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Archive for category INDIA -US ENCIRCLEMENT OF CHINA

The Army, the Government, and the Chinese Corridor. by Saeed A.Malik

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Army, the Government, and the Chinese Corridor.

 

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Saeed A. Malik.

 
The main driver of Israeli foreign policy objectives in the region is the Oded Yinon Plan i.e to break into small principalities, all Arab states which have the potential of being a threat to Israel any time in the future. Because of the incredible influence which Israel exercises on U.S policies, the Yinon Plan was infused into U.S policy for this region. Thus whatever the U.S objectives in the region, the play of the Yinon Plan can plainly be seen behind the U.S destruction of Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Even a fool could have foreseen that the de-baathification of Iraq, and the dismemberment of its army would lead to the dismemberment of the state itself. Indeed Gen Shinseki advocated that the invasion force should be half a million U.S troops so that post-invasion stability of governance would be ensured, as did Colin Powell. The former was forcibly retired, while the latter was marginalized, and we see Iraq precisely in a state as Yinon had advocated. The same is true of Libya, and the same is the aim for Syria.
 
Israel tried its very best that Iran too should be destroyed and split into small principalities, but the sheer exhaustion visited on the U.S by the Iraqis who decided to fight back, foreclosed this option. This being the situation, how can Israel countenance a strong and thriving Pakistan, which not only has the bomb, but also varied delivery systems, and which Israel sees as an enemy? Logically therefore a failed Pakistan, which international powers would be obliged to de-nuclify would be much more in Israel’s interests–and by extension, those of the U.S as well.
 
Apart from the Israeli-U.S policy nexus vis a vis a Pakistan whose nuclear wings must be clipped, the U.S has other concerns about a strong Pakistan which is averse to taking dictation from the U.S. One of these concerns is that Pakistan is refusing subservience to the U.S Afghan policy objectives where such objectives are seen as undermining Pakistan’s perception of its own national interest. Another U.S concern is that whereas the U.S would like to see India built up as a credible counter-weight to China, Pakistan, by constantly snapping at India’s heels is a constant distraction in the way of the achievement of this U.S aim. And most importantly, Pakistan, by allowing China an opening onto the Arabian Sea, is directly undermining the most important driver of the U.S foreign policy i.e the containment of China, which it sees as the premier challenge to U.S hegemony around the world.
 
The third country which would like the CPEC initiative nipped in the bud is India, which sees Pakistan as a nuisance in the way of its becoming the unchallenged regional hegemon of the area; and this is quite apart from the ideological view that India’s independence from colonial rule cannot be considered complete till such time as it is ” akhund” [complete] again.
 
Pakistan should therefore have absolutely no doubt that these three countries [ plus their allies] will strain every sinew of their power towards sabotaging the CPEC.
 
And what are the tools they will employ to undermine Pakistan? These tools are already deployed and are in operation for all to see, except for those of us who are willfully blind:
–Aiding the terrorist onslaught against Pakistan. Dont we already know this,  and the names of countries involved?
–Burdening Pakistan with a volume of debt which it will never be able to repay. Why is it after all that IMF obliges Ishaq Dar each time he goes to them, begging bowl in hand? Does anyone, anywhere in the world, freely extend credit to a country or entity which is a bad credit risk? Cant we see through this easy credit? Cant we see that in less than 5 years we will have reached a debt ceiling which it will be beyond our capacity to repay? And what happens then? Is this not a road to default and sanctions, which will lead to Pakistan giving up its nuclear assets?
–And the most potent tool of all–key members of our national “leadership”, both here and in Dubai, willfully undermining the very foundations of the state by both hollowing out the country financially, and also selling it out to those bidding for its ultimate demise! Does anyone not see this happening already? Which one of our top leaders is not a billionaire? And which of these has made his billions through honest sweat? And will such people, who can sell their grandmothers for a pittance, not sell off their country when the time comes? The problem is that the time is already here and the sale is going on day and night.
 
 Unfortunately, it is said to be extremely high  interestin loan facility from China i.e  @ $4.5 + Libor
 
It is not for nothing that as the Chinese unfolded their plans for the CPEC, they went to the Army Chief for guarantees of security. This was not just a comment on the power the Army enjoys, but more so a comment on the lack of trust which may credibly be imposed in our civilian leadership.
 
But with the politicians now haggling over the route of the CPEC, the Chinese have issued statements of concern which have been released to the press. This is not the way the Chinese function. They eschew press statements and use them only as a last resort. The level of Chinese concern should make it clear that the enemy sleeper cells among our national leadership have been activated to sabotage the project. This has been the standard operating procedure to undermine third world countries by the first world for decades.
 
If it is not the case already, the Army should wake up to what is happening. It should also include mega corruption, which has undermined the country and taken it to the very brink, as a national security imperative. If the Army refuses to see the writing on the wall, it must know that its days of glory and power cannot be extended to beyond five years, because then it may not have a country to defend. And then all the Generals will be like the rest of us. It is my bet that in five years or less the IMF will call in our debts, and we will not be able to repay. The Last Post will then be sounded.
 
Saeed A. Malik.

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India a regional wild bull Asif Haroon Raja

India a regional wild bull

Asif Haroon Raja

India occupies a unique position in the South Asian region by dint of occupying nearly 72 percent of the land surface in South Asia, being a home of 77 percent of the region’s population, and accounting for nearly 75 percent of the regional economic output. It has the third largest Army (1,325,000) in the world and its economy is ranked 10th strongest ($2.0 trillion). Notwithstanding its political, economic and military prowess, India is viewed as a hegemonic power by all her six neighbors – from Bangladesh in the east to Pakistan in the west, from Nepal and Bhutan in the north to Sri Lanka in the south since all the six South Asian States have suffered at the hands of India.

Indian political scientist (late) Dr. Bhabani Sen Gupta wrote in the India Today April 30, 1984, “The Indian elephant cannot transform itself into a mouse. If South Asia is to get itself out of the crippling binds of conflicts and cleavages, the six neighbors will have to accept the bigness of the seventh. And the seventh, that is India, will have to prove to the six that big can indeed be beautiful.” India instead chose to become a wild bull suiting her inner chemistry.

Drunk with power, India would not hesitate to attack a country if it were in her interest to do so and if she felt that the other side was too weak to resist. Indian leaders are staunch followers of infamous Chanakya (author of Arthasastra during Chandragupta rule) and they feel no penitence in implementing the deceitful policies of their Guru to undermine the neighboring countries in pursuit of their geo-economic interests. Believing in the dictum ‘everything is fair in love and war’, they befriend the enemy of the neighbor, carryout false flag operations, create misgivings through propaganda war, anarchy and destabilization through covert operations and put their sins in the basket of others.

