“Democratic” India challenges world’s values!

A Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Hamid Waheed

The so called largest democracy of South Asia keeps proving time and again that people majority do not figure in their state decisions. The attitudes of India’s few wealthy elite towards the poor majority deprived of basics of life is evident in  the Indian culture. It is not only the international community but now the Indian intellectuals and patriotic people have started raising their voices.The voices are heard from government officials, military soldiers,police department, IB, human right activists and common Indian. Dr Raju M. Mathew describes India as Land of the Billionaires and the Very Poor – In India, the benefit of liberalization, globalization, privatization of public enterprises, the infrastructure development with public money and the overall economic growth have been hijacked by a dozen families and their corporate houses. During the last fifteen years, they could virtually grab between 60 to 70 per cent of the natural, industrial, air and technological wealth of India, keeping over 80 per cent of the population under poverty line. On the other side the atrocities against the poor and lower class Hindus, as well as people from other sects and beliefs, continue.

In an article by Arundhati Roy titled Walking with the Comrades she highlights how thousands of innocent citizens are being ruthlessly killed in the name of so-called development. The Maoist, the forgotten people of India, are being killed and humiliated under Operation Green Hunt, using sophisticated weapons and equipment (i.e laser range finder, thermal imaging equipment and unmanned drones) bought from Israel to kill its own poor tribesmen. Roy, in her article, adequately explained how government-owned training camps were established to turn street dogs to hunt the poor Gondis (tribesmen). According to WFP, nearly 50 percent of the world’s hungry live in India, a low-income, food-deficit country with ‘extremely low’ nutritional and health indicators.  However, 35 per cent of India’s population – 350 million people – are malnourished and do not know where their next meal will come from. This is India, where a third of the world’s poor live, and which has worse rates of malnutrition than sub-Saharan Africa.

In terms of India’s internal security, the aftermath of Hindutva power in Delhi was catastrophic.   Hindutva fascism planted their own cronies in various governmental institutions.  Even though, Congress lead government made enormous changes in social governance, the legacy of   Hindutva’s muscle powered nationalism continued .  A large number of non hindu were killed in the past few years across the country and the numbers are on a steady rise. On top of that Indian  justice system has also drawn lines, recent decision of  awarding death sentence to11 Muslims  in Indian Godhra train case and delay in Samjhota express tregedy raises questions.

More than 11% increase in defence budget of India has yet another dimension to it which goes beyond the defence of country. By creating conflicts in this country of millions of poor, Brahmin class gets huge commission from the sale of weapons. The corrupt bureaucrats,  fulfil  ‘their self Interest’and the nationl interest and public welfare remain on low burner. The army is the most hit department which suffers from low morale. A soldier who has to lay life for country finds its commanders stealing the houses of commarades who laid life in Kargil. This factor has reduced the flair for a common Indian to join army. In March , 2010, there was a shortage of approximately 12,000 officers in the Army and this shortage adversely affects the functioning of army fighting many insurgencies at home.

Colonel K C Dixit’s report  published by Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in March 2011‘Addressing Stress-Related Issues in Army’  reveals that there were 635 cases of suicide including attempted suicides in the three services of Armed Forces during the years 2003 to 2007. According to Ministry of Defence, every third day a soldier is killing himself, at a rate higher than the toll taken by the militants. From 2007 to May 2010, 208 soldiers lost their lives in actions against militants while 368 soldiers killed themselves during this period. Another 15 to 30 soldiers try to kill  themselves every year, but fail. The worry is that they might try again. The Army has been putting up a brave face saying that the suicide rate per thousand is still lower than that among  the civil population. However, Dr. Prasanna Kumar Patasani, a member Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence which recently examined the issue of stress management in the armed forces, would not buy the argument. He said that the suicide rate within the Army is shocking and does not stand to logic. Since soldiers are theoretically screened for mental illness frequently and are being medically examined at least once a year, it may not be right to compare the statistics of general people with the armed forces’ personnel. The report observes the biggest problem is the soldier’s helplessness in resolving property disputes back at home that makes a soldier feel tense and helpless. . The stress- related issues in a soldier’s life are closely linked with welfare and need to be addressed most sincerely by all agencies concerned with the welfare of soldiers which is non existent at the moment.

