Wednesday, March 28, 2012

After the Seige - Terrorism is Never the Solution

I woke up this morning to the sound of silence. That's not a sound that is heard around here normally. The last time I heard it was election day when the city was again in fear of violence. I was a little nervous to go out of my bedroom door this morning since I didn't know what was out there. I was surprised when I did go out. The Khanda flags were there, but not many. Out of about 250 houses that I can see I only saw about 15 flags and 6 of those were on one building and 2 on one other. So not that many houses had them. Our next door neighbor is Sikh, they did not have one. Jagdeep is Sikh and his family had not put out the flag. The only neighbor I'm familiar with that had one was the trouble making family.

I ventured to the end of the lower terrace and looked out into the streets. They were almost completely bare. The children had all realized how empty they were and were happily out playing and riding bikes as if this were a playground. It was cute, some little boy got his training wheel stuck on a manhole cover and was struggling to get it undone. Other kids were running by him and he was just rocking the bike trying to get moving. As I had heard, the shops in the street were closed. There seemed to be more laundry out today than usual though. I guess the women all stayed home and did laundry early since they couldn't run their morning errands.

I went to the upper terrace and looked around and the streets were just silent everywhere. I didn't hear any rickshaws, only a motorcycle once in a while and there was none of the usual temple music or people talking and horns honking to let you know a wala was nearby. It was too quiet. I didn't stay out too long but managed to get some pictures of the flags that were out.

I noticed that not only were there saffron flags up that weren't there before but now some houses also had Indian flags. This is to promote that citizens of this country are all Indian and should stop segregating themselves with so many titles and just be Indian. (Not the exact wording of the cause but you get the idea.) Here's a few of the things that did happen across Punjab today. Keep in mind, all this protesting did was hurt India. No good has come from it. The law would have been sufficient enough to stop the execution and it did. But, some people just want to be violent regardless and took it upon themselves to further destroy this country, at least for one day.
  • Medical students in Mukstar taking an exam were disrupted. = How do you think that helps them progress in life??
  • In Lehragaga people threw stones at each other = Didn't that get old 2000 years ago?
  • 6 people were injured in a fight in Patiala
  • Open stores in Jalhander had stones thrown at them = So normal people aren't allowed to support their family? The closing was requested of Sikh business owners. What if these were Hindu's or Jains or Christians? They weren't asked to close and now you cost them money in damages and try to take away their right to earn money and support their families?  
  • "Skirmishes" occurred in 7 cities between Hindu activists and Sikh protesters
  • 2 trains were stopped by sword wielding protesters in Hoshiarpur = So you can't have a normal life at home and you're not allowed to leave either?
  • Sikh youth's brandished swords and rode motorcycles through the streets chanting slogans
  • In Lehra and Tapa businesses were forcibly shut down by protesters
Obviously, the primary accomplishment of the bandh was to cripple life across Punjab. Terrorism was used to support a terrorist. Thankfully the events of the day were minor but what are the repercussions going to be? You see, these groups didn't just terrorize Hindu's, Jains, etc. They also hurt themselves. They too lost a days wages which can hurt a lot more than most people realize here in India. Some people rely on the wages they make in one day to feed their families at night. So how many families went hungry tonight because the father couldn't go out and drive his rickshaw or peddle his goods? A good number of those people are Sikhs. 

And let's not forget about the farmers (a significant number are Sikhs) who couldn't sell their crops today and will suffer a set back until they can get the good sold. They don't come to town with a bushel or a gallon, they bring in truckloads and will now have to either forfeit the loads for today or try to add them in and convince store owners to purchase the overages before they rot. That means they will likely have to lower prices and this has been a serious issue here in the last 12 months. They already sell for less than it costs to raise some crops and their costs are not being subsidized by the government.

And before anyone says they could have eaten at the free langur at the temple, think again. It may have been open but getting there could have been life threatening at best. After all, that's where the main protests were here in Amritsar. Other cities were no safer. Actually it looks like Amritsar was the most peaceful out of all the terrorized cities. 

The Times of India: Centre stays hanging of Rajoana, bandh cripples life in Punjab 
The Times of India: Punjab bandh turns violent in support of Rajoana's clemency 
Express Buzz: Rajoana hanging: Tight security across Punjab 
Deccan Herald: Shutdown affects Punjab, Rajoana appeals for peace 
The Hindu: Centre stays hanging of Rajoana 


  1. well i found your white tax post highly biased
    you do not understand that tourist industry is meant to make money and support economy. the foreigners come here for tourist purpose and are not citizen of this country they got 50 times more value for their money so 750rs ticket for foreigner is not big deal but its for an Indian. if they charge rs 10 from foreigner how could they run and maintain historic and tourist places and what about those people who live off on this industry.
    so its easy make remarks like white tax and giving advise how to avoid them.
    its realty of every where in the world about tourist places if not at least it is in Asia though.and if its double standard so be it and it should be. and why westerns don't charge less from those tourist coming from poor countries. and if you would expect a poor foreigner coming here and living lavishly than rich Indian its not going to happen.
    i hope you would get the point

  2. Then you don't understand the laws of supply and demand. It costs the same to maintain any tourist attraction whether a poor person or a rich person visits. Also, not all white or foreign visitors are rich. There are several impoverished nations with white residents that can't afford the price difference and India doesn't make any allowances for them. Nor do hotel owners here in India charge poor customers less. The reality is simple, if you can't afford it, then you don't go. Other nations don't charge less for tourist destinations because of equality. Everyone is charged equally rather than forcing the perceived wealthier visitors to pay exorbitant prices to cover their losses from giving away services to poor people.

