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Monday, 31 August 2015

A Clinton-Sarkozy-Cameron human flood

M.D Nalapat is the Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian.

The trio are at the root of the chain of events that led to the formation of ISIS, and as a result , the violence that followed soon after.
t must be difficult to escape from visions of grandeur, when one is the leader of a country which controlled a significant portion of the globe's land area less than a century ago. Each of us has known a compulsive do-gooder, who is never at ease unless he or she seeks to "make things better" through interventions, which usually end up making a bad situation worse. Having crammed the histories of France and the UK in their school years, it is obviously difficult to let go of the illusion that a similar degree of influence (of course, this time of the "soft" variety) can still be conjured up within former colonies. In 2011, there was a frenzy of do-gooding among the former colonial powers of Europe, joined by the US, whose foreign policy was being substantially shaped by an individual who from the start has been more European than American in her reflexes, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The cry to "make things better" was initiated by a French thinker, who passes off as a philosopher, who called on French President Nicolas Sarkozy to "save hundreds of thousands of innocent people at Benghazi". How was this very commendable task to be achieved? By unleashing bombs and missiles at clusters of human beings in Libya identified by secretive local agents as being "Gaddafi men" (and therefore not deserving of life). Sarkozy, eager to prove that rumours that he had received lavish gifts from Muammar Gaddafi were false, led a lynch mob joined by David Cameron and Hillary Clinton who finally got their man, who just years ago had turned over his WMD supplies and his military secrets to his future executioners.
Having rid Libyans of dictatorship and introduced "democracy" via rule by local warlords and terror gangs, the do-gooder trio turned to Syria, marking Bashar Assad for the same fate as the Libyan dictator. In Libya, about a fourth of the country's tribes — mostly located in the east and to a smaller extent, in the centre — wanted Gaddafi to go, mainly for tribal reasons, or because he was seen as an apostate by Wahhabis. Together with targeted attacks by NATO, such support proved sufficient to defeat Gaddafi. However, in Syria, the proportion of Wahhabis within the Sunni population is less than 15%, while this time around, Moscow growled in menace at the prospect of one of its closest allies being taken down and replaced by a hitherto nameless individual chosen by a half-dozen secret services for the single quality of docile obedience to their commands, which were often delivered in public, on the Iraq model. From the start, the fighting was done by the more fanatic amongst those who sought the ouster of Assad, mainly because he was an Alawite, a sect regarded with as much hatred amongst Wahhabis in Syria as Ahmadiyas are in Pakistan.
These were gifted cash, weapons and training under the supervision of Turkey, France, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and in a year, morphed into what is now termed ISIS. This transformation from ersatz moderate was predicted (for example, by this columnist), but the Clinton-Sarkozy-Cameron trio did not bother to check on the possibility that — as in Afghanistan — those given weapons may some day turn against their benefactors. Soon, Syria became as unsafe for non-fanatics as Libya had become after the do-gooders completed their work of ridding the globe of Gaddafi and much of his family and friends.
The forced removal from office of a dictator, who, by that time, posed zero threat to the security interests of the US, France and the UK, led to the effort to do likewise with Assad, beginning a chain of consequences that are these days ending up as corpses in refrigerator vans across the western part of Europe. Each such death is the direct consequence of decisions taken by Hillary Clinton, Nicolas Sarkozy (later followed by Francois Hollande) and David Cameron, but in obedience to the principle that members of the NATO alliance cannot by definition be guilty of human rights violations, blame is being placed on "people smugglers". These creatures are far down the chain of responsibility for the situation in Libya, Syria and now Iraq, and while they deserve jail and worse, what about those who took the decisions which led to the present chaos? Cameron has been re-elected, although he appears to have lost somewhat his appetite for missiles and bombs as instruments to promote human rights.
As for Hillary Clinton, her objective is to become the lawful occupant of the White House office once occupied by her husband. Thus far, there seems to be little talk of the way in which decisions taken by the former Secretary of State have led to misery and violence across huge swathes of territory. But of course, like Cameron and Sarkozy, Clinton has a "007" licence to take decisions which lead to a horrendous loss of lives without any visible consequences.
By 2017, more than three million people from the locations "improved" by the do-gooders in Paris, London and Washington are likely to reach some shore or the other of Europe, and practically all of them will over time become permanent residents of countries within the EU. Perhaps that was the intention of the trio, to reverse population decline in Europe and populate the continent with the young, this time from North Africa and West Asia.
Source: sunday-guardian

Thursday, 13 August 2015


For over 20 years I have spent my full-time effort defending Hindu dharma directly in the kurukshetra, right at front in the line of fire. I see it as my sva-dharma to be an intellectual Kshatriya, which means intensely researching the big issues we face as a civilisation and exposing the culprits fearlessly. There are no awards for doing this, nor is anyone asking me to do so. It is simply my yajna, for which I gave up my tana-mana-dhana (physical, mental and material resources) after my guru (mentor) had transformed me.

It is not surprising that I have been a persistent target of attack by the forces I expose. Initially, I had encounters with the Hinduphobics who denigrate Hinduism by using Freudian psychoanalysis. They are obsessed with looking for abusive sexuality in gurus, deities, symbols, family life, and everything Hindu. They made many false allegations against me for opposing their scholarship; they tried to claim that I was denying their free speech, when the exact opposite was true. Then I wrote Breaking India exposing the nexus of Evangelists and Leftists that is run from abroad using Indian sepoys to do the dirty work. This, too, generated a huge awakening in India, and at the same time raised the level of threats I started to face. Following this, my book Being Different explained how our civilisation differs in very fundamental ways. We should not dilute these distinct qualities, and in fact, they are a great gift to the world. Again, this activated the same Indian sepoys whose strings are pulled by their puppet-masters sitting in Western academia, church seminaries, human rights watch dog groups and funding agencies.

More recently, my book Indra’s Net exposed the entire school of academic studies that considers modern Hinduism to be a fabrication made up by Swami Vivekananda for the sake of Hindu nationalism. He is being accused by this group of scholars for appropriating elements of Christianity and other Western ideas and using Sanskrit terms like karma, yoga, bhakti to repackage Western practices in Indian vocabulary. I showed that many well-known Indian writers from Romila Thapar to Pankaj Mishra had picked up this thesis from the West and popularised it in India. This book, has also generated attacks trying to find pedantic, technical flaws in my work that are irrelevant to the main thesis, and then over-exaggerating them.
The latest attack that I am presently in the middle of fighting was triggered by some sudden dramatic events last year. That is when it was discovered that the legacy of Adi Shankara and the international representation of the famous Sringeri Peetham was about to be handed over to American scholars, who are atheists and leftists, and whose work I had criticised earlier. Under the leadership of Sheldon Pollock at Columbia University, some NRI businessmen wanting limelight in the university’s prestigious ‘networking circles’ had negotiated with Sringeri Peetham to set up chairs for Adi Shankara studies in US universities. The first chair was in the process of being set up in Columbia. Within 4 to 6 weeks from the time I learned about it, the official announcement was scheduled to be made publicly, after the formality of signatures. I was disturbed that our Hindu legacy would be outsourced to scholars who are not only non-practitioners of our faith, but whose work has explicitly been to ‘expose the abusiveness’ in the Vedic tradition.

