surely this is unthinkable, and not only for reasons of morality.
After all, the nuclear devastation of Pakistan's cities would
blow right back in India's face, poisoning the land with radioactive
elements and taking a huge toll of Indian as well as Pakistani
lives. Ah, yes, but if you believe in reincarnation, as India's
predominantly Hindu rulers do, then what's the problem? Why,
all these people will just come back in another form, perhaps
as dung beetles that glow in the dark. So, you see, it's no
sweat, and no sin, to murder millions with the push of a button.
the supposedly Christian Fernandes, who presumably doesn't
believe in reincarnation, reconciles this threat of mass indiscriminate
murder with the demands of Christian morality is anyone's
guess. Certainly he was more than forthcoming in describing
Indian bloodlust. The Times of London reported him saying that India's military, "from the
top down, was eager to fight," and boasting that "Everyone
is raring to go. In fact, something that actually bothers
them is that things might now reach a point where one says
there is no war."
CREATURE FROM 20,000 FATHOMS
into the center of Asia to slay the monster Bin Laden, we
have stirred up other creatures more monstrous than we ever
imagined possible. In going after the poisonous snake of Al
Qaeda, which has apparently slithered off into the high grass,
we have disturbed the sleep of a much bigger and far more
powerful reptile – a Tyrannosaurus Rex lurking in a forgotten
corner of the world.
PRISON-HOUSE OF NATIONS
swarms with dozens of nationalities and thousands of religious,
ethnic, and social subgroups: it is, like its old Soviet ally,
a vast prison-house of nations, struggling to be free. The
Indian elite's efforts to forge a truly federalized central
state apparatus over the heads of these squabbling interest
groups have threatened, on occasion, to fall apart.
in corruption amid pervasive poverty, the moderate-left Congress
Party, after years of virtually uninterrupted rule, could
never come up with one unifying idea that would bind the many
different strands of Indian society together and rope in fractious
minorities. So a new movement rose up, based on the concept
a racial and religious mythology similar to the old German
racialist concept of the Volk,
the nation-race or collective soul of a people. Like the extreme
fundamentalist version of Islam practiced by the Taliban,
this deviant strain of Hinduism was a largely artificial construct
that increasingly bore little resemblance to the original.
parallels with German Nazi ideology do not end there, however.
According to the ideologues of Hindutva, the present-day Indians
descendants of pure "Aryans" who conquered the subcontinent
some 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, and are also the also the
heirs of today's northern Europeans. One guru floated the
theory that the original "Aryas" came out of the Arctic circle,
and then descended on India where they established their empire
and divided society into castes, with themselves, naturally,
at the top. The group at the center of the Hindutva movement,
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh (RSS) has a provision in its constitution that its
Supreme Leader must
be a blue-eyed Sarasvat Brahmin. The symbol of this Hindu-fascist
movement is, appropriately
enough, the swastika,
which Hitler originally borrowed from the ideologues of Indo-Europeanism.
burgeoning Hindu-fascist movement is a many-headed hydra,
which presents various faces to different publics. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is its political
wing, run mainly by high- and mid-caste activists, drawn in
by its appeal to a new Indian nationalism; Vishwa
Hindu Parishad (VHP), a clerical-fascist propaganda group,
and the openly fascist and brutally violent Bajrang Dal,
the Hindutva equivalent of Hitler's Brownshirts, which regularly
attacks minorities, such as Christians, and is always ready
for street action against the BJP's political opponents. Along
with a women's auxiliary, a youth group, and other organizations,
this Hindutva hive is collectively known as the Sangh Parivar.
Together, these groups forged an ideology that seeks to "saffronize"
the culture, the government, the schools, and "Hinduize" a
formerly pluralistic nation.
Sangh Parivar was largely discredited until the 1990s, when
the failure of the sclerotic Congress Party to revive the
nation had become all too apparent. The catalyzing moment
came in 1992, when the BJP went on the offensive with a series
of violent street actions that left more than 1,200 dead.
