The last few weeks have been incendiary (both literally and figuratively) for our country. For almost every day during this period, our country which is young in the narrow political /administrative sense but which is nevertheless one of the oldest surviving civilisations and cultures in the world, has seen widespread mayhem, unrest and disorder.
In reality, what we are seeing is agitprop of the most dangerous and depraved variety.
It is only the most naïve or gullible among us who will see nothing amiss in what is going on. Of course, the forces behind the crisis will stridently proclaim that the mass unrest is spontaneous and is a reaction to a certain legislation that has been enacted. The apologists go much further – in their Bible (pardon the pun), the present ruling dispensation in Raisina Hill has “pushed” through a “heinous” and anti-Constitutional law that is “communal” and which flagrantly discriminates against the Muslim citizens of this country.
In reality, what we are seeing is agitprop of the most dangerous and depraved variety. The activist groups (who will be specificallylisted in the following segments of this essay) have humongous financial resources at their disposal, cached in this country and overseas, media support from pliant press / TV organisations (either bought over or set up by them) and lumpen elements owing allegiance to them and virtually owned by therm. It may not be possible to pinpoint the leader or El Supremo among the insurrectionists but we can safely say at this stage that the coterie comprises a cosy alliance of allied forces.
This writer and commentator has been studying the subject of India’s ruling coterie for quite some time. In the last six to seven years, from around 2012 – 2013, this cadaverous structure has been under severe threat. The arrival in Raisina Hill of the present dispensation in 2014 after a resounding victory in the national elections was a body-blow to the Indian elite which had been calling the shots from 1947 onwards.
The power centre of the desi oligarchy was the cabal in the capital’s Lutyens Zone (LZ) and its principal ally, the secularist storm-troopers (hereafter SS), a term which this commentator pleads guilty of having used for the first time more than fifteen years ago. These two groups often overlap each other and invariably function in tandem. Both of them fine-tuned their techniques during the earlier regimes; indeed,some scholars have pointed out that these elite groups have been practising their trade for hundreds of years,initially under Muslim rule and then during the Raj.
We must now identify and spell out the exact groups that are the key players in the present efforts to de-stabilise the Indian Republic.
I must also remind my readers that the LZ term is not restricted to the residents of the exclusive municipal area in India’s capital, named after the imperialist architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who wanted to create an island of Pax Britannica amidst the dust and heat of north India. Physical location is not a prerequisite for the LZ cachet. The LZ gang are paid-up members of an exclusive club that screams privilege and entitlement as a matter of right and heredity. Many decades ago, one of them told me that LZ was a frame of mind. You can be born into it, and you can also be inducted into it, if you qualify later on.The whole racket was based on earlier imperial models like the Belgravia club in London or the 16th arondissement lot in Paris.
Now, we must briefly spell out the characteristics of the SS lot. These persons have a deep and visceral contempt and animus against India’s ancient culture and civilisation. In their eyes, the thousands of years of Indic civilisation amount to nothing. It requires another detailed study to unravel how and why the SS internalised their ideology. There are numerous explanations, ranging from the Gunga Din syndrome to the Macaulay indoctrination that our educated class was subjected to, for more than 150 years. We can spend a lot of effort on this subject, but for the purposes of this essay, which deals with the present existential threat to India, this analysis should suffice.
As mentioned earlier, we must now identify and spell out the exact groups that are the key players in the present efforts to de-stabilise the Indian Republic. They are:
• Crony capitalists ranging from the top business groups to the local kirana shop, all of whom thrived on tax evasion and looting the financial institutions.
• The managers of rural — often caste-based — vote banks, who do not want their roles as intermediaries to be diminished.
• Religious pressure groups, often financed from abroad and whose allegiances are to institutions based outside India.
• The working of bureaucracy was compromised.
• Small/regional political parties that have acted as power brokers in some parts of the country and have built up critical mass and a war-chest of funds.
• “Intellectuals”, “scholars” and academicians who had long supped from the deep pool of resources supplied by the previous regimes.
This baseless propaganda spread throughout the country was what caused violent riots and mayhem in numerous locations.
As recently as last week, a chain letter / appeal signed by as many as 106 retired bureaucrats (who had all reached very senior levels in their careers) started doing the doing the rounds. It is titled AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF INDIA: INDIA DOES NOT NEED THE CAA-NPR-NRC (9 January 2020).
In this essay, I will briefly deal with the principal issues that the letter harrumphs about.
We have our grave reservations about the constitutional validity of the CAA provisions, which we also consider to be morally indefensible. We would like to emphasise that a statute that consciously excludes the Muslim religion from its purview is bound to give rise to apprehensions in what is a very large segment of India’s population. A formulation that focused on those suffering persecution (religious, political, social) in any country in the world would not only have calmed local apprehensions but would also have been appreciated by the international community….
