THE STORM SWEEPING SOUTH ASIA
“Afghanistan has been known over the years as the graveyard of empires” stated General David H. Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, in an attempt to explain away continuous and serious military setbacks to US-UK led NATO colonial forces , emphasizing “we cannot take that history lightly”. What is overlooked, is that South Asia as a whole has been the graveyard of Empires, which collaborators of a decaying financial empire, would do well to remember, even as they forge close political, military and Intelligence alliances ,against their own people
The anti-imperialist revolt in the undivided Indian sub-continent, one of the largest mass movements in world history, was undoubtedly led by Mahatma Gandhi, however this freedom struggle, had several other streams and inspirations, including the Naval uprising with centres at Mumbai and Karachi and the formation of the “Azad Hind Fauj”, the Indian National Army by Subhash Chandra Bose. Even before the war of Indian Independence of 1857, memories of which still reverberate in regions politically important to South Asia, ( Even as Iraq was being destroyed ,memories of the millions killed in India , hung from village to village on trees in the plains of north India by British troops were being recalled ) the Indian subcontinent was consumed by one passion alone , freedom from British Imperial rule which had ravaged the economy and society of the then Indian subcontinent , with several early revolutionaries fleeing from India to Afghanistan and beyond.
It would be useful to remember , that the contribution of the united Indian Subcontinent to world GDP was in the region of 22 % , while China ‘s was approximately 24% , when the British East India Company arrived in India , with both countries completely above trade rivalries, pursuing their own commercial , political and cultural interests ,without mutual suspicions of the kind seen in recent decades on both sides, to the delight of Washington and London , now financial supplicants of Beijing.
Significantly the new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by passed in her first diplomatic mission, both India and Pakistan ,conveying the message in full view of the diplomatic chanceries of the world , that proxies do not deserve such overt courtesies. The corporate and financial oligarchies of both countries are nevertheless undeterred in their devotion to the US administration and to London City, reflected in the obsequious homage paid in 2008 by the Indian Prime Minister of the UPA government to the former President of the United States, with the words – “ India loves you ” , even as millions were being killed and displaced from their homes by the Bush administration. Of an identical nature is the disclosure by Senator Diane Feinstein , that citizens of Pakistan, including in the tribal regions such as Waziristan and the North West Frontier Province, were bombed by US military forces not only from Afghanistan but from bases in Pakistan itself , with a complicit government.
Military rule in Pakistan has been replaced by an even more pliable government ,with both major parties and their alliances looking to Washington, with the military waiting in the wings , determining intra party disputes along with the US Secretary of State , with leaders of the two main parties in alliance, representing rival corrupt commercial and business interests, both indicted by the judiciary. All sections of the ruling elite in Pakistan are closely allied to the triumvirate of Washington, London and Saudi Arabia, with a Prime Minister in the earlier political dispensation of General Musharraf an IMF / World Bank representative, like in India.
It is therefore not surprising that the region is threatened with balkanization, with US-UK led NATO forces positioned in Pakistan. It is now conveniently forgotten , that Chief Justice Iftikhar Chowdhary was dismissed following a judgment against privatization and orders in habeaus corpus petitions, relating to scores of people missing in Pakistan, the direct consequence of decades of authoritarian comprador rule, misuse of religion and training of armed militias for intervention against neighbouring countries under the direct influence of Washington and London and its Intelligence Agencies closely interacting with the ISI ; with the Pakistani military and bureaucracy alternatively safeguarding the interests of the local feudal , trading and commercial oligarchy , whenever disillusionment set in with one set of rulers . The ‘Long March’ has now been suitably shortened to contain expectations, even as much harassed citizens explode against foreign troops in the region, the economic crisis and all kinds of authoritarianism.
