Following an explosion at the Shia holy shrine at Samara in Iraq, virulent anti-US demonstrations erupted spontaneously in many towns and villages of Jammu & Kashmir recently, surprising political observers. Initiated by Shias, soon Sunnis too joined with top political leaders across the political spectrum blaming Washington for its divide and rule policy in Iraq.
The policy of divide and rule is as old as the Roman and the Persian empires; the latter extended right up to Egypt and across Asia Minor (Turkey) into east Thracian coasts of Greece and Bulgaria and played Greek speaking states in Western Asia Minor against each other.
The British used the policy of communal Hindu-Muslim divide in Hindustan, partitioned it into India and a weak Pakistan, dependent on London and then Washington for its survival and a bulwark against possible Soviet expansion into West owned oil wells in the Middle East.
The communal divide in India strengthened Brahman led high caste establishment enmity for Islam, which the British engendered and nurtured through their policies and historians implying that most troubles of Hindus and loss of power to Brahman based order was because of Muslim invasions and conquest. The Muslim invaders at least made India their home while the British looted Hindustan.
Before the arrival of the British East India Company in the late 18th century, the sub-continent's share in world manufacturing was 24.5 percent in 1750 ( 32.8 percent for China). But by the time the British had finished with India, the sub-continent's share had fallen to 1.7 percent (in 1900) and that of the British increased from 1.9 percent (in 1750) to 22.9 percent (in 1880) ' Rise and fall of Big Powers by Professor Paul Kennedy. In these bald figures lie buried tens of millions of deaths in frequent famines, some triggered by British policies leading to the genetic debility of the Indian race. (No wonder we do badly in sports).
The Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh have this fixation against Brahmin led establishment in India. It was exploited in India by Brahmin dominated new ruling elite after 1947 which used the Congress party to become the new protectors of Muslims in India (for votes), until various Other Backwards Caste Dals (groups) emerged in 1960s and then the Samajwadi party and Bahujan Samaj party of the Dalits in the north. Brahman led Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to gain power then exploited the communal divide though communal chariot rides and demolished the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. South and West had established their anti- Brahmin parties even before the partition.
India's Shia Muslims, concentrated around Lucknow, Hyderabad and other places in South Central India, perhaps form the second largest community in the world after Iran. They have kept away from various Sunni aligned terrorist and militant organisations inspired and organized from across in Pakistan and Al Qaeda, begotten by Saudi Arabia 's son Osama ben Laden, encouraged, trained and financed by US led West and Sunni states, who created the nurseries of terrorism against USSR in 1980s.
In spite of some inconvenient statements by Teheran, Shia Iran is India's natural ally against Sunni Pakistan. This point should be noted carefully. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia play their Shia-Sunni games in Pakistan, but Saudi Arabia's pernicious role in India is more harmful. Russia would remain India's strategic ally in foreseeable future. China would always be dubious partner till it faces one of its eruptions and the periphery is weakened. USA looks for poodles and slaves, not allies i.e. UK, Pakistan, Turkey and others. The Indo-US nuclear negotiations highlight US duplicity and unreliability.
In Jammu and Kashmir if there have been little or no demonstrations against USA, in spite of all sorts of crimes being committed against Muslims in Palestine, Afghanistan and now in Iraq since 2003, it is because of the misplaced belief that Washington will help those Kashmiris who are fighting for independence or autonomy. The UK and USA have certainly helped these elements morally, politically and even financially, directly or through Pakistan. Therefore it is a good sign that Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir becoming wiser are raising their voice against USA.
If the Brahminical oriented Indian society treats Muslims shabbily then repercussions will be there. Narendra Modi is an example. In secular Turkey (99% Muslims) he would have been in prison for fomenting communal passions, as was its Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. The Sinhalas in Sri Lanka maltreated its Tamils in early 1980s and are still paying for it.
The incidents of low caste Hindus, even a Minister's family not being allowed entry into a temple in South India (the temple was purified) is a sad commentary on obscurantist divisions of the Indian society and polity sixty years after freedom. India's electoral system has only strengthened caste divide. There is a simple short term solution to that; by introducing preference votes to begin with.
My articles hosted around the world and translated into 12 major foreign languages, exposing illegal US imperial policies attract many readers from the Islamic world. Those who write about Jammu and Kashmir I tell how Kurds have been exploited throughout history by neighboring powers and some times as now by outside powers. They are unlikely to get a state of their own this time around too although it maybe a fond wish of Washington (and Tel Aviv) caught in the Iraqi quagmire. Now that the Americans have been expelled or not welcome in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Kashmir's strategic importance has gone up again, more so because of the Chinese highway connection to Baluchistan and Gwadar port. But Kashmiris are only pawns in big power game.
The old and new imperialists will use all means at their disposal to divide Asians and Muslims, not only Shias and Sunnis but even Sunnis as the decision by USA, Israel and the EU to support Mahmud Abbas of Fatah in Palestine. His party lost the elections to Hamas in Occupied Territories last year. There are many people ready to do anything for money. (India is full of them, those who implement the Washington consensus). Fatah is now a corrupt and decrepit movement, the rot had set in under its legendry leader Yasser Arafat himself.
K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian ambassador to Turkey , Azerbaijan, Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right with the author. E-mail: Gajendrak@hotmail.com