The same Sheldon Pollock was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of Manmohan Singh, being projected as a great champion of Sanskrit. The Narayana Murthy family has showered him with awards and millions of dollars to manage the translation of 500 volumes of Indian texts into English. I have pointed out the potential for this becoming yet another wave of intellectual colonisation, in a manner similar to the Orientalism studies launched by Sir William Jones in the 1700s when he worked for the British East India Company as the Supreme Court judge in Calcutta. Jones had proclaimed that he was ‘giving the Hindus their laws’ based on his understanding of Sanskrit texts. Pollock, in a similar fashion, says he wants to give Indians their human rights based on reinterpreting key Sanskrit texts.

I immediately stopped all my other work to focus on this impending crisis. (I was till then in the midst of writing my next book explaining my understanding of various yajnas.) I started a flurry of activity including a personal meeting with the Shankara-charya of Sringeri. Many concerned Hindus wrote letters and articles to try and stop the project from happening so hastily and without proper scrutiny. This is what has caused the latest campaign against me.

Things got heated up to boiling point when I announced my next book, titled The Battle for Sanskrit. This book discusses this entire issue of American-driven Sanskrit studies. Sringeri Peetham was in the process of handing over its keys to this cabal of American-based Sanskrit scholars and legitimise them as the official voice of Adi Shankara in international academics. I delivered my plenary lecture at the World Sanskrit Congress in Bangkok in June, 2015, explaining the topics in my forthcoming book. The traditional Sanskrit scholars at the event loved it. I was invited to a private discussion with these scholars and Sushma Swaraj who was at the event as head of the Indian delegation. The royal family of Thailand, who have Sanskrit scholars among them, and who were present at my talk as the patrons of the event, sent me a private message of appreciation.

But the exact opposite reaction came from the Western scholars of Indian civilisation, Sanskrit, Hinduism and related topics. They were extremely angry at me and lodged complaints against the organisers for inviting me to speak. In fact, I was told that these scholars had tried very hard to exclude me from the event before my talk, because they do not want my work to become known. 

Clearly, this event has become a game changer. I suddenly became non-ignorable to the arrogant scholars who have hijacked the discourse on our heritage. I had stepped into their turf. I had drilled deep into their secrets and hit a raw nerve. The chowkidars guarding the gates of the fortress of Western ideology had received a wakeup call. Something drastic had to be done fast to stop me.

The role of General Dyer (the British official who became infamous for commanding the Indian sepoys to fire at Jallianwala Bagh) was played by one professor at a very large Christian seminary in the town where I live. I have had some encounters with him in the past because he hates all my writings. He sees me as the biggest threat to his campaigns to make Dalits accept the hyphenated identities of ‘Dalit-Christian’ and ‘Afro-Dalit’. The former identity makes Dalits into Christians. The latter identity is meant to convince them that they are Dravidians of African origins, who are being oppressed by non-Dalits in India. The history being fabricated is that Africans and Dravidians are one race whereas all other Indians are equivalent to the white Americans who have been enslaving them for centuries. The entire history of American slavery is thus projected upon India to break it into enemy camps with Dalits and Dravidians on one side, fighting the other Indians as their oppressors. Since I have harshly undermined his thesis, he has been gunning against me for many years.
This man is named Richard Fox Young (RFY). He presents himself as though he is a professor at Princeton University. He knows this will impress the foolish Indian journalists who are too lazy to check the authenticity of his claims. But he is not employed at that university; he is employed at the large Christian seminary in the same town. As a result of his decades of experience teaching Christian missionaries in India, he knows how to manipulate Indians’ inferiority complexes with respect to white people. Imagine a teacher at a madrasa or church seminary in Delhi calling himself a professor at Delhi University and getting away with it!
RFY put out a petition falsely accusing me of ‘plagiarising’ a book that was not well-known until I cited it. Immediately, my supporters examined each of his allegations and wrote an independent rebuttal showing there was no plagiarism at all. My supporters started a counter petition. His petition against me got less than 250 signatures. The counter petition supporting me got over 10,500 signatures – a ratio of 40 to 1 in my favour. The public spoke loud and clear, rejecting my opponents’ demand that publishers must withdraw all my books.

RFY then got his Indian media mafia to attack me. I was branded with all sorts of names in various heightened sensationalised headlines. I was a ‘plagiarist’, ‘fanatic’, the ‘leader of the Internet Hindutva’, a ‘wealthy businessman’ meddling in scholarly affairs, ‘incompetent’ as a scholar to write on my own heritage, and so forth. It is very clear that none of these journalists did any honest investigation. They merely parroted each other and wrote along the lines they had been instructed.

I quickly posted evidence that my book had mentioned Nicholson (the author I was accused of plagiarising from) about 30 times and referred to his book very explicitly. So how could I be accused of plagiarism? Plagiarism is an act in which someone wants to hide that he is using the work of another writer. But I mentioned the source 30 times! The outrageous allegation was framed on the basis that my intentions to cite the source amounted to nothing, and what mattered was that in a few instances I had not put quotation marks, even though I had given the details of the book, author and page number in parenthesis at the end of the paragraph. 

What RFY cited as his ‘gospel of rules’ on scholarship was a policy meant for students at Princeton University, where I am not a student by far. Nor is this policy some kind of universal standard. Its purpose is to teach rigour to the students at a particular university. A few days later, Parth Parihar of Princeton University wrote a major blog at Huffington Post exposing the fraudulent allegations by RFY. Many others have shown that top professors at these universities often indicate the source they use in a manner similar to how I cited my sources, and they do not always put quotation marks.

Unfortunately, the Indian journalists deployed in the hit-squad did not bother to read any of this counter evidence. They merely went on repeating the exact same allegations. Writers like Sagarika Ghosh, Sandip Roy, Mihir Sharma and TM Krishna disgraced themselves by defaming me using unsubstantiated allegations. Worse still, newspapers like The Hindu, Times of India and Business Standard which carried such materials without verification, did not bother to respond to my emails requesting a chance to write a rebuttal. So much for these so-called champions of intellectual freedom!

This episode culminates my 20+ years of experience of counter-attacking the sepoy army of pseudo-intellectuals, who lack the capacity to think for themselves rationally. This drama has galvanised the Hindus to see for themselves the kurukshetra where our civilisation is now under assault in more sophisticated ways than ever before. I have received hundreds of letters of support expressing dismay that this undermining of Bharat is being done with the deployment of many of our fellow Indians who have been hired as mercenaries.

Rajiv Malhotra  (The writer is Indian-American thinker and author)

Source: organiser

Who is Adil Shahryar and why was he part of Sushma's defence

On Wednesday, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj referred to Madhya Chief Minister Arjun Singh’s autobiography as part of her scathing response to the Opposition on the 'Lalitgate' issue.
She alleged that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi allowed safe passage to Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson to secure the release of his friend’s son Adil Shahryar who was serving 35 years in a US jail.
She quoted Arjun Singh’s book, which claimed that Rajiv Gandhi had ordered him to make arrangements for Anderson’s safe passage to the US.
Who is Adil Shahryar? Why was he imprisoned and what was his relationship to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi? gives you a lowdown on the elusive Adil Shahryar.
Adil Shahryar is the son of India’s former ambassador to Spain and long time chairman of the Trade Fair Authority of India Muhammad Yunus.
As the son of a close Gandhi family aide, Shahryar was a boyhood friend of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Shahryar was arrested in August 1981 by Miami state authorities on charge of attempting to set fire to his room at the Sheraton Beach Hotel. He was soon remanded to the custody of US authorities.
In all, Shahryar was tried on the following count: (1) attempting to firebomb a ship; (2) false statements on various certificates in connection with the shipment; (3) mail fraud; (4) making of a firearm; and (5) use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
It was established in the court that Shahryar's company, the Caribbean International Investment Corporation, had a contract with the England-based Shapton Products Ltd to supply them with 25,000 video cassettes. It was also established during the trial that Shahryar had substituted the aforementioned shipment with scrap paper.
Shahryar intended to set the shipment on fire in order to claim $243,750 (nearly Rs 22 lakh at the then exchange rates) from the American Express bank. Shahryar, however, claimed innocence of any scheme to defraud either the bank or Shapton.
The Heston connection
Hollywood actor Charlton Heston wrote to then-attorney general William French Smith in 1982 asking him to intervene in Shahryar's case.
The case was assigned to Smith's special assistant, John G Roberts Jr.
Roberts reviewed the case and in a memo clarified that Heston's version of events was incomplete.
He drafted a letter courteously dismissing Heston.
Read the entire Heston letter HERE.