RAW is notorious for conducting clandestine operations in the neighborhood. Once India fails to assert its authority through coercion, it then projects itself as the big brother to draw brotherly respect from younger brothers. Its behavior as a big brother however leaves much to be desired. Rather than earning respect by behaving maturely and generously, it behaves arrogantly and expects one-sided respect and concessions. It has believed in the policy of taking all and giving nothing in return. It considers unilateral concessions as its birthright.

By the virtue of its size, economic potential and military power, India claims a regional leadership position for herself, while her South Asian neighbors accuse her of exercising hegemony. Her neighbors that have been repeatedly bitten have reasons to complain. India has frequently resorted to military force in the region and is the initiator of terrorism. It befriended Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan and then treacherously split Pakistan into two in 1971. India ousted the Ranas in Nepal and put King Tribhuvan on the throne in 1950. India pressed him to sign a treaty of peace and friendship that is viewed by many Nepalese politicians as imperialist. India trained the Tamil Tigers to kick-start a rebellion in Sri Lanka in 1983 which raged till 2009. India restored Prime Minister Gayoom’s rule during the attempted military coup in Maldives in 1988. India didn’t spare even Bangladesh which she helped in gaining independence in 1971 and pitched Chakma rebels (Shanti Bahini) against Gen Ziaur Rahman government and subsequent regimes. Hasina Wajid, daughter of Mujibur Rahman is in India’s best books. To please India and hurt Pakistan, she has undertaken farcical trials of aged Jamaat-e-Islami leaders allegedly involved in war crimes during 1971 war and some have been hanged.

 

 

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In terms of forcible seizure and land grab, India has occupied Muslim-majority J&K (October 1947), Muslim-ruled Hyderabad (1948), Portuguese-administered Dadra & Nagar Haveli (1954), and Goa, Diu & Daman (1961), and Buddhist-ruled Sikkim (1975) through a surfeit of vicious and fraudulent means, often discounting people’s wishes. For instance, an opinion poll by CSDS in 2007 showed that 87% of people in the Kashmir Valley didn’t want to live under India. And yet, India, the so-called largest democracy in our world, has no wish to hold such a referendum in the occupied territories.

In violation of the UN Resolutions and pledge given by Nehru, India stubbornly clings to the occupied territory and claim it as integral part of India. In order to retain her illegal occupation, India has stationed 750,000 occupying forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir and has subjected the hapless Kashmiris to a reign of terror. To keep Pakistan restrained from voicing concern and seeking a plebiscite, India waged a massive proxy war in FATA and Balochistan in 2003 which is still continuing and is now resorting to water terrorism. India has water disputes with Bangladesh and Nepal.

The neighbors see India as an overbearing oppressor and a rogue, which uses her territories to dump poor quality Indian goods while putting unnecessary restrictions to exporting their goods into India. SAARC has not progressed essentially because of India’s efforts to set rules of tariffs in accordance with her wishes and to monopolize the trade. All SAARC members trading with India suffer from trade deficit.

India’s policies remain myopic and short-sighted, if not self-centered and often lethal. She has failed to wipe out the pervasive negative perceptions held by all her regional neighbors. So far, from Bhabani Sen Gupta’s utopian view, India has become a regional wild bull, if not an elephant or even worse. And no one likes such a beast! Truly, the stamp of a regional hegemon is written all over India’s face. As a matter of fact with the resurgence of the Hindutva fascist forces in the national politics of India, she has the potential to become a regional pariah. And that is an ominous sign for the entire region! Just as the United States of America and Russia are hated today in many countries globally for their hegemony, so is India in South Asia.

India being an imperialist power and ruled by 2.8% Brahman rulers wants to become super power of South Asia and a world power. This ambition is essentially driven by the myth of Mahabharata, fanaticized by every Brahman. Not only Brahman leaders behave callously towards the neighbors, their behavior towards minorities in India is also atrocious. Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and even low caste Hindus have suffered a great deal at the hands of Hindu extremists. India’s oppressive policies have given birth to dozens of insurgencies.

Indigenous freedom movement in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) has become a bleeding wound for India and a cause of embarrassment that despite deploying such a large force in a small Valley and using excessive force, rape and torture as tools to crush the movement for over 22 years, it has failed to extinguish the flame of liberty. Maintenance of 750,000 security forces since 1989 in IOK is a huge drain on India’s economy. So is the burden of 700,000 troops employed to fighting dozens of insurgencies/separatist movements in various parts of India.

India considers Pakistan as the lone obstacle in the way of her imperialist ambitions. India’s dangerous plan conceived after 9/11 in 2001 to denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan through proxy war has run into difficulties because of NATO’s and ANA’s inability to defeat Afghan Taliban and ISAF’s withdrawal. Increasing intimacy between USA and Pakistan as well as between new Afghan regime and Pakistan is happening at a time when Indo-Pakistan relations are sailing through choppy waters. This change in the outlook of USA trying to remove the distrust accumulated over a period of time and to rebuild friendly ties with Pakistan is vexing India. Not knowing how to disrupt growth of Pak-US and Pak-Afghan ties, India is continuing to play the terrorism card.

After heating up the LoC in Kashmir and working boundary in Sialkot sector together with abortive false flag operations, RAW in concert with elements within Afghan NDS, is using runaway Fazlullah and Khurasani to carryout terror attacks against soft targets inside Pakistan to cause maximum pain. Attack on Army Public School Peshawar was masterminded by RAW. Now targets of similar nature including DHAs and Askari colonies are listed as future targets. Several terror attacks in Balochistan in quick succession are link of the same chain to build up pressure on Pakistan and force the Army to give a breather to the FATA militants and get deflected towards the eastern border. The US must be firmly told to discipline the wild bull if it is serious in getting rid of the scourge of terrorism. At the same time, Pakistan should impress upon other South Asian States that if they desire to live as independent respectable nations and want to progress, they will have to find ways and means how to tame the wild bull.   

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/book writer, Member Executive Council PESS, Director Measac Research Centre, Member Board of Governors TFP.asifharoonraja@gmail.com   

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Why India Continues Cross-border Shelling? By Sajjad Shaukat

                                    

 

 

 

Why India Continues Cross-border Shelling?

                                                          By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since October 6, this year, India accelerated cross-border shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary (WB) and killed several innocent persons including their animals inside Pakistan. It compelled tens thousands of the residents of the villages to migrate to safe areas, with their livestock and other belongings.

 

In this regard, spokesman of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-General Asim Bajwa said that Pakistan Rangers and troops “befittingly” responded to “unprovoked firing” by Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) and military troops. He also clarified that Pakistan’s Armed Forces are fully prepared to meet any aggression.

 

Regarding these constant violations, Pakistan government has lodged a strong protest, and also raised the issue with the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan, asking for a visit of the observers to the affected areas.

 

Meanwhile, in India where Pakistan is accused of starting the skirmishes, leader of the fundamentalist party BJP and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is reported to have given a free hand to the Indian forces to go on aggressively with the violations. While, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff convened a meeting of the National Security Commit­te on Oct 10, this year, and discussed the recent ceasefire violations by India at the LoC and WB.

