The headlines have been uniformly negative for a while, and especially right now. A 26/11-style invasion in Pampore, Jammu and Kashmir, and the deaths of two young captains from the elite special forces. A violent agitation by Jats seeking reservation. An alleged acid attack on a tribal activist. Seditious students in Jawaharlal Nehru University, who claim freedom of speech for what sounds suspiciously like ISPR propaganda. Communists hack yet another Hindu activist to death in Kannur, Kerala.
And we just went through convulsions over the suicide of an allegedly SC student in Hyderabad.
There is other important news that’s not getting a hearing or a platform: The critical budget that is due shortly. The #MakeinIndia effort that is apparently attracting investment and entrepreneurship. The important #NationalHerald case that could well send some Congress leaders to jail. The continued subversion of the democratic process and the virtual shutdown of Parliament, as the Congress continues its scorched-earth tactics.
In light of an impending global slowdown, if not outright recession, India is one of the few bright spots in the world economy — or at least that seems to be the general sentiment among economists and investors. The prime minister seems to be putting his entire thrust on development — much to the chagrin of Hindu supporters who expected some relief from the usual apartheid memes like the Right to Education and the continued looting of temples by state authorities.
The prime minister is generally correct in his laser-like focus on development, in that almost all of India’s problems will be ameliorated if only there were rapid development. The fundamental problems Indians face — and have faced through decades of Congress sloganeering — are roti, kapda and makaan. But there are definite concerns that, despite all the good intentions, not much is actually happening on the ground. Retroactive taxation efforts persist; the stumble in the stock markets and the depreciation of the rupee indicate that India’s competitive advantage remains elusive.
While efforts in support of development and economic growth are constrained both by global issues and by the mutinies that seem to swell up, gain propaganda points, and then disappear, it is worth asking the question: Who has the motive to keep India on the boil? Just looking at the history of agitations; there were the Patels, the Kapus, the Jats, and so forth. They seem to swell up spontaneously.
The sudden appearance, massive media attention, and then the disappearance of these ‘causes’ (as well as the perennial question of whether Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist) suggests that there is a method to this madness. It is orchestrated, planned, induced and managed. It is not random. There is someone who is pulling the strings.
Who might that be?
There are at least four suspects, who have the motive and the means:
1) The Congress
2) China and the Communists
4) The Deep State
The Congress Party has one major motive: To keep Sonia Gandhi and son out of jail (of course, they’d also prefer to have them ruling the country). It appears that the courts are closing in on them in the National Herald case, which appears to be an open-and-shut case of embezzlement, despite the efforts of highly-paid lawyers to pretend that it was not. The Congress will do anything, and I mean anything, to avoid this eventuality. In fact, the government should work out a plea-bargain deal with them: The Gandhis (all of them) go into voluntary exile in Italy, return their ill-gotten wealth stashed abroad, and the case will be dropped. Or else they go to jail. Truly, an offer they cannot refuse. If there is such a resolution, the various agitations will stop instantaneously, and the blockades of Parliament as well.
China is beginning to realise that its delusions of grandeur are somewhat premature: Beijing has bitten off more than it can chew in the South China Sea, and it is beginning to feel the pinch as the American money-men put the screws on its economy. A trillion dollars have fled China in the last year. But it’s a high return-on-investment deal to put a few million dollars into the pockets of Indian communists that will be turned into agit-prop, law and order problems, and, as needed, a slew of political murders. A communist leader in Kerala declared openly some time ago that they had carried out a whole lot of murders, and would continue to do so. Keeping India down is just pure competitive tactics.
Pakistan continues to needle India, as its army and the ISI have no intention of letting go their goal of capturing all or most of India as part of their to-be-established Caliphate. Pathankot, now Pampore, and numerous other incidents show that they have the means, the sleeper cells, and the local support they need to keep on imposing costs on India. This sub-critical warfare is low-cost, convenient, and has the effect of force-multiplication. They also believe that time and demography are on their side. They believe that, with a little help from the Congress and the Communists, they will be able to get rid of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (as Mani Shankar Aiyar pleaded with them) and bring back a pliant Manmohan Singh 2.0.
The most intriguing of all is the #Deepstate of the West. I wrote in these columns a year ago about how the Deep State treats India — for all practical purposes — as one of its new #AxisOfEvil opponents, the others being Russia and Japan. I also predicted that the Deep State’s assault would be couched in women’s rights, SC/ST rights, air pollution etc, and to my chagrin, I was right.
Ye of little faith, who didn’t believe me, I told you so!
There is nothing morally wrong in what the usual suspects are doing — it is merely self-preservation and suppression of a current or potential foe. But all of them would like India to be, at the minimum, a poverty-stricken supplier of raw materials, coolies and converts, and a market for dumping their obsolete goods; at the maximum, they would want India to be balkanised into a whole set of 'statelets'. None of this is good for India.
This is what the Modi government is up against.
All of these forces are quite happy with the status quo ante. And they do have a series of plans to escalate the assaults. Plan A was to create electoral stumbling blocks. Plan B is to create lawlessness and riots (as envisaged by our good friends at the UC Berkeley’s ACRPR, about which I was the first to write two years ago). Plan C is more extreme, and you can imagine what it is.
These assaults on India will keep coming. The paid media, NGOs, the Ford Foundation, the Bill Gates Foundation, The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, the communists, jihadis and so on will be pressed into service. The prime minister has two choices: Either keep taking the punishment, or fight back. Throw a couple of media types in jail, kick out The New York Times, The Economist and the Ford Foundation, orchestrate a couple of 'unfortunate accidents' to ISI generals: You get the drift. If they feel some pain, those assaulting India will think twice. Else, we will see these “death by a thousand cuts” incidents proliferating.
And no, they are not Naipaul’s “million mutinies”.