The daily carnage by drones and manned aircraft into Afghanistan and Pakistan ,along with the manner in which the “ War On Terror” has been waged in the entire region , with the civilian population of South Asia the main target, conclusively establishes that the governments of South Asia, including Sri Lanka, are not above manufacturing enemies and attacking their own people , using the religious, sectarian, ethnic or minority card, despite the financial collapse of their international backers and the serious erosion of corporate balance sheets, even as profits plummet and bailouts are being sought , with the exception of the governments of Nepal and Bangladesh , recently elected , therefore still on probation. In Bangladesh despite the election and massive mandate ,suspicious and serious incidents have taken place namely the killings of army officers by rogue elements of the Bangladesh Rifles, hired for the purpose by businessmen and fascist Islamist organizations with external linkages , to destabilize the government once again, by provoking a military reaction .
It is no secret that governments in South Asia have permitted Intelligence Agencies such as the CIA, MI6, MOSSAD, the FBI and others, free run of their countries and the use/hire of their Intelligence agencies for external and internal surveillance, with consequent impact on the loyalty of these agencies to their own societies. Recently the Times of India ( far from hostile to British and US interests ) reported, that government agencies in the United States desired to recruit Indian citizens, with proficiency in several Indian languages, including those not listed in the Schedule to the Constitution as official languages. This recalls in a different way the search for Arabic interpreters to restructure a “ New Middle East”.
It is in this very war torn region of South Asia , the North West Frontier Region and in its vicinity , presently the eye of the storm sweeping South Asia , that Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan( Badshah Khan) , known in India as the ‘ Frontier Gandhi’, opposed the ‘ Farangi’ , that is the rule of the ‘ Foreigner’ ,leading one of the most committed flanks of Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom struggle based on non–violent civil disobedience, on which even troops of the British Indian Army hesitated to fire. Khan Wali Khan, son of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan after studying documents in the British archives has written :
“I had never really believed in the allegations of my elders when they accused the British of using the most underhand tactics to promote their policies …..………. But never could I imagine that their allegations were a pale reflection of the truth; the truth was much uglier…………………they did not mince words in describing all the underhand tactics they assigned to their native lackeys ……..The Indian public would be aghast if they realized that these pious leaders and ‘patriots’ were trafficking in the integrity of their own country. And were the country’s enemy number one, besides being traitors and agents of the British Government.”*1
The same could be said to-day of some of the leaders of political parties and key officials in various institutions and agencies in South Asia, including in India and Pakistan .
The Afghan Church at Mumbai and India Gate at New Delhi, commemorate the defeat of the British Indian Army in three Anglo-Afghan wars waged in the 19th and 20th Century.
Few British soldiers survived to narrate the ignominy of overwhelming rout. The repeated abortive Afghan expeditions of the British, led to Shah Amanullah , then ruler of Afghanistan, being the first government to recognize the Soviet Government after the 1917 revolution, dispatching an emissary to negotiate a friendship treaty , declaring support for the Soviet demand for the publication of all secret treaties by European and American governments including the Tsarist, for the carving out of regions for squeezing surpluses by military means. A colonial strategy, being pursued even to–day in South Asia.
The corporate and political classes in major political parties in India , as in some other countries of South Asia, with close linkages to the imploding financial citadels in the United States and London are willing partners to the plans for occupation and further balkanization of the region, having made investments by much publicized takeovers in the UK and investments in the US, oblivious and indifferent to the fact that India’s turn will come later, after her neighbourhood is systematically destroyed, if it has not already happened, with engineered bomb blasts and pogroms targeting innocent citizens, intended to create a serious divide, along with encounter deaths and clandestine arrests of thousands of innocent citizens, leading to torture and induced confessions and now even elimination of police and other officials exposing covert criminal conspiracies against the country .
A state of siege has been imposed on the people of India , in a grim political period, with complete reversal of the constitutional mandate prohibiting free run for monopoly houses Indian or foreign, constitutionally as incompatible with democracy as absolute monarchies. Thousands of acres of prime agricultural land have been taken over for Special Economic Zones by government land acquisitions for companies , where general statutory laws are exempt from operation ; less for manufacture and more for profiteering, in what is the “ New Zamindari” of companies Indian and foreign , similar to the political and economic operations of the East India Company, with unrestricted operations permitted in many states of the Indian Union , where the rule of law is fragile and often dispensed with .
