This piece is a continuation of an earlier piece on the deep western state and India’s possible inclusion in a new American, or more generally, western-sponsored ‘axis of evil’. Events have overtaken us since the first piece was written, and India has morphed from a state where women are unsafe to one where Christians are unsafe.
This is a dangerous pattern, as we saw in the case of Iraq. It is the old tactic of declaring a dog to be rabid and then shooting it. It has been going on in the case of Russia, and it is a work in progress in India's case. You may think I am a Cassandra, but the logical end-point would be sanctions and economic warfare, and in the worst case scenario, an actual attempt at regime change, all in the name of democracy, freedom of expression, and other such motherhood stuff that the West is fond of mouthing. I think it's unlikely, but stranger things have happened.
The narrative for declaring open season on India is building up: here are a few threads in the multi-pronged assault that are now visible. In all of these, India is being painted as being unforgivably evil (yes, it is couched in Manichean terms). These are all memes based on newspaper articles in the recent past blaming India, Hindus, the caste system, patriarchy, and some combinations thereof:
- Women’s rights
- Freedom of religion
- Minority rights
- ‘Dalit’ oppression
- Air pollution
- Antibiotic resistant bacteria
- Open defecation
I kid you not. The culprits in all of these are the same old usual suspects - Hindu males. Thus it has become a theological battle of sorts, with the forces of good (ie,the West) arrayed against the forces of evil (ie, the Hindu – usually male). I have been watching western media for some time, and these themes are beginning to recur with some frequency (eg, a story on the Ganga and superbug bacteria in the Financial Times, traced to Hindu pilgrims upstream).
Why is this nexus coming together, and why the calculated assault happening right now? One reason is momentum. The other is that certain sacred cows are under attack. The third is the urgent need for evengelising India.
Let’s take momentum. After the debacle in May 2014, the anti-BJP forces have regrouped, and they have tasted success in at least three instances. First, they brought the BJP to a halt in J&K by mobilising the ordinary Kashmiri Muslim against it. Second, they managed to marshal all their forces to support the AAP and hand the BJP a defeat in Delhi. Third, they had enough resources in the Rajya Sabha to give the BJP a black eye on the President’s budget speech, which means they may obstruct to the bitter end any legislation the government tables.
Frankly, the formidable Narendra Modi-Amit Shah machine seems to have run into roadblocks, and the ever-vigilant bureaucracy, after initial jitters, is now swinging into action. Like the babus in the series ‘Yes, Minister’, these people are past masters at subverting good ideas, throttling them, subjecting them to crib-deaths, all to preserve their cushy sinecures. (Which, of course, is the reason they voted in droves for the AAP in Delhi, too. That AAP seems currently to be in self-destruct mode is another issue).
After an initial frisson of fear that Modi would discipline them and curtail them, the ancien regime are now feeling their oats. After all, even the most villainous traitors in the MSM (mainstream media) are strutting around; the first-class thieves in the bureaucracy and government are still not behind bars. They have concluded that Modi has succumbed to the BJP disease of seeking approval from the seculars. Modi is vulnerable, they calculate, and they now see him as a one-term prime minister, with 2019 being their comeback year. Hence the idea of delivering a coup de grace, diverting attention from necessary legislation, and sending Modi on the defensive, while essentially foiling his entire agenda.
The second reason is the slaying of leftist sacred cows. In the last few weeks, the affairs of Greenpeace have come under a scanner, and the government has taken steps to audit and monitor the tsunami of foreign funds coming into India through an extraordinary number of quangos (quasi0non-government organisations), many of which act as though they were undeclared agents of foreign governments. Let us note that some time ago Russia had cracked down on its NGOs for similar reasons. (Oddly enough, Vladimir Putin recently signed an order allowing the removal of NGOs from the ‘foreign agents’ list).
Leftists do not like their little sinecures disappearing any more than bureaucrats do. The Modi government has been doing some house-cleaning. It started with the atrocious Leela Samson, whose fundamentalist views were excoriated a few weeks ago, and who was ejected from her position as culture czarina. More recently, three icons of the left – all Nobel Prize winners in the dubious categories of economics and peace – took a broad hit. (In general, the Nobel peace/economics prize and the Magsaysay may well be rewards for doing the West’s bidding. A new prize, the Aurora prize of $1 million, has been announced, which doubtless will go the same way.)