 

It is notable that by acting upon a preplanned scheme, Indian soldiers crossed over the LoC in Kashmir on January 6, 2013 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. Contrarily, on December 24, 2013, New Delhi agreed for the meeting of Directors-General Military Operations (DGMOs) of both the countries, who met in Pakistan, and discussed specific measures strengthening the bilateral ceasefire mechanism across the LoC.

 

While, Islamabad and India had on November 25, 2003, agreed to observe ceasefire along all areas of WB, LoC and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir. However, Pakistan military indicated that Indian hostility has gradually increased since 2010 making lives of civil population living in closer vicinity of the LoC and WB difficult. Indian troops committed 86 ceasefire violations in 2011, 230 in 2012 and 414 in 2013. But, Indians have again resorted to unprovoked firing for about 224 times on both LoC and WB and killed several people on the Pakistani side this year.

 

In this context, military officials further elaborated that Indian perennial escalation across the LoC and WB is according to a deliberate plan. So question arises as to why India continues cross-border shelling inside Pakistan.

 

In fact, by promoting Hindu chauvinism on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans, extremist party, BJP won a landslide victory in the India elections 2014 by defeating the Congress. Now, BJP-led Prime Minister Modi has been implementing its party’s agenda against Pakistan. In this context, recent upsurge in skirmishes across the LoC and WB is also linked to upcoming elections in Indian occupied Kashmir, as BJP again wants to make Pakistan a scapegoat. Therefore, the border violations, accompanying hostile statements by Indian leadership are aimed at motivating support base before the elections, and even the expected delay in polls in Kashmir would provide more time to the Indian side to hype up sentiments at the cost of Pakistan. The BJP government is looking at winning a majority in the Kashmir assembly so that it could fulfill its manifesto pledge of revoking the special status, given to Kashmir under Indian constitution’s Article 370, and to strengthen its measures to annex the area.

 

As regards Indian covert aims, BJP rulers are trying to divert attention of international community from the Kashmir dispute, while, Kashmiri leaders and Pakistan have been keeping this issue in limelight.

 

In this connection, terming the support and advocacy of the right to self determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmi (J&K), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), stressed for settlement of the Kashmir issue, and offered Pakistan’s readiness to endeavor for the same through negotiations. He also reminded the international community of its pledge for holding “plebiscite” in the Indian-held Kashmir, and resolves the issue in accordance with UN Charter. The speech generated appreciations from the political circles of Pakistan and Kashmir as well. It is also acknowledged that the speech is true reflection of sentiments of the people of Pakistan, who believe that peace and prosperity in south Asia is inter- linked with solution of core dispute of Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

 

Islamabad’s successful attempt at the UNGA seems to have irked Indian political, diplomatic and journalist circles. Under the growing frustration, a notoriously controversial journalist affiliated with the Indian NDTV namely Barkha Dutt engaged Pakistan’s prime minister’s special advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, and managed to create a controversy through aggressive posture to make him concede that Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with the Kashmiri leadership in New Delhi was ill-timed, and affected secretary level engagements with Pakistan. No doubt, Barkha-Aziz episode has been projected, because under the pretext, India cancelled secretary level talks with Islamabad.   

 

Moreover, Indian media created an impression that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by highlighting Kashmir issue made an effort to improve relations with military establishment in the backdrop of the protesters of the sit-ins led by PTI and PAT. It also generated controversy of gray relations between political and military echelons of Pakistan. By increasing cross-border shelling, New Delhi also wants to create pressure on Islamabad and the Armed Forces in wake of present political turmoil—and military operation Zarb-e-Azb which successfully continues against terrorists in North Waziristan Agency.

 

It is of particular attention that BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swami stated on July 12, 2014 that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution. Responding to the withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan, he remarked, “Americans will hand over Afghanistan to Taliban and go…India should send at least 200,000 troops to Afghanistan.”

 

In these terms, Indian hawks think that in the aftermath of the withdrawal of NATO, they will keep their anti-Pakistan network in Afghanistan by harming the genuine interests of Pakistan which shares geographical, cultural and religious bonds with the former, and is determined to bring peace and stability there.

 

Now, as part of its blame game, India has intensified unprovoked firing at the LoC in Kashmir and WB in Sialkot to delay the Pak-India peace process, without caring for latter’s nuclear weapons.

 

Undoubtedly, every Indian government due to international pressure found it easy to make false pledges that it was willing to engage in peace process to resolve all issues like Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Water and especially main dispute of Kashmir with Islamabad. But, New Delhi earnestly endeavored to find excuses and pretexts to cancel peace talks, while shifting the blame to Pakistan. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, India postponed the dialogue process. Again, in 2008, India cancelled the ‘composite dialogue’ on the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks.

 

Particularly, on May 27, 2014 Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with Prime Minister Sharif in the oath-taking ceremony proved faultless, because Modi raised baseless issues of terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue. He said that slow pace of trial against the terrorists of the Mumbai 26/11 terror case; being held in Pakistan is main hurdle.

 

But, Indian prime minister ignored the fact that on July 19, 2013 the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

 

Notably, in the recent past, United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan in New Delhi was asked to vacate official accommodation, claiming that its role had become irrelevant.

 

It is also mentionable that Pakistani business community is agitated by the High handedness of Indian authorities in India, whenever they participate in trade exhibitions. As per visa protocols of year 2012, both India and Pakistan are bound to give business visa “Exemption from Police Reporting.” Recently, Pakistani delegation members were fined $ 40 per participant for missing Police reporting during trade exhibition (Alishan Pakistan), held at New Delhi from 11-14 September 2014. Besides this, no relaxation is being granted by Indian authorities in issuance of visa to Pakistani businessmen. Element of non-cooperation and aggressiveness towards Pakistan is significant in conduct of Indian authorities after the arrival of Modi regime in power.

 

Nonetheless, we can undoubtedly conclude that India continues cross-border shelling inside Pakistan so as to obtain multiple designs against the former.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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India’s Nuclear Threat or Political Suicide By Sajjad Shaukat

India’s Nuclear Threat or Political Suicide

 

 

 

 

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan Ra'ad Missile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his interview to an Indian TV channel, leader of the fundamentalist BJP-led ruling party Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, a staunch promoter of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) said on July 12, this year that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and it would not shy away from a nuclear war because ultimately there would be no Pakistan left. He elaborated, “May be 100 million will die; no problem…but we have to neutralize China.”

 

Swamy added that the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution.” About the aftermath of the withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan, he remarked, “Americans will hand over Afghanistan to Taliban and go…India should send at least 200,000 troops to Afghanistan…their [Taliban] appetite is Jihad and Kashmir is the obvious place…so we should be ready to go to war.” He further pointed out that Modi won the elections 2014 on the basis of Hindutva, and “those Muslims inside India who do not accept Hindu ancestry should be disenfranchised.”