The so called ‘Vision ‘plan for the Chhattisgarh state in India , with a large tribal population of indigenous people, has been drawn up by Price Waterhouse Cooper, the USA Transnational giant , under scrutiny even in the USA, for creative auditing. In Eastern and Central India thousands of tribals , agricultural labour and poor farmers are under arrest, for alleged extremist political activity and for opposing the ‘Salwa Judum’, an armed vigilante organization unleashed by the State, for and on behalf of vested economic interests , against the tribal and rural population, opposing the depredations of several Indian and foreign Companies, seizing land , water and resources of the tribal and rural people, who are without alternative livelihood .The financial unraveling of the Satyam Company in Hyderabad , revealed that thousands of acres of agricultural land , among other real estate were acquired by the former CEO and his family, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, for financial and personal aggrandizement , at the cost of the financial viability of the Company whose accounts were audited by the now famous Price Waterhouse Cooper .
This is the backdrop to the appointment of Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to the region ,the diplomatic front for the break up of former Yugoslavia by US led NATO forces , where gangs of every ethnic group were hired to attack every other group(not only in Bosnia as selectively propagated ), with several regional leaders of Yugoslavia hired as mercenaries , to successfully fragment and devour the economic and political space of the former Republic of Yugoslavia . The ominous nature of the Holbrooke mission has not yet had a sobering effect on the oligarchies of South Asia, blind and deaf to the consequence of their own machinations against their countries , with short term financial obsessions for personal aggrandizement .
There is a historical continuity in the present march of events in the region , dating back to the success of the US-UK led conspiracy, in collusion with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, in overthrowing the Saur Revolution and the Peoples Democratic Party government in Afghanistan( PDP) , for which purpose among others, the ‘Mujahideen’ or ‘holy warriors’ were created, for unholy acts by the Intelligence Agencies intermeddling in the region .
It is with a view to controlling the political trajectory of the entire region of Central Asia , South Asia and West Asia , to draw in Soviet military presence into Afghanistan, with which the former USSR had close historical and political relations , that the CIA along with a network of intelligence agencies , in close collaboration with the ISI of Pakistan, created the ‘Mujahideen’ factions and the phantom organization, the al Qaeda, with the late Saudi billionaire Osama Bin Laden as its formal head , the protégé of the world ‘s most powerful Intelligence Agencies. Several offshoots of the al Qaeda, using Islamist names and phrases have been imaginatively created, from country to country, as agent provocateurs, to suit local political requirements, or for immediate use in press conferences, to explain away bomb blasts the result of covert conspiracies against the people.
Parallel to these developments and almost simultaneously , different organisations and covert fascist groups of the majority communities were established in South Asia, with linkages to earlier fascist organizations representing ‘Hindutva´, created during British colonial rule , to divide and rule and finally fracture the Indian subcontinent , along with its minority counterparts the Muslim League , the Jamiat –e- Islami and the Tabligi Jamat among others .The fact that ‘Hindutva’ ideologues were as much responsible for the partition of the Indian sub-continent ,the British objectives for continued manipulation of the region, as organizations on both sides propagated the two nation theory , is never referred to in India.
The use of religion to create a political divide is not new. The British historically were the first government to establish their own Church , the Church of England , for political use against the Papacy which supported England’s rivals ,with religious inquisitions always a political strategy of the monarchs and governments of Europe , even against their own people .It is therefore not surprising that religion and ethnicity have been important elements in the imperial tactics of companies , boiling the political cauldron in South Asia .
The same networking Intelligence agencies who trained the “ Mujahideen” for attacks into Afghanistan, during General Zia-ul –Haq’s dictatorship , trained similar organizations for attacks into the Kashmir valley, as part of the destabilization operation against the government of India, then led by Indira Gandhi . The civilian population in Kashmir were the main target, caught between the cross fire, to strengthen separatist forces. Subsequently when US-UK influence over Indian Intelligence Agencies increased, some Indian officials from more than one instrumentality of the state ,were used to widen the rift in the valley , by provocative acts.