First, 'Mother' Teresa was exposed for what she really was: a bigoted religious entrepreneur and a major source of revenue for the Vatican. Her unmasking surely makes the saint narrative a little less plausible. We had heard about her exploits in great detail from Christopher Hitchens and Aroup Chatterjee, but I believe many who hitherto had swallowed the line began to wonder a little bit. .
Then there was that major asset of the West, Amartya Sen (I prefer to think of him as Sen-Rothschild, given that one of his achievements has been marrying into that family which has the power to make and unmake whole continents). His dereliction of duty regarding Nalanda University, including the humiliation of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, and the hiring of some wholly unqualified junior woman as Vice Chancellor with a fat salary dented his little-tin-god status a wee bit.
Another was Rajendra Pachauri, who, to be honest, is less of a villain than the above two, and who mostly looked pathetic as someone who allegedly forced his attentions on a woman almost 50 years younger than him. There is also Kailash Satyarthi, another Nobel winner; and I wonder about all his “atrocity literature” about the state of Indian children: is this a case of crying wolf too often?
This won’t do; the west can't lose assets. It has long been rumoured that there were American moles high up in the UPA government. Jaswant Singh said so, but refused to identify who it was (I suspect he was threatened into silence). Similarly, these leftist icons were useful to the West. Touching them, clearly, is taboo, and “India’s Daughter” was a marker for the blowback.
But the most important reason is the global conversion business. It is a reasonable conjecture that the traditional Christian church is alarmed about the sharp fall in the numbers of the faithful in Europe and America. Combined with indifference, even in relatively pious America, is the threat of a demographic takeover of Europe. The church absolutely needs to increase its numbers. And they have already saturated Africa (where most of the native animists have been converted to either Christian or Muslim sects), so Asia is the next frontier. Almost a necessity.
This is not only a religious agenda, but also a cultural agenda. In my experience, even the most atheistic Westerner is, quite naturally, immersed in a cultural narrative that is Judeo-Christian, and from that perspective, Hinduism is an abomination. It is morally repugnant, and some Hindu practices abhorrent. Thus there is tremendous (perhaps unconscious) animosity towards Hindus.
This was brought forth to me powerfully when I read some tweets by the famous atheist Richard Dawkins. He was downright dismissive of India in the context of the Leslee Udwin video – as seen in his tweet below. He meant no malice, but he believes it – for that's what two centuries of semitic encounters with India have conveyed to westerners.
On 9 March he had tweeted this racist comment: “Encouraging that so many Indians of both sexes took to the streets in protest against the traditional rape culture of India.”
Over time I have come to believe that there is an unbridgeable gap between the world-views of the semitic (or Abrahamic) perspective and that of Hinduism. In Samuel Huntington's words, it is a clash of civilisations. It is the last leg of an unrelenting war that has pitted points of view against each other since the first monotheistic faith was invented.
Monotheism, which compels allegiance to a tribal, patriachial god, is fundamentally different from the earlier feminine nature of the religions it supplanted. It may be Akhenaton or Zarathustra who first proposed the Manichean dichotomy that illuminates them: believer vs. infidel, black vs. white, truth vs. falsehood. In any case, the patriarchies have wiped out all of the feminine religions, with the single exception of Hinduism, and they consider it an abomination.
Thus there is a philosophical problem. But perhaps more urgently, the generic church feels some pressure in its world conquest obsessions, as the specter of 'Eurabia' looms on its home turf; compounding this is the disaffection of its core white base, which finds the church losing ground to modernistic atheists (except perhaps in the US south). Thus the need for numbers, which they have pursued on a war-footing through the Joshua Project, Project Thessalonika, the 10/40 Project, etc. They have found that it is possible to penetrate the hitherto hard-to-convert hinterlands of India by changing tactics and focusing on women.
