Rahul Gandhi’s denunciation in London of Bharat’s democracy and its governing institutions is much more significant and consequential than the outrage among Bharatiyas suggests. In fact, a large cohort of Bharat’s liberal middle class elite has taken Rahul Gandhi’s comments in its stride, concluding it is legitimate to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP and, in any case, as an aspect of freedom of speech. To defend Rahul Gandhi’s extraordinary outbursts in London, one Congress spokesperson cited Modi’s alleged criticism of Bharat abroad, when he apparently suggested Bharatiyas were ashamed to be born in their country.
The first point is that PM Modi did not criticise Bharat’s fundamental institutions but decried the quality of the country’s governance and management by political parties. By contrast, Rahul Gandhi denounced the fundamental institutions of Bharat and its democracy. These are two very different positions and have significantly distinct implications. However, there is a point to Mrs Indira Gandhi’s declining to comment on Bharat at all while she was abroad when questioned by an interviewer. Her stance might be taken as a salutary warning of the hostage to fortune any comment abroad by Bharatiya politicians has the danger of becoming.
The denunciation of Bharat’s basic institutions and as Rahul Gandhi egregiously put it, “its structure”, has a wider and deeper connotation that is potentially dangerous. Such sentiments instantly vindicate separatist movements in Bharat that are asserting that basic human and democratic rights are absent in the country. If Bharat is not a democracy, separatists are legitimately claiming that only permitting secession will accord them rights that are universally recognised as a precondition for the legitimacy of a state. This is what Khalistanis proclaim and the banned organisation, Sikhs for Justice articulates and broadcasts with some nuance, surpassing any sophisticated responses from the Bharatiya authorities.
There are deeper intellectual, political and moral implications of damning Bharat’s legal system, especially the Supreme Court and the Election Commission, and insinuating there is no free press in the country, as Rahul Gandhi insisted recently in London. Although he was woefully out of depth and tongue-tied, that should not merely prompt derision and jubilation at how it impacts positively on the electoral prospects of the incumbent NDA. In order to fundamentally demonise and discredit the NDA government and PM Modi, one must also denounce these three pillars of democracy. Only then does the de-legitimisation of the incumbent political order acquire real substance because it suggests that no constraints exist on the arbitrary and dictatorial government in Modi’s Bharat.
Such impudent slander about the very meaning of Bharatiya independence and self-government has long underpinned their alleged shortcomings insinuated by Anglo Americans. It directly and specifically echoes the murderous and viciously racist prime minister Winston Churchill’s assertion that upper caste Hindus would seize power and oppress all Bharatiya minorities the moment Bharat became independent. In reality, Britain has never abandoned this contention about Bharat because it retrospectively vindicates its 200-year brutal and rapacious rule over Bharatiyas. This is why the BBC, the propaganda arm of the British Foreign Office, is given a free hand to regularly abuse Bharat and its politicians. It even allowed the Khalistani militant, Jagjit Singh Chauhan, to broadcast, “one down a million to go” after Mrs Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Unlike the tepid responses to contemporary slander and abuse by the British media, the Indian Foreign Secretary at the time gave a dressing down to the British High Commissioner to Delhi that had left him shaken and speechless.
An absolutely central dimension that would justify foreign intervention in Bharat is to proclaim its government is illegitimate, its democracy fraudulent. This accusation cannot be true if Bharat’s key institutions, the courts, and Election Commission enjoy integrity and the media is free to air grievances and criticise the Bharatiya government. This is why the accusations Rahul Gandhi’s cynical speech writers and foreign advisers are advancing, in conjunction with their foreign patrons, are hazardous for Bharat. Such a contention was the basis for the illegal Anglo-American military intervention against Iraq, Libya and Syria to overthrow their governments and effectively destroy these countries by arming disgruntled local proxies and indeed creating the unprecedented terrorism of the ISIS. This is the role envisaged for the Khalistanis of Bharat and prompts the blatant incitement and indirect assistance to insurgencies planned by the PFI and other Islamist terror groups.
