Random Thoughts

The Tragedy of India-Brownian Movements and 'Sati' Folly

The random zigzag movements of small particles lying within a gas or liquid were first described by Brown and explained by Einstein as the result of random unpredictable motions of the particle due to the impact of atoms or molecules of the fluid striking the minuscule particle. It is important to note that the particle is itself small, but it is so small that it can be pushed around by atoms or molecules which are even smaller. India's plight is similar.

The custom of Sati in Hinduism was the absurd extension of male chauvinism beyond the grave. It encouraged to the point of coercion, the self-immolation of a widow in the dead husband's funeral pyre. It was Lord William Bentinck, the governor general of India for the East India Company who took the legal step to abolish this atrocious custom. The Mahabharata states that Madri, the second wife of Pandu took this path while entrusting her sons to Kunti, who was pragmatic as her abandonment of her first born Karna proves. The origin of the custom is quaint and more important. Sati was the wife of Shiva and daughter of Prajapati Daksha, who had opposed the marriage and disdained Shiva. Daksha planned a Yagna or grand sacrifice and had sent out invitations far and wide for the event. Sati heard about it but had not received an invitation. She told Shiva that she planned to go. Shiva explained to her that it would be imprudent to go where one has not been invited. Sati argued that it was her father's house and she needed no invitation to go there.

Shiva's arguments fell on deaf ears and Sati rushed in where angels fear to tread. Daksha made offerings to sundry gods but none to Shiva. Sati protested, but her father remained adamant. To maintain the honor of Shiva, the supreme god and her husband, she jumped into the sacrificial fire, offering herself. Angry Shiva then destroyed the yagna and much of the assembly and after a respectable hiatus, took as a new wife, Himalaya's daughter Parvati. The moral of the story is not to perpetuate male chauvinistic practices, but to avoid putting oneself in compromising circumstances. This is a lesson India has yet to learn.

Let us consider how India fails in its strategies due to the crass stupidity of its leaders. India is a substantial country and power but still a small particle in comparison to America, Russia, EU, China, Canada, Australia and Brazil in landmass and small economically in comparison to Japan, Germany, UK, France and Italy. It suffers being pushed around by even smaller Pakistan and Bangladesh by terrorism and infiltration. Even Nepal's Maoists are spreading to West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. The tragic experience of prolonged colonization with the extreme bullying of the Dulles era American policies made Nehru gravitate towards the Soviet Union. This is understandable and the similar trajectory of poor China with a large population confirms this natural tendency. India like background did not prevent China from standing up to America in Korea or attacking India when its own national interests were involved. Idiotic Nehru supposedly refused the Nepali king's desire to join India and America's offer of China's veto holding permanent seat in the UN Security Council. China broke with the Soviet Union and did an about turn with America in the Nixon era and in 1979 changed its tune to it is glorious to get rich, while India stuck to its failing policies until 1991 when it was nearly bankrupt and had to fly its gold reserves to London to get an IMF bailout.

China has acquired over a trillion dollars worth of foreign exchange reserves, is an established nuclear power and is signing up energy deals everywhere, with little regard for the type of the government and thumbs its nose at America, while India is told how it should deal with Iran or Sudan for a nuclear deal, which castrates it. It is downright foolish to hope that any great power like America or even China will base international relations on altruism. America wants to wean India away from ganging up with Russia, China and Iran. The Shanghai Co-operative Organization wants to lock up the Eurasian landmass and its energy producers like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and be a counter to NATO. China on the other hand wants to hamper and distract India, so it will share arms, missiles and nuclear knowhow with Pakistan.

As Chomsky has analyzed, India is the weakest link in this nascent opposing block and America is probing the chink in the armor. It does not want India to become such a strong and independent economic or nuclear power that it would threaten America in the future. Thus it wants to curtail it to make it like Japan under the American nuclear umbrella. This is why the nuclear agreement fails to provide transfer of uranium enrichment, missile and heavy water technology, limits production of fissile material and threatens the supply of HEU and places a moratorium on nuclear tests and specifies antagonism to Iran. This is why America does not want an Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. It wants to have its hand at the throat of India's energy supply just like it wants to have its hand at the throat of Japan's energy supply. This is why it has built the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline bypassing Russia and Iran and it tried to stop the Russia-EU gas agreements. America needs to control Afghanistan to get a pipeline from Turkmenistan bypassing Iran. For this it needs Pakistan. That is why America will never abandon Pakistan and is giving it ships, anti-tank missiles, E2C Hawkeye systems and F-16s.

For similar reasons Bush is not going to leave Iraq. There will be huge permanent military bases there to control its oil and to intimidate Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. I predict that in January Bush will increase the troop strength in Iraq and there maybe a strong man coup in Iraq. If the US redeploys, it will be to the Kurdish areas and if Iraq is trifurcated, Kirkuk and its oil fields will be awarded to the Kurds who will sign deals with Anglo-American companies and their assets will be protected by the US military against any adventurism by Iran or Turkey.

India could have avoided going to the Yagna of the nuclear deal if Manmohan Singh had thought about it beforehand. It is true that Pakistan could sabotage the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline but then it would lose 500 million dollars and India could reciprocate by threatening its water supply from the Indus. By the threat of cutting off HEU fuel supply after investing 30 billion dollars in buying 15 nuclear plants from America, India's policies will be dictated by America and it will be prevented from being a viable nuclear power. Iran with its energy resources, population and strategic location is capable of countering US hegemony in the Middle East directly or by its proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Shia majority in Iraq, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia's oil rich eastern province. If it becomes a nuclear power it could stand up to Israel, the American policeman in the Middle East. (just as Australia is the US proxy in Southeast Asia)

Another minor idiocy is the sales technique of India's Brahmos officers. The missile was jointly developed with Russia. Let us be honest. It could not have been developed without Russia as our failures in the Arjun MBT, Trishul missile and Kaveri engine attest to. India itself will need a thousand of these missiles so the premature attempt to sell it to other countries shows a certain lack of planning and foresight. The supreme idiocy is to compare it to other similar Russian missiles and try to cannibalize on their sales. No wonder the Russian companies were annoyed. A sensible salesman would have touted its superiority to other western missiles and not alienated our co-operative Russian partners.

Returning to our leaders and policies being buffeted by minor players brings me to the outcry for quotas and status of Muslims. There is no doubt that the caste system has taken a heavy toll on the Dalits and they need redress. The policy should be to level the playing field by going the extra mile to give them free education and equal opportunity and not quotas even if they don't meet the standards for the job or admission to institutions of higher learning. The same applies to Muslims. No single religion or caste should have first preference to the assets of a secular state. If they have been suppressed or denied, it should be righted. This buffeting of policies and their being held hostage to vote banks because elections are coming up in UP, betrays the dishonesty and self-serving nature of our leaders. A similar national harm was ignoring infiltration by illegal immigrants from Bangladesh by using them as captive voting blocks. What can you expect when nearly 20% of India's MPs are criminals awaiting or evading trial? Quite a few others are unthinking puppets and have become as limp as spaghetti! 


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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