Archive for June, 2018

Nayantra Sehgal on 1977 and 2019 …

Posted on June 25, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought, Personalities |

Excerpted from  –  An Interview given by Nayantra Sehgal …

The Emergency allowed unprecedented repression. Why so little mass resistance ?

First of all, I don’t think it happened overnight. I was writing political commentaries regularly for The Indian Express during those years of Mrs Gandhi’s reign in power and it was very clear to me that we were heading towards an authoritarian system. We already had the call for committed civil servants, committed judiciary and so on.

And there was a bill drawn to curb the press. These things had been happening before the Emergency was declared so it came as no surprise to me at all. Now you speak of silence. I think one has to realise that there are millions of people who cannot speak because it would cost them their jobs, their livelihood, their safety, safety of their families.

It was a draconian time and, you know, the whole Opposition was in jail and [also] those who could speak on behalf of those who could not. That is why I wrote a book on the Emergency period and Mrs Gandhi’s political style, which, of course, was not published during the Emergency but immediately after.

Why have people started comparing the present time with the Emergency?

Well, we have an undeclared Emergency, there is no doubt about that. We have seen a huge, massive attack on the freedom of expression. We have seen innocent, helpless Indians killed because they did not fit into the RSS’s view of India.

We have seen known and unknown Indians murdered. Writers like Gauri Lankesh have been killed. And there has been no justice for the families of the wage earners who have lost their lives in this fashion. In fact they are now being called the accused.

So we have a horrendous situation, a nightmare which is worse than the Emergency. During the Emergency we knew what the situation was. The Opposition was in jail, there was no freedom of speech, etc.

Now we are living in a battered, bleeding democracy. And though no Emergency has been declared, people are being killed, people are being jailed; people are being hauled up for sedition and for being anti-national. It is an absolutely nightmarish situation which has no equal.

This government is pretending to be democratic but we see what is happening all around. And nothing has come out of the government’s mouth to condemn all these goings on. So I rate it as a situation which has no equal in India.

So you feel that one difference between the Emergency and the situation today is that communities are being specifically targeted?

Yes, because now the Muslim has been declared the enemy. The outsider. To an extent, all the minorities have been called outsiders. Christians and Sikhs have suffered less because they are regarded as harmless innocents because they are smaller communities. But Muslims are different.

After all, we are the third largest Muslim country in the world. And the RSS has defined the Muslim as an enemy from a hundred years back. They have always had this agenda of getting rid of Muslims and they are doing it pretty fast now, in every way they can.

The sycophancy of the media during the Emergency was exemplified by Advani’s comment o – ” journalists crawled when they were asked to bend”. How do you compare the media then and now?

In every country there are the chamchas. The ones who will serve whoever in power. Who will keep their own position safe. And we are no exception. The Indian media caved in during the Emergency. Of course they were not allowed to express themselves.

Similar things have happened, with some honourable exceptions, even today. Sections of the print media, then and today, did not cave in. I have been associated with The Indian Express for a long time. And it stood out very bravely at that time. So it is happening today.

We have papers like The Tribune and The Indian Express that stand out. I am of course talking of the English media but there are similar cases in the language papers. So you cannot say everybody has caved in.

There is also a huge silent majority that has not caved in, which at the moment is a bit discreet because they know they may be put in jail for sedition. But that does not mean they have caved in.

A growing majority of people have started resenting what has been happening and that there is no justice system. Even now the judicial system is worrying. Because, for instance, Justice Loya is believed to have died in mysterious circumstances. And so we cannot even rely on the justice system to defend us. And there is a great deal of resentment that this is happening.

Do you think the latent public anger that threw out the Congress in 1977 could do the same to the current regime?

There has been far more grit. First of all, there have been uprisings from different communities. Writers in the hundreds, historians, scientists; there are protests everywhere. And the major uprising has been of Dalits.

In fact, in Rajasthan, where they used to pick up cow carcasses, it has been a highly organised uprising. Of course there have been uprisings in the universities, started by Rohit Vemula’s suicide, and then Kanhaiya Kumar leading what I would call a revolution in the universities.

There is no question that things are taking a turn.

So the signs are all there, provided the government doesn’t meddle with the voting machines, which they did to a big extent in the Uttar Pradesh elections because they found it absolutely necessary to win there. If that does not happen, there is no question that they will either win with a hugely reduced majority or actually lose.

