Home > News > Columnists > Rajeev Srinivasan
Patriot games and resident non-Indians
May 22, 2003
I have observed for some time that there is a certain class of people who might best be called 'Resident Non-Indians', or RNIs, for they apparently reside in India, manage to look and act astonishingly like real Indians, even hold Indian passports, but are decidedly anti-Indian in mindset. I wrote an open letter to them years ago, but given their hyperactivity recently I thought I might bestir myself once again.
I stress the difference between the RNI and the NRI: in fact, NRIs or Non-Resident Indians are frequently targeted by RNIs, primarily because, with the wisdom that distance brings, NRIs have seen through RNI propaganda. See my column, 'Fear of NRIs'. Non-Resident Indians, being abroad, are also not subjected to the daily brainwashing of the Indian public that RNIs specialize in.
When I think of these decidedly ornery RNIs, I am reminded of the proverbial woodcutter from the Panchatantra who saws away at the very branch he sits on. For reasons best known to them, RNIs attempt to destroy the very system that sustains them. Theirs is a self-fulfilling prophesy: by acting as though the Indian State were ipso facto barbaric, they will succeed in making it barbaric.
Despite all their loud accusations about the Indian State suppressing dissent, I am yet to hear of any censor stopping any RNI from mouthing their nonsense anywhere. But let them continue for a while like this, and there will be those 4am knocks on their door that we all came to know and love during the Emergency.
RNIs use Orwellian terminology and nomenclature terrorism. According to them, war is peace and terrorists are poor, oppressed, misunderstood minorities. If RNIs call something 'x', you can be sure that thing is 'not x'. A most undemocratic East Germany called itself the German Democratic Republic. A most totalitarian country calls itself the People's Republic of China. Similarly, RNIs call themselves 'secular progressives' whereas they are neither secular nor progressive: a more truthful description would be 'regressive fundamentalists'.
There are many RNIs whose ethics, and antics, are interesting: one 'resigned' from Indian citizenship, but happily travels on an Indian passport. Another has a visceral hatred for non-Marxists, but is alarmed at the prospect that Indian Marxists may not get invitations to come over to the US to preach hatred of everything America stands for.
RNIs also have started assuming the mantle of 'patriots'. In every possible way, they demean and diminish India; and yet they claim to be patriots: clearly, the last refuge of the scoundrel. They are indulging in Patriot Games, as in the Tom Clancy novel. But wait, there may yet be truth to their claim: they are indeed Chinese patriots, doing everything in their power to help Chinese interests. They stand ready to welcome the Chinese, to garland them with marigolds, should they invade. They must be practising their speeches daily for the event.
They are ready to garland Pakistanis too: this is what Wagah candle-lighting and people-to-people contact is all about. Unfortunately, Pakistanis seem to think 'people-to-people contact' means their people massacring our people. When Pakistani terrorists are shot or captured, RNIs move heaven and earth to harass Indian security forces.
These RNIs are willing to sacrifice Indian security forces to protect foreigners or traitors. Anywhere else, somebody who did this would be disgraced, or summarily shot, depending on the tenderness of the authorities. For example, someone in China supporting Uighur separatists; in the US supporting the perpetrators of 9/11; in Indonesia supporting Aceh secessionists. Only in India are such specimens considered 'thought leaders'. Ah, the wonders of 50 years of Nehruvian Stalinist brainwashing! I have been complaining about their kind of craven journalism for years: see my old column J'accuse...
Talking of rotten journalists, I was delighted to see the story of The New York Times' Jayson Blair, who nonchalantly made up brilliant stuff for which he was considered a rising star at the esteemed paper, which allegedly prints 'all the news that is fit to print'. And then some, Jayson Blair demonstrated. I was happy to see this story for two reasons: I was getting tired of all the Laci Peterson stories and Jessica Lynch puff pieces, and it was good to see something meaty for a change.