Few in Bharat are aware that the downing of Air India’s Kanishka in 1985, over the Atlantic Ocean, near the Irish coast, was a joint ISI and CIA operation. It was accompanied by Canadian collusion in its aftermath to impede the ensuing prosecution of its perpetrators. Bharat decided not to expose the criminal horror owing to reasons of state and because Bharatiya lives are cheap anyway. Such criminal outrages are routinely committed by US agencies and one such episode was the shooting down of an Iranian passenger aircraft by a US navy warship that was later condemned as deliberate by the commander of another adjacent US naval vessel. In fact, Bharatiyas also remain willfully ignorant of the fact of joint Sino-American involvement in Bharat’s Naxalite terror since the two countries had become partners in crime by the late 1960s in order to combat the USSR and deal with any alleged ally like Bharat. As a young undergraduate, I personally observed the extraordinary connection of the US Consulate in Calcutta with Naxalites, while helping edit the pro-Maoist weekly, Frontier, owned and edited by my late uncle, the renowned poet, Samar Sen.
Khalistani terrorism is an extraordinarily useful ally of various adversaries and frenemies of Bharat for their own particular reasons. They seek to achieve different outcomes by spilling Sikh blood, which is exactly what would happen if successful, to their own perceived national advantage. Bharat would indubitably be aflame, like Iraq, Libya, Syria and now the Ukraine, but that does not seem to unduly perturb some Bharatiya parliamentarians and their political parties. It can be confidently anticipated that attacks on Bharatiya diplomatic facilities and Hindu mandirs abroad are unlikely to cease anytime soon despite any self-serving pause to distract transient Bharat’s displeasure at the current turn of events.
The ongoing contrived mild handwringing of the Anglosphere is thoroughly duplicitous because they will not deal with the root cause of the problem. They are not proposing to ban terror organisations on their soil, curtail their ties with Pakistani agencies or extradite Khalistani terror sponsors to Bharat. In fact, in the case of Britain, many of its prominent parliamentarians constantly provide ideological succour to both Khalistani and Islamist terror from constituencies across the whole of Britain.
In truth, removing a few barriers, though not the security personnel, in the vicinity of Delhi’s British High Commission and the High Commissioner’s residence, is feebly symbolic. Firmer action at this juncture is evidently constrained by an understandable desire not to sour relations with partners while Bharat presides over the G20. But something more will be necessary in future to send an unambiguous message. Closing the consular services of recalcitrant countries, hell bent on undermining Bharat and its sovereignty, might have to be contemplated. It will cause inconvenience for travelers to Bharat though some services could be entrusted to remote online arrangements.
Withdrawing from the Commonwealth, as many are now suggesting, would be unwise for tactical reasons because that would leave it open to British-Pakistani baiting and machination against Bharat. The Commonwealth also happens to be a useful institutional framework for friendly and continuing engagement with multiple partners that would be more challenging on a purely bilaterally basis. It would be more astute for Bharat to simply take-over the Commonwealth with the consent of other member countries and relocate the Secretariat to a venue like Dhaka. Such a result would entail the associated benefit of implanting a permanent international presence in Bangladesh’s capital to restrain any radical Islamist threat to the country’s democratic credentials. This is how Bharat’s national cricketing organisation, the BCCI, effectively ended the domination by the British establishment of an imperious and racist International Cricket Council, with some adroit maneuvering and the exercise of financial clout.
More important for measures like closing foreign consular missions of reflexively hostile countries will be dramatic alteration of Bharatiya middle class attitudes and radical transformation of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the HRD. Bharatiyas will have to overcome their obsession with gaining a US green card and the HRD vastly improve domestic educational opportunities within Bharat to remedy the deplorable paucity that forces so many abroad. The people of a country that wish to assert their own dignity must well and truly forsake their inherited begging bowl psyche of constantly looking abroad for acknowledgement and self-affirmation.
As a final aside, it might be noted that reliance on Bharatiyas abroad to influence the attitude and policies foreign governments towards Bharat is mostly a futile exercise. The idea that Bharatiya donors to US Congressional politicians were unusually useful during the negotiations over the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement, accorded US legislative assent in 2008, is an exaggeration. In the UK, Hindu organisations, including UK counterparts of Bharat’s Sangh Parivar, preface every sentiment uttered on Bharat with unctuous proclamations of undying loyalty to the British Crown and its parliament. Some supposed British Hindu activists are clearly also intelligence assets, engaged in nefarious activities. One major British establishment political entity was created specifically in the immediate aftermath of Bharat’s nuclear tests to infiltrate Bharat at the highest levels and turned out to be splendidly successful in its intended purpose.
(The story was published on firstpost.com on March 24, 2023 and has been reproduced here with minor edits to conform to HinduPost style-guide.)