Quid pro quo or the Shahryar Redemption
In the aftermath of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Congress had allowed the then Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson to escape to the US.
In 1985, President Reagan commuted the sentences of 13 people who had been in prison for violations of federal laws. Reagan signed the clemency papers June 11, the day Gandhi arrived in Washington for a state visit.
According to Sushma Swaraj, quoting from the book by former Congress chief minister Arjun Singh, the Rajiv Gandhi government had allowed Anderson to flee as a quid pro quo arrangement with US on giving a presidential pardon to Shahryar.
At the time of Shahryar's release, Rajiv Gandhi told India Abroad (owned by that he had not asked that his friend's sentence be commuted, but added, "We do believe that he has been wrongly imprisoned."
Image: Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. 


Source: rediff

I am a Kaffir and I need a Hug

In the afternoon of 6 August, a blindfolded Muslim man named Mazim Mullah stood in…

In the afternoon of 6 August, a blindfolded Muslim man named Mazim Mullah stood in a Mumbai street with his hands stretched open and a message that urged passersby to hug him: “I’m a Muslim and I trust you. Do you trust me? Enough for a hug.”
As the passersby stopped, many youths took up the trust challenge, walked up to him one by one and hugged him. Mullah’s image was shared on Facebook and other social media networks and liked by numerous people. The reason why it was liked is humanitarian but the message is political, which needs to be given some thought.
In a short video available on the internet, several girls – some of them wearing sleeveless tops and others donning headscarves – reached him and shook hands while at least one woman hugged him.
It is purely a humanitarian instinct to hug. Love knows no religion, no caste, and certainly no ideas that come in its path. A purely humanitarian desire will mean this: that you treat every person as a human being irrespective of their religious or other affiliation.
So, does it mean that Mazim Mullah, insofar as he decided to represent a Muslim, will be willing to marry a Hindu girl without converting her to Islam, or allow his sister to marry a Hindu boy?
In the republic the people of India nurtured from the 1950s onwards, a new generation of Indian youths has emerged, whose minds are not shackled to the emotional scars of the Partition or the Emergency’s political torments.
The skullcap is not a piece of cloth. It is a piece of politics. the Burqa is not a piece of cloth. It is a piece of ideology.
This class of Indians, still in their teens and twenties, represents a constitutional generation, with their aspirations and social attitudes rooted in the ideals of equality, free speech and love for the country. Indian youths today generally approve equal rights for homosexuals.
Mullah’s act is a political statement: will he hug a homosexual with open eyes? Equality is a political act. There is an associated question: why did he blindfold himself?
Interestingly, Mazim Mullah wore a skullcap to represent an average Muslim. To Mullah and those who liked his image on Facebook, here are some substantive questions: How many Islamic clerics wearing skullcap will permit girls to sing and to dance, which is the ultimate form of personal expression?
Burqa Clad Women (Pic Courtesy: Google Image Search)
Burqa Clad Women (Pic Courtesy: Google Image Search)
Journalist Irshad Uppinangady has produced a documentary Swargada Haadiyalli Kamarutiruva Kanasugalu (Shattered Dreams on the Path to Heaven) in which 8-12 year old Muslim girls of Dakshina Kannada region dearly long to dance but their dreams are crushed: “The madrassa teacher will scold us. Aren’t we Muslims? We are not allowed to dance.”
Truth be told, the skullcap is not a piece of cloth. It is a piece of politics. Likewise, the Burqa is not a piece of cloth. It is a piece of ideology. It becomes extremely difficult to imagine if a burqa-wearing woman would have hugged Mazim Mullah.
The Burqa is an enclave of ideas in the cosmopolitan metropolis of Mumbai. Like the burqa, the skullcap contains a set of ideas that impinge on human agency and the ability of humans to progress. To Muslim boys who liked Mullah’s image on Facebook: will you allow your daughter and sister to hug a stranger?
Love is pure. Love is blind. It uplifts us as human beings. It teaches us to work across religions. What is the ultimate point of liking a blindfolded man? Aren’t the youths who hugged him with eyes wide open better human beings?
The fact is this: Mullah’s act is necessarily a political action. It is an ideological statement on India’s politics and society.Mullah is presenting himself as a victim, a political victim, an argument that has in post-9/11 years been used to rationalise mainstream Islamism, notably by Mumbai’s own televangelist Zakir Naik who has single-handedly damaged the cause of Islamic reform.
 Like Naik, Mullah too advances the cause of Muslim victimhood in which Islamism thrives. Unlike Naik, Mullah’s act is politically sophisticated, which looks good for secularism.
Secularism loves skullcaps and Iftar parties. Mullah tells us something like this: I am excluded from your mainstream; I don’t trust you; do you trust me? Prove it. And Indian youths indeed step forward, take the bait, and prove it, proving that the country’s mainstream is ready to hug this poor victim.
The real question though is this: will Mullah hug the mainstream?
Next time you notice signs of Wahhabism in your neighbourhood, here is a reverse test question to ask your neighbour: will you allow your daughter to go to a dance school? If the answer is No, ask: who excludes you from the mainstream – yourself or the mainstream?
Mullah’s act does have a message: please hug an Ahmadi Muslim, hug a homosexual, hug a Shia Muslim, or hug a Bajrangi.
Indian society has a large heart: do not keep your eyes shut; do not sleepwalk. Hug but hug with open eyes. Allow your daughter to ride a motorbike or to go to a dance school. Prove that yours is not a gimmick. Prove that yours is not ideological sensationalism, not a political psychology in which secularism and Islamic exclusivism feed each other and swim together.

Tufail Ahmad is a former journalist with the BBC Urdu Service and Director of South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington DC. He can be reached at:

Source: indiafacts

What Gandhis don't want you to know about Adil Shahryar's release

According to a theory, Shahryar's father Mohammed Yunus had threatened to unmask Nehru over the controversy related to Netaji Subhas Bose's fate.

 |  4-minute read |   13-08-2015

It was several years back at the car park of the India International Centre in New Delhi that I first heard about the triumph of Indian diplomacy in securing the release of Adil Shahryar. An elderly gentleman spoke in a soft but firm tone bearing a tinge of bitterness. He said it involved his uncle somehow.

My memories of that day were revived yesterday. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was pulling back no punches in the Lok Sabha as she gave it back to the Congress for all that had built up over the last few weeks. She urged Rahul Gandhi to question his mother Sonia on why his father Rajiv Gandhi had a quid pro quo arrangement with the US and why he allowed Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson to run away to the US. Sourcing the information to late Congress leader and the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Arjun Singh, she claimed that Rajiv allowed safe passage for Anderson to secure the release of his childhood friend Shahryar who was serving 35 years sentence in a US jail.

