu nationalism developed in the 19th century as an internalization of European ideological prominence; with local Indian elites aiming to make themselves and Indian society modern by “emulating the West”.  

The emergence of ‘neo-Hinduism”

This led to the emergence of what some have termed ‘neo-Hinduism’:   consisting of reformist rhetoric transforming Hindu tradition from above, disguised as a revivalist call to return to the traditional practices of the faith.   Reflecting the same arguments made by Christian missionaries, who argued that the more superstitious elements of Hindu practice were responsible for corrupting the potential rational philosophy of the faith (i.e. the more Christian-like sentiments).   Moving the definitions of Hindu practice away from more overt idol worshiping, reemphasizing the concept of Brahman as a monotheistic divinity, and focusing more on the figure of Krishna in Vaishnavism due to his role as a messianic type figure (more in line with European beliefs) which makes him a suitable alternative to the Christian figure of Jesus Christ

Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden”

Some critics have claimed that writer Rudyard Kipling’s portrayals of Indian characters in his works supported the view that colonized people were incapable of living without the help of Europeans, describing these portrayals as racist. In his famous poem “The White Man’s Burden”, Kipling directly argues for this point by romanticizing the “civilizing mission” in non-Western countries. Jaway Syed has claimed that Kipling’s poems idolize Western culture as entirely rational and civilized, while treating non-white cultures as ‘childlike’ and ‘demonic’. Similar sentiments have been interpreted in Kipling’s other works, such as his characterization of the Second Boer War as a “white man’s war” along with his presentation of ‘whiteness’ as a morally and culturally superior trait of the West. His portrayal of Indians in his Jungle Book stories has also been criticized by Jane Hotchkiss as example of the chauvinistic infantilization of colonized peoples in popular culture. Some historians claim that Kipling’s works have contributed tto the development of a colonial mentality in the ways that the colonized people in these fictional narratives are made submissive to and dependent on their white rulers.

Indians adopted European culture called ‘Macaulay’s Children”

 Individuals of Indian descent who adopt European culture have sometimes been labeled as “Macaulay’s Children”. The term is usually used in a derogatory fashion, connoting disloyalty to India. It derives from 19th-century historian, politician, and colonial administrator Thomas Macaulay, who instituted the system of Macaulay’s, replacing Indian languages and dialects with English as the official medium of instruction in Indian educational institutions. The consequences of this educational policy can still be felt in contemporary India, where the use of English, as opposed to Hindi, still carries with it a level of superiority.   Nationalist politicians have campaigned and pushed forward policy changes to promote the official usage of Hindi in education and media over English, which was protested against in the south of India as the imposition of Hindi upon non-Hindi speakers.   

Difference between Spanish overseas territories with British India

In the overseas territories administered by the Spanish Empire, racial mixing between Spanish settlers and the indigenous peoples resulted in a prosperous union later called Mestizo. There were limitations in the racial classes only to people of African descent, mainly for being descendants of slaves under a current state of slavery. Unlike Mestizos, castizos or indigenous people who were protected by the Leyes de las Indias “to be treated like equals, as citizens of the Spanish Empire”. It was completely forbidden to enslave the indígenas under the death penalty charge.  Spanish Empire, 1824  Mestizos and other mixed raced combinations were categorized into different castas by viceroyalty administrators. This system was applied to Spanish territories in the Americas and the Philippines, where large populations of mixed raced individuals made up the increasing majority of the viceroyalty population (until the present day).  Casta painting showing couples of different races arranged hierarchically, and the resulting racial status of their children.     

These racial categories punished those with Black African or Afro-Latin. With those of European descent given privilege over these other mixtures. As a result of this system, people of African descent struggled to downplay their indigenous heritage and cultural trappings, in order to appear superficially more Spanish or native.   With these internalized prejudices individuals’ choices of clothes, occupations, and forms of religious expression.   Those of mixed racial identities who wanted to receive the institutional benefits of being Spanish (such as higher education institutions and career opportunities), could do so by suppressing their own cultures and acting with “Spanishness”.  

This mentality lead to commonplace racial forgery in Latin America, often accompanied by legitimizing oral accounts of a Spanish ancestor and a Spanish surname. Most mixed-white and white people in Latin America have Spanish surnames inherited from Spanish ancestors, while most other Latin Americans who have Spanish names and surnames acquired them through the Christianization and Hispanicization of the indigenous and African slave populations by Spanish friars.       However, most initial attempts at this were only partially successful, as Amerindian groups simply blended Catholicism with their traditional beliefs.   Syncretism between native beliefs and Christianity is still largely prevalent in Indian and Mestizo communities in Latin America.   On the other hand, the Spaniards did not impose their language to the degree they did their religion, and the Roman Catholic Church even evangelized in Quechua, Nahuatl, Guarani, etc., contributing to the expansion of these Amerindian languages and equipping them with writing systems.            

Prior to the arrival by the Spaniards (1565-1898), the Sulu Archipelago (located in southern Philippines) was a colony of the Majapahit Empire (1293–1527) based in Indonesia. The Americans were the last country to colonize the Philippines (1898–1946) and nationalists claim that it continues to act as a neo-colony of the US despite its formal independence in 1946  In the Philippines colonial mentality is most evident in the preference for Filipino mestizos (primarily those of mixed native Filipino and white ancestry, but also mixed indigenous Filipinos and Chinese, and other ethnic groups) in the entertainment industry and mass media, in which they have received extensive exposure despite constituting a small fraction of the population The Cádiz Constitution of 1812 automatically gave Spanish citizenship to all Filipinos regardless of race. The census of 1870 stated that at least one-third of the population of Luzon had partial Hispanic ancestry (from varying points of origin and ranging from Latin America to Spain).     

The combined number of all types of white mestizos or Eurasians is 3.6%, according to a genetic study by Stanford University. This is contradicted by another genetic study done by California University which stated that Filipinos possess moderate amounts of European admixture.       Evidence suggests that fair skin was a characteristic of the cloistered ladies called binukot, who were often kept indoors from a very early age. In historical epics of the Philippines, their fair skin was presented as a standard of beauty among the upper class. Some cite this as proof that the desire for light-colored skin predates overseas influences. One of the more adverse physical consequences of the idealization and acceptance of colonial mentality can be seen in the high rate of consumer demand for skin-bleaching products used by some indigenous women and a smaller percentage of indigenous men and dark-skinned mestizas and mestizos, in the Philippines. Demand in the Philippines and in some other tropical countries continues to be widespread.


         Marlow’s story in Heart of Darkness takes place in the Belgian Congo, the most notorious European colony in Africa because of the Belgian colonizers’ immense greed and brutal treatment of the native people. In its depiction of the monstrous wastefulness and casual cruelty of the colonial agents toward the African natives, Heart of Darkness reveals the utter hypocrisy of the entire colonial effort. In Europe, colonization of Africa was justified on the grounds that not only would it bring wealth to Europe, it would also civilize and educate the “savage” African natives. Heart of Darkness shows that in practice the European colonizers used the high ideals of colonization as a cover to allow them to viciously rip whatever wealth they could from Africa.      Unlike most novels that focus on the evils of colonialism, Heart of Darkness pays more attention to the damage that colonization does to the souls of white colonizers than it does to the physical death and devastation unleashed on the black natives. Though this focus on the white colonizers makes the novella somewhat unbalanced, it does allow Heart of Darkness to extend its criticism of colonialism all the way back to its corrupt source, the “civilization” of Europe.            American Imperialism    

Rise of American Imperialism

 “American imperialism” is a term that refers to the economic, military, and cultural influence of the United States internationally.           The late nineteenth century was known as the “Age of Imperialism,” a time when the United States and other major world powers rapidly expanded their territorial possessions.      American imperialism is partly based on American exceptionalism, the idea that the United States is different from other countries because of its specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy.      One of the most notable instances of American imperialism was the annexation of Hawaii in 1898, which allowed the United States to gain possession and control of all ports, buildings, harbors, military equipment, and public property that had belonged to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands.      Some groups, such as the American Anti-Imperialist League, opposed imperialism on the grounds that it conflicted with the American ideal of Republicans and the “consent of the governed.”      Darwinism,    An ideology that seeks to apply biological concepts of Darwinism or evolutionary theory to sociology and politics, often under the assumption that conflict between social groups leads to social progress, as superior groups surpass inferior ones. 

American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism: A belief, central to American political culture since the Revolution, that Americans have a unique mission among nations to spread freedom and democracy.     

The American Anti-Imperialist League: An organization established in the United States on June 15, 1898, to battle the American annexation of the Philippines as an insular area.     

