Saturday, April 23, 2011

India Cannot Become a Modern State

By Saeed Qureshi

It is India’s turn now to suffer of what Pakistan has been suffering since its inception in August 1947. One of the principle policy planks of India has been to undo Pakistan or to weaken it in all forms as long it exists. The first lethal blow that India dealt to Pakistan was its dismemberment in December 1971.
There have been unremitting successive endeavors on the part of India to destabilize Pakistan or to further truncate her by fomenting separatist movements. Despite solemn and unequivocal commitment in the United Nations, it has refused to find a solution of the disputed territory of Kashmir, through the agreed principle of plebiscite.
Of late, being an upper riparian it has started constructing multiple dams on the rivers that flow into Pakistan and provide water for irrigation and for electricity production. India has never let even a slim chance to slip, by which it could inflict harm and detriment on Pakistan.
The efforts for pacifications between India and Pakistan have always remained unilateral from Pakistan’s side. On the contrary India has invariably adopted a policy either to rebuff or willfully ignore those efforts. There have been a host of bilateral issues between India and Pakistan that Pakistan wanted earnestly to resolve. But those issues were either stalled or such counter solutions were put forward by India that would not bring any corresponding advantage to Pakistan.
Pakistan has been sincerely in favor of soft borders as to ease the cross border traffic between the people specifically in Kashmir. But this far reaching suggestion was always bottle-necked by dilly dallying machinations of India.
Despite knowing the fact that the same elements are also targeting Pakistan in numerous ways, India has optimally exploited against Pakistan, the attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, and several other places in Bombay from 26 to 29 November 2008.
Pakistan is one country that has been immensely suffering at the hands of terrorists and saboteurs for ethnic, religious, sectarian, regional or vendettas attacks by Taliban and other militants.
But to solely hold Pakistan‘s ISI or government responsible for Bombay event and giving it an unusual hype both domestically and internationally clearly manifested India’s malicious designs. Instead of joining Pakistan in curbing or stemming the common threats from diverse miscreants, India went all out to malign Pakistan as a state sponsoring terrorism.
The slain Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s statement that Hindus have avenged their humiliation of 1000 years under Muslim rule by the victory in former Bangladesh, speaks volumes for the typical Hindu mentality of slumbering hate for Islam and particularly for Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent. The same deep seated prejudice has remained underneath all deliberations and parleys between India and Pakistan to sort out mutual friction and backlog of bilateral unresolved matters.
Pakistan has always remained a bête noire for India with a lurking ambition to wipe out this leading Muslim state that too has become nuclear. India ditched the gas pipeline project that was hugely beneficial to her by way of boosting her industries with cheap gas. It has been ambivalent for a few years and finally walked out of it.
The main reason behind abandoning the project was the fear that Pakistan could exploit India as the pipeline passed through the Pakistani territory. Secondly India did not want Pakistan to economically benefit from the royalty that it would receive for use of its territory for the pipeline.
The Gawadar port that is being built with the Chinese cooperation is like a rock on the chest of India as it is not only a monument of Pakistan-Chinese joint venture but would give an easy access to Chinese for international trade. Besides it would bring her closer to the Gulf States, Iran and Afghanistan thus overstepping the Indian influence in the gulf and Indian Ocean region.
Baluchistan has been a ripe place for India to replay what it had done in the former East Pakistan. In tandem with the incumbent government in Afghanistan, India is aiding and inciting the separatist groups like BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army) and BRA (Baloch Republic Army) for an independent Baluchistan, in the same manner it had backed the Awami League and the Mukti Bahni in the former East Pakistan. The BLA and BRA are not operating in the thin air. The world at large is well aware that the arms, money and directions come from Indian Raw and intelligence network.
Baluchistan is replete with enormous natural resources and when better times come and Pakistan is technologically and economically in a sound position, these resources would make Pakistan an economically robust country.
While India is masterminding the separation of Baluchistan by abetting the hostile elements, it is also focused on Afghanistan to replace or outdo Pakistan in that war torn vast country so as to kill two birds with one stone: breaking Baluchistan from the federation of Pakistan and diluting Pakistan influence in Afghanistan.
If Mahatma Gandhi had not kept his fast unto death for paying Pakistan her due share of funds amounting to Rs. 550 million during the partition, the Indian leadership would have devoured that money too when Pakistan was in dire straits because of onset of refugees and lack of administrative network.
India agreed to sign the “Indus Waters Treaty” because Pakistan was relinquishing its right over three rivers which was a win-win situation for India anyway. Now in complete breach of that treaty brokered by the World Bank, India is stopping or diverting the flow of water by building water reservoirs and dams even on the rivers allocated to Pakistan.