Overlooked in this scenario is the fact that considerable time elapsed between Anderson's escape in December 1984 and the June 11, 1985 presidential pardon for Shahryar, efforts to seek whose release were going on for quite some time.

So was there something else behind the stupendous Indian efforts in securing Shahryar's release?

After Shahryar was sent behind bars in 1982 for offences which included an attempt to blow up a ship, his devastated father Mohammed Yunus scrambled to get his only child released. He was able to pull some strings, for he was, to quote a leading journalist writing in India Today a few years back, "a former foreign service official and long time sycophant to the Gandhi family". I am given to understand that the claims of "friendship" between Shahryar and Rajiv are somewhat exaggerated. "The Nehru-Gandhi family has ruled the country. They are king and we commoners," Amitabh Bachchan famously said in 2004.

Yunus tried various ways with the assistance of the government of India. "The case is very sensitive and has high visibility in India. Indian officials have already been (able) to see the assistant US attorney," notes an August 1982 letter written to the then US attorney general William French Smith by his special assistant John Glover Roberts Jr, who is now the chief justice of the US.

 [NARA, Maryland]
Roberts's letter referred to Hollywood legend Charlton Heston writing to the US attorney general seeking "fair treatment" for the son of his friend. Yunus was described by Heston as "a highly respected member of both of Mrs Ghandi's [sic] governments, and a key figure there since before Independence, when he was a close friend of Mahatma Ghandi [sic]".

The correspondence shows how desperate Indian officials were to get Shahryar released. One official in Delhi even took a swipe at the US, telling Heston that America was "a strange country, where a man could shoot the president and get off scot-free, while another could launch a failed fraud [sic] and get thirty-five years".

However, Smith expressed his inability to do anything.
 [NARA, Maryland]
Shahryar was not set free until, as the story goes, Rajiv Gandhi had made a personal intervention. And thereby hangs a conspiracy theory, which was precisely what was conveyed to me at the IIC car park.

"Yunus threatened Rajiv that he would unmask his grandfather in the Netaji matter if he did not seek his son's release," were the words of late Pradip Bose, a nephew of Subhas Chandra Bose.

The question is: was Yunus someone who fitted the description of a "man who knew too much" over the controversy related to the fate of Subhas Chandra Bose? It has been claimed over the years that Jawaharlal Nehru used to entrust Yunus with the safekeeping of the secret files on Bose. Now that Yunus is dead, we may never know the truth. Partly because several classified Nehru-era records concerning Bose and the Indian National Army (INA) properties were illegally destroyed when Indira Gandhi was the prime minister. What has survived in a secret prime minister's office (PMO) file today is a note bearing Yunus's name.


Source: dailyo

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The power doctrine of Ajit Doval and why it is much better than empty Gandhi-giri

by R Jagannathan  Aug 5, 2015 17:43 IST
We have not seen much clarity in Indian strategic thinking despite the coming and going of governments. Maybe, this is now changing. Ajit Doval, our National Security Advisor (NSA), spoke in Mumbai yesterday (4 August) on "State Security, statecraft and Conflict of Values", and he had this to say: "India has a mentality to punch below its weight. We should not punch below our weight or above our weight, but improve our weight and punch proportionately."
This is a simple, if not all that original, statement on the importance of wielding power effectively — something Indians have seldom thought through in over 5,000 years of civilisational history, despite indulging in periodic speculation about the true nature of power. If Doval and his boss Narendra Modi convert this principle into strategic thought and purposive action on the ground, India will be a safer place in the longer term.
Among other things, Doval pointed out the obvious: weak states invite trouble rather than mitigate or combat it. "If you make a provocation, you are partly responsible. But if you are not able to exercise power, it is as good as not having it,"The Indian Express quotes him as saying. This again is something that is obvious to all but those who substitute emotion for clear-headed thinking – and especially those peaceniks who believe lighting candles at Wagah or offering unilateral concessions will bring peace with Pakistan. This is useful idiocy from Pakistan's point of view, but won't do much for the security of Indians.
Ajit Doval. AFP
Ajit Doval. AFP
Doval also made an important distinction between individual morality and state actions. An individual can embrace non-violence and accept non-retaliation as a personal principle, but a state cannot. States have to act for the larger good, and a "nation will have to take recourse to all means to protect itself."
He also pointed out the silliness of assertions that hanging Yakub Memon, convicted for the 1993 Mumbai blasts, was some kind of "state-sponsored killing", as Shashi Tharoor tweeted. Doval said: "The first duty of the government of India is to protect itself. In this protection, conflict of interest is automatic...when a state acts in a judicial way (through) the due process of law, its actions are correct, and it does not reduce you to murderers." (Note: One presumes when Doval talked of the government of India, he meant the Indian state and not a specific government.)
The point of quoting Doval at length is not to justify the Memon hanging or to indulge in macho muscle-flexing about terrorism, but to talk about the usual Indian ambivalence about power and its concomitants. We have allowed all issues relating to power to degenerate into issues of personal morality, and in the process reduced ourselves to ineffective and weak statehood. We are paying the price regularly for this.
The Abrahamic religions (and the resultant civilisations) and Indic faiths like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism asked themselves a key question about power and its durability. They came to opposite conclusions. Both recognised the transient nature of individual power — ultimately we all die, powerless to change our fate — but the conclusions we drew from this realisation have made a huge difference to our attitudes to it.
Indic philosophers saw power as transient and decided (by and large) that the only power worth having is the power over ourselves - since that directly impacts the quality of our inner and outer lives. We thus became "seekers" of truth rather than "believers" in absolute truths. We developed ambivalent attitudes to power and we are still uncomfortable with its acquisition and use for temporal ends. Hence our emphasis on meditation, conquest of ego, individual dharma — all of which empower us spiritually, but leave us naked when confronted with the external, physical power of our enemies.
The west looked at power and its transient nature and saw the need to make it last — and they developed law and institutions to perpetuate power beyond one lifetime.
The truth is not that the west was right and we were wrong, but that both approaches are needed.  Today, if the west is adopting yoga and meditation as lifestyle choices, it is because they see the pointlessness of having money and power and an empty, meaningless life. We have to learn the opposite lesson: how to use real power for long-term benefit to society, even without losing our belief in inner spiritual growth.
Our failure to seek a balance between power over oneself and long-term state power has resulted in our embracing soft options and temporary non-solutions as a substitute for strategy and long-term thinking. I am, of course, oversimplifying, for it is not true that Indian philosophers and empire builders did not seek this balance (Chanakya Niti is one example of the kind of thought that went into creating the ideal state using varied elements of power), but the overall failure to harness power and put it to good use has been very visible in Indian history – and endures to this day.
This is evident in our wariness about the acquisition of economic and military power even today, and explicit in our tendency to confuse arguments about power with arguments about personal morality.
Gandhi typified this attitude best. He considered Jesus's Sermon on The Mount — a sermon for losers that extolled the virtues of meekness — as his guiding principle. Nehruvian policies — of high moral principles and a low ability to live up to them — are a direct outgrowth of Gandhi’s predilections.
Gandhi's advice to the victims of Hitler's aggression was something like this: throw yourself at his mercy, don't fight, and win the fascist dictator over through love and peaceable activities. When it came to dealing with Hitler, racist Winston Churchill had better ideas than hyper-moral Gandhi. This is not to say Gandhi was wrong, but advice that may be all right for an individual to apply to himself may not be right when applied thoughtlessly to others – or the whole of society. Personal morality that results in failure (or success) only affects one individual; when it applies to society or state, it can lead to disaster.
In Arun Shourie’s book Eminent Historians, he quotes Dr BR Ambedkar to show how internally focused Buddhism failed to note the threat of Muslim invaders and their iconoclastic zeal. In one fell swoop, the invaders destroyed all Buddhist monasteries and idols of the Buddha, hastening the religion's demise. Passivism and lack of real power played a key role in Buddhism’s extinguishment from the land of its birth.
Nothing illustrates our own current self-defeating attitudes to power and morality better than the arguments we have heard over the death penalty. Those who want to end the death penalty are fond of quoting Gandhi's observation that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave the whole world blind and toothless.
Gandhi clearly did not understand game theory and the practical outcomes of his personal morality. What may be true for individual violence may not be true for societies and the state. If I hit you in the eye and you hit me back, and I break your teeth and you return the compliment, we may both become blind and toothless. But this is not what happens to the larger society when a tit-for-tat policy is followed. When eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth, both action and reaction, continue for some time between two combating societies or their respective states, both learn to start acting more carefully. Both states proceed to protect themselves from going blind or toothless. Thus eyes and teeth get better protection, and over time, both learn that there is no gain in taking the other’s eye or knocking out his tooth. In short, mutual strength creates mutual deterrence over time — and leads to a durable peace.
This was clearly established in game theory experiments conducted by Robert Axelrod in 1980 at the University of Michigan. Axelrod invited game theorists to submit strategies for testing in computer-simulated games to check whether being saintly is a substitute for being sensible. His experiments tried to establish whether opponents tried to cooperate or cheat when they were unclear about the other person’s real intent. To cut a long story short (you can read a summary of his experiments here), the strategy that won more often than not was “tit-for-tat”. That is, all players should try good faith in the first instance, but if the rival plays dirty, you pay him back in the same coin. Over time, the players can learn to cooperate.
The Gandhian argument of blindness and toothlesses is valid only in the individual context, where winning and losing can be defined by each person. An inability to hit back in the societal or national context will, on the other hand, actually invite attacks - as Nehru found out with the Chinese in 1962, and as we have repeatedly found out by treating Pakistan with kid gloves. A strong state with the ability to give as good as it gets is a pre-requisite for peace.
Now consider what the true inheritors think of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount actually do as opposed to what they profess. No Christian majority nation — from America to Britain to any member of the European Union — will ever turn the other cheek when hit. Did George Bush turn the other cheek after 9/11? He hit back twice as hard. Does Israel believe in rolling with the punches or give it back in double measure? They retaliate, they fight, they try to win. No Muslim state will ever talk peace if it feels wronged — whether the wrong is real or imagined.
The reason is simple: the west has learnt to separate personal morality from state morality. Individual Christians may be willing to be fed to the lions in pursuit of their moral ideals, but the state will never throw its citizens to external lions for the sake of peace.
The west's answer to the transient nature of power was to make it endure not through individuals, but the creation of a strong state, through law and institutions. This is an important lesson for us to learn. A strong state puts law and institutions above the individual and thus can act benevolently in practice; a weak state will be tyrannous in reality as it cannot be held accountable for failing to do its job. After all, it is weak by definition.
Only a strong state can wield power sensibly and punch at its true weight. When it comes to the state, weakness equals immorality.

