|E D I T O R I A L
P A G E
Friday, April 16, 1999
PERILS OF COALITION POLITICS
way for social democracies
Americana: How long will it last?
that didnt shine
the rival Khalifa
An unedifying spectacle
BARRING a last-minute two-way traffic in votes in the Lok Sabha, Saturday should be the break-and-make day in Delhi. The roar of the Chennai tigress and the angry grunts of the INLD and the Bahujan Samaj Party have more or less closed the options of the BJP-led coalition. Uneasy coexistence within the Samata Party and the Biju Janata Dal has accentuated the air of uncertainty. Things are not rosy for the unwieldy opposition grouping either. Parties like the DMK are caught in a cleft stick and are forced to first take a decision and then find a rationale. Nor are the big players in the anti-BJP formation moving in the same direction with determined steps. They are united on phase one of the operation, which is to pull down the government. On phase two, which is to cobble together a viable coalition, there are irreconcilable differences. This brings out the paradox of the present-day Indian politics. The BJP-led alliance, to quote a favoured expression these days, is collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. And the alternative is struggling to be born under the weight of its own contradictions. Only in this case, two contradictions do not make for clarity; they make for heightened confusion.
Behind the holy noises and self-righteous claims lurks a bankruptcy of ideology and commitment. From the Congress down to the Left, every political party represented in the Lok Sabha is forced to change its position by the minute to suit the changing equation. The Congress proclaimed its aversion to a shaky coalition arrangement at Pachmarhi last year. But Delhi, circa 1999, is a different place and calls for a policy somersault. Parties which denounced the Congress until yesterday are fondly eyeing a seat in the Cabinet to be hopefully formed by the Congress. The Left was offering unconditional outside support, but today it wants radical changes in the Union Budget as a price for its cooperation. A section of the Congress leadership, including Mrs Sonia Gandhi, realises that the party would be walking into a minefield if it accepts the mantle of power. It would have loved to wait for some more time, preferably until after the elections to state assemblies due in November. But Ms Jayalalitha had shut out that luxury by forcing everyones hand. This is true of more or less all parties and leaders. Do they realise that they are forced to make a choiceless choice?
Amidst the gathering
cloud, there is a bright silver lining. President
Narayanan sidestepped a potential controversy by
requesting the Prime Minister to seek a vote of
confidence and prove his majority support. Legal opinion
is sharply divided on the constitutional provision in
this regard. Should the government go through this
exercise when the Lok Sabha is in session, even if it
seems to have lost its majority? The Opposition can
always bring in a no-trust motion and defeat the
government? Or, in a budget session when a simple cut
motion on any money Bill would do the trick. The
Constitution is silent on this and leaves the issue to be
sorted out through convention. And given the possibility
of coalition governments becoming the norm rather than
the exception, the President has opted for an immediate
test of strength on the floor of the House. Since he is
doing it for the second time, it is as good as setting a
firm convention, like his earlier firm action on central
rule. It is amazing how one single individual occupying a
vantage position can gently guide the whole system not
only away from turmoil but also towards healthy
A more dangerous bomb
THE test-firing of Ghauri II by Pakistan has evoked a mature reaction from India. Pokhran II was followed by nuclear tests in Chagai and the response of Pakistan to the test-firing of Agni II was anything but unpredictable. However, a common bomb in the basements of India and Pakistan has the potential to cause more damage and devastation to the two countries than a conventional nuclear device. The destructive potential of this bomb has been recognised by the global community. It is not that the political leadership in the sub-continent is not aware of the common source of danger to their social and economic stability. Unfortunately defusing the population bomb is not high on the list of priorities of the two countries. In Pakistan a dose of anti-India rhetoric every day through the government-controlled media is more important than managing the rapid addition to the countrys under-nourished population. In India the family planning programme was put on the backburner after the rumoured forced vasectomy under Sanjay Gandhis orders. In Pakistan religious obscurantism is an additional factor impeding meaningful progress on the population front. The Worldwatch Institute has now issued a fresh warning of demographic disaster and identified areas where the population tremors were likely to extensive damage. It is the same old story as far as India, Pakistan and China are concerned.
