Persian writers saw and recorded
Review by Joginder Singh Toor
from Persian Sources
Edited by J.S.Garewal and Irfan Habiib. Tulika and Indian
History Congress, New Delhi. Pages 220. Rs 200.
book provides the students of history with a taste of the way
history is recorded," claims Shireen Moosvi, secretary,
Indian History Congress in the preface. Surely, an event which
passes into history and is significant to the posterity, needs
to be verified from various sources. "Behind the biases one
can still discern the truth, and not all narrators in this
volume are slaves to blind prejudice." It is further
claimed. "A unique collection of translations from non-Sikh
sources of Sikh history," opines editor Jagtar Singh
Garewal in the introduction. "A comprehensive collection of
evidence in an English translation may be expected to
revolutionise our understanding of the Sikh past."
chapters srelate to fifth Guru Arjan Dev. One is an account by
Fr Guerreiro which is quite different from what we generally
know about the Guru’s martyrdom. The cause is attributed to
the claim of his elder brother Pirthi to Guruship, his having
conspired with Chandu Shah, a Sahi Khatri and a diwan, who had
his own score to settle.
Guerreiro says that Jahangir was angry over the Guru’s
generosity and blessings by placing a tikka on rebel
prince Khusrau’s forehead.. This is the reason why he ordered
the Guru to be punished. Jahangir confirms this in
Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri: "I ordered that he be brought to my
presence (at Lahore). I gave over his homes and houses and
children to Murtaza Khan, confiscated his goods and ordered him
to be punished." Some persons "interceded on behalf of
their holy man and in the end he was allowed to purchase his
freedom for a hundred thousand ‘crusados’ for which a
wealthy man became his surety. Now he thought that the Guru
would provide the money and on the Guru’s failure to come up
with the huge amount, he took......all his (Guru’s) worldly
possessions, even the furniture of his house and clothes of his
wife and children, and when it did not suffice to pay the fine,
he subjected the Guru to all kinds of torture." This leads
us to believe that it was the surety who subjected the Guru to
compares the information with other sources such as Kesar Singh
Chhiber’s writings in 1769, which does not mention Jahangir at
all. He says the initiative against the Guru was taken by his
elder brother, Chandu Shah, the Sahi Khatris and not the Turks,
who tortured the Guru to death. "He was tortured, bound,
and thrown on the sand in the hot month of Jeth. A Mughal
threw a brick at him and his forehead began to bleed. He died of
this wound. No Hindu came to claim his body and it was thrown
into the river. Later the Mughal emperor handed over the Sahi
Khatris to Guru Har Gobind for retaliatory justice."
The authors of
various papers — 22 in number — seldom talk ill of the
Gurus. Rather they lavish praise on them. The thrust of their
contempt and hatred is on Banda Bahadar who defied the Mughal
authority with partial success.
Arjan Dev’s skill to organise and expand the sphere of
influence and the numbers, "Dabistan" says: "In
his reign, Arjan Mal appointed a person (masand) in every
city to collect tax and tribute from the followers. The masands
in turn appointed their deputies melis.. The term masand
is derived from "masand-i-ala", the elevated seat
of Afghan nobles.
in every ‘mahal’ (each Guru’s reign) the Sikhs increased
in number, till the reign of Guru Arjan Mal, they became
numerous." Not many cities remained in the inhabited region
where Sikhs had not settled in some number.".........
It was perhaps
for this reason that eight years before the martyrdom of Guru
Arjan Dev, Akbar, the then emperor, on his way back to Delhi
from Lahore, chose to visit him in 1598. "On 13 Azar
(November 4, 1598) his majesty crossed the river Beas on an
elephant near Govindwal, while the troops crossed by a (boat)
bridge. On this day, the house of Arjan Guru received fresh
lustre through his majesty’s alighting there.......Since he
has a great store of (spiritual) love his hope arose out of
devotion. His majesty accepted his invitation." (A quote
from Abul Fazl’s Akbarnama). The common Sikh belief is that
Akbar came to seek blessings of Guru Arjan Dev.
After the Sikhs
grew in number they, according to Dabistan, started
over-stressing their belief by saying that "Baba Nanak is
God and the world is his creation….But Baba Nanak regards
himself as a servant of God, and speaks of God as Niranjan,
Parbrahm and Parmeshwar, who does not have a body,
nor a material existence and does not attach himself to any
person." Dabistan also dwells on the belief of the Sikhs
that soul of Guru Nanak descended in Guru Angad Dev and all
later Gurus regarded themselves as Nanak incarnation. The Guru’s
reign was considered as "mahal", a period of time, a
stoppage, a station.
About Guru Har
Gobind it is stated, "In short after the battle of
Kartarpur, he went to Phagwara. Since it was difficult for him
to stay at any place near Lahore, he proceeded to Karaitpur (Kiratpur)...."
Today most people from amongst the masses are the Guru’s
followers. In that mountainous region up to the borders of Tibet
and China there is no trace of Islam.
Guru Har Gobind
is said to have told the author of Dabistan, "In the
northern mountains there is a raja of great grandeur. He
enquired from me, "We have heard that there is a city
called Delhi. What is the name of its raja and whose son is he?
He did not know it was Shahjahan’s reign.
says, "He (the Guru) had 700 horses in his stable, 300
battle-tested horse men, and 60 musketeers." ... He was a
man firmly believing in one God.
