Friday, September 3, 2010

A comment

From PakTeaHouse:

Raj (the other one)
Dear Gorki,
Thanks for your response. I appreciate the idealism in your words. A good measure of idealism is a must for any society.
You are a fellow Indian, and I respect your right to your sentiments. To be truthful, in my school years I had similar thinking.
I am flattered to be mistaken for an intellectual of the JNU types but the truth is that I am just an ordinary apolitical Indian from a small ordinary Indian town.
I have never been able to see any intellectuality in the JNU types. It is a pseudo-intellectuality, based on proposing ill-fitting semantic constructs on a society, constructs imported unfiltered from Western social and political thinkers; denying local cultural reality; using a sham outward attire to show identification with the underprivileged. If they were in USA, none of them would even be considered for a seat in a think-tank. But India has many jokers, be it the politicians or the JNU jholawallas. There is also a place for them in India.
The Truman quote is appropriate because while my post about corruption in India and its fragility as a state may have upset you but it is the sad truth.
Believe me, I am not upset by the ‘sad truth’. In fact I am not upset at all. I am however often amazed by the conclusions that are drawn, and justifications that are made, based on the ‘sad truth’.
I have developed certain stereotypes of Indians, for getting a first impression and measure of a man. Now no stereotype, or even a set of stereotypes, can really capture the complexity of a human, but it is a start.
My intent is not to degrade anybody or hurt anybody’s feelings, but based on some of your comments, I’d like to venture a stereotype. So have some patience with me here.
It is not that I am ashamed of India or am oblivious of its successes.
The double-negatives here indicate actually a very deep shame. That thought would not even whistle past someone who feels at ease in his skin and amongst his people.
I root passionately for India during the cricket matches and anxiously await the good news of its scientific endeavors like the Chandrayaan launch with each press release.
Interesting here is not, what is mentioned as targets/objects of pride, but what is negated through this shortlisting.
The shortlisting is based not on what constitutes a nation, the culture, the faiths, the people and their customs, the history of the people and the nation. Rather it is based on a West-sanctioned political correctness manifesto regarding patriotism. Sport is considered ‘halaal’ as an outlet for patriotism. In fact it is deemed as mandatory for de-racinated-marxist-liberals, so that they not be accused of being unpatriotic. As far as scientific achievements go, that too is given a green flag. It is thought that pursuit of science, would aid in uprooting people from their culture and religion. The Western manifesto writers however forget that scientific curiosity and pursuit, have been at the heart of the Indic thought process. Scientific thought is at home in India. It can never be the trojan horse that they assumed to smuggle in. But the de-racinated-marxist-liberals buy the Western argument that it is a trojan horse and show willingness to cheer India’s scientific achievements.
I beam with pride when I see the PM represent India at the G8 meet as an equal partner
It is fine and good that India can speak with others at still another forum. But there is not the least need for any of us, to feel pride if an outsider accepts us or not. Our equality with other nations, the equality of Indian citizens with citizens of other nations, is not ordained by their reaction to us.
Most of the time I live in Germany. Half of my family is German. Would I be feeling pride if other Germans accept me and talk to me? Is that some sort of honor. My self-esteem is not a function of acceptance of me by anybody. It is rooted in my heritage, it is rooted in my culture which allows me, to be open-minded, pluralistic, rational, self-critical, forward-looking. It is rooted in my citizenship of Republic of India.
or hear western media men like Tom Freidman who once described India admiringly as a ‘showcase democracy, with a Hindu majority, its Government headed by a Sikh PM and a catholic woman as the head of its largest and oldest political Party under a Muslim President’
I am a fan of Tom Friedman. I think for an American he has the ability to transcend the self-centrism of America and look for values and trends in other parts of the world. He is able to see, salvation of the world, emanating from quarters other than the Eurocentric world view.
Pluralism has however been a hallmark of Indian Civilization, and is not something that suddenly becomes visible as soon as a Westerner sheds light on to it. Tom Friedman’s message is meant for the Westerners who know little about India. His message is not meant for giving Indians self-esteem.
or the predictions of India becoming a larger economy than the US by mid century.
The Indian economy was a giant in the past. It was not called the jewel of the British crown for nothing. Here some figures – the Indian share of the World GDP in the past (as per Angus Maddison) was:
1 32%
1000 28%
1500 24.3%
1600 22.3%
1700 24.4%
1820 16%
1870 12%
1913 7.4%
1950 4.1%
1973 3%
2003 5.5%
So a thousand years ago, our GDP was ~ a third of the world.
There is nothing extraordinary that our GDP share will rise in the future.