American Imperialism: A term that refers to the economic, military, and cultural influence of the United States on other countries.      Expansion and Power      “American imperialism” is a term that refers to the economic, military, and cultural influence of the United States on other countries. First popularized during the presidency of James K. Polk, the concept of an “American Empire” was made a reality throughout the latter half of the 1800s. During this time, industrialization caused American businessmen to seek new international markets in which to sell their goods. In addition, the increasing influence of social Darwinism led to the belief that the United States was inherently responsible for bringing concepts such as industry, democracy, and Christianity to less developed “savage” societies. The combination of these attitudes and other factors led the United States toward imperialism.                 

“Ten Thousand Miles from Tip to Tip”: “Ten Thousand Miles from Tip to Tip,” refers to the extension of U.S. domination (symbolized by a bald eagle) from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. The cartoon contrasts the 1898 representation with that of the United States in 1798.     

American Exceptionalism and Alexis de Tocqeville

American imperialism is partly rooted in American exceptionalism, the idea that the United States is different from other countries due to its specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. This theory often is traced back to the word’s of 1800s French observer Alexis de Tocqueville, who concluded that the United States was a unique nation, “proceeding along a path to which no limit can be perceived.”      Pinpointing the actual beginning of American imperialism is difficult. Some historians suggest that it began with the writing of the Constitution; historian Donald W. Meinig argues that the imperial behavior of the United States dates back to at least the Louisiana Purchase. He describes this event as an, “aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule.” Here, he is referring to the U.S. policies toward Native Americans, which he said were, “designed to remould them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires.”                 

Uncle Sam teaching the world: This caricature shows Uncle Sam lecturing four children labelled “Philippines,” “Hawaii,” “Puerto Rico,” and “Cuba” in front of children holding books labeled with various U.S. states. In the background, an American Indian holds a book upside down, a Chinese boy stands at the door, and a black boy cleans a window. The blackboard reads, “The consent of the governed is a good thing in theory, but very rare in fact… the U.S. must govern its new territories with or without their consent until they can govern themselves.”  

Henry Kissinger: Killer Case Officer


Many years ago I made a trip to New York to pitch publishers on a book about a murder case in South Vietnam involving the Green Berets and the CIA in Cambodia.  

At one of my stops, a young assistant editor gushed, “I love your proposal! But there’s one thing in the story I don’t understand: How could we bomb Cambodia ‘in secret?’”

Well, I thought, that’s a stupid question: The Pentagon Papers, leaked decades earlier, had detailed all sorts of secret raids on North Vietnam. But the young person’s question, intentionally or not, dug at something more complex: How was it that both Cambodian ruler Prince Sihanouk and Hanoi, whose troops in Cambodia were the target of American B-52s, also saw reason to stay quiet about the devastating carpet bombing? I ended up devoting considerable space to the issue in my book, even though it provided only an introductory context to the case I was recounting, about the Green Berets’ murder of one of their own spies in Cambodia.

The 1969 covert bombing of Cambodia was the brainchild of Henry Kissinger and his padrón, Richard Nixon, both devotées of the dark arts.  They knew that North Vietnam would not protest because it would require it to admit it had troops in Cambodia.  Likewise, Sihanouk would stay mum because he’d allowed them to gather there.

Sounds clever until the butcher’s bill is added up. The bombing of Cambodia would not shorten the Vietnam War, but expand  it, killing an estimated 150,000 civilians over four years, fueling the rise of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, toppling the Sihanouk regime  and eventually prompting a North Vietnamese invasion that solidified communist control of Indochina. 

Had Kissinger been more properly labeled a case officer than diplomat, his risk-versus-take record in this and other arenas would score him a walking disaster, no matter his heralded diplomatic skills in regard to China and Russia. At heart, he was a ruthless, amoral operator, no different in effect than his predecessors in the White House and CIA who engineered coup d’etats and assassination plots from Guatemala to Cuba, to the Congo and beyond.

Take Chile: In the autumn of 1970, “Kissinger supervised covert operations—codenamed FUBELT—to foment a military coup that led directly to the assassination of Chile’s commander-in-chief of the Army, General René Schneider,” according to CIA documents unearthed  by the privately run National Security Archive. It flopped. After the socialist Salvador Allende was inaugurated, “Kissinger personally convinced Nixon … to authorize a clandestine intervention” to create the conditions for Allende’s overthrow. It succeeded on September 11, 1973, when a coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet ousted and killed Allende, but the widely suspected U.S. hand in the events further damaged U.S. standing in the world, handed Moscow and Beijing propaganda windfalls and hardened the determination of liberation movements from South Africa to El Salvador.

At home, revelations of Kissinger’s demand that the FBI illegally wiretap his own aides in a search for leakers—operating as his own counterintelligence agent—further despoiled him and the Nixon administration. 

Abroad, his “realist” approach to backing despots over reformers led to setbacks and bloodbaths, from Cambodia to East Timor, East Pakistan to Iran, Egypt to Argentina,  to the whole of Central America and onto the streets of Washington, D.C. itself, where Chile’s secret police brazenly assassinated a prominent opponent in exile, Orlando Letelier.

Some record that is.  JFK fired Allen Dulles for far less. Yet Kissinger, the operator, is still with us, a “towering” figure in a crumbling Washington establishment that abides by his cynicism and relishes his bon mots. On Tuesday he turned 100, but his legacy remains very alive in the secret raids and drone strikes carried out by the U.S. from Syria to Somalia, Kabul and far beyond, unconstrained by a timorous Congress.

“You can trace a line from the bombing of Cambodia to the present,” Greg Grandin, author of Kissinger’s Shadow, recently told journalist Nick Turse, who’s carried out numerous investigations of Indochina atrocities.  “The covert justifications for illegally bombing Cambodia became the framework for the justifications of drone strikes and forever war…”

All this gave me reason today to revisit my 1992 book, A Murder in Wartime. Its underlying theme was the thuggery that had infiltrated the minds of the men conducting the long war and turned U.S. troops into natural born killers. You can do that to a man with enough time, brutality and weapons. But it starts at the top. 

God forbid that Henry Kissinger find a final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery. He deserves no rest at all. 

Source: SpyTalk

Wigneswaran points out the root cause of Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Conflict

Many academic articles have been written about the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka. Many scholars have offered explanations in this regard. And many solutions have been proposed. There has even been a war that has claimed thousands of human lives. But decades later, the Sinhalese and the Tamils are yet to come to an agreement about a solution. The crisis does not seem to have been resolved. What is the real reason for this? This is why we need to find out if there is a problem in our understanding of the causes of the ethnic crisis. It appears Social Science academics who have commented on this have only touched the surface of this issue. Many of them have ignored the root cause of ethnic crisis in the island.

It is in this backdrop, the former Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council and the current Member of Parliament C. V. Wigneswaran, has clearly pointed out the root cause of Sri Lanka’s crisis to everyone. We should be thankful to Wigneswaran for that. But it is a tragedy that many of the things he says do not get the attention they deserve. Many Sinhalese have a habit of dismissing him as a virulent racist. It is a wrong approach.

Wigneswaran points out the root cause of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka very clearly. He states that the Tamils of the northern and eastern provinces, unlike the Muslims and plantation Tamils, “have always occupied the area now roughly covered by the Northern and Eastern Provinces. There had been continuous occupation of the North and East throughout history by the Tamil-speaking people……..In fact, their occupation extended up to Negombo in the Western Province and up to Kathirgamam in the South East. The Sinhalese have never occupied the North and East in large numbers except after 1833 when the country was brought under one administration by the British”.

He further states, “we Tamils of the North and East are conscious of our antiquity, our history, our rights to self-determination and therefore until our intrinsic rights to the right of self-determination is recognized and respected we would find it difficult to march together with the other communities, specially the Sinhalese who have usurped our history and antiquity and trying to falsify those fields of study”.

Wigneswaran claims that the Tamil history of Sri Lanka has been stolen by the Sinhalese people. If this is the case, how can reconciliation be achieved? We can all agree that theft of one’s history and identity by the other is no way to achieve any everlasting reconciliation between the two parties.

He also claims that the Sinhalese people are immersed in a sea of myths about their history. Therefore he considers teaching the true history of the country especially to the Sinhala Buddhist brothers as a service he should fulfill. Accordingly, Wigneswaran has pointed out the ‘true’ history of the Sinhalese people on several occasions. He argues “The Sinhala people have been given a wrong understanding of history based on the fiction written in Pali by a Buddhist Priest in the 5th Century AD. The author says that at the end of every stanza he was writing the fiction for the glorification of Buddhism. If he was writing history he would not have said so!”

