Thursday, November 08, 2001

A world upside down -- Francois Gautier

Francois Gautier exposes some incredible ironies in today's world.

Francois Gautier writes on Rediff:
A world upside down

Once you start seeing from the right inner perspective, you will notice that the world appears upside down, as if people were walking on their head," often commented the Mother of Pondicherry. And indeed, if you look at the world today, in this inauspicious beginning of November 2001, what do you see?

Without a doubt, modern politics is the torchbearer of expediency, shortcuts, and falsehood. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, all world leaders seem to be rushing to Pakistan, to pay obeisance and offer unlimited support to President Pervez Musharraf, an unelected leader of an Islamic country that has made jihad a national enterprise. Of course, they come with their arms full of goodies: rescheduling of loans, waiving of sanctions, billions of dollars in credit, which will serve to buy weapons, a sizeable fraction of which will end up aimed against the third great 'Satan' of Islam after the United States and Israel: India.

And then, as an afterthought, they hop on to India, to give the ever-smiling Atal Bihari Vajpayee a moral discourse on how he should behave himself and make friends with Islamabad, regardless of the fact that Pakistan keeps arming, training, sheltering and encouraging Kashmiri separatists to kill innocent Indians. Is that not a world turned upside down?

The American war on Afghanistan also looks completely wrong: you do not win a war by bombing from the safety of supersonic planes flying 10km above the ground. There is nothing much left to bomb in Afghanistan anyway, except a few innocent civilians. You do not fight terrorism with terrorism, as Bush is doing, by using Pakistan to 'neutralise' the Taleban which Islamabad created. You do not bomb on the one hand while feeding civilians on the others. Not only are leaders always a product of their people, as Hitler and Germany amply demonstrated, not only does a nation always pay for its own past karma, as the Dalaï Lama constantly reminds us, but many of these refugees are probably supportive of the Taleban.

You do not think that by killing one man -- Osama bin Laden -- you will eliminate Muslim fundamentalism, which is today a world phenomenon. You do not ignore a huge pro-Western democracy -- India -- which has been the butt for centuries of bloody and terrible Muslim invasions and today fights a lonely battle in Asia against Islamic fundamentalism. You do not enrol the help of China, as many Western leaders are trying to do. China is probably the Taleban's biggest investor and friend and a known enemy of India. It has only one goal today: to diminish the United States as a superpower so that it can spread its hegemony first in Asia -- Taiwan, Tibet, the Spartley islands, parts of India -- and then on to the world.

It is true that the United States remains a beacon of goodwill and freedom on our planet, but because of materialism, they have lost their kshatriya spirit which they demonstrated during the First and Second World Wars, when they twice saved Europe from the German hegemonic spirit. Today, they show not only the inability to fight and sustain casualties, but a fear that borders on paranoia.

Is India faring better? Not at all. What do we see today in India? Instead of seizing upon this opportunity to strike at terrorism and take bold steps against Muslim fundamentalism, which the world would have, if not approved, at least not condemned, its leaders are just mouthing the eternal empty threats, which do not frighten anybody anymore, or coming out with the most obvious platitudes, such as the prime minister declaring on October 30 that "we will fight terrorism with tourism", at a time when everybody knows tourism is in the dumps!

Muslims in many parts of India are showing their support to the Taleban and Afghanistan by rioting on Fridays after the prayers, burning cars and public property, attacking the police, as has been the case in Malegaon, Maharashtra. All over the world today, a spade is called spade when it comes to Muslims manifesting their support to fundamentalism. But what happens when it occurs in India? Newspapers such as The Hindu or The Indian Express report it briefly, saying "one community attacked another" or label it "communal" riots. What communal riots? Are we going to make the Hindus responsible for Muslims burning cars and rioting? Poor Hindus! One newspaper [The Hindu] even brought up the Ayodhya factor in its October 30 coverage of Malegaon!

Is it not the world upside down? The whole issue is also about Indian journalism, which devotes pages when it comes to attacking its own culture, or lambasting the "saffronisation" of India, but reports in only a few lines and without adverse comment, the fact that 800 Muslim-owned hotels in Mumbai, including five-stars, have decided to boycott American and British products "to show that we no longer tolerate the attacks on innocents in Afghanistan" [The Indian Express, October 31, page 9]. Is it not the world turned upside down?

On the external front, India tolerated the terrible mutilation of its soldiers by Bangladeshis early this year so as not too embarrass the government of the "friendly" Sheikh Hasina, which was facing an election. Unfortunately, she lost by a big margin and the unfriendly Begum Khaleda Zia is now in power, with the consequence that once more a massive pogrom against Hindus has taken place, with women and girls raped, innocents killed and a new exodus of Bangladeshis to the already overcrowded and sensitive Northeast. But what does the government do? Nothing, except sending Brajesh Mishra to Dhaka. It would be enough for Delhi to close the tap of the Ganges water for three days to bring Bangladesh to its knees and thus protect the innocent Hindus of Bangladesh. But no, India is eternally obsessed with appearing goody-goody and has learnt no lesson from its perpetual humiliation at the hands of Muslims and Chinese.

Does not the BJP understand that it was voted to power on the promises of radical changes in the country and a government that would respect the aspirations of the 850 million Hindus, who feel they have been cheated, despised, neglected, hounded, ridiculed by 45 years of Nehruvianism?

But the BJP has been too busy looking "secular" and making useless moves such as the bus trip to Lahore, or the Agra summit, both of which failed because of Pakistani intransigence, to do anything. What about the changes in the Constitution, the privatisation of Indian Airlines and Air-India, the cutting down of the arrogant and useless VIP security or the whittling of the bureaucracy? Nothing! Do they not realise that they are going to be hounded out of power at the next election and that India will be back to square one? That today may be their last chance to make good their pledges?

Do they not realise that no country in the world has any respect for India? That Japan sends an ex-prime minister, whom Vajpayee should never have received himself, to ask India to "exercise utmost restraint". Or that France, towards which India has made so many overtures in the last few years, is only sending its external affairs minister now (he will, of course, also visit Pakistan).

The Mother of Pondicherry was right: every time you open a newspaper, if you look closely, you will notice that the world is walking on its head and that if it keeps doing so a little longer, it will totally lose its balance and lead us to pralaya.


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