November 27, 2008
rediff published this with some fairly significant edits at http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/dec/08mumterror-are-we-heading-to-being-a-failed-state.htm — to some extent the piece was rendered toothless — and so here is the original copy I sent them.
Towards a failed State – Ghori, Jaichand and friends redux
Rajeev Srinivasan on the attack on Mumbai
The invasion of Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists – and undoubtedly local collaborators – is but a replay of times past: the periodic and predictable arrival of barbarians over the Khyber Pass, laying waste to the countryside, and wreaking untold damage on a long-suffering populace. The only crime that the average Indian committed was to focus on the creation of wealth; of course, the barbarians came because of the wealth. Today, once again, India is generating capital, and the intention is to thwart its economic rise.
Then, as now, the rulers failed the populace. There is an implicit contract between the rulers and the ruled: you pay the taxes, obey the rules, and we ensure that your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are unhindered. India’s ruling class failed signally to honor this contract – they never did figure out that the simple expedient of defending the Khyber and Bolan passes would be enough to save the plains, because Nature had been kind enough to build the impregnable Himalayas all around India.
I have never got a satisfactory answer to the question as to why we didn’t build the Great Wall of India. The Chinese built a 1,500-mile wall; Indians could surely have built a 15-mile wall and kept the marauders out. But there was clearly a failure in leadership and in strategic thinking. Time after time, the barbarians would pour in through the passes, march to Panipat or Tarain, and there, in a desperate last-ditch battle, the Indians would lose, again and again. The result: disaster.
Furthermore, there were traitors in-house, too. They would collude with the invaders to the detriment of their fellow-Indians. Jaichand, during the Second Battle of Tarain in 1192 CE, turned the tide of the battle by allying with Mahmud of Ghori against Prithviraj Chauhan, with the result that Northern India suffered 700 years of Mohammedan tyranny – it was a clear tipping point. Or take the battle of Talikota that ended the magnificient Vijayanagar empire: it was their own troops that betrayed them.
Fast forward to today. India is under withering attack on all fronts. To the east, there is the demographic invasion by Bangladeshis, including unhindered infiltration by terrorist elements. The entire Northeast is in danger of secession, given both the narrow and hard-to-defend Chicken’s Neck that connects the area to the Gangetic plain, as well as the Christian fundamentalism and terrorism that is on the verge of turning into a move to secede on religious and ethnic grounds, a la East Timor.
The northern frontier is restive, with Nepal, a former ally and buffer state transformed into hostile territory, with its porous borders turned into a way of infiltrating Mohammedan terrorists and Communist terrorists into India, with the declared intent of capturing the “Pasupati-to-Tirupati corridor”, in other words, most of the eastern half of the country.
China is making increasingly belligerent noises about Tawang and all of Arunachal Pradesh. They are gambling that, despite the summit that just took place in Dharmasala, the steam has gone out of the Tibetan resistance movement. They have been emboldened by the fact that Tibetans were not able to disrupt the Olympics, and the more immediate betrayal by the British (International Herald Tribune, “Did Britain Just Sell Tibet?” http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/11/25/opinion/edbarnet.php) , who declared, contrary to all the historical evidence, that Tibet was always a part of China. Besides, the Chinese fully intend to move forward with the diversion of the Brahmaputra, which is in effect a declaration of war against the lower riparian State, India.
It is likely that the Chinese will march into Tawang – there is a lot of chatter in Chinese circles (see, an analysis by D S Rajan at the Chennai Center for China Studies http://www.c3sindia.org/strategicissues/419) about a “limited India-China war”, a replay of 1962. The Chinese have, in addition to pure geopolitics, another reason to do this, as was pointed out by strategy expert Brahma Chellaney – as in the years preceding 1962, the world is now once again hyphenating India and China. By handing India a sharp conventional military defeat, China would like that hyphenation to be removed decisively, as it surely would be. India will once again be seen as the loser it has been during the entire 1947-2000 period.
In the Northwest, Kashmir burns. The population clearly views India as a colony – they want Indian money, but they are not willing to make the slightest concessions to Hindu sentiments. It is very convenient for them to have the cake and eat it too – there is the little-known fact that J&K has practically nobody under the poverty line (2% and falling), as compared to the average of some 20% in the country as a whole. Kashmiris have prospered mightily despite – or is it because of? – the brutal ethnic cleansing of 400,000 Pundits now languishing in refugee camps.
In the traditionally quiet Peninsula, there is evidence of tremendous terrorist activity. In Kerala, it has been reported widely in the Malayalam media that 300 youths have been hired, trained and dispatched to Kashmir with explicit instructions – kill Indian soldiers and support Pakistani intrusions. Terrorism is just another job. Sleeper cells exist in every town, sometimes in the guise of “Kashmiri emporia”. The Konkan and Malabar coasts are dotted with safe harbors, where weapons, counterfeit currency and contraband are cached. The preferred mechanism – bomb blasts to inflict maximum damage. Logistics, safe houses, surveillance, forged documents, etc. are provided by a wide network.
