Thursday, November 6, 2008

India is facing an extraordinary unrest

India is facing an extraordinary unrest and angst from the region of Indus to the land of Brahmaputra. I am filing this column a bit late from

Tsangtse, on way to Chushul, where the famous battle of Rezangla took place in November 1962 under the leadership of Major Shaitan Singh. Having just crossed the mesmerizing flow of river Indus and seeing the Chinese post across Pengong, I was reminded of Assam's agony by a phone call from Deepak Barthakur, a highly reputed social worker and cultural leader of Assam.

Assam is burning, no government, no leader to console the bereaved, no hope for the future. The Assamese, loyal to the motherland and always willing to live and die for her, feel Delhi's sultans do not consider them a part of the mainstream. They like to enjoy the resources of the Northeast but preserving and protecting the culture and people of the region do not appear to be on their radar of concerns. The Congress government in Guwahati has become a Bangladeshi-controlled apparatus facilitating an unprecedented rise of violent Muslim groups. They are supported by Delhi-based young jihadis who have a better line of command, instruments and a commitment that doesn't fear death. Further, they are shielded by the seculars who attack every step that police and other security agencies take against terror modules. The statements of the terrorist arrested from Jamia bear testimony to this network and a faith regime that allows killings for a happier time in

the heavens.

Facing such elements are the forces representing Indian colours, the security personnel, who are less equipped, do not find respected mention in the media; the secular elite control the channels and the administration humiliates them to score their human rights points. The Jamia syndrome works wonderfully to shield terror groups and demoralise security forces. The worst of equipment, administrative corruption, political lechery and compromises make their work all the more difficult. Till today they are not provided good quality bullet-proof jackets; the one they have are the obsolete ones – too heavy at 10 kg-plus and cumbersome.

I was wondering how India is seething with unrest and still we say we have some sort of governance? Who are the kings? Those who have turned India into a place of making profit and ensuring a comfortable life for themselves? In the run-up to the elections who is bothered about the precious lives Indians lose every day because the ruling parties are not interested in eliminating the attackers? Why did the heroes of Chushul (I shall write about the battle and this place in my next column) give their lives? To see that they have leaders who won’t care for the supreme sacrifices of the soldiers and rather be happily dining with the enemies because that empowers their party position?

The ULFA and HuJI in Assam are the direct consequence of the central and state governments' policies that deprived Assam of its due share in retaining revenues generated within the state and failing to ensure that the illegal Bangladeshis were ousted lock, stock and barrel. The Assamese had to wage a war-like agitation to get a small share of the oil explored in the state in form of refineries. Their land has been taken over by the foreigners, they are killed and maimed; yet the government shields every Bangladeshi because they are the votebank it needs to retain power.

When Guwahati was hit by blasts last week, chief minister Tarun Gogoi was busy seeing off Haj pilgrims at the airport. He didn't cut short his

visit even after being informed of the blasts as he feared Haj pilgrims would be angry. HuJI and ULFA both operate from Bangladesh, yet the Indian government hesitates to attack their hideouts and annihilate them to safeguard Indian territory and people.

HuJI-B aims to establish Islamic Hukumat (rule) in Bangladesh by waging war and killing progressive intellectuals. It draws inspiration from Osama bin Laden and the erstwhile Taliban regime of Afghanistan. At one point, the groups had issued a slogan, Amra Sobai Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghanistan (We will all become Taliban and we will turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan). HuJI-B recruits are indoctrinated in the mould of radical Islam. ULFA has joined them and in a recent report admitted that most of its new recruits are from among Muslims.

While the Assamese are fighting a lone battle to save their existence as Indians, so is the case with Ladakhis who have been always in the front ranks to save the territory and honour of their motherland India. The Congress is playing havoc with local aspirations and is making the Buddhist population face the heat of Srinagar's discriminatory policies that may in times to come help strengthen fissiparous tendencies. Hence they are demanding a complete severing of relations with Srinagar and a Union Territory status. They say Srinagar treats them as second grade citizens, discriminates on communal lines, facilitates a demographic change so that the Buddhist population is reduced to a minority. Buddhist youngsters do not find a place in Kashmir's engineering and medical colleges. Even if they qualify in the Kashmir Administration Services, they are rejected in interviews. The Union Territory Front (UTF) that is ruling Leh today under the leadership of

Thupstan Chhewang is fighting a battle of the ballot to defeat the Congress in the state assembly elections. Having huge chunks of land with a population density of five persons per sq km, Ladakh is the land which valiantly fought the Chinese in 1962 and produced military leaders like Col. Rinchin. The same people are being made to feel alienated and disillusioned because of votebank politics.

Most of India's border states are increasingly falling under the influence of insurgent movements and terror outfits. In this scenario the most disappointing role is played by the so-called elite who write and influence peoples' opinions as well as that of the rulers’. They have utterly failed the nation in awakening the people and ensuring an intellectual rising against the anti-national elements and their shields in governance. So what's the alternative before the suffering masses? Should they wait for the appropriate leadership to descend from Mars or should the young and dreamy generation fuel a new uprising against the de-Indianised elite and political class? The ensuing elections in various states and the next Lok Sabha polls provide people the chance to effect a change but still I feel India needs more of a non-political leadership that will focus on changing the system and rejecting the “seasoned” class of political operators. The children

of Indus and Brahmaputra can't fail their nation and the angst and anguish that we see today generated by nincompoop politicians will fire the zeal of the nationalist forces to be the vehicle for ushering an era India has been awaiting for long.

The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

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