Archive for February, 2018

Crime Fiction Live in UP …

Posted on February 26, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought |

https://thewire.in/226426/chronicle-crime-fiction-adityanaths-encounter-raj/

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Rich/Powerful n Banking …

Posted on February 22, 2018. Filed under: Personalities |

https://thewire.in/225884/india-incs-recent-scams-turn-laws-outlaws/

https://thewire.in/226548/public-sector-banks-dont-monopoly-fraud/

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Corruption Levels 2017 …

Posted on February 22, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought |

From India Today –

India has been ranked 81st in the global corruption perception index for 2017, released by Transparency International, which named the country among the “worst offenders” in terms of graft and press freedom in the Asia Pacific region.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, placed India at the 81st place. In  2016 India was in placed in the 79th position among 176 countries.

The index uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.  India’s score in the latest ranking, however, remained unchanged at 40. In 2015, the score was 38. The neighbouring Pakistan was placed at 117th position with their score at 32.

Transparency International further said, “in some countries across the region (Asia Pacific), journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies are threatened, and in the worst cases, even murdered”.

“Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst regional offenders in this respect. These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths,” it added.

In the last six years, 15 journalists working on corruption stories in these countries were murdered, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In the latest ranking New Zealand and Denmark were placed the highest, with scores of 89 and 88, respectively. On the other hand Syria, South Sudan and Somalia were ranked lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9, respectively.

Meanwhile, China with a score of 41 was ranked 77th on the list, while Brazil was placed at 96th with a score of 37 and Russia was at the 135th place with a score of 29.

Further analysis of the results indicates that countries with the least protection for press and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption.

The analysis, which incorporates data from CPJ, showed that in the last six years, 9 out of 10 journalists were killed in countries that score 45 or less on the index.

“No activist or reporter should have to fear for their lives when speaking out against corruption. Given current crackdowns on both civil society and the media worldwide, we need to do more to protect those who speak up,” Transparency International Managing Director Patricia Moreira said.

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Rajputs – Why they Lost …

Posted on February 21, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career, Regimental, Uncategorized |

From Scroll.in ……  They were defeated by Ghazni, Ghuri, Khilji, Babur, Akbar, the Marathas and the British.

A thousand years ago, Rajput kings ruled much of North India. Then they lost to Ghazni, lost to Ghuri, lost to Khilji, lost to Babur, lost to Akbar, lost to the Marathas, and keeled over before the British. The Marathas and Brits hardly count since the Rajputs were a spent force by the time Akbar was done with them. Having been confined to an arid part of the subcontinent by the early Sultans, they were reduced to vassals by the Mughals.

The three most famous Rajput heroes not only took a beating in crucial engagements, but also retreated from the field of battle. Prithviraj Chauhan was captured while bolting and executed after the second battle of Tarain in 1192 CE, while Rana Sanga got away after losing to Babur at Khanua in 1527, as did Rana Pratap after the battle of Haldighati in 1576. To compensate for, or explain away, these debacles, the bards of Rajputana replaced history with legend.

It is worth asking, surely, what made Rajputs such specialists in failure. Yet, the question hardly ever comes up. When it does, the usual explanation is that the Rajputs faced Muslim invaders whose fanaticism was their strength. Nothing could be further than the truth. Muslim rulers did use the language of faith to energise their troops, but commitment is only the first step to victory. The Rajputs themselves never lacked commitment, and their courage invariably drew the praise of their enemies.

Even a historian as fundamentalist as Badayuni rhapsodised about Rajput valour. Babur wrote that his troops were unnerved, ahead of the Khanua engagement, by the reputed fierceness of Rana Sanga’s forces, their willingness to fight to the death.

Let’s cancel out courage and fanaticism as explanations, then, for each side displayed these in equal measure. What remains is discipline, technical and technological prowess, and tactical acumen. In each of these departments, the Rajputs were found wanting. Their opponents, usually Turkic, used a complex battle plan involving up to five different divisions. Fleet, mounted archers would harry opponents at the start, and often make a strategic retreat, inducing their enemy to charge into an ambush.

Behind these stood the central division and two flanks. While the centre absorbed the brunt of the enemy’s thrust, the flanks would wheel around to surround and hem in opponents. Finally, there was a reserve that could be pressed into action wherever necessary. Communication channels between divisions were quick and answered to a clear hierarchy that was based largely on merit.

Contrast this with the Rajput system, which was simple, predictable, and profoundly foolish, consisting of a headlong attack with no Plan B. In campaigns against forces that had come through the Khyber Pass, Rajputs usually had a massive numerical advantage. Prithviraj’s troops outnumbered Ghuri’s at the second battle of Tarain by perhaps three to one. At Khanua, Rana Sanga commanded at least four soldiers for every one available to Babur. Unlike Sanga’s forces, though, Babur’s were hardy veterans.

After defeating Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat, the founder of the Mughal dynasty had the option of using the generals he inherited from the Delhi Sultan, but preferred to stick with soldiers he trusted. He knew numbers are meaningless except when acting on a coherent strategy under a unified command. Rajput troops rarely answered to one leader, because each member of the confederacy would have his own prestige and ego to uphold. Caste considerations made meritocracy impossible. The enemy general might be a freed Abyssinian slave, but Rajput leadership was decided by clan membership.

Absent meritocratic promotion, an established chain of command, a good communication system, and a contingency plan, Rajput forces were regularly taken apart by the opposition’s mobile cavalry. Occasionally, as with the composite bows and light armour of Ghuri’s horsemen, or the matchlocks employed by Babur, technological advances played a role in the outcome.

Ossified Tactics

What’s astonishing is that centuries of being out-thought and out-manoeuvred had no impact on the Rajput approach to war. Rana Pratap used precisely the same full frontal attack at Haldighati in 1576 that had failed so often before. Haldighati was a minor clash by the standards of Tarain and Khanua. Pratap was at the head of perhaps 3,000 men and faced about 5,000 Mughal troops. The encounter was far from the Hindu Rajput versus Muslim confrontation it is often made out to be.

Rana Pratap had on his side a force of Bhil archers, as well as the assistance of Hakim Shah of the Sur clan, which had ruled North India before Akbar’s rise to power. Man Singh, a Rajput who had accepted Akbar’s suzerainty and adopted the Turko-Mongol battle plan led the Mughal troops. Though Pratap’s continued rebellion following his defeat at Haldighati was admirable in many ways, he was never anything more than an annoyance to the Mughal army. That he is now placed, in the minds of many Indians, on par with Akbar or on a higher plane says much about the twisted communal politics of the subcontinent.

There’s one other factor that contributed substantially to Rajput defeats: the opium habit. Taking opium was established practice among Rajputs in any case, but they considerably upped the quantity they consumed when going into battle. They ended up stoned out of their minds and in no fit state to process any instruction beyond, “kill or be killed”.

Opium contributed considerably to the fearlessness of Rajputs in the arena, but also rendered them incapable of coordinating complex manoeuvres. There’s an apt warning for school kids: don’t do drugs, or you’ll squander an empire.

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Pakistan and the Bomb …

Posted on February 21, 2018. Filed under: Pakistan |

The Ally From HellThis article, the product of dozens of interviews over the course of six months, is a joint project of The Atlantic and National Journal. A version of this story focusing on nuclear security appears in the November 5, 2011, issue of National Journal.

Pakistan lies. It hosted Osama bin Laden (knowingly or not). Its government is barely functional. It hates the democracy next door. It is home to both radical jihadists and a large and growing nuclear arsenal (which it fears the U.S. will seize). Its intelligence service sponsors terrorists who attack American troops. With a friend like this, who needs enemies?

Shortly after american Navy SEALs raided the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in May and killed Osama bin Laden, General Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistani chief of army staff, spoke with Khalid Kidwai, the retired lieutenant general in charge of securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Kidwai, who commands a security apparatus called the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), had been expecting Kayani’s call.