Source: firstpost

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Fundamental conflicts in Indian nationhood: Gandhi vs revolutionaries

The question then that remains to be answered is if the insistence on passive submission to violent intrusion was somehow intrinsic to Indian ethos, or is it that the revolutionaries internalised the essence of Indian nationhood.

Saswati Sarkar

A. Quest for principled nationhood
The history of freedom movement in India, as described in standard text books, can be summarised in one pithy sentence: "Mahatma Gandhi gave us freedom through non-violence". This narrative has been entrenched deep into our consciousness by every dignitary during her customary tribute to Rajghat. It has therefore been but expected that one of the most popular prime ministers India has ever seen, PM Narendra Modi, would motivate his flagship Swachh  Bharat programme with the punch line - "Gandhi ji has given us freedom, what have we given him in return?"  Yet, an age old wisdom tells us that a nation is enslaved for extended durations when the contemporary leaders fail her and masses exhibit innate weaknesses of character. Freedom is therefore rarely given, it is taken - taken by repaying the debt of failure through blood and tears of future generations. Does the jewel in the crown of the empire where the sun never set then remain an eminent exception which was awarded freedom gratis?  

History perhaps tells us otherwise. The best and the bravest men and women of an enslaved nation hastened the demise of the mighty British empire by resisting them tooth and nail in the trenches of Bengal, UP, Bihar, Punjab, Odisha and Maharashtra, and moving beyond the borders of India, from England, USA and  South East Asia. Crushed by the Raj,  they didn't live to tell their story. Yet, we must, narrate their tales, again and again. For a nation that does not know its history, does not make one. It is also in the history of Indian freedom fight, or rather in the denial of the heroic revolutionaries their due, that the seeds of left movements in India would be sown. But, above and beyond, the history of freedom struggle in India is of greater import for the foundational conflicts it revealed between  different understandings of India's nationhood than the outcome itself, and the attribution of due credits per se.

A.1 Polar opposite concepts of nationhood

A closer examination would reveal that the revolutionaries' comprehension of Indian nationhood was in stark contrast to that of MK Gandhi's. The conflict in the two understandings was not a consequence, but the principal motivation, for the divergence in the paths the two pursued for the common goal of freedom from foreign occupation - a goal that MK Gandhi accepted as late as in 1930 as a fait accompli under intense pressure from nationalist factions comprising of younger leaders like Subhas Bose and a large section of Congress cadres - a goal that nationalist factions and revolutionaries articulated about thirty years before. Quoting Aurobindo Ghosh:

"Political freedom is the life-breath of a nation. To attempt social reform, educational reform, industrial expansion, the moral improvement of the race without aiming first and foremost at political freedom, is the very height of ignorance and futility. The primary requisite for national progress, national reform, is the habit of free and healthy national thought and action which is impossible in a state of servitude."

This delay is confounding because MK Gandhi, if not his progenies like Nehru, was fully aware that India existed as one  nation from times immemorial. In his own words,

"The English have taught us that we were not a nation before and it will require centuries before we became one nation. This is without foundation. We were one nation before they came to India. One thought inspired us. Our mode of life was the same. It was because we were one nation that they were able to establish one kingdom."[16], Chapter 9, p. 56, [13].

"Our leading men traveled throughout India either on foot or in bullock-carts what do you think could have been the intention of those farseeing ancestors of ours who established Setuabandh (Rameshwar) in the south, Jagannath in the east and Hardwar in the north as places of pilgrimage? You will admit they were no fools. They knew that worship of God could have been performed just as well at home. They taught us that those whose hearts were aglow with righteousness had the Ganga in their own homes. But they saw that India was one undivided land so made by nature. They, therefore, argued that it must be one nation. Arguing thus, they established holy places in various parts of India, and fired the people with idea of nationality in a manner unknown in other parts of the world." [16],  Chapter 9, p. 56, [13].
Thus, despite the cognisance of existence of India as a nation, the procrastination in the proclamation of her natural rights, reveals a lack of clarity in identifying the invaders and awareness of natural rights itself on the part of MK Gandhi, which is why it is imperative to examine how Gandhi relates to concepts of Indian nationhood itself.