Muharram 1055 Hijri (March 5, 1645) the Guru died. When his body
was put on the pyre a Rajput, Raja Ram, threw himself into the
fire, walked a few steps through the fire and placed his head at
his feet and he too died. Then a Jat boy, who attended on the
Gurus son-in-law, jumped into the fire. A number of people
wanted to jump into the fire but Guru Har Rai stopped
devotion overpowers even the instinct to live and to what extent
the Gurus were respected and worshipped!
The reports of
the agents of various rajas and nobles in the Shahi Darbar in
Delhi are another source of information. These reports sent by
the agent of Sawai Man Singh on August 4, 1707, noted "that
Guru Gobind Singh entered the Darbar ‘armed’ which nobody
else was ever permitted to do, and was presented with a robe of
honour and a ‘padak’ (medallion)" . His second report
says that "it was reported that the deceased Guru Gobind
Singh has left much property, orders are sought about
sequestering it." It was observed by the Emperor: "The
king’s treasury does not get affluent by seizing such
property. Let them not interfere with the property of dervishes
different sources much is about Banda Bahadar who defied the
authority of the Mughal and who established his authority over
Saharanpur, Buriya, Sadhoura, Chhat, Ambala, Shahabad, Thanesar,
Sarhind, Pail, Ropar, Bahlolpur, Machhiwara, Ludhiana, etc —
the area from Thanesar to the banks of Sutlej excepting the
territory of Lakhi jungle — and had an ambition of conquering
Delhi. He started from Thanesar but was intercepted by Sardar
Khan, a Rajput zamindar of Narok. Earlier Jalal Khan Ruhela,
master of Jalalabad near Deoband, had stopped him from advancing
further. But for these two, says the report of Nawab Abdus Samad
Khan, "there was none in Delhi who had the courage and the
force to repel those ill-fated ones."
describes the horrible entry of Banda Bahadar in Delhi. After
his capture "he was sitting in an iron cage placed on the
back of an elephant, wearing a khimkhwab jama and a gold
embroidered turban of fine red cotton cloth. A Turani Mughal
retainer of Mohd Amin Khan, with a drawn sword stood behind him.
In front of the elephant many heads of the Sikhs were raised on
About those who
were captured alive, the report says, "They were seated on
camel back in pairs. One hand of each Sikh was tied to his neck
by a wooden frame, fixed by an iron pin. The city’s streets
and lanes were filled with people, many in a happy mood ... yet
many of those ill-fated Sikh prisoners insisted on standing fast
by their villainy. There was no sign of humility and submission
on their faces. Rather, most of them kept singing and reciting
verses bani or shabad When spectators told them
that they might be executed they firmly replied ‘let it be so’."
Bulk of the
evidence in the book relates to the period from 1600 to 1765.
The writers were not recording a piece of history but were
keeping notes for their own purpose, maybe as official record,
report, or as a piece of information.
These facts are
to be compared with Sikh sources, which Prof Garewal laments,
are almost none as far as political information is concerned.
Still the book lifts the veil from many mysteries and confirms
many controversial facts in Sikh history. Much of the evidence
in the book has been used by Sikh historians like Ganda Singh
and Teja Singh.
The efforts of the Indian
History Congress is commendable in tracing the hitherto hidden
sources of Sikh history with the help of scholars of Aligarh who
spared no effort in checking the authenticity of the original
and then meticulously translating it.
gritty of market development
Review by G.V. Gupta
Institutional Approach to Economic Development
Edited by Satu Kahkonen and Mancur Olson. Sage Publications, New
Delhi. Pages 354. Rs 595.
issue is simple. Market in itself can function only for
self-enforcing contracts. Therefore, these have essentially to
be face to face, small and local. These involve little
transaction costs or the presence of an enforcer. The danger of
non-entitled appropriation in such cases is absent. But the cost
of production is high. Specialisation with the economies of
scale involves a large market and a host of intermediaries.
Supply of public goods and availability of knowledge becomes
Thus while the
cost of production falls, the question of transaction costs
becomes important. These have to be minimised. Intermediary
institutions have to be efficient in terms of resource use, time
and effectiveness. The editors take the analogy of a city.
Elementary market is the city centre. Expansion of the city
requires movement to periphery and suburbs. These require public
goods. These externalities have to be institutionally provided.
institutions have to be large and complex to discharge a host of
functions. This means financial infrastructure such as banks and
stock exchanges and various types of financial instruments.
These require to be legally defined and enforced. The sanctity
of contract is vital. We need physical infrastructure such as
road, sea and air transport, communication, power supply and
provision for land and water. Education and health facilities
are vital. There has to be a government. Its composition,
legitimacy and stability are vital and one should look at
political associations, the system of elections and social
assistance of other social sciences and humanities. Research and
development of technology require a look at the state of
sciences and their institutional structures. Efficiency studies
of all these institutions are the concern of the new
institutional economics. At the core of this institutional
approach is the right to property and the size and policies of
the government. Precision in the studies is imparted by the
creation of mathematical models of market economics of social
prices, if available, or accounting prices if necessary. Because
this approach is in its infancy, in many cases a start has to be
made with elementary theoretical models. The collection of
essays under review deals with this. Many of the studies
included are remarkable for ingenuity of approach and throw up
has, in addition to the introduction, 16 essays divided in two
parts. Part one of 10 essays deals with general propositions and
the second part is India specific. The first part had been
earlier published by Oxford. The introduction defines the
general approach and summarises the articles.
