The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, August 19, 2001

Genesis and tradition of Sikhs abroad
Review by Surinder S. Jodhka




What Persian writers saw and recorded
Review by Joginder Singh Toor

Sikh History from Persian Sources
Edited by J.S.Garewal and Irfan Habiib. Tulika and Indian History Congress, New Delhi. Pages 220. Rs 200.

"THIS 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."

Earlier 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.

But Fr 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 fatal torture.

Prof Garewal 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.

About Guru 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 short, 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.

The author 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.

"On 6 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 them."

How deep 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 (darvesh)".

Among 22 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."

The report 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 bamboo poles."

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.



Nitty gritty of market development
Review by G.V. Gupta

A New Institutional Approach to Economic Development
Edited by Satu Kahkonen and Mancur Olson. Sage Publications, New Delhi. Pages 354. Rs 595.

THE 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 vital.

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.

These 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 fragmentation, etc.

This involves 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 interesting conclusions.

This collection 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.

Nations are 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.

Similarly the 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.

Joel Mokyr 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.

De Long 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 India.

Montgomery 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.

Talking of 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.

Pranab Bardhan 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.

East Asian 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 constraining influence.

Raja Chelliah 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.

Fickert 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.



When Pakistan looks at itself in a mirror
Review by Parshotam Mehra

Founders’ Aspirations & Today’s Realities
Edited by Hafeez Malik, Oxford University Press, Karachi.
Pages 469. Rs 595.

WHATEVER 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.

Superficially 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?

The editor 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.

Seminar 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.

The editor 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 fragmentation.

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.

The "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.

Hafeez Malik 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."

Javid Iqbal’s 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.

More, the 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 point.

A former 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."

Two Pakistani 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".

In between, 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.

Despite the 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".

Wirsing 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?

Put 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: will it?

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".



Wanted: a new set-up for armed forces
Review by Meena Dutta

Restructuring National Security
by Ashok Joshi. Manas Publication, New Delhi. Rs. 495.

ACCORDING 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.

The book 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 objectives.

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 hollow.

Spread over 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.

Further, 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.

The national 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.

In this 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.

The national 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.

According to 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.

Of late, 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 mechanism.

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.



Fairplay to workers versus fairplay
to management

Review by Jai Narain Sharma

Dharmic Values and Human Resource Management
by R.C.Sastry. Vikas Publishing, New Delhi. Pages 303. Rs 475.

THE 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.

The factory 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.

Another 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.

Under the 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.

Our occasion 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.

The 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 job.

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.

Just a 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."

In more 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..

While ethical 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.

The 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.

Human 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.

Recent 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.

Values are 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 do."

The gap 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 interests".

Dharmic value and human resource management is a crystal clear account of the author’s experiences in human resource and general management spread over 40 years.

This book talks of balance, values, moral fibre, perspective and ethics in meeting and tackling the demands of personal and organisational life.

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 Handy.

The book will be of use to captains of and managers in industry, academicians, civil servants, MBA students, students of sociology, social work, etc.



Genesis and tradition of Sikhs abroad
Review by Surinder S. Jodhka

The Sikh Diaspora: The Search for Statehood
by Darshan Singh Tatla. UCL Press, London. Pages ix+327.

THE 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.

However, 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.

Building 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".

The main 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.

Thus, unlike 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.

However, things 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.

The 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.

Though Tatla 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.

However, he 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 abroad. \

Tatla argues 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.

Tatla also 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!