Thus, he claims that the reason for Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem is the false history created by Sinhala historians and Buddhist monks. “The Sinhalese historians and others, especially the Buddhist clergy, have set up lots of falsities as history. They say this country is theirs. This is false. The original inhabitants of this country were Saivite Tamils. They say all Tamils were immigrants into a predominantly Sinhala Country. This is also false”.

When Tamils have been living in Sri Lanka for thousands of years speaking Tamil, a very ancient language, he says “Sinhalese came by their Sinhala language only in the 6th or 7th Century AD. That is 1300 or 1400 years ago only. There was no Sinhala Language before that time. Some historians have painted all ancient Buddhists as Sinhalese. That is because since there was Buddhism in Sri Lanka before the Sinhala language came into existence they have identified earlier era Buddhists as Sinhala Buddhists. Those who were Buddhists at that time were Tamils whom Professor Sunil Ariyaratne calls as Demala Bauddayo”.

Wigneswaran also argues that the Sinhalese have been tempted to give the Sinhala language a long history by calling the language found in ancient inscriptions as Sinhala Prakrit. So he says, “There are those who refer to Sinhala Prakrit as proof of the presence of the Sinhalese language from pre Buddhistic times. This is like saying my grandfather lived 100 years ago therefore I lived 100 years ago because I came from my grandfather! There was no Sinhala language until 1300 or 1400 years from now. So how could you refer to Sinhala Prakrit of a by- gone age 2000 years or more ago? The Sinhala language was not even contemplated at that time. The truth would be that those words of ancient times (Prakrit) may have been Pali or Tamil or other dialects in Sri Lanka which later came to make up the Sinhala Language. Sinhala is a conglomeration of languages. At least 40% of the Sinhala words are Tamil. Its alphabet formation is similar to Tamil and South Indian Languages”.

According to Wigneswaran, and Tamil people in general, there was no Sinhala language in the island until around the 7th century and no Sinhalese people lived then. This island was inhabited by the Tamil speaking Shiva devotees who were the first settlers of Ceylon. It was these Tamil speaking Shiva devotees who first encountered the Buddhist missionaries sent by Asoka. Therefore he claims that, Devanam Piya Thissa mentioned in Mahavamsa, who reigned in Sri Lanka at the time when Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka, was actually a Tamil Siva devotee king, named Devanam-Piya-Theesan.

Then his argument is that, the Tamils who inhabited the island built the Rajarata civilization and left ancient stone inscriptions all over the country. According to his theory, only a part of the Shiva devotee Tamils embraced Buddhism, and the Sinhala language was created from the combination of Tamil, Pali and Prakrit languages. And he says that, only after a few centuries had gone by, after this process, Sinhalese emerged in Sri Lanka. If this is the version of history believed by Wigneswaran and shared by the Tamil society in general, then one can imagine their anger at the supposed theft of their history.

Moreover, he claims that Sri Lanka’s Tamil history goes back a long way. He says that even before the island was geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent, Tamils were living in this country. Speaking to the Ceylon Today newspaper in 2017, he said “According to S.U. Deraniyagala Sri Lanka which had been part of the land mass of the Indian subcontinent became an island about 7,000 years ago when it physically separated from Southern India. On that basis the populations of South India and Sri Lanka were of the same ethnic stock prior to and after separation”.

Wigneswaran also comments on a huge continent of Lemuria, which was the homeland of the Tamil speaking people, and disappeared under the sea. He argued that the island of Ceylon is a remnant of the continent of Lemuria. He claims that the Tamils living in the North and East “could trace their ancestry to the inhabitants of the Continent of Lemuria which covered the greater part of the present Indian Ocean in times gone by. The Lemuria Continent which was gobbled up by the Indian Ocean extended from Western Australia to Eastern Africa joining up with the Indian subcontinent. Therefore the present Tamils of the North and East feel themselves to be the descendants of a long line of Tamil speaking people who have been occupying the Northern and Eastern regions continuously from pre Buddhistic times. Recently it has been accepted that Tamil is the oldest living language in the world”.

He also claims that the people of the megalithic era who came to the island with the iron culture were also Tamil speaking Dravidians. Therefore, he is of the opinion that the evidence of an ancient Tamil civilization can be found in the megalithic monuments found scattered across the island. We have to remember, that Tamil Historian, Prof. S. Pathmanathan made a similar remark to Daily Mirror in 2017 (Interview with Kelum Bandara, Tamils have valid claim for homeland Prof. Pathmanathan, 29 March 2017, Daily Mirror). According to Wigneswaran’s argument, there was a very ancient Tamil history in Ceylon. He directly said that it is more appropriate to treat Sri Lanka as a Tamil Shiva state.

Many Sinhalese consider Wigneswaran a racist and tend to ignore his views. But no matter how problematic it is, he points to the viewpoint prevailing in the Tamil society in general about the history of Sri Lanka. This viewpoint or ideology is not limited to Wigneswaran or a fringe of extreme Tamil nationalists. And he was not the first to narrate a Tamil centric History of Sri Lanka in this way. This Tamil viewpoint of the island’s history has been a prominent feature in the comments made by people belonging to all strata of Tamil society regarding the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka.

For example, Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole, Rajasingham Narendran, Dr. Murugar Gunasingham, D. B. S. Jayaraj, Prof. K. Sivathamby, Prof. A. Velupillai have also advocated a Tamil-centric history of Sri Lanka. Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament, A. Sumanthiran who served as the Vice-Chairman of the Sri Lanka Methodist Council, recently installed a Shiva lingam at the Vedukkannari Buddhist archaeological site. How can we understand the rationale behind such a controversial move?

A founding member of the Federal Party, V. Navaratnam has strongly stood for a Tamil centric History of Sri Lanka and says that it is the most important ideology that drives Tamil nationalist politics in Sri Lanka. And historian S. K. Sittarampalam who once functioned as the vice-president of the Ilangkai Thamizh Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the main constituent party of the TNA, has spoken about a Tamil-centric history of Sri Lanka at several instances. Another Tamil political leader who strongly advocated this is C. Sunderalingam.
It was S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, the founder of the Federal Party, who turned this Tamil Centric history of Sri Lanka into a political concept by forming ‘Tamil Homeland Concept’. It is this concept that drives Tamil politics in Sri Lanka. Prabhakaran, the leader of the LTTE, once said, that the person who lit the flame of Tamil nationalism in his mind, is none other than, his tutor Venugopal Master, a disciple of Sundaralingam and Navaratnam, fierce proponents of Tamil Centric History. Since the 1950s, S. J. Gunasingham, a teacher who taught history in Tamil medium schools, had advocated a Tamil-centric history of Sri Lanka and always accused the Sinhalese of distorting the history of the island. Therefore Tamil-centric history of SL is not something Wigneswaran invented or limited to him.

When reading Wigneswaran’s comments, one is reminded of the debate between J. L. Devananda and Bandu de Silva regarding the history of Sri Lanka in 2011 (Sri Lanka Guardian website). There is no difference between the views expressed by Devananda and those of Wigneswaran. He does not belong to an extreme racist fringe of the Tamil society, but a person who very clearly points out the Tamil viewpoint about the history of this country. He also warned in 2014 that if Sri Lanka’s history is not corrected, there may even be a war again. Accordingly, he shows us, the seriousness of the dispute between the Sinhalese and Tamils, regarding the history of Sri Lanka.

Tamil journalist T. Sabharatnam once said, that the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has arisen due to the controversy over the history of the island. And Professor K. Sivathamby once said “Both [Sinhalas and Tamils] differ on the extent of the Tamil element of Sri Lanka. Sinhala viewpoint changes from zero to 50% where Sinhala nationalists claim Sri Lanka has zero Tamil element and Marxists/ federalists or Tamil sympathizers claim it is equal to 50% which is as same as the Sinhalese. It can be said the general view of the Sinhala public is Tamil element in Sri Lankan heritage is more than zero but definitely less than 50%. The Tamil viewpoint is Tamil element in Sri Lankan heritage is from 50% to close to 100% by giving a Tamil origin to the Sinhalese people. The crisis in Sri Lanka stems from this disagreement on the extent of Tamilness in the Sri Lankan heritage.” According to Sivathamby, the issue of Tamilness in the island is the root cause of the communal crisis.

