Friday, March 17, 2006

kanchan gupta: Made in India Islamism

mar 17th

another very scary thought.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kanchan

The Pioneer / Edit Page / Wednesday, March 15, 2006.
Made in India Islamism
By Kanchan Gupta

Indian Muslims, we are told, are a "bewildered, angry and hurt" lot. "They can't understand the sharp reactions to the largescale protests they took part in during the past weeks," a report in a weekly news magazine says.

The magazine goes on to quote sociologist Imtiaz Ahmed: "There are clear double standards here. On the one hand, you keep telling Muslims to come into the mainstream. When they believe they have a stake in the country and the right to protest, then why are you upset?"

The question, in a sense, explains why Muslims, or at least those to whom the magazine refers to in its report, are "bewildered, angry and hurt". What it does not elaborate on, however, are the reasons behind the "sharp reactions".

Mobilising tens of thousands of Muslims, most of them from madarsas that preach the pre-eminence of Islam and the unique right of the ummah to disregard the sensitivities of others, as the Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Hind did in Delhi on the eve of US President George Bush's visit, does not reflect any desire whatsoever to "come into the mainstream".

Nor does the mobilising of Islamists who believe that the cartoonists whose caricatures of Prophet Mohammad were published in the little-known Danish daily Jyllands-Posten should be murdered for committing "blasphemy" amount to Muslims declaring their intention to "come into the mainstream".

If raucous and riotous assertion of support for pan-Islamist causes - the war in Iraq, the cartoon controversy - are to be interpreted as Muslims coming into the mainstream of Indian public life, then we might as well give up all pretensions to being a secular society and accept the socio-political hegemony of a tyrannical minority.

The "sharp reactions" were as much against the mass mobilisation of Islamists across the country on issues that have no bearing at all on India's national interests as against the loathsome manner in which Muslim rage manifested itself.

In Hyderabad, after burning the Danish national flag that was earlier used as a foot mat by believers entering the city's main mosque for Friday's noon prayer, Muslims protesting against the Jyllands-Posten cartoons went on a rampage, beating up Hindu shopkeepers and looting their shops.

A fortnight later, Muslims in Lucknow did a repeat performance. The only difference was that while in Hyderabad there was no loss of lives, in Lucknow innocent persons, including a 14-year-old Hindu boy, were killed. In Hyderabad, the Islamists' ran amok to register their protest against the Danish cartoonists; in Lucknow they rioted to register their disapproval of Mr George Bush's visit.

In between, we were witness to the Uttar Pradesh Minister for Minority Welfare, Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, addressing a mammoth gathering of Islamists in Meerut where he declared a bounty of Rs 51 crore for any believer who kills the Danish cartoonists. Those who are given to thumping the Constitution of India have remained remarkably silent after this call for murder by a Minister who holds office by virtue of the fact that he has sworn to abide by the Constitution.

We were also witness to Islamists chanting slogans in praise of Osama bin Laden, heaping abuse on the US, calling for the death of Americans and waving banners eulogising jihad and jihadis - in Delhi, Mumbai, Meerut, Lucknow, Hyderabad and numerous other cities and towns.

Mainstream India was understandably staggered, stunned and shocked by this outpouring of hate. The last time we witnessed such rage was when Muslims took to the streets to protest against the Supreme Court's judgement favouring Shah Bano, an indigent Muslim woman thrown out of her marital home, in 1985, and the violent endorsement of Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie for daring to pen The Satanic Verses in 1988.

If memories of Islamist rage and hate had dulled during the intervening years after Syed Shahabuddin's outrageous call to Muslims to boycott Republic Day celebrations, they have surfaced following the ummah's recent public belligerent demonstration of allegiance to causes and issues that lie beyond the boundaries of India.

What has also alarmed mainstream India is the ease with which such mobilisation can be done. It is not a very calming site, the gathering of tens of thousands of Islamists united by a common enemy: Anybody who dares defy their perverse worldview.

Imtiaz Ahmed senses "clear double standards" in this response. But there are no double standards - the only standard against which popular repudiation of Islamist rage can be measured is that of revulsion generated by the manifestation of Muslim rage on issues for which mainstream India does not care a toss.

There is also the other aspect, that of the sudden upsurge of minorityism, which has come to define the UPA Government's policies. From education to quotas, disbursement of development funds to meek acceptance of fatwa (remember Gudiya and Imrana?) that are antipodean to the law of the land, from sneakily conducting a Muslim headcount of the armed forces to mollycoddling minority educational institutions, and, from repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act to subverting the Supreme Court's verdict against the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, the Congress and its allies in the UPA and the Left are perceived as bending over backwards to appease the Islamists and cravenly succumbing to their basest demands.

