The Cult of Nationalism

“War can be delayed but can never be avoided”

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Since the result of 2014 general election, most corners of the country, particularly Delhi, are overwhelmed with the vociferous voices, of certain narrow dimension and parochial personality, vehemently trying to subvert the government. It has become a daily soap for people and perfect political “masala” for the news channels. But from the perception of common man or woman it hardly matters until it affects their sensibilities. It is, without doubt, brings concern of most citizens when the question of “Nationalism” comes. The recent protests by some central universities students, adhering to certain ill perceived ideology, brings legitimate concern of the society as to who and what had have been feeding them? For a layman, it is an ambiguous milieu where the intellectually awakened citizens of a developing country, who are probably second posterity of independent India, are questioning the government over the over-discussed topic of “Freedom of Speech”, while under the same authority.

Students have been toiling hard to spread words against the much emphatically used term of “Nationalism”. It saddens a common man, especially who gets goosebumps whenever hears the most celebrated work of noble prize winner Shri Rabindranath Tagore, as he/she sees intellectually awakened masquerade class mimicking their Nation and mocking over the sentence accorded to a criminal, who attacked the sovereignty of Nation, given by constitutional authority. Isn’t it a disgrace for a country where the future of it questions its formation? Is that for what our forefathers fought against imperialistic rule so that today people mark their fructuous efforts with angst? Certainly not, but that is what the reality is today. We live in a nation which have continuously defied the western scholar’s prognostications of “Doomed Failure”. But again the dissenters still come up bringing around the deficiencies prevailing in the nation and end up condoning the basic component which is a must for maintaining integrity and sovereignty of the nation, i.e. Nationalism. What makes this more peculiar is that one can easily question other’s patriotism but how can we question nationalism? There is a basic flaw in understanding the meanings of Nationalism and Patriotism.

“That nation is great which rests its head upon death as its pillow”- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Patriotism is the spirit of love for one’s state. In other words, it is one’s affection towards the National Anthem, National Flag, symbols, emblems, historical events, or people who are associated with nation and politics. For example: The animosity of most people of India towards Pakistan or the goosebumps at the time of Republic Day parade and others alike points towards level of patriotism. We are patriotic as we are citizens of a country. We are born and engrained with the basic tenets which makes us affectionate. Patriotism is an essential characteristic in the people which decides how eager people are to protect it against adversaries. It is this value which can easily be found in a defence personnel but is ubiquitous. Whereas on the other hand, Nationalism is what one acquires out of national identity. It is pride in one’s people and belief that they have their own sovereign political destiny. Hence, that is why it was difficult for the national leaders, at the freedom struggle, to arouse the feeling of nationalism as people were fragmented in different ethnicity, religions, castes, or races. If one does not have the cognisance of the meaning of what it feels to be in a nation governed by one of their own, it would not have been possible to achieve independence and that is why it took so long! Also, being a national of a country does not makes you patriotic for the same as you lack the essential ingredients. To best understand it one can think of himself/herself or friend or anyone who left India and has now acquired citizenship of another country but is still concerned about the status quo of his/her native state.

Furthermore, coming to the present case of Gurmehar Kaur who although in 2016 uploaded a picture which has now become a much hyped talk is definitely a sign of intolerance and subjection of her freedom of speech. Followed up by the ignominious comments over social media clearly signifies the misunderstanding and disinclination towards the basic concepts. Gurmehar, as many others, simply blamed the scourge of war which separated her from her father. Although, there is nothing wrong with her perception, because of her loss, but is war really a satan? As per my perception, there could be many interpretation, albeit following traditional approaches we can have a better base to understand contemporary relations. War, for obvious reasons, is a doom for sure but on the other hand is a boon too. To understand it we can dip in the history of European nations in general and Britain in particular. All historian and political science scholars credit war to be the utmost force that drove Europe to what it is today. History is full of excerpts which talks of the rivalries between Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy (specifically Venice) and others. Since the economic competition had primacy, as today, which consequently translated into wars to signify their might and respectively in multiplicity of currency. Some of the overshoot led to the extension of war to their colonies also. Anglo-French wars are a classic examples which took place off the west coast of India during seventeenth century. Coming onto the most recent World Wars which with no exception to earlier ones were out of only controlling the economic sources. Even the Indian history revolves around the same aspect of which signals “wars as way to economic prosperity”. On the other hand, the atrocities are even not obscure. The legacy of war has led us to the ominous Weapons of Mass Destructions which makes many Cassandras point to the end of the world.