Second, I have long felt that the NYTimes does not quite live up to its lofty self-perception as an exemplar of journalistic excellence. In fact, with their correspondents in India, for instance, the inimitable Barbara Crossette and the insufferable John Burns, the quality of their journalism has been extremely poor. Much like Jayson Blair, these NYTimes reporters did not quite do the research they need to do, but instead depended solely on RNIs at JNU, and therefore specialized in painting an unfair and extremely one-sided, negative picture of India.
When there are real incidents of violence against India or Indian culture or the Indian Diaspora, alleged RNI 'patriots' are thunderously silent. A case in point: the recent fuss over golfers Vijay Singh and Annika Sorenstam. Singh, a Fijian of Indian origin, merely said that a woman might find it difficult to play against men because she lacks upper-body strength. Racists in the American media immediately launched an attack on India, Hindus, Vijay Singh's ancestors, Indian culture, alleged misogynism therein, bride-burning, and so forth; yet none of the RNIs or even the resident American comrades of Indian origin raised a peep. None of them came to the defence of what they claim is their culture. I am not surprised: for, like the snatched ones in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, they only appear to be Indian.
Yes, there are some Indian comrades who live in America and abhor everything America stands for. They remind me of an old IIT classmate of mine, son of a Kerala Communist leader. He used to go on and on about how wonderful the Soviet Union was and how terrible the US was; he generally got on everybody's nerves because we really didn't care. But surprise surprise! After graduation, he did not go to Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow; he went to America, and stayed on.
At least this gentleman keeps quiet about his (one-time?) Marxist sympathies. This is not the case with a number of Communist Indians, who are quite high-profile in the US. Unfortunately for them, the times, they are a-changing. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service wants them. Here is an excerpt from some relevant information:
The USA Patriot Act (November 2001) included several post-September 11 revisions to the Immigration and Nationality Act…
Examples of aliens [also] ineligible for visas include those that fall under Section 212(a)(3)(C), regarding "Foreign Policy" which states that "any alien whose entry or proposed activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States is excludable."
Additionally, Section 212(a)(3)(D), regarding "Immigrant Membership in Totalitarian Party", states that, "Any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate thereof), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible."
In other words, green card-holding Communist Indians in the US are liable to lose their status as immigrants. Indian-Americans have started reporting these people's affiliations to Homeland Security; and it is only a matter of time before a polite official may be knocking on their doors, giving them 48 hours to pack their bags and be deported. In the US, a hard State, there are limits to tolerance for sedition. I wonder if the deported Communists will go back to the despised India, the 'fascist communalist' State. No, they will go to the Promised Land, China, where they will be welcomed with open arms and escorted straight to a gulag.
There are other RNIs who violate stringent laws, but because of their connections, get away scot-free. One such had an inaccurate map of India, awarding all of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan, on a Web site for years. This is a major offence, a felony, in the Indian Penal Code: it is non-bailable, and many lesser mortals have been jailed for it. But this particular RNI was not arrested. Why? Must be because all people are equal, but some people are more equal than others, as in Animal Farm.
Other RNIs write openly seditious propaganda, advocating that their friends and financiers abroad should invade India and take it over. India's territorial integrity is of no concern to these traitors. The very existence of India is not high on their agendas, either: they firmly believe in Marx's ignorant comment that Indian history is only a succession of invasions. So what's one more, they ask, when they can tear themselves from preparing garlands for the Chinese.
RNIs had a field day regarding the Gujarat riots last year, shouting from the rooftops that Hindus were engaged in a one-sided pogrom against Muslims. This blood-libel has been used as a stick to beat India ever since, and will continue to be used for the next century, I am sure, by RNIs and their friends at the NYTimes and CNN and the Washington Post.
Yet, the Justice Nanavati Commission officially investigating it has just tabled its report. Here is a direct quote: "On the evidence that we have recorded so far, it would not be fair to say that only Muslims were targeted. Initially though Hindus may have been the perpetrators of violence because they were angry, later members of both communities were engaged in the violence."
Isn't it a cognizable offence then, which the RNIs need to be punished for collectively and individually, for creating an atmosphere of great communal animosity? According to the Indian Penal Code, this is a serious offence, and clearly this is what the RNIs did. Why aren't they being held accountable for their purple prose and wild exaggerations?