The crisis was sparked by a Hindu-fascist mob that pulled
down an ancient mosque in the city of Ayohya, believed to
be the spot where the Hindu warrior-god Ram was born. The
BJP state government, rather than go after the vandals, cleared
away the rubble and put up a Hindu shrine. Already in control
of several state governments, the BJP finally overtook the
Congress Party and, in
1996, formed a coalition government with various regionalist,
formerly-secularist and even socialist critics of Hindutva.
how was this religious obscurantist movement, one associated, after all, with
Gandhi's assassin, to garner an electoral majority or
cobble together a coalition government? The BJP and its rightist
allies couldn't get more than 35 percent of the vote, and
were forced to share power with other factions and parties.
The solution: reach out to the traditionally anti-American
left. A key link in the BJP-led coalition government is Samata Party
leader George Fernandes, a devout Christian and a socialist
claim to fame was that he led the effort to send
Coca-Cola packing – during his stint as a government minister
from 1977-79. The company was denounced by Fernandes as a
symbol of American imperialism and economic exploitation:
today, he seeks a military alliance with the American "exploiter"
against supposedly "pro-terrorist" Pakistan. What gives?
JEWEL IN THE CROWN
the Indian government's public face to the world during the
war crisis – a kind of South Asian Donald Rumsfeld – Fernandes and the BJP are now claiming to be "partners" with
the US in the war on terrorism. As the governing coalition's
chief foreign policy hawk, Fernandes is a key figure whose
absorption into the BJP-led coalition was a triumph for those
advocates of Hindutva who wanted to see their movement grow
beyond its rather limited ethnic and religious constituencies.
his belligerence – and his political history – Fernandes represents
the imperial ambitions of the Indian federal state. A Christian
and a leftist who formerly campaigned against the "communalist"
politics of the BJP, he is the jewel in the crown of the governing
"National Democratic" coalition – and his rise to prominence
points to an ominous development in the growth of a nuclear-armed
Hindu-fascism. Hindutva is being secularized, if not exactly
FERNANDES – PRO-TERRORIST ACTIVIST
interesting fact about Fernandes is that the man who wants
to nuke Pakistan in the name of India's "war on terrorism"
himself intimately involved with a known terrorist organization,
the LTTE or Tamil Liberation Tigers,
who seek to create a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka, formerly
Ceylon. The Tigers assassinated
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991, and were
into suicide bombing
in a big way well before Hamas and Al Qaeda got into the
game. Their terrorist tactics long ago labeled them a terrorist
outfit in the eyes of the US government.
1999, the BJP government lost a vote of confidence because, as it turned out, Fernandes
was not just sympathetic to the pro-Indian Tamils, but was
an activist in their "liberation" movement: he had led fundraising
efforts, helped procure arms, and used his authority as defense
minister to make it easier for the Tigers to smuggle arms
– even going so far as to dismiss an Indian navy commander
who had intercepted one too many sea-borne Tigers. The man
who once hosted a conference of the LTTE in his own home is
now saying that Pakistan must be nuked in order to defeat
terrorism – is it me, or does anybody else see something wrong
with this picture?
to the signing of the Indo-Sri Lankan Peace accords of 1987,
Sinhalese-Tamil ethnic warfare on the island had increasingly
drawn in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, right on the other
side of the Palk Strait from Sri Lanka, in support of the
Tamil separatists. When the flow of arms and support was cut
off, and the Indian Army sent in to keep the peace, the Tigers
waged a war of "liberation" against what they saw as an occupation
force. Truck bombs, suicide squads, assassinations, attacks
on civilian and governmental offices, hijackings, all carried
out by an extensive international network with units in 60-plus
countries – and with the full cooperation of India's "anti-terrorist"
minister of defense.
indeed, is a strange turn in the worldwide war on terrorism.
What next? Will the Irish Republican Army be recruited to
"fight terrorism" alongside Fernandes?
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