General Kayani, the most powerful man in a country that has only a simulacrum of civilian leadership, had been busy in the tense days that followed the bin Laden raid: he had to assure his American funders (U.S. taxpayers provide more than $2 billion in annual subsidies to the Pakistani military) that the army had no prior knowledge of bin Laden’s hideout, located less than a mile from Pakistan’s preeminent military academy; and at the same time he had to subdue the uproar within his ranks over what was seen as a flagrant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by an arrogant Barack Obama.

But he was also anxious about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and he found time to express this worry to General Kidwai.

Much of the world, of course, is anxious about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and for good reason: Pakistan is an unstable and violent country located at the epicenter of global jihadism, and it has been the foremost supplier of nuclear technology to such rogue states as Iran and North Korea. It is perfectly sensible to believe that Pakistan might not be the safest place on Earth to warehouse 100 or more nuclear weapons.

These weapons are stored on bases and in facilities spread across the country (possibly including one within several miles of Abbottabad, a city that, in addition to having hosted Osama bin Laden, is home to many partisans of the jihadist group Harakat-ul-Mujahideen). Western leaders have stated that a paramount goal of their counterterrorism efforts is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of jihadists.

“The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term, and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon,” President Obama said last year at an international nuclear-security meeting in Washington. Al-Qaeda, Obama said, is “trying to secure a nuclear weapon—a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using.”

Pakistan would be an obvious place for a jihadist organization to seek a nuclear weapon or fissile material: it is the only Muslim-majority state, out of the 50 or so in the world, to have successfully developed nuclear weapons; its central government is of limited competence and has serious trouble projecting its authority into many corners of its territory (on occasion it has difficulty maintaining order even in the country’s largest city, Karachi); Pakistan’s military and security services are infiltrated by an unknown number of jihadist sympathizers; and many jihadist organizations are headquartered there already.

“There are three threats,” says Graham Allison, an expert on nuclear weapons who directs the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The first is “a terrorist theft of a nuclear weapon, which they take to Mumbai or New York for a nuclear 9/11. The second is a transfer of a nuclear weapon to a state like Iran. The third is a takeover of nuclear weapons by a militant group during a period of instability or splintering of the state.” Pakistani leaders have argued forcefully that the country’s nuclear weapons are secure.

In times of relative quiet between Pakistan and India (the country that would be the target of a Pakistani nuclear attack), Pakistani officials claim that their weapons are “de-mated”—meaning that the warheads are kept separate from their fissile cores and their delivery systems. This makes stealing, or launching, a complete nuclear weapon far more difficult. Over the past several years, as Pakistan has suffered an eruption of jihadist terrorism, its officials have spent a great deal of time defending the safety of their nuclear program.

Some have implied that questions about the safety of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal are motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former army chief and president, who created the SPD, told The Atlantic in a recent interview: “I think it’s overstated that the weapons can get into bad hands.” Referring to Pakistan’s main adversary, India, he said, “No one ever speaks of the dangers of a Hindu bomb.”

Jeffrey Goldberg explains what makes Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal so dangerous.

Current officials of the Pakistani government are even more adamant on the issue. In an interview this summer in Islamabad, a senior official of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), the Pakistani military’s spy agency, told The Atlantic that American fears about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were entirely unfounded. “Of all the things in the world to worry about, the issue you should worry about the least is the safety of our nuclear program,” the official said. “It is completely secure.” He went on to say, “It is in our interest to keep our bases safe as well. You must trust us that we have maximum and impenetrable security. No one with ill intent can get near our strategic assets.”

Like many statements made by Pakistan’s current leaders, this one contained large elements of deceit. At least six facilities widely believed to be associated with Pakistan’s nuclear program have already been targeted by militants. In November 2007, a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying workers to the Sargodha air base, which is believed to house nuclear weapons; the following month, a school bus was attacked outside Kamra air base, which may also serve as a nuclear storage site; in August 2008, Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers attacked what experts believe to be the country’s main nuclear-weapons-assembly depot in Wah cantonment.

If jihadists are looking to raid a nuclear facility, they have a wide selection of targets: Pakistan is very secretive about the locations of its nuclear facilities, but satellite imagery and other sources suggest that there are at least 15 sites across Pakistan at which jihadists could find warheads or other nuclear materials. (See map on opposite page.)

It is true that the SPD is considered to be a highly professional organization, at least by Pakistani-government standards of professionalism. General Kidwai, its leader, is well regarded by Western nuclear-security experts, and the soldiers and civilians he leads are said by Pakistani spokesmen to be screened rigorously for their probity and competence, and for signs of political or religious immoderation.

The SPD, Pakistani officials say, keeps careful watch over behavioral changes in its personnel; employees are investigated thoroughly for ties to extremists, and to radical mosques, and for changes in their lifestyle and income. The SPD also is believed to maintain “dummy” storage sites that serve to divert attention from active ones.

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1971 War – IAF vs PAF …

Posted on February 20, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career |

From The Print – India’s bureaucracy is responsible for the vacuum in military history. But there’s a new crop of young scholar-warriors eager to fill this gap – by Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd) former Chief of the Naval Staff.

Disregarding the counsel of wise men, from Herodotus to George Santayana, Indians have consistently ignored the importance of reading, writing and learning from history.

So, when retired US Air Force Brigadier ‘Chuck’ Yeager, head of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group in Islamabad during the 1971 war, says in his autobiography that “the Pakistanis whipped the Indians’ asses in the sky… the Pakistanis scored a three-to-one kill ratio, knocking out 102 Russian-made Indian jets and losing 34 airplanes of their own…”, we are left fumbling for a response.

Other Western ‘experts’ have alleged that, in 1971, the Indian Air Force was supported by Tupolev-126 early-warning aircraft flown by Soviet crews, who supposedly jammed Pakistani radars and homed-in Indian aircraft.

Where does one seek authentic information about India’s contemporary military history?

The Ministry of Defence website mentions a History Division, but the output of this division is not displayed, and it seems to have gone into hibernation after a brief spell of activity. A Google search reveals copies of two typed documents, circa 1984, on the internet, titled ‘History of the 1965 War’ and ‘History of the 1971 War’ (HoW), neither of which is designated as ‘official history’.

A chapter of the latter document, deals with the air war in the Western theatre, and opens with a comparison of the opposing air forces. The 1971 inventory of the IAF is assessed as 625 combat aircraft, while the PAF strength is estimated at about 275. After providing day-by-day accounts of air defence, counter-air close support and maritime air operations, the HoW compares aircraft losses on both sides, and attempts a cursory analysis of the air war.

The IAF is declared as having utilised its forces “four times as well as the PAF” and being “definitely on the way to victory” at the time of cease fire. Commending the PAF for having managed to survive in a war against an “enemy double its strength”, it uses a boxing metaphor, to add a (left-handed) complement: “By its refusal to close with its stronger enemy, it at least remained on its feet, and in the ring, when the bell sounded.”

This is this phrase that Pakistani Air Commodore M. Kaiser Tufail (Retd) has picked up for the title of his very recent book: “In the Ring and on its Feet” [Ferozsons (Pvt) Ltd, Lahore, 2017] about the PAF’s role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Commissioned in 1975, this former Pakistani fighter pilot is a historian and bold commentator on strategic affairs. Currently unavailable in India, the book may, prima facie, be accepted as authentic, because the author asserts that in two of his appointments, he was the “custodian of PAF’s war records”, which he was, officially, permitted to access in writing the book.

Tufail starts with an attempt to dispel the “ludicrous Indian fabrication about Pakistan having initiated the war”, and offers the thesis that since war was already in progress, the ineffective 3 December PAF pre-emptive attacks were merely “first strikes” meant to overburden the IAF’s retaliatory capability. Apart from this half-hearted attempt at obfuscation, the rest of Tufail’s narrative is refreshingly candid, free of hyperbole and – one hopes – reliable. Having served in an IAF fighter squadron during the 1971 war, I was fascinated by Tufail’s account, and share a few of his frank insights into wartime events in this article.

Tufail suggests that the wartime PAF Chief, Air Marshal Rahim Khan, was an inarticulate, short-tempered and lacklustre personality, who, at this crucial juncture, chose his two most important advisors – the ACAS (Operations) and the Deputy Chief – from the ranks of transport pilots! His problems were compounded by low service morale, due to the massacre of 30 airmen in East Pakistan and defections by Bengali PAF personnel.