The late Olson,
one of the editors and a distinguished public policy expert, has
contributed two pieces. He argues that even in the case of
externalities bargaining between those involved enhances
efficiency. Transaction costs use valuable resources and have to
be included in arriving at Pareto equilibrium.
poor not because of a shortage of resource endowment but because
they lack good policies. Efficiency logic will automatically
transfer resources from areas of abundance to areas of shortage.
However, cartels and vested interests resist change and define
national boundaries as areas of resistance. Migration of labour
as well as movement of capital can enhance efficiency manifold.
However, migration moves the poorer first and this is more so in
developing countries because of sharp inequalities.
more efficient will move first. This is resisted on the argument
of brain drain even if their present allocation is inefficient.
The same applies to technology. World experience is that the
cost of technology import is not high. He also places democracy
as more efficient because of a large number of stakeholders
enhancing competition and providing stability in policies. He
prefers stationary bandit (an absolute predatory state) to a
rotating one because of the desire of long-term exploitation
possibilities by investment equalising marginal efficiency of
investment to the marginal rate of exploitation. A rotating
bandit is interested only in loot.
identifies resistance to technology in terms of struggle over
decision rules and struggle within them. These political battles
have profound implications. Technological evolution has to
coalesce with political evolution. This involves the issue of
rationality. Williamson emphasises the importance of competitive
institutions of governance. A credible commitment and
remediability are two core requirements.
narrates instances in history in which repeated attempts of
mercantile forces to break into capitalism were thwarted by
feudal forces and ultimately it was left to Britain to make a
breakthrough due to democratic support to taxation and public
debt, technological achievements, availability of imperial
resources and emphasis on navy which tilted the balance from
land-based power to mercantile power. This has lessons for
looks at the growth implications of affirmative action. On the
analogy of protection to nascent industry and East Asian
experience of success in converting the weakness of protection
to strength in export market through time-bound introduction of
competitiveness and focus on enhancement of capacity, he comes
to tentatively conclude that a specific time-bound action of
capacity enhancement is likely to prove more effective. In India
we can see that hardly any political association is concerned
about time-bound efficiency enhancement.
special groups, Hardin concludes that they need not prove an
obstruction unless they pursue a programme of exclusion.
Communal and caste groups have to learn from this. Cooper talks
of equilibrium costs of a number of law enforcers and their
ability to enforce law. Enforcement requires close alignment of
law with morality. Business law and morality get out of
alignment in states suffering from legal centrism.
moves away from centrality of property laws and contracts to the
role of encompassing interest and memory of mutual social
obligations for low cost conflict resolution. He asks for a more
nuanced theory of state. A soft state is one making large
interventions but infirmly and without consensual authority
behind them. For him Nehru’s state was a strong state. He had
a large majority, stable command over party, competent and loyal
bureaucracy and could get any law passed. His problem was
absence of alignment with social reality and reliance on state
apparatus alienating the local social institutions and foregoing
their capacity for development.
growth was achieved by forging a close association of
bureaucracy with business. He distinguishes between inefficient
corruption in diffused decision-making structure like in India
and centralised corruption as in East Asia having less
regards the absence of capitalism and enlightenment as two
crucial impediments. He also criticises the efficiency-ignoring
transfer of federal resources as contributing to inefficiency
generation of state administrations. Analysing farmers’
movements, Anand Swamy argues that farmers do not prefer subsidy
to investment. Demand for subsidy only reflects uncertainty
about demand for a produce. Opening of international trade will
shift the emphasis to investment in research, marketing
infrastructure and credit availability, etc. The narrow base of
farmers’ associations actually determines the choice of area
of investment, neglecting, for example, education and health
which do not directly impact the farming leaders.
concludes from the impact of the study of industrial licensing
since independence that India has been governed too much at
considerable cost to industrialisation. Though scale
efficiencies have been achieved within licensing limits, cost
curves have not moved in the right direction in the absence of
technological upgradation due to limits on capacity creation.
The conclusion is so clear in its application to India as to
invite any rebuttal.
The main contribution of this
collection is to open up new areas of meaningful research,
moving away both from Marxist projection of state as a committee
of dominant interests and a small state unable to adequately
provide for externalities. The need is for the provision of
efficient public goods and the choice and level of this
provision has to quantified individually in specific
circumstances encouraging least cost competitiveness.
Pakistan looks at itself in a mirror
Review by Parshotam Mehra
Aspirations & Today’s Realities
Edited by Hafeez Malik, Oxford University Press, Karachi.
Pages 469. Rs 595.
the less-than-happy aftermath of the Agra summit with its stark,
if grim, reality of failure to reach an agreement, the fact is
that impasse has been broken. And a one-to-one dialogue between
two unfriendly, if not indeed hostile, neighbours has taken
place. And more, it is likely to continue.
Pakistan’s General Musharraf, now President, secured a victory
of sorts by refusing to budge from his stand on the centrality
of the Kashmir "dispute" in Islamabad’s pow-wow with
New Delhi. That it carried no conviction with his Indian hosts
did not seem to register, much less cause the General undue
worry. And that precisely is what bothers a host of Pakistani
scholars and its enlightened citizens. And, no doubt, their
well-wishers here and in the West.
