KPS Gill on the soft State of India

September 6, 2006

Mr. KPS Gill is one of the most thoughtful and articulate officers (he is retired now) in the Indian police. I have been very impressed by his forcefulness, directness and candor, not to mention his tremendous track record in ridding Punjab of the separatist/terrorist threat.

I think it is no coincidence that subsequently Gill was hounded and humiliated with a sexual harassment case. It is routine in India for those who are patriotic or nationalistic to be destroyed through the ancient technique of tejovadham, the murder of their reputation and self-image through innuendo and rumor. For an example, refer to what happened to Acharya Jayendra Saraswati, the Sankaracharya of Kanchi.

The idea is to ruin them personally, destroy the institutions associated with them, and preferably drive them to suicide. The English Language Media in India collaborates with great glee in destroying anyone who refuses to sell the country — as the ELM does — for 30 silver coins.

As an aside, the laws that supposedly protect women in India including the sexual harassment provisions as well as the anti-dowry laws, are being completely misused. The purported beneficiaries of these laws are poor, illiterate, exploited rural women who may in fact be, alas, oppressed. However, those who use the laws are mostly middle class, educated, urban women who are not oppressed, but arrogant. It is they who use the woman-friendly laws as weapons for vindictive revenge. There are any number of these “daughters of Surpanakha” around, to the extent that what we see more and more is actually the oppression of menfolk, not of womenfolk.

But I digress. The fact is that Gill’s writings are just about the most lucid around about the need for the State to take a hard stance against those that would destroy it, including the “useful idiots” with their Kalidasa Syndrome: these are the knee-jerk bleeding-hearts whose sympathies are forever with the terrorist and the insurgent, and never with the victims of the terrorist and the insurgent.

According to them, the “human rights” of the terrorist and the insurgent are far greater than the human rights of their victims.

This is an abomination, and this is one of the reasons that the self-proclaimed “intelligentsia” in India are held in such contempt.

Here is a pellucid Pioneer article (Sept 5th, I think) by KPS Gill, with thanks to reader Kapidhwaja.

Feeble response to governance

by KPS Gill

Accidents of history often become intrinsic to the culture and thinking of a people. India secured its freedom through a process of non-violent confrontation with the British, and this has enormously encouraged a popular psyche that tends to reject the option of the use of force in the resolution of political conflicts – and, indeed, yields a significant resistance to the application of coercive measures even in cases of violent criminal transgression. At the same time, the extended history of the non-cooperation movement has become entrenched in an attitude of general disregard of, or even contempt for, the law. In combination, these proclivities have undermined our capacities, as a nation, to respond adequately and effectively to situations of crisis.

If anything, contemporary political thinking – or perhaps, more accurately, the absence of it – has deeply compounded the difficulties with inchoate and muddle-headed formulations, indeed, sustained obscurantism, clouding judgement on vital moral and strategic issues. Such confusion has historically had – and continues to have – a paralysing effect both on policy and on the operational command of enforcement and security agencies, addressing which has become critical within the context of relentless, utterly unscrupulous and unconstrained movements of terrorism within India.

The military thinker Carl von Clausewitz warns us that, in war, “the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst… If one side uses force without compunction, undeterred by the bloodshed it involves, while the other side refrains, the first will gain the upper hand”. This is the principle that must be kept in mind while framing an approach to counter-terrorism (we are still far from framing a counter-terrorism policy or strategy). There is, in the Indian discourse, an air of utter bafflement regarding the question of use of force within the context of democracy, with the dominant thinking endorsing the idea that all use of force is somehow a violation of democratic principles, and that the state must negotiate a solution to every emerging problem or conflict. Within this bafflement, the idea of the rule of law – which, and not the electoral process, is the essence of democracy – has been completely sacrificed. Regrettably, those who claim to speak for democracy seem to be unfamiliar with the most fundamental aspects of democratic theory, and particularly with the debates on the role of force in democratic governance. Politically correct rhetoric has left us indifferent to the plight of the victims of criminal and terrorist violence, even while there is a constant harping on the grievances of those who resort to crime and terrorism. In doing this, the dominant discourse, in effect, removes all constraints from those who resort to violent excess, while it places extraordinary and irrational constraints on the agencies of the state that are intended to protect the rule of law.

The Indian response to terrorism – a problem we have confronted continuously at high intensities for at least the past three decades – has been plagued by vacillation, on the one hand, and an alternation between extreme under-reaction and excess, on the other. The nature of terrorism demands quick, indeed, immediate and decisive application of appropriate force; it requires the creation of institutional structures and protocols of response, not only for counter-terrorist action, but for relief and containment of the impact of terrorist acts; above and before all, however, it demands a measure of clarity and an understanding of the nature and necessity of use of force, a realisation that the use of weak and ineffective force compounds and escalates violence, and that continuous emphasis on political and negotiated solution actively privileges violence and terror at the cost of the interests of the law abiding citizen, and of the nation. Thus, when we argue that ‘these are our brothers and sisters’, and ‘these are our children’, we ignore the fact that those whom they kill are also ‘our brothers and sisters’ and ‘our children’; and that it is the prior, inescapable and constitutional duty of the state to protect the latter, and to impose the laws of the land, before unrealistic considerations of a universal pacifism destroy the possibility of such protection. Counter-terrorist policy and response are an awful responsibility of the state, and must anchor themselves in a practical wisdom, “without conceding too much either to pity or to indulgence.”