As far as the two orders-of-battle are concerned, it is interesting to note that the HoW figures of 625 combat aircraft for the IAF and 273 for the PAF are pretty close to Tufail’s estimates of 640 and 290 respectively. A fact not commonly known, in 1971, was, that while the IAF’s work-horses, Sukhoi-7s, Hunters, Gnats, HF-24s, Mysteres and Vampires, were armed only with 30/20 mm guns, the opposition had the advantage of air-to-air missiles. While all PAF Western-origin fighters carried Sidewinders or R-530s, Yeager tells us: “One of my first jobs (in Pakistan) was to help them put US Sidewinders on their Chinese MiGs… I also worked with their squadrons and helped them develop combat tactics.”

Tufail provides a tabular account of both IAF and PAF aircraft losses, with pilots’ names, squadron numbers and (for PAF aircraft) tail numbers. To my mind, one particular statistic alone confirms Tufail’s objectivity. As the squadron diarist of IAF’s No.20 Squadron, I recall recording the result of a Hunter raid on PAF base Murid, on 8 December 1971, as “one transport, two fighters (probable) and vehicles destroyed on ground”. In his book, Tufail confirms that 20 Squadron actually destroyed five F-86 fighters in this mission – making it the most spectacular IAF raid of the war!

Particularly gratifying to read are Tufail’s reconstructions of many combat missions, which have remained shrouded in doubt and ambiguity for 47 years. Personally, I experienced a sense of closure after reading his accounts of the final heroic moments of 20 Squadron comrades Jal Mistry and K.P. Muralidharan, as well as fellow naval aviators Roy, Sirohi and Vijayan, shot down at sea. Tufail also nails the canard about Soviet Tupolev-126 support to IAF, and describes how it was the clever employment of IAF MiG-21s to act as ‘radio-relay posts’ that fooled the PAF.

Coming to the ‘final reckoning’, there is only a small difference between the figures given in the HoW and those provided by Tufail for IAF losses; both of which make nonsense of Yeager’s pompous declarations. According to the tabulated Pakistani account (giving names of Indian aircrew), the IAF lost 60 aircraft. The HoW records the IAF’s losses in action as 56 aircraft (43 in the west and 13 in the east).

However, a dichotomy surfaces when it comes to PAF losses. While Tufail lists the tail numbers of only 27 aircraft destroyed, the HoW mentions IAF claims of 75 PAF aircraft destroyed, but credits only 46 (27 in the west and 19 in the east).

Using ‘utilisation rate’ per aircraft and ‘attrition rate’ as a percentage of (only) the offensive missions flown by both air forces, the HoW declares that the IAF’s utilisation rate being almost double, and its attrition rate being half that of the PAF, “… had the war continued, the IAF would certainly have inflicted a decisive defeat on the PAF”.

Adopting a different approach, Tufail concludes that the overall ‘attrition rate’ (loss per 100 sorties) for each air force as well as aircraft losses, as percentage of both IAF and PAF inventories, are numerically equal. Thus, according to him, “…both air forces were on par… though the IAF flew many more ground-attack sorties in a vulnerable air and ground environment”.

He ends his narrative on a sanguine note, remarking that, “The PAF denied a much stronger IAF …the possibility of delivering a knock-out punch to it”.

Air Commodore Tufail’s book clearly demonstrates that there are at least two good reasons for writing war histories; lessons are learnt about the political sagacity underpinning employment of state military power, and militaries can test the validity of the Principles of War.

Sensible nations, therefore, ensure that history is not replaced by mythology. Like Kaiser Tufail, there is a whole new crop of young scholar-warriors emerging in India too, eager to record its rich military history.

But as long as our obdurate bureaucracy maintains the inexplicable ‘omerta’ vis-a-vis official records, this deplorable historical vacuum will persist.

 

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Valentine’s Day History …

Posted on February 18, 2018. Filed under: Mars & Venus, Personalities |

From Apple News – This article was originally published on The Conversation by Lisa Bitel, Professor of History & Religion, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Valentine’s Day originated as a liturgical feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So, how did we get from beheading to betrothing on Valentine’s Day?

Early origins of St. Valentine
Ancient sources reveal that there were several St. Valentines who died on Feb. 14. Two of them were executed during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus in 269-270 A.D., at a time when persecution of Christians was common.

How do we know this? Because an order of Belgian monks spent three centuries collecting evidence for the lives of saints from manuscript archives around the known world.

They were called Bollandists after Jean Bolland, a Jesuit scholar who began publishing the massive 68-folio volumes of “Acta Sanctorum,” or “Lives of the Saints,” beginning in 1643.

Since then, successive generations of monks continued the work until the last volume was published in 1940. The Brothers dug up every scrap of information about every saint on the liturgical calendar and printed the texts arranged according to the saint’s feast day.

The Valentine martyrs
The volume encompassing Feb. 14 contains the stories of a handful of “Valentini,” including the earliest three of whom died in the third century.

The earliest Valentinus is said to have died in Africa, along with 24 soldiers. Unfortunately, even the Bollandists could not find any more information about him. As the monks knew, sometimes all that the saints left behind was a name and day of death.

We know only a little more about the other two Valentines.

According to a late medieval legend reprinted in the “Acta,” which was accompanied by Bollandist critique about its historical value, a Roman priest named Valentinus was arrested during the reign of Emperor Gothicus and put into the custody of an aristocrat named Asterius.

As the story goes, Asterius made the mistake of letting the preacher talk. Father Valentinus went on and on about Christ leading pagansout of the shadow of darkness and into the light of truth and salvation. Asterius made a bargain with Valentinus: If the Christian could cure Asterius’s foster-daughter of blindness, he would convert. Valentinus put his hands over the girl’s eyes and chanted:

“Lord Jesus Christ, en-lighten your handmaid, because you are God, the True Light.”

Easy as that. The child could see, according to the medieval legend. Asterius and his whole family were baptized. Unfortunately, when Emperor Gothicus heard the news, he ordered them all to be executed. But Valentinus was the only one to be beheaded. A pious widow, though, made off with his body and had it buried at the site of his martyrdom on the Via Flaminia, the ancient highway stretching from Rome to present-day Rimini. Later, a chapel was built over the saint’s remains.

St. Valentine was not a romantic
The third third-century Valentinus was a bishop of Terni in the province of Umbria, Italy.

According to his equally dodgy legend, Terni’s bishop got into a situation like the other Valentinus by debating a potential convert and afterward healing his son. The rest of story is quite similar as well: He too was beheaded on the orders of Emperor Gothicus and his body buried along the Via Flaminia.

It is likely, as the Bollandists suggested, that there weren’t actually two decapitated Valentines, but that two different versions of one saint’s legend appeared in both Rome and Terni.

Nonetheless, African, Roman or Umbrian, none of the Valentines seems to have been a romantic.

Indeed, medieval legends, repeated in modern media, had St. Valentine performing Christian marriage rituals or passing notes between Christian lovers jailed by Gothicus. Still other stories romantically involved him with the blind girl whom he allegedly healed. Yet none of these medieval tales had any basis in third-century history, as the Bollandists pointed out.

In any case, historical veracity did not count for much with medieval Christians. What they cared about were stories of miracles and martyrdoms and the physical remains or relics of the saint. To be sure, many different churches and monasteries around medieval Europe claimed to have bits of a St. Valentinus’ skull in their treasuries.

Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome, for example, still displays a whole skull. According to the Bollandists, other churches across Europe also claim to own slivers and bits of one or the other St. Valentinus’ body: For example, San Anton Church in Madrid, Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Prague, Saint Mary’s Assumption in Chelmno, Poland, as well as churches in Malta, Birmingham, Glasgow, and on the Greek isle of Lesbos, among others.

For believers, relics of the martyrs signified the saints’ continuing their invisible presence among communities of pious Christians. In 11th-century Brittany, for instance, one bishop used what was purported to be Valentine’s head to halt fires, prevent epidemics and cure all sorts of illnesses, including demonic possession.

As far as we know, though, the saint’s bones did nothing special for lovers.