I am truly thrilled about all that. Yet I am also not unaware of the unfinished business we have on our hands. The same man after which the premier Indian University you mentioned is named
JLN was indeed a great man, because he gave India a vision, he gave inspiration and he gave India an industrial base. At the same time he was also allowed grave failures in leadership.
The University is there, and it instills a social conscience among the Indians, but at the same time, the graduates are corrupted by a foreign narrative of goodness. They end up becoming tools of Western interests.
laid out the task clearly for all of us in the early years of our Republic when he mentioned that ‘as long as there are tears and suffering, our job will not be done’. I wrote those words of caution in my earlier post on this forum to highlight all that still remains to be done.
That is a mission statement, that our first PM gave us. Both you and me, and a billion other Indians have to try to fulfill that.
What the de-racinated marxist-liberals of India however do is that they instrumentalize poverty and try to push ideological crap, policies which would only do cosmetic changes to poverty, instead of eradicating it. Secondly they try to wrap themselves around poverty, using it as their flag, and do moral grand-standing. Important is not how much one bi.ches about poverty, but rather how much of one’s own money and effort one invests fighting it and bringing opportunity to the underprivileged. Using poverty as a stick to beat India will not remove poverty.
When a politician like Jayalalitha decides to publicly flout her ill gotten wealth in a 100 crore wedding for a close relative or the President of the Medical council of India is caught with literally tons of gold in his possession it does not appear to me that the economic growth or the growing middle class is enforcing more accountability. If anything it demonstrates a growing corruption industry keeping pace with prosperity along with a near absence of any shame among the corrupt elite.
Middle Class empowerment is both an economic as well as an awareness issue. The development takes time. Anybody can sit on the high horse and look down upon society. It is when middle class instead of becoming a disenchanted non-voting voter group becomes a majority, politically aware and a serious voter group, would one see the changes you would like.
It is perhaps considered old fashioned or in poor taste to bring up such things and call them shameful but I cannot help it because I know of no other way to improve things if we do not shine a spotlight on it or are repulsed by it.
No there is nothing wrong with increasing awareness of the problems in our country. However you are talking to our Pakistani cousins here. Do you think, they will come over and bring us democratic and good-governance heaven?
Discussion of Indian poverty on a Pakistani forum is meant for only one purpose – to preserve the illusion that India and Pakistan are equal nations sharing the same problems and doomed to the same fate. This forms the basis of Pakistani arguments why India should come to the table, and treat Pakistan as an equal. The Pakistanis feel falsely reassured when Indians show the same despondency, the Pakistanis feel at the moment for their country. The Pakistanis want to be reassured that they did not make a mistake at the time of Partition. The Pakistanis want to be reassured that the ideological basis of their state, Islam, is just as effective as a political and social ideology, as any state ideology that Hindu India comes up with. You are only feeding their appetite for reassurance, instead of telling them to do some open-minded introspection outside the bounds imposed by Islam.
I post such things not out dislike for India but as a word of caution out of my love for my Republic.
India is more than just a Republic.
I beg to differ here. There is a reason for concern, very great concern here.
I could not care less about what the Arabs or the Indonesians think but when I see our own teenagers dying on our own streets throwing rocks at our own security forces I am concerned at what our republic is coming to.

I wonder why there are no Kashmiri Pundit kids throwing rocks amongst the teenagers you mention from Kashmir!
Perhaps for an extreme nationalist it is not a problem; it is India, right or wrong and a ‘little mayhem’ as you mention it is nothing new.
As for me, I believe in the Republic of India, founded upon noble principles of tolerance and justice for all, and held together with the implied consent of all its constituents.
It is not an Indian Empire, to be held together by force.

India is neither an empire, nor just a republic. It is a nation, and this nation was there long before it became a republic. Depending on the time period, it may have been politically consolidated or fragmented. The sages and rishis gave this land a common life-philosophy and values; and imbibed the rulers of the land with the same political philosophy. India is the custodian of a 5000 year old civilization.
If you want to feel India, you have to close your eyes and meditate on the billions of souls around you, their aspirations and their vibrancy; on the land that has seen so much history flow through time; on our forefathers, and their fathers and mothers, who toiled this land and poured love onto their children. We are the bearers of their legacy.
The Indian Nation is like a Carriage, and the Indian Republic, our Constitution, our values are the Horse. This Horse has to take the Indian Carriage in a forward direction, in the direction of social peace and prosperity, in the direction of individual achievement and and scientific progress.
However I get the feeling some would rather get up on Horse and start giving sermons and berating the Carriage. The Horse is in the service of the Carriage, and not for bearing on it with its hooves.
Moral Grandstanders may like to mount the Horse and they will feel good about themselves. They may even find a few cheerleaders, but all in all they do the Nation no service.