The contemporary historical record conclusively establishes that the government of almost every country with common boundaries with Afghanistan, with the exception of India, with Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister and the former USSR, attempted to overthrow the government formed in Afghanistan in 1978, which had as its objective the transformation of a feudal society by decrees outlawing usury , which though prohibited by Islam was considered a birth right by feudal landlords and money-lenders , the sale of women through forced marriages and the implementation of land reforms, as thousands of acres of land were concentrated in feudal family ownerships. Though the right of religious worship was ensured, these decrees were termed as “ un-Islamic”, relayed to the world from Peshawar by General Zia –ul – Haq’s government , closely allied to the US , UK and Saudi Arabia. Earlier as Major General, Zia –ul-Haq had shot at Palestinians leading an uprising, while leading a Pakistani military contingent in Jordan.
These developments in Afghanistan after the Saur revolution saw unlikely alliances. The Organization of Islamic Countries supported the ‘Mujahideen’ in view of Soviet military presence provided on the request of the PDP government, even as the country was faced with three hostile frontiers. Trained fighters from Afghanistan ‘s Wakhan border with China, then supporting US strategic objectives in the region , launched attacks on a PDP government, considered a communist government allied to the former USSR. Ironically some of the same insurgents were later used , to create discontent against the Central government in China, among China’s minorities in the North West .Similarly ,during this very period the government of Iran was ideologically hostile to the PDP .
There are parallels in the fate of many leaders of South Asia , including the members of the PDP government , following the decision of the US President to reverse the dollar linkage to the gold standard and the consequent structural adjustments imposed by the IMF on developing countries, which gave an undue financial advantage to the G7 , even as the growth rates of countries in North America and Europe declined.
After the final declaration adopted by 85 countries at the Colombo Non-aligned meeting on August 20 1976 for “ A Fair and Just Economic Development” , accepted later as a UN declaration , with the initiative taken by Mrs. Bandaranaike and Mrs. Indira Gandhi, assisted by Frederick Wills , Foreign Minister of Guyana, in the aftermath of an oil price shock imposed on the developing countries, with the objective of recycling petrodollars to the US economy in distress and to open up the offshore oil fields of the UK, till then not profitable for exploitation ,with oil prices low ;
“ the key strategists of the bold Colombo non-aligned declaration were each forced out of office…. …… case by case , to use Henry Kissinger ‘s phrase”,* 2
even as conditions were created for their removal , through political forces in their own countries. A worse fate awaited those who could not be permanently defeated in elections.
Prime Minister Bhutto of Pakistan was deposed, jailed and executed by General Zia-ul-Haq who manipulated a judicial decree, after Henry Kissinger threatened to make an example out of him on the nuclear among other issues. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated under different circumstances, after militants on BBC called for her elimination. Rajiv Gandhi , one of the few leaders in the world to oppose the first Gulf War, the beginning of the occupation of the region , was killed with the LTTE suicide squad the instrument of attack, when he was no longer Prime Minister and the Indian Army had already withdrawn from Sri Lanka .A similar fate awaited Sheikh Mujibur Rehman in Bangladesh, with party leaders killed inside the prison , even while arbitrarily jailed. Chandrika Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka sought asylum after her husband was assassinated for forming a political party for unity between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. A former agent of Mossad has in a book published after he left Israel, given an account of an embarrassing moment when cadres of the LTTE and the Sinhalese army almost met, while both groups were training in Israel. It is now reported, even as the civilian Tamil population is at the receiving end from both sides, the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE, that a so called humanitarian US military mission is being proposed, to establish a bridgehead. What lies behind US-UK led NATO humanitarian missions are well known.
Against this backdrop , the fate of President Najibullah of the PDP government in Afghanistan was inevitable , after President Gorbachev and President Reagan reached an agreement, to cut off the only logistic supply route available to the PDP government from the North, in a situation when Afghanistan already faced a blockade on all its other frontiers, leading to the voluntary resignation of President Najibullah in 1992 , under a UN plan. The withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989 did not adversely affect this government nor did it face any military defeat. President Najibullah was hung from a lamp post while under UN protection , by covert elements, even as the Taliban entered Kabul .