Unlikely pagan origins
Many scholars have deconstructed Valentine and his day in books, articles and blog postings. Some suggest that the modern holiday is a Christian cover-up of the more ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia in mid-February.

Lupercalia originated as a ritual in a rural masculine cult involving the sacrifice of goats and dogs and evolved later into an urban carnival. During the festivities half-naked young men ran through the streets of Rome, streaking people with thongs cut from the skins of newly killed goats. Pregnant women thought it brought them healthy babies. In 496 A.D., however, Pope Gelasius supposedly denounced the rowdy festival.

Still, there is no evidence that the pope purposely replaced Lupercalia with the more sedate cult of the martyred St. Valentine or any other Christian celebration.

Chaucer and the love birds
The love connection probably appeared more than a thousand years after the martyrs’ death, when Geoffrey Chaucer, author of “The Canterbury Tales” decreed the February feast of St. Valentinus to the mating of birds. He wrote in his “Parlement of Foules”:

“For this was on seynt Volantynys day. Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.”

It seems that, in Chaucer’s day, English birds paired off to produce eggs in February. Soon, nature-minded European nobility began sending love notes during bird-mating season. For example, the French Duke of Orléans, who spent some years as a prisoner in the Tower of London, wrote to his wife in February 1415 that he was “already sick of love” — by which he meant lovesick. And he called her his “very gentle Valentine.”

English audiences embraced the idea of February mating. Shakespeare’s lovestruck Ophelia spoke of herself as Hamlet’s Valentine.

In the following centuries, Englishmen and women began using Feb. 14 as an excuse to pen verses to their love objects. Industrialization made it easier with mass-produced illustrated cards adorned with smarmy poetry. Then along came Cadbury, Hershey’s, and other chocolate manufacturers marketing sweets for one’s sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.

Today, shops everywhere in England and the US decorate their windows with hearts and banners proclaiming the annual Day of Love. Merchants stock their shelves with candy, jewelry and Cupid-related trinkets begging “Be My Valentine.” For most lovers, this request does not require beheading.

Invisible Valentines
It seems that the erstwhile saint behind the holiday of love remains as elusive as love itself. Still, as St. Augustine, the great fifth-century theologian and philosopher argued in his treatise on “Faith in Invisible Things,” someone does not have to be standing before our eyes for us to love them.

And much like love itself, St. Valentine and his reputation as the patron saint of love are not matters of verifiable history, but of faith.

And finally we have not even covered Al Capone’s St Valentines Day Massacre …

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1962 War – The Sela Story …

Posted on February 5, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career |

Se La is now scheduled to have a tunnel like Zoji La in Kashmir and Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh.

The move is of immense strategic significance because Se La is what connects Tawang to the rest of Arunachal and also the road to Guwahati. China, as is known, has always laid claim to Tawang considering it as part of its larger Tibet.

Unlike the other two passes in the Western Himalayas, Se La has a place in history that few military veterans want to recall – but none dare forget. It was the fall of Se La that made it possible for the Chinese forces to steamroll into India in 1962 – easily India’s most humiliating defeat.

The Chinese Se La campaign in the second week of November 1962 mirrored the Chinese famod ‘Chosin Reservoir Battle’ against the advancing US II Corps during the Korean war. Not surprising because the campaign at Se La was carried out under the command of Zhang Guo Hua, a veteran of the Korean war.

The Chinese called it the ‘Counter Attack in Self Defence’. What happened was that on 6 October the Chinese Command decided on a large scale attack to severely punish India and the directive from Mao to PLA Chief of Staff Lou Ruiquing laid out the broad strategy – “The main assault is to be in the Eastern Sector but Chinese forces in the Western Sector would ‘coordinate’ with actions in the Eastern Sector.”

In the East, the Chinese forces, in the first few days of the war, attacked and captured Tawang and the Indian forces staggered back to Se La, resolved to defended it at all costs as it was gateway into India.

Indian defences had been organised across the 101 km long Se La – Dirang Zhong – Bomdi La axis. There were approximately 3,300 troops according to the Chinese estimate in Se La, as per a Chinese record.

There were another 1,500 troops in Dirang Dzong and about 2,200 in Bomdi La. The Chinese described the deployment as ‘Copper head, tail made of tin and a soft underbelly’. Se La was the ‘copper head’.

And so, the battle strategy – “Smash the head (Se La), cut-off the tail (Bomdi La), snap at the waist (Se La-Dirang Dzong road) and dissect the belly (Dirang Dzong).”

Hence China launched simultaneous attacks at each of the three points. The attack on Se La was carried out by the 55 Infantry division, with three infantry regiments supported by artillery. They were given the task of ‘smashing the head’.

Simultaneously, three more infantry regiments moved from the West, through a narrow corridor between Se La and the Indo-Bhutan border. They were to ‘assist’ in the capture of Se La, but move on from the western flank to Dirang Dzong – to accomplish their other task ie team up with the 11 Infantry division that was coming in from the East to ‘dissect the belly’ and capture Dirang Dzong.

Meanwhile, four infantry detachments from the Shanan Military Sub-district had bypassed Se La to ‘snap at the waist’. They were later joined by more forces from Se La.

Another group of the 11 Infantry division outflanked Dirang Dzong and captured the road leading to Bomdi La, thus ‘cutting off the tail’.

India’s 4 Infantry division, which had organized the defence, found itself split in three pockets – Se La, Dirang Dzong and Bomdi La. These pockets then came under attack almost simultaneously.

In November 1950, the US Marine division too had found itself split in three ‘isolated peremeters (Yudam-ni, Hagaru and Koto-ri)’. But the US had its air force to support the Marines, which annihilated Chinese troops, allowing the Marines an opportunity to extricate.

The IAF was not called in by the Indian Govt so while the Marines were able to ‘fight heir way through’, 4 Infantry division even found retreat difficult. Once the defences at Se La were broken and reinforcements could not be sent, Bomdi La fell without any great resistance.

By the time 4 Infantry division fell back to Tezpur, it had “ceased to exist as an effective fighting force”.

That signalled the end of the border war as by then, China offered a unilateral ceasefire and ordered withdrawal of its troops even though they had stormed their way into the defenceless Indian NE.

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Our India …

Posted on February 3, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought |

David Frawley, American Institute of Vedic Studies, New Mexico, U..S.A.

The elite of India suffers from a fundamental alienation from the traditions and culture of the land that would not be less poignant had they been born and raised in a hostile country.

The ruling elite appears to be little more than a native incarnation of the old colonial rulers who haughtily lived in their separate cantonments, neither mingling with the people nor seeking to understand their customs.

This new English-speaking aristocracy prides itself in being disconnected from the very soil and people that gave it birth.

There is probably no other country where It has become a national pastime among its educated class to denigrate its own culture and history, however great that has been over the many millennia of its existence. When great archaeological discoveries of India’s past are found, for example, they are not a subject for national pride but are ridiculed as an exaggeration, if not an invention, as if they represent only the imagination of backward chauvinistic elements within the culture.

There is probably no other country where regional, caste and family loyalties are more important than the national interest, even among those who claim to be democratic, socialist or caste reformers. Political parties exist not to promote a national agenda but to sustain one region or group of people in the country at the expense of the whole.

Each group wants as big a piece of the national pie as it can get, not realizing that the advantages it gains mean deprivation for other groups. Yet when those who were previously deprived gain power, they too seek the same unequal advantages that causes further inequality and discontent.

India’s affirmative action code is by far the most extreme in the world, trying to raise up certain segments of the population regardless of merit, and prevent others from gaining positions however qualified they may be. In the guise of removing caste, a new casteism has arisen where one’s caste is more important than one’s qualifications either in gaining entrance into a school or in finding a job when one graduates.

People view the government not as their own creation but as a welfare state from which they should take the maximum personal benefit, regardless of the consequences for the country as a whole.

Outside people need not pull Indians down. Indians are busy keeping any of their people and the country as a whole from rising up. They would rather see their neighbors or the nation fail if they are not given the top position.

It is only outside of India that Indians succeed because their native talents are not stifled by the dominant cultural self-negativity and rabid divisiveness that exists in the country today.