  3. Surprised that nobody has pointed out yet that the different entrance fees are not for wealthier foreigners only, but for foreigners, period. The Indian government subsidises the entry rate for all Indian citizens, so that rich and poor Indians alike can enjoy the Taj Mahal. This means that the entry rate is actually Rs. 300, but the Indian government pays the difference to the Archaeological Survey of India for every ticket sold for Rs. 10. Since the American, French and British governments aren't reimbursing the ASI the difference for the lower rates, their citizen-tourists have to pay the full price. Where it goes wrong is in the implementation. American-born Indians get away paying the lower rate because of their "looks" while naturalised Indians or even Northeastern Indians are harassed to pay the higher rate because they don't look "Indian." The solution is to have everyone show their IDs regardless of how they look, when purchasing tickets.

  4. but what about the money which become 50 times after conversion  

  5. wonderful point i missed that
    there is nothing called race tax after all its money making industry and foreigner especially European supposed to pay more or should pay more because of currency difference 

  6.  Currency difference yes agreed, but do you know the cost of life in Europe? 750 rupees makes about 20 Swiss francs on the top of my head, it's the price of a meal in a regular non fancy cafe in my home country, or the price of a movie tickets without the snacks.
    The average Swiss salary is around 3500 CHF net a month, a single person or a childless couple rents a 1BHK in a city like Geneva it will set you at least 1200CHF in rent, forget ever being able to buy your own flats, developpers don't sell them, they rent and pass the properties in their whole to their kids who will continue renting. While I was living there I was living in a crappy very tiny studio appartment (meaning one room, and a tiny stove in the room itself) this set me at 660CHF a month. Health insurances are compulsory and you need to shop around because the law states you have to seek your own private insurance, it's around 400 CHF a month per adult, and you still pay all medical bills at 10% copay, Switzerland is the country in Europe where medical services cost the most. A coupon clipper, bargain saver monthly grocery bill is 300-400 CHF. the Net salary means 10% of it has been taken at the source to pay for social insurances and national pension plan, and then out your net salary you still pay about 25% in the math, there isn't much left, people spend a whole year planning a trip to places like India back home, saving here and there as much as they can.
    So while yes I don't contest the Taj Mahal entry price thing. I find your "European should pay more than Indian because of currency exchange" tacky, innappropriate and disgusting, because this is the attitude taxi drivers, autowallas, snack shops, bazaar people have "Foreigner = RICH" this is complete utter total BS and that is the "white tax" that should be curbed.
    Beside I am married to an Indian, have been living in India for 8.5 years, have an Indian daughter, and yet I still get these same people mentionned above telling me "You rich me poor" I don't work myself, I live on my hubby's income, oh and Indian income by the way.

    Once again time for India to stop justifying the unjustifiable and stop to make excuses for every freaking thing!

  7.  Not to mention that in European country you have concession prices for unemployed, senior citizens and Students, the catch is that you have to provide the ID proof to avail them, it's a system based on fairness, not skin and hair colour. You are unemployed you get a card that says so from the social services or unemployment bureau in your country, you are a student, the school or university issues you a card saying so on request. You are a senior citizen and your ID card with the date of birth proves it!

  8. I agree with Cyn about the currency exchange position. While I completely support the logic behind the differential rates in India, I hold that it should be (and on paper it is) based on fairness and access for all Indian citizens, and reject the argument that foreigners should pay more because they are richer.

  9.  not to mention many Indians earn more than some foreigners and still pay the subsidized rate just because they are Indian, it's not fair at all, because they can afford the full price and by paying the "Indina price" they put a burden on the governement who has to pay back the difference to the ASI
    Also NRIs who work abroad but hold an Indian passport and come back to India for holidays still get to pay the Indian rate even if ID proof is asked just because they are Indian citizens, but hello? they don't pay taxes in India so why should they get the subsidized price. There are however foreigners working in India that aren't married to Indian and not eligible for PIO who still have to pay the full price because they are foreigners, while they pay the taxes in the country itself, some monuments accept the pan card as a proof and let them go at subsidized fare, but not all.

  10. that's what i mentioned about currency exchange 
    and BTW the term European refers here people of European descent living in developed countries but not all European people

  11. lol rich pay more is american phenomena not indian

  12. It was mentioned they're for foreigners or anyone that looks foreign. But the post wasn't just about entrance fees, it was about how foreigners are routinely overcharged for just about everything.

    I understand the difference and the reimbursement now but that still doesn't cover why rickshaw drivers, shop owners and such do the same thing. Their goods don't cost more because a tourist purchases them and the government isn't subsidizing their prices so they can sell to poor people either.

  13. The conversion doesn't even matter. Things cost more in our country so we make more. It's not even relevant to here. We pay in rupees like everyone else while we're here. Our paycheck shouldn't matter when it comes to their prices no matter what. And I live in India, many gori's do. But we are still overcharged despite the fact some of us earn in rupees not Euro's or dollars, etc.

  14. Great summation. You're right because not all foreigners are richer. Students come here from other countries on fellows programs or to study and they have no money. They're just as poor as any student would be.

  15. Prices are fixed in the US. No one pays more based on their income. They do have the option of buying higher quality items which will cost more but they are free to buy the cheaper items and the price always stays the same. It's not raised because they have more money.