In March 2011, the UK Commons Overseas Development Committee under Chairman Malcolm Bruce examined the effectiveness of UK’s  plans to keep paying hundreds of millions of pounds in aid to nuclear-armed India. The Gordon Liberal Democrat MP spoke out after International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell pledged to enshrine in law an undertaking that Britain will pay 0.7% of its annual income (gross domestic product) to fight poverty around the world. The officials found themselves fighting a rearguard action on maintaining aid of £280m a year to India. India’s spends £20bn a year on defence and £1.25bn on a space programme, the argument for continued aid was hard to make. The attitudes of India’s wealthy elite to the poverty on their doorstep do not help. The DEFINITION of “DEMOCRACY” recognised by the world, “government of the people, by the people, for the people’ seem to be of no value for Indian elites controlling the population

As for the international obligations are concerned, a United Nation’s report, warns that environmental increase in temperature will cause the melting of glaciers which will result in people migration and shortage of water. The report names the prime victim countries as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, where glaciers are melting rapidly. Surprisingly depletion of glacier is much more towards Indian side due to her military and chemical activities which has to be seen by international environmental experts. A report of August, 2009 published in Science journal of India said that the “Siachen Glacier has not been affected by the rise in global temperatures.” Jammu University scientists have also claimed that the “Himalayan glaciers, including the world’s highest battlefield Siachen, are melting not because of global warming.” 

The prevailing evidence therefore points towards extraordinary activity of the Indian army, the infrastructure being established and huge explosive storages on the eastern side of the Saltoro Ridge. Such issues remain out of focus of international attention and environmental experts. Pakistan at various stages has claimed that the construction of dams and water projects on the Indian side are illegal, recently the national assembly has viewed it as water terrorism. Pakistan on her part wants to solve the issue by negotiations with India but the hegemonic and obstinate behavior of India is keeping the issue in cold corner. 

Conscious world leaders, writers like Arunduti Roy, officials like former Maharashtra IG police SM Mushrif who wrote ‘Who killed Karkare’ and discussed Brahaman’s control in Indian IB along with human rights organisations keep raising their voices which remain a concern for the world community but lacks collective approach to help the Indians. The Indian government’s perception management keeps the reality hidden from world community but unjust and deprived culture always has an inbuilt capability to stand against undemocratic values, economic disparity and human right violations. As part of global culture such governments only survive till they are tolerated by their own population. Incase of a public uprising issues of international concern like, water terrorism with neighbours like Bangladesh and Pakistan, environmental pollution issues at Siachin glacier resulting in global warming and gross HR violations haunt the corrupt and rich leaders riding on deformed values.

(The writer Hamid Waheed has done his masters in International Relations and MBA  his area of focus is on South Asia, Central Asia and Pakistan. He is a keen follower of war on terror and has written extensively on these subjects).

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  • Ijaz Khan  On March 4, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Excellent write up Yasmeen. New writer.I do not recall reading him before BUT every word is true exposing India for what she is!

    • Hamid Waheed  On March 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks for the comments. My experience tells that India is very good in perception management through use of media.Cyber is one form in which government organisations can only play limited role.We as nation and young generation in particular must play our role.I recommend you read Who Killed Karkare by Their IG police Mushrif.We need to work for human values even if they are in India.

      • Ijaz Khan  On March 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm

        Agreed.The question should be not what THEY do but what WE should do. Here is my take:
        1- Govt must create a “FRONT DESK” aimed at people entering chat rooms,discussions, to float Pakistan’s point of view.
        2-The info floated by ISPR needs to be more transparenr, more honest instead of saying “sub acha”.
        3-People need a more friendly approach by State in taking them on board and not insulting their intelligence.
        4-There should be a more unified policy on issues to be communicated to media so there is a societal and organizational cohesion.
        Unfortunately I see nothing of the above.
        I guess that’s what we admire in Indian media?

  • Rais  On March 4, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Reference mention of dumping of explosive storages on the eastern side of the Saltoro Ridge by India: Mr Arshad H Abbasi, water and energy experts working for SDPI (Sustainable Development Policy Institute) says the Indian army is responsible for the cutting and melting of glacial ice through application of chemicals for construction of bunkers. Indian troops are involved in dumping of chemicals, metals, organic and human waste, and daily leakages of 2000 gallons of kerosene oil. This oil passes through 250 km of a plastic pipeline, laid by the Indian army across the glacier.
    WHY does not Pakistan launch a protest with the International Court of Justice, as the issue is one of the most potent cases of climate change injustice caused by a neighbouring country.
    WHY are we following an APPEASEMENT POLICY?
    Mr Hamid,care to throw light?

    • Hamid Waheed  On March 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      I agree.There are certain things I can do and certain you can only do. One thing we all can do RAISE OUR VOICES and make the defaulter realise faults.OR bring realisation to the one who can force implementation.It will be a pleasure reading on this subject from you .Dangers posed to humanity, environment.Please share your views

      • Rais  On March 4, 2011 at 5:14 pm

        Dear Mr Hamid
        Your mail made me smile.Either you are being delibrately naive or intelligently deflecting the issue. As I see it,there are two distinct spheres of work.One by private citizens & the other by the State.Both cannot exchange responsibilities.Both work in their own sphere of work.It is for the State to take certain actions,like launch a protest in the correct forum, chalk out policies within the country & for that outside the country.
        Let s not fall back on these meaningless slogans.