Terrorism has, moreover, emerged as a pattern of criminal transgression and warfare that has no immediate parallel in either other patterns of crime or of warfare. It allows hostile states to engage in continuous acts of war against India, even while they remain involved in a wide range of trade relations and ‘peace processes’, denying the country the option of condign response. Terrorism demands, and must consequently be accorded a special status in policy, law and warfare if democratic nations are to learn to protect themselves against a affliction that has the potential to enormously escalate in the foreseeable, if not immediate, future, with terrorists securing access to increasingly lethal technologies, potentially including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Through history, nations have had to maintain and often refresh their independence through the force of arms. The South Asian region has become an extraordinary locus of instability, with each of India’s neighbours skirting state failure. India is, itself, deeply susceptible to a complex dynamic of destabilisation that has already extended areas of disorder and non-governance to large parts of the country, with nothing resembling an adequate set of responses in evidence. The use of force in the defence of freedom, and of its laws and institutions, is not just a moral necessity, it is a survival imperative. It is a demand that must be fulfilled, moreover, not with jingoism and hyper-nationalism, or with emerging patterns of communal polarisation and coercion, but rather with a strong and sustained reliance on rationality, on a detailed understanding of the challenge of terrorism and disorder, and of the imperatives of a democratic, lawful and effective response to the threats to the nation’s freedom and survival.

Despite our sense of civilisational continuity and rising contemporary power, it is useful to remind ourselves that we are a very young and vulnerable nation. Our capacities to survive, to grow and to secure our position among the promised ‘great powers’ of the world will depend on our capacities to root governance in reality and reason, not in the political illusions that manifestly dominate most contemporary perspectives. Constitutionalism, the rule of law, and the imperatives of governance have too long been neglected in India, or have been reduced to slogans and rituals. Unless this trajectory is reversed, our failures will compound themselves to destroy the tremendous gains of Independence, and of the economic revival of the past decade.

9 Responses to “KPS Gill on the soft State of India”

  1. Chris Says:

    Why do sensible and proven patriots like Gill who have risked life and limb to free the country of terrorism suffer? Because they see wimps and traitors take over the country with the help of useful idiots.

  2. Ghost Writer Says:

    Reading this letter he wrote to the PM still brings me to tears – a sad tale of how a nation turns it’s back on their bravest sons. I read it every time the Rundi papers talk about human rights.

    I think in the case of KPS Gill, the detractors are driven by one motive only – an insanely morbid form of jealousy. Consider that,
    1- His service to the nation is second to none, (English liberal media – ELM folks have no concept of service. They are merely prostitutes)
    2- In his youth he was a prime athlete, (ELM folks are fat, ungainly and cannot defend their wives and mothers)
    3- His generally stern appearance and deportment leave you with the feeling that he does not suffer fools gladly (ELM folks have no pride in themselves because they accomplish nothing of note)
    4- He is one of the most gifted writers in the country – truly a man of letters (this hurts ELM folks the most. A man who can do 1,2 and 3 above and beat them at their own profession)

    Put all these together and you see why midgets convince themselves that Superman is bad.
    To me, Item number 4 on the list is his most endearing quality. His book The Knights of Falsehoods is a classic. All his other essays can be found here.

  3. Santhosh Says:

    This website looks neat, authentic and less funky !
    I love the categories / tags to the posts.
    I vouch for WordPress!

  4. hareramakrishna Says:

    Check out for the bleeding and horrors of how the anti-dowry laws are being mis-used????

  5. bly Says:

    Varanasi Blasts- hindus are killed –no curfew
    Delhi Blasts- hindus are killed —no curfew
    Mumbai Blasts-hindus are killed — no curfew
    Malagaon Blasts–Muslims are killed— Curfew is imposed–paramilitary is rushed–hmmmm I wonder why!!!?

  6. darkstorm Says:

    Hey, thats bad. It does not offer any feature for the user to delete his/her own comments.

    Ohh, by the way, complaints later.

    Congrats for the new Blog, Rajeev. 🙂 Cheerzz…

    You can reduce the size of the left hand margin, so that its easier to read.

    WordPress also does not force the user to login and comment, it allows anonymous comments, AFAIK. (Comments which ask you to fill in your name and email are almost as good as anonymous). I can post as darkstorm one fine day, and as whitestorm the next. Worse, it would be a lot more difficult to know whether it is really san or kapidhwaja who are posting or some imposter.

    Rajeev try it out, if all those glitches can be fixed, good, else you can always revert. I suppose, google is working on blogspot to improve it. The blogger beta link is already carried on home page.

  7. shahryar Says:

    I have posted comments on other WordPress blogs where login was mandatory – perhaps Rajeev should switch that option on too.

    (I have a wordpress account already!)

  8. wanderlust Says:

    no, i dont think so. not everyone’s on wordpress.

  9. Nita Says:

    Rajeev, I read a very interesting article in The Economist on Indian Muslims. I do not quite agree with what it said but some things rang true. I wonder what you think about it? It’s in the Economist dated 2nd-8th Dec.

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