The Worldwatch study
shows that while India, which will overtake China as the
worlds most populous nation in a few years, faces a
disaster, Pakistan has a calamity
staring at it. Yet, it is doubtful that the historic
Lahore Declaration carries any reference to a collective
initiative for tackling the population bomb. The study
points out that 50 years from now India would be hit by
scarcity of arable land and potable water. The
availability of arable land in India would be reduced to
less than one-tenth of a hectare, far less than a typical
suburban lot in the USA, and the plight of Pakistan would
be worse with land availability shrinking to 0.03 hectare
per person. As for water, revised estimates for India
indicate that water tables are falling by one to
three metres per year over much of the country.
Overpumping today means water supply cutbacks tomorrow, a
serious matter where half of the grain harvest comes from
irrigated land. In a country where 53 per cent of all
children are already malnourished and underweight, a
shrinking harvest could increase hunger-related
deaths. Unless India and Pakistan wake up to the
need to defuse the population bomb, they may find
themselves sliding into a demographic dark hole for
under-developed countries. They must realise that the
problem of population explosion can be effectively
controlled through a series of confidence building
measures leading to a drastic reduction in the budgets
for missile and nuclear tests.
PERILS OF COALITION POLITICS
A number of people these days are heard discussing India's twin powers missile power and missive (Jayalalitha) power. The country's Agni feat has made Indians proud. After the success of Pokhran II, it guides India into a select club of nations with missile power and entrenches New Delhi in a strategic position globally, whether Washington and its close allies like it or not.
As for Ms Jayalalitha, the less said the better. The lady from Chennai thrives on her nuisance value in the Theatre of the Absurd that we have been witnessing almost every day in the national Capital. Notwithstanding Dr Subramanian Swamy's tea show and politics of manipulation, Ms Jayalalitha's credibility is very low among the people today. In her latest round of destabilisation game, the AIADMK supremo has overexposed herself.
The question here is not merely of survival of the BJP-led coalition for the stability and uninterrupted development of the country's fragile economy. Equally vital is political culture and norms that ought to guide the leaders for a healthy growth of the country's democratic polity.
True, Ms J. Jayalalitha has the advantage of her party's 18 MPs. In today's shaky coalition politics, every MP counts and hence the importance of smaller groups and individuals.
There is no doubt that Ms Jayalalitha is sharp and intelligent. She knows the strength and weaknesses of the Indian political system which she exploits to her advantage. Indeed, she has secured the maximum advantage out of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee's coalition government. This does not speak well of the quality of the BJP leadership.
Whenever the lady frowned, most of the senior BJP leaders bent over backwards to placate her. Perhaps this time, she has overplayed her cards. There is, therefore, an understandable resentment within the BJP against the AIADMK supremo's high-handedness.
The nation's vital affairs cannot be run by a naked resort to blackmail politics. Every partner in the coalition arrangement is expected to conduct himself with a sense of responsibility and accountability. This is possible if the Prime Minister stops playing survival games and acts tough. Mr Vajpayee has occasionally tried to project a tough image of himself. Unfortunately, he has not been able to sustain it. What seems to matter in New Delhi these days is the politics of convenience and opportunism.
Be that as it may. The question uppermost in everyone's mind is: will the Vajpayee government fall? Or, will the permutations and combinations of Indian politics save his ministry? And if it falls, will he call for a general election? Or, should the Congress, with the largest number of MPs in the Lok Sabha after the BJP, be given a chance to form its government? Or, will splinter parties in the Third Front stake a claim with the support of the Congress from outside? In today's fluid situation it is difficult to provide sure answers. Even astrologers' calculations vary sharply. But one thing is clear: most MPs are opposed to a mid-term election.
In the circumstances, the President will once again be called upon to handle a job more difficult than what he has faced so far. But this time he may have to use his discretion. He will have to carefully weigh whether another combination should be given a chance or whether it is in the overall interest of the country to go in for a snap election. Going strictly by political behaviour pattern, any combination in today's setting will be equally unstable. Who can work smoothly with Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav or Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav or the ever active lady of destabilisation?
It is anybody's game in today's state of drift. India's political bazaar is a mix of strange bedfellows. There are operators galore. Political middlemen too are active in the prevailing climate of uncertainty. It is also no secret that the business of politics thrives in such an atmosphere. Or call it "poly-tricks", if you may.
It is also claimed by rumour-mongers that invisible hands of money power are at play. This is quite possible that money flows through invisible hands. The JMM case is a classic example of how Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao's government managed to turn its minority status into a majority one by "buying" some MPs. This matter is sub-judice. In any case, it is difficult to have foolproof evidence of such operations.