Looking at the above approach, war, although no doubt, leads to murdering of human beings on unprecedented scale. But do we have any another option other than fighting? Not all fights lead to war but when it becomes war then it is “Do or Die”. There is no parlance of “Mercy” in realist’s dictionary.  Taking a long standing example of India’s neighbourhood nation Pakistan, which follows policy of “bleeding India through a thousand cuts”. India, till recently, resisted to act aggressively, never had been a time when took initiative and did pre-emptive strike. On one hand, we have an example of India’s exemplary providence and on the other we have United States of America which always takes staunch imperatives, even if it leads to butchering of millions. It is quite clear National Interest always take the toll, no matter what the outcome and consequences are. All theories of humanity, human rights, or universal peace falls apart. Furthermore, the predicament here lies that the US went for first nuclear attack itself and today shrill out loud for denuclearisation to other countries. One cannot think of avoiding a war until have superiority over another, hence the deterrence plays quite light handedly. Arms race is completely a sham in the face of war, as it does not obliterates war and in fact only deters a smaller nation till the point it thinks it is not ready to wage a war. To understand we can think of Indo-Pak relations, which lies solely on the deterrence till Pakistan decides to act sickly. The wars of 1947,1965,1971 and many other through non-state actors clearly reflects the pledge of Pakistan.  Albeit, India continuously tries to isolate and have made Pakistan face worldwide opprobrium but it primordially remained obdurate. Having a mendicant as well as nefarious nation as Pakistan made India to ratchet up its approach time by time. It is definitely crystal clear that it is impossible for a country like India to eschew war. Gurmehar, though pointed out a long standing question, have herself remained quixotic. AsWar can be delayed but can never be avoided” .

Also read Can India- Trump in isolating Pakistan?

Furthermore, as already said, it has become song of the day for all political parties as well their ruse shenanigans to amok over the crucial national interest and act sordidly. Who to be blamed? Politics or Political Parties or Institutions? The question does not lies at blaming the lame ducks, it lies with the people of the country. The forefathers very intelligibly as well as with of their reminiscence under the British rulers placed the crucial power in the hands of the “Janta Janardan”. The power of canaille have not been used delicately since the freedom struggle. The ills which are at zenith today have to be geared back as happened with the Britishers. Time by time each and every civilisation face challenges which could either destroy the whole civilisation, as happened with the great Roman Empire, or could be fought and achieve what the west have today. In toto, striving hedonistically and for few pelf will only make people allured off gilded political agenda. Freedom lies not in played off by the political propagandists and subverting the government but by taking cognisance of broader agenda and using that freedom to make a change. A change for good of all, not for just self. Freedom of expression is one of the earliest conception of our great leaders like Lokmanya Tilak, who severed his life to achieve it. The time has changed, so is the conception of freedom. But none of the dogmas teaches to raise Anti-Nation slogans. Ideologies helps in understanding the world and make it salubrious. The illogical misconception denigrates and negates all the celebrates progresses and achievements. Countries like Russia, China and others who came out of the womb of historic revolutions, today, give primacy to nationalism and rather an ideology. The history should not be forgotten, even, should not be allowed to act under its thraldom. Future, which lies ahead, should be fostered for the progeny.

Nationalism is a must coupling it with utmost patriotism, not fanaticism or jingoism. A country needs both in order to cherish higher goals and aspirations. Sacrifices were made in the past and are needed in the future. Ín the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “That nation is great which rests its head upon death as its pillow”. We, the people of India, were example of democratic spirit, are the example of peaceful co-existence in diversity and in the near future will remain an example of what the western world will be inclined to learn forever, The Spirituality. What lay ahead is a future, which was, is and will always remain in the hands of common people.