Even those who are not familiar with the intricacies of law in this area will now be fully aware that the CAA deals only with religiously-persecuted minorities in our three neighbouring countries, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The specific wording of the law on this point is as follows : “Any person belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan and who has entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and is staying here to safeguard their lives, shall not be treated as an illegal migrant.”
The erstwhile bureaucrats who have penned this Open Letter should really reflect about their action.Even a total layperson will tell them that Muslims are not religiously persecuted in these three countries simply because they are officially Muslim nations. Yes, a Muslim can be persecuted politically in these countries, but such people can seek refuge in India under other existing laws.
It must again be stressed very strongly that there is no question whatsoever of existing Muslim citizens of India being disenfranchised by this law. This baseless propaganda spread throughout the country was what caused violent riots and mayhem in numerous locations.
…some high-decibel opponents of CAA are now being over-smart on this point and asking for Shias and Ahmadiyas to be bestowed the label of “persecuted” is clear proof that the entire opposition to the CAA is ersatz and manipulated.
The rest of the letter is completely off-tangent, even going to the extent of declaiming that Muslims facing persecution anywhere in the world should be given refuge in India. It is difficult to find such grotesque positions in any country or among any other pressure groups in any part of the globe.
Yes, Muslims are not covered by this legislation and one doesn’t have to be a nuclear physicist to understand this point. Putting this in another perspective, those who demand that Muslims should be brought under the purview of this law are clearly peddling a dangerous agenda. The fact that some high-decibel opponents of CAA are now being over-smart on this point and asking for Shias and Ahmadiyas to be bestowed the label of “persecuted” is clear proof that the entire opposition to the CAA is ersatz and manipulated.
Even among the senior retired civil servants, some members have severely critiqued the Open Letter as improper and heartless. A poignant response from one such functionary has been totally supportive of the decision to give citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian ‘Indians’ who have sought shelter in India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh,where they were butchered, humiliated and raped from 1947 onwards.
In the good company of this humane mandarin, this writer, too, has vivid memories of his relatives leaving East Pakistan in bunches, each exodus separated by a few years. The tipping point, invariably, was the unleashing of violent and bloody riots for no ostensible reason, but always engineered by the Pakistan government and the Muslim religious oligarchy.
Now that we have assessed the operations of the various forces that are working overtime to de-stabilised the Indian Republic, we should return to the main issue that we started with – how a number of pressure groups or interest groups, who have been very adversely affected by the new regime, are working overtime to return to power. These beneficiaries of the loot-and-scam raj of the previous governments who ruled over us from 1947 to 2014 (with the exception of a few years), are feeling very threatened by the new regime’s proclaimed ideology of good governance and zero tolerance of graft and corruption. These people want their nemesis, the present government to be jettisoned from power at the earliest. All tactics are fair for these saboteurs in their war for survival.
It should be mentioned at this stage that the subject of disintegration of countries and nation-states has been studied extensively in the last few decades. The causes underlying the break-up of countries have been rigorously assessed by a number of scholars and researchers. Here we must distinguish between the collapse of regimes/ruling oligarchies within a country and the disintegration of a country as a whole.
In a federal structure, an effective central government is absolutely vital to ensure order, an efficient legal system, the supply of basic public goods and systems for resolving disputes.
We must emphasise that most countries that fall apart do so “not with a bang but with a whimper”. This was the conclusion of an incisive study in 2012 in the respected journal Foreign Policy. In this path-breaking essay, the researchers, Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson, identified the major reasons that lead to countries imploding. I would urge my readers to read this study if they really wish to understand the subject.
The current Indian crisis and the instability is the direct outcome of efforts of the LZ coterie and the SS oligarchs to forestall any fundamental change or reform that the present government is attempting to bring about. The Indian scenario can be summarised on these terms very accurately, without mincing words. In a federal structure, an effective central government is absolutely vital to ensure order, an efficient legal system, the supply of basic public goods and systems for resolving disputes. Above all, the defence forces must always be supported and should never be compelled to face attrition and demoralisation.
This analysis will resonate with all thinking citizens. It demonstrates how political frameworks are weakened and sabotaged from within and outside, in order to engineer their eventual collapse.The “Breaking India” forces, the “tukdey, tukdey”gang,are not a figment of imagination in the minds of those of us who are sympathetic to the regime currently in power in Raisina Hill. What the Indian Republic is confronting is not just coffee house chatter but sinister forces that have enormous resources and a clear agenda of destroying our country.
A country does not collapse or disappear merely because of a military defeat. It can also be dismembered or destroyed by socio-political weapons.
Let me end with one of my favourite poetic perspectives of what we are discussing:
Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason
(John Harrington, 1561 – 1612)