Ironically Mr. Richard Holbrooke , the US envoy to the region, the representative of the very government responsible for creating a fascist religious Frankenstein, from one country to another, in collaboration with powerful oligarchies in these countries, now states that the US, Pakistan and India have a common enemy in ‘Terrorism’ and the ‘ Taliban’ .
The real issue to-day in the whole of South Asia is the end of foreign interference and withdrawal of occupation troops, including covert intelligence operations from the region. The withdrawal of the occupation is being supported by a cross section of the Afghan and the people of Pakistan, including those sections being loosely termed as insurgents or the Taliban by the US led NATO forces. The earlier Taliban militia, was once the sole creature of the government of Pakistan and the ISI supported by the CIA , MI6 and Saudi Arabian Intelligence agencies, replacing the fractious ‘Mujahideen’ groups, the creature of the same Intelligence Agencies, who having no common program other than take over of power in Afghanistan from the PDP government, consequently turned their guns on one another, seeking different patrons in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Iran, besides the CIA, MI6 and ISI, to strengthen their positions as war lords and in some cases as drug lords.
When Afghanistan was reduced to absolute political anarchy, which made negotiations by UNOCAL, a US based consortium of Oil Companies for an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan impossible, with the truck lobby of Pakistan restive, as their trade routes to Central Asia were being obstructed by war lords; the ‘Mujahideen’ were replaced in their own turn by the erstwhile Taliban militia trained by Pakistan special forces, supervised by the ISI in close co-operation with US-UK intelligence agencies, even as the late Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister of Pakistan .
The Taliban were recruited from the Pashtun people who constitute approximately 50 % of the people of Afghanistan and spill over into Pakistan. It was the failure of the Taliban government to wrap up negotiations on oil pipelines with the UNOCAL consortium and their policies on a war footing to eradicate the cultivation of poppy for heroin manufacture , for the drug trade, required to be laundered by Intelligence Agencies into Western Banks and Financial Institutions , facing a desperate financial situation ; their failure to control the Northern regions and the serious financial crisis of the US ,UK and European Banks ,requiring strategic repositioning to overlook oil producing regions and the emerging economies and resources of Russia , China and India ( despite the corporate and financial alliance forged with dominant Indian Corporate CEOs ) seeing the possibility of a shift of the balance of economic forces hitherto dominated by the West to Asia ,that finally led to the invasion of Afghanistan and the dispersal of the Taliban in their own turn , by an even more pliable government formed in Afghanistan after the US-UK led invasion , though even as per official US reports there was no connection between 9/11 and any citizen of Afghanistan .
The former Taliban is to-day a useful bogey, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The strategy is to project one extremist Islamist organization after another as a threat , to enable the US-UK led economic and political control of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India , through political proxies to continue ;even as fraudulent groups as agent provocateurs , are established from time to time , with different names , with covert networking of friendly Intelligence agencies of the region ,creating fictitious organizations such the Indian Mujahideen or a provocateur organization such as SIMI and collaborating in operations against the people .
In September 2001 it was reported by sources from Indian Intelligence, that Osama bin Laden was on dialysis for kidney failure and seriously ill . This was confirmed from French sources, that in the same period Osama was in Dubai for medical treatment. Some months later it was known that Osama bin Laden was no more. That political personalities at the highest level and the corporate media ,can put out from time to time videos and statements on this late Saudi Arabian billionaire, with extensive properties and investments in London and the USA in his lifetime ,conclusively establishes that we are in an era of fascist propaganda no better than in the period of Hitler’s Third Reich, who believed that the Anglo-American propaganda system was superior to his own .
The recent hysteria over Swat , has to be seen as an excuse to continue the occupation and control of the region and as a strategy for political diversion , as no government, certainly not the USA , UK , NATO alliance or India have opposed Sharia law as implemented in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, among other countries . Ironically in India, in region after region fascist parties and vigilante squads have been operating on the same lines as the erstwhile Taliban , with impunity , using ‘Hindutva ‘ as a cloak , liberally funded by financiers , given free run of the political space , even in Metropolitan centres such as Mumbai , Bangalore , Ahmedabad and in the hinterland of these cities and in the region of Gujarat , Maharashtra , Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka among other regions; attacking religious and linguistic minorities, economically weaker sections of society and women; prohibiting intercommunity marriages , vandalizing churches and educational institutions of the Christians , desecrating public and private property , despite the constitutional mandate of freedom of religious worship , with hardly any arrests and few convictions , with most of the fascist leaders given high profile security at the cost of the national exchequer , whereas the citizens of every religious group are left without protection from criminal elements.
