One of the great things about political debate on the Internet is it brings people’s preferences and prejudices into sharp relief. A simple retweet or Facebook like offers a compelling picture of where a person’s instinctive allegiances lie. If you have retweeted statistics, photographs, news reports or even jokes in solidarity with Palestinians in the last few days, you have no doubt also faced a barrage of interrogations from India’s huge far-right online population – who, rather satisfyingly, seem just as angry though their five-year mission to make Narendra Modi prime minister has been successful – about why Israel does not elicit the same sympathy. These keyboard warriors draw an easy equivalence between the violence perpetrated by the Israeli government and the terrorist organisation of Hamas – finding no conceptual fallacy there – and remain oblivious or uncaring of the relative impacts of that violence.
But, even as more of Israel’s citizens and Jews across the world question the state’s chosen method of battling terrorist attacks, in India support for the state’s right to deadly action upon civilian populations grows every day. Now, this could be parsed as a natural corollary to the key right-wing assertion that the policies of the Congress and the self-styled secular parties are motivated by their electoral need to pander to India’s largest religious minority, Muslims. Indeed, this is what a few commentators on the right argued on Sunday, one managing to call Palestine an embryonic state when even a cursory examination of the past indicates that it is Israel that was planted into Palestine’s womb.
Those on the other side of the divide – betraying their own prejudices, perhaps – have instead characterised this avowal of Israel’s actions as a natural corollary to the alleged anti-Muslim sentiment that motivates many of the far-right in India. If we deem this also as unfair, what could explain this ideological correspondence between the far-right in India and the right in Israel?
Return to the first argument: that India’s official policy is to support Palestine as a means of pandering to India’s Muslims. India’s support for Palestine’s right to a state has been stated policy of the government since independence, when Jawaharlal Nehru’s government voted against Israel’s admission into the United Nations in 1949. Yet, by 1950 India had recognised the nation of Israel. Commentators rarely acknowledge it now, but initial support for Palestine is more reliably understood as part of Nehru’s vision for kindred post-colonial states. He is still an admired figure in much of Africa because he acted upon this perception of comity between colonised peoples.
India’s determination to remain non-aligned during the Cold War, and Israel’s close kinship with the United States, further complicated healthy relations between the two Asian states. It is no coincidence that in 1992, as the Cold War petered out, India established full diplomatic relations with Israel. Since then relations between the two states have flourished, especially in militarist matters. India is now the largest customer of Israeli defence equipment and Israel is India’s second largest military-partner. In 2009, they engaged in $9 billion worth of arms trade. They also have extensive joint military training exercises and share space technology. Bilateral trade in 2009 was worth $4.9 billion. Hardly a pariah state, then.
As for undesirable state pandering: while Muslim and leftist groups have protested against India’s increasing engagement with Israel, memorably during prime minister Ariel Sharon’s visit in 2003, both of the last two ruling coalitions have been happy to increase ties between the states. If the so-called secular parties of India had submitted to the sentiments of Muslims, surely it would be visible in state policy?
It is interesting that the far-right has its own historic allegiance in this conflict. Veer Savarkar was a firm advocate of Israeli interests. Additionally, a number of Hindutva ideologues have tried to characterise Israel’s sixty-year struggle against its Muslim adjunct as the same as the eight hundred year pre-colonial struggle between Hindu and Muslim kings on the subcontinent.
It seems unlikely, despite the Parliament debate on Gaza today, that India will shift from its meaningless perch on the fence. Yet it is important to understand why the debate is vital to India’s domestic policies, and why so many on the right are urging India to support Israel.
It is not, as one writer claimed, because of the threat posed by a small number of Indians have joined the Sunni jihad of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It is because India deals with terrorist threats of its own. The insurgencies in Kashmir, the North Eastern states and central India have to be addressed, and many on the right favour a strong military solution. To applaud Israel’s actions today means India will support state-ordained violence against civilian populations. Israel says its actions against civilian populations are justified because they shield terrorists. The Indian security establishment already has an abysmal human rights record in each of these conflicts. The government should not be given this kind of unofficial Parliamentary sanction for similar action – however unlikely – against its own people.
Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival
We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.
The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:
Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app
Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.
Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.
Plan your shopping
The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.
Track the deals
There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.
Big discounts and top picks
The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.
Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.
There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.
There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are LenovoTab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.
If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.
Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.
The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.
For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.
Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.
For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.
The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.
While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!
If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.
Check-out process and payment options
Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.
Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.