We also observe that Gandhi advocates, nay insists, that India cannot and should not attain independence by deviating from the path of non-violence. In his quest for freedom, rather moral perfection, he advocated persevering with non-violence even when his people were threatened with mass extermination - the consistency of his perception of ethics with civilizational ethos anywhere in the world including India must therefore be critically examined:

"There is nothing brave about dying while killing. It is an illusion of bravery. The true martyr is one who lays down his life without killing. You may turn around and ask whether all Hindus and Sikhs should die. Yes, I would say. Such martyrdom will not be in vain. You may compliment me or curse me for talking in this manner; but I shall only say what I feel in my heart." pp. 54-58, [2].

"Hindus should not harbor anger in their hearts against Muslims even if the latter wanted to destroy them. Even if the Muslims want to kill us all we should face death bravely. If they established their rule after killing Hindus we would be ushering in a new world by sacrificing our lives. None should fear death. Birth and death are inevitable for every human being. Why should we then rejoice or grieve? If we die with a smile we shall enter into a new life, we shall be ushering in a new India [6].    

"If all the Punjab were to die to the last man without killing, the Punjab would become immortal. It is more valiant to get killed than to kill. Of course my condition is that even if we are facing death we must not take up arms against them. But you take up arms and when you are defeated you come to me. Of what help can I be to you in these circumstances? If you cared to listen to me, I could restore calm in the Punjab even from here. One thousand lost their lives of course, but not like brave men. I would have liked the sixteen who escaped by hiding to come into the open and courted death. More is the pity. What a difference it would have made if they had bravely offered themselves as a nonviolent, willing sacrifice! Oppose with ahimsa if you can, but go down fighting by all means if you have not the nonviolence of the brave. Do not turn cowards." pp. 200-201, [3].

"Today a Hindu from Rawalpindi narrated the tragic events that had taken place there. The villages around Rawalpindi have been reduced to ashes. The Hindus of the Punjab are seething with anger. The Sikhs say they are followers of Guru Govind Singh who has taught them how to wield the sword. But I would exhort the Hindus and Sikhs again and again not to retaliate. I make bold to say that if Hindus and Sikhs sacrifice their lives at hands of Muslims without rancour or retaliation they will become saviours not only of their own religions but also of Islam and the whole world."  pp. 225-226, [4].

"But Jinnah Saheb presides over a great organisation. Once he has affixed his signature to the appeal, how can even one Hindu be killed at the hands of the Muslims? I would tell the Hindus to face death cheerfully if the Muslims are out to kill them. I would be a real sinner if after being stabbed I wish in my last moment that my son should seek revenge. I must die without rancor." [5]  The revolutionaries assumed a polar opposite position. MN Roy, a revolutionary (who later turned communist) wrote:

"British rule in India was established by force and is maintained by force, therefore, it can and will be overthrown only by a violent revolution. We are not in favor of resorting to violence if it can be helped; but for self-defence, the people of India must adopt violent means without which the foreign domination based upon violence cannot be ended." p. 24, [7].

Subhas Bose:
"Freedom is not given, it is taken." "For an enslaved people, there can be no greater pride, no higher honour, than to be the first soldier in the army of liberation." [8]"No real change in history has ever been achieved by discussions."

The best exposition of how the revolutionaries responded to British invasion was perhaps provided by Madanlal Dhingra. Enraged by the executions of revolutionaries like Khudiram Bose, Kanai lal Dutta, Satinder Pal, Pandit Kanshi Ram. Madanlal Dhingra exacted revenge upon the British by assassinating Curzon Wylie on July 1, 1909. In his trial, he said:  

"And I maintain that if it is patriotic in an Englishman to fight against the Germans if they were to occupy this country, it is much more justifiable and patriotic in my case to fight against the English. I hold the English people responsible for the murder of 80 millions of Indian people in the last 50 years, and they are also responsible for taking away 100,000,000 every year from India to this country. I also hold them responsible for the hanging and deportation of my patriotic countrymen, who did just the same as the English people here are advising their countrymen to do. And the Englishman who goes out to India and gets, say, 100 a month, that simply means that he passes a sentence of death on a thousand of my poor countrymen, because these thousand people could easily live on this ?100, which the Englishman spends mostly on his frivolities and pleasures. Just as the Germans have no right to occupy this country, so the English people have no right to occupy India, and it is perfectly justifiable on our part to kill the Englishman who is polluting our sacred land. I am surprised at the terrible hypocrisy, the farce, and the mockery of the English people. They pose as the champions of oppressed humanity - the peoples of the Congo and the people of Russia - when there is terrible oppression and horrible atrocities committed in India; for example, the killing of two millions of people every year and the outraging of our women. In case this country is occupied by Germans, and the Englishman, not bearing to see the Germans walking with the insolence of conquerors in the streets of London, goes and kills one or two Germans, and that Englishman is held as a patriot by the people of this country, then certainly I am prepared to work for the emancipation of my Motherland. Whatever else I have to say is in the paper before the Court I make this statement, not because I wish to plead for mercy or anything of that kind. I wish that English people should sentence me to death, for in that case the vengeance of my countrymen will be all the more keen. I put forward this statement to show the justice of my cause to the outside world, and especially to our sympathisers in America and Germany." [ 9]

From the gallows, he said that:

"I believe that a nation held down by foreign bayonets is in a perpetual state of war. Since open battle is rendered impossible to a disarmed race, I attacked by surprise. Since guns were denied to me I drew forth my pistol and fired. Poor in wealth and intellect, a son like myself has nothing else to offer to the mother but his own blood. And so I have sacrificed the same on her altar. The only lesson required in India at present is to learn how to die, and the only way to teach it is by dying ourselves. My only prayer to God is that I may be re-born of the same mother and I may re-die in the same sacred cause till the cause is successful. Vande Mataram!" [10]

All the above revolutionaries were therefore articulating what a nation's response ought to be in a state of war, a state which every subjugated nation is in. An even cursory study of world history suggests that their response has not merely been honorable, but also natural and organic. We will  quote the oath that Mazzini, held in the highest veneration all over the world, administered to the members of his secret league: "I swear to devote myself entirely and always to the common object of creating one free, independent and republican Italy by every means within my power." p. 230, [10]. It is worthwhile mentioning that "Lloyd George expressed to Winston Churchill his highest admiration of Dhingra's attitude as a patriot. Churchill shared the same views and quoted with admiration Dhingra's last words as the finest ever made in the name of patriotism. They compared Dhingra with Plutarch's immortal heroes. Huge placards from Irish papers paid glowing tributes to Dhingra: Ireland honors Madanlal Dhingra who was proud to lay down his life for the sake of his country. "  p. 230, [10].   In stark contrast to those whose authority over India Dhingra challenged, his illustrious compatriot Gandhi had only words of condemnation for Dhingra as for every other revolutionary he came across.  

The question then that remains to be answered is if the insistence on passive submission to violent intrusion was somehow intrinsic to Indian ethos, or is it that the revolutionaries internalised the essence of Indian nationhood. The dilemma is fundamental as India existed as a civilisational nation long before the British arrived. No one man, or even a group, ought to therefore have the liberty to redefine Indian nationhood without a critical appraisal of the consistency of their chosen definition with age old civilisational ethos as also the advantages and disadvantages of the same. For, a nation is but defined by its cultural ethos. Indeed, "a nation never means a land as such. A nation indicates a group or a community of people which has been traditionally living in a particular land, which has its own distinctive culture, and which has an identity separate from other peoples of the world by virtue of the distinctiveness of its culture. The cultural distinctiveness of a nation may be based on its race, or religion, or language, or a combination of some or all of these factors, but all-in-all there has to be a distinct culture which will mark the nation out from peoples belonging to other lands. Third, there may be internal differences in several respects among the people belonging to this culture, but in spite of these differences there is an overall sense of harmony born out of the fundamental elements of their culture, and a sense of pride which inspires in them a desire to maintain their separate identity from the rest of the world. Finally, as a result of these factors, this group of people has its own outlook towards the history of its traditional homeland; it has its own heroes and villains, its own view of glory and shame, success and failure, victory and defeat." p. 3, [11].