 

However, it is wishful thinking of the BJP leader that India can destroy Pakistan through nuclear bombs. While both the neighbouring adversaries are nuclear powers, New Delhi should not ignore the principles of deterrence, popularly known as balance of terror.

 

After the World War 11, nuclear weapons were never used, and were only employed as a strategic threat. During the heightened days of the Cold War, many crises arose in Suez Canal, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam when the US and the former Soviet Union were willing to use atomic weapons, but they stopped because of the fear of nuclear war which could eliminate both the super powers. Therefore, the two rivals preferred to resolve their differences through diplomacy.

 

Similarly, many occasions came between Pakistan and India, during Kargil crisis of 1998, and Indian parliament’s attack by the militants in 2001, and particularly in 2008, in the post-Mumbai terror attacks when New Delhi started a blame game against Islamabad in wake of its highly provocative actions like mobilization of troops. Pakistan had also taken defensive steps to meet any prospective aggression or surgical strikes by New Delhi. But, India failed in implementing its aggressive plans, because Islamabad also possesses atomic weapons.

 

Political strategists agree that deterrence is a psychological concept which aims to affect an opponent’s perceptions. In nuclear deterrence, weapons are less usable, as their threat is enough in deterring an enemy who intends to use its armed might. In this context, a renowned scholar, Hotzendorf remarks that nuclear force best serves the interests of a state when it deters an attack.

 

In the present circumstances, BJP is badly mistaken, if it overestimates India’s power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. As Pakistan lacks conventional forces and weapons vis-à-vis India, so, in case of a prolonged conflict, Pakistan will have to use nuclear weapons and missiles which could destroy whole of India, resulting into Indian political suicide.

 

It is notable that under the Pak-China pretext, the then Indian Army Chief, Gen. Deepak Kapoor had vocally revealed on December 29, 2010 that the Indian army “is now revising its five-year old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.” On October 15, 2010, the ex-Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh, while explaining the same concept had openly blamed that Beijing and Islamabad posed a major threat to India’s security, while calling for a need to upgrade country’s defence.

 

In May 1998, when India detonated five nuclear tests, the then Defense Minister (BJP leader) George Fernandes had declared publicly that “China is India’s potential threat No. 1.” New Delhi which successfully tested missile, Agni-111in May 2007, has been extending its range to target all Chinese cities.

 

Notably, in 2010, during his visit to India, US President Obama announced the measures, America would take regarding removal of Indian space and defence companies from a restricted “entities list.” Owing to various agreements with US, India has been purchasing latest and sophisticated defence-related arms and equipments from America like Apache helicopters, the new F-35 fighter jets etc. Besides, New Delhi has also been buying arms from Germany, France, Russia, Italy and especially Israel.

 

Particularly, America which signed a deal of civil energy technology with India in 2008, desires to make India a major power to counterbalance China in Asia. In case of Pakistan, Balochistan’s geo-strategic location with deep Gwadar seaport, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia has further annoyed the US and India, because Beijing has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. It is because of multiple strategic designs that the US and India seeks to dismember both Pakistan and Iran. Notably, by rejecting US growing pressure, on March 11, 2013, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the gas pipeline project with Iran. Pakistan also handed over the control of Gwader seaport to China.

 

During the trip of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Islamabad, Pakistan and China signed several agreements on May 22, 2013 to strengthen and diversify cooperation in various fields including completion of the Gwader seaport. Premier Li Keqiang supported Pakistan’s proposal of China-Pakistan economic corridor to improve connectivity between Pakistan and China, saying that both sides decided on a long term programme—a strategic idea, assuring that Beijing was also ready to upgrade Karrakuram Highway and to sign Sino-Pak civilian nuclear deal.

It is mentionable that after the NATO forces quit Afghanistan in December, 2014, the puppet regime of Kabul will fall like a house of cards due to stiff resistance of the Afghan Taliban who will reemerge. India which has supported the Northern Alliance seeks to further strengthened its grip there to get strategic depth against Islamabad, will not be able to maintain its network and development projects due to successful guerrilla warfare of the Taliban. New Delhi which has shifted Afghan war to Pakistan, with the backing of Washington, will have to face the different war, as the Islamic militants are well-organized, having connections with one another from Somalia to Iraq and from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan or elsewhere. These non-state actors could reach India, especially the Indian-occupied Kashmir.

 

It is noteworthy that currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for armed forces, and defence purchases, leaving even less to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. Hence, various justices have further intensified regional and ethnic disparities in India.

It is worth-mentioning that the one of the important causes of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union was that its greater defence expenditure exceeded to the maximum, resulting into economic crises inside the country. In this regard, about a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the former President Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.” However, militarization of the Soviet Union failed in controlling the movements of liberation, launched by various ethnic nationalities. On the other hand, while learning no lesson from India’s previous close friend, Indian new Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP is acting upon the similar policies.

 

Nevertheless, under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva, use brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of liberation continue in one or the other form. In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle, attacking official installments. In this context, Indian media admitted that Maoists have now entered the cities, expanding their activities against the Indian union. While, even under the rule of Congress which claims to be secular party, Indian extremist parties like BJP, RSS, VHP, Shev Sina and Bajrang Dal have missed no opportunity to communalize national politics of India. They also intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed.

 

After serving the BJP for 30 years, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence.” While pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.”

 

Past and present history of Balkan gives ample evidence that insurgency and movement of separatism in one country have drastic impact on other neighbouring states. Similarly, civil war and unrest either in Somalia or Sudan have affected all the states of Darfur region, while violent uprising in Egypt, Syria etc. has radicalized a number of the Middle East countries. Indian state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir in wake of Israeli continued atrocities on the Palestinians in Gaza will further radicalize Asia.

 

Nonetheless, irresponsible and unrealistic approach of the BJP-led government in the modern era of peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development could culminate into political suicide of the India union.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

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Is India on a Totalitarian Path? Arundhati Roy on Corporatism, Nationalism and World’s Largest Vote

Editor: Maqsood Kayani,Pakistan Think Tank
 
Is India on a Totalitarian Path? Arundhati Roy on Corporatism, Nationalism and World’s Largest Vote  
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As voting begins in India in the largest elections the world has ever seen, we spend the hour with Indian novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy. Nearly 815 million Indians are eligible to vote, and results will be issued in May. One of India’s most famous authors — and one of its fiercest critics — Roy is out with a new book, “Capitalism: A Ghost Story,” which dives into India’s transforming political landscape and makes the case that globalized capitalism has intensified the wealth divide, racism, and environmental degradation. “This new election is going to be [about] who the corporates choose,” Roy says, “[about] who is not going to blink about deploying the Indian army against the poorest people in this country, and pushing them out to give over those lands, those rivers, those mountains, to the major mining corporations.” Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, “The God of Small Things.” Her other books include “An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire” and “Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers.”