In the days to come, certain groups and MPs seem all set to change their loyalties. Every group here is guided by its own loss and gain calculations. Who cares if the nation's interests are jeopardised in the process? Who cares if we are unable to evolve a healthy two-party system.
It is not without some sound reason when the BJP calls for a "coalition dharma"? But, then, who cares for dharma in an environment in which the only concern of every big or small party is to seize and share power by hook or by crook. The only mantra of political parties these days is power for money and money for power politics!
The current melodrama, courtesy Ms Jayalalitha, is guided by petty personal considerations. Of course, the BJP is not alone in being shaken by the Jaya effect. The Congress under Ms Sonia Gandhi must be equally uneasy at the turn of events. Left to itself, it would like to form a government on its own. But the realities are harsh. It is doubtful if the Congress will be able to form a government on its own even after the next election.
As a party, which has been in office for more than 40 years, the Congress is used to power and all that it brings with it. So a majority of the Congress Working Committee members might be in favour of seizing power, whatever the long-term outcome. The party president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, at first did not seem to be in favour of such a course and hence her initial reluctance to openly join hands with Ms Jayalalitha.
Ms Sonia Gandhi is probably not the only one in the High Command who takes a long-term view of the fortunes of the Congress. She would probably like to wait for the general election so that her party can win the poll on its own. It is a different matter if it can really achieve this. There are visible and invisible ifs and buts in Indian politics, and no one dare take the electorate for granted.
As I said earlier, the credibility of Ms Jayalalitha in the public eye is nearly zero. She has reached a point where even gold would turn into ash at her mere touch. Of course, she has a sizeable following in Tamil Nadu, but in the rest of the country Ms Jayalalitha is seen as the "vish-kanya" (sting-woman) of Indian politics.
To say this is not to deny that coalition politics has done some good. It has at least allowed the regional parties to work out their equations with the mainstream parties and given them a chance to play a bigger role in national affairs. This is surely a healthy development for India's federal system.
However, it is also a fact that coalition politics has produced instability and has thrown up a general climate of uncertainty. Economic development has suffered in the process.
Thus, whether the
partners in a coalition join the government or remain
outside, it is necessary to evolve a code of conduct
not on paper but in practice. Meanwhile, the
Congress seems all set to form a government in case the
Vajpayee ministry loses the trust vote in the Lok Sabha
on Saturday. Details of an alternative power structure
are under discussion. For the crucial top slot the man to
watch is Dr Manmohan Singh provided the Congress is able
to have its way.
way for social democracies
WHEREAS in the late 19th century Britain was still the epitome of civilised modernity, in the late 20th century it is parts of Europe that offer the models to Britain. The boot is on the other foot. In the nineties the illusion of Britains ascendancy had slowly ended. Any serious and urgent list of problems facing her will include, apart from inflation and trade deficit, the relative backwardness of their transport infrastructure, their education system, particularly in technical and language training and their European lead in football hooliganism and broken families. It cannot be denied that within the present European scene, Britain is down at heel, middle-aged and middle-sized, and desperately struggling to keep up in competitive company.
After the dissolution of the welfare consensus in the 1970s and the discrediting of Marxism, the survival of social democratic politics is at stake. Any hope for its renewal must compel the Social Democrats to revise their pre-existing views for which the solution lies in the third way that has now become associated with the new Labour. This would involve an examination of the modernisation of Mr Blairs Labour Party through conceptualising issues and considering how they get placed on the political agenda so that Britain can hold its own and not slip any further down the ladders of prosperity and civility.
Mr Tony Blairs break with the old Left shows that he is inclined to follow the continental pattern of social democratic parties and not wholly lean on the new Democrats in the USA, always looking across the Atlantic for inspiration and its political rhetoric. Mr Blair stands at a juncture when he is in position to revise the agenda of Left politics in the wake of the disintegration of conservative forces which undoubtedly shook up the established institutions and elites while Thatcherite politics lent further force to changes already sweeping through the society at large. Ideas developed in Britain, therefore, can have a direct and lasting impact on the debates about the renewal of social democracy now going on all over the continent and about creating an international consensus of Centre-Left for the 21st century. This calls for a policy framework that would concern itself with the larger forces of globalisation which cannot at this stage be ignored by the Left, as well as considerable attention which necessarily has to be given to the impact of Thatcherism on Britains urban areas and inner cities with the increasing role of the private sector and the market.