A.2 Unresolved nationhood-but why now?  

Those rooted in the present may well question the need to ponder over this dilemma of contrasting ethos of nationhood, now, given that the last identified invader has left us about 70 years back. My answer would be multi-fold. We would not know which direction to move forward unless we identify what kind of nation we want to become - one that abjectly surrenders to any aggression that cares to look our way citing principles of morality that the opponent does not observe, or one that demonstrates the confidence to respond and defend in a language the aggressor understands. To cite a recent example, after his much touted visit to India, US President Obama suggested that India has deviated from the principles of religious tolerance that MK Gandhi had espoused. US President Obama is probably on solid grounds here, as MK Gandhi's idea of religious tolerance would involve Hindus and Sikhs to court death when confronted by practitioners of other religions. India needs to deviate from that path and perhaps India indeed has in parts where Hindus and Sikhs are in majority. But, Obama could  not be countered with truth as post independence India has vociferously identified herself with Gandhian principles notwithstanding their merit or rational support. This has pervaded to the extent that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, an ideological descendant of Veer Savarkar, one of few to have intellectually opposed Gandhi during his life time, profusely elaborated on the virtues of non-violence in a recent speech [12].

"Those forces which focus only at achieving the economic interests of their own groups in the name of globalisation; want to expand their own empires in the name of establishing peace or; compelling all other countries to remain weak and helpless in the name of non-proliferation of weapons, can never and shall never let the dream of a happy and beautiful world become a reality. In the history of past one thousand years, Bharat has been the only example which has made genuine efforts in this direction through the path of truth and non-violence. With Bharat's deep faith in the mantra of 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam' (ie entire world is one family), a wide range of her Rishis, Munis, Bhikshus, Shramanas, Saints, scholars and experts travelled across the world from Mexico to Siberia in olden eras. Without attempting to conquer any empire or without destroying way of life of any society, prayer systems or national and cultural identity, they shared with them the Bharatiya ethos of love, affection and universal welfare."

Mohan Bhagwat would surely know about the Hindu monastic tradition of carrying arms given that the armed rebellion of Sanyasis (monks) inspired Anandamath the literary masterpiece of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee which in turn gave India her national song Vande Mataram (it is after all RSS that has  preserved this song long after it has been obliterated from the cultural memory of the province where it originated from). Also, if not the rishis and scholars, the Chola kings of India certainly did seek to establish an empire beyond the precincts of India example, in far East, through military conquest. But, the historical accuracy of Bhagwat's statement constitutes only a side note in this discussion. The values that Bhagwat and President Obama chose to emphasise on are more pertinent. For, "a nation not only has its own heroes and villains, its own view of glory and shame, success and failure, victory and defeat," but it is also the choice of these very heroes and villains, understanding of glory and shame, success and failure, victory and defeat that define a nation.

Gandhi is no longer an individual, but a school of thought -  1) one  that espouses passive submission as a response to blatant aggression and  2) one that  prioritises morality of means over the necessity of end. It is this school that is rapidly becoming representative of Indian nationhood. If this school defines India, the world would be right to expect a docile submission whenever India is confronted with external or internal aggression. We therefore at least need to examine if the other end of the spectrum, namely valor, purposive actions, national goals over moralistic egos and self righteousness ever had a place in the ancient civilisation that India is, and how far they succeeded. If Gandhianism does indeed define Indian nationhood, it is imperative to explore if the proponent adhered to the lofty standards that he enforced on others, or did he apply them selectively for his own people while providing substantial leeway to their aggressors (British or Muslims seeking partition of India as the case may be) - in other words was Gandhi a committed Gandhian himself  or Gandhianism was also for him a means towards the end of the halo of sainthood ?  

A fundamental question in this quest ought to be if the conflict between the Gandhian school and one that seeks a robust counter to intrusion through the most efficacious means regardless of its moral basis emerged during freedom struggle against the British. Or is it that the protagonists merely chose different sides in an eternal conflict of values that has been recurring over the ages. If it is the latter, then we need to examine how did the two sides fare over ages? To resolve this query, let us retrace our paths through the sands of time to 713 AD, the year in which Arabs established their first foothold in India - in Sindh, which was then a part of India.

Muhammad Bin Kasim who conquered Sindh in 713 AD from the Hindu king Dahar had just arrived at one of its principalities, Siwistan, with the goal of annexing it. The king and many of his chieftains were Hindus, but Buddhism was a dominant religion there in the 7th century pp. 9-10  [1]. Samanis (originally Shramans or Buddhist monks) were also rulers of several cities. The earliest account of the invasion of Sindh, Chachnama, recounts the following story pp 91-92 [1]:

Upon Kasim's arrival, the Samani at Siwistan, who was a chief of the people, sent the following message to Bachehra (the ruler of Siwistan and a cousin of King Dahar of Sindh) , saying: "We people are a priestly class (Nasiks), our religion is peace and our creed is good will (to all). According to our faith, fighting and slaughtering are not allowable. We will never be in favor of shedding blood. You are sitting quite safe in a lofty palace; we are afraid that this horde will come and, taking us to be your followers and dependents, will deprive us of our life and property. We have come to know that Amir Hajaj has, under the orders of the Khalifah, instructed them to grant pardon to those who ask for it. So when an opportunity offers, and when we consider it expedient, we shall enter into a solemn treaty and binding covenant with them. The Arabs are said to be faithful to their word. Whatever they say they act up to and do not deviate from." p. 90, [1]. Bacchera refused to accept this advise and some residents of Siwistan were ready to fight. Muhammed Kasim attacked. The Samani  party reprimanded Bacchera and forbade him to fight, saying "This army is very strong and powerful; you cannot stand against them. We do not wish that, through your obstinacy, our life and property would be endangered." p. 90, [1]. Bacchera still refused their counsel. Then the Samani clique sent a message to Kasim that:  "All the people, whether agriculturists, artisans, or other common folk, have left Bacchera's side and do not (now) acknowledge allegiance to him, and Bacchera has not sufficient men and materials of war, and can never stand against you in an open field, or in a struggle with you." p. 91, [53].     Regardless of whether this inside information was accurate, this definitely increased the zeal of the Muslim army. Kasim ordered the assault to be continued night and day. The occupants of the fort ceased to fight after about a week. "When Bacchera found that the fort was in great straits and that could not stand long, he determined to leave it. So when the world was hid behind the pitch-dark curtain of night, he issued from the Northern gate, and crossing the river, fled away. " p. 91, [1].

So, the conflict between pacifist surrender and robust response to invasions as also the morality of means and the necessity of the end (Samani considered a defense that relies on force as immoral) did exist as far back as early 8th century AD. Our quest then would let us discover who emerged as heroes and who as villains across such ideological and real life conflicts India fought over the ages. Villains would naturally occur dime a dozen, but were there any real hero in the end? How did the different choices fare in this conflict? Who succeeded, who failed, and why? The win that the Samani registered would be short lived as the dominant religion in this region, Buddhism, would be obliterated from Sindh under Islamic sword but Hindus would continue to comprise up to about 25 per cent of Sindh even  until 1947. Bachera could not defend Siwistan either, but Siwistan lost its independence with his loss too. While the choice of the hero and the villain is perhaps clear in this context, it is apparent both the hero and the villain lost - just that the hero tried and failed, diminished and undermined by the villain. Yet, Hindus would start recovering lost ground in Sindh as early as 715 AD, and by 9th century AD, they would regain control of most of Sindh. Thus, Bachera failed, but inspired others to complete part of his unfinished agenda.

