An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 05 June 2002

In this scathing piece Mohan Guruswamy laments the lack of clear vision,

decisive leadership and absence of ‘will to win’, among our past and present leaders.

The Pandit Slumbers and Sardar Dithers!

By Mohan Guruswamy

Even escape to the cool heights of Himachal did not seem to spare Pandit Vajpayee from the ill effects of the summer furies. He lamented in Manali that he passed up a chance to strike at Pakistan immediately after December 13. Vajpayee has been Prime Minister for a third of the period since Pakistan began its latest Kashmir war in 1991. He could have struck at them so many times, if the provocation was “cross-border terrorism”. Even when Pakistan breached the LOC and occupied the Kargil Heights in 1999, our armed forces were expressly ordered not to cross that line. It did not matter to him then that because of that many more soldiers had to die? That line is held so sacred that when an IAF aircraft piloted by the AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command strayed for a few minutes, that officer was relegated to a non-descript little job at Air Headquarters. The Pakistanis never considered that line sacred and have been violating it with impunity since the days of Narasimha Rao. Was the attack on Kaluchak the first time that women and children have been killed? His term as Prime Minister has been the bloodiest in terms of innocents killed. So all this bombastic talk is just talk meant for God alone knows whom and why?

In any case, given his recent history of retrograde amnesia, he will soon retract what he said. Already his Foreign Minister, that master of waffle, has said that the translation from Hindi has given an extra but unintended edge to what his Prime Minister said. It’s just like what happened in Goa. Like what happened in Ahmedabad. In 1998 he called for a debate on conversions and after the Staines family was burnt alive in Orissa, he began extolling the innate secularism of Hindu. This is not something new either to be passed away as due to age related plaque formation. In 1942 he told the police who came for him that it was another Vajpayee who took part in the Quit India agitation in Gwalior and fingered him in the process. During the Emergency he wrote to Ms. Indira Gandhi that he wanted out, as he was no longer the same Vajpayee who had hurled fire and brimstone at her. Now that he is Prime Minister due to Sardar Advani’s poor judgment and good grace this problem is now the nations’ cross to bear. He calls back every officer and jawan from leave and puts them on battle stations and retreats to the hills for a vacation. We never know which Vajpayee is speaking and what to make out of him?

Vajpayee has also known since 1998 at-least that what has been waged upon us was an extension of the Jihad espoused by the internationalised Islamic fundamentalists, who though originally fostered by Pakistan are also increasingly beyond its control. Just as Vajpayee has been unable to rein in the BJP’s lunatic fringe in Gujarat and elsewhere, consecutive governments in Pakistan have lost the once absolute control of the terror they spawned. Now consider the BJP’s situation in Gujarat. If it were to act decisively against all those known to be responsible for the post-Godhra terror, then it will have to act against the core constituency and the irrational impulses that have propelled its drive to power.

This is the sentiment that believes that the Muslims in India are but an extension of Pakistan and the exhibition of animosity towards them is an expression of patriotism. So Vajpayee dare not say anything that even remotely resembles and condemnation of what his party men have wreaked on helpless people in Gujarat. That would mean denouncing this core Hindutva constituency that wants the establishment of a Hindu Pakistan. But if you want a Hindu Pakistan than you cannot force an unwilling Muslim Kashmir to be in it. In that case they would rather be in a Muslim Pakistan.

To win in Kashmir the Vajpayee regime has to first to establish its “secular” credentials. To do so it must act in Gujarat where it is now very clearly evidenced that the Chief Minister actively orchestrated the bloody attacks on Muslim localities. The NHRC report very clearly indicts the Gujarat government’s for its implicit connivance. No civilized nation can afford to have a provincial government with such obviously bloodstained hands remain in office however big its mandate and long the leftover tenure of its term in office. Popular mandate present and even future just cannot legitimize such people. Proof of Hinduism’s innate secularism lies in the prosecution and punishment of those who organized the pogrom. Are Pandit Vajpayee and Sardar Advani ready to do this? 