As it is evident from the Tamil comments, the Sinhalese and Tamil conflict over the island’s history has created a heated debate over the nature of the post-colonial Sri Lankan state. Disputes over the country’s official language, settlement of farming communities in the Eastern Province, the constitution, the national flag and as shown recently even the logo of the Department of Archeology, have arisen from this controversy about the history of Sri Lanka. Therefore, in order to end the Sinhala and Tamil ethnic crisis, this controversy about the island’s history must be resolved.

It should be noted that although some of the NGOs supported by foreign funds have done research on the ethnic crisis, NONE have paid attention to the main controversy between the two parties, which is the controversy over history. No wonder their attempts at peace have failed! In such a scenario, we should thank Wigneswaran for pointing at the real root cause of the conflict.

Views expressed are personal

What I learnt from the War Hero’s Son


‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’ — Mother Teresa

My mobile phone rang a few years back when I was chief of defence staff. It’s a number I have not saved. I answered the call. A faint voice of a young child on the other end. “Sir I am Wikum, Son of Chief Petty Officer K G Shantha.” Yes Son! I replied. Late Chief Petty Officer KG Shantha was from elite Special Boats Squadron (SBS), the Naval Commando Unit who paid the supreme sacrifice out at sea in Point Pedro on 1st Nov 2008.

His wife was four months pregnant when Shantha died. This child never saw his father alive.

“Sir, I have a good news for you. I have passed the Grade 5 Scholarship exam with 165 marks.” The child continues, “My mother wants me to convey this news to you and all other SBS members.”

“Well done son! All SBS uncles will be very happy with your achievement. Please visit my office with your mother this week after school. I have a small gift for you” I said. It is always a delightful news to hear our fallen War Heroes Children doing well in their lives. The void created by the loss of their fathers always affects them. In that sense, young Wikum’s achievement is remarkable. Sitting in my office, my mind ran back to 2008.

Our Navy outmanoeuvring and destroying LTTE Sea tiger boats at rapid phase by mid-2008. All their ocean-going capabilities were destroyed and littoral battles were intense and deadly. To save their pride and capabilities, LTTE Sea-Tigers turned towards their ultimatum weapon out at sea, the suicide boats. Navy response with our small boats Squadrons of SBS and Rapid Action Boats Squadron (RABS) was very effective against this huge Suicide Boats threat.

Chief Pettey Officer KG Shantha, PWV [Sri Lanka Navy]

On 1st Nov 2008 early hours, a Sea battle erupted between Navy and Sea-Tigers off Point Pedro. A number of LTTE Boats were destroyed and Navy also had casualties. Petty Officer KG Shantha from SBS, was commanding the Arrow boat Z-142. He had three more SBS members on board. His boat was fitted with a 23mm gun which they used very effectively against the enemy. (When you fight out at sea there is no cover. Whoever fires effectively first will win the battle.)

By 05.45 AM, KG (Shantha) had all three of his crew injured due to enemy fire. Squadron Commander ordered him to withdraw to the harbour. When he is about to move back, he saw one LTTE boat moving fast towards P 164 (Inshore Patrol Craft) commanded by Lt (SBS) Wickramasinghe. P164 had twelve SBS personnel onboard. By shape and speed, KG identified it as an LTTE Suicide boat. No time to wait. He knew the danger. He decided and acted as per the greatest traditions of SBS, sacrifice own life to protect your senior officer and buddies.

He rammed the LTTE Suicide boat with his craft. Huge explosion! Both LTTE Suicide boat and KG’s boat perished into thin air……

Petty Officer (SBS) KG Shantha was promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer posthumously. His wife who was four months pregnant then and informed of her beloved husband’s loss. No funeral was taken place as nothing of his body recovered due to 500 Kg Suicide boat explosion. KG was later awarded Parama Weera Vibushanaya (PWV), the highest Gallantry medal of Sri Lanka. He became one of the two naval personnel awarded with this highest Gallantry medal.

In 2011, house for KG’s wife and family was constructed by the Naval Civil Engineering Department with funds given by former First Lady, Mrs. Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa in memory of her late father Commander EP Wickremasinghe of Royal Ceylon Navy/Sri Lanka Navy, former Chief of Staff (Operations) of Sri Lanka Navy.

KG’s Son was admitted to Royal College, Colombo 7. Distance from his home to Royal College was too far for the young child to travel.

CPO (SBS) K G Shantha’s son Anuhas with his mother on his 14th Birthday [Photo: Special Arrangement]

On my request, former Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka gave a House temporarily at the new Housing scheme in Mandawila, which eased the burden of long travelling and allowing enough time for the child to attend to his studies and extra classes.

When Wikum came to my office with his mother to collect his gift, he brought a letter written in his beautiful handwriting, thanking Minister Partali for the gesture which helped him to do his studies well. I recollect Minister was an Electrical Engineer from Moratuwa University and got the Island’s best results in G C E Advanced Level Examination on Science stream from Kalutara district.

I learnt what is gratitude from this young War Hero’s Son.

I gave him the advice which my father gave me when I passed Navodhaya scholarship in grade Seven in Royal College, Colombo 7.

“Good, better, best – do not rest until your good is Better and better is best”

Liar Unveiled: A Double Agent’s Journey from Deception to Truth in CIA during Cold War

Following excerpts adapted from the author’s recent book, The Liar: How a Double Agent in the CIA Became the Cold War’s Last Honest Man, published by Hachette Book Group

Heroes don’t exist, only cattle for the slaughter and the butchers in the general staffs.” —Jaroslav Hašek

This is a true story. Names, places, and incidents are real. Some of the interpretation is my own.

About twenty miles outside Prague, in a riverside village of little distinction, Karel finds himself in a room with dull walls and a cold, dead fireplace. He doesn’t know why he is there.

The unexceptional-looking house sits empty most of the time, but the neighbors tend to stay away anyway. Occasionally they see people milling about the cottage; the black government-issued Tatra 603s parked outside signal they aren’t up to anything good. Best to go the long way around when walking the dog or heading out for a beer. Across the river, there’s a pub with outdoor tables. Like something out of Greek mythology, a boatman with a pole can take you across.

The cool and breezy September day offers a welcome respite from New York’s scalding August. But as Karel smooths the collar on his Brooks Brothers jacket, it strikes him that he hasn’t seen his passport since they crossed the border. That cannot be good.

Karel is making small talk when another well-dressed man enters the room. His suit is dark—not exactly stylish, but well cut, tie in a full Windsor knot. Old-fashioned looking, to be sure, but clean, serious. No doubt official. The man’s receding hair is slicked back with pomade. Like Karel, he looks to be in his early forties—prodigiously young for a KGB general. His name is Oleg Kalugin. He is a spy, and he’s arrived to interrogate another spy.

“Sorry I am late; do you speak Russian?” Kalugin asks as he enters the room.

“I understand it fine, but I don’t speak all that well,” Karel says. “In America, there’s no one to speak Russian with.”

Kalugin stops on Karel’s side of the table and turns to look him in the face. Karel Koecher stays seated but sizes up Kalugin’s thick silhouette framed in the light of an open window. Karel doesn’t know it, but Kalugin has defied Moscow Center orders to be here today. As far as KGB chief Yuri Andropov is concerned, Czechoslovak intelligence is conducting this interview on their own.

Standing up straight, chest out, looking confident—cocky, even—Kalugin gives no impression he’s worried about the consequences of his insubordination. In fact, it stands to reason that Kalugin has his own reasons for being there, but they are not obvious, and he does not reveal them.

Like Karel, Kalugin is fluent in a gaggle of languages. As he continues in English, his nondescript patrician lilt sounds a bit like Cary Grant—but heavy, pedantic, and stripped of bounce. Kalugin pulls a chair from the table, rotates it to face Karel, takes a seat, and begins a stiff greeting that answers a few questions before he raises a host of new ones.

“I am glad to welcome you in the name of Soviet-Czechoslovakian friendship. I am a guest here on invitation of our Czechoslovak friends, and I have to say, as a representative of a friendly service and collaborator, I am glad to meet you,” Kalugin says. “I have heard and read a lot about you. And now I hope my company is going to be useful for clearing up the doubts we share, as well as our common interests. I have some questions related to your personal security. Because the top priority for us is always the success of our people, no matter where they work.”

Karel looks over Kalugin’s shoulder again, to the open window. It’s now drizzling outside. Karel adjusts his stainless-steel glasses. His light-gray suit with flared slacks and his vibrant extra-wide tie look alien amid the humorless monochromes. Kalugin’s eyes are captivated by the stripes on Karel’s tie, as if they haven’t seen color in a decade or so. A bunch of Philistines, Karel thinks as he turns his chair, brushing his fingers through his salt-and-pepper mustache. He makes eye contact with Kalugin but stays quiet.

