Coffee, Tea or Pee?


In late 1970s when I was in graduate school in New Jersey, the late prime minister of India, Mr. Morarji Desai, was the focus of a CBS 60-minutes interview extolling the virtues of drinking urine. It provided Pakistani students an opportunity to embarrass our fellow students and friends from India. When our Indian friends showed up for a visit, my roommate politely asked them whether they would like to have "coffee, tea or pee". It was all in good fun and we all laughed it off.

Fast forward thirty years. The joke appears to be turning into reality with the expected launch of a drink "Gau Jal" in India. It is being touted as the "Hindu Nationalists' answer to Coke" by the RSS.

"Don't worry, it won't smell like urine and will be tasty too," Om Prakash of the RSS told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges. "Its USP will be that it's going to be very healthy. It won't be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins."

Many Hindus consider cow urine to have medicinal properties and it is often drunk in religious festivals.

Since 2001, the RSS and its offshoots – which include the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party – have been promoting cow urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.

The Hindu organization, which aims to transform India's secular society and establish the supremacy of a Hindu majority (often referred to as Hindutva), said it had not yet decided on a name or a price for the drink.

My marketing suggestion to the RSS is to brand this new concoction as "Desai Cola" in honor of the late Indian prime minister who was the first to promote the benefits of urine to the world on a major TV show. The ads for this new invention should boldly ask the prospects, "Does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing?" And then offer "Desai Cola" as the answer. In spite of its "medicinal properties" the RSS should price it competitively with other cola drinks such as Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola to rapidly gain a large market share. The RSS should also consider hiring some of the smart middle-class Indian graduates from Harvard Stanford and Wharton Business schools, kids with certifiable RSS sympathies, to give their product international recognition.

Related Links:

Hindus plan cow urine drink to rival Western sodas

Sonal Shah to Help Divide Obama's Victory Spoils

India to Launch Cow Urine Drink as Coke Alternative

Hindu Nationalists' Government in Exile?

India's Guantanamos and Abu Ghraibs

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Riaz Haq said…
Indian MPs angry at possible ban on Bhagvad Gita in Russia, according to BBC:

Indian MPs have expressed outrage and forced an adjournment of parliament in protest at a court case in Russia that could see a Hindu holy book banned.

MPs demanded the government protect Hindu rights, shouting: "We will not tolerate an insult to Lord Krishna."

State prosecutors in Tomsk argue the Bhagvad Gita is an extremist religious text and want it put on a list that includes Hitler's Mein Kampf.

They say it sows social discord and want its distribution banned.

Russia recognises freedom of religion among its four main faiths, Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism.
'Diplomatic protest'

The Tomsk case concerns a Russian translation of the Bhagvad Gita.

The book is central to Hare Krishna and dozens of the movement's adherents protested outside the Russian consulate in Calcutta on Monday.

The court in Tomsk on Monday suspended its ruling until 28 December to seek the opinion of the Russian ombudsman and religious experts.

Bhartruhari Mahtab, leader of the Biju Janata Dal, brought up the issue in the Indian parliament on Monday.

He said: "I want to know from the government what it is doing. The religious rights of Hindus in Russia should be protected. The government should impress upon the Russian authorities through diplomatic channels."

The speaker of parliament rejected requests for speeches on the subject and was forced to adjourn amid protests.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16251763
Riaz Haq said…
#India's #Modi claims ancient #Hindus did plastic surgery, found stem cells, built TV, nukes, missiles,airplanes,cars http://on.ft.com/1AxgDrG

Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister, has relaunched his country’s controversial claims to some of the world’s greatest scientific achievements with his suggestion that ancient India was adept at genetics and plastic surgery, including the grafting of the elephant’s head onto the god Ganesh.

His remarks – ironically made at the opening of a high-tech hospital in Mumbai – have revived a political debate about the growing influence of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the Organisation of National Volunteers) over the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party.

Hindu fundamentalists are delighted by Mr Modi’s words, left-wingers are appalled or mocking and many foreigners are simply bemused that India’s real cultural, scientific and medical achievements are being overshadowed by simplistic references to the mythological past.

“For the intelligentsia and the educated people it’s so preposterous and absurd I think they don’t want to comment on it,” says political commentator Vinod Mehta. He argues that Mr Modi is currying favour with the Hindu right to secure their support. “Periodically you will hear him say these kinds of thing. I don’t think there’s a 1 per cent chance that the prime minister believes it.”

Here are five types of achievements claimed for ancient India:

• Stem cell research and other medical advances such as plastic surgery: Mr Modi mentioned the miraculous birth of the warrior king Karna in the Mahabharata, the Hindu epic, outside his mother’s womb as evidence that “genetic science was present at that time”. As for Ganesh, he said there must have been a surgeon who grafted the elephant head onto a human body “and began the practice of plastic surgery”.



• Cars and aircraft: Indian legends refer to horseless chariots and to aeroplane-like vehicles called vimanas. In the Mahabharata, the hero Arjuna, for example, sees “an incredible ship of the sky” which lands softly on the ground. “Wonderful lights flashed on the vimana’s smooth body. As Arjuna rose and approached the craft, a door opened at its side and a flight of steps flowed out from it.”