The Republic of India has my utmost loyalty and will have it till the last breath in my body, but if you take away that idea of it then what remains is not a nation. Neither was it ever a nation in the past nor can it be a nation in the future and then I feel nothing for it. Moreover I am not alone many more Indians feel that way.
That is what I mean. Some people think, it was the British who gave us India. In fact, this is an idea, that is so vigorously propounded by the Western academics, that it would make one laugh, were it not for the tragedy of so many idiots who would fall for something like this.
After all, it all comes from a colonized mind. You have accepted the White Man as your superior, as the only one able to impart to you rational thoughts. The White Man gave us history, and before that we were all just apes jumping from tree to tree.
The ideas of secularism, pluralism, just political system, consensus building, rational dialog all have their roots in Indian philosophy. It is the White Man, who is trying to sell you Indian goods with a made-in-West label, because the Western World Order needs a Western narrative.
It is Indian Civilization, the Indian Nation, that has allowed the Republic of India to be realized. Why else would Indian democracy survive in a land with such diversity and after having survived a thorough plundering by Central-Asian Turks, Persians, Arabs and Brits alike?
The Indian Republic is not a book given by the British Gods to Jawahar Lal Nehru, according to which India had to be ruled!
Without the Indian Nation, the Indics, there would have been no Republic of India.
What I fear is that you wish to understand the Indian Constitution as a new ideology, in the process becoming just another ideologist like Communist, Islamist, Capitalist, etc. The Indian Constitution is a living embodiment of the aspirations of a nation, but the nation is much more than just the Constitution.
If you want to come along on the Indian journey, you should come in the carriage. Nobody should ride the Horse and do meaningless grandstanding. Fighting for the Constitution and not the people, it is supposed to protect, is, I believe, another compromise a man with an inferiority complex would make. Love the Constitution but hate the Nation, because Constitution given by nice White God.
Once the constitutional guarantees and the covenants that bind us together are stripped away, we have no India; only a geographical expression, as an Englishman once remarked.
Exactly, what I mean. “As an Englishman once remarked”!
I think you got a wrong impression. I am not afraid of the Pakistanis. What I am afraid of is the Jihadist ideology misleading our teenagers and interfering with our own process of nation building.
Jihadism is simply the natural evolution of Pakistaniyat. There is nothing to fear from evolution, one just needs to be prepared for it.
In fact, Pakistaniyat is a mid-way house between Indic values and full-throttled Islamism. As such the Indian Muslims are far more susceptible to Pakistaniyat than Talibanism. With Pakistaniyat, they get the feeling that it is Indian version of Islam, which it is not. Pakistaniyat has the extra aspect, that Muslims are a nation apart from all others. But that difference can get lost in the bonhomie.
Once Pakistan makes the irreversible transition to Talibanism, the proposition in front of the Indian Muslim youth would be far more clear – to be part of the Indian mainstream or to ape the Talibaniac Pakistanis.
Each time we have to suspend civil liberties in any part of India or an Indian under trial is killed in an ‘encounter’ it interferes with our own process of nation building. It corrupts us as people and weakens our republic and its values. It takes away our legitimacy and more importantly the loyalty of our own citizens. Such situations are best avoided.
All this is true. Mostly this happens in areas where the Indian nation has become too diluted through the infiltration of foreign ideologies. As India rises, the pull of these foreign ideologies would weaken, as the people are reconnected with their roots.
I have no doubt in my mind that separatist movements in India are wrong and need to be countered. It is only that how they are countered will decide whether we end up with a Quebec or a Chechnya on our hands.
One of the main tools of secessionists is propaganda. Truth is one thing, propaganda is another. In war, truth is the first casualty. If there is a huge pool of people telling the world that gruesome atrocities are being committed, then you are batting for the secessionists. It is as clear as that.
As soon as the Kashmiri Pundits were thrown out of Kashmir, it stopped being ethnic separatism and became a Pakistan-induced insurgency, who again were willing to use religion for political purposes.
Kashmir was a part of India long before Islam came to the subcontinent. It will also stay that way, as the Republic of India has the instrument of accession in her favor. How soon the current inhabitants of Kashmir with their alien pan-Islamist thinking come to their senses is up to them. Otherwise the Center has been pumping more money into the development of the Valley far in excess of funds other parts of India receive.
I don’t think the peace lobby in Pakistan can convince it to let go of Kashmir. It is only the Kashmiris who can do it; if they demonstrate unmistakably their own preference for India.
Kashmir remains part of India because the Indian nation owes it to the memory of the Indic ancestors of present-day Kashmiris, as well as the offspring of present-day Kashmiris, whatever their faith may be, who would want one day to enjoy some music once in a while and not want to carry beards, like in the country next door.