“I might be repeating some things because I came in late,” Kalugin continues. “Well, that’s okay; hopefully it’s not going to be too unpleasant. How are you? How is your health?”

“Good,” a wary Karel says. “Let’s see in the evening.”

Karel’s vision is worse than it used to be, and the Koecher clan has a history of diabetes. As a kid Karel had ear infections that were bad enough to later help exempt him from military service. As a grown man, though, he is something of a fitness nut. In New York, he runs the Central Park Reservoir almost daily and likes to pump iron at the 92nd Street Y.

“The way I understood it, you found it difficult to accept living in the American way,” Kalugin goes on. “It is vital to be patient and to build long-term relationships, especially when it comes to working with people from abroad. Earlier, I reviewed the materials and your situation. Correct me if I am wrong, but it was 1973 when you first started working for the CIA. Before that you got the doctorate, that must have been 1970, and then you worked at Radio Free Europe?”

Not quite, Karel explains, briefly recounting his résumé: a fellowship at Indiana University in 1966, then PhD work at Columbia, Radio Free Europe until 1969, American citizenship in 1971, and a smattering of university teaching jobs. “That was until 1972 or 1973. And then I was able to get into the CIA,” he says with a touch of impatience.

“Yes, the Pentagon was probably the first serious work, and that was 1973, right?”

“Yes, 1973.”

Kalugin asks for more. Was Karel working for the Department of Defense or the CIA or what? He wants details.

Click here to order your copy of this book

Bangladesh: ‘There are daggers in men’s smiles…’


Our glorious Liberation war of 1971 to found Bangladesh is our plume. Our national flag is our preen. Our national anthem is our pride. We achieved Bangladesh at the blood-bath of 3 million of our people by the lunatic Pakistani military regime in league with the US and Chinese governments and their local brutish cohorts, majorly the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) sub-humans. To attain Bangladesh, three hundred thousand of our mothers and sisters lost their chastity at the hands of those malefactors. We saw their baleful everlasting annihilation of the freedom-loving people of all classes and of all religions in the country.

These perps forced out one million of our people from their homes with unspeakable sufferings, made them shelter-less and forced them to take refuge inside India. All these men-made disasters were played out throughout a 9-month war in 1971. We finally gave them a crushing defeat on 16 December1971, scalawag Pakistani Army’s 93,000 soldiers surrendered to our feet and our beloved Bangladesh came into being as an independent and sovereign state in the world map. We are proud of the secular spirit that we earned through our glorious Liberation War in 1971.

That was a shameful defeat for them for which they can’t forget this abasement. In each and every moment, they have been looking for a dent to inflict heartrending damage upon the political party now in power under whose leadership Bangladesh attained independence in 1971 and hurt massively the underlying structure of the country – Bangladesh.

The pearls do not fall from the sweet smiles of the U.S. Ambassador for Bangladesh Peter Haas, Uncle Sam’s 20 vassal states and their local old and new paisanos though they show-up the Lapp language to make us believe them, with the intent to deceive us in other respects or ways.

There have been daggers unremittingly in their smiles or in their malefic actions since long against Bangladesh and the pro-Bangladesh government. These daggers are very large and sharpened and they are now combat-ready to stab us from behind the scene and from the frontline. Their audacity should not go unbridled, unpunished under any considerations!

“There’s daggers in men’s smiles. The near in blood, the nearer bloody.” – William Shakespeare’s Macbeth narrates the tale of a Scottish general, who driven by greed and avarice murders his King in order to take the throne. The verse quoted at the beginning of the paragraph is spoken by Donalbain, son of the murdered King in conversation with his brother Malcolm. The term “daggers” used in the quote signifies the dangers of trusting an individual or group to such an extent, that one is blinded by the possibility of their exploitation and the other party’s harmful intentions. “Smiles” was skillfully utilised to signify insincere emotions and attitudes that one may deceptively display solely for their selfish gains. Shakespeare informs the reader that no matter how genuine a smile may seem, there is always the probability of that smile concealing deceit.

If we delve in the drawer, we find that the men who smile at us are actually concealing daggers, wanting our blood. Of all these men are our vitriolic foes counting on the forthcoming national polls and the living digital security act 2018!

It is also essential to bring up the point that the bacilli of the local defeated forces of 1971 could not be destroyed after Bangladesh’s Founding Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s killing intentionally and with premeditation on 15 August in 1975 by Khondokar Mushtaque Ahmed and his camarilla and because of skullduggeries of depraved military rulers – Gen. Zia, Gen. Ershad and their compadre – Begum Zia for two decades or so. Unfortunately, they have infected, among so many other people, especially the vast majority of younger generation, in the country.

BNP and JP are unlawful machinates, were born in the military bivouac on 1 September 1978 and January 1, 1986 respectively by profaned military dictators Gen Zia and Gen Ershad using government spy agencies and millions of monies from the government exchequer and they were self-proclaimed Presidents of Bangladesh.

Deviating from what is considered moral, right, proper or good, these reprobate personas, power-hungry men in nature purposely reinstated the anti-liberation forces, especially Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), small factions of Muslim League and their ill chums in every sphere of circuits on the soil of Bangladesh. So, BNP, JP and JeI are unquestionably anti-liberation forces in the country and they embody the defeated forces of our 1971 war to establish Bangladesh.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) is well-known and long-familiar both at home and abroad as a killing outfit of our millions of people in 1971 in league with Pakistan’s military junta and Uncle Sam as well as in support of China. It is also well-known for its worst war criminality in the annals of history. Even if we also hark-back the years of 2013 and 2014, we can clearly see the vivid pictures of the real violent world of BNP and JeI and how these two political outfits brought about terrible excruciations to our people in the country. We cannot and shall never forget the Talibani or ISIS style of brutalities they did thrust out to our innocent people during those times.

Furthermore, the newfangled veteran freedom fighters – ASM Abdur Rob, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Comrade Saiful Hoque, Maj Gen (retd.) Syed Mohammed Ibrahim and the likes of them have surrendered to the blood-stained mitts of the anti-liberation forces, Pakistan’s ISI, CIA of America and their quislings to give them more leverage at free-will to do more impairment to Bangladesh and its people. All these sounds megascopic perfidiousness to the souls of millions of our people who consecrated their lives to attain Bangladesh in 1971. Their ill action mechanisms also bear witness to their utter assaultive-ness to the core gems or pearls on which Bangladesh was founded in 1971……

The U.S. Ambassador for Bangladesh Peter Haas and his overseas white skinned mango-twigs have come to the fore in the field of Bangladesh in mooring with all ferine anti-Bangladesh liberation forces as Prime Minister Hasina’s corpus rival in the country in the upcoming general polls.

The defeated forces of 1971 also want to rewrite history to slur over Bangladesh’s glorious Liberation War. It also suggests a willingness for them to reinterpret even the most sacred chapters of Bangladesh’s history.

The obnoxious nexus of anti-Bangladesh liberation forces and their foreign perps should keep in mind that in the centre of a Russian inner sanctuary, the white-domed Hall of Glory, an enormous statue of a Soviet soldier stands with a sword at his feet; its sheath bears this inscription: “He who comes to us wielding a sword shall die by the sword” and our people echoed the same words to Uncle Sam and their newfangled sidekicks, both local and foreign, giving them a crushing defeat in the forthcoming 12th national voting fight.

Still then, this neo-face of defeated force (Uncle Sam and their old and new perps) and their cronies are active to tweak with several fingernails to the bottle green national flag of Bangladesh with the red circle symbolising the rising sun and the sacrifice of lives in our freedom fight in 1971.

As long as crimes of Uncle Sam, anti-Bangladesh liberation forces – both old and some new freedom fighters and their local and foreign mango-twigs and their dishonouring of our glorious spirit that we attained in 1971 are seen to be related solely to those outside one’s inner circle, the mechanisms of denial and silencing create complicity. Their loyalty is thus built on lies only, bald-faced lies only.

It is a Big Joyful Smile on their unbeautiful faces! This means that wicked men smile not out of kindness, but to hide their wicked intentions. In fact, their anticipations are bound to smackdown in the forthcoming national elections in Bangladesh, because some ‘Rogues supplant justice.’