Political parties in India see gaining power as a means of amassing personal wealth and robbing the nation. Political leaders include gangsters, charlatans and buffoons who would stop short at nothing to gain power for themselves and their coteries.

Even so-called modern or liberal parties resemble more the courts of kings, where personal loyalty is more important than any democratic participation. Once they gain power politicians routinely do little but cheat the people for their own advantage. Even honest politicians find that they cannot function without some deference to the more numerous corrupt leaders who often have a stranglehold on the bureaucracy.

Politicians divide the country into warring vote banks and place one community against another. They offer favors to communities, like bribes to make sure that they are elected, or stay in power. They campaign on slogans that appeal to community fears and suspicions rather than create any national consensus or harmony.They hold power based upon blame and hatred rather than on any positive programs for social change. They inflame the uneducated masses with propaganda rather than work to make people aware of real social problems like overpopulation, poor infrastructure or lack of education.

Should a decent government come to power the opposition pursues pulling it down as its main goal, so that they can gain power for themselves. The idea of a constructive or supportive opposition is hard to find. The goal is to gain power for oneself and to not allow anyone else to succeed.

To further their ambitions, Indian politicians will manipulate the foreign press to denigrate their opponents, even if it means spreading lies and rumors and making the country an anathema in the eyes of the outside world. Petty conflicts in India are blown out of proportion in the foreign media, not by foreign journalists but by Indians seeking to use the media to score points against their own opponents in the country.

The Indians who are responsible for the news of India in the foreign press spread venom and distortion about their own country, perhaps better than any foreigner who dislikes the culture ever could.

Let us look at the type of leaders that India has had, with it’s Laloo Prasad Yadav (ex CM Bihar), Mulayam Singh Yadav (ex CM UP) or Jayalalita to mention but a few. Such individuals are little more than warlords who surround themselves with sycophants.

Corruption exists almost everywhere and bribery is the main way to do business in nearly all fields. India has an entrenched bureaucracy that resists change and stifles development, just out of sheer obstinacy and not wanting to give up any control.

The Congress Party, the oldest in this predominantly Hindu nation, had given its leadership to an Italian Catholic woman simply because as the widow of the last Gandhi prime minister, she carried the family torch, as if family loyalty were still the main basis of political credibility in the country. And such a leader and a party are deemed progressive!

The strange thing is that India is not a banana republic of recent vintage but one of the oldest and most venerable civilizations in the world. Its culture is not trumpeting a militant and fundamentalist religion trying to conquer the world for the one true faith but represents a vaster and more cosmic vision. India has given birth to the main religions that have dominated East Asia historically, the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh, which are noted for tolerance and spirituality.

It has produced Sanskrit, perhaps the world’s greatest language. It has given us the incredible spiritual systems of Yoga and its great traditions of meditation and self-realization.

As the world looks forward to a more universal model of spirituality and a world view defined by consciousness rather than by religious dogma these traditions are perhaps the most important legacy to draw upon for creating a future enlightened civilization.

The irony is that rather than embracing its own great traditions, the modern Indian psyche prefers to slavishly imitate worn out trends in western intellectual thought like Marxism.

Though living in India, in proximity to temples, yogis and great festivals, most modern Indian intellectuals are oblivious to the soul of the land. They might as well be living in China for all they know of their own country.

They are isolated in their own alien ideas as if in a tower of iron. If they choose to rediscover India, it is more likely to occur by reading the books of western travelers visiting the country, rather than by their own direct experience of the people around them.

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The Smartest Jews …

Posted on February 1, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts, Searching for Success |

Why is the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews so High? – Twenty Possible Explanations. Hank Pellissier Dec 11, 2013

Ethical Technology
Ashkenazi Jews are smart. Shockingly brilliant – in general and impressive in brain power. How did they get that way?
Ashkenazi Jews, aka Ashkenazim, are the descendants of Jews from medieval Alsace and the Rhine Valley, and later, from throughout Eastern Europe. Originally, of course, they were from Israel.

Genetic research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine suggests that the Ashkenazi bloodline branched away from other Jewish groups there 2,500 years ago, and that 40% of them are descended from only four Jewish mothers.

Approximately 80% of the Jews in the world today are Ashkenazim, with the remainder primarily Sephardic.
Researchers who study the Ashkenazim agree that the children of Abraham are on top of the IQ chart.

Steven Pinker – who lectured on “Jews, Genes, and Intelligence” in 2007 – says “their average IQ has been measured at 108-115.”
Richard Lynn, Author of “The Intelligence of American Jews” in 2004, says it is “only” a half-standard higher: 107.5.
Henry Harpending, Jason Hardy, and Gregory Cochran, University of Utah Authors of the 2005 Research Report, “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence,” state that their subjects, “score .75 to 1.0 standard deviations above the general European average, corresponding to an IQ of 112-115.”
Charles Murray, in his 2007 Essay “Jewish Genius,” says “their mean is somewhere in the range of 107-115, with 110 being a plausible compromise.”

A Jewish average IQ of 115 is 8 points higher than the generally accepted IQ of their closest rivals—Northeast Asians—and approximately 40% higher than the global average IQ of 79.1 calculated by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in IQ and Global Inequity.

Plus, contemplate this astounding tidbit: Ashkenazi “visual-spatial” IQ scores are only mediocre; in one study their median in this category was a below-average 98.

They surmount this liability by logging astronomic figures in “verbal IQ”, which includes verbal reasoning, comprehension, working memory and mathematical skill; a 1958 survey of Yeshiva students discovered a median verbal IQ of 125.6.

What does it mean that Ashkenazim have a high IQ, in terms of producing “geniuses”?

With their population so small – a mere 0.25 of the world total – does it make any serious difference?
The answer is YES.

A “bell curve” is used to illustrate IQ percentile in a specific group – in a “general population” where IQ average is 100 the curve assumes these proportions:
less than 70 IQ – 2.5%
70-85 IQ – 12.5%
86-100 IQ – 35%
101-115 IQ – 35%
116-130 IQ – 12.5%
greater than 130 IQ – 2.5%
Applying the same bell curve for Ashkenazim, but with a 17-point upward lift in median IQ (using the From Chance To Choice digit) produces the IQ upgrade below:
less than 87 IQ – 2.5%
88-102 IQ – 12.5%
103-117 IQ – 35%
118-132 IQ – 35%
133-148 IQ – 12.5%
greater than 148 IQ – 2.5%
This shifting upward of the bell curve by more than a standard deviation (15 points) means that more than five times as many Ashkenazim are eligible for Mensa (minimum 130 IQ) and more than five times as many have the average IQ of an Ivy League graduate.

In reality, Ashkenazim are enrolled in the Ivies by a proportion ten times greater than their numbers; for example they represent 30% of Yale students, 27% of Harvard, 23% of Brown, 32% of Columbia, and 31% of Pennsylvania.

This suggests that either the “bell’s curve” is lifted for the Ashkenazi a bit longer at the high end or there are additional factors that enhance their ability to succeed.

Regarding the first possibility, Charles Murray notes that “the proportion of Jews with IQs of 140 or higher is somewhere around six times the proportion of everyone else.”

Harpending, Hardy and Cochran sport roughly the same equation; “4 out of every 1,000 Northern European is 140+ IQ, but 23 out of every 1,000 Jew is 140+.”

Murray also relays a report from sky-high up in the genius range, when he notes that a 1954 Survey of New York public school children with 170+ IQs revealed that 24 of the 28 were… Jewish.

Now that I’ve established that Ashkenazi have superlative IQ scores, let’s observe what they’ve accomplished with their highly functional brains.

In the 19th century, Mark Twain noted that:
[The Jews] are peculiarly and conspicuously the World’s Intellectual Aristocracy… [Jewish] contributions to the World’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.
He has made a marvelous fight in this world… and has done it with his hands tied behind him.
Twain’s observation is not dated.

Ashkenazi Jews have continued to mentally out-compete other demographics since his statement, often suffering horrendous consequences for their toil.

