June 12, 2002
Lessons in 'morale terrorism'
Has the Texan cowboy of 9/11 turned a coward? Fearing an imminent Indo-Pak war, the US of Bush Junior recently asked its citizens in the two countries to vamoose, go back to their home, sweet home. And the cowboy's lackey, one Blair of the UK, followed suit. This then is the duo's hyped harangue of their 'global war on terrorism'.
Instead of just taking over the nukes of Pakistan, if not the whole of Pakistan, the US and the UK have turned yellow, mortally afraid probably of a fundamentalist Islamic backlash on their own dear citizens at home, sweet home. They knew, the US and the UK, that Pakistan was the aggressor in October 1947 in J&K and that J&K was legally India's, but didn't raise even a finger against it in the UN.
Today, they know, the US and the UK, that Pakistan is the mother of international terrorism without any DNA test being required, but they will not act decisively against it. A decimated Statue of Liberty and an exploded Buckingham Palace probably haunts their vision. No problem, really, if only they didn't exercise 'morale terrorism' on India by forever pulling us down over human rights or labour laws or the Enron failure, by humiliating us by holding up arms deals or imposing economic sanctions or issuing 'advisories' or 'demarches' or what have you, even as they heap eulogies on the double-dealing Musharraf, father of jihadi terrorism -- no DNA test required.
Some defence 'experts' -- and the breed is now swarming the international circuit, almost cheaper by the dozen -- say that the US and the UK 'advisories' to their citizens is not an act of panic, but only a pressure tactic to make the two brown-skinned quarrelling neighbours see reason and withdraw to the cuddly, mediating arms of the 'civilised' white world. Well, well, no Hollywood movie depicted John Wayne or Randolph Scott ordering his followers to run away from action while the cowboy hero himself simply chewed away at his rolled cigarette, both hands away from the holster. The cowboy hero's 'pressure tactic' lay, rather, in shooting at the villain's hat or his heels.
Our real-life cowboy from Texas has no such target in mind when it comes to Pakistan; he prefers to horse-ride in his ranch and order out his fellow Americans from the likely scene of battle.
His country continues to play the nosey parker nonetheless, indulging in something or the other that will harass and embarrass the largest pluralistic democracy in the world. Its latest invasion into what is purely India's domestic matter was the hearing last week of some crusty US commission on the recent Gujarat riots, which, never forget, began after the hell-like carnage of 58 of Lord Ram's karsevaks at Godhra, the predominantly Muslim-populated region of the state.
While the fraudulent 'secularists' of this land may well be tickled at the proceedings of that hearing last week and while Soli Sorabjee may see nothing wrong in it, the time seems to have come when India, the nation, must retaliate against the West with similar 'morale terrorism'. Below are suggestions for our government in that direction in the context of some events of the last week reported on just one day by The Asian Age, Mumbai edition, of June 5, 2002.
- News is that after five months of unrelenting revelations about Catholic paedophile priests, a committee of Roman Catholic bishops proposed a mandatory procedure that would obligate US bishops to remove from priesthood anyone who abused a minor in the future -- thus overlooking similar crimes perpetrated in the past under the protection of Catholic officials, especially of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.
The suggestion is that the appropriate ministry of the Government of India must convene a meeting to discuss the above discriminatory decision with representatives of all Catholic organisations in the country, especially John Dayal, who is among the first to talk the loudest when Christian sentiments are thought to be hurt here. Sonia Gandhi must be extended a special invitation to attend the meeting. Their views along with those of the Government of India must be sent to the Vatican and to all foreign embassies in India, with a copy to all Indian embassies abroad. Simultaneously, Arundhati Roy, a Christian, must be publicly offered an all-expenses paid trip to Boston and Rome to stage dharnas, with her storm troopers' expenses also paid for. If Ms Gandhi can be persuaded to accompany her as leader of the delegation, lovely!
- News is that four US airlines have been legally sued for racial bias following complaints like the one of 32-year-old Michael Darath of Indo-Guyanese descent who was removed from a domestic Continental Airlines flight after a white woman complained that 'the brown-skinned man' was 'behaving suspiciously'. Darath was, by the way, occupying a first-class seat.
The suggestion is that to deliberate on the above our civil aviation ministry should convene a publicly announced meeting of the CEOs of all our public- and private-sector airlines, travel agents' apex body and the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission. The views of this meeting should be communicated personally, before television cameras, to the US ambassador in New Delhi with a press note issued to all other embassies here and to Indian embassies abroad.
- News is that Muslims were attacked by drunken youths outside a mosque in Wales when the worshippers were also abused and the clerics were spat upon as well as having alcohol sprayed on them.
The suggestion is that the government must publicly condemn the above incident. Depute the chairman of our Minorities Commission to tell 10 Downing Street to ensure better protection for devout Muslims, the second largest numbers of who reside in our country. Also, offer an all-expenses paid trip to Wales and London to Shahi Imam Bukhari to publicly protest against the dastardly event along with Mulayam Singh. Simultaneously, G M Banatwala of the Muslim League should be funded to hold protests with thousands of his community outside all British consulates in India. And if he too wants to go to London and protest, sponsor him as well --- the more the merrier.
- News is that the US justice department is proposing rules that will require Muslims and West Asian visa holders to register with the government and be fingerprinted.
The suggestion is that our government should issue a statement strongly condemning the above American bias against Muslims. Simultaneously, the government must offer to sponsor Shabana Azmi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mani Shankar Aiyar to stage demonstrations outside Capitol Hill, while Soli Sorabjee should be sent to lodge a protest with members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom individually and collectively.
- News is that in the province of Quebec, Canada, a 12-year-old Sikh boy, Gurbaj Singh, preferred to go home from school last November rather than submit to his school principal's demand that he surrender the kirpan which he has been wearing since the age of five. 'The maintenance of security in schools requires zero tolerance for the carrying of knives,' said the justice minister of Quebec.
The suggestion is that our government should offer to sponsor the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders and the religious heads of all Sikh gurdwaras to go to Ottawa along with the chiefs of our children's organisations for protesting against the above intolerance of Canadian institutions and their inhuman treatment of adolescents. Simultaneously, no Canadian visitor should be allowed within five kilometres of Amritsar's Golden Temple.
However na´ve such 'morale terrorism' may seem on the surface, it is almost sure to first mock and then shut out the holier-than-thou arrogance of the Western countries.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's terrorism on our sacred soil has reached such an intolerant level that even the poet Vajpayee plucks up the courage to talk -- at least talk -- of a 'decisive war' and a 'new chapter of victory' in India's history.
Will that war with Pakistan at all happen? With burgeoning defence experts freely airing their contrary views all over the world, this humdrum civilian can only tell each reader to get the answer from his or her brand of astrologer from the field of starry planets or a pack of cards or whatever.
But there's certainly one dangerous development that the country must examine. Read the cover story titled 'Operation Salami Slice' of India Today magazine dated June 3, 2002; read the cover story titled 'Ready And Rethinking' of Outlook magazine dated June 3, 2002; and read Rahul Bedi's article filed for The Telegraph, London, on June 6, 2002. You'll find in all those three publications the disclosures of our unnamed army officers on the strengths and weaknesses of our possible options and strategies in the event of the much-discussed war.
Are our defence services elite talking too much in these critical times? Why are they all anonymously discussing war plans with journalists? Though he himself tends to talk too much often enough, Defence Minister George Fernandes had better do some snooping around, with or without radar equipment. Unless, of course, all this loud war jabbering is itself a part of 'morale terrorism' in practice.