Labours history is largely the unravelling of contradictions and fissures within the party riven between the purists who are adamant to have nothing to do with capitalism and the pragmatists who think that the only way out is some kind of a compromise. As Mr Blair pointed out recently, they have to manage that change to produce social solidarity and prosperity. But Anthony Giddens, in his recent book The Third Way points out: Global problems respond to local initiatives but they also demand global solutions. We cant leave such problems to the erratic swirl of global markets and relatively powerless international bodies if we are to achieve a world that mixes stability, equity, and prosperity. The path of Mr Tony Blair and his intellectual blue-eyed boy, Anthony Giddenss third way, is not easy and its destination lies in great doubt owing to the dichotomy of pragmatism and purism, or to put it slightly differently, the new Labour blended with the old.
Mr Blair certainly needs advice from renowned political thinkers like Anthony Giddens, who are well versed in sociology and economics. As the millennium ends, the third way might be the only option left for social democracies. The world economy which is at present in disarray and without any firm foundations needs to surge forward. The opportunities for the Labour are very much there but time is fast passing and it might be already too late for Mr Blair to gain benefits from such advice.
In times when the market forces are ruling the world, what is the best care for those who fall behind? The third way could represent the renewal of the coming picture of social democracy in a world where the views of the old Left have become obsolete while those of the new right, though inadequate and contradictory, still have the zest to overcome the sterility of post Socialist thought.
Anthony Giddens needs to
be given serious consideration and any discussion in the
area of social scientific practice and philosophy cannot
ignore his work which has the unique merit of tying
together the rich tradition of modern social thought with
the challenges whatever is new and unprecedented in what
has been called the late modern or post-traditional
world. The triumph of Mr Tony Blairs seductive
socialism is slowly petering out and in the context of
the ruins of a rapidly disintegrating social fabric,
Giddens has offered a timely critique. He is aware that a
new social democratic agenda is fast emerging and that it
is a necessity in modern politics to rekindle political
idealism. We have yet to see if the third way
could be the answer.
that didnt shine
SEEING the jostling crowds around the film stars during the recent awards giving ceremony, I was reminded about my brush with fame.
I was a college student in Jaipur and actively involved in NCC activities like rock climbing and horse riding. It so happened that during that time the movie Sultanat was being shot in the deserts near Jaipur. They got in touch with the local riding club for able horse riders to work as duplicates and extras in the movie. That is how I became aware of this opportunity to be part of the movie crowd. Like any normal star-struck teenager, I welcomed the chance.
The shooting was scheduled for a Sunday and we all excitedly looked forward to it. A bus picked us up 15 boys and 3 girls and after an hour-long drive we reached the location. A set of a fort was being erected. It was fascinating to see that a crudely painted plywood facade would pass off as a beautiful fort. We were given loose fitting robes to wear over our dresses and with covered heads and partially covered faces we were ready to face the cameras as members of Amrish Puris gang of dacoits! Some of the extras had come from Bombay and one of them came up to me and said, You seem to be from a decent family, dont waste your time here. He was comforted only after I told him that I was there just for that day. However, when Amrish Puri came up to me and said Arre tu to ladki hai, I was too excited to think of a suitable response.
After many takes and retakes we managed just two shots throughout the day. That was because either the horses refused to budge or when they did budge they wanted to prove their calibre and galloped ahead unmindful of any formations that were required. So even after 4-5 hours, there was less than five minutes of film footage available.
Finally, it was time for packup. By this time a lot of people from the surrounding villages had become aware of the shooting and huge crowds had gathered. Due to the absence of any heroine at that location and I being young and reasonably pretty, they presumed that I was one! In hordes they surrounded the tent where I was removing the robes and scarves (Thank God I had my T-shirt and jeans underneath) so as to catch a glimpse of me. They entered the tent in huge numbers and tried to touch my hair, my clothes, and me! I could hardly breathe due to the suffocation in the crowds. The disadvantages of being a star (when I was not even one) struck me then. The local police was around and they had to escort me to the waiting bus!
I felt safe only then
and I told myself that the life of The Rich and
Famous was not for me! I was happy enough being a
young girl with the freedom to do what I pleased, how I
pleased, without any invasion of my privacy.
Americana: How long will it last?
NOT for long. A century, they used to say. It is too costly to sustain. We know what happened to Soviet Russia. It died of bleeding. The same fate awaits Americana.