The RNI also disregards two cardinal principles generally accepted around the world regarding human rights:
- The rights of the terrorist and the renegade are not greater than the rights of the average citizen
- The rights of the citizen are greater than the rights of the non-citizen.
Therefore, I can understand that some RNIs' hearts bleed when Pakistani terrorists are killed in India. But their hearts do not bleed for the victims of Pakistani terrorists. Why, I wonder, do they not worry about the human rights of the innocent pilgrims massacred by Pakistani terrorists at the Akshardham temple in Gujarat? On the Amarnath trek? In Godhra? Or Hindus massacred in Nadimarg? Or at Marad? One possible answer: extreme ideological stasis. Another possible answer: thirty silver coins, Judas-style.
RNIs suffer from selective outrage and indignation. They are the uber-dhimmis of India: for they are only worried about pain to Muslims and Christians (whether said pain is real or manufactured). I never see them worry about the human rights of Hindus; therefore, I conclude that, according to them, Hindus are not human. The word 'bigotry' leaps to mind.
There is a little-known aspect of the Indian Constitution that was brought to my attention by S Kalyanaraman. This is Article 51A, which lays out the counterpoint of the Fundamental Rights, namely the Fundamental Responsibilities of Indians. Here is the article in its entirety:
Article 51A. Fundamental Duties – It shall be the duty of every citizen of India –
(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures;
(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.
I would like you, gentle reader, to consider how many of these your favourite RNIs fulfil.
More to the point, how many do you fulfil? I have certainly asked myself that question.
When we look only at rights, and not at duties, we end up supporting many wrongs. This is precisely what the RNIs do. Irresponsibility has a price, of course. And this price is paid not by well-connected RNIs, but by the average, long-suffering, silent-majority Indian.
I have been following with interest the new fora put up by rediff.com for responses to my column. In particular, I was reading through the responses to my column on the massacre at Marad. It was just as I expected: some people with Muslim names responded reasonably, showing that they too feel that the incidents at Marad were deplorable. My experience with the Muslims of Kerala has been positive: I have Muslim friends, and they are extremely decent people (although we carefully skirt all talk about religion).
There were a number of responses from people with assumed names: and these were the most vicious. I jump to a conclusion: these are stealth Marxists, that is, Marxists with Hindu names. As I have said repeatedly, they are the real danger to the country, as they are far more fundamentalist about Muslim issues than Muslims themselves are: and they indulge the most obscurantist Muslims.
I would like to pose a challenge. How many of these Marxists has donated any money to a Hindu temple? I am fully entitled to ask this because a few months ago, I went to the Beemapalli mosque in Trivandrum and donated some gold and a non-trivial amount of money. My otherwise agnostic father has been giving money for years to the Chisti Dargah in Ajmer. I bet not one of these Marxists can honestly claim that they have been equally secular in regards to Hinduism.
Hindus in Kerala generally have been kind to religious minorities. The problem has been bad infighting between the two major groups of Hindus, the low-sudra Ezhavas and the high-sudra Nairs. Ezhavas allied themselves with Muslims, and Nairs with Christians. Both Muslims and Christians flourished, and both Ezhavas and Nairs have suffered. Hindus in Kerala probably deserve their eclipse for their foolishness.
It is true that there has been little communal violence in Kerala. In fact, I know Hindus with names like Salim, Ayesha, Hashim; one of my cousins married a Muslim woman and as far as I know neither of them has converted, and there was no major fuss about it. But a few more Marad-type incidents, and all this harmony will go for a toss. It is up to the moderate Muslims to ensure that their ranks are not being infiltrated by ISI-inspired terrorists: for most recent violence in Kerala has been Marxists killing Hindus, and Muslims have wisely kept out of this mess.
Incidentally, I must thank Varun Shekhar of Toronto, whom I have never even corresponded with, for being very supportive on the online fora. Varun, I appreciate your kindness.
Also, I was entertained to see a comment from a doctor who was amazed I knew a fair amount about infectious diseases. Purely what an aware lay person should know from reading the general news.