Pakistanis can keep on craving for Kashmir until the sun goes out. It doesn’t make a difference. Perhaps Kashmir was indeed an issue JLN left behind to unmake Pakistan. Very very clever indeed. The abyss the Pakistanis are seeing approaching is because of their determination to stay on the Kashmir course. Without Kashmir, there would not have been so many Jihadis roaming around in Pakistan.
The current troubles in the valley don’t help and must come to a peaceful end. They are in part driven by an ideology that has rightly or wrongly, captured the imagination of a large number of Muslim youth across Asia and it does not recognize international boundaries.
You are talking about the same ideology on which Pakistan is founded.
That ideology has to be defeated decisively; once and for all. In that we share a common interest with those in Pakistan who want to take their own country into the 21st century rather than the 7th.
What makes you think you share a common interest with Pakistani liberals?
What Pakistani liberals want is a soft-Islam, which allows them the privileges of the modern world, their freedoms. That much is ok. But hardly any ‘Pakistani Liberal’ is going to question the Two Nation Theory. Hardly any Pakistani would go ahead and say, that Kashmiris should remain in India, because the Indian Constitution is willing to provide them with full civilian rights.
The Pakistani Liberals are staunch Muslim nationalists, who think that religion can be a basis for nationhood. They only want that the ensuing nation should not start asking them to stop hearing music and carrying long beards.
On the other hand, they look for Indian ‘peace-lovers’ who are willing to totally eschew their Hindu faith, call themselves atheists, distance themselves from the Indian Nation itself, and bind themselves with some abstract values of humanism, constitutionalism, secularism, Marxism without the context of their applicability for the nation, people.
These Indians/Hindus accept the Pakistanis despite their Muslim chauvinism all in the name of secularism, whereas the Muslims only promise support for reform in Islam, for moderation.
And the Indians think both of them are meeting half-way. Now that is a joke.
I, (along with Raza and Tilsim among others) have been misunderstood so far by every one (including Hayyer Sahib) when we talk about an Indian engagement with Pakistan. No one is asking for a peace summit with the GOP or a meeting with the ISI etc. Such talks are bound to fail even if there were the best of intentions on both sides because the necessary mind set is not there among the ordinary people who have learnt to reflexively consider the ‘other’ as an enemy.
Indians consider Pakistan as the enemy not reflexively but because of a history of attacks, facts on the ground. Pakistanis consider Indians as the enemy because of establishment propaganda from childhood – very effective propaganda, especially as it is built on fears, rumors, hate of the Kufr and hardly any truth.
There is no need to consider them as equivalent.
While media and business contacts among such people can not deliver Kashmir or bring Mumbai attackers to justice,
It almost sounds as if one is equating the righteousness of finding justice for Mumbai Attacks and delivering Kashmir to the Pakistanis on a platter.
it can, if initiated and sustained over time, help each to see the other side as something more than a single dimension caricature that neatly fits in a stereotype of the ‘enemy’.
For the Indian, the ‘enemy’ in Pakistan is based on historical facts, Mumbai 26/11 just being the latest of such facts. When the ‘enemy’ is as such very real, is it of any interest to know that in Pakistan there is also ‘qawwali’ and ‘mujra’?
On the other hand, in Pakistan, the ‘enemy’ in India is based on institutional brain-washing. Many institutions in Pakistan, many vested interests in Pakistan are based on keeping the ‘enemy’ in India. The Pakistani liberals, I concede, may not wish this trend. However I think, this has a lot more to do with the predicament of their country, rather than some holistic sentiment.
So the single dimensional caricature of the other has a justification – for India it is to not allow distraction from reality; and for Pakistan it is to not allow a weakening of the institutions.
For example an Indian on the street must learn that a Pakistani is not only either a cricketer or a fiyadeen but can also be a journalist and a secular thinker like Rumi or even an uninteresting and uninterested clerk or a school teacher who is concerned with nothing more than everyday life.
I think the common man in India is generally aware of the diversity in any society, both in opinions and in professions.
The Pakistanis similarly must find out for themselves how few Indians know or care about the RSS or Varun Gandhi and how many of them have similar concerns about power shortages and rising food costs and honor killings.
Ah yes, .. they need the assurance that the Indians too are sharing Hell with them.
It is only after a prolonged period of such benign and ordinary but increasing contacts across the border, between media, business people etc, when we small town people start recognizing each other for what we are; can you intelligent and important people then start talking big words like ‘summits’ and ‘national priorities’.
Yes, wish you success!
PTH seems like an ideal watering hole for such contacts and Raza’s call one such call for more of these. That’s all!
Well then, don’t let anybody stop you!

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