Way back in
1997, to mark its 50th anniversary, a Pakistani academic
teaching in Pennsylvania brought together a number of
distinguished scholars, for most part from Pakistan itself, to
make an "assessment" of their country’s
"performance as a state". The range of their
deliberations was wide, nearly all inclusive: constitutional
developments, especially the judiciary, and constitutional
crises; the place of the judiciary in politics; nuclear
capability and its varied ramifications; the economy, its
achievements, constraints and prospects; the role of the
military in politics; the Sunni-Shia conflict; Pakistan’s
relations with the USA, the Soviet Union (and now Russia), China
and the Middle East. And last though by no means the least, the
problem of Indo-Pakistan relations and Kashmir What Pakistan
should do, and would not do?
apart, participants included Abdus Sattar, now Pakistan’s
Foreign Minister, Javid Iqbal, a former Judge of its Supreme
Court, Khalid Mahmud Arif, earlier commander of the Pakistan
army (1984-87) and Munir Ahmad Khan (who died in 1999), former
chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commsission. Four US
scholars and diplomats, including Craig Baxter, Dennis Kux and
Robert Wirsing have made useful contributions: Baxter has
written on political development in Pakistan, Crux on
US-Pakistan relations and Wirsing on Kashmir.
compendia are, by definition, uneven and a mixed bag. The
present volume is not an exception. The subject matter, however,
as briefly spelt out, is of considerable relevance and some of
the points made, deserve scrutiny.
draws heavily upon the aspirations of Pakistan’s founding
fathers, Iqbal and Jinnah. What they envisioned was a liberal
and democratic Muslim state that treated all its citizens,
Muslims as well as non-Muslims, as equals. More, an economically
prosperous country determined to adapt Islam to the modern age.
The sad if grim reality turned out to be different for Pakistan
has been plagued by the issues of provincial autonomy, sectarian
violence, military coups d’etat and endless polemics over
power-sharing between Punjab, its most populous and relatively
more developed province, and the smaller ones. This is not to
underestimate the endemic, if "never-ending",
phenomenon of Islamisation which has spawned further
Nor is that
all. Pakistan has fallen into the Indian "trap" of an
economically disastrous race for a bigger and better weapons
system. In 1995, according to reliable statistics, Pakistan’s
military expenditure was $ 3.24 billion contrasted to an
eight-time bigger, and economically better developed, India
which spent $ 7.83 billion.
"natural political habitat" of Pakistan’s foreign
policy, if "imaginatively crafted", should be West
Asia, the Persian Gulf region, Central Asia and China. Sadly
though, it has remained "quagmired" in its
"confrontational interaction" with India over Kashmir.
Again, Pakistan has failed to improve its relations with Russia
which though no longer a super power, is still of crucial
importance both in Central Asia and South Asia.
bemoans Pakistan’s lost opportunity of capitalising on the
collapse of the Soviet Union (1991) to cement new relations with
Russia so as to "unlock" India’s claims on an
"exclusive friendship" with Moscow. For, other things
apart, in order to make the best of constructive relations with
the Central Asian states, Pakistan needs Russia’s
"confidence, if not its support."
In a largely
chronological survey of Pakistan’s foreign policy over the
past 50-odd years, Abdus Sattar, now his country’s Foreign
Minister, has thoroughly exposed Islamabad’s role in
confronting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. And over the years
its membership of many a western alliance. He posits the view
that while the policy of alliances, "instinctively
followed", was "not flawed conceptually", it did
suffer from "errors of judgment."
analysis of the judiciary and the constitutional crises in
Pakistan offers some perceptive observations, especially in
regard to the unseemly wrangle (1997-98) between Chief Justice
Sajjad Ali Shah and the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in
which the sanctity of the Supreme Court’s premises was
breached by goons of the ruling party and the country’s
President was made to quit on pain of impeachment.
appointment of the Chief Justice himself was held illegal by a
larger Bench of the court; later he was made to retire as an
ordinary judge. The "moral of the story", Iqbal
concludes, was that while the executive survived
"unhurt", the apex court was "bruised and
mauled" and will have to "lick its wounds" for a
long time before its health — and credibility — is fully
restored. Whether the court has, in the wake of General
Musharraf’s coup, covered itself with glory remains a moot
chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Munir Ahmad
Khan, presents a comprehensive assessment of nuclear
developments in the two neighbouring countries underlining the
fact that "some leaders" there "still
regard" nuclear weapons as the "hard currency" of
power and as a "means of domination" (India) or
"deterrence" (Pakistan). Another author, Walid Iqbal,
has argued that while the Indian economy could sustain the
harshest of sanctions, Pakistan "cannot easily absorb"
their "negative input" which has exposed its economy
to "tremendous strain."
scholars, Anwar Syed and Afaq Haydar, have dealt with the
country’s "perennial" Sunni-Shia conflict which has,
ever so often, erupted into violence. It is of interest to note
that the Quaid-e-Azam himself hailed from a Khoja family of
Ismailis, a branch within the Shia denomination. While the
conflict "cannot be abolished, it can be managed and
controlled" even though one of the authors is not so sure
whether it can indeed be done in Pakistan’s case.
In a reasonably
objective assessment of the Pakistan army takeover of the
civilian government three times (with General Musharraf’s in
1999 it is the fourth) over a period of 50 years General Khalid
Mahmud Arif, commander of the army (1984-87), furnishes some
revealing details. Of Pakistan’s 11 Heads of State, six were
either soldiers or bureaucrats, their cumulative tenure lasting
36 years. Their "achievements" included the
"dismissal of eight out of 15 Prime Ministers, dissolution
of seven out of the 10 National Assemblies and banning five out
of the seven political parties that were out-lawed".
Pakistan experimented with four different types of political
systems — parliamentary, presidential, military and "a
half breed between the parliamentary and presidential
systems". What General Musharraf’s new dispensation
eventually evolves into is a little less than clear.