 

 
 
TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Voting has begun in India in the largest election the world has ever seen. About 815 million Indians are eligible to vote over the next five weeks. The number of voters in India is more than two-and-a-half times the entire population of the United States. The election will take place in nine phases at over 900,000 polling stations across India. Results will be known on May 16th. Pre-election polls indicate Narendra Modi will likely become India’s next prime minister. Modi is the leader of the BJP, a Hindu nationalist party. He serves—he served as the chief minister of Gujarat, where one of India’s worst anti-Muslim riots occurred in 2002 that left at least a thousand people dead. After the bloodshed, the U.S. State Department revoked Modi’s visa, saying it could not grant a visa to any foreign government official who, quote, “was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” Modi has never apologized for or explained his actions at the time of the riots. Modi’s main challenger to become prime minister is Rahul Gandhi of the ruling Congress party. Gandhi is heir to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that’s governed India for much of its post-independence history. Several smaller regional parties and the new anti-corruption Common Man Party are also in the running. If no single party wins a clear majority, the smaller parties could play a crucial role in forming a coalition government. Well, today we spend the hour with one of India’s most famous authors and one of its fiercest critics, Arundhati Roy. In 1997, Roy won the Booker Prize for her novel, The God of Small Things. Since then, she has focused on nonfiction. Her books include An Ordinary Person’s Guide to EmpireField Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers and Walking with the Comrades. Her latest book is titled Capitalism: A Ghost Story. Nermeen Shaikh and I recently sat down with Arundhati Roy when she was in New York. We began by asking about her new book and the changes that have taken place in India since it opened its economy in the early ’90s.

ARUNDHATI ROY: What we’re always told is that, you know, there’s going to be a trickle-down revolution. You know, that kind of opening up of the economy that happened in the early ’90s was going to lead to an inflow of foreign capital, and eventually the poor would benefit. So, you know, being a novelist, I started out by standing outside this 27-story building that belonged to Mukesh Ambani, with its ballrooms and its six floors of parking and 900 servants and helipads and so on. And it had this 27-story-high vertical lawn, and bits of the grass had sort of fallen off in squares. And so, I said, “Well, trickle down hasn’t worked, but gush up has,” because after the opening up of the economy, we are in a situation where, you know, 100 of India’s wealthiest people own—their combined wealth is 25 percent of the GDP, whereas more than 80 percent of its population lives on less than half a dollar a day. And the levels of malnutrition, the levels of hunger, the amount of food intake, all these—all these, you know, while India is shown as a quickly growing economy, though, of course, that has slowed down now dramatically, but at its peak, what happened was that this new—these new economic policies created a big middle class, which, given the population of India, gave the impression of—it was a universe of its own, with, you know, the ability to consume cars and air conditioners and mobile phones and all of that. And that huge middle class came at a cost of a much larger underclass, which was just away from the arc lights, you know, which wasn’t—which wasn’t even being looked at, millions of people being displaced, pushed off their lands either by big development project or just by land which had ceased to be productive. You had—I mean, we have had 250,000 farmers committing suicide, which, if you even try to talk about, let’s say, on the Indian television channels, you actually get insulted, you know, because it—

NERMEEN SHAIKH: I mean, that’s an extraordinary figure. It’s a quarter of a million farmers who have killed themselves.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Yeah, and let me say that that figure doesn’t include the fact that, you know, if it’s a woman who kills herself, she’s not considered a farmer, or now they’ll start saying, “Oh, it wasn’t suicide. Oh, it was depression. It was this. It was that.” You know?

AMY GOODMAN: But why are they killing themselves?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Because they are caught in a debt trap, you know, because what happens is that the entire—the entire face of agriculture has changed. So people start growing cash crops, you know, crops which are market-friendly, which need a lot of input. You know, they need pesticides. They need borewells. They need all kinds of chemicals. And then the crop fails, or the cost of the—that they get for their product doesn’t match the amount of money they have to put into it. And also you have situations like in the Punjab, where—which was called the “rice bowl of India.” Punjab never used to grow rice earlier, but now—

AMY GOODMAN: In the north of India.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Yes, in the north. And it’s supposed to be India’s richest agricultural state. But there you have so many farmer suicides now, land going saline. The, you know, people, ironically, the way they commit suicide is by drinking the pesticide, you know, which they need to—and apart from the fact that the debt, the illness that is being caused by all of this, in Punjab, you have a train called the Cancer Express, you know, where people just coming in droves to be treated for illness and—you know, and—

AMY GOODMAN: And the train is called the Cancer Express?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Yes, it’s called the Cancer Express. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Because of the pesticide that they’re exposed to?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Yeah, and they are. And this is the richest state in India, you know—I mean agriculturally the richest. And there’s a crisis there—never mind in places like, you know, towards the west, Maharashtra and Vidarbha, where, you know, farmers are killing themselves almost every day.

AMY GOODMAN: I was wondering if you could read from Capitalism: A Ghost Story.

ARUNDHATI ROY: So, “In India, the 300 million of us who belong to the new, post-IMF’reforms’ middle class—the market—live side by side with the spirits of the nether world, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains and denuded forests; the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and the 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survive on less than half a dollar, which is 20 Indian rupees, a day.

“Mukesh Ambani is personally worth $20 billion. He holds a majority controlling share in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a company with a market capitalization of $47 billion and global business interests that include petrochemicals, oil, natural gas, polyester fibre, Special Economic Zones, fresh food retail, high schools, life sciences research and stem cell storage services. RIL recently bought 95 per cent shares in Infotel, a TV consortium that controls 27 TV news and entertainment channels in almost every regional language.

“RIL is one of a handful of corporations that run India. Some of the others are the Tatas, Jindals, Vedanta, Mittals, Infosys, Essar. Their race for growth has spilled across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. Their nets are cast wide; they are visible and invisible, over-ground as well as underground. The Tatas, for example, run more than 100 companies in 80 countries. They are one of India’s oldest and largest private sector power companies. They own mines, gas fields, steel plants, telephone, cable TV and broadband networks, and they run whole townships. They manufacture cars and trucks, and own the Taj Hotel chain, Jaguar, Land Rover, Daewoo, Tetley Tea, a publishing company, a chain of bookstores, a major brand of iodized salt and the cosmetics giant Lakme—which I think they’ve sold now. Their advertising tagline could easily be: You Can’t Live Without Us.

“According to the rules of the Gush-Up Gospel, the more you have, the more you can have.”

AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati Roy, reading from her new book, Capitalism: A Ghost Story. We’ll be back with her in a minute. [break] AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!democracynow.orgThe War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue our conversation with the world-renowned author Arundhati Roy. Voting has just begun in India in the largest election the world has ever seen. About 815 million Indians are eligible to vote over the next five weeks. The number of eligible voters in India is larger than the total population of the United States and European Union combined. Arundhati Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things. Her latest book is called Capitalism: A Love Story [sic]. Democracy Now!‘s — Capitalism: A Ghost StoryDemocracy Now!‘s Nermeen Shaikh and I talked to Arundhati Roy about the changes in India she describes in her latest book and the implications for the elections.

