It was on an Indian national day that boys and girls of Indian origin of a high school in the US staged a show. The theme, “The Incredible India” was a true reflection of the Indian media, pretentious, boastful, frivolous and tedious. The amusement was writ large on the faces of the audience. The uncanny smile said it all. The unsuspecting innocent kids had made a laughingstock of themselves mimicking their native media craze. They did not realize that the audience was not all Indian.
India is unique in many ways, from its proud heritage, architecture, pre-Modi philosophical pluralism, glamour and amazing natural beauty to miles and miles of roads littered with human defecation on a daily basis. Its number of illiterates and poor, each, exceeds the entire population of Pakistan. It is ranked one in the world for rapes. Two hundred million untouchables are lesser humans and for its oppression of the minorities India is being graded worst in human rights violations.
Modi can go berserk. Anyone in his place, an uneducated, uncouth petty tea vendor without a worthwhile background, social or political, catapulted to the highest position in the most populous democracy in the world could have gone off his rocker. Only an exception would keep his sanity intact. But then what went wrong with everyone else in this gigantic mass of land and living beings, the land of intellectuals, writers, philosophers and humanists, exceptional men and women, who have done India proud. Why are all the existing big names not up in arms in this defining and most consequential time in Indian history? Why the great have been outdone by a pigmy? Why the fascist narrative of a bigoted reactionary has overshadowed the grand vision of Gandhi and Nehru? Pakistanis would shiver at the prospect of handing over their country to a fanatic like him. How can a billion and a half Indians afford a peaceful night sleep with Modi at the helm of affairs?
There is a popular saying in Pashto which means that the biggest masochist makes the biggest sadist. Only a Modi biographer could tell the miseries poor boy Modi might have gone through before being picked up by the RSS goons. There is a lot hidden behind his animal behaviour. Only a good Indian psycho analyst might be able to fathom the dark side of his life.
The founding fathers of India had the vision to realize that a lasting edifice of the Indian Union could only be built on the concept of secularism. A large and heterogeneous population, a strong caste system and variety of colour and creed had never allowed India to remain united in the recent and distant past. Fascism and racism are the ideologies that must lead India to fragmentation. Modi’s one-point agenda to marginalize the minorities beginning with the largest minority, the Muslims, has lost focus on many core national issues. In form, substance and methods he is a Nazi to the hilt.
The biggest damage Modi has done to India is to politicize its military. Its institutional esteem is at stake. The DGMO of any army is a highly regarded professional. He plans and conducts operations. His statements ought to be pragmatic, based on cold-blooded military logic. When the Indian DGMO appears again and again in the media, telling lies about the Indian surgical strikes and Pakistani intrusions into Indian territory to please his saber-rattling political bosses with no evidence to show on the ground, he loses respect. An Indian army chief making as preposterous a claim as his ability to take on China and Pakistan together, only makes professionals across the world laugh out loud.
Modi has arbitrarily changed the special status of Kashmir, an established disputed territory. He has taken over nine million Kashmiris hostages for the last almost one year. He is killing the Kashmiri youth at will. The Indian army continues to leisurely indulge in ceasefire violations across the LoC and international borders. It is well aware that the bombing and shelling create little impact on the Pakistan military. They kill only the civilians, men, women and children. Safoora Zargar, a woman journalist, is in prison for speaking against Modi’s atrocities. She is pregnant with accompanying complications. The Hindu judge rules that she must suffer for inciting dissent. Human rights organizations all over the world writhe in frustration and pain. The world should wait, history tells, until a Hitler strikes.
Unfortunately, under the present geopolitical realities, Modi seems to have been caught in a no-win situation. Every Pharaoh must blunder into his Moses. So has Modi. India’s sly maneuvers on the Indo-China border with the intent of annexing Ladakh, a disputed territory like Kashmir, were picked up by China pretty early in the day. According to my favourite, General (retd) Tariq Khan, “China landed five thousand troops in the Galwan Valley dominating the only communication link to Indian Daulat Beg Brigade…now totally unsustainable and operationally untenable”. China, by this one move, has also secured the CPEC project against India’s nefarious designs.
If India persists in its folly, it will be repeating “the Himalayan Blunder” of 1962. Discretion is the best option for India, as it knows like everyone else does that the Indian military is mortally scared of the Chinese. I agree with Gen Tariq Khan that India, for face saving, claims that it would be able to resolve the issue bilaterally. Realistically, “the deed is done” for India. The situation is irreversible. Ladakh is lost with its strategic implications that should be of serious concern to India. This is an end to India’s dream of regional leadership and its friends’ fallacious hopes for finding a regional match for China. Modi has no one else but himself to blame for leading “the incredible India” up the garden path.
(The writer is a retired major general and author of the book “Pakistan in Search of a Messiah”)