In certain daily newspapers, attacks on minorities in unprintable language, which would not be tolerated by any genuinely democratic society are almost a daily feature, with no reaction whatsoever from law enforcement agencies in India . Conclusive evidence of the break down of the rule of law and what is now being referred to in one section of the media as ‘Talibanisation’ of Indian political space, which is the other side of the mirror of the Indian Subcontinent ,aggravated in the period of neo-liberal reform post 1991 ,when pogroms and riots and killings in encounters of minority sections have taken place with regularity .
Even as the Pakistan oligarchy, the earliest close collaborator of imperialism in South Asia, co-operated in the destruction of a whole country in Afghanistan, they have successfully destroyed their own, not by any policies of the government of India, which is to-day closely allied with the same forces which destroyed Afghanistan, is destroying Pakistan and in turn has begun the steady destruction of the fabric of the Indian State and society, if not halted.
As of to-day the corporate and financial groups in South Asia, representatives of the existing dominant economic system and the fanatical fascist movements they have spawned , have no answers to the serious economic, political and social crisis in South Asia .The organized bombings of civilians , the bomb blasts in Afghanistan , Pakistan ,India , Sri Lanka and Bangladesh , the sectarian and religious violence, are evidence not of strength , but of panic and fear, by those who have collaborated against the people of their own country .
What has emboldened the imperial policy for South Asia, implemented through the use of proxy leaders in political formations in South Asia , which has now reached a critical stage , with the appointment of Richard Holbrooke, is not only the availability of proxies in governments, political parties , movements and NGOs in South Asia and the dual citizenship holders in companies and financial institutions based in London and the United States , who have benefited from the Imperial connection, as against the immediate and long term economic and political interests of South Asian society as a whole; a far more serious aspect of this collaboration is the penetration of the instruments of state power in Afghanistan , Pakistan , Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and in India, in the intelligence and security Agencies , the bureaucracy , the police , the para military and military formations , on which some light was cast by the investigations of Mr. Hemant Karkare head of the Anti-Terrorist Squad in Mumbai, investigating bomb blasts , for which he paid with his life , along with two colleagues and 13 policemen , with scores of innocent people killed.
The elections in the region reflect all the trappings and procedure of democracy, but not its substance, as most policy decisions on vital issues are backdoor decisions, adopted thereafter as a matter of form by pliant parliaments , with acquiescence from most, if not all political formations, barring on the issue of financial reforms opposed by the Parliamentary Left Front , while supporting the UPA alliance in India, prior to withdrawal of support just before the last stage of the Indo-US nuclear deal , an offshoot of the earlier signed Indo –US Defense Co-operation Agreement of 2005, which significantly was not opposed even by the Left Front ,despite provisions for joint military operations in the region ,in violation of the Non-Aligned policy which had earned India esteem in the region and beyond. It is now reported in the newspapers , that the shortage of fuel for civilian nuclear reactors , declared to be the sole motivating factor for the urgency of the Indo-US nuclear accord , appears to have been deliberately deceptive , as revealed in a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India , a constitutional authority.* 3 The political parties remain strangely silent on the issue .
The shock of the Mumbai attack has been related to the unexplained attacks on innocent citizens and to the surfacing of little known facts revealed before the killings, relating to an investigation about organizations linked politically to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, receiving funds through covert sources , to destabilize the entire country by bomb blasts through mercenaries , and thereafter to blame every blast on to the minorities, to give the blasts a religious complexion, to create a serious political divide . It is reported that those at the higher levels of the conspiracy received substantial financial largesse.