You Are Reading This Thanks to Semiconductors

On 7 October 2022, the United States government implemented export controls in an effort to hinder the development of China’s semiconductor industry. An expert on the subject told the Financial Times, ‘The whole point of the policy is to kneecap China’s AI [Artificial Intelligence] and HPC [High Performance Computing] efforts’. The next day, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said:

In order to maintain its sci-tech hegemony, the US has been abusing export control measures to wantonly block and hobble Chinese enterprises. Such practice runs counter to the principle of fair competition and international trade rules. It will not only harm Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests but also hurt the interests of US companies. It will hinder international sci-tech exchange and trade cooperation and deal a blow to global industrial and supply chains and world economic recovery. By politicising tech and trade issues and using them as a tool and weapon, the US cannot hold back China’s development but will only hurt and isolate itself when its action backfires.

As part of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research’s collaboration with No Cold War, we studied the implications of these export controls with a focus on semiconductors. Briefing no. 7 teaches us about the vitality of semiconductors and why their use in the New Cold War will not bear the fruits anticipated by Washington.

On 8 April, Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul was asked to explain ‘why Americans… should be willing to spill American blood and treasure to defend Taiwan’. His answer was telling: ‘TSMC [Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company] manufactures 90% of the global supply of advanced semiconductor chips’. The interviewer noted that McCaul’s reasoning ‘sounds like the case that [was] made in the 60s, 70s, and 80s of why America was spending so much money and military resources in the Middle East [when] oil was so important for the economy’ and then asked whether semiconductor chips are ‘the 21st century version’ of oil – that is, a key driver of US foreign policy towards China.

Semiconductor chips are the building blocks of the world’s most advanced technologies (such as artificial intelligence, 5G telecommunications, and supercomputing) as well as all modern electronics. Without them, the computers, phones, cars, and devices that are essential to our everyday lives would cease to function. They are typically produced by using ultraviolet light to etch microscopic circuit patterns onto thin layers of silicon, packing billions of electrical switches called transistors onto a single fingernail-sized wafer. This technology advances through a relentless process of miniaturisation: the smaller the distance between transistors, the greater the density of transistors that can be packed onto a chip and the more computing power that can be embedded in each chip and in each facet of modern life. Today, the most advanced chips are produced with a three-nanometre (nm) process (for reference, a sheet of paper is roughly 100,000-nm thick).

The Semiconductor Supply Chain

The commercial semiconductor industry was developed in Silicon Valley, California in the late 1950s, dominated by the United States in all aspects, from research and design to manufacture and sales. From the outset, this industry held geopolitical significance, with early manufacturers selling upwards of 95% of their chips to the Pentagon or the aerospace sector. Over the subsequent decades, the US selectively offshored most of its chip manufacturing to its East Asian allies, first to Japan, then to South Korea and Taiwan. This allowed the US to reduce its capital and labour costs and stimulate the industrial development of its allies while continuing to dominate the supply chain.

Today, US firms maintain a commanding presence in chip design (e.g., Intel, AMD, Broadcom, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA) and fabrication equipment (e.g., Applied Materials, Lam Research, and KLA). Taiwan’s TSMC is the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer or foundry, accounting for an overwhelming 56% share of the global market and over 90% of advanced chip manufacturing in 2022, followed by South Korea’s Samsung, which holds a 15% share of the global market. In addition, the Dutch firm ASML is a critical player, holding a monopoly on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines needed to produce the most advanced chips below 7-nm.

The largest part of the semiconductor supply chain that lies outside of the control of the US and its allies is in China, which has developed into the world’s electronics manufacturing hub and a major technological power over the past four decades. China’s share of global chip manufacturing capacity has risen from zero in 1990 to roughly 15% in 2020. Yet, despite its sizeable developmental advances, China’s chip production capabilities still lag behind, relying on imports for the most advanced chips (in 2020, China imported $378 billion worth of semiconductors, 18% of its total imports). Meanwhile, China’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, SMIC, only has a 5% share of the global market, paling in comparison to TSMC.

The US Campaign against China

In recent years, the US has been waging an aggressive campaign to arrest China’s technological development, which it views as a serious threat to its dominance. In the words of US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Washington’s goal is to ‘maintain as large of a lead as possible’. To this end, the US has identified China’s semiconductor production capabilities as an important weakness and is trying to block the country’s access to advanced chips and chip-making technology. Under the Trump and Biden administrations, the US has placed hundreds of Chinese companies on trade and investment blacklists, including the country’s leading semiconductor manufacturer SMIC and tech giant Huawei. These restrictions have banned any company in the world that uses US products – effectively every chip designer and manufacturer – from doing business with Chinese tech firms.

The US has also pressured governments and firms around the world to impose similar restrictions. Since 2018, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have joined the US in banning Huawei from their 5G telecommunications networks while a number of European countries have implemented partial bans or restrictions. Importantly, in 2019, after more than a year of intense US lobbying, the Dutch government blocked the key firm ASML, which builds and supplies the most advanced chip-making machinery to the semiconductor industry, from exporting its equipment to China.

These policies do not only target firms; they also have a direct impact on an individual level. In October 2022, the Biden administration restricted ‘US persons’ – including citizens, residents, and green-card holders – from working for Chinese chip firms, forcing many to choose between their immigration status and their jobs. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a leading Washington, DC think tank, characterised US policy as ‘actively strangling large segments of the Chinese technology industry – strangling with an intent to kill’ (our emphasis).

Alongside its containment measures against China, the US has ramped up efforts to boost its domestic chip-making capacity. The CHIPS and Science Act, signed into law in August 2022, provides $280 billion in funding to boost the domestic US semiconductor industry and reshore production from East Asia. Washington views Taiwan’s role as the manufacturing hub of the semiconductor industry as a strategic vulnerability given its proximity to mainland China and is inducing TSMC to relocate production to Phoenix, Arizona. This pressure, in turn, is generating its own frictions in the US-Taiwan relationship.

However, US efforts are not infallible. Although China has suffered serious setbacks, it has intensified efforts to promote its domestic capacity, and there are signs of progress despite the obstacles imposed by the US. For example, in 2022, China’s SMIC reportedly achieved a significant technological breakthrough, making the leap from 14-nm to 7-nm semiconductor chips, which is on par with the global leaders Intel, TSMC, and Samsung.

A Matter of Global Importance

It is important to note that the US is not only targeting China in this conflict: Washington fears that China’s technological development will lead, through trade and investment, to the dispersal of advanced technologies more broadly throughout the world, namely, to states in the Global South that the US sees as a threat. This would be a significant blow to the US’s power over these countries. In 2020, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee decried that China was facilitating ‘digital authoritarianism’ because it has ‘been willing to go into smaller, under-served markets’ and ‘offer more cost-effective equipment than Western companies’, pointing to countries under US sanctions such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe as examples. To combat ties between Chinese tech firms and sanctioned countries, the US has taken severe legal action, fining the Chinese corporation ZTE $1.2 billion in 2017 for violating US sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The US also collaborated with Canada to arrest Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on charges of circumventing US sanctions against Iran.

Unsurprisingly, while the US has been able to consolidate support for its agenda amongst a number of its Western allies, its efforts have failed across the Global South. It is in the interest of developing countries for such advanced technologies to be dispersed as widely as possible – not to be controlled by a select few states.

If you are reading this newsletter on your smartphone, then you should know that this tiny instrument has billions of miniscule transistors that are invisible to the human eye. The scale of the developments in digital technology is staggering. Earlier conflicts took place over energy and food, but now this conflict has heated up over – amongst other matters – the resources of our digital world. This technology can be used to solve so many of our dilemmas, and yet, here we are, at the precipice of greater conflict to benefit the few over the needs of the many.

Role of Psychological Warfare in Bangladesh’s Liberation War – Part 3


American Joan Baez – sang her heart out for Bangladesh

Highly reputable American musician Joan Baez wrote and performed the song “The Story of Bangladesh” at the Concert for Bangladesh, Madison Square Garden in 1971. This song was based on the Pakistan Army crackdown on unarmed sleeping Bengali students at Dhaka University on 25 March 1971, which ignited the nine-month Bangladesh Liberation War. The song was later entitled “The Song of Bangladesh” and released in the chart-topping ‘Come From the Shadows’ album on May 1972 which is as follows:

“Bangladesh, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, Bangladesh

When the sun sinks in the west

Die a million people of the Bangladesh.

The story of Bangladesh

Is an ancient once again made fresh

By blind men who carry out commands

Which flow out of the laws upon which nation stands

Which is to sacrifice a people for a land.

Bangladesh, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, Bangladesh

When the sun sinks in the west

Die a million people of the Bangladesh.

Once again, we stand aside

And watch the families crucified

See a teenage mother’s vacant eyes

As she watches her feeble baby try

To fight the monsoon rains and the cholera flies.

And the students at the university

Asleep at night quite peacefully

The soldiers came and shot them in their beds

And terror took the dorm awakening shrieks of dread

And silent frozen forms and pillows drenched in red.