And last (it is
the end, 14th, chapter in the book), though by no means the
least, there is Kashmir. The presentation by a US academic,
Robert Wirsing, rests on a "random survey" among the
generally well-informed elites of the two countries. In
Pakistan, Wirsing discovered, "a surprising willingness to
re-think" the long-standing official position and
"redraft" those aspects that had hitherto proved
barren of results.
In India, on
the other hand, there was the "universal" view that
the country was in a powerful position "to ward off"
any challenge to its control from Pakistan or elsewhere.
Especially insofar as, in New Delhi’s perception, Pakistan had
"lost" the strategic advantage it had acquired during
the decades of the cold war. Wirsing’s conclusion is that the
recent nuclear explosions have made "any radical
solution" well-nigh impossible. And, in its absence, the
stalemate is likely to continue.
steep price both governments pay for their continuing standoff,
they are seriously constrained by fundamental differences in the
way each conceives the problem of normalisation. And in the
order of priority each assigns to particular elements of it. In
a way, both governments are "captives of conflict as much
as they are progenitors of it".
underlines that "mutual recrimination" crowds out
gestures of peace and cites with approval another critic to the
effect that the "impulse remains strong" to address
matters on "a rhetorical plane" rather than to deal
"constructively" on "matters of substance".
Nor does it help that when high-level talks take place
"firing across the Line of Control seems to increase".
It may be of
interest to refer here to a recent "special report" on
Pakistan in the Economist (July 14) which heavily underscores
the fact that its conflict with India sustains "a gigantic
military establishment" that has been ruinous both for the
exchequer — and for democracy. And loudly wonders whether a
military man "can make peace" thereby theoretically
diminishing the institution that made him?
More, is it
practical politics to imagine that a country that has become a
nursery for groups of all sorts that seek "to web politics
to intolerant versions of Islam" can now reverse the gears?
differently, having for more than 20 years pursued its foreign
policy aims by exploiting religious bigotry, can Pakistan now
"tame" it? Not surprisingly, the London weekly
concludes, divorce from the extremists will come "only
if" Pakistan makes peace with India. Here there is no end
of hurdles — not all of Pakistani making — but the principal
one remains well-nigh insurmountable: the army’s presumed
reluctance to give up its pre-eminence in the polity.
The book under
review has put it differently. The "inescapable
disparity" of economic strength, size, population, military
power and other resources, Malik argues, "mandate"
Pakistan to maintain "friendly but ‘distant’
relations" with India. Besides, to find a secure niche for
itself in the world, Pakistan will do well "to shed its
Indian liability". The million dollar question remains:
Hafeez Malik teaches political
science at Villanova University in Pennsylvania and has written
and edited 13 (!) books. Apart from an introductory chapter, he
has contributed a cogently argued piece on "Pakistan’s
relations with the Soviet Union and Russia".
a new set-up for armed forces
Review by Meena Dutta
by Ashok Joshi. Manas Publication, New Delhi. Rs. 495.
to Talleyrand, war is too serious a business to be left to
Generals. Lieut-Gen Ashok Joshi in his book,
"Restructuring National Security", has endorsed the
same view by saying that national security is likely to suffer
if it remains predominantly in the hands of specialists like
soldiers, scientists, bureaucrats and politicians. He has
asked for a review with the changing scenario.
portrays the nature of conflict and the role played by the
armed forces in its resolution. According to the author, the
armed forces are the principal actors in major conflicts.
Generally they are not the prime movers in bringing about
conflicts or in resolving them. Operational strategies,
tactics, motivation and actual performance are predicated on
the higher organisational mechanism which virtually
predetermines their performance in the battlefield.
He cites the
example of the 1962 war in which Indian political leadership
was totally and uncomprehendingly surprised when the Chinese
attacked Ladakh and the NEFA. And in this the role of the
armed forces was seen dubious for the lack of political
It was in
contrast to the 1971 war when the military strategy showed
unity of action. However, according to the author, nothing
much has changed. Even though India attained nuclear
capability, it has not designed any policy of deterrence.
Therefore, Indian nuclear deterrence might turn out to be
13 chapters which largely appear to be brief notes for those
attending the Staff College, the book is concerned with policy
and strategy. In his opening remarks the author stresses on
the importance of collective identities in determining the
nature of conflict — strength and power being the basic
constituents. Being a military man, he has written on
"Force and threat", "Order",
"Conflict and cooperation" and "Security and
strategic thoughts" besides other subjects. These are
self contained essays without much research on the main theme
of the book.
elaborating on this hypothesis, the author states that lack of
technology and cohesiveness and allied deficiencies may weigh
against Indian rulers. But, it was the incomprehension of the
security issues and the lack an organisation to address the
problem that hurt the nation most.
security management systems, according to the author, is
thought of as a structure consisting of several
sub-structures, each with its domain and internal organisation
linked together for a common purpose. It is obvious that such
a structure has to be efficiently managed and, more than that,
effectively led at all levels, particularly at the highest
level. Tracing the genesis of the system on the
recommendations of Lord Ismay who wanted an apex defence
committee of the Cabinet. The committee suggested interaction
between the elected heads and professionals of the armed
forces at the highest level.
On the other
hand, the National Security Council which came up in 1998 has
been looked upon as a panacea for all the ills of security.