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Can India- Trump in isolating Pakistan?

An Insight through past to New Future

An Insight through past to Future

The past of disillusioned Pakistan: In search of Ideology

“ We have united India and given her that sense of nationality which she so very largely lacked over the previous centuries. She has learned from us principles of democracy  and justice. When Indians attack our rule, they base their attack, not on Indian principles, but on the basis of standards derived from Britain”- Clement Attlee

In his maiden speech of 15th July,1946, made after the request of opposition leaders pertaining to their questions, before sending the Cabinet Mission to India, the then Prime Minister of Britain, Mr. Clement Attlee said, “ We have united India and given her that sense of nationality which she so very largely lacked over the previous centuries. She has learned from us principles of democracy  and justice. When Indians attack our rule, they base their attack, not on Indian principles, but on the basis of standards derived from Britain”. Many will surely agree that India got the principles of democracy, freedom, justice, equality and liberty from Imperial rulers. Certainly without any doubt, Indian sub-continent in the past also, had came across efforts to unite the whole sub-continent in single unit. May it be The Mauryas, The Guptas or later the Mughals, but the efforts always left by a short distance. It was the British Rule which successfully united the people, though the unity was against the rule itself. On the eve of 14th August and 15th August, 1947, Britishers left the sub-continent leaving behind their legacy, divided amongst two Nations that is, India and Pakistan.

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Picture: Jinnah arguing Gandhiji. Smoking is considered as “Haram” in islam.

History always marks a person with questions initiating with “ What if ”. Today, Pakistan stands at an opprobrium where the globe is questioning the reason behind its chaotic development. Both countries, vis-a-vis India and Pakistan, inherited the same political order aspiration, of being democratic, but if one ask what led to such a vast differentiation (in present context)? the answer would certainly be “The Vision”. The father of Pakistan, ‘ Quaid-e-Azam’ Mohammad Ali Jinnah was able to form Pakistan in only seven years. The first time the two nation theory was officially articulated in 1940 ( as officially accepted by Jinnah and his sister Fatima Jinnah). The main motive behind the formation of Muslim League (ML) was to counter the overwhelming support to the Congress party. It is quite astonishing that ML born after the Swaraj Movement in which Muslims participated equally with the Hindus. The British government understood very well the political risk of the unity and prognosticated the baby of ML and furthering with Indian Council Act 1909 by granting communal awards. Now following it is quite lucid to understand the perception of Britisher’s plenipotentiaries had towards the idea of ML. Jinnah, when in Congress, was part of the moderates and questioned Gandhiji’s every move to arouse masses to subvert the Crown. Professionally, Jinnah was western educated and qualified profound lawyer and hence was much like, “ .. interpreters between us (Britishers) and the millions (Indians) who we govern; a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect..”, Macaulay’s creation. Furthermore it is very astonishing fact that Jinnah left India in 1929 and came back in 1935, just before the 1937 elections. Many scholars believe it was the rhetoric and back-channeling by the British government in order to have inimical answer of growing Hindu – Muslim unity as they found Jinnah more egregious than Mohammad Shafi (another profound ML leader). Though, ML was not able to perform in 1937, but later in 1945 it delivered Britishers the much awaited seed of Separation.

Jinnah and ML did not have any plans for the creation of Pakistan. It is clear from the Jinnah’s and Fatima’s acquiescence of the fact that they never expected to see Pakistan in their lifetime. The inception of Pakistan was out of the insistence by Britishers and it is lucent that even Jinnah never thought much about the actual meaning of Pakistan. Furthermore, the struggle of ML was with Congress, never had been a time when Jinnah or any prominent leader of ML went to jail unlike Congress, which was fighting the imperialism, and Gandhiji, Nehru, Patel and others went to jail a number of time. Pakistan was given as a gift to Jinnah for standing by and to serve future strategic interest of the Britishers and later, the US.