ARUNDHATI ROY: So, I’m talking about how, when you have this kind of control over all business, over the media, over its essential infrastructure, electricity generation, information, everything, then you just field your, you know, pet politicians. And right now, for example, what’s happening in India is that one of the reasons that is being attributed to the slowdown of the economy is the fact that there is a tremendous resistance to all of this from the people on the ground, from the people who are being displaced, from the—and in the forests, it’s the Maoist guerrillas; in the villages, it’s all kinds of people’s movements—all of whom are of course being called Maoist. And now, there is a—you see, these economic policies—these new economic policies cannot be implemented unless—except with state—with coercive state violence. So you have a situation where the forests are full of paramilitary just burning villages, you know, pushing people out of their homes, trying to clear the land for mining companies to whom the government has signed, you know, hundreds of memorandums of understanding. Outside the forests, too, this is happening. So there is a kind of war which, of course, always existed in India. There hasn’t been a year when the Indian army hasn’t been deployed against its own people. I mean, I’ll talk about that later—

AMY GOODMAN: Since when?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Since independence, since 1947, you know? But now the plan is to deploy them. Now it’s the paramilitary. But this new election is going to be who is the person that the corporates choose, who is not going to blink about putting the Indian—about deploying the Indian army against the poorest people in this country, you know, and pushing them out to give over those lands, those rivers, those mountains, to the major mining corporations. So this is what we are being prepared for now—the air force, the army, going in into the heart of India now.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Before we go to the elections, could you—one of the operations, the military operations, you talk about is Operation Green Hunt.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Yeah.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Could you explain what that is, when it started, and who it targets?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, Operation Green Hunt, basically—you know, in 2004, the current government signed a series of memorandums of understanding with a number of mining corporations and infrastructure development companies to build dams, to do mining, to build roads, to move India into the space where, as the home minister at the time said, he wanted 75 percent of India’s population to live in cities, which is, you know, moving—social engineering, really, moving 500 million people or so out of their homes. And so, then they came up against this very, very militant resistance from the ground. As I said, in the forests, there were armed Maoist guerrillas; outside the forest, there are militant, you know, some call themselves Gandhians, all kinds. There’s a whole diversity of resistance but, although strategically they had different ways of dealing with it, were all fighting the same thing. So then, in the state of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, which are where there are huge indigenous populations—

NERMEEN SHAIKH: In central India.

ARUNDHATI ROY: In central India—the first thing the government did was to—very similar to what happened in places like Peru and Colombia, you know, they started to arm a section of the indigenous population and create a vigilante army. It was called the Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh. The Salwa Judum, along with local paramilitary, went in and started decimating villages, like they basically chased some 300,000 people out of the forests, and some 600 villages were emptied. And then the people began to fight back. And really, this whole Salwa Judum experiment failed, at which point they announced Operation Green Hunt, where there was this official declaration of war.

And there was so much propaganda in the media. As I explain to you now, the media is owned by the corporations who have vested interests. So there was this—you know, the prime minister came out and said, “They are the greatest internal security threat.” And, you know, there was this kind of conflation between the Maoists with their ski caps and, you know, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and all these people who are threatening the idea of India.

What the government wasn’t prepared for was the fightback, not just from the people in the forest, but even from a range of activists, a range of people who were outraged by this. And, you know, they passed these laws which meant that anybody could be called a Maoist and, you know, a threat to security. And thousands—even today, there are thousands of people in jail under sedition, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and so on. And—but that was Operation Green Hunt. But that, too, ran aground, because it’s very difficult terrain and—you know, so now the idea is to deploy the army. And now the corporations feel that this past government hadn’t—didn’t have the nerve to send out the army, that it blinked. And so—

AMY GOODMAN: This is the Congress party.

ARUNDHATI ROY: The Congress party and its allies. So now all the big corporations are backing the chief—the three-times chief minister of the state of Gujarat, the western state of Gujarat, who has proved his mettle, you know, by being an extremely hard and cold-blooded chief minister, who is now—I mean, he is, of course, best known for having presided over a pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat.

AMY GOODMAN: So talk about who Modi is—I mean, this moves us into the election of April; it’s going to be the largest election in the world—who the contenders are, who this man is who could well become the head of India, who the United States has not granted a visa to in years because of what you’re describing.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, who is Narendra Modi? I think he’s, you know, changing his—changing his idea of who he himself is, you know, because he started out as a kind of activist in this self-proclaimed fascist organization called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the RSS, which was founded in 1925, who the heroes of the RSS were Mussolini and Hitler. Even today, you know, their—the bible of the RSS was written by a man called Golwalkar, you know, who says the Muslims of India are like the Jews of Germany. And so, they have a very clear idea of India as a Hindu nation, very much like the Hindu version of Pakistan.

AMY GOODMAN: Where, you’re saying, the Muslims should be eradicated.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Where they should be either made to live as, I think, second-class citizens and—

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Or they should move to Pakistan.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Yeah, or they should move to Pakistan. Or if they don’t behave themselves, they should just be killed, you know? So, this is a very old—you know, Modi didn’t invent it. But he was—he and even the former BJP prime minister, Vajpayee, the former home minister, Advani—all of these are members of the RSS. The RSS is an organization which has 40,000 or 50,000 units across India, extremely—I mean, they were at one point banned because a former member of the RSS killed Gandhi. But now—you know, now they are of course not a banned organization, and they work—

AMY GOODMAN: Killed Mahatma Gandhi.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Yeah, assassinated him. But that—but, so, Modi started out as a worker for the RSS. He, of course, came into great prominence in 2002, when he was already the chief minister of Gujarat but had been losing local municipal elections. And this was at the time when the BJP had run this big campaign in—they had demolished the Babri Masjid, this old 14th century mosque, in 1992. But they were now saying, “We want to build a big Hindu temple in that place.” And a group of pilgrims who were returning from the site where this temple was supposed to be built, the train in which they were traveling, the compartment was set on fire, and 58 Hindu pilgrims were burned. Nobody knows, even today, who set that compartment on fire and how it happened. But, of course, it was immediately, you know, blamed on Muslims. And then there followed an unbelievable pogrom in Gujarat, where more than a thousand people were lynched, were burned alive. Women were raped. Their abdomens were slit open. Their fetuses were taken out and so on. And not only that—

AMY GOODMAN: These were Muslims.

ARUNDHATI ROY: These were Muslims, by these Hindu mobs. And it became very clear that they had lists, they had support. The police were, you know, on side of the mobs. And, you know, 100,000 Muslims were driven from their homes. And this happened in 2002, this was 12 years ago. And subsequently, they have been—you know, the killers themselves have come on TV and boasted about their killing, come on—in sting operations. But the more they boasted, the more it became—I mean, for people who thought other people would be outraged, in fact it worked as election propaganda for Modi.