Yes, there were terror attacks when the BJP-led NDA Government was in power, and some of them were astonishingly daring. There was an assault on the Jammu & Kashmir legislature, terrorists struck Parliament House complex, jihadis assaulted Akshardham Temple.

But there was tough retaliatory action, too. Even the most cursory glance through the anti-terrorism record of the NDA regime will show that there was a certain resolve of the Government of India to fight this scourge. That resolve, tragically, has been severely diluted by the UPA regime.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the rash of terror attacks that have taken place after the return of the Congress and its cheerleaders to power should have been carried out by jihadis among us; they may have been inspired by foreign role models and Pakistani masters, but they were born in India.

The impact of the UPA Government's shameless pandering to fanaticism disguised as minority assertion is there for all to see. If the fidayeen attack on the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya last July and the subsequent serial bombings in Delhi on the eve of Diwali were fierce expressions of incipient Islamism, the bombings at Sankat Mochan Temple and the railway station in Varanasi on the eve of Holi, preceded by the public demonstrations of jihadi might, mark the coming of age of that which all of India must unanimously deplore - homegrown militant Islam.

Mainstream India should be worried. Very, very worried.

Kanchan Gupta
Associate Editor,
The Pioneer,



indianpatriot said...

Yet another reason nuclear deal is disaster for india. Can any malayalees update me there is no news any Major newspaper regarding communists in Kerala fighting amongst themselves. While a small thing in BJP gets magnified many times.

Why the nuclear deal is a disaster
- By Bharat Karnad

The small print of the nuclear deal Prime Minister Manmohan Singh struck with US President George W. Bush is now available and sure enough it spells trouble for India. It has snared India in a non-proliferation net primarily by getting the Congress coalition government to agree to a fast-tracked Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and to Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty-like constraints that together will end up freezing the Indian nuclear arsenal on an as is, where is, basis.

The July 18, 2005 Joint Statement ended even the remote possibility of any further testing by India. Ridiculous as Bharatiya Janata Party predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee’s announcement was about a voluntary test moratorium before the test data could be properly analysed a scant ten days after the "Shakti" series of tests in May 1998, what Dr Singh has committed to doing is downright alarming, because a "voluntary" test moratorium can be voluntarily broken, this strictly enforced bilateral agreement may not allow even sub-critical tests.

The reasonable precaution the Congress Party Prime Minister ought to have taken was to insist on making India’s non-testing conditional on the five so-called Non-Proliferation Treaty-recognised nuclear weapon states (P-5) not developing and inducting newer, more advanced, warheads/weapons in their inventory, and all states, including the threshold states, refraining from testing. The failure to insist on these conditions has left the Indian N-arsenal frozen at a technologically primitive level even as the P-5 states are free continually to modernise their strategic armaments through other means, like the multi-billion dollar National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California, a facility using which the US, for instance, can test innovative low yield and fusion weapon designs without any of the impedimenta of underground testing.

The Indian nuclear establishment’s confidence in indigenous software to simulate fission and fusion explosions to verify and develop new weapon/warhead designs of varying power-to-yield ratios to fit numerous missile nose-cone geometries, is at once foolish and foolhardy. How the Indian armed forces responsible for triggering these manifestly unproven and unsafe, and definitely unreliable weapons, will deal with this deterrence situation created by the Manmohan Singh regime, remains to be seen. The fact is, no matter how sharp the country’s capability in this field, no software can be developed on the basis of explosive physics data from just a single, failed, 1998 test to simulate, say, a thermonuclear explosion.

The amendments to the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended in 1974, suggested by the Bush White House contain the provision for "Presidential waiver," which, presumably, will have to be sought on a periodic (annual?) basis. According to a retired chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Dr A. Gopalakrishnan, some $50 billion worth of reactors will require to be imported to produce 35,000 MW of installed thermal capacity as contemplated by the Manmohan Singh government. Such large scale investment, in effect, means that the supply of fuel to run these reactors and the electricity in the grid so produced will both become hostage to India’s "good behaviour" as certified annually by the US President to enable him to "waive" the non-proliferation laws on the books where India is concerned. While an economically growing India may arguably be able to absorb the loss of $50 billion, the loss of 35,000 MW of power in the national grid would be economically ruinous. Judging India’s good behaviour, moreover, may not be restricted by Washington to the nuclear realm but, rather, any marked departure from the US line on other policy issues too could, as a pressuring tactic, precipitate a fuel cut-off. (France and Russia may squawk but will follow the US lead.) Considering the Americans will have India by its short and curlies, the Prime Minister’s claim that India can ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel for the lifetime of the imported reactors by threatening withdrawal from the safeguards regime, is nonsensical.