The status quo of Pakistan is in conjunction with its inability to find the raison d’être. As discussed above, even Jinnah had many reservations regarding the demand of separate state. He just wanted to have separate state for Muslim majority regions (51%) and never expressed about those regions where Muslims were not in majority. Apart from that, many a times he contradicted his own vision. During one of the ML meetings before independence he expressed his view to have constitution as per Shari’ah law but later in his maiden speech in Pakistan (after independence) he went on with the perception of secular Pakistan. It was quite unfortunate for Pakistan to lose Jinnah in a year of formation. The death of Quaid-e-Azam had delusional impact on the future of Pakistan, leaving behind no leadership apart from Liaquat Ali Khan (assassinated in 1951). With no presence of legitimate and prominent leadership, Pakistan was ready for a blind and ominous Journey.

Islamisation was predominant and utmost characteristic of ML early vision. It was the only key jewel which made it Muslim representative in 1945 elections. After losing the only leaders, the new self proclaimed leaders who were unexperienced took the flambeau towards Islam. The delay in making constitution (1956) makes the perception more concrete. The constitution so made remained a dead letter and paved the way for opportunist Army chief Ayub Khan, trained under the British Armed Forces, to feat Pakistan’s first Military Coup. Ayub Khan toppled the civilian government under the garb of growing resentment towards maladministration. This gave the opening for the future coups, some successful and unsuccessful, but ruined the political structure of the Pakistan. Furthermore, the war with India, Kashmir issue and the Islamic concept of ‘Kufr’ (infidels) led to the pre-dominant disposition of Army. The dominance of Army was present from the early Britishers period as the North Western Frontier Province, Punjab, Sind and Bengal were the key regions of army recruitment. At the time of independence Pakistan got dominant army (as compare to then civilian government) which overshadowed the region. The early wars cemented the need of having strong army, at least to the limit to deter India. This perception of the leaders forced Pakistan to join American led CENTO and SEATO, while India preferred NAM. Joining these NATO’s overshoot seemed fructuous as it made Pakistani leaders feel secure, against aggressive India, and concomitantly modernising the army. During the early days army was maintained in a professional hierarchy but later led to Islamisation. Force of religion or the so called concept of ‘Jihad’ made army more aggressive towards the civilian government.

Till recently, Pakistani leaders, just to gratify the urges of people aroused on the ideological disillusionment, link Ideology of Pakistan to the Islamic Identity. It is quite astonishing that   Jamaat-e-Islami, the group which was also representing Muslims in undivided India, never wanted to have a separate state under the garb of Religion. The Islamic factor, albeit, helped in amassing crowd during the ML sessions, but the same crowd failed to connect themselves later on as Muslims of different ethnic linguistic groups came together. At the time of birth, Pakistan became amalgamation of people from different ethnicities. The Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa is region made up of mainly Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan, Balochistan of Balochis, Sindh of Sindhis, Punjab of Punjabis, minority group of Serkai, the Mujahirs who settle in the Sindh region and Bengali Muslims of East Pakistan. These people were not politically active, except of the landlords and the regions were already predominately Muslims. After partition when forced with Islamic identity other than the ethnic-linguistic identity made then elusive. The Muslim identity propaganda worked well in the Hindu majority regions, but after forming Muslim state the issues of ethnicity, culture, and language emerged. Since then these regions are in tumultuous volatility and searching their lost identity. That apart, when Punjabis started condescending the people of other provinces and took prominent positions in the political structure and used it in favour of the province depriving others of their fair-share, led the power struggle and this led to arrival of reservation formulae. This all happened due to the negatory and reluctance to accept identity other than Islam.