      • Hamid Waheed  On March 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

        Dear Rais,
        Am lucky if I made someone smile in this gloomy environment.I totally support you, lets get to our sphere of work and make it so strong that it prevails over state.We may not force them but is there any harm in trying to convince.Logic has weight.Not talking theory you must have followed internt revolution in muslim world.Am believer of where there is will there is way …It is sincerity of cause which matters.
        Second option is ……..what can you and i do ….not our job

  • Salimullah Khan  On March 4, 2011 at 5:21 am

    The so called Pakistani elites are following the foot steps of Bharat Mata.. So what the point of pin point India.

    • Hamid Waheed  On March 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      Am a non believer of status quo. If an example can rectify faults of all moving in wrong direction,I will go to heaven.Why you want to deprive me of that?

  • Fakir Sadiq  On March 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

    India is creating an “Arms Race” situation.
    After India’s decision to increase its defence budget by 11 per cent in 2011, China has also increased its defence spending by 12.7% to $91.5 billion in 2011.
    All the three important countries in South Asia – India, China and Pakistan – have increased their defence spending in 2011 and that may lead to an armament race in the region which is already facing the rising threat of terrorism.
    In a sharp 11 per cent increase in India’s defence budget to aid rapid modernisation of the armed forces, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on February 28 allocated Rs 164,415.19 crore ($36 billion) for its military in 2011-12.
    Unfortunately India is US’s pet in SWAR. Hence,India is having a field day!

    • Simon Fraser  On March 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      The U.S. Congress on October 1, 2008, gave final approval to an agreement facilitating nuclear cooperation between the United States and India. It provides U.S. assistance to India’s civilian nuclear energy program, and expands U.S.-India cooperation in energy and satellite technology. But critics in the United States say the deal fundamentally reverses half a century of U.S. nonproliferation efforts, undermines attempts to prevent states like Iran and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, and potentially contributes to a nuclear arms race in Asia.In July 2009, New Delhi designated two sites for U.S. companies to build nuclear reactors in India.
      Pakistan has not received a similar deal on nuclear energy from Washington. Some experts said this apparent U.S. favoritism toward India will increase the nuclear rivalry between the intensely competitive nations, and potentially raise tensions in the already dangerous region.
      Turned out to b true,time proved.
      US needs a revisit to its policies & cut back on their interfearing policies in parts of the world vulnerable to their pressure.

      • Hamid Waheed  On March 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

        I agree but it is not only US. See what can you do YOU HAVE COMPUTER and SHARP mind. Can you do it think tonight and tell me tomorrow?

  • Shaheen Atiq  On March 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Quite true !

  • Inam Khan  On March 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    This a good eye opener for critics of Pakistan.Of course things are bad in Pakistan but all is not well in India and other South Asian Countries………….Inam Khan

  • TMH  On March 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Dear Hamid sahib
    Rais is right, in order for the State to function well, both civil society AND Govt needs to do their bit.In a lot of areas we cannot substitute the govt.

  • Prof. Raju M. Mathew  On April 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

    India and Pakistan wasted a lot of time, energy, money and even human lives for Enmity and Hate. Now the real condition of the Youth and Women in Pakistan is miserable. If the present condition persists, within ten years Pakistan will become the poorest nation in Asia, some times worse than some African countries.

    Last fifty years experiences prove that America or the Pakistan Military Rule or Islamic Fundamentalism of Iran or even the Chinese Support could not Save Pakistan but only act as catalysis for aggravating poverty and backwardness of the people of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan deserve love and support from India.

    Since the people of India and Pakistan share a common culture and heritage, it is the people of India alone can help and support Pakistan to escape from Poverty, Ignorance and Misery. In the near future, when the old men with hate and anger die and the new generations assume power, India and Pakistan will form a Federation and they together become the richest and happiest people on earth.

    The full text of the write up can be found in ‘drrajumathew.wordpress.com and also Facebook Discussion Boards.

  • Prof. Raju M. Mathew  On April 8, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Revolution against Corruption in India has already started with Anna Hazare’s Gandhian way of non-violence. It is spreading all over India with the support of Youth and Women.

    Corruptions are the greatest Curse of India that make the life of millions miserable, keeping them under poverty. India is becoming a True Democracy with empowered people. Indian example is a lesson for all countries. Youth and Women must come forward to fight against Corruption and Anti-people Policies of all Governments.

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