However, this council remains largely undefined for want of
any doctrine and an agreed concept.
regard, links must be established between the forces and the
state largely by enlightened national leadership and public
opinion so that the armed forces are made responsible for
their performance. The national security body should take a
comprehensive view of all the instruments of the state of
which the armed forces are the ultimate tool. What is of
interest is their relationship, obligation and commitment that
bind them to the state.
security concern includes coordination and integration of the
three services to evolve a combined command structure which,
according to the author, is found wanting in the system but
cannot be continued indefinitely and certainly not in the age
of satellite surveillance and ballistic missiles.
Joshi, there is a strong case for establishing an integrated
operational commands on territorial and functional bases. The
unified functional command would include the strategic forces
command and strategic movement command with units of single
services. Giving the example of the Indian experience in Sri
Lanka, he says such strategic movements can only be undertaken
nationally and on a tri-service basis. However, he quotes
General V.N. Sharma, a former Army chief, to say that
insufficiency of air force and naval resources is the
principle reason for the non-creation of combined command.
India has created a National Security Council but it is
besotted with hordes of problems. Chief among them is
providing full-fledged leadership to its structure. Appointing
a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has remained a debatable issue
involving both the armed forces and national security
Further, in his drive to
restructure the national security system, the author has
suggested the reorganisation of the Ministry of Defence into
two main wings. The proposed recommendations also call for the
setting up of a defence council. In this no single service
chief of staff will have direct control over any of the
operational commanders who will receive instructions through
the national command centre or joint operational room. This
will allow the political leadership and bureaucrats to keep
the armed forces under strict scrutiny and control.
to workers versus fairplay
Review by Jai Narain Sharma
Values and Human Resource Management
by R.C.Sastry. Vikas Publishing, New Delhi. Pages 303. Rs 475.
Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain in the late 18th
century and spread to America in the early 19th century.
Industrialisation completely changed the way people earned
their living. It was made possible by the replacement of human
skill and effort with the rapid, exact and indefatigable work
of machines, and the replacement of human strength with
inanimate sources of power.
One of the
primary innovations of the Industrial Revolution was the
development of the factory system. The factory was central to
the process of century industrialisation and to the
development of the practice of HRM. Factories were places of
production based on free or wage labour and fixed capital. In
general, the factory greatly expanded production and created a
new class of workers and managers. In addition, the factory
system eventually led to a shift from an agriculturally based
society to an industrial and manufacturing based society.
resulted in dramatic changes. It displaced and gradually
replaced the self-employment household and handicraft. It
created a class of permanent wage earners and brought together
many workers, who no longer could own the tools of production
and because of social changes had no other way to a
livelihood. Production tasks were subdivided and routinised;
workers merely tended machines who performed specialised,
repetitive and discrete tasks that constituted only a portion
of the production process.
change brought about by the factory system was the necessity
of managing or supervising large numbers of workers. In the
early days factory owners were usually the managers and HRM
practices tended to be personal and paternalistic. As time
progressed and factories began to grow in size, this highly
personalised form of management was eclipsed by a
laissez-faire approach to HRM that was a reflection of the
ethos of the 19th century.
laissez-faire form of management, personnel practices were
autocratic, based on a commodity concept of labour, and
reflected little concern for working conditions, safety or job
security of workers. Seen as merely another factor in
production, labour was purchased at terms designed to maximise
the employer’s profits. Consequently, there was an overall
neglect of the human factor; the focus was on materials,
markets and production.
to ponder over the subject is the book under review "Dharmic
Values and Human Resource Management" by R. C. Sastry,
chairman, Stony Carter Consultants. The subject of ethical
behaviour has been with us for millennia. There are few, if
any, human resources practitioners who have not had to deal
with an ethical issue at some point in their careers.
In this book
an attempt has been made to identify these ethical challenges
and to provide a framework for dealing with them. Beginning
with a brief overview of business ethics which argues that the
human resources manager is particularly involved because of
the diverse and sometimes paradoxical role HR plays in the
organisation. Several schools of philosophical thought
regarding ethical behaviour are discussed and their relevance
to the problems faced in HR assessed. It is the main
contention that the HR practitioner, working in the often
ambiguous and sometimes chaotic business arena, needs an
ethical framework more pragmatic than unbending, more
immediately responsive than subject to leisurely reflection.
discussion then turns to a variety of ethical situations faced
by top HR executives, human resource practitioners and line
managers who deal with HR issues as a normal aspect of their
Over the past
century the popular perception of business ethics has been
cyclical. To some extent, attitudes have fluctuated with the
economy; down during the Great Depression of the 1930s and
again during the layoffs and downsizing of the late 1980s and
early 1990s; and up with the growth of the 1920s, 1950s and
1960s, and the recovery in the 1980s.
generation ago there were writers who included ethical issues
among the "social responsibilities of business" that
were to be avoided. For them the only important objective of
business was the maximisation of profit, and expressed the
belief that "there is one and only one social
responsibility for business – to use its resources and
engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long
as it stays within the rules of the game…" They likened
business dealings to the bluffing of a poker player, stting
that, "(Business) standards of right and wrong differ
from the prevailing traditions of morality in our society…
(While) most businessmen are not indifferent to ethics in
their private lives, in their office lives they cease to be
private citizens; they become game players who must be guided
by a somewhat different set of ethical standards."
recent years ethicists have turned their attention to the
micro level, where we deal with the ethical behaviour of
individuals in organisations, rather than the behaviour of
organisations or their cultures. It is at this level that
human resources practitioners are playing an increasing role
in moving their enterprises role to an ethical way of life for
the work force.