The jealousy aggravated when India contributed in liberating East Pakistan. In fact, the separation of East Pakistan was long due. There was contrast between the two Pakistan in terms of culture, language, and perception of Islam. West Pakistan was dominated by the view of Punjabi muslims. They considered themselves superior or ‘Martialthan the rest but the sense of political awakening and spirit of constitutionalism was more in East Pakistan, owing to the active political activity in undivided Bengal. In terms of economy, the demands of East Pakistan were never met, even though East Pakistan contributed more to economy than the West. The final blow came when the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, even after winning election was discarded by the West. Then Army chief Yahya Khan, successor of Ayub Khan, started army crackdown over the people and supporters of Awami League (Rahman’s party). Later on with the political aptness then Prime Minister of India Mrs.Indira Gandhi sent army to help Rahman. 1971 separation fractured Pakistani Vision and questioned the pre-dominant position of Army. The defeat further added another clause of animosity in the minds of Pakistani progeny.

To be continued..

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Is it Time For India to Recalculate Geo-Strategic Equation??

Right about The Winter is coming !

Year 2014 came with the dissuading winds far from the Centre and Left wing in Indian domestic Political System. The Government fell from UPA directly onto the lap of Gujarat’s Chief Minister led NDA. The Strategic mind-set of the Former Gujarat CM and new Prime Minister became the highlights of the news when, to be specific, he invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his Oath taking Ceremony.

Since 2015, the days have been quite turbulent, starting from the Operation Rahat (evacuation of Indian Citizens from the disturbed West Asian nation-state Yemen). Prime Minister Modi breaking his leg to get India a new pair of wheels and put it in the topmost gear of Economic boom, yet the road was blocked on many instances. PM Modi though tried his best to carrying out the Strategic steps, started by his predecessors Mr.Bajpai then Mr.Singh,  reinvigorating to the world view towards India. The internal politics, along with the International Politics, went through a number debates about the real intent of the policies declared from the steps of Red Fort on the eve of Independence Day from Look East to the recent references of the plight of Baluchis as well as the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. From the very first day in office he carried assessment studies of India’s stake in the global politics. May it be United Nations Security Counsel (UNSC) reforms or counterbalancing Communist China, most experts are impressed by his desired moves. But what are those stakes that India having worldwide? Where are those playgrounds? What are the plans laid down? Just to have a glimpse of those images i am laying out a short description which i will elaborate in my futures posts.

Before starting I would like to give a note of caution. I don’t claim to be a Person of high knowledge, or having a secret door to the Ministry of Home Affairs. All my posts will be based on my studies from different sources and with which i will be furthering my ‘Own Intellectual Assessment‘, and again i don’t claim to be an ultimate strategic analyst. Please don’t judge me ! Apart from that, i welcome you to counter my thoughts and elaborate your perception and ideas regarding the issues we will be discussing. You can comment below and i will catch up with you, also please mention your mail id while asking specific questions.

As it is the First post, I will just be laying down certain stakes that i think India holds region wise. I wont be going much deep into the Regions, unless it contains some importance.

Indian Stakes in the World Order

North America:

As we all know, with no doubts, the region is of utmost importance. Not only because the region has two Major powers I.e. United States and Canada. Stakes ranges from Economy, Security, Technology, Nuclear Security, Support for the UNSC claim and Diaspora.

United States which ,was an ardent sanction slapper, became dearest to the New Delhi. Though it major ally of the cold war times, i.e. Pakistan, was holding its ground until Al-Qaeda Chief was hunted down by the CIA and US marines in Abottabad. Since then, a major shift is being observed from the signing of Nuclear Pact, LEMOA and other economic and security cooperation.

With the new President coming in the White House, the prospectives of the continued relationship is bit early to say.

South America:

The Lower half of the American Continent have a close connection with India. Like India, South America had been under the severe domination of the imperialistic powers. We are closely linked with these nations economically through Bilateral as well as MERCOSUR (Economic Union of the South American Countries). Brazil is a strong contender of the UNSC seat but simultaneously supporting India’s candidature on reciprocity.

Indian industries, since last decade, have invested quite a significant amount in Latin America. Indian IT industries, as in India, are creating plenty of jobs. The region has vast fertile land with huge agricultural productivity.

Moreover, as Mexico is in North America but for the economy similarities with Southern half, will be dealt in this portion only.