Capitalism is at its peak efficiency when operating on a global scale. But in normal circumstances, this is not possible. Only a hegemon can attempt it. But hegemony is costly. While it lasts, it is true, the sun shines on the hegemon. Hence the attraction.
Political and military power is an expression of economic power. This being so, the world is moving inexorably so multipolarity. For example, Japan, China, India and Indonesia in Asia; Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa in Africa; Brazil, Mexico and Argentina in Latin America; Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in Europe all these countries are already sizeable economic powers. They will dominate the 21st century. America is bound to fall back.
Does this mean that the age of US hegemony is coming to an end? Will the world be a more democratic place? Not so fast. The USA is trying to stay put.
Ever since the end of World War II the USA has been trying to gain hegemony. As the victor of the war, it has had a hand in shaping the post-war world. And it has pursued one objective all along: to prevent the emergence of rival powers. In this, it has not been highly successful. It had to contend with Russia and China as rivals. Result? A bitter cold war for over four decades! Today Russia and China are not exactly Americas rivals. But, then, they are not loyal friends either. There is an inner tension in their relations.
However, Washington has not given up its main goals. The Pentagons 1992 Defence Planning Guidance states that the USA must dominate the international system by discouraging the advanced industrialised nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger global or regional role. No one has dared to challenge America yet. The document goes on to say that this will ensure a market-oriented zone of peace and prosperity that encompasses more than two-thirds of the worlds economy. In practice, what does this imply? It implies total dominance over a captive global economy!
But it has been at a heavy cost. America had to bear much of the defence expenditure. This is the prize it had to pay for its leadership. The cost fell on the civilian economy. Naturally, the civil industries suffered and America became less competitive in the world market. But as the main global supplier of defence equipment, American defence industries flourished. Did they make up for the loss on the civilian side? These are matters which the world will never know.
As the sole creditor nation till the sixties, the USA was able to shape the post-war economic world. The world having accepted the dollar as the international currency, the USA was able to print money. And armed with the nuclear bomb, it offered security to the European nations at a price their acceptance of American leadership. This became a fundamental aim of the US foreign policy.
Already a large part of the world is under the US nuclear umbrella. Only a few are outside this arrangement Russia, India and China, to mention a few of the major nations. This explains the continuing expansion of NATO. It has already absorbed eastern Europe and is eyeing the old Soviet empire.
To bring about effective hegemony over the world, it has to bring Russia, China and India under its nuclear umbrella. (The opposition to nuclear proliferation is also designed to prevent the emergence of rivals.) But this is unlikely to happen.
It was the search for markets and resources that led to wars before. But with the creation of economic associations (Common Market in Europe to begin with) and globalisation these two problems have been resolved to some extent. And with America offering security, it seemed the world was ready for peace and prosperity. But there were many flaws in the arrangement.
To begin with, the old conflicts have continued. So too the old suspicions. And new problems have cropped up that of ethnic nationalism and religious fundamentalism. The nuclear umbrella cannot be of much help here.
And the new arrangement has not been fair to the poorer countries. In the last few decades their condition has become worse. With globalisation it was expected that prosperity will be more widespread. With this hope, most of the countries were willing to part with their sovereignty. But there has been no gain. In the meantime America is determined to destroy the UN, the only hope of the poor countries. There is, therefore, a new awakening among the poor countries against American designs.
If association with the rich is a Hobsons choice, the poor must do without it, they say. We are certainly not desperate. We can put up with our poverty for some more time because we know that we will not be poor always, and because we are convinced that the American economic power will decline, and so too, in consequence, its political and military power.
If the developing countries have failed to advance their interests, it is because they do not have a proper leadership.
Galbraith had said that if the local leadership was strong, effective and well-regarded, it would not tolerate foreign exploitation and domination. If it was weak, ineffective, unpopular and oppressive, it would allow foreign domination. Most of the developing world falls under the second category.
And if the rich are rich, it is not always because they have better technologies, better knowhows and better management system, but because they have been able to create a global environment favourable to their economic activities. And if we have failed it is because we did not concentrate all our attention and energy on this single objective. Even worse, we presume that what is good for America is good for us!
Be that as it may, when America falls back, other nations will occupy the front row. They may even emerge as rivals. As I said at the outset, there are many potential rivals to America. And they may want to assert themselves if only to secure their pre-eminent position.