In a recent
survey of over 1,000 HR practitioners, 83 per cent indicated
that HR personnel were responsible for providing ethical
leadership and guidance in their organisations — a greater
percentage than the 74 per cent who indicated the
"President/CEO" also filled this role. The
assumption of ethical leadership is not an easy task.
Executive ranks are filled with individuals characterised as
being nonethical instead of being unethical, not deliberately
acting against ethical standards..
issues arise for many reasons, in most cases they stem from
individual actions and decisions which conflict with rules of
human behaviour and the dynamics of individuals interacting
with others and within organisational groups.
behavioural orientation of the HR function has in the past
attracted people with a great interest in and sensitivity to
the needs and aspirations of individuals. Thus HR
practitioners often have possessed greater understanding and
compassion for human motivations and workplace behaviour than
have managers in production, finance, law and marketing whose
role takes a more comprehensive view of the institution. These
role differences have contributed to reactions ranging from
the view that HR people fuzzy-headed thinkers to HR as the
conscience of the organisation.
resources practitioners, in addition to their behavioural
orientation, occupy a particularly sensitive role that is
different from that of mangers in line functions and in other
functional areas. The HR executive often walks a fine line
that divides the sometimes conflicting interests of the
employees. Complicating this is the fact that the top HR
executive often deals directly with a boss with important
influence over his or her career whose interests focus broadly
on the successful performance of the enterprise and may not
always be receptive to the importance of specific ethical
issues raised by HR. Nor is the HR staff reporting to the top
HR executive exempt from these pressures because actions of
the staff — especially mid-level practitioners — reflect
on the entire function.n.
expansion of the HR role has brought another important
contradictory element into play: the growing strategic
involvement of the HR function. The HR leader, in occupying a
strategic position in addition to the traditional
administrative/operational tasks, has often become a member of
the top management team forcing him or her to focus more on
the integration of the strategic business issues with human
resources issues. The HR leader of the 1990s and beyond needs
to learn to deal with the conflict between the interests of
the business, its shareholders, customers and other
stakeholders and the interests of its employees.
derived from one’s upbringing, social pressures, religion,
experience, conscience and the need to get along with others.
Values engender principles, the standards by which individuals
and corporations conduct themselves. The values of a business
organisation represent the coming together (sharing) by its
members of these standards. Organisational principles are
officially shaped by things such as the words and actions of
the founder; statements and actions of the current leadership;
policy statements and the code of ethics. Often, in spite of
documented principles and unwritten principles, norms can vary
dramatically. Thus employees may view the organisation’s
documented principles as "what we’re supposed to
do" and the unwritten principles as is what we really
between organisational principles and norms is often directly
related to the integrity of leadership. Integrity of
leadership has been characterised as a necessary prerequisite
to an ethical organisation. In such an organisation the
successful leader has integrated his or her values into the
philosophy and day-to-day actions that communicate the
principles and norms which shape ethical behaviour. "The
main leadership task is to energise followers’ actions that
support higher corporate purpose and not their own self
and human resource management is a crystal clear account of
the author’s experiences in human resource and general
management spread over 40 years.
talks of balance, values, moral fibre, perspective and ethics
in meeting and tackling the demands of personal and
The book is a
synthesis of Oriental and western values and provides new
perspectives in dealing with the challenges of managing human
resources. The author draws inspiration from the Bhagwad Gita,
the Yoga Vasistha, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other
ancient Indian works as also from Peter Senghe and Charles
The book will be of use to
captains of and managers in industry, academicians, civil
servants, MBA students, students of sociology, social work,
and tradition of Sikhs abroad
Review by Surinder S. Jodhka
Diaspora: The Search for Statehood
by Darshan Singh Tatla. UCL Press, London. Pages ix+327.
Sikhs are known to be a mobile community. Though nearly three-fourthss
of their entire population is concentrated in the Indian Punjab,
the Sikhs are present virtually everywhere in the world. They
were among the first in the Indian subcontinent to venture out
of their homeland in search of greener pastures, to lands across
the seas. The only other communities that showed similar
enthusiasm for migrations were the Gujratis and the Mirpuris.
As per the
estimates made by Tatla, nearly one million (ten lakh) Sikhs
live outside India. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the
Sikhs living abroad is that a large majority of them are
concentrated in the western world, Britain, Canada and the USA,
the countries that matter the most in the contemporary global
economy. They are also known for getting adjusted quite well in
these "alien lands". Apart from having done well
economically, some of them have even been able to win elections
and occupy positions of power in these countries.
despite such enthusiastic involvement with the social and
political lives of the countries they live in, the Sikhs have
also not given up their own "way of life". With the
exception of some initial migrants to theUSA, they have quite
successfully resisted assimilation into the local cultures. They
have built gurdwaras, formed associations and have fought for
their rights to live in accordance with their own customs.
gurdwaras has perhaps been the most critical for assertion of a
separate identity for the community. Gurdwaras have served many
functions. "The political and religious concerns of the
Sikh community have usually been associated with a gurdwara; its
management committees have provided a base for aspiring
community leaders, and a place to honour and receive dignitaries
from both the host society and Punjab". During the initial
stage of migration, gurdwaras provided accommodation and social
support to many. The Canadian Sikhs built their first gurdwara
in 1907 and in the USA the first gurdwara was built in 1912.
Similarly in Britain, land for building the first gurdwara was
purchased in 1911 through the patronage of the maharaja of
Patiala. With the growing size of the community and their upward
economic mobility, the number of gurdwaras has also been
growing. By the early 1990s, there were about 160 gurdwaras in
Britain; 75 in Canada; and about 80 in the USA.