Here is a brief list of Ashkenazi accomplishments in the last 90 years.
Nobel Prizes: Since 1950, 29% of the awards have gone to Ashkenazim, even though they represent only a small fraction of humanity. Ashkenazi achievement in this arena is 117 times greater than their population. This pace isn’t slowing down; it is accelerating. In the 21st century, they’ve received 32% of the total, and in 2011, five of the thirteen Nobel Prize winners were Jewish – 38.5%.

Hungary in the 1930s: Ashkenazim were 6% of the population, but they comprised 55.7% of physicians, 49.2% of attorneys, 30.4% of engineers, and 59.4% of bank officers; plus, they owned 49.4% of the metallurgy industry, 41.6% of machine manufacturing, 72.8% of clothing manufacturing, and, as housing owners, they received 45.1% of Budapest rental income. Jews were similarly successful in nearby nations, like Poland and Germany.

“Significant Figures”: In “Jewish Genius” by Charles Murray, the Author tallies up important contributing individuals in a variety of vocations, noting how immensely over-represented Jews are compared to what could be expected due to their small population. His conclusion in various categories is: Biology – “significant” Jews appear 5 times greater their population, Chemistry 6X, Physics 9X, Literature 4X, Music 5X, Visual Arts 5X, Math 12X, Philosophy 14X

USA (today): Ashkenazi Jews comprise 2.2% of the USA population, but they represent 30% of Faculty at Elite Colleges, 21% of Ivy League students, and 25% of the Turing Award winners.

Plus, “Jews have made up 50% of the top two hundred intellectuals… 40% of partners in the leading law firms in New York and Washington… 59% of the directors, writers, and producers of the fifty top-grossing motion pictures…”

Israel: In 1922 this swamp-and-desert land had an impoverished population of 752,000 inhabitants.

Today there are 7,746,000 residents, with a large Ashkenazi population (3 million, and 60% of the workforce) that has elevated it into a high-tech entrepreneurial nation with the highest per capita income in the region.

Israel rates 1st in the world in graduate degrees, 1st in museums, 1st in home computers, and 1st in publishing scientific papers.

Personally, I find the Nobel Prize statistic the most amazing.

Consider this: if everybody on the Planet was an Ashkenazi Jew, would the result be 117 times more Nobel Prize-winning caliber individuals, with 117 times as many spectacular achievements, per annum?

INSTANT SINGULARITY! Without any help from AI…
(Sephardic Jewish achievement is represented in many of the categories above, especially in Nobel Prize statistics.

When this article was originally published – in a shorter version, on August 7, 2011 by the Institute for Ethics in Emerging Technology (ieet.org) – Sephardic Jews expressed some perturbation that they were omitted from the essay.

I’d like to acknowledge the immense contribution of Sephardic Jews with this all-too-brief list of notables from their lineage:

Elias Canetti (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1981), Tobias Michael Carel Asser (Nobel Peace Prize, 1911), Rene Cassin (Nobel Peace Prize, 1968), Franco Modigliani (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1985), Francois Jacob (Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology, 1965), Salvador Luria (Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology, 1969), Baruj Benacerraf (Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology, 1980), Rita Levi-Montalcini (Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology, 1986), Emilio Segre (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1959), Claude Cohen-Tannoudj (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1997), plus philosopher Jacques Derrida, economist/philanthropist Bernard Baruch, painter Amedeo Modigliani, and Benjamin Disraeli, the British Prime Minister.

In the medieval era, Sephardic achievements were also quite significant.

In George Sarton’s Introduction to the History of Science, the Author notes that 95 out of 626 scientists in the world from 1150-1300 were Sephardic Jews -15% – far exceeding their population proportion.

However, when Sephardic IQ is presently recorded, the sums are no higher than the northern European average, and definitively not as elevated as Ashkenazi.)

Let’s proceed. With the facts I’ve laid out, only the most obtuse reader can resist my pronouncement that Ashkenazi Jews are, on average, extraordinarily intelligent.

I’m not asserting Ashkenazi cognitive specialness because I’m Philo-Semitic, or Zionist, or pro-Israeli. I’m pointing it out because it is irrefutably true.

That said, the question that my essay seeks to unravel is… Why?
Why is the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews so high? Is the reason due to their genetics, environment, culture, education, or a unique combination of multiple factors?

In my initial publication of this essay, I provided eight reasons for high Ashkenazi IQ. But then, I received a flurry of email suggestions (many from professors) providing me with additional information.

Twenty theories are now listed in this expanded essay, and I’ve attempted to give my sources the credit they deserve, even though – in several instances – I don’t have their actual names, just their Internet chat-monikers. Here’s my new list – many related to each other – presented in roughly chronological order:

Babylonian Eugenics – In 586 B.C.E., Jerusalem was totally destroyed by the Babylonians, led by their monarch Nebuchadnezzar, who “carried into exile… all the [Jewish] officers and fighting men, and all the craftsmen and artisans… only the poorest people of the land were left.” (2Kings 24:10-14) The Indestructible Jews, by Max Dimont, defines the deported people as “the flower of Judah’s aristocracy and intellectuals.”

The exiled Jews of this first Diaspora became highly successful in Babylon.
Dimont claims, “In the libraries of Babylon, intellectual Jews found a new world of new ideas. Within five decades, exiled Jews bobbed to the surface of the top echelons on Babylonian society, in business enterprises, in the scholastic world, in court circles.
They became leaders in commerce, men of learning, advisors to kings.”

In 538 B.C.E., the Persian king Cyrus the Great granted Jews permission to return to their homeland.
Wealthy Jews – who had established successful trade routes and businesses in Babylon – financed zealous returnees who wanted to re-settle Judah.

Initial attempts failed, but eventually, 1,760 settlers led by the Prophet Ezra and the Governor Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem and resurrected the nation.

These “Babylonian” Jews returning to Israel discovered that their poorer brethren that were left behind a half-century earlier had slipped away via assimilation, vanishing into neighboring pagan creeds.

Cyril Darlington, in his The Evolution of Man and Society, suggests that the temporary separation of the Jewish elite, and permanent removal of the uneducated and unskilled, provided a genetic intellectual boost to the creed.

The returning Jews also instituted two customs that enhanced the mental solidity of their culture’s future. A ban on intermarriage with Gentiles was enforced, and the first five books of Moses were canonized, as the Torah.

People of the Difficult Book: The Torah (the first five books of the Jewish Bible) and the Talmud (recordings of rabbinic discussions) are intellectually complex and sophisticated.

Practitioners of Judaism are required to learn and study the extensive, mentally rigorous laws.
Thematic content of the scriptural passages is not simplistic or literal, it is, conversely, designed for comprehension on multiple, abstract, metaphorical levels.

Blind faith and slavish devotion, encouraged by other Faiths, is not conducive to Judaism.
Instead, worship in the ancient monotheism demands significant literacy skills due to the cognitive demands of the texts, with tradition maintaining that understanding the Talmud requires “study of seven hours a day for seven years.”

Charles Murray notes that, “no other religion made so many demands upon the whole body of its believers,” with the subsequent analysis that, “Judaism evolved in such a way that to be a good Jew meant that a man had to be smart.”

Healthy Hygiene & Diet: Professor Sam Lehman-Wilzig of Bar-Ilan University in Israel provided me with this theory.
His suggestion is based on the fact that – due to their customary practices – the Jews probably enjoyed better hygiene than Gentiles.
He points to the Jewish washing of hands before every meal, the men bathing at least once a week in the “mikveh” (a purification bathhouse) and the women bathing at least once a month, after their menstruation was over.
He also notes the restriction on pork prevented Jews from contracting trichinosis. (Famous casualties of this parasitic disease include Gautama Buddha and Wolfgang Mozart).

With lower disease rates, Jewish bodies would not have suffered as much as Gentiles and this would have improved their mental capacities.

This notion has been repeated elsewhere.
In 1953, research by Johns Hopkins University pharmacologist David I. Macht surmised that all the dozens of meat items banned by Jewish dietary laws in Deuteronomy and Leviticus were, in fact, more toxic than the kosher flesh that was permitted.

