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Politics, Economics & Religion – Tripod Of Revolution and War

Economics and politics are the two faces of the same coin whose flip decides the course of history. The American war of independence was a rebellion of the relatively wealthy who lacked political power and were tired of the British monarch and parliament deciding the imposition of tariffs and taxes and the terms of whom to trade with or not to. The merchants, bankers and landed gentry saw the British restraints as an impediment to their enrichment. The landless poor saw the British treaties with the American Indians as a barrier to their hopes of acquiring lands by superior force of arms from the American Indians whom they considered as savages of an inferior race.

As Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagwad Gita on revealing his Virata Swarupa(ultimate true visage), 'Now I am time, the destroyer of all things'.

While the American whites were of British stock and not convicts like the Australian settlers, they were the poor, unsuccessful, Puritans, Quakers, Scotch Irish forced to migrate to America due to religious and economic reasons and often looked down upon by the British soldiers, landlords and government officials as relative yahoos. 

George Washington felt slighted when he was denied an appropriate commission in the regular army by the Governor of Virginia. Many of the landed gentry of America tried to put on airs by living beyond their means and were heavily indebted to London merchants and manufacturers for their profligate lifestyles of keeping up with the high official British Joneses living in America. This was the confirmation of their own insecurity and inferiority complex. There was confirmation of the lack of Washington's military capabilities in his earlier foolish and gallantry induced attempts to fight and win pitched battles. He was fortunately dissuaded by his advisor generals with lesser military experience but greater strategy and genius. He subsequently followed a guerilla warfare strategy using civilians as a refuge and support and by exploiting the logistical difficulties faced by British troops dependent on reinforcements by sea requiring weeks to months. Unfortunately the Indians fighting the British in India did not have enough brains to use this strategy against the countless invaders that conquered India from before the Christian era to the present. The Americans notorious for lacking historical memory have forgotten their own history and lost the war in Vietnam and are losing in Iraq And Afghanistan by those very same tactics.

The American Civil War, contrary to the bogus history taught in American schools was not primarily on account of slavery. The South was an agrarian economy and the North based on manufacturing and finance. There were ongoing problems between the south wanting free trade and no tariffs on imported goods from Europe and the north wanting high tariffs to protect and develop its infant manufacturing base. There was no Federal Reserve and no income tax at that time and the Federal government depended on import duties and tariffs for its budget. These high tariff barriers were what made America a great economic power, just as they allowed Japan, Korea and Taiwan to prosper later (Read Ha Joon Chang's 'Bad Samaritans'). The agricultural south needed cheap or free labor to prosper economically. Slavery provided that, There was racial prejudice and discrimination but it was also there in the north. During the civil war, many Irish inflamed at being drafted to fight, went on a rampage in New York and killed a large number of black people as a protest. On a similar basis the French Revolution was because of poverty, severe deprivation and unjust laws imposed on the common poor by the rich and powerful nobles and the king. 

Tocqueville and other social scientists have observed that revolutions often occur after the tyrants have eased some of the severest restrictions of the oppressed. The early whiffs of freedom can be intoxicating and lead to anticipation of more with a sense of empowerment. The next deprivation or oppression precipitates an open revolt. This is what happened in the Russian revolution. The serfs had been freed some years ago. Poverty, food shortage and disasters of WW1 led to the Bolshevik revolution. Similarly the Iranian revolution occurred after minor concessions by the Shah and a population angered by poverty, deprivation, lack of justice and torture by the Shah, a minority of corrupt supporters and officials. The same thing happened in China. The nationalists were corrupt, venal, hierarchic, condescending, unjust and indifferent to the peasant masses and were overthrown by the communists. Now the communists have caught the same infection and are desperately worried about the increasing numbers of migrant unemployed workers angered by arbitrary land seizures and absent justice on the one hand and the rising affluent bourgeoisie denied entry to the corridors of power.

The marginalization of the Sri Lanka Tamils by making Sinhalese, the sole official language and denying them their fair share of political and economic rights caused the LTTE insurgency. It is coming to an end due to the military might of the rightist Sinhalese government and the intransigence of Prabhakar and his LTTE, but victory without redress and reconciliation are predictors of an unstable and fragile peace. The idiocy of the Nepalese king and his total indifference to the plight of the average poor Nepalese villager, cost him the throne and the rule of the Maoists prevailing now. The foolish insistence of the French on resuming their colonial rule over Vietnam with American support after WW2 and later assumption of the war by America led to the defeat of both in their foolish and selfish tyrannical efforts to thwart the nationalist will of the oppressed peasants.

The Naxalite and Maoist movements in the eastern and southeastern states of India and to some extent Kashmir are the results of mis-governance by the Indian central governments from independence onwards. In the eastern states the oppressed have thrown off their millstone of Hindu religion with its promise of pie in the sky in the next birth or the specter of more pain as a punishment, and are seeking their moment in the sunlight in the only life they will ever have. In Iraq only idiots like Cheney and Bush who imbibe their knowledge either by sitting on books or being punished by being hit on their ossified brains by heavier ones, would have failed to predict the Shia Sunni civil war. The so called wise Jefferson was equally unable to predict the reign of terror of the Jacobins in the French Revolution. See what havoc, retarded children left behind like Bush and Cheney can cause when given the reins of power. In Afghanistan, abused by America, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, to punish the USSR by the first and to lend a patina of legitimacy to their illegitimate power by General Zia and the Saudi king, the continuous tyranny, and infighting of unjust warlords led to the rise of the Taliban with support from the Pakistani ISI (for its own nefarious ulterior motives). The inept, ineffective, corrupt, unjust Karzai government combined with indiscriminate aerial bombing of innocent civilians is leading to the Taliban resurgence and another lost war in Afghanistan by America, adding to the prior defeats in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia and Iraq. 

Contrary to popular belief the myth of American exceptionalism is a blatant lie. Black Slavery, native American genocide, unjust wars of choice, Chinese and Southern European exclusion acts (barring immigration), internment of US citizens of Japanese origin, Monroe Doctrine, torture in the Americas, Southeast Asia, Iraq, Cuba and Afghanistan requires apology and war criminal trials, not empty boasts or laurels. Continuing with Pakistan, the atrocities perpetrated in its eastern wing, now Bangladesh, to militarily annul the legitimate victory of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and prevent him from becoming the prime minister of all of Pakistan by the principle of majority rule in a democracy, led to the secession of Bangladesh with the help of India and its armed forces. It also, by serendipity, bestowed on India the accolade of having fought a just war, an almost unheard of event in entire human history.

Most people are unaware that the central government in Pakistan rules the Northwest Frontier Province, Swat and the FATA just as the British did during the Raj. They provide little or no services and in the case of FATA, appoint a political agent, who punishes any transgression by an individual by collectively punishing the family including children, by incarceration and by bulldozing their houses and confiscating their land. Welcome to the other Palestine on the periphery of Pakistan. There is no functioning court or judicial system in much of Pakistan. The feudal landlords pervert justice and the landless peasants are left to starve despite backbreaking labor and their nubile women worried about becoming victims of sex crimes. The provinces of Sind, Baluchistan and even Punjab are suffering the same afflictions, but to a lesser degree. An inability to provide four independent corroborating witnesses converts a raped woman from a victim to a criminal adulterer, subject to death by stoning. What a Biblical thought plagiarized by the Koran.

Thus do prolonged and excessive inequality of wealth in a given population with skewed scales of justice to favor the lobbyists, politicians, wealthy and powerful sow the seeds of revolution and war in fertile minds irrigated by injustice, deprivation, oppression, humiliation and torture.


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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