The nature of the threats, the then head of the Anti-Terrorist Squad Mr. Hemant Karkare received, as Jt. Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, and the pressure he was subjected to, even by front rank leaders of some political parties, was unprecedented in India‘s post independence history, considering the importance of the investigation, and bore a distinct resemblance to the attempts to defame Mahatma Gandhi prior to his political assassination. In the context of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, Winston Churchill referring to the Mahatma as the “ Naked Fakir”( Gandhi out of conviction wore only what the poorest of the poor could afford in India) was to inquire from General Smuts, even as India seethed with political revolt, as to why Mahatma Gandhi had not been finished off in South Africa. The answer of General Smuts was: “How could I do this to a man who made slippers for me in jail with his own hands, when I imprisoned him”.
The events in Mumbai have unexpectedly raised a storm of protest against the political class in India and their financiers, seen as failing to perform the most basic functions of a political system, namely the protection of the lives of its citizens and the victimization of those officials performing their duties, without fear or favour . The toll of over 180 killed in the Mumbai attack were overwhelmingly citizens of India of every religious faith, though it was announced within the first 24 hours by all media channels that ten terrorists had landed by sea at Mumbai ,on the evening of the 26th November 2008, on a fishing boat ,the ‘Kuber’ registered in Gujarat at Porbander, which was allegedly forcibly seized and were carrying arms and provisions among other items of Pakistani manufacture , with the intention of taking Israeli and United States citizens hostages in the two hotels Taj and Oberoi –Trident and at Chabad House ( a Jewish centre for visitors to Mumbai from Israel ) and at the Madame Cama Women and Children’s Public Hospital and Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus also known as V.T., the alleged targets. With all sites situated in different directions except the latter two, namely Madame Cama hospital and V.T. station being in close proximity, where the head of the Anti-terrorist squad was gunned down along with two officers and several policemen.
The subsequent disclosure, that the final toll included scores of poor daily wage earners including approximately 25 members of the Muslim minority at Chhatrapati Shivaji Station (V.T. Station), has added to the mystery of the entire incident, as against the statements being made on media channels and by the spokesmen/spokeswomen of the governments of Pakistan and India which are often conflicting and contradictory, yet some from both sides are remarkably synchronized. With the government of Pakistan initially resisting acknowledging guilt and thereafter caving in under US pressure, as per the interviews of Indian Defense Analysts and former Indian Foreign Service officials and Ministers of the Government of India. Incidentally Nawaz Sharif under whose Prime Ministership the Kargil war was fought was one of the first to confirm that the killer squad came from Pakistan.
The resemblance of 26/11 to 9/11 is uncanny .Whereas the dire state of the finances of Pakistan are known , the precarious financial state of some leading Indian corporations and business houses gradually emerged after 26/11, with auto companies among others working only for a few days a week due to piling up inventories, Airlines facing losses and the disclosures relating to software company Satyam, with its balance sheets and financial statements rigged. That several leading Companies ,including Indian Transnational Companies or Indian headed Transnational Companies based in London, face financial difficulties with billions lost and seek a bailout both in the UK and from the government in India , is no longer a secret . A situation similar to the disclosures on Enron and other US Companies immediately after 9/11.Though India’s Bank’s and Public financial institutions remain sound , due to the nationalization of Banks by Indira Gandhi called a “ communist” and generally abused along with her father, India’ first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who laid the foundations of India’s scientific , technology and industrial institutions and India’s foreign policy of Non-Alignment ,by media touts of financiers and companies, who fund more than one party . The Congress party is now transformed like Tony Blair’s “New Labour” and several other parties also have corporate sponsors.
What is being adopted as the pattern for South Asia is a strategy of tension and violence. Those who formulated these covert strategies have however miscalculated. This strategy may have worked, when the patrons and the models advanced, were representatives of the leading financial and political centres of the world. Even Richard Holbrooke , no longer projects the financial and military power which led to the vivisection of Yugoslavia and the take over of its State enterprises , Banks and political space. Alliance with declining powers or even in close relationship with Israel, in severe financial distress ,with so many Investment Banks with Zionist connections having caved in , with Israel internationally condemned for a criminilised war on Gaza, will lead to increasing isolation , if not pariah status for ruling elites in South Asia .
