November 2001: A World Upside Down

November 2001: A World Upside Down

" Once you start seeing from the right inner perspective, you will notice that the world appears upside down, as if people were walking on their head", often commented the Mother of Pondichery. And indeed, if you look at the world today, in this inauspicious beginning of November 2001, what do you see ?

Without any doubt, modern politics is nowadays the torch-bearer of expediency, short-cuts, and falsehood. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, all the world leaders seems to be rushing to Pakistan, to pay obedience and offer their unlimited support to President Mushrarraf, an un-elected leader of an Islamic country that has made of jihad a national enterprise. Of course, they come with their arms full of goodies: rescheduling of loans, waiving of sanctions, billions of dollars in credit, that will serve to buy weapons, a sizeable fraction of which will end-up aimed against the third great "Satan" of Islam, after the United States and Israel: India.

And then, as an afterthought, they hop on to India, to give the ever smiling and innocuous Mr Vajpayee a moral discourse on how he should behave himself and make friends with Islamabad, regardless of the fact that Pakistan keeps arming, training, sheltering and encouraging Kashmiri separatists to kill innocent Indians. Is that not a world turned upside down ?

The American war on Afghanistan also looks completely wrong: you do not win a war by bombing from the safety of supersonic planes flying at 10 kms above the ground. There is nothing much left to bomb in Afghanistan anyway, except a few innocent civilians. You do not fight terrorism with terrorism, as Bush is doing, by using Pakistan to "neutralize" the Taliban, which Islamabad created. You do not bomb on the one hand, while feeding the civilians on the others; not only are leaders always product of their own people, as Hitler and Germany amply demonstrated, not only does a nation always pay for its own past karma, as the Dalaï-lama constantly reminds us, but many of these refugees are probably supportive of the Taliban. You do no think that by killing one man - Bin Laden - you will eliminate Muslim fundamentalism, which is today a world phenomenon. You do not ignore, a huge pro-western democracy - India - which has been the victim for centuries of bloody and terrible Muslim invasions and today fights a lonely battle in Asia against Muslim fundamentalism. You do not enroll the help of China, as many of the western leaders are trying to do (Chancellor Shroeder, for instance, is there now, after his visits to Pakistan and India), probably the Taliban's biggest investor and friend (and sworn enemy if India, even if it fools Delhi by pretending otherwise). China has only one goal today : diminish the United States as a superpower, so that it can spread its hegemony, first on Asia - Taiwan, Tibet, the Spartlys islands, parts of India (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh) - and then onto the world. It is true that the United States remains a beacon of goodwill and freedom on our planet, but because of materialism, they have lost their kshatriya spirit which they demonstrated during the first and second world war, when they saved twice Europe from the German hegemonic spirit. Today, they show not only the inability to fight and sustain casualties, but a fear that borders on paranoia. It is also true that a greater majority of Muslims are peaceful law-abiding citizens, but then history has always shown us that it is the violent politically- active minority which sways in the end the silent majority and takes control -witness Kashmir.

Is India faring better? Not at all, what do we see today in India ? Instead of seizing upon this opportunity after the 11th September attacks to strike at terrorism and take bold steps against Muslim fundamentalism, which the world would have, if not approved, at least not condemned, its leaders are just mouthing the eternal empty threats, which do not frighten anybody anymore, or coming out with the most obvious platitudes, such as the Prime Minister declaring on October the 30th, that "we will fight terrorism with tourism", at a time when everybody knows that tourism is in the dumps ! Muslims in many parts of India are showing their support to Taliban and Afghanistan, by rioting on fridays after the prayers, burning cars and public property, attacking police, as it has been the case in Malegaon, Maharashtra. All over the world today, a spade is called spade when it comes to Muslims manifesting their support to fundamentalism, even in England, which has long turned a blind eye to the fundamentalist cancer spreading in its heart. But what happens when it occurs in India ? Newspapers, such as the Hindu or Indian Express, report it briefly, saying "one community attacked another", or label it "communal" riots. What communal riots? Are we going to make the Hindus responsible for Muslim burning cars and rioting? Poor Hindus! One newspaper (the Hindu) even brought up the Ayodhya factor in its October 30th issue covering of Malegaon ! Is it not the world upside down? The whole problem is also about Indian journalism, which devotes pages and pages when it comes to attacking its own culture, or lambasting the "saffronization" of India, but reports in only a few lines and without adverse comment, the fact that 800 Muslim-owned hotels in Mumbai, including 5 stars, have decided to boycott American and British products to show that "we no longer tolerate the attacks on innocents in Afghanistan" (Indian Express, October 31, page 9). Is it not the world turned upside down ?

On the external front, India tolerated the terrible mutilation of its soldiers by Bangladeshis early this year, so as not too embarrass the government of the "friendly" Sheikh Hasina, which was facing an election. Unfortunately, she lost by a huge margin, and the unfriendly Begum Khaleda Zia is now in power, with the consequences that once more, a massive pogrom against Hindus has taken place, raping of women and girls, killing innocent and a new exodus of Bangladeshis in the already overcrowded and sensitive North-east. But what does the Government do? Nothing, except sending Brajesh Mishra to Dacca ! It would be enough for Delhi to close the tap of the Ganges water for three days to bring Bangladesh to its knees and thus protect the innocent Hindus of Bangladesh. But no, India, is eternally obsessed to appear goody-goody and has learnt no lesson from its perpetual humiliation at the hands of Muslims and Chinese.

Does not the BJP understand that it was voted to power on the promises of radical changes in the country and a government which would respect the aspirations of the 850 million Hindu community, which feels it has been cheated, despised, neglected, hounded, ridiculed, by 45 years of Nehruvianism ? But the BJP has been too busy looking "secular" and making useless moves such as the Bus trip to Lahore, or the Agra summit, both of which failed, because Pakistani intransigence, to do anything. It is true that once in power, you look at things from a different perspective and you are bogged down by an amorphic and often hostile bureaucracy. But what about the changes in the Constitution, the privatization of Indian Airlines and Air India, the cutting down of the arrogant and useless VIP security, or the whittling of the bureaucracy ? Nothing ! Do they not realize that they are going to be hounded out of power at the next elections and that India will be back to square one ? That today may be is its last chance to make good with its pledges? Do they not realize that no country in the world has any respect for India, that Japan has the discourtesy of sending an ex Prime Minister, whom Vajpayee should never have received himself, to ask India to "exercise utmost restraint"; or that France, towards which India made so many overtures in the last few years, is only dispatching its External Affairs Minister now (he will, of course, also pay a visit to Pakistan) ?

The Mother of Pondichery was right: every time you open a newspaper, or switch on your TV, if you are a little introverted, you will notice that the world is walking on its head and that if it keeps on doing so for a little longer, it will totally lose its balance and lead us to pralaya.

FRANCOIS GAUTIER

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