As elsewhere in
India, the migrations from Punjab began under the indentured
system that was used by the British to export labour from India
to other colonies. However, having become a part of the empire
quite late, Punjab was never a big supplier of indentured labour.
Also, the labour from Punjab, when it was sent was found
"troublesome" and "unsuitable".
impetus to migrations in Punjab came from some other factors.
The most important of these was the British policy of recruiting
Sikhs in the colonial army on a priority basis. The colonial
masters trusted the Sikh-soldiers so much that they were often
sent to other parts of the world to fight for the empire. It was
during this period that the Sikh soldiers were exposed to
western lands. The prosperity ushered in by the setting up of
canal colonies in parts of Punjab also provided surplus income
to many farming families to look outward for further social
mobility. Since military service was usually short-term, many of
the Sikh soldiers, who had seen distant lands during their
tenure, were attracted to them after they retired from the army.
the indentured labourers, the Sikhs were mostly free migrants.
However, though they escaped the experience of indenture and
slavery, the working conditions and the political environment in
the countries they migrated to, were far from friendly. The
problems that they faced during the initial years of settlements
in countries like Canada and the USA were quite severe. They
could not keep in touch with their families back home. They
could not own land and had difficulty in practising their
religious and cultural beliefs. Some of them even decided to
come back to India and became active in the freedom movement
against the British colonial rule.
began to change by the middle of the 20th century. Most of them
were able to revive contacts with Punjab. They also set up
gurdwaras and began to participate in the social and political
life of the host countries on equal terms with the mainstream
population. The migration continued during the post-independence
period, particularly to Britain, Canada and theUSA. The Sikhs
have become a significant minority in some pockets in these
countries. Over the years they have also developed their own
networks and institutions.
communication revolution and the economic mobility experienced
during the past two decades or so have made it much easier for
the Sikhs to keep in touch with their ancestral land. Visiting
Punjab today has become much easier. Apart from the easily
affordable air-tickets, the electronic media has also made it
possible for them to follow-up events in the
"home-land" much more easily. This
"re-integration" has also meant that now they feel
much more involved with the happenings in Punjab. While some
have begun to take interest in the welfare of their native
villages by funding various development programmes for the local
residents, others take interest in the religious and cultural
politics of the community in India.
offers a comprehensive historical account of the Sikh migrations
and their current settlements in different parts of the world,
the main focus of his book is to explore the social and
political implications of these growing links of the Sikh
migrants with the land of their origin. The context for such an
investigation is provided by the political crisis of the 1980s
— the Khalistan movement. In fact his book can be read as much
a study of the Khalistan movement as it is of the Sikh diaspora.
For example, the first chapter of his book offers a historical
overview of the formation of ethnic/national consciousness among
the Sikhs in general.
obviously focuses primarily on the Sikhs living abroad and their
involvement with the Khalistan movement. His arguments are
mostly drawn from the empirical research he carried out among
the Sikhs living in Britain, Canada and the USA.
One of the
important finding of his study is that though the Indian
government, and to some extent the popular opinion in India,
attributed the rise of militancy in Punjab almost entirely to
the "foreign-hand", Tatla’s study shows that the
Sikhs living abroad got involved with the movement only after
Operation Bluestar. Further, their sympathies for the Sikh
militants in Punjab were more a consequence of the hurt feeling
caused by the events in Punjab and the massacre of Sikhs in
Delhi, rather than out of design or collusion with foreign
powers to dismember India. Though in some cases, the local Sikh
lobbies were able to influence opinions of the rulers in these
countries on events in Punjab, their involvement with the Sikh
militancy also had many negative implications for the community
that the Indian state was quite successful in applying
diplomatic pressures on the ruling establishments in countries
like Canada to make them take action against those who were
helping the Sikh militants in Punjab.
provides us with quite a comprehensive account of different
groups active in the three countries and the kind of politics
they have been pursuing. The nature of their support and
advocacy for the cause of Khalistan varied from country to
country. While in USA the Sikhs were, to some extent, successful
in making their voice heard and lobby with those who mattered,
they were not so successful in Britain. In the case of Canada,
they completely failed. Apart from the internal disagreements
and cases of violence involving different groups active in
Canada, their activities were also viewed as a threat to
internal peace by the Canadian authorities.
The crisis in
Punjab and the involvement of some of the diaspora Sikhs with
the Khalistan movement also had implications for their
self-identities. Many among the second generation or the
clean-shaven Sikhs who had never really shown much interest in
the affairs of the community began to identify with it.
Tragedies like Operation Bluestar also changed their attitude
towards India and as a consequence also towards the countries
they currently live in. Since they could no longer identify with
India, they began to feel closer to the host countries. One of
the respondents, in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar,
reportedly said, "Let us burn our Indian passports, we no
longer belong to India…. We are Americans and Sikhs and proud
to be so. We are not just American Sikhs."
It is on the basis of this kind
of "loss" of identification with India that Tatla
claims that the Sikhs living abroad could justifiably be
classified as a diasporic community. Though the Sikhs, unlike
the Jews, have not had the experience of forced migration and
homelessness (the classical feature of a diaspora community),
they, as Tatla claims, did develop a sense of being homeless
during the 1980s. It may be worth our while to ask the obvious
question: whether such a loss of identification with India was a
temporary phenomenon or whether it has become a permanent
feature of the Sikh psyche abroad!