Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Real Enemies of India


People in general are inclined to pass the blame on to others whatever the fault.  For example, we Indians love to blame the British for their alleged ‘divide-and-rule’ policy.  Did the British really divide India into Hindus and Muslims or did the Indians do it themselves?  Was there any unified entity called India in the first place before the British unified it?

Having raised those questions, I’m going to commit a further sacrilege of quoting a British journalist-cum-historian.  In his magnum opus, India: a History, John Keay says that the “stock accusations of a wider Machiavellian intent to ‘divide and rule’ and to ‘stir up Hindu-Muslim animosity’” levelled against the British Raj made little sense when the freedom struggle was going on in India because there really was no unified India until the British unified it politically.  Communal divisions existed in India despite the political unification.  In fact, they existed even before the British ever set foot on the country’s soil.  Keay says, “As Maulana Muhammad Ali would later put it, ‘We (Indians) divide and you (the British) rule.’  Without recognising, exploring and accommodating such division, British dominion in India would have been impossible to establish, let alone sustain.  Provoking sectarian conflict, on the other hand, was rarely in the British interest.”

The first reaction I anticipate from hardcore ‘patriots’ of contemporary India is that I have used a British writer’s view.  Well, my answer is: forget the nationality of the writer and see whether what he says is right.  Put aside emotions and sentiments and make use of plain rationality and objective facts.  Did the British actually divide us or did we divide ourselves?  It was not only religion that we used for erecting huge walls of separation among ourselves but also the caste system and its subsidiary systems.  The British made effective use of those divisions.

Secondly, no government would be foolish to encourage fissiparous tendencies among its people since they would only create more problems than solutions for any ruler.  It is interesting that the present government in India, led by the BJP, thinks otherwise.  It is encouraging antagonistic confrontations between the various religious communities for gaining certain political mileage.  Anyone with any vision beyond the tip of his/her nose would understand the folly as well as the danger that underlies the approach.

Suchitra Vijayan’s article in today’s Hindu, Rewriting the nation state, summarises succinctly the strategies used by the BJP and its allies to foment divisiveness in the country.  Let me extract the list from the concluding paragraph of her article:

 
Courtesy Economic Times
1.     Violence manufactured through riots
2.     Destruction of religious sites such as churches
3.     Organising religious conversion camps
4.     Beef bans
5.     Rewriting textbooks
6.     Censoring works of history, literature and fiction that challenge the ‘Hindu’ version of history
7.     Appropriating political icons
8.     Raising monuments

It would be interesting if the ‘patriots’ would sit up and reflect whether the British ever made use of such strategies.  What I’m trying to suggest is that we, some citizens of the independent India in the 21st century, are doing much more harm to the integrity of the nation than the British ever did.  Is this the India we really want?  Who are our real enemies?


16 comments:

  1. Sad.
    India has many enemies-
    Honest officers are killed, 70 year old nuns are disrespected... list goes on.

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    1. There's much that makes us hang our head in shame. I'd really wish our PM started being a little sincere.

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  2. We're really doing much more harms to our country than the British ever did! The list is endless and disturbing....

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    1. Shameful, Maniparna. Yet we will keep accusing others for much lesser faults! Such a conceited nation of people we are.

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  3. This present India, is a creation of congress, and is only 71 yrs old. The process of oppressing cultural identities is not yet complete. Though the Indian press, and Hindi movies are diligently dedicated to the cause.

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  4. The Congress doings dwindle into insignificance in comparison with the BJP ones. Mr Modi has every right to pat his own back.

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  5. After Ashoka, no other king ruled the entire India. Mughals did not venture into south and east India.

    British unified India for ease of administration and not to help us Indians in any way. It is Gandhi, Nehru and Patel who were creators of "India" we have today.

    India's integrity is questioned times and again. Many doubted it like Salman Rushdie in Midnight's children and Kushwant Singh in End of India. But India has emerged out stronger. Thanks to Bollywood and Cricket. Religion is not able to get there.

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    1. I'm also pretty sure that India will outlive the present games and tendencies. There's something more than Bollywood and Cricket that unifies India. Otherwise, the country would have already shown signs of disintegration. There is a spirit that Indians have imbibed. Our politicians seem to be unaware of that spirit.

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  6. May be because of that we were called as 'white man's burden'. Few foolish people driving whole nation crazy!!

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    1. Such elements are always in a minority, Roohi. Yet they manage to get policies made, histories altered, masses swayed... That's the pity, it has always been. We can keep on questioning so that their impact is minimised as far as possible.

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  7. Very well said Tomichan. You have perhaps touched the tip of the iceberg. Apart from political parties, there are myriad reasons why there's no unity. Let alone India, there's no unity in a family these days.

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    1. I agree the problem is complex. Yet making disunity a national policy is extremely disastrous.

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  8. First of all I have a different perception to the point raised, however (in a cautious note) I neither have any inclination towards right wing politics nor their ideology. Political unification started in the very early times, disintegrated often and achieved its so called maturity during the British era. But a close look at the same proves that the unification is not perfect, but a ruined one. It was the Curzon policy which was behind the separation of Pakistan and Bangladesh from India. If it could be accepted as political unification, then this theory is applicable to the majority of the nations in the world which were under the control of the European powers. So I don't accept this theory.Even before British era, there existed a cultural unity within India. Recently there was a hypothesis by an Archeologists that Dravidians could have lived in Harappa. Check out our genes, it will show that we belong to the same ancestors and race irrespective of religion we practice.

    Coming to the BJP politics, I would say they are going behind their ideology and there is nothing much to be hyped. The same was forecast by leftists and other neutral leaders. Party with religious ideology follows the same tactics through out the world irrespective of religion.

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    1. Religion need not necessarily be divisive. In fact it turns divisive when politics joins it. It turns into a mere political tool. This way a terrible injustice is done to both religion and politics.

      The integrity of India will outlive the current political games. Indians are not fools.

      My mention of the British was meant for making a contrast only.

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  9. The only problem is we can't use logic. We use emotions to exploit people and we are emotional fools who end up getting used by others.

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    1. Man is really not a Rational animal; most people don't display any sign of being rational.

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