Random Thoughts

Lessons of History

To paraphrase Santayana, those who do not profit from the past will be haunted by it in their future. When Alexander invaded India, No other king came to the assistance of beleaguered Purush and the shortsighted policy of the Nandas allowed Alexander to gain a foothold in India. He was magnanimous to Purush, his army was on the verge of rebellion, he died of malaria and the genius of Chanakya and Chandragupta saved India from going the route of Egypt, Syria and Bactria. This pattern of disunity in India was repeated during the invasion of Scythians, Huns etc. Priyhviraj defeated Ghori and then showed chivalry, which exacted the heavy price of his life and kingdom.

There was such a foolhardy attitude in the various rulers, that they considered battle a sport. Geoffrey Parker, a British military historian states, "Warfare in India was still a sport, while in Europe it had become a science." The history of Europe ranging from Germany, Belgium and Boers in Africa to England in Australia and Tasmania; Spain and USA in the Americas and Philippines, and Portugal all over, to mention a few examples, is replete with cold premeditated massacres during warfare with the express purpose of driving native populations to extinction. In all fairness to them, the Europeans did the same amongst themselves in the two world wars later. Even in the crusades on the pretext of religion, they committed unforgivable atrocities. 

In the relevant history of India, only Haider Ali and his son Tippu understood what they were up against and decided to emulate the Europeans, but the former died and they took Tippu's children as hostages, a tactic they loudly condemned, when used by the Turks against the Serbs. The saddest irony is the British left behind the legacy of cricket, a game of fairness played on a meaningless field, which they touted but never played on the only field that counts viz. the battlefield. For that they had a different slogan of all being fair in love and war, which we of Indian origin never learnt or understood.

What I am leading up to, in my usual longwinded circumlocutions, is the Bangladesh war, where Pakistan was soundly defeated. I have memories of Indian commanding officers acting the pathetic role of pseudo pukka sahibs and toasting their captured Pakistani colleagues over a whiskey soda, while reminiscing about their days at Sandhurst, which are a laughable farce. Much of the captured materiel was returned and in deference to the sentiments of Pakistan, an all India touring exhibit of Pakistani weaponry was cancelled. War is not some silly sport for insecure persons hankering to merge their imagined identity into some British officer's BRAHMAN and thus I say I am glad that the Indian Chief broke protocol and refused to salute Musharraf. It is about time we understand that Pakistan is a serious enemy out to destroy us by fomenting secession, terrorism and flooding us with illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh, while aiding and abetting Maoists in Nepal. This is not the stupid game of cricket, which has become an irrelevant obsession of the Indian psyche. It is critical for all those who are Indians, irrespective of religion or linguistic differences to hang together, otherwise as Benjamin Franklin put it, "we will surely hang separately."

The interest of individuals takes precedence over the interest of groups. If the Muslims of Pakistan could think, they would not be having bombings and wholesale gun battles between their two sects in the land specifically conceived as the homeland of the Islamic population of old India. The fanatic Muslims have grabbed another tiger by its tail by creating unrest, terrorism and fomenting separatism in Kashmir. Their foolish pride will not allow them to let go and they do not have the strength to be victorious with the tiger and furthermore, should they succeed in wresting Kashmir, there will be a massacre of the remaining Muslims in India. It is important for the Indian Muslims to realize that and other minorities as well.

The majority should guarantee equal opportunity and justice as long as the various groups show proper allegiance. I know of only one enlightened Muslim writer, who has analyzed this and suggested that the Indian Muslims show allegiance to India and oppose the secessionist tendencies of the Kashmiris. The appeasement of separatists will sow the seeds to raise a myriad secessionist specters from hibernation in their hell. The problem is Islam is a beleaguered religion, failing on all fronts and unable to evolve from its atavistic tight corner to find a new role in the relentless march of evolution of ideas. 

In India's case it is a matter of "Men maru to maru, per tujhe to vidhvaa karu" and Pakistan is destined to be destroyed, but it will take India with it half-way in the nuclear holocaust. The other future for India is destruction by the Salami tactic, where thin slivers are sliced off. Unfortunately even those leaders who use the saffron mask to hide their greedy, unprincipled selves have neither the foresight, vision or ideology to do any substantial good, because they have become like American business executives, only interested in raising the price of their stock to cash out the rich options of money or fame, with contempt and disregard for the future and total abdication of responsibility to the coming generation of stock-holders of the corporation of life on this planet. Truly Vinaash kale viparit buddhi. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

Islam is part of the fabric of India. Its culture, history, language, cuisine are an integral part of India, but they are a part of India and the Indian Muslims must remember that. For if thy right hand offends thee and threatens thy existence, tear it off, for it is thine enemy. 

My problem is that even those who are the body and supposed to represent the interests of the majority have betrayed us and thus my opposition to the BJP, who are a bunch of self-serving crooks generated from the same mire of unprincipled and corrupt clay, like the congress or the communists and all political parties of India. Thus are the lessons of history lost in India and not only the people, but also the country is re-incarnated to suffering once more. And even Gandhi, who was a saint of sorts and preached and practiced tolerance left us this legacy of a nightmare of another bunch of Indian Muslims, incapable of assimilation or living in a secular state, because of the vicious nature of their religion and thus being the newest centrifugal force trying to disintegrate India. Ah well, no good deed goes unpunished and nature has no morality. I hope the fanatic religion loving bigots are listening!


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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