Were you surprised at Indra Gandhi being so comprehensively defeated in 1977?

No, I was not surprised. I had been studying and working on theBihar situation. JP [Jayaprakash Narayan] had asked me to write a paper and invited me to come to Bihar to make my own assessment.

So when the elections were announced I had every hope that there would be a change because I had been working with JP and with what was called the Bihar movement at that time. Of course it was wonderful to see the Congress come down in a very big way.

It was not an ordinary defeat because Mrs Gandhi herself lost. So it was a lesson and again I have to say that I may have been in a minority of one but I had never given up on Indians and the fact that the Nehru government gave adult suffrage to our country.

It was the only time in history that democracy had been placed before development and Nehru and Gandhi had put their faith in the common man. And the common man has not disappointed us. He or she, they have risen to the occasion. And they have not tolerated things beyond a point.

So I have great hope in this country because of the priorities we established when we got Independence. One was that we were going to be secular. And the other was that we were going to be democratic. And the reason we chose to be a secular democratic country was because we are a deeply religious country.

And though this may sound contradictory, it is so. We respected all religions and we wanted to give pride of place to every religion. And that is what India has been based on.

No other country has achieved success or lasted as a multi-cultural, multi-religious civilisation. I have great hope that on this foundation we will continue to build once we have ousted the RSS.


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1962 War – Chinese Preparation …

Posted on June 22, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom |

Image result for photos of Mao and Zhou

China went to war against India in 1962. But the planning began much earlier The Indo-China war began on October 20, 1962.

A new book states that it was China that decided to go to war, ‘China’s India War: Collision Course On The Roof Of The World’, Bertil Linter, Oxford University Press. 

Mao sent altogether 80,000 Chinese soldiers to Ladakh and the eastern Himalayas to attack India. Supply lines had to be established and secured to the rear bases inside Tibet.

China depended entirely on human intelligence collected by its agents in the field, which would have taken time in the North-East Frontier Agency [NEFA]’s rough and roadless terrain. But China’s agents would also be confined largely to areas where the local population spoke languages and dialects related to Tibetan.

Consequently, the areas where the Chinese launched their attacks were carefully selected, and contrary to what many researchers, including those from India, have assumed, relatively limited.
There is a common misperception that the PLA overran most of the NEFA and reached the lowlands at Bhalukpong, which now marks the state border between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

Bhalukpong was abandoned and the PLA’s last encounter with Indian troops was at Chakhu, a small town near Bomdila, south of Rupa. In the eastern most valley, they did not go much farther than Walong, and the incursions into Subansiri and Siang in the central sector were relatively minor.

There were also areas where human intelligence operations had been possible before the war and where the Chinese, through their Tibetan interpreters, were able to communicate with the locals who stayed behind once the PLA crossed into the NEFA.