And even now, though he took off his sort of saffron turban and his red tikka and then put on a sharp suit and became the development chief minister, and yet, you know, when—recently, when he was interviewed by Reuters and asked whether he regretted what happened in 2002, he more or less said, “You know, I mean, even if I were driving a car and I drove over a puppy, I would feel bad,” you know? But he very expressly has refused to take any responsibility or regret what happened.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: But that’s one of the extraordinary things that you describe in the book, is that following liberalization and the growth of this enormous middle class, 300 million, there was a simultaneous shift, gradual shift, to a more right-wing, exclusive, intolerant conception of India as a Hindu state. So, simultaneously, this class embraces neoliberalism, the neoliberalism in India, and also a more conservative Hindu ideology. So can you explain how those two go together, and how in fact, along with what you said now about Modi, how that might play out in this election?

ARUNDHATI ROY: You know, whenever I speak in India, I say that in the late ’80s what the government did was they opened two locks. One was the lock of the free—of the market. The Indian market was not a free market, not an open market; it was a regulated market. They opened the lock of the markets. And they opened the lock of the Babri Masjid, which for years had been a disputed site, you know, and they opened it. And both those locks—the opening of both those locks eventually led to two kinds of totalitarianisms. One—and they both led to two kinds of manufactured terrorisms. You know, so the lock of the open market led to what are now being described as the Maoist terrorist, which includes all of us, you know, all of us. Anybody who’s speaking against this kind of economic totalitarianism is a Maoist, whether you are a Maoist or not. And the other, you know, the Islamist terrorist. So, what happens is that both the Congress party and the BJP has different prioritizations for which terrorist is on the top of the list, you know? But what happens is that whoever wins the elections, they always have an excuse to continue to militarize.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So the two main parties who are contesting this election are Congress, which is the ruling party now, and the BJP, the Bharatiya Janata Party, of which Narendra Modi is the head. And you’ve said that the only difference between them is that one does by day what the other does by night, so as far as these policies are concerned, you can see no difference, irrespective of who wins.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Yeah, well, you know, when it comes down to the wire, I agree with what I’ve said. And yet, you know, there is something to be said for hypocrisy, you know, for doing things by night, because there’s a little bit of tentativeness there; there isn’t this sureness of, you know, “We want the Hindu nation, and we want the rule of the corporations,” and so on. But, yes, I mean, what happens is that everybody knows. It’s like whoever is in power gets 60 percent of the cut, and whoever is not in power gets 40 percent. That’s how the corporates work. You know, they have enough money to pay the government and the opposition. And all these institutions of democracy have been hollowed out, and their shells have been placed back, and we continue this sort of charade in some ways.

AMY GOODMAN: Indian writer Arundhati Roy, author of the new book, Capitalism: A Ghost Story. India is in the midst of the largest election in world history. We’ll be back with Arundhati Roy in a minute. [break] AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!democracynow.orgThe War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Together with Nermeen Shaikh, we sat down with the world-renowned author Arundhati Roy when she came to the United States last week. Arundhati Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel The God of Small Things. She begins with a reading from her new book,Capitalism: A Ghost Story.

ARUNDHATI ROY: “Which of us sinners was going to cast the first stone? Not me, who lives off royalties from corporate publishing houses. We all watch Tata Sky, we surf the net with Tata Photon, we ride in Tata taxis, we stay in Tata Hotels, sip our Tata tea in Tata bone china and stir it with teaspoons made of Tata Steel. We buy Tata books in Tata bookshops. We eat Tata salt. We are under siege.

“If the sledgehammer of moral purity is to be the criterion for stone-throwing, then the only people who qualify are those who have been silenced already. Those who live outside the system; the outlaws in the forests or those whose protests are never covered by the press, or the well-behaved dispossessed, who go from tribunal to tribunal, bearing witness and giving testimony.”

But this—you know, I’m talking about this because, as I said, you know, for the poor, India has the army and the paramilitary and the air force and the displacement and the police and the concentration camps. But what are you going to do to the rest? And there, I talk about the exquisite art of corporate philanthropy, you know, and how these very mining corporations and the people who are involved in, really, the pillaging of not just the poor, but of the mountains, of the rivers, of everything, are now—have now turned their attention to the arts, you know? So, apart from the fact that, of course, they own the TV channels and they fund all of that, they, for example, fund the Jaipur Literary Festival—Literature Festival, where the biggest writers in the world come, and they discuss free speech, and the logo is shining out there behind you. But you don’t hear about the fact that in the forest the bodies are piling up, you know? The public hearings where people have the right to ask these corporations what is being done to their environment, to their homes, they are just silenced. They are not allowed to speak. There are collusions between these companies and the police, the Salwa Judum, which I was talking about earlier.

And, you know, the whole—the whole way in which capitalism works is not just as simple as we seem—as it seems to be. We don’t even understand the long-term game, you know? And, of course, America is where it began, in some ways, with foundations like the Rockefeller and the Ford and the Carnegie. And what was—what was their idea? You know? How did it start? It was—now it seems like part of your daily life, like Coca-Cola or coffee or something, but in fact it was a very conceptual leap of the business imagination, when a small percentage of the massive profits of these steel magnates and so on went into the forming of these foundations, which then began to control public policy. You know, they really were the people who gave the seed money for the U.N., for the CIA, for the Foreign Relations Council. And how did they then—when U.S. capitalism started to move outwards, to look for resources outwards, what roles did the Rockefeller and Ford and all these play? You know, how did—for example, the Ford Foundation was very, very crucial in the imagining of a society like America which lived on credit, you know? And that idea has now been imported to places like Bangladesh, India, in the form of microcredit, in the form of—and that, too, has led to a lot of distress, to a lot of killing, this kind of microcapitalism.

AMY GOODMAN: These corporate foundations you talk about, how are they evidenced in India?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Which ones? You mean—

AMY GOODMAN: Like the Ford, the Carnegie, the Rockefeller.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Rockefeller. Well, you know, I mean, in this, I’ve talked about the role not just in India, but even in the U.S. For example, how do they even—how do they deal with things like political people’s movements? How did they fragment the civil rights movement? I’ll just read you a part about what happened with the civil rights movement.

“Having worked out how to manage governments, political parties, elections, courts, the media and liberal opinion, the neoliberal establishment faced one more challenge: how to deal with the growing unrest, the threat of ’people’s power.’ How do you domesticate it? How do you turn protesters into pets? How do you vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into a blind alley?

“Here too, foundations and their allied organizations have a long and illustrious history. A revealing example is their role in defusing and deradicalizing the Black Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1960s and the successful transformation of Black Power into Black Capitalism.