A small, technologically antiquated, and therefore ineffective N-deterrent is also assured because of Dr Singh’s commitment to obtain the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). India will be unable to stretch out the negotiating process to "buy time" in this case to produce a large enough stockpile of fissile material, as it had done in the case of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to prepare for and test weapon designs on the shelf. New Delhi will be in no position to resist or delay the fast-tracking of an FMCT through the Commission on Disarmament because, unlike the CTBT, the FMCT will have close economic, trade and technological relations riding on its successful completion and ratification by the Indian government. This means the termination of all production of military-use fissile material in India within a couple of years, thereby rendering irrelevant the "separation plan" and the eight power stations, the designated breeder reactors, and the dedicated military reactor (the 100 MW Dhruva) and the rest of the nuclear caboodle consigned to the "military" part of the nuclear energy programme.

The impact would have been manageable if India had been producing weapon grade plutonium in the same quantities and for as long (1945-end 1990s) as the five established nuclear weapon states have done. Even if the Indian government believes that such large amounts of WgPu are unnecessary for the purposes of the "minimum deterrence" (MD) India has pledged to be satisfied with, surely, prudence necessitates that the inherent elasticity in the MD concept be exploited, and the country stockpile fail-safe levels of Weapon-grade Plutonium (WgPu) just so it is not found deficient in the basic bomb-making material in any conceivable future crisis or contingency. Unless, of course, Dr Manmohan Singh and the strategic analysts he relies on for advice are satisfied they have seen the future and are convinced India will require nothing more by way of strategic leverage and protection in the decades to come, which conclusion, given their hubris, they may well arrive at.

A far more pragmatic course may be to task the Strategic Planning Group in the Department of Atomic Energy to estimate the total quantities of weapon-usable fissile material produced by the three leading nuclear weapon states United States, Russia, and China. A threshold for the Indian WgPu holdings could then be firmed up by pegging the size of India’s fissile material stock at, say, 75% of the three-country mean — a not unreasonable figure considering India’s power trajectory is now second only to China’s. But the question is: is the Congress Party-led government, in its self-imposed position as supplicant, in a mental state to stand up for India? And for a policy of "No FMCT until WgPu stockpile of 75% of the Big Three level is safely reached"?

To add insult to serious injury to India’s nuclear independence, Manmohan Singh’s desire for "advanced civilian technologies" will result not only in choking off Dr Homi Bhabha’s carefully nurtured policy of "growing science" that has fetched the country leadership position in the cutting edge areas of breeder reactor and thorium utilisation cycle technologies — the very stuff of future security and energy independence and self-sufficiency — but in the GNEP member states acquiring these indigenous technologies with no great benefits to India.

And finally to clear up a mystery: the reason the Americans showed surprising flexibility in the negotiations in the nuclear deal is because, as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Robert Joseph confided to Representative Edward Markey, among the most powerful non-proliferationists in the US Legislature, in written replies to questions, "Rather than add additional conditions or seek to renegotiate the Joint Statement, we believe it would be better to lock-in this deal and then seek to achieve further results as our strategic partnership advances."

So, there we have it, the US strategy of "locking" India in a deal as a prelude to soft and hard measures being used to get New Delhi to cede more and more ground under the threat overhang of the "strategic partnership" being ended at any time. The arm-twisting by the Bush administration will begin with or without the imposition of additional conditionalities on India by the US Congress. Despite warnings by the Indian government about new conditions being "deal breakers," Washington is banking on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ultimately to succumb to American blandishments, and who is to say they are wrong? This economist PM, apparently devoid of strategic sense and great power mindset, may well shrug his shoulders and say: Kee pharak painda ha (What difference does it make)?

Bharat Karnad is Professor in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

saras said...

Immediately after signing the treaty with the US, PM said that India has the right to declare which future reactors fall into the civilian vategory and which into the military category and IAEA will not have any jurisdiction over the military reactors. But today I read an article by Brahma Chellany, where he says that all future reactors will be covered by future inspections. Who is right and who is wrong?

Brahma also does not talk about the distinction to be made between future civilian and military nuclear reactors.

saras said...

This is mother of all muslim-appeasement moves. Kerala Assembly has just passed a resolution seeking release of Abdul Nasser Madani, prime accused in the 1998 serial terror bombings in Coimbatore. Madani is currently serving his jail term in a Coimbatore jail.

What kind of thinking is this? By trying to get an anti-social element and a criminal released from jail, they are sending a message that by and large the Muslims encourage anti-social activities.

Kalyani said...

"....sending a message....."

Truth is just that.Anti national,anti Temple,anti-this anti-that.....anti Dharmam.

I have stopped reacting with *whatizizzzz ...tch...tch..*and consequently feel quite lightened up..honestly!

someone said...

It's nice to see a "mainstream" publication be so cut-throat on this issue. Maybe I should start subscribing to The Pioneer.