In India, cost cutting has led to closure of factories, with decline in industrial growth rates and the export oriented sector though much smaller than China, seriously affected by the economic downturn. Lakhs of workers are unemployed, with jobs at the high end and low end disappearing, presently estimated to be in the region of 10 lakhs (one million) unemployed, not including the huge back log . The Export Council of India and FICCI have projected job losses from the export sector alone to be in the region of 10 million. The growth rate in India continues, as the possibilities for capitalist development are not exhausted, however the growth rate will be far lower in 2009-2010 than the announced expectation of 7 %, which was a wholly exaggerated projection, with a growth rate of around 5 % and even less, now being projected even officially, as a more realistic figure .
Even as we in South Asia and globally search for an alternative framework, with the financial implosion of the dominant economic system impacting most societies, it is worth recalling some of the political truths which Mahatma Gandhi, an objective witness to the historical process of the 20th Century propagated , even as he de-classed himself from his commercial class origins, as some of these truths are still relevant to human society at the cross roads.
Gandhi after keenly observing political societies in England , in Europe and the political system of South Africa , declined to advance the model of Western liberal democracy and its constitutional and political organization as a model for India; observing that this democracy was seriously flawed ,with unacceptable exploitation within these societies, apart from the brutal exploitation in the colonies, concluding that this system was little better than an incipient fascist society .
Gandhi went even further in pronouncing judgment on industrial capitalism, with its excessive over consumption on the one hand and rampant unemployment on the other. Though not opposed to industrialization per se as is commonly misinterpreted, Gandhi highlighted that increasing unemployment even as a fall out effect of advanced technology and industrialization was unacceptable for any civilized society, that peace within a society or between nations was not possible without social and economic justice, posing the political strategy of mobilization through mass movements and civil disobedience against exploiting interests , as a possible bulwark against general anarchy and violence .
The most important issue facing South Asia is not religion. Even philosophically, any discourse which divides or is sectarian is no religion at all. To what effect is religion or religiosity in a region once the “ the Jewel in the Crown” of the British Empire, for the squeezing of surpluses, which made the first industrial revolution possible, now the most affected region in the index of world hunger, where the largest population of malnourished children reside. The WHO official figures record that in India 42 % of children under five are malnourished and 220 million people suffer from severe hunger. Not referred to are those on the periphery. These are not statistics compiled by any extreme left wing organization.
For the Diaspora of South Asia, these are difficult times. In the final analysis, dignity and well being even for a Non –Resident South Asian cannot be built by destroying or disowning the country or region in which they were once rooted and to which at some stage they or their descendants may wish to return to. The time for escaping the task of building our own societies and leaving for greener pastures is over for many in South Asia, as everywhere societies are crumbling and will have to be reconstructed on different values, based on real, not on virtual economies.
It is time that South Asia, once a prosperous civilization, a region richly endowed with human and natural resources, moves forward. For centuries we traded with regions in our vicinity and beyond, with the Arab world, Central Asia, South East Asia, Africa, the Far East and Europe. Historically we neither despised these societies nor were we in awe of them, secure in our philosophy that other civilizations and economies complement our own, that the world is one whole, of which we are only one part.
1. Akhilesh Mittal, “The Darkest Area of British Rule” –COVERT Issue of 1 March -12 March 2009.
2. William Engdahl, “A Century of War – Anglo –American Oil Politics and the New World Order” – Pluto Press, 2004 edition.
3. Seema Mustafa, “Subterfuge Was Used To Sell A Nuclear Lie” – COVERT Issue of 1 March -12 March 2009.
( This article is a tribute to the late Hemant Karkare, Jt. Commissioner of Police, head of the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Mumbai Police force and those of his colleagues and policemen for their devotion to duty, for his integrity in the investigation into the covert fascist conspiracy of bomb blasts aimed at the very heart of his society ,which he investigated undeterred by threats to his life , who did his duty by his country till the very end, the 26th November 2008 and to those with similar courage ).