Our quest would reveal that Indian history has displayed an astonishing continuity. Indians, or Hindus in particular, have shown similar traits over ages, excelled in similar spheres and committed similar grave errors. For instance, resistance to every invasion would reveal two parallel strands - one of sublime heroism, the other of base collaboration with the invader, overt or covert. Heroes would invariably not live to tell their tale, while collaborators would continue to prosper. Next, Indian nationalism up until early twentieth century will be deeply rooted or may even be synonymous with Hindu faith and practices. Faith and pride in religion would constitute pillars of strength of Indian nationalism, yet simultaneously its Achilles heel too. We will also discover that Hindu response to invasion would be shaped by the distinctive features of the specific school of Hinduism the adherents subscribed to - in particular, considering Buddhism as a school of Hinduism, we will observe that Buddhist pacifism would undermine the heroic resistance the adherents of Sanatana Dharma would launch (the contrast between the Samanid and the Bachera would be typical). Buddhist pacifism is perhaps intellectually closest to the passive surrender advocated by the Gandhian school.

The remarkable continuity in history compels us to ponder on if  history repeated itself so ominously because the fundamental conflicts in our nationhood had not been resolved. The unresolved conflict between the Samani and Bacchera would reappear at a critical juncture of India's struggle for invasion by another imperialist power. If we move fast forward to about 1,225 years later, the Samani of Siwistan, Bachera and an occupier (albeit a different one) reemerge - to pose a question that would haunt our national consciousness yet again. The new incarnation of the Samani would cite the morality of non-violence to justify cooperation with the occupier in war time when the occupier was at his weakest. The Bachera would reject his counsel and seek a fight to the finish, and would enlist some support from within his own Siwistan too. The samani would however persist to gradually demoralise and diminish his support. Eventually realising that he can no more defend  from within , the Bachera would leave his Siwistan , eerily again, when the world was hid behind the pitch-dark curtain of night. In 1940, starting from his ancestral home at Elgin road in Calcutta, he would take a trek across central Asia to reach far West, navigate back to far East to strike the blow he could not deliver from within. The rest as they say is history, one that we shall revisit in due course. That history will tell us the Bachera who left us in 1940 didn't himself succeed in his cherished goal of freeing from the clutches of the occupier the motherland he so dearly loved, but his heroism would motivate others to carry his baton to the goalpost, half way to be specific. If the Samani ever aspired to free his motherland as one nation that she was, he did fail too, but he would succeed in acquiring a halo of sainthood perhaps at the expense of the well being of his own people. Notwithstanding, again neither of the two would reach their stated goals.  

A.3 The road ahead  

The last word in the history of India has not yet been said. India won freedom in 1947 in a pyrrhic victory after a partition which involved the slaughter of 2,00,000-5,00,000 in the Punjab region alone [14]. India has subsequently taken tremendous strides in advancing knowledge, which again represents a continuity of history  (pursuit of knowledge continued in India even during periods of foreign occupation). But, as we have learned the hard way, the world renowned centers of learning like Nalanda and Vikramshila themselves succumbed to the swords of the Turkic invader Bakhtiyar Khilji, and could naturally not  protect India from invasion. So, knowledge will not suffice by itself. And, India may not have seen the last of its foreign invasions either. Indeed, even after 1947 we fought four official wars. In the first, in 1947, two months after its birth, Pakistan invaded Kashmir. The Indian army repulsed the attack, and was about to drive the Pakistani army out of Kashmir, when her first prime minister, JL Nehru, the ideological descendant and the PM choice of MK Gandhi, called a halt to the fighting and brought the dispute before the United Nations. Kashmir remains divided, and its Pakistan occupied part is continually been used to foment terrorism in the remainder that is in India. In the third war, China inflicted a humiliating defeat on India (1962) due to the Himalayan blunders effected by the political leadership of the same PM Nehru. A soldier lamented subsequently "Our peasantry has always fought gallantly; but it is an undisputable fact that seldom has this bravery been utilised to win battle field victories and thus to attain our political objectives, due to inept political or military leadership, or both. Need we follow this tragic path interminably." P. XVII [15]. In the last thus far, in 1971, in yet another instance of inept political leadership, we lost the territory gained on ground on negotiation table.

Next time, whenever that is, let India's response be consistent to her national character that has emerged from her hoary past and evolved with imprints of time. Let us perhaps ensure that a future Bacchera can lodge a fierce counter attack from within, let the Samanis of his generation stand by, rather than against, him. Let India not meekly lose Siwistan to a persistent Kasim next time. Towards this end, in a series of articles, we will be exploring the civilisational ethos that have shaped India's response to external aggression throughout her past, and position the ideological conflict between Gandhi and the revolutionaries in that context.

The series is the closest to a jointly authored piece among all my single-authored articles. Many of the ideas explored here have emerged in extended discussions with @dikgaj. The arguments presented here have been sharpened owing to the constructive criticisms of Shanmukh (@maidros78). Kausik Gangopadhyay (@kausikgy) has suggested some insightful directions that I have explored. Sushuptii (@sushuptii) has provided many of the references I am using.
This intellectual exploration has been stimulated by a dogged campaign launched by activist and journalist Anuj Dhar and author Chandrachur Ghose for declassifying archival documents concerning the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. My knowledge of Netaji has substantially enhanced through the research conducted by their team. Above and beyond, they are showing us yet again how one ought to pursue a worthy cause regardless of the odds of success. Last, but not the least, this sequence will be my homage to the Bacchera of 1940 and all those like him who would never deign to remind us:
When you go home, tell them of us and say For their tomorrow, we gave our today.
[1] Ali Kulfi, The Chachnamah-an ancient history of Sind, Translated by Mirza Kalichbeg, 1900, Reprinted by Rana Saad, 2004
[2] Prarthana Pravachan: Part I, CWOMG, Vol. 87, pp. 394-5
[3] "Talk with refugees, April 4, 1947"  mahatma Gandhi The Last Phase II, p. 97, CWOMG, vol . 87,
[4] Speech at prayer meeting, April 7, 1947, Prarthana Pravachan Part I pp. 32-35, CWOMG, vol 87
[5] May 1, 1947, Prarthana Pravachan: Part I, pp. 54-8, CWOMG, Vol. 87, pp. 394-5
[6] Prayer meeting, April 6, 1947, New Delhi, CWMG Vol. 94 page 249
[7] I M. Sharma, Role of Revolutionaries in the Freedom Struggle, Marxist Study forum, Hyderabad, 1987
[8] Speech at a military review of the Indian National Army (5 July 1943)
[10] Ramesh Chandra Majumdar ``History and Culture of the Indian people - Vol. XI - The Struggle For Freedom''  
[11] Abhas Chatterjee "The Concept of Hindu Nation" Voice of India, 1995
[13] M.K. Gandhi. Hind Swaraj, Hindu Dharma, Ahmedabad 1950
[14] Paul R Bass  The partition of India and retributive genocide in the Punjab, 1946-47: means, methods, and purposes". Journal of  genocide Research. p. 75 (5(1), 71-101, 2003
[15] Brig J P Dalvi, Himalayan Blunder - The curtain raiser to the Sino Indian war of 1962

Source: dailyo