Bangladesh, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, Bangladesh

When the sun sinks in the west

Die a million people of the Bangladesh.

Did you read about the army officer’s plea

For donor’s blood? It was given willingly

By boys who took the needles in their veins

And from their bodies every drop of blood was drained

No time to comprehend and there was little pain.

And so, the story of Bangladesh

Is an ancient once again made fresh

By all who carry out commands

Which flow out of the laws upon which nations stand

Which say to sacrifice a people for a land.

Bangladesh, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, Bangladesh

When the sun sinks in the west

Die a million people of the Bangladesh.”

The song’s message was loud and clear. This powerful message further highlighted the Bangladesh cause to the international masses. It was a great feat to have a renowned star like Joan Baez stood right beside the people of Bangladesh to uphold our constitutional right and seek justice for an oppressed nation. The song was a source of inspiration and strength to the 75 million people in those dark days of turmoil, uncertainty, pain, courage and innumerable deaths that brought independent Bangladesh.

In 2011, the Government of Bangladesh came up with a list of over 500 foreign friends who have made immense contribution during the Muktijuddho and the initial years of Bangladesh. Each one of them would receive honourary award from the government in recognition of their contribution. The awards would be given in two categories – “Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sammanana” (Bangladesh Liberation War Honour) and “Muktijuddho Moitri Sammanana” (Friends of Liberation War Honour).

This list included as many as 24 international organisations, including Red Cross, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Indian radio broadcaster Akash Bani, Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, World Health Organisation, and International Labour Organisation.

The late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the first ‘foreign friend’ to be conferred with the honourary award. She was awarded ‘Bangladesh Freedom Honour’ posthumously in July 2011. Her daughter-in-law and ruling Congress president Sonia Gandhi received the honour on her behalf at a special ceremony in the Bangabhaban (President’s House) in Dhaka.

Allen Ginsberg

Famous British poet Allen Ginsberg visited the refugee camp in India during the liberation war in 1971. He wrote several poems, especially ‘September on Jessore Road’ which supported and gained fame in favour of the liberation war of Bangladesh.

Formation of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra (‘Free Bengal Radio Centre’)

It was the radio broadcasting centre of Bengali nationalist forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. This station played a vital role in liberation struggle, broadcasting the Declaration of Independence and increasing mental state of Bangladeshis during the war. In 1971, radio was the only media reaching to the far ends of Bangladesh. It ran a propaganda campaign throughout the war.

The end of British rule in India in August 1947, accompanied by the Partition of India, gave birth to a new country named Pakistan which constituted Muslim-majority areas in the far east and far west of the Indian subcontinent. The Western zone was popularly (and for a period of time, also officially) termed West Pakistan and the Eastern zone (modern-day Bangladesh) was initially termed East Bengal and later, East Pakistan. The two zones were separated by over thousand miles of Indian territory in the middle, and had vastly different culture. It was the fact that the west zone dominated the country, leading to the effective marginalization of the east zone. Growing disenchantment among the people of East Pakistan finally led to civil disobedience followed by Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

During the period of Liberation War of Bangladesh, media supported mass sentiments. They aired patriotic songs and talk shows. In the process of achieving our independence by trouncing the atrocities of the Pakistani military forces, the war-time broadcasting station ” Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra” played a vital role in increasing the mental state of the whole Bangali nation by informing us how well we are advancing towards the victory. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra reached its pinnacle during the liberation war being acclaimed as the stool pigeon of war news updates through ‘Chorom Potro’. In those days when radio was the only media reaching to the far ends of Bangladesh, Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra eventually turned as the orator of the Bangladesh government in exile. It ran the nationalist campaign throughout the war in gearing up our freedom fighters’ moral and also mobilizing world opinion in favour of Bangladesh.

Thus, during the whole period of Liberation War, Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra successfully carried out its intellectual war like an organized front and aired patriotic songs which greatly inspired the freedom fighters in their relentless fight against the Pakistan-led occupation forces, war news and talk shows to boost up people’s spirits.

Regular Features of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra

Chorompotro’ was the most popular program hosted by M. R. Akhtar Mukul. Here, he used to describe the uncomfortable position of Pak army in a funny voice and made his dialogues in Old Dhaka dialect. Chorompotro was planned by Abdul Mannan. Another popular program “Jallader Darbar” was run by Kalyan Mitra where approaches of Yahya Khan, known in the programme as “Kella Fateh Khan” were described in a funny manner. “Bojro Kontho” was the programme where speeches of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were presented.

A group of young singers used to sing inspiring songs. Many poems and songs were written for this broadcasting. One of those songs Joy Bangla Banglar Joy (Victory of Bengal) was the signature tune of the radio. Many songs of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra like Purbo Digante Surjo Uthechhe, Ekti Phoolke Bachabo Bole, Salam Salam Hajar Salam of Gobinda Haldar, became immensely popular. Singers of the station raised funds singing their songs in different parts of West Bengal.

News broadcasts were made in Bengali, English and Urdu.  Secretary of the Swadhin Bangla Betar Convener Committee Kamal Lohani recalled, “For us at the radio, it was a psychological warfare so we could say things to boost up people’s morale…”

Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra (‘Free Bengal Radio Centre’) was the radio broadcasting centre of Bengali nationalist forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. This station played a vital role in liberation struggle, broadcasting the Declaration of Independence and increasing mental state of Bangladeshis during the war. In 1971, radio was the only media reaching to the far ends of Bangladesh. It ran a propaganda campaign throughout the war.

Shadheen Bangla Betar Kendra reached its pinnacle during the liberation war being acclaimed as the stool pigeon of war news updates through ‘Chorom Potro’. In those days when radio was the only media reaching to the far ends of Bangladesh, Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra eventually turned as the orator of the Bangladesh government in exile. It ran the nationalist campaign throughout the war in gearing up our freedom fighters’ moral and also mobilizing world opinion in favour of Bangladesh.


Fifty Years After Chile’s Coup, the First Year of Popular Unity


Ten days after the 1973 coup against the Popular Unity (UP) government of President Salvador Allende, the military opened the Río Chico concentration camp on Dawson Island, located in the Strait of Magellan, near the southern tip of Chile. The island had served as an extermination camp by a Catholic order between 1891 and 1911 to confine the Selk’nam and Kawésqar peoples, who died due to overcrowding, the spread of disease, and the cold.

The coup regime sent 38 officials of the UP government to the Compañía de Ingenieros del Cuerpo de Infantería Marina (COMPINGIM) naval base and then to the Río Chico camp. It also sent hundreds of political prisoners to Punta Arenas, near Dawson Island. The officials were interrogated, tortured, and forced to work on the island’s infrastructure. The Río Chico camp was dismantled in 1974.

One of the prisoners at the camp was Miguel Lawner, an architect who led the government’s Urban Improvement Corporation (CORMU). During his imprisonment, Lawner walked around the prison to calculate the size of his room, the buildings at the camp, and the camp itself. He drew the layout for the camp but then destroyed it for fear of discovery by the guards. When he was in exile in Denmark in 1976, Lawner redrew the plans from memory. “The function creates the organ,” he said. “I developed an organ: the drawing, capable of fulfilling the function of leaving testimony of our captivity.”

During his imprisonment, Lawner told me, he worried that the military might accuse him of corruption for his leadership of CORMU. “I was trying to calculate how many millions of dollars had been [spent] in my name,” he recalled. “I calculated it to be between $150 million and $180 million. Later, I learned that the military spent six months investigating me and came to the conclusion that they owed me a per diem!”

The UP government (1970-1973) felt that the ministries of Housing and Public Works should be the engine of the economy, as “the two easiest institutions to mobilize,” Lawner said. Other areas, such as industrialization, “required more prolonged prior studies.” “In housing,” Lawner told me, “if you have a vacant lot, the next day you can be building.” In addition, there was a huge need for housing. The CORMU management decided to speed up the bureaucratic procedures and authorize the immediate disbursement of funds through an official, who was Lawner. “Our first year of government was a year of marvelous irresponsibility,” Lawner told me with a smile on his face.

Never Deviate From the Fundamentals

During the 1970 campaign for the presidency, Lawner accompanied Allende to a camp on the banks of the Mapocho River, where the people lived “outside the walls of society.” As they left the camp, Allende said to Lawner, “Even if things go badly for us, to get these comrades out of the mud—for that, it would be worthwhile for them to elect me president.” One year into the government, Lawner said, “We delivered the first houses of Villa San Luis. In April ’72 we had this project completely delivered: a thousand houses, the great majority of which corresponded to these two camps, el encanto and el ejemplo, which sat on the banks of the Mapocho River.” The main task of the UP government, he said, was “to resolve the fundamental demands of the sectors that had always been dispossessed.”

