The Indian fault lines

December 6, 2017

By Mohammad Jamil

During the recorded history of 3000 years, India has never been a cohesive unit except for a brief period during Ashoka era for 41 years, Aurangzeb Alamgir era for 49 years, and finally British Raj for 89 years. Some sociologists are of the opinion that Indian caste system has blighted India, which hindered formation of one India for centuries. Some ascribe the reason to different backgrounds of the people, their languages and cultures. According to 1931 census by the British Indian government there were more than 350 languages and scores of cultures. But language and cultural diversity is not the only reason for ‘many Indias’; in fact there are many fault lines. To name the few are: Kashmir freedom movement, Gorkhaland, Khalistan movement, ISIS in India, Naxal/Maoists movements in Red Corridor right from West Bengal to Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtara, cow slaughter and forced conversions.

Maloy Krishna Dhar, a former police official who was inducted in Central Intelligence Bureau, who took active part in operations in various regions, had given a detailed analysis various problems facing the country. In his lengthy treatise titled ‘Indian Fault Lines: Perceptions and realities’, he wrote: “India is perhaps the only country that has simultaneous presence of ethnic insurgency, ideological terrorism and religious jihad waged by foreign-based tanzeems and sponsored by foreign intelligence agencies, and great social divide”. He however conveniently forgot the role of the RAW in stoking and fueling insurgencies in neighboring countries especially Pakistan. And that India had played ignominious role in dismemberment of Pakistan. He tried to justify the barbaric acts by Hindutva organisations on the basis of misperceived danger from the alleged accretion in Muslim demography, illegal Bangladeshi infiltration and Muslim separatism as serious threats to India’s national integrity.

The author has not been consistent in his views expressed in his write-ups and books he authored. Sometime he blamed the minorities, while at another he would refer to repression on minorities. He however wrote: “We live in ‘Many Indias’ – India of the Dalit Hindus and Buddhists, India of the Hindu Backward and Other Backward Classes, Upper Caste Hindus, Scheduled Caste Hindus, ethnic tribals, linguistic diversities, Dalits and BC, OBC Muslims. Are we in the process of having ‘Many Indias’ and permanently losing ‘One India’ for which the Indians fought against the British? Are we reverting back to an India that was divided into different polities with fragile geographic and cultural bonds in 9th and 10th century? How long the present fragile constitutional bonds would hold together? The perception of ‘Asamudra Himachal’ Bharat appears to be folklore.”

The fact remains that India is awash with home-grown terrorist organizations and can implode from within without any outside effort. The author focused on external factors but did not realize that Maoists’ movement is a popular movement and Maoists have massive support of the people for their program and ideology. Indian para-military forces had stepped up operation against insurgents in Lalgarh tribal region of West Bengal in 2009, and the combing operation continued in the nearby villages. Indian governments never took action against Hindu extremist organizations because they could use them to create frenzy against Pakistan. India considers itself as a regional power and arrogates to itself the role of determining the extent of independence and sovereignty of its neighbours. Such bullying attitude is often witnessed when it deals with its neighbours. However, Pakistan does not accept India’s hegemony in the region and is not willing to forego its right over Kashmir.

Anyhow, one could see the two faces of India – one with façade of democracy, secularism, development and new wealth, and the other one of a country with teeming millions of the world’s poorest people. This makes India the world’s largest paradox: a land of appalling poverty and stunning social inequality. There is no denying that with 1.2 billion population India is a big enough market to establish basic industries, and this is the reason for the US, the West and other countries of the world to give importance to India. India is also on buying spree and is spending billions of dollars on imports of sophisticated weaponry and air defence systems. Anyhow, despite India’s boast of economic development and indicators of economic growth, some 600 million people still live below a meanly defined poverty line. Since rich are becoming more rich and poor poorer, it could lead to chaos and anarchy.