In the tribal lands of central India, the Northeast and in Orissa, Christian terrorists are joining hands with Communist terrorists. In fact they often are one and the same, as confessed by an alleged Communist leader on TV. Their preferred weapon – liquidation of inconvenient people, as they did in the case of Swami Lakshmananda, the 84-year-old monk that they attacked with AK-47s.
The fact is that all these threats are overwhelming the security apparatus in the country, such as it is. It is quite likely that the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing and the Anti-Terrorism Squad had some inkling of something big being planned, including the movement of small arms on the Ratnagiri coastline, and the logistics-related activities of known suspects. It is unclear why they didn’t take preventive action.
There is a terrifying possibility – that they in fact had no idea this was going on. There is an aphorism that you cannot stop all terrorist activity, but in India the situation is such that no terrorist activity is stopped – they strike at will, and the populace is left to pick up the pieces of broken lives. This is no way to run a country.
The frightening possibility is that the Jaichands have in fact taken over the State. In which case, we can anticipate the total dismemberment of India – possibly preceded by an interregnum where it is failed State – in the near future.
There is one other possibility – that the Army will have to take over. It is a remote possibility, for two reasons – the Indian Army has been determinedly apolitical; and the State has continually striven to weaken it. Someone once made the ridiculous statement that India really didn’t need an army, only a police force, and it appears the entire political class and bureaucracy have internalized this slogan.
From 1962 – as always, on November 18th I silently saluted the martyrs of the Battle of Rezang-La, where C Company, 13th Kumaon died heroically to the last man – when the ill-equipped troops froze to death on the Himalayan heights, to the refusal to increase military salaries when the bureaucrats awarded themselves 300% increases recently, the State has told the military that it doesn’t value them. All the Services are starved of funds. The recent open attack on Lt. Col. Purohit is another signal that the State despises the military . As Ashok Malik pointed out in the Pioneer (“A Hindu Dreyfus Affair?” http://www.dailypioneer.com/135567/A-Hindu-Dreyfus-Affair.html ), this is a near-repeat of the celebrated Dreyfus case in France, and alas, we have no Emile Zola to cry “J’accuse!” .
One possible outcome is that the Indian military forces will gradually wither away and die, thus making the statement about India not needing an army a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is another possibility – that of a military coup d’etat. Normally, the prospect of a military takeover – given that they all end up badly – from a democracy is not something one would welcome. But then India is not a democracy – it is a kakistocracy, rule by the very worst possible people – which has the trappings of a democracy but not the substance, so I wonder if military rule could possibly be any worse.
But the chances are getting increasingly good that the Indian State will collapse, just like Pakistan already has. A recent risk assessment by the World Economic Forum and CII (“India@Risk 2008”) considers the economic, energy, food/agriculture and national security that face India. The report is more concerned about the first three items, assuming that India is secure enough as a nation.
I hope they are right, but this invasion of Mumbai – so daring and audacious – makes me wonder. I have considered a nightmare scenario of Chinese battleships arriving in triumph at the Gateway of India, to be welcomed with marigold garlands by the Jaichands, but I have to admit I never thought a motley crew of Pakistani terrorists would invade. The very future of the Indian State, suddenly, is in question. And it is mostly from self-inflicted, avoidable wounds. The failure of leadership is causing India to cease to exist.
November 2, 2008
Rajeev Srinivasan on the fuss about “Hindu terrorists”
The recent fuss about alleged “Hindu terrorists” has entertained me hugely because all the usual suspects played their expected roles to perfection. The pseudo-secular media had a field day insinuating that Hindu terrorism is as major a problem in India as is Mohammedan and Christist terrorism. The UPA forgot its axiom that “terrorism has no religion”, and joyously crowed about “Hindu terrorists”. The BJP was apoplectic in its attempts to distance itself from the alleged “Hindu terrorists”.
Meanwhile, some actual – not imagined — terrorism activity has been going on in Kerala, where at least 300 people have been recruited by Mohammedan fundamentalists to wage war on the Indian State. Newspaper reports suggest that at least 96 young men from Kerala, who were given military training by SIMI, are at large. 16 of them are in Kashmir, the others in Bangalore or Kerala, according to Intelligence Bureau reports. Apparently there are special instructions in Malayalam in SIMI jungle camps held all over the country, for the poor dears are not so proficient in Urdu/Arabic.
These young men were dispatched to Kashmir with simple instructions: kill Indian soldiers and facilitate infiltration by the Pakistanis. Terrorism has now become just a job. So much so that so-called “spiritual advisers” (“paymaster” may be a more accurate designation) are out there recruiting known gangsters, converting them and sending them off to Kashmir. A particular gang of Christist criminals in Cochin has apparently supplied several converts who made the trek to Kashmir: including one Verghese aka Yasin who took a bullet in his head from the Indian Army and had to be identified from his fingerprints.
