good stuff by arvind. i hope you guys will forward this along and spread it far and wide on your networks. it's cogent and sensible. india's stalinists are india's biggest curse.
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Opinion page of San Mateo County Times on 22 Sep 2005
India, U.S. must act responsibly
Congressman Tom Lantos of San Mateo has criticized India's
relationship with Iran, calling the statements of Natwar Singh, the
Indian external affairs minister, "Stalinist rhetoric."
Expectedly, this led to an acrimonious response from the Indian government.
While Congressman Lantos' complaint is certainly genuine, what is of
concern is his statement that they "really don't care about what we
think" assumes that Indians always ought to behave in a manner
beneficial to Americans, while Americans can do what they please.
American support for avowed Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and
Pakistan is in the same league as India's support for Iran. Such
support hurts innocent people and American self-interest is no excuse
for allying with those who indulge in gross violation of human rights
and show scant regard for individual liberty. Thus, while Lantos'
complaint is valid, it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
It is true that Congress I, the political party to which India's
Foreign Minister belongs, swears by Nehruvian-Stalinism and once
shared a close relationship with Josef Stalin. Therefore, "Stalinist
rhetoric" is expected behavior from the Foreign Minister. Indians in
America realize that they are economic refugees who escaped the harsh
conditions imposed by the Stalinist economic system in India, and
appreciate that they got the opportunity to unleash their
entrepreneurial spirit in America.
Yet, most Indians do not approve of American foreign policy,
especially its aggressive nature and its support for various dictators
and Islamic theocracies, as these go against the principles of
non-violence. It has pained Indians in the bay area and elsewhere
whenever Americans have displayed one standard for themselves while
holding others to another standard.
Americans have routinely rationalized, often with a straight face,
their support for violent regimes and occasionally even terrorists,
and explained it away as a necessary situation to further their
objectives. This assumes that others exist in order to further
American interests, even if it means that they die in the process of
enriching Americans. Americans also have been guilty of supporting
Indian Marxists and recently appointed a prominent Marxist from India
to one of the chairs in the Library of Congress. Thus, the complaint
about "Stalinist rhetoric" by Congressman Lantos sounds a bit
For its part, India's vote-bank politics has meant that it has
extended support to Islamist states such as Iran, and framed its
domestic policies to appease its Muslim population even if it meant
trampling on women's rights and hurting people of other religions
including the religion of the majority of its people. During the cold
war, India's politicians also reduced it to a satellite state of the
Communist bloc. Thus, the complaint against India is not completely
out of place.
While India must cease to support Islamists and move away from
Stalinism, America too should stop profiting by supporting violent
regimes. Until then, criticism by American policy makers cannot be
taken seriously. If American politicians acted in a manner consistent
with their rhetoric, stopped being aggressive, and withdrew support to
violent regimes, Congressman Lantos and his colleagues would find that
they would have many admirers and earn the respect of everyone around
Arvind Kumar is an immigrant from India who lives in the United States.