• Nuclear weapons and high-speed missiles: Arjuna’s arrows are often likened to missiles, sometimes with deadly payloads. At one point he shoots “a silver shaft charged with that final weapon” at his enemies. “It is an adamantine thunderbolt… Like a small sun, it erupts among the Trigarta legions and nine of every ten men Susharma brought to war are pillars of ash.”



•Televsion: A controversial book by retired schoolteacher Dinanath Batra, distributed in schools in Mr Modi’s home state of Gujarat, lays claim not only to motorcars and stem cell research but also to television in ancient India. Indian sages, it says, use their yogic powers to attain visions, and one royal adviser receives a live telecast of the battle of Mahabharata. “There is no doubt that the invention of television goes back to this.”



• Mathematics: Like the claim to longstanding medical knowledge, this is based on real achievements in ancient times, even if many recent advances have been made beyond India’s frontiers. In particular India is credited with the system that became known as the “Arabic” numerals 0-9. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
Riaz Haq said…
Cow #dung cakes found in #Indian passenger’s luggage at #US airport. Speaking to Fox News, US Customs officials said that cow dung from India is prohibited in the US since it has the potential of importing foot and mouth disease. https://www.indiatoday.in/trending-news/story/cow-dung-cakes-found-in-indian-passenger-s-luggage-at-us-airport-full-story-here-1801682-2021-05-12?utm_source=twshare&utm_medium=socialicons&utm_campaign=shareurltracking via @indiatoday

Cow dung cakes were found inside an Indian passenger’s suitcase that had been left behind at the Washington Dulles International Airport last month. Officials with US Customs and Border Protection said on Monday that agents found the cow dung cakes after passengers cleared the inspection area on April 4, 2021.

Authorities examining leftover baggage found the cow dung cakes in unclaimed luggage from an Air India flight, Fox News reports. A spokesperson for CBP said that officials inspect baggage left behind frequently.

Speaking to Fox News, officials said that cow dung from India is prohibited in the US since it has the potential of importing foot and mouth disease. It can spread widely leading to “significant economic losses to livestock populations,” the US Department of Agriculture said.

The cow dung cakes, thus found in the bag, were destroyed.

“Foot and Mouth Disease is one of the animal diseases that livestock owners dread most, has grave economic consequences, and it is a critical threat focus of Customs and Border Protection’s agriculture protection mission. CBP’s agriculture specialists are our nation’s frontline protectors of vital agricultural and natural resources that help keep our nation’s economy strong and robust,”Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office, said in a press release cited by Fox News.

Cow dung is used as a cooking source in some parts of the world. It is primarily used in rural areas as villagers collect manure from cows and dry it, so as to use cow dung cakes for fuel. It also serves as a cheap and good fertiliser.
Riaz Haq said…
Why is Pakistan’s government asking people to drink less tea?
The country is grappling with a debt crisis

https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2022/06/21/why-is-pakistans-government-asking-people-to-drink-less-tea


On june 14th Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s minister for planning and development, appealed to people “to cut down the consumption of tea by one to two cups” a day to help preserve the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves. Cries of “austeri-tea” soon made their way across social media. The average Pakistani sips at least three cups a day. So why is the Pakistan’s government asking them to drink less tea?

Pakistan imports some $600m of tea each year. But the government coffers hold less than $9bn in foreign reserves. That is a drop of more than 50% since August and barely enough to cover 45 days of imports of all goods. It owes some $129bn to foreign lenders. On June 21st representatives from the United Nations Development Programme met officials in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, to discuss the country’s economic crisis.

Food and fuel prices are rising across the world. In Pakistan annual inflation hit 13.8% in May, the highest in two-and-a-half years. But decades of economic mismanagement have triggered a string of balance-of-payment crises. The country has spent 22 of the past 30 years in some kind of International Monetary Fund (imf) programme. The pandemic and war in Ukraine have further battered the ailing economy. On June 21st the rupee hit a record low against the dollar. And the budget deficit is 8.6% of gdp, well above the government’s previous target of 7.1%. Recent political instability has not helped matters. Imran Khan, the former prime minister, was ousted in April and replaced by Shehbaz Sharif. Mr Khan has sought to destabilise the new government ever since.

Still, there are signs that Mr Sharif’s new government is restoring some order to the economy. On June 10th Miftah Ismail, the finance minister, presented a budget full of cost-saving measures. He increased the taxes on the banking sector by three percentage points and reduced the target for the budget deficit to 4.9% of gdp. He also promised to revoke fuel subsidies that cost the government $600m each month. On June 17th, the government increased fuel prices by 29%—the third increase in a month. Such moves will be painful but are aimed at coaxing the imf into disbursing the remaining half of a $6bn rescue package, without which Pakistan may default on its debt obligations.

But the imf is fed up with Pakistan’s long history of empty promises. Between 1996 and 1997 the government fiddled with the budget-deficit figures to reduce it by $2bn in order to secure a bailout from the fund. Citigroup, an American bank, predicts that the new budget announcements will not be enough to sway the fund.

The tea-based austerity is not the first time that the government has used a spoon to dig itself out of a hole. In 2018 officials were asked to replace meals with biscuits during meetings to cut costs. But difficult structural reforms, rather than cutting down on tea, will be necessary to save Pakistan’s economy from plunging deeper into crisis.

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