All this is ironic: Kerala has long been a supplier of manpower and womanpower – first it was the clerks and petty shopkeepers all over India, as well as a lot of soldiers; then it has been nurses, next construction labor and professionals for the Persian Gulf and America, and most recently, Christist padres and nuns for the conversion industry and as gastarbeiter for the shrinking seminaries of Europe.
I guess it is but a small step to terrorism as a profession. As Adi Sankara said in a slightly different context some centuries ago, “udara nimittam bahu krta vesham” (one wears various roles to satisfy that despotic stomach). It is said that in parts of Malabar, the UAE dirham, the Saudi riyal, and the US dollar are almost as much legal tender as the Indian rupee: there is so much of that stuff floating around. Not to speak of absolutely authentic-looking Pakistani-made Indian rupee notes. A while ago, an entire ocean-going container full of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 counterfeit notes – from Pakistan with love via Dubai – was intercepted in Kerala. That is a boatload of money, indeed.
And then there’s the news about serial blasts in Manipur and – as I write this – in Assam, that have killed large numbers of innocent people. There are all the other blasts – there have been so many we begin to lose count – in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, etc. etc. etc. – where the perpetrators unambiguously let it be known that they were Mohammedans inflamed by religious fundamentalism and jihad.
Christist terrorists have been running rampant in the Northeast for some time: their modus operandi is a little different – they prefer the AK-47 and they generally target specific individuals. They have ethnically-cleansed 45,000 Reang tribals from Mizoram for refusing to convert; they shot respected litterateur and patriot, Bineshwar Brahma in Guwahati; they shot Hindu priest Shanti Tripura in his own temple; and most recently, they shot Swami Lakshmananda in Orissa (let’s not kid around about this: even the alleged Communist terrorist who was trotted out, suitably incognito, on TV to exonerate Christists admitted that most of his flock were Christists).
Not to mention that almost the entire top echelon of the dreaded Tamil Tigers are Christists, and the non-Christists mysteriously suffer “accidents” or are captured by the Sri Lankan Army or “commit suicide”. Velupillai Prabhakaran, Anton Balasingham, et al are all Christists. So was Dhanu, the suicide bomber who blew up Rajiv Nehru Gandhi. There is reason to believe that the so-called Maoists in Nepal are also crypto-Christists, especially some of their top brass.
Of course, none of this qualifies for the “religious terrorism” moniker as far as the lovely English-Language Media and the UPA are concerned. Their sound and fury is reserved for some poor Hindu nun who is, by the power of “truth by repeated assertion”, subjected to an electronic lynch, deemed a terrorist and subjected to tejovadham. This is to be expected, as the ELM and the pseudo-seculars in India have a sworn duty: that of cultural extinction of the native civilization of this country. Once you understand this axiom, their baffling acts are self-consistent in a certain bizarre frame of reference.
Whether the pseudo-seculars do this for money, or they have been brainwashed by the predatory State, is not entirely clear. But then it doesn’t matter, does it, since the end result is the same?
And this deliberate use of nomenclature terrorism – the use of insinuation to demonize and to create defensiveness – is a purely Goebbelsian propaganda tactic. I tried a little experiment on the pseudo-seculars some years ago by returning the favor. I started referring to their ideology as Nehruvian Stalinism. Their immediate knee-jerk reaction was to label me a Hindu fundamentalist, Hindu fascist etc. Which I was prepared for: I told them, fine, maybe I am all that, but you, you are Nehruvian Stalinists.
I got the reaction I expected: when the tables were turned, the pseudo-seculars did exactly what they expect others to do under their attacks. They got defensive, they labored to explain why they were not Stalinists, and how different Nehru was from Stalin. They grew increasingly exasperated as I kept insisting that Nehru was a lot like Stalin: the personality cult, the imperiousness, the purges, the heavy-industry fetish, etc., and how Jawaharlal was merely a little less effective in his ruthlessness.
Happily, I got a few pseudo-seculars into an absolute tizzy denying these allegations; they practically foamed at the mouth. I had succeeded – I had got them to play on my terms, on the playing field I defined; instead of protesting that I was not a fascist, I had changed the terms of reference and forced them to defend their cherished shibboleths. It was good to watch them squirm.
That, I submit, is the way to play this game. Hindus should not bother to try and prove that they are not terrorists. We should say “Yes, there must be Hindu terrorists, just like you guys are Communist terrorists, or Christist terrorists, or Mohammedan terrorists. Any questions?” If they continue to blather, one might hint darkly of caches of AK-47s and RDX.
It is evident that the pseudo-seculars are cowards and bullies, and this will shut them up. Only, gentle reader, I suggest you be careful in your choice of words, just in case somebody has a hidden camera – make veiled threats, where you cannot be pinned down to anything specific. And occasionally mutter knowingly about some atrocity perpetrated by the Christist or Communist or Mohammedan terrorists, and insinuate that you have certain “friends” and you know where the pseudo-seculars live. You know, the kind of thing the Mafioso say in those gangster movies.
Nomenclature terrorism is a game two can play, and the sinister Nehruvian Stalinists can be – as in the quaint phrase they use – hoist on their own petard.