Monday, March 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Bihar: new unstable phase

APROPOS of the editorial “Bihar: new unstable phase” (March 11), what was imminent and inevitable has happened in Bihar. Mr Nitish Kumar’s seven-day wonder vanished and met its Waterloo as had happened to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee’s earlier 13-day central regime. The former Agricultural Minister was drafted to face his sworn enemy, Laloo Prasad Yadav. Over-confident of mustering majority by luring the Congress legislators to his side, Mr Nitish Kumar miserably failed. Worse, by adopting unfair means to achieve his objective he tarnished his own image as an upright leader.

Now when Mrs Rabri Devi is on the saddle again, what is going to be the fate of Bihar? The same as before with Laloo Yadav’s “jungle raj” to continue more vigorously?

It can be safely predicted that the question of non-governance, which was of such crucial importance during the election campaign, will now slowly fade into the background. Moreover, a “new unstable phase” is in the offing. It is not only the question of numbers which militates against both sides. Even more worrisome is the intense distrust which characterises the relations of various parties in the two groups. If the RJD had to fight the elections virtually alone, the reason was not only the pre-poll belief that its days were numbered, but also the lack of trust that prevailed between it and its prospective allies, including the Congress, which kept a safe distance from Laloo Yadav’s party.

  Now that Mr Yadav has proved that he is not quite the spent force that he was supposed to be, he may not have such difficulty in gathering people around, at least for the time being. But that does not mean that the earlier dislike will vanish. In addition, the customary bargains that will be struck will introduce an element of tension in the relations. The presence of a number of mafia dons is bound to complicate the situation and hence the continuance of the state’s “jungle raj”.

The fact of the matter is that for the hapless people of Bihar, who have already paid a heavy price in the last few years for the widespread lawlessness in the countryside and the absence of development, the elections have solved no problem. The same “jungle raj” will continue to be in store for them.

Indeed, the situation may become worse because the earlier legislative stability will be replaced by a fractious coalition whose members will be more concerned about feathering their own nests than with paying even a cursory attention to administrative tasks for the welfare of the people of the state.


US tilt

An article titled “A Likely Nuclear War”, by Paul D. Taylor in Washington Post (March 13) is a typical example of creative negationism regarding India’s security over Kashmir and her ascent to nuclear status. At best, the author deserves credit for proposing a cosmetic solution that is bound to have disastrous effects in South Asia.

The problem of US foreign policy in South Asia, regarding India and Pakistan, has been that of indifference and neglect over the past decades. On the issue of Kashmir, US role has always been seen by Indians as “pan-Islamic”. This view has now precipitated into a singular mistrust between world’s oldest (USA) and largest (India) secular, democracies.

That the USA views Kashmir as a “disputed territory”, cannot be denied as the source of this mistrust between India and the USA. The problem with such a US foreign policy is purely an ideological one. For while claiming that the USA stands for secular and democratic values, it is seen to support the claims of Pakistan in Kashmir. Pakistan, like many other Islamic countries, supports the action of Muslim militants in creating an Islamic state there.

The call for implementing UN resolutions and holding a plebiscite there is also null and void, because both countries have to create conditions for returning to the original conditions of holding plebiscite there. This means return of the displaced original, ethnic groups as the Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, who have been the hapless victims of the pogrom carried out by the Pakistan-backed militants there.

What the USA apparently negates is this ideological difference between Islamic theocracy and a secular democracy over the Kashmir issue. India, like the USA, being a secular, democratic republic — something that the USA acknowledges — cannot accept the solution of Kashmir on religious lines. It would deny the freedom of religion in Kashmir, which India cannot accept. Giving up Kashmir, to create a Muslim-majority state there, would eventually fragment India since other Muslim-majority pockets in India shall also call for secession from the republic. I hope Mr Taylor considers this issue in his future articles.

Lawrence (USA)

Clinton’s visit

Almost 53 years after Independence it is amazing how slave mentality has started to flourish with this BJP-led government. While in opposition these people used to roar like lions, now in office they are running scared all over the place like rats. Every time something happens India’s Prime Minister is on the phone to the White House like a small child would run to its mum from the playground after falling down. Kargil and hijack are good examples.

Americans have always not only backed, but have armed Pakistan to the hilt. They have no intention of declaring Pakistan a terrorist state. To them it is irrelevant how many innocent Indians and brave soldiers get killed by a fundamentalist Pakistan backed with American dollars and political power.

Clinton has also made it clear that Americans want to stick their unwanted nose in Kashmir. He also wants to exploit Indian market for American multinationals. Just like East India Company did. No Indian should ever forget the end result of trading agreements with that evil setup.

Rather than telling him to get lost, and stay away from Indian airspace, the Vajpayee government is slavishly taking these insults to the land of Martyr Bhagat Singh and revolutionaries like Subhas Chandra Bose. This government lacks courage of standing up to this self-confessed and disgraced liar, who could not even tell the whole truth to his wife, daughter and country. Because this slave minded government is not at all likely to stand for the dignity of India, should not mean that millions of freedom loving proud Indians should not protest against Clinton’s visit, same way many stood out and got counted against the British Queen and her Foreign Secretary during her visit.

Freedom of India was won with great sacrifices. Vajpayee should not be allowed to give it away to American imperialism because it suits his fascist ego, and slave mentality.



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