Consider recent events related to Assam. Consider how the situation could develop in the long term. Consider the manner in which the government and opposition are responding. Then ask yourself the question with full seriousness: Will India disintegrate?
Assam is a state of great strategic importance located on our eastern borders. There has been longstanding tension between original Bodo inhabitants and illegal migrants from Bangladesh. That has changed the region’s demographic profile. It was a situation that could be ignited at will. Riots broke out between Bodos and Muslims after unexplained murders of a few Muslims. The Bodos were blamed but as it turned out subsequently blamed wrongly. There were retaliatory killings that escalated into full scale violence. Till this day it has not been established who was responsible for the first killings that sparked the riots.
This was followed by a Muslim demonstration in Mumbai against the Assam killings that also created killings and arson. The organizers of the demonstration have claimed that outsiders infiltrated the demonstration to start the violence. The organizers had a record of moderation and the police do believe that it was the work of outside elements. Next there were threats and minor violence against people from the Northeast in Pune. This was followed by rumours of impending violence against all Northeast residents across India.
The rumours ware spread through the Internet and SMS mobile phones. As a result panic among all Northeast citizens led to a mass exodus from Bangalore, Pune and Chennai. There was panic in Delhi too.
Have the police probed messengers on the Internet who spread false rumours with graphic details to terrorize people from the Northeast?
For example, have they probed the message of alarm spread through the Internet by Mr. Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga belonging to Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, owing allegiance to the controversial Sri Ram Sene of Bangalore? Mr. Bagga patronized Mr. Harvinder Singh who slapped Mr. Sharad Pawar. Mr. Harvinder Singh was protected from public reprisal by a policeman who shielded him while escorting him away.
What led Mr. Bagga to state on the Facebook that a Muslim ultimatum had been issued to people from the Northeast to quit before August 20 or face riots? Have the police probed the source of Internet messages inflaming Muslim sentiment through graphic description and fraudulent visuals? Have the police initiated a full fledged cyber probe into the spread of rumours to ascertain whether there was any centralized source?
Consider the implications of the Northeast exodus to Assam from several cities of India. The message for people in the Northeast is loud and clear. The mass exodus will convince them that the rest of India dislikes them and they have no place in this nation. A strong foundation for secession of the entire Northeast from India has been laid.
How have our politicians reacted to this threat?
The Congress and the BJP are blaming each other. The cause of tensions between Bodos and Muslims related to illegal infiltration from Bangladesh is being discussed. Of course that issue is crucial and should have been resolved decades ago. But its relevance to the current crisis is like victims of a raging fire discussing the need to build a new fires station close to the premises!
Is the current crisis naturally born or engineered?
The BJP President Mr. Nitin Gadkari has accused a foreign hand. Is that serious opinion or just a cheap populist assertion? If there is a foreign hand, from where does it operate and what is the BJP doing to counter it?
While assessing the possibility of a foreign hand at work some facts may be recalled.
On August 7-8, 2009 an article appeared on a Chinese website captioned 'If China takes a little action, the so-called Great Indian Federation can be broken up'. The article was written by Zhan Lue. Subsequently it was reproduced by many Chinese military and strategic websites. Attention to the article and an analysis of its contents was first offered by Mr. DS Rajan who is Director of the Chennai Centre for China Studies.
The Chinese article is based upon a flawed notion of what constitutes a nation state with thinking inspired by the original 16th century nation states of Europe. It goes on to deny India is a nation and advocates breaking it up into thirty or more sovereign states. Not only does the writer consider this goal possible but also desirable to be actively pursued by China. It recommends the secession of Assam as the first step to be actively promoted by China.
It does not matter that the writer’s view is horribly flawed. His notions of nationhood are what will bring about the downfall of the regime in Beijing starting with its mishandling of Tibet and Xingjian that will spread eventually to all parts of China. What is relevant right now is that such thoughts are circulating among elements close to China’s strategic and military planners. That is not all.
Attention has been drawn earlier in these columns to the speeches of General Chi Haotian, former Defence Minister and Vice Chairman of the all powerful Central Military Commission of China. The General had asserted in his speeches and articles the racial supremacy of the Han race, its historic responsibility to conquer and rule the world, and the need to learn from the strategic mistakes made by Nazi Germany. The high and powerful rank of the General and his ability to voice such views publicly in a tightly controlled dictatorship like China should leave none in doubt about the seriousness of these claims.
Attention must also be drawn to a book published by China’s People’s Liberation Army and authored by two Chinese Colonels. The book, Unrestricted Warfare, is written by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui and was published in 1999. The authors advocate total all out war by military and non-military means to weaken, subjugate and vanquish the enemy. Hacking into websites, manipulating financial institutions, terrorist violence, subverting the media, and conducting urban warfare are among the methods proposed. The authors claim that “there is nothing in the world that cannot be made into a weapon”. The book has been acclaimed by military circles in China and received laudatory reviews.
Do all these facts warrant serious consideration
about China’s role in India or not?
The government is of course a lost cause with its efforts to keep promoting an adverse balance of trade with China that is severely harming our manufacturing sector of industry while the Chinese economy crucially relies upon expanding exports to India for the stability of its own system. What about the BJP which acts as the self professed custodian of patriotism? Apart from targeting Pakistan which is heavily infiltrated and influenced by China and acts as its cat’s-paw, how has the BJP reacted to all these developments?
Doubtless it will excitedly seize on the government's finding that Pakistan is behind the spread of rumours. But it has been repeatedly demonstrated that Pakistan army and ISI are virtually directed by Beijing. Pakistan has penetrated India to create terrorist cells among a few subverted Muslims. China has heavily penetrated the Northeast by arming and protecting ULFA. We could be witnessing a pincer move by China and Pakistan with China undoubtedly being the boss. Beijing has the overriding strategic concerns in our Northeast.
Despite this the BJP's favourite poster boy, Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, seems hell bent to suck up to China through trade and inviting Chinese investment. Currently another BJP Chief Minister, Mr. Shiv Raj Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh, has sent a high-level team to study China’s rural development and learn from its experience.
None of the super patriots of the BJP are least concerned about China arming and giving sanctuary to our Northeast insurgents, or about China giving nuclear and missile aid to Pakistan in order to target India, or about China militarily aiding all of India’s immediate neighbours to encircle our nation, or about China brazenly violating its solemn written undertaking given to our former Foreign Secretary Mr. Shyam Saran in 2005 that it will never lay claims to territories that have settled populations such as Arunachel Pradesh. None of this matters either to the government or to the opposition. Therefore the question is posed: Can India balkanize?
Of course it cannot! India will triumph over all its foreign enemies and their domestic hirelings. But it will take time to triumph. And before it does succeed it will have to bury twenty fathoms deep the corrupt, venal and anti-national class of politicians who rule us today.
Images (c) Gettyimages.com
1. Northeastern Indian residents leaving Bangalore
2. Muslim demonstration in Mumbai against Assam killings
3. SMS carrying rumors
4. Image of the cover of the book "Unrestricted Warfare" courtesy Wikipedia.