“The Rockefeller Foundation, in keeping with J.D. Rockefeller’s ideals, had worked closely with Martin Luther King Sr. (father of Martin Luther King Jr). But his influence waned with the rise of the more militant organizations—the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers. The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations moved in. In 1970, they donated $15 million to ‘moderate’ black organizations, giving people grants, fellowships, scholarships, job training programs for dropouts and seed money for black-owned businesses. Repression, infighting and the honey trap of funding led to the gradual atrophying of the radical black organizations.

“Martin Luther King made the forbidden connections between Capitalism, Imperialism, Racism and the Vietnam War. As a result, after he was assassinated, even his memory became toxic to them, a threat to public order. Foundations and Corporations worked hard to remodel his legacy to fit a market-friendly format. The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, with an operational grant of $2 million, was set up by, among others, the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mobil, Western Electric, Procter & Gamble, U.S. Steel and Monsanto. The Center maintains the King Library and Archives of the Civil Rights Movement. Among the many programs the King Center runs have been projects that work—quote, ‘work closely with the United States Department of Defense, the Armed Forces Chaplains Board and others,’ unquote. It co-sponsored the Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series called—and I quote—’The Free Enterprise System: An Agent for Non-violent Social Change.’”

It did the same thing in South Africa. They did the same thing in Indonesia, you know, with the—General Suharto’s war, which all of us now know about because of The Act of Killing in Indonesia. And very much so in even places like India, where they move in and they begin to NGO-ize, say, the feminist movement, you know? So you have a feminist movement, which was very radical, very vibrant, suddenly getting funded, and not doing—it’s not that the funded organizations are doing terrible things; they are doing important things. They are doing—you know, whether it’s working on gender rights, whether it’s with sex workers or AIDS. But they will, in their funding, gradually make a little border between any movement which involves women, which is actually threatening the economic order, and these issues, you know? So, in the forest, when I went and spent weeks with the guerrillas, you had 90,000 women who were members of the Adivasi Krantikari Mahila Sangathan, this revolutionary indigenous women’s organization, but they are threatening the corporations, they are threatening the economic architecture of the world, by refusing to move out of there. So they’re not considered feminists, you know? So how you domesticate something and turn it into this little—what in India we call paltu shers, you know, which is a tame tiger, like a tiger on a leash, that is pretending to be resistance, but it isn’t.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: But before we conclude, Arundhati Roy, you have not written a novel—you’re probably sick of being asked this question—since The God of Small Things. And you said that you may return to novel writing now as a more subversive way of being political. So could you either talk about what you intend to write or what you mean by that?

ARUNDHATI ROY: I’ve been writing straightforward political essays for 15—almost 15 years now. And often, they are interventions in a situation that seems to be closing down, you know, whether it was on the dam or whether it was about privatization or whether it was about Operation Green Hunt. And I feel now that, you know, in some ways, through those very urgent political essays, which are all interconnected—they are not just separate issues, they are all interconnected, and they are, together, presenting a worldview. Now I feel that I don’t have anything direct to say without repeating myself, but I think what—you know, that understanding, which was not just an understanding I had in the past and I was just preaching to my readers, you know; it was I was learning as I wrote and as I grew. And I feel that fiction now will complicate that more, because I think the way I think has become more complicated than nonfiction, straightforward nonfiction, can deal with. You know, so I need to break down those proteins and write in a way which—I don’t have to write overtly politically, because I don’t believe that—I mean, I think what we are made up of, what our DNA is and how we are wired, will come out in literature without making a great effort to raise slogans. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Before we end, and before you come out with this next novel that we’ll ask you to read next time when you come to the United States, I was wondering if you could read from an earlier essay. It’s an excerpt that you read at the New School, when hundreds of people came out to see you here recently.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, it was—it was really the first—in a way, the first political essay I wrote, anyway, after The God of Small Things, and it was an essay called “The End of Imagination,” when the Indian government conducted a series of nuclear tests in 1998.

“In early May (before the bomb), I left home for three weeks. I thought I would return. I had every intention of returning. Of course, things haven’t worked out quite the way I planned.” Of course, by which I meant that India just wasn’t the same anymore.

“While I was away, I met a friend of mine whom I have always loved for, among other things, her ability to combine deep affection with a frankness that borders on savagery.

“’I’ve been thinking about you,’ she said, ‘about The God of Small Things — what’s in it, what’s over it, under it, around it, above it…’

“She fell silent for a while. I was uneasy and not at all sure that I wanted to hear the rest of what she had to say. She, however, was sure that she was going to say it. ‘In this last year,’ she said, ‘less than a year actually—you’ve had too much of everything—fame, money, prizes, adulation, criticism, condemnation, ridicule, love, hate, anger, envy, generosity—everything. In some ways it’s a perfect story. Perfectly baroque in its excess. The trouble is that it has, or can have, only one perfect ending.’ Her eyes were on me, bright with a slanting, probing brilliance. She knew that I knew what she was going to say. She was insane.

” She was going to say that nothing that happened to me in the future could ever match the buzz of this. That the whole of the rest of my life was going to be vaguely unsatisfying. And, therefore, the only perfect ending to the story would be death. My death.

“The thought had occurred to me too. Of course it had. The fact that all this, this global dazzle—these lights in my eyes, the applause, the flowers, the photographers, the journalists feigning a deep interest in my life (yet struggling to get a single fact straight), the men in suits fawning over me, the shiny hotel bathrooms with endless towels—none of it was likely to happen again. Would I miss it? Had I grown to need it? Was I a fame-junkie? Would I have withdrawal symptoms?

“I told my friend there was no such thing as a perfect story. I said in any case hers was an external view of things, this assumption that the trajectory of a person’s happiness, or let’s say fulfillment, had peaked (and now must trough) because she had accidentally stumbled upon ‘success.’ It was premised on the unimaginative belief that wealth and fame were the mandatory stuff of everybody’s dreams.

“You’ve lived too long in New York, I told her. There are other worlds. Other kinds of dreams. Dreams in which failure is feasible. Honorable. And sometimes even worth striving for. Worlds in which recognition is not the only barometer of brilliance or human worth. There are plenty of warriors that I know and love, people far more valuable than myself, who go to war each day, knowing in advance that they will fail. True, they are less ‘successful’ in the most vulgar sense of the word, but by no means less fulfilled.

“The only dream worth having, I told her, is to dream that you will live while you’re alive and die only when you’re dead.

“’Which means exactly what?’

“I tried to explain, but didn’t do a very good job of it. Sometimes I need to write to think. So I wrote it down for her on a paper napkin. And this is what I wrote: To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati Roy, reading from her essay, “The End of Imagination.” She is the author of the new book, Capitalism: A Ghost Story. To read an excerpt of that new book, you can go to democracynow.org. We will also link there to our full archive of interviews with Arundhati Roy, as well as her speeches. That’s democracynow.org. To watch this broadcast, to listen to it, to read the transcript of what Arundhati Roy said, you can go to democracynow.org, as well. Reference

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