The conversion project has made tremendous strides in Kerala, southern Tamil Nadu, and Nepal, all of which are heading to a Christian plurality (and may already be there if you take into account those who retain their Hindu names for SC/ST benefits, or for tactical purposes of not alarming those concerned about demographic warfare). Big chunks of the lower classes have been converted en masse in the last 20 years in Kerala, with the women being specifically targeted. Every maid, for example, with names like Jagadamba and Anita, now goes to church.
The strategy of soul-harvesting was articulated quite bluntly by an earlier pope a few years ago in Delhi. On Deepavali day, he said this millennium was the time for the church to dominate Asia, as it did Europe, in previous millennia. And what does Asia mean? It can't be China, where the official Catholic church reports not to the Vatican, but the Communist Party. It isn't the Muslim bits of Asia. It has to be India, where under the UPA, there was huge payoff – for instance, the rapid conversion of Andhra Pradesh.
This factor, as articulated for instance by the ill-named USCIRF (US Council on International Religious Freedom) – it acts in practice as a handmaiden of the conversionists – is perhaps the main issue that causes the 'deep state' to get agitated by the Modi administration. Not only is it losing the assets that it had in the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA, where it was practically de rigeur to convert to get plum posts, its army of NGOs (nourished with billions of dollars) is now under threat.
This is why, in my opinion, the paid media (including its western counterparts) has suddenly raised a huge fuss about the rights of Christians in India. In fact, Christians have substantial privileges in India that are not available to Hindus: for instance, freedom from government interference in their places of worship and educational institutions.
The fact that the fuss was manufactured with ill intent is quite obvious from a couple of incidents. One was the furore of the rape of a 71-year-old nun in West Bengal. The media hinted very strongly that this was an attack by unreconstructed patriachial Hindu villains on 'defenceless' religious minorities. However, the moment it was discovered that the actual culprits were Bangladeshi Muslims, the outrage melted away. How curious! In other words, the nun and her rape don't really matter; they were only a weapon to use against Hindus and the Modi government.
It would appear that there is a certain commonality of interest between the Church and commercial interests. Thus the Baptists of the American South, who quite abhor the Catholics, are as one in assaulting India. Western geostrategic interests and business interests, too.
What, then, might be the appropriate Indian response to the deep state's assault? When I first wrote this, I was appalled by Leslie Udwin and the BBC. But then I realised the film-maker didn't matter, and that she was merely a pawn. The BBC? Well, it is in the fine company of The Economist, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, and pretty much every other Western publication. Their animosity towards India, and frankly, their racism and religious bigotry, are pretty standard, and they differ only in degree. It is difficult for India to eject all these media types wholesale, but I can think of a few ways in which India can indicate its sharp displeasure. Libel and defamation laws, for instance.
Beyond that, there are two points on India's economy that are interesting. The first is that, amidst general mayhem in currency markets, with the dollar skyrocketing against many other currencies, the Indian rupee has been one of the steadiest, and has hardly lost ground. This indicates that at least the money men are bullish on India. That is what matters, not a lot of negative propaganda, even though it may affect tourism and trade.
Second, Martin Wolf, an astute Financial Times commentator, recently wrote about how “India has a chance to excel on growth” , if the government persists with reforms. That is the goal, and Modi should keep his eyes on the prize, and not be distracted. If India indeed is growing rapidly, those who now condemn it will soon be back with tales of “Hindu exceptionalism” to explain India’s rise.
The key for the Modi government is to then look at the big economic picture and ignore the noise. At the same time, it must ensure that those who harm its interests feel some pain: otherwise, this probing attack, when there is no pushback, will be repeated in greater strength: riots, mayhem, etc. Indians have a weakness in being susceptible to both flattery and shame; the former worked with Manmohan Singh; the latter is now being tried with Narendra Modi.
The enemy is clever, has deep pockets, and vast resources, including many moles and sleeper cells. In the UPA years, the project of keeping India down worked nicely. The challenge for the Modi government is to ensure it can escape this well-laid trap, and let it be known that it will neither expect, nor give, any quarter. The PM might take a leaf out of Lee Kuan Yew's book. No more Mr. Nice Guy. And no more being ashamed just because white people say you should be, either. India should march to its own, and different, drummer.
Updated Date: Apr 01, 2015 17:14 PM