But chancery, malice, intrigues and double standards do not pay in the longer run. While India has been focused on dismantling Pakistan for over six decades now, she will have her own nemesis and down sliding process under the internal dynamics and inimical developments eroding her from inside.
Let us take a stock of those catalysts and factors that would wreck India and not only destabilize her but would physically disintegrate her in the time to come. Admittedly, India is a great democracy and one of the leading countries with unbroken democratic traditions and institutions. But democracy alone is not the antidote to various sores that are distinctly visible on the body politic of India.
Let us candidly admit that India is not China, although their populations are almost equal. China being a one party government having a pattern of mixed economy with predominance of socialism has produced economic miracles. Its GDP rate is the highest and her economy in on top besides United States and Japan. It has the existing foreign exchange reserves that are reaching one and a half trillion dollars. It loans money to United States.
Chinese population of 1.25 billion is well fed. Her exports dominate the world markets; its army is one of the strongest, well eqipped and organized one. It has vast land. Its economy has never been sluggish during the past three decades and has been galloping on a fast rate. China is building highways, dams, shopping plazas and modern infrastructure. Despite a huge population, the traffic has not been overly heavy and its roads do not remain jam-packed.
The majority of Chinese population is healthy, disciplined, and hard working. Chinese don’t worship animals, mythical deities or caught in the web of religious queer rituals. China has a matter of fact society that is riveted and engaged in material progress leaving aside subjective and ideological issues.
Compare that scenario with Indian landscape and society. It would take several decades for India to create the infrastructure that the Chinese have created in barely three decades starting from the Deng Xiaoping era. India does not have a monolithic society that remains under a perceived order or discipline for the progress and advancement of their country.
In a way, the Chinese controlled democracy is a monumental catalyst for the miraculous progress that China is making in all sphere of life, while Indian democracy is a hurdle in smooth and quick decision making.
Indian shabby roads, its neglected railways, its disorderly traffic, its dirty lanes and heavily polluted environment, its appalling health and educations systems, it civic mess, its rampant corruption, and rabid bureaucracy, the culture of bribery and so one, can be compared with Pakistan but not with China and other modern and developed societies of the world.
India has to go along way before it can shape up as a state that can claim to be a modern nation where poverty and starvation, hunger and poor living conditions have been stamped out or marginalized.
But what is going to strike at the geographical unity of that country are the various separatist movements in India, that, in the longer run would tear her apart. As long as India can manage to contain those breakaway movements through her army, these may remain in a low key.
But the moment her oppressive and tight control loosens, there would be mayhem let loose against the Indian Federation in those turbulent regions. Roughly there have been 8 secessionist movements that are aggressively or passively going on against the Indian hold. These are Khalistan, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
The most vigorous self determination movement is being steadfastly carried out in Kashmir, a Muslim majority land whose future is yet to be decided by a process of plebiscite by the Kashmiris under the United Nations’ supervision.
Secondly, India’s huge burgeoning population and her lack of corresponding measures for their welfare and catering to the emerging needs would explode into a downward economic backlash and drift that would be utterly difficult to stem.
With the grinding poverty and rather slow expanding industrial and manufacturing sectors and a saturation point reaching in agricultural produce, India would face an explosion that would be fatal to its economy. After all when there is wide gap and incompatibility between the resources and the countless mouths to feed, the outcome is certainly going to be dismal.
India is an energy deficient country, as Japan is. But can we honestly make comparison between the rapidity and consistency of growth of Japanese economy and that of India? Moreover Japan’s population is much smaller than that of India.
India cannot fully exploit her manpower potential because of the power outrages, bureaucratic tangles, deep rooted corruption, sloth and inadequate and decrepit infrastructure that would remain a stumbling block to enable her to be counted as a modern developed country.
If her expatriate Indians stop sending their remittances, which make a sizeable bulk of Indian foreign exchange, India might not be able to accumulate even this much of foreign exchange that it presently possesses.
But the biggest setback that India suffers from is the mindset that negates the symptoms of tolerance about Pakistan. India despite being an open and democratic polity is hostage to the whims of extremist Hindu outfits such as RSS, Sangh Parivar and Shiv Sena headed by Bal Thackeray. There have been countless Hindu Muslim riots in India since partition in which mostly the Muslims have suffered horrible brutalities.
With the rigidity in listening to the voices of reason for honoring the sovereignty of the neighboring countries, India has been having an ambitious penchant to transform them into satellite and client states. With Pakistan her behavior has always been villainous with single minded propensity to either destroy or debilitate this country.
As such the inflexibility that is the hallmark of overbearing image of India, bars her from accepting the dynamics of the times and harsh and unpalatable realties such as the existence of Pakistan as a sovereign and independent state.