Europe:

Europe is one of the key economic power. With almost 28 countries tying themselves together. But with the referendum result of Bre-Exit, and rising of the rightist forces to power in France, Italy and other countries. India’s interest are in Security, Economic Gains, Technology including Strategic Technology and support for India’s candidature in UNSC. Recently India is trying hard to get the membership of the NSG, Hence European countries are a strategically crucial region.

Africa:

One of the most underdeveloped regions of the world. Africa is continuously emerging as the Focal point. Being victims of the Imperialistic forces, also been the reason of the Great World Wars, have started to show development signs as the world’s investments are flowing in to the pot. The Northern part of the Continent has abundant oil which makes it strategically important. Also, the Horn of Africa is an important transit to the European market, thanks to the Suez Canal, however is also one of the most Piracy prone areas.

India has close relations with most of the coastal states like Mozambique, Kenya etc. The Indian Diaspora is also a leverage in the relationship. One of the aspect of the African continent’s importance lies with their support to India’s candidature in UNSC. African Union have 54 members which could have a huge influence in UNGA.

India’s engagement with the African countries will be taken separately.

Asia:

Coming on to our own Region, which is quite vast in fact, will better to break up it in different sub-regions.

West Asia:

There’s no doubt that West Asia is the power house of the world. Supplying enormous amount of oil over the world. The economic prosperity of the region is obvious, but the region is in fact one of the most unstable in the world. The recent rise of the ISIS/ ISIL have dented the image of region even further and is now looked upon as supplier of extremism. West Asia housed many great civilisations like Roman Empire, Persian Empire (Sassanid Dynasty), Ottoman Empire etc. But the the region is facing new perils of extremism.

It is also the home of Indian diaspora which nearly crosses to about 7 million. Indian remittances tops the world list with more than USD 70 Billion. Recently, India took initiative to provide more amenities to the diaspora living in the region with plenty of other services.

Central Asia:

A part of the former USSR bloc is one of the least explored regions owing to the remoteness and the cold war era. The region is coming into the limelight due to the Oil and Gas vastness and bordering with the European Union. China is trying to influence the region, which it can with its capabilities to invest, but the region has more historic relations and is comfortable with India. The Ladakh region of India houses decedents of the people from the Central Asia. India is continuously trying to harness the region by creating Win-Win conditions unlike the Chinese’s Zero-sum games.

South – East Asia:

Countries lying in the Indian Ocean and connecting with the Pacific Ocean have historic Religious and Cultural affinity with India. The Region is strategically important owing to the Chinese regional ambitions. These Countries are quite economically bind with Chinese Economy and now facing the garb of aggressive and assertive China over not just economics but even internal politics.

With the coming of the India’s Act East policy and now Look East policy, India is trying to take the leadership role in the region. Moreover the uncertainties surrounding the new US government change, China will try to increase their influence over the region which in fact would be threat to India’s security.

East Asia:

The recent developments in the South- China sea and East Sea have created new tensions in the region. The issue of China’s assertiveness over the possessions of the Spartly islands and others have many times brought the region close to skirmishes.

South Asia:

The region is the home of Three nuclear neighbours ( I am including China in the Region, though China is the centrepiece issue for India thats why I will be taking it up more in South Asia) i.e. India, China and Pakistan. China is way too ahead of India economically and India considers China more threatening than Pakistan owing to the reason that Pakistan’s Nuclear programme is supported by one and only China.

India had been into wars with the neighbours, once with China and plenty of times with Pakistan. Handling these two countries along with the widespread instability in Afghanistan has been real policy challenge for India. With recent Strategic change seen, as US is trying to leave region, China-Pakistan- Russia are forming axis to stabilise the region (India is currently in Wait and Watch situation).

Apart form this, Myanmar after many years got the democratic government but the issue of Rakhine State is still hanging over the neighbours. The only joyous relation is with the Bangladesh (from past 2-3 years) and we are deepening our bonds with it.

South Asia, with no doubt, is going to be the centre piece of my study and analysis as it will decide whether India emerges as a leader or not in this Millennium.

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