Additionally, in the recent book Survival of the Sickest, Author Sharon Moalem suggests that Jews removing leaven from their homes during Passover helped keep out the rats that spread bubonic plague in the 13th century.

Last but not least, wealthy Ashkenazi Jews dwelling in larger houses in eastern Europe would have survived epidemics easier because they didn’t suffer the same high multiple infection rate that occurred in smaller homes with greater crowding.

Extensive correlation between high IQ, healthy diet, infectious diseases, sanitation, and home crowding, is examined via research studies in later chapters of this book, particularly in “Early Years.”

Education Emphasized, Way Back in B.C. – Jeremiah Unterman of Jerusalem informed me that the Torah instructs every Jewish father to teach the Torah to his children, and Marisa Landau notes on a futurepundit.com 6/4/05 discussion that it’s forbidden by the Jewish religion to keep child illiterate.

Additionally, Landau reports that Jewish women learned to read and write, a phenomenon that was unique in the ancient world.
Landau also mentions that it has long been a custom among Jews to provide a full pension – for up to 10 years – to an intelligent son-in-law who wishes to entirely devote himself to study.

The Jews, it seems, invented the notion of “scholarships.”

In the medieval era, the French monk, Peter Abelard (1079-1142) penned this about Jewish education: “A Jew, however poor, even if he had ten sons, would get them all to letters, not for gain as the Christians do, but for understanding of God’s law. And not only for his sons, but his daughters.”
Mandatory Schools For Males – In 64 A.D., the high priest Joshua ben Gamla issued and implemented an ordinance mandating schools for all boys, beginning at age 6.
Within 100 years, Jews had established universal male literacy and numeracy, the first ethnicity in history to achieve this.

The progressive, demanding edict created a huge demographic shift.
The high, oft-times prohibitive cost of educating children in the subsistence farming economy of the 2nd to 6th centuries prompted numerous Jews to voluntarily convert to Christianity, leading to a decline in Jewish population from 4.5 million to 1.2 million.

Natural “eugenics” favored two groups in this situation: 1) the sons of wealthier, ostensibly more intelligent Jews, who could provide greater funding for the schools that maintained their offspring’s membership as Jews, and, 2) the smartest boys who could quickly learn reading, writing and arithmetic at a pace at which they could afford to “stay Jewish.”

Who was left out? Removed from the gene pool? Answer: the poorer, uneducated Jews, and/or those with the lowest IQ.

Urban Upgrade – 80-90% of Jews were farmers in 1 AD. But only 10-20% remained in agriculture by 1000 A.D. The education required by Joshua ben Gamla’s edict delivered verbal and math skills to Jewish boys, enabling them to move out of subsistence rural life into highly-skilled urban professions, involving sales, trade, and financial transactions.

Moving from a pastoral environment into cities implements an IQ boost, due to urbanism’s increased complexity, literacy, and technology.

A Hanoi National University study in 2006 showed a whopping 19.4 IQ difference between city and country students.

A 1970 survey in Greece recorded a difference of 10-13 points.
Other studies note smaller discrepancies of only 2-6 points, but unanimously, urban residents always score higher, and Jews are one of the world’s longest-urbanized ethnicities.

Dialectic and Rational Thought – Dr. Sam Lehman-Wilzig informed me that one of the noteworthy approaches to Jewish learning is “dialectic.”

The Talmud itself is not a “law code” but instead, a huge compendium of ARGUMENTS.

Jews are encouraged to see different perspectives of an issue, and they’re taught to question everything, including the Law, the Rabbi’s logic, and one’s own belief system.
Rabbis developed argumentative principles, an entire system of questioning that the Jews have utilized for 2,000 years in both religious and secular debates.

Dialectic was not a ‘Jewish’ invention: it was a learning technique that Jews borrowed and adapted from Greek philosophy; the synthesis is a ‘Socratic-Jewish methodology.’
Traces of the Greek influence are evident in the Passover Seder where the Jewish father reclines on a pillow (similar to the Greeks) while the youngest Jewish child asks Four Questions. This method of learning was unique during the Middle Ages, compared to Catholic Europe’s ‘authoritative’ traditions.

Dr. Sanford Aranoff, Professor of Science and Mathematics at Rider University, conveyed to me a similar message.

In his opinion, Judaism is based on principles of rational thought. (Rational thinking begins with clearly stated principles, continues with logical deductions, and then examines empirical evidence to possibly modify the principles.)

The analytic, strategic skills developed in both Jewish dialectic and critical thinking are an important component of IQ tests, and they’re essential in legal, academic, science, and engineering careers.

Clever Clerics Propagate: A major difference between Catholicism and Judaism is that priests have been celibate since the 4th century Council of Carthage decreed that they abstain from conjugal relations, whereas Jewish rabbis have always been encouraged to marry and multiply.

In the Middle Age this resulted in massive IQ depression for Catholics, because their brightest, academically gifted boys were usually locked up in seminaries that wasted their gene pool.

Meanwhile… sage, scholastic Jewish rabbis were marrying smart women and creating large, clever families. Three tomes that examine this phenomenon are Robert Novick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia, Ernst Vandenberg’s The Jewish Mystique, and Paul Johnson’s A History of the Jews.

Breeding for Brains:
“Our Rabbis teach, Let a man sell all that he has and marry the daughter of a learned man. If he cannot find the daughter of a learned man, let him marry the daughter of one of the great men of his day. If he does not find such a one, let him marry the daughter of one of the heads of the congregation, or, failing this, the daughter of a charity collector, or even the daughter of a schoolmaster; but let him not marry the daughter of an illiterate man, for the unlearned are an abomination, as also their wives and their daughters.” P’sachim, fol. 49, col. 2.

Judaic texts like the one above emphasize repeatedly that knowledge and intelligence are supreme virtues, with ignorance the grossest liability.
Following this dictum, the Jews enhanced their gene pool for smartnesss.

In A History of the Jews, author Paul Johnson notes that, “among the Jews the most intelligent people have always been very valued and sought after as husbands, so they procreate and spread their good genes.”

Charles Murray observed another matchmaking tendency, when he notes that “by marrying the children of scholars to the children of successful merchants, Jews were in effect joining those selected for abstract reasoning ability with those selected for practical intelligence.”

Meanwhile, Catholics were marrying for “class” reasons, angling for blue-blood aristocrat gains that had no link to intelligence. Physical strength and valor was also desired, via brave knights on the battlefield – this exaltation of brawn over brains likewise did nothing to advance that religion’s collective IQ.

Trading Tongues: Ashkenazi merchants plied their wares over a vast area, originally to Islamic regions, but later internationally – from rubber in Brazil to silk in China.

To prosper in the exchange, they memorized multiple languages. The stateless tribe needed diverse fluency anyway, to communicate in adopted lands with their neighbors that spoke German, Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Russian, Ukrainian, French, Dutch, etc.

The Ashkenazi developed a “fusion” tongue: Yiddish (German, Hebrew, Aramaic, plus other Slavic languages and a touch of Romance).
At its height – before World War II – Yiddish was spoken by 13 million. The polyglot language produced exemplary culture in literature, theater, and film.

Neurologists today recognize that multiple language learning enhances memory, mental flexibility, problem solving, abstract thinking, and creative hypothesis formulation.

Explanations of the benefits abound; I recommend listening to the video, “Bilingualism Will Supercharge Your Baby’s Brain.”
Squeezed Into Brilliance: Jews in Europe were officially excluded from “common” occupations such as agriculture from 800-1700 A.D.

Indeed, they were usually not allowed to own land.
The restrictions forced Ashkenazim for 900 years into urban vocations that were cognitively more demanding, such as trade, bookkeeping, commerce, sales, and investment.

The frequent Christian prohibition against charging of interest in money lending – prohibited as “usury” – assisted in opening up financial banking occupations for Jews.
Historical records reveal that 80% of the Jews in Roussilon, southern France, in 1270 were money-lenders.

Later, after they were evicted from Western Europe, Ashkenazim were welcomed in Poland as urban investors and initiators of trade who could help modernize the nation.
They were also in great demand in middle management positions because they had mathematic and business administration skills.