The overriding problem with Hindu leadership and also with the Hindu population is that they wish to revive the eras of their stalwart rulers of the past when the whole sub continent professed the Hindu religion. This is what is called Hinduvta. The Hindus tend to be orthodox and want to recreate the golden periods of Maurya and Nanda dynasties. Perhaps they refuse to accept the reality that past can never be resurrected in its original form.
The Muslim population in India is treated as second and low coast citizens, nothwithstanding their being perched on high positions in India such as president and ministers. The Muslims live in constant fear of Hindu extremist groups. They are discriminated in jobs and performance of their religious obligations. Barring the celebrities, the Muslims mostly live in colonies better to be called ghettos.
Urdu language, the symbol of Muslim identity, culture, literature, history and poetry has been obliterated from the text books and in medium of instructions, from the official documents and business transactions and even from the dubbing of the movies.
Fundamentally Hinduism is a caste and idols ridden religion. It thrives and is premised on mythologies written thousands of years ago when humans had no rational explanations of natural forces and about man’s own life and environment.
There are calculated to be 330 million gods in Hinduism. The book, “Mankind's Search for God” defines Hinduism as, “venerating animals, bathing in the Ganges River and being divided by castes” Hindus see life as a self repeating cycles in which human history is of little significance.
The Hindu religious mythologies are akin to those of Roman Empire and Greeks, but in a degenerated format. The Greek and Roman deities have sublime characters and come from the human societies although are symbolic. The Muslims too believe in a few angels but not with images or sharing powers with the master of the universe: the almighty God.
In Hindu each deity posesses enormous powers that are hard to believe even for a dimwitted person. Now to believe that man’s present state is the result of his past doings has no rational basis. The Hindu complex beliefs, customs and institutions have come into being when the Vedas (Hinduism’s Holy Scriptures compiled about 900 B. C.)) were being written.
Hinduism does not have founder like other religions, nor has it the hierarchy or a specified creed. Primarily the Hindu faith boils downs to the gods Vishnu and Shiva, the goddess Shakti, and their incarnations and progenies including the cults of Rama and Krishna, Dura, Skanda, and Ganesha (son of Siva).
“Although there is pantheon of millions of gods in Hinduism the triad is the most favorite. This consists of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Siva the destroyer, each having one wife.” (Mankind’s Search for God)
Hindu mythology has been described as an “extricable jungle of luxuriant growth in which once entered one loses the sense of directions.” The four caste system is deeply embedded in the Hindu society. As such the equality of human beings cannot exist in Hindu society.
The lowest caste called dillats or untouchables are treated worst than an animal. Hanuman (ape), Ganesha (elephant) cow, serpent and other animals are the most revered gods than a human with a low (also called shudara) caste. Muslims and Christians are treated at par with despised shudara.
Concisely what would wreck India internally are three factors. One is the growing population and the lack of matching resources to cater their needs. The other is the caste system that breeds hatred and divisions and undermines the unity and is out of sync with the norms of equality and freedom being hallmarks of modern societies. Despite bollywood galore, the inhuman caste system, and imaginary mythologies will never make India a modern state.
The third factor is the separatist movements in various parts of India that can never be exterminated and would explode with full force as the time passes. Either India will have to grant these rebellious regions independence or these will wrest forcible separation from India. This would happen sooner or later. That would be in simple words the beginning of the disintegration of India.
Let us not forget an instructive lesson of history that if powerful Soviet Socialist Empire can fall apart, how India can save itself from such an eventuality if she does not take far reaching remedial decisions. One is to give self determination or self rule or complete freedom to the ethnic populations demanding separation. It will have to sincerely embark upon a friendly relationship with Pakistan and other regional countries.
The first step towards that direction is to comply with the pledge of giving the right of self determination to the captive people of Kashmir. India will have to resolve the territorial disputes with China otherwise there could be another clash like that of 1962 when Indian military was put to the humiliating defeat by the Chinese forces. Similarly India will have to sort out amicably the issues of disputed territories such as Kargil heights with Pakistan. India must settle her water dispute with Bangladesh and free landlocked Nepal from stringent conditions.
Logically, such cosmetic and superficial overtures as “Aman Ki Asha” are not going to factually sweeten the age old embittered relations between India and Pakistan. Why should India straighten her relations with Pakistan when her prime objective is to see the state of Pakistan evaporate in the thin air? There ought to be a real change of heart on both sides of the partitioned lands of India and Pakistan.
The dormant hate and venom oozes out between the two people when a match is being played and at times of border clashes or when similar tensions mount between these two neighbors. The Indian media pours out venom and scorn on Pakistan, its leadership and the very genesis of Pakistan. So unless there is a veritable change of heart more from India, the peace in the region as well as the dream of good neighborly and cordial relations with Pakistan would remain elusive.
The writer is a Dallas-based journalist and a former diplomat. Email: qureshisa2003@
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1 comment:

  1. so much of hate!!
    and so much for ur prediction about India!!