The modern economy with its high tech application calls for a level of specialisation and vastness of market that only an integrated global economy can provide. But this is possible only if the new leadership of the capitalist system can also provide security to the global economy through its military preponderance. Hence if anyone takes on this responsibility, it will meet the same fate as America.
cannot sustain Pax Americana for a long time more. And
the capitalist economy cannot survive the decline of Pax
Americana. There is no other nation in sight which can
take on the role of a new hegemon. In these circumstances
the capitalist world will fall back on its old device of
competition the very thing that kept the economic
Learning to smile the right way
TOKYO (DPA): The young womans palms gently touch the neat folds of her grey skirt as she slowly bends her upper body forward.
About 30 degrees. Make sure the collar keeps touching your neck, Mitchiru Kuroda yells at the young woman and her fellow students, who silently follow her every instruction before a large mirror.
Pull in the chin when you bow, dont stick it out. Stay like that for a moment. Then straighten out again, but slowly.
Kuroda is a teacher at Jai Academy, one of the growing number of staff training schools in Tokyo. In a two-day course, the former air hostess teaches young employees the most basic skills of customer relations. Japanese style: bowing. The ritualised exchange of business cards and the stylised serving of tea.
Politeness, says company department head Reiko Kasai, is the grease of Japanese society. But good manners, she adds, are no longer enough in the recession-plagued country, where people increasingly worry about their jobs, their savings and their future.
Foreign visitors may still be amazed by the involved and highly-cultured courtesy of the sales staff they encounter. But for the Japanese, who are long used to being treated like kings in their home country, this is no reason to actually spend money.
Today sales people have to be able to see things from the customers perspective, says Kasai.
Not formal politeness, but hearty and individual treatment is what truly counts, explains Yoko Sakurai of the rival courtesy school Pasona. The Japanese have to learn to look the customer in the eye and smile.
That is why more and more companies now also send their employees to special smiling courses.
First you inflate your cheeks to relax them, says Kasai, explaining a warm-up exercise. Then you say a-e-i-o-u several times, drawing apart the corners of her mouth. She adds: Now try a long whiskeeeey.
Other smiling courses go further. Making students bite chopsticks and stretch their mouth with special plastic springs for the broadest, toothiest possible smile.
Womens magazines have also devoted in-depth treatment to the new smiling craze. Forget the recession, the Josei Jishin tells its readers. At the end of the millennium, why not become a smiling co-worker?
Smiling does not only make you feel good, the popular weekly suggests, it also reduces weight and fights cancer.
I practised in front of the mirror every day, a 23-year-old is quoted as saying. At first I found smiling totally unnatural, but then it gave me new confidence.
They say the Japanese have inexpressive faces, like the masks in the traditional Noh theatre, muses Kasai. You can never tell what they think.
Emotions are indeed seldom expressed openly in Japan, a society which highly values form and harmony. But, in the business world, it is becoming more and more important to read and react to their customers wishes through open and relaxed contact, says Sakurai.
the rival Khalifa
JERUSALEM: The Special Correspondent of the Manchester Guardian writes:
Yesterday I was received in audience by King Hussein, and after-wards by the Emir Abdullah, in the winter camp at Shuneh. King Husseins tone throughout was melancholy and diffident, like that of a man shouldering a heavy burden from a sense of duty and more conscious of difficulties and dangerous than of glories. He said.
When the Prophet was dying he appointed Abu Bekr to read the prayer and succeed him as Khalif. The Khalifs chief duty was to maintain the purity of the religion and to defend it. Abu Bekr, best fitted to be a religious leader and the protector of Islam, belonged to the tribe of Koreish. These are necessary qualifications of the Khalif. Abu Bekr appointed Omar for like reasons to succeed him. When Omar was dying he asked Ali, and Ali answered: Insha Allah, if God wills, I am ready. That answer was too qualified for the Khalif and the offer was transferred to another.
These were the
only Khalifs lawfully appointed. Thereafter, the khalifat
fell to any hand strong enough to seize it, and the title
was assumed by the Sultans of Turkey, who had not the
proper qualifications. The Turks used the Khalifa for
political and personal advantage and intrigue. They did
not protect the religion, and because of their intrigues
other powers made reprisals on Moslems. Now they behave
as no religious people would. They have driven out the
Khalif with all his family. They have suppressed the
Khalifat and made war upon religion as though it were a
secularised State. The French made a revolution and a
Republic. But they did not war upon religion, and French
Ministers themselves attended churches. Now nobody can
say the Turks are Moslems.
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