Kow-towing to America

Published : May 09, 2003 00:00 IST

TOADYISM of a particularly repulsive kind is now masquarding as pro-Americanism. We all are in favour of close and cordial relations with the United States. The reasons are so obvious that one does not have to catalogue them. Nevertheless, American actions and thought processes leave much to be desired. Their petulant assertions, their fluctuating purposes and principles are perplexing indeed. Their bright ideas are so often not so bright. The abdication of judgment is breath-taking as is "their failure of instinctive understanding". What a catastrophic mishandling of Islam. More on this later.

At the same time, it is necessary to remind the toadies that there has been no paradigm change in American policy when it comes to India and Pakistan. Washington will not share our perceptions of Pakistani dictators. Pakistan remains America's `stalwart' ally. On most occasions the U.S. has shown its preference for Pakistan. For our responsible restraint on U.S.-U.K. aggression in Iraq, India has received no kudos, while Pakistan is a huge financial gainer.

During the Rajya Sabha debate on the Iraq resolution, I drew the attention of External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha to his not-so-well-thought-out pronouncement on the U.S. doctrine of pre-emptive strike. Taken to its logical conclusion, the statement of the External Affairs Minister could, I said, amount to approving the U.S. attack on Iraq. The American response to Yashwant Sinha's understanding of the pre-emptive doctrine was prompt and dismissive - Pakistan could not be equated with Iraq.

What is worse is U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's statement that once they are free from dealing with Iraq, their attention will be diverted to India and Pakistan. What does this mean? In simple language - India and Pakistan should sit down and talk, cross-border terrorism notwithstanding. Will the Atal Behari Vajpayee government resist U.S. pressure and not talk to Pakistan until cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir stops? So a South Block (the Prime Minister's Office part of it) has refused to talk to Gen. Pervez Musharraf. This, in my judgment, is short-sighted. How in the name of heaven can any forward movement take place if we close the diplomatic door for all time. Even more disturbing is the news that the G8 countries at their forthcoming meeting will discuss India and Pakistan. So much for the foreign policy "success" of the Vajpayee government. The entire country will support the Vajpayee government if it firmly and politely says to our U.S. friends that enough is enough and that they would do well to keep their noses out of matters that are the sole concern of India and India alone. American think tanks are also advancing the pernicious theory that India should be watching China carefully and it was in India's interest to come even closer to the U.S. to meet China's challenge and so on.

The toady brigade is also targeting the resolution on Iraq unanimously passed by both Houses of Parliament. It was a remarkable show of unanimity on gross violations of international law, the U.N. Charter, by the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. The government was not keen to have any resolution at all. That would have pleased Washington, but the Indian Parliament is answerable to the people of India and not to the White House. M/s Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have sown the wind. They must sooner rather than later reap the Islamic whirlwind. The present ruling establishment in Washington must live in some never-never land, if they imagine that the Islamic world has not been profoundly hurt, humiliated, insulted, and outraged. A wiser U.S. would look for partnership, not hegemony. Parliament, by adopting the resolution it did, has shown that we cannot and will not be pushed around.

Guess who wrote this:

"India is not a country of the Hindus only. It is a country of the Muslims, the Christians and Parsees too. The country can gain strength and develop itself only when people of different communities of India live in mutual goodwill and harmony. Those who disrupt this unity are enemies of their country and their community alike."

Not Gandhiji, not Pandit Nehru, not Maulana Azad, not Gurdev Tagore, not Dr. Radhakrishnan. It was Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviyaji. You cannot be purer Hindu than him. The Tilakdharis, Gadadharis and Nikardharis of the RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal might do well to emulate Malaviyaji.

MY friend, Inder Malhotra has provided details of the holidays India, that is Bharat, takes. Over 200 days out of 365. Yes, that is the stunning figure he gives. Add to this the holidays when someone dies. I was in New York when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. No holiday. When Churchill died in January 1965, no holiday, as far as I remember; de Gaulle died in November 1970. No holiday. We must do away with this holiday mania. Leaders of political parties and religious bodies must sit down and work out a sensible and practical formula

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