Although the Indian Army had retreated from all its positions in the northeastern mountains, it is significant that the PLA did not venture into areas of  NEFA populated by Mishmis, Apatanis, Nyishis, and other non-Tibetan speaking tribes because no ground intelligence had been collected from there before the meticulously planned war.
There were also other preparations that the Chinese had undertaken before the attacks in October 1962. Indian brigadier John Dalvi, who was captured with some of his men on October 22, 1962 and remained a prisoner of war in China until May 1963, has recorded the events in his book Himalayan Blunder: The Angry Truth about India’s Most Crushing Military Disaster.
Brig Dalvi was able to observe how meticulously the Chinese had prepared their blitzkrieg against India.
He discovered that the Chinese had erected prisoner of war camps to hold up to 3,000 men and found out that interpreters for all major Indian languages had been moved to Lhasa between March and May 1962.
Not only had tens of thousands of troops been redeployed to the area to be acclimatised to the high altitudes of the border mountains well before the attacks took place, but thousands of Tibetan porters had also been recruited and forward dumps had been established all along the frontier.
Even more tellingly, Dalvi noticed that the Chinese had built a road
strong enough to hold 7-tonne vehicles all the way up to Marmang near the McMahon Line.
All this,  Brig Dalvi wrote later, “was not an accident and was certainly not decided after 8th September 1962. It was coldly and calculatingly planned by the Chinese.”
While it is not inconceivable that the final order to attack was given a week or so before the PLA swung into action (which would make sense from a tactical military point of view), it is also important to remember that the 1962 War also had nothing to do with the establishment of an Indian Army post in one of the remotest corners of the subcontinent.
That could be seen as a pretext, but even then, at best, a rather flimsy one. Even Mao Zedong had told the Nepalese and the Soviet delegations before and after the war that the issue was never the McMahon Line or the border dispute. China thought that India had designs for Tibet, which, in the 1950s, was being integrated into Mao’s People’s Republic.
At a meeting on March 25, 1959, only three weeks after the outbreak of the Lhasa uprising and as the Dalai Lama was on his way over the mountains to India, Deng Xiaoping, then a political as well as a military leader, made China’s position clear: “When the time comes, we certainly will settle accounts with them [the Indians]”
And, according to Bruce Riedel, one of America’s leading experts on US security as well as South Asian issues, probably as early as 1959, Mao decided that he would have to take firm action against Nehru.
Zhao Weiwen, a South Asian analyst at China’s premier intelligence agency, – the Ministry of State Security – wrote after the war in 1962 that “India ardently hoped to continue England’s legacy in Tibet” and that Nehru himself “harboured a sort of dark mentality”.
Those factors, Zhao argued, led Nehru to demonstrate an “irresolute attitude” in 1959. And that “dark mentality”, US-China scholar John Garver quotes him as saying, led Nehru to give a free rein to “anti-China forces” in an attempt to foment unrest in Tibet to “throw off the jurisdiction of China’s central government”.
According to Garver, Mao was also present at the same meeting as Deng in March 1959, and the Chairman said that India “was doing bad things in Tibet” and therefore had to be dealt with.
Mao, however, told the assembled members of the inner circle of the Chinese leadership that China should not condemn India openly for the time being. Instead, India would be given enough rope to hang itself, quo xingbuyi bi zibii, literally “to do evil deeds frequently brings ruin to the evil doer”.
China was waiting for the right moment to “deal” with India. But first, it needed precise and accurate intelligence from across the border.
Findings by Nicholas Effimiades, an expert on China’s intelligence operations, reveals that the Chinese began sending agents into the NEFA and other areas two years before the military offensive.
“The PLA gathered facts on India’s order of battle, terrain features, and military strategy through agents planted among road gangs, porters and muleteers working in border areas.”
These agents, Effimiades states, “later guided PLA forces across the area during offensive operations…junior PLA commander – disguised as Tibetans – had reconnoitred their future area of operation.”
‘Two years before the military offensive” began in October 1962 means at least a year before the Forward Policy was conceived, which makes it hard to argue that India’s moves in the area provoked China to attack.
Furthermore, the date, October 20, 1962, for the final assault after years of preparations was carefully chosen because it would coincide with the Cuban missile crisis, which the Chinese knew about before hand through their contacts with the leaders of the Soviet Union.
With Soviet missiles on Cuba, the Chinese were convinced that the USA would be too preoccupied to pay much attention to a war in the distant Himalayas.
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Similarities – Indira and NaMo …

Posted on June 3, 2018. Filed under: Personalities |

Courtesy the Wire –

1. Having pliant President and Governors.                                                            .
 2. Scant regard for Parliament and  Constitution.                                            .
.  …
3. Compromising RBI, banking system and crony capitalism.                            . ..
4. Invoking the Pakistan bogey.                                                                                  .
5. Demanding loyal judiciary and military
..                                         .
6. Control of Press and invasion of Citizen freedoms.                                           .
7. PMO is Real Govt.                                                                                               .
8. Undermining functioning of institutions  … EC, CIC, CBI, ED in fact  all the constitutional institutions, including the judiciary, legislature  and executive – the Supreme Court, Parliament, the collective responsibility of Cabinet, the office of the President, the steel frame of the Bureaucracy – and even the fourth estate  – the Media.
9. Cult of personality. Indira Gandhi effectively used the slogan, “They want Indira out, I want poverty out.” Modi uses this with aplomb, “They want Modi out, I want corruption out.” The larger than life image, using media to the hilt.                                                                                                           .
10. Impact on opposition politics     CAUSING THEM TO UNITE
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