Under Lawner’s leadership, the CORMU officials—not all of them part of the UP project—postponed vacations and worked without overtime pay. “We gave all these officials the conviction that they were operating for the benefit of the common good and not, obviously, for the enrichment of a private company or the banks. In other words, they knew that they were working so that people could live better.” Also, he said, the objective of “making things beautiful” was imposed, arguing “that in social housing, beauty does not have to be the birthright only of the rich.”

The Explosion of the Countryside

Lawner recalled his great pride at the UP government’s nationalization of copper, its delivery of houses, and its role in the “explosion of the agrarian world.” The agrarian reform and the law for peasant unionization were passed in 1962, before the UP government. However, agrarian workers “continued to exist like serfs from feudal times,” Lawner noted. A week into his presidency, Allende was invited by the peasants of Araucanía to a meeting to which he brought his minister of agriculture, Jacques Chonchol. When an Indigenous leader spoke, Allende leaned over to Chonchol and said, “Listen, minister, I think you should remain here.” The minister, who “had to send for even his toothbrush,” remained there for three months, beginning his term installed in the countryside. Half a million hectares were transferred to the landless in the first year of the government.

The UP’s first year, Lawner recalled, was a “year of unbridled aspirations.” “For a person like me who was never a public official, the feeling of power is infinite, and the conviction that you are capable of doing anything is equally infinite… we promised more than we were capable of doing [having done three or four times more than the most that had ever been done in the history of the housing ministry], but everything we could do was done because of what is now lacking: the commitment of the officials. You have to have good leadership, it is true, but if you don’t have the commitment of the base, there is nothing you can do.”

Generations Contaminated by the Model

When we talked about the differences between the experiences at the end of the first year of the UP and the first year of Chile’s current President Gabriel Boric’s progressive government, Lawner pointed out that, in Chile “we have effectively been fed for 50 years the neoliberal doctrine of a formation contradictory to what you require in a progressive government. Imperceptibly, generations were formed that are, in my opinion, corrupted by the model. It is incomprehensible to them any other way.”

The current president of Chile’s Senate is Juan Antonio Coloma, a man of the extreme right. “When the 50th anniversary of the coup comes this September,” Lawner told me, “Coloma will be the country’s second most important political official.” Fascism’s rise, he said, is a global phenomenon, not only taking place in Chile. But Lawner does not despair. “You cannot determine when there is a spark that lights the fire again, but there is no doubt that it is going to happen.”

Credit Line: This article was produced by Globetrotter.

Role of Psychological Warfare in Bangladesh’s Liberation War of 1971 – Part 1



Sun Tzu’s famous quote is pertinent here, “To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” Psychological warfare, also called psywar, the use of propaganda against an enemy, supported by such military, economic, or political measures as may be required.

Since the recorded history of warfare, a wide variety of psychological, propaganda, deception, subversion methods and tools have been used to gain a position of advantage against an adversary with the aim to ultimately win, with or without the use of kinetic force. Therefore, the primary aim of psywar is to target the cognitive domains so as to inform, influence, persuade and shape the perception of the targeted population, leaders as well as rank and file of security forces.

Psychological warfare

In 1971, apart from Indian psychological warfare, Bangladesh government in exile also launched an all-out psychological warfare on block-buster level against Pakistani Army and their local buddies in the-then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

Declaration of Independence

In his last message, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called upon the people to resist the occupation forces. Mujib was arrested on the night of 25–26 March 1971 at about 1:30 am (as per Radio Pakistan’s news on 29 March 1971).

The world press reports from late March 1971 also make clear that Bangladesh’s declaration of independence by Bangabandhu was widely reported throughout the world.

What was the role of media in Bangladesh

In this war the media, mainly the Radio, played an important role in inspiring the freedom fighters to go forward with brevity. Besides, in 1971, World Media also played a greater role in the war of independence of Bangladesh publishing the reports on war in world level.

What was India’s role in the Bangladesh War

The 1971 war against Pakistan was not a war won by India alone. It was a war jointly won by India and the people of the-then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). India’s great role has always been lauded in Bangladesh for attaining our own homeland in 1971.

How is the war of 1971 remembered in Bangladesh?

Fifty-two years after the 1971 war, which led to the independence of Bangladesh, each country involved in the battle institutionalised a distinct memory of the events of that year. In Bangladesh, the war is remembered as the Bengali people’s struggle against an oppressive Pakistan army and its local brutish.

The Role of International Media & Artists

The War of Liberation of 1971 was fought not only by the brave Mukti Bahinis (Freedom Fighters). The creation of Bangladesh also supported through the coverage it received in the international media and artists. Journalists brought home to the people of the world the story of the trials and sacrifices of the heroic people of Bangladesh, and the tribulations they were facing under the insensitive and brutal military administration of the occupying armed forces of Pakistan and their local mango-twigs.

Simon Dring, The Daily Telegraph, London

The first major expose of what had happened in the early hours of 26 March was done by Simon Dring, the young ‘Daily Telegraph’ reporter from London. He had flown into Dhaka on 6 March to cover the growing political tension and then eluded Pakistani search parties (that were entrusted with the task of expelling foreign correspondents). He managed to stay on and presented to the outside world his first-hand account of the fighting that had broken out in the stricken state. He left Dhaka on the weekend after 26 March and filed a special report on the sudden mass crackdown in Dhaka. He was the first to point out on 30 March 1971 that more than 7,000 Bengalis had been slaughtered in Dhaka over 48 hours. It was also clear from his article that the army had struck without warning, under the cover of darkness and that these factors were responsible for enormous casualties.

Anthony Mascarenhas

Bangladesh war: The article that changed history ‘Genocide’ in Sunday Times on 13 June, 1971.

On that day, an article in the UK’s Sunday Times exposed the brutality of Pakistan’s suppression of the Bangladesh’s people’s uprising. It forced the reporter’s family into hiding and changed history.

Abdul Bari had run out of luck. Like thousands of other people in the-then East Pakistan, he had made the mistake the fatal mistake of running within sight of a Pakistani patrol. He was 24 years old, a slight man surrounded by soldiers. He was trembling because he was about to be shot. So, started one of the most influential pieces of South Asian journalism of the past half century.

Written by Anthony Mascarenhas, a Pakistani reporter, and printed in the UK’s Sunday Times, it exposed for the first time the scale of the Pakistan army’s brutal campaign to suppress its breakaway eastern province in 1971. Three million people were brutally murdered by Pakistani Army and their local mango-twigs, especially Jamaat-e-Islami mass-murderers.

Mascarenhas’ reportage played its part and it helped turn world opinion against Pakistan and encouraged India to play a decisive role.

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi told the-then editor of the Sunday Times, Harold Evans, that the article had shocked her so deeply it had set her “on a campaign of personal diplomacy in the European capitals and Moscow to prepare the ground for India’s armed intervention,” he recalled.

Mascarenhas was, Evans wrote in his memoirs, “just a very good reporter doing an honest job.”

He was also very brave. Pakistan, at the time, was run by the military, and he knew that he would have to get himself and his family out of the country before the story could be published – not an easy task in those days.

“His mother always told him to stand up and speak the truth and be counted,” Mascarenhas’s widow, Yvonne, recalled (he died in 1986). “He used to tell me, put a mountain before me and I’ll climb it. He was never daunted.”

When the war in what was the-then East Pakistan broke out in March 1971, Mascarenhas was a respected journalist in Karachi, the main city in the country’s dominant western wing, on good terms with the country’s ruling elite. He was a member of the city’s small community of Goan Christians, and he and Yvonne had five children.

The conflict was sparked by elections, which were won by an East Pakistan party, the Awami League under the able and dynamic leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which wanted greater autonomy for the region.

While the political parties and the military argued over the formation of a new government, many Bengalis became convinced that West Pakistan was deliberately blocking their cherished desire.

The situation started to become flog with or as if with an inflexible rod. The Awami League launched a campaign of civil disobedience, and the army flew in thousands of reinforcements.

On the evening of 25 March, it launched a pre-emptive strike against the Awami League, and other perceived opponents, including members of the intelligentsia and the Hindu community, who at that time made up about 20% of the province’s 75 million people.

In the first of many notorious war crimes, soldiers attacked Dhaka University, lining up and executing students and professors. Their campaign of terror then moved into the countryside, where they battled local troops who had mutinied.

(To be continued…)

1 2 3 5