Ashkenazim who weren’t mathematically and verbally adept enough to succeed in these “white collar” jobs drifted away from Judaism—low IQs were pushed out.

Conversely, the most successful merchants and number crunchers raised larger families, passing on an increasing percentage of algebraic brains.

Winnowed By Persecution: The most intelligent and/or wealthy Ashkenazim were better equipped to escape Inquisitions, pogroms, persecutions, holocausts, and other genocidal threats because they: 1) could afford to emigrate; 2) could predict the need to do so; and 3) had social and economic opportunities in the nations they fled to. Poorer, less connected, and less astute Ashkenazi ranks thus were inexorably depleted.

The repeated annihilation, expulsion, and flight of the Jewish people is universally known.
The first Diaspora to Babylonia has already been mentioned.

A second Diaspora is popularly regarded as a series of dispersals from Israel after the failure of Jewish revolts against the Roman Empire from 70 C.E. – 135 C.E. In 629 C.E., King Dagobert of the Franks ordered the Jews to convert, leave his land, or face execution.

The First Crusade, 1096-1099 C.E., cruelly slaughtered thousands of Ashkenazi, an estimated 25%.
Jews were expelled from England in 1290, France in 1394 and parts of Germany in the 15th century.

Pogroms in the Russian Empire in the 19th and early 20th century murdered substantial numbers of Jews, and the Holocaust, instigated by Adolf Hitler, led to the genocide of approximately six million, primarily Ashkenazi.

Whenever and wherever persecution began, Jews were more likely to escape if they could pay their way out, or were wealthy enough to have horses, carriages, employees as guards, rich relatives to flee to, and friends in “high places.”

High IQ has frequently been correlated with economic success.
Sick Genius: Ashkenazim are prey to about nineteen debilitating genetic diseases, and it’s been surmised that several of them might have cognitive “side effects” that can enhance intelligence.

Many of the disorders can kill or severely weaken those who have two copies of the gene, but if you inherit just one, you get a “heterozygote advantage” that can include neuron growth promotion and accelerated interconnection of brain cells. For example, having just one of the allele in Tay-Sachs and Niemann-Pick – GM2ganglioside – could moderately increase dentrite growth.

Another Ashkenazi ailment is Gaucher’s disease, which seems to promote axonal growth and branching.

A survey discovered that out of 255 employed patients of Gaucher’s disease at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem, were in occupations that require IQs over 120, and 15% were scientists.
Another survey of Ashkenazim with Torsion Dystomia revealed an average IQ of 121.

I interviewed Gregory Cochran via email; he’s the University of Utah co-author of the 2005 Research Report, “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence.”
In his words, “any IQ boost due to Gaucher’s [would be] a good deal less than 10-15 points [but]

It may be that big for Torsion Dystonia: everyone who has treated them marvels at how sharp they are…

[However] only a fraction [of Ashkenazi IQ elevation] is due to particular mutations like Gaucher, in our opinion.” In another interview, Cochran pinpointed the fractions as, “One in two thousand Askenazi, at most, carry a Tay-Sachs mutation and a Gaucher mutation, the two most common.”

Ashkenazim are not an isolated ethnicity, after residing with Eastern European neighbors for over a millennium.

While many observers suggest that they’re 30% European, an Emory University study concluded that researchers “were able to estimate that between 35 and 55 percent of the modern Ashkenazi genome comes from European descent.”

Positive Thinking – Aubrey Max Sandman, PhD, an electrical engineer in London, sent me an email asserting that positive attitude is what counts, not genetics. His opinion is that non-Jews do not work as hard as Jews, to attain their full potential.

In actuality, “positive thinking” actually does elevate IQ. 2011 research at Michigan State University revealed that a subject’s “mind set” makes a difference in intelligence because their attitude determines if they react productively, or self-destructively, to their mistakes. The report will soon be published, hopefully with specific data charting IQ gains, in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science.

Check Mate: Chess historically has been a highly favored activity among Ashkenazim; a 1905 magazine described it as the “Jewish National Game.”

Almost 50% of Grandmasters are Ashkenazi.

The visual, organizational, and strategic skills required for chess build up the precuneus in the superior parietal lobe, and the caudate nucleus, a part of the basal ganglia in the subcortical region. Admittedly, these benefits are not hereditary, but youngsters who practice the game can elevate their memory storage, strategic planning, and IQ.

Additional information about the benefits of chess can be found in my later chapter, “School Years.”
Melodic Minds: Music has been revered in Jewish religious traditions for 3,000 years.

Klezmer “reached a very high level of sophistication and ornamentation,” according to the Jewish Music Institute, and Ashkenazi composers and instrumentalists contribute hugely to Western classical music (one history site declares, “The Jews ‘Own’ the Violin”).

Have centuries of practice paid off?
Researchers today believe music training optimizes neuron development and improves brain function in math, analysis, memory, creativity, stress management, concentration, motivation, and science.

Additional information about the benefits of musical training can be found in the following chapters: “Early Years” and “School Years.”

Comfortable Supportive Families, With High Expectations: Success promotes success, on the neurological level.

Victory provides a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates motivation for further accomplishments.

Ashkenazi children generally understand they are capable of high achievement, and they’re urged to develop their skills for contribution to humanity.

Is stern discipline necessary to produce these results?
Ashkenazim have long discouraged spanking of their children; strong familial ties, incessant encouragement, and hard focused work at excellent institutions, seems to be sufficient.

Available income that allows offspring to study and develop intellectually is also important; wealth also permits access to elite schools.

Surveys indicate that American Jews earn about twice the income of non-Jews, plus they have 2.5 times more capital assets.

The result?
The average American Jew receives 2.5 more years of education.
Even during the Middle Age many Jews were upper and middle class in economic status, a condition that secured good education for their children.

Untermensch Go Elsewhere?
A 40+-year old Jewish commenter from New York City with the nomenclature “ASAMATTEROFFACT” informed me that – in his opinion – Ashkenazi who lack high intelligence and creativity end up feeling inferior.

He believes this eventually leads to the “untermensch” marrying outside of the tribe.
Only the ubermensch remain to reproduce. His point of view was echoed by another poster – Efox” – who stated that less intelligent Jews incapable of being their own “Priest” inevitably left Judaism to join another religion.

Empathetic Rabbis – A commenter who identified himself as “zeev from jew york city” informed me that many rabbis were “Einsteins of Empathy” – amazingly kind, patient, loving and understanding of other humans.

The high-level “empaths” impacted their congregations, making their lives better and promoting their ambitions and enterprizes.

In later chapters (“Early Years” and “School Years”) I discuss the IQ-boosting benefits of “Emotional Support” and “Teacher Effectiveness” – two gifts that were undoubtedly provided by compassionate rabbis.

Fear of Anti-Semitism? – Commenter “Morris Wise” stated a paranoiac position after reading my original article on the instapundit.com website.

In his opinion, Jews are driven to attain high academic success, career achievement, and wealth, because they want to feel safe, protected and insulated from anti-Jewish feelings in the outside community.

This point-of-view can, of course, be justified by the long history of resentment and persecution that Jews have experienced.

Twenty explanations for high Ashkenazi IQ!
My opinion?

Regarding the fourscore?
They’re possibly all correct, and valuable to contemplate.
However, what I find most intriguing are the “environmental” factors that are accessible to all humanity.
I wonder: if the people of the world really want high-level intellectual achievement, why don’t we play chess with our children at night, instead of tossing them a violent video game?

Why can’t we listen to their classical compositions on the weekend, instead of urging them to get concussions on the football field?
Isn’t a “dietary code” actually an excellent idea, in American culture with its 33.5% adult obesity?

Why can’t we provide them with excellent schools, entice them to learn foreign grammar, and convince them to believe in and expand their abilities, instead of forcing them to endure years of educational mediocrity and expecting nothing back but the same?

If all humanity adopted the best available characteristics of successful cultures like the Ashkenazi, would we, as a whole, immensely benefit?

Would we learn more quickly, more deeply, and produce greater wonders?
Would we become over- instead of under-achievers?
If we promoted high IQ behavior to humans everywhere, globally, would we all become… enhanced? Better humans?

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