On the other side the Punjabi Muslim elite in Pakistan has internalized its inability to seize Jammu and Kashmir from India as Islam’s defeat after an unbroken run of battlefield and political victories over the Hindus spanning several centuries. So the defeat of India, not just militarily but also the ideal of a modernizing, secular, multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-denominational nation, becomes central to their being and for the rotten system they have imposed upon their country to perpetuate their control. The Mohajir, Parvez Musharaff, dare not turn his back on this. No Pakistani ruler, civil or military, elected or imposed has dared to rethink this self-serving obsession with India. You can only defeat this mindset by showing them time and again, that we are a better and superior nation. We can only make them desist by showing them each time that we will never put up with the kind of things they have gotten used to getting away with.

This is as good a time as any for some introspection. We must wonder what sort of a nation we have become? That terrorists freely find sanctuary and are able to strike is testimony to the ineffectiveness of our administrative apparatus. Our police is now largely criminalized. Not just the rank and file but all the way to the top. Our border patrolling is as ineffective as internal crime control. There is an air of lawlessness that allows for events like what happened in Gujarat quite routine. This Home Minister, this newly minted re-issue of Sardar Patel, was expected to set things right. Instead he has proved to be one of the most useless Home Ministers India has had the misfortune to have. Things have come to such a sorry pass that less than eight percent of murderers are caught and convicted. The system he presides over has become so brazen that even the most high profile murders in the nations capital remain unpunished. Much was expected from Advani; instead the gap between his ill-considered rhetoric and administrative inability has kept widening each passing day. Just being a good man when you are good for nothing is not good enough!

The battle against terrorism and militancy can only be won by superior organization and professional commitment. Why did it take a Kaluchak to bring all para-military forces in Jammu and Kashmir under the Indian Army’s command? From the day he took over as Home Minister, Sardar Advani was told about the bureaucratic turf war between the Army and the para-military that made them collectively ineffective. He knew from day one that the J&K government was ineffective and corrupt. The head of government and his top bureaucrat spent more time gallivanting and whooping it up in the capitals watering holes, than in providing that state with a semblance of good and effective government. Because of this thousands of crores have flowed into the hands of politicians, bureaucrats and their henchmen instead of improving conditions in a war torn state. Since Advani cannot claim ignorance it is only logical to infer that he is ineffective.

If it were that the only reason for the problems in J&K was the proxy war, nothing stopped us from taking the war to where it was being waged –– into Pakistan occupied Kashmir. To PV Narasimha Rao inaction in the face of the most brazen provocation was an act of policy. The singular devotion to the preservation ones perch on top of the brahminical order kept the Hindu social hierarchy intact even after the country was first ravaged and then colonized by foreigners for a thousand years since the Arab Mohammed bin Kasim conquered Sind. Against this policy of sitting still the BJP promised that it would be pro-active. How pro-active it has been is there for all to see?

With its intellectual and moral bankruptcy fully exposed, this government has resorted to this elaborate charade of staging a mobilization only to legitimize the West’s role in imposing a solution. Soon after he arrived in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the 16 nation Asia Pacific region security conference, Vajpayee welcomed and asked for foreign intervention to force Pakistan to stop exporting terrorism to India. Does he think they will impose our desire on Pakistan, without a reciprocal imposition on India? We will no doubt hear a renewed clamor to respect the “aspirations” of the Kashmiri people. To do so will be to open the door to similar demands of all the peoples who together make up the modern Indian nation.

That the situation was allowed to degenerate into what it is today, a ten-year irregular war by Pakistan on us is direct result of poor leadership. VP Singh began it all by meekly handing over criminals in exchange for his Home Ministers daughter. Narasimha Rao just sat through his term stoically doing nothing. Vajpayee is only more of Narasimha Rao but with some theatrical flourish thrown in. Would Mrs. Indira Gandhi have allowed Pakistan to get away with such brazen aggression? Would Rajiv Gandhi have allowed it? Would Chandra Shekhar and even Deve Gowda have allowed it if they had longer tenures? Even a professional appeaser and a political lightweight like IK Gujral was capable of showing a stick every now and then. Above all none of these would have given Washington the right to meddle in our affairs as our sleepwalking Prime Minister and hand wringing Home Minister have done. That then is our real tragedy. 

The Pandit slumbers and the Sardar dithers!

Back to Top

Disclaimer   Copyright