A garland of explosives around the country’s neck

The short-sighted political leadership at the national level right from the time of India’s independence, has been following such unimaginative and myopic politics both at the domestic and the foreign fronts that now Bharat is faced with extremely difficult issues of vital importance. The overwhelming victory of the Maosists in Nepal is an ominous sign. Leadership of political parties of whatever hue may wholeheartedly or halfheartedly welcome the election results, because democracy based on adult franchise has become a sacred cow. India has not been able to evolve a system of governance in tune with her own age old democratic temperament; our leadership has been under compulsion to tow the line of the Westminster model which we inherited from our colonial masters. But, countries like China haven’t succumbed to such compulsions. What kind of governance the Maoist led Nepalese government will follow when it comes to office is a matter which only time can answer. Whatever it may be, there is no doubt that Nepal hereafter is going to be a major source of insecurity and concern for India.

When we look back at Indo-Nepalese relationship through the historical perspectives, we will find that Nepal should have been one of our most reliable friends, with inviolable cultural linkages existing from the dawn of history. Nepal has never wavered in its conviction that they are a Hindu Nation. The Great Indian thinkers, even during the renaissance period, like Swami Vivekananda and Mahayogi Aurobindo, had been unequivocally asserting that India is a Hindu Nation. India and Nepal, though politically and administratively separated and autonomous for historical reasons, Hindu Nationalism had always been the binding chord between the two. If at the time of independence, and thereafter the leadership in India had realized the centrality of Nepal’s relationship to India and made serious and sincere efforts to cement and strengthen the cultural identity, a much more stable and enduring mutual relationship would have been built up. But, unfortunately that did not happen. Our first ‘visionary’ Prime Minister was a total stranger to realpolitik. He cared more for international approbation than for abiding National interest. He was against Monarchy, so much so that he kept the King of Nepal at arm’s length. One could only wish that if farsighted statesmen like Sardar Vallabhai Patel lived longer, probably things would have developed differently within the larger framework of Indian Republic, some sort of an autonomous Nepal, with or without a king could have been carved out. But, such a thought would have been anathema to Nehru.

But look at China. They had no such relationship with Tibet that India had with Nepal. Tibet was anytime closer to India in terms of religion, culture and language. Even the very name Tibet is a derivative from the Sanskrit word: “Trivishtap”. India had intense moral authority over Tibet, which China could never claim. But China, inherently imperialistic, understood that Tibet should be alienated from India and brought into the Dragon’s Coil. They made no bones about it. China marched its army into Tibet, and forcibly occupied and drove His Holiness, The Dalai Lama with millions of his followers out of Tibet. The whole world meekly acquiesced in the genocide, while India abandoned her moral claims over the Tibetan region.

Now a situation has developed, where not only Tibet but also Nepal have come under the Maoist umbrella. It is a case of total diplomatic failure and policy bungling on India’s part. Prime Minister Nehru realized his failure too late when despite the much proclaimed ‘Panch Sheel’ agreement, Chinese army invaded India and humiliated us. Moreover, they have been time and again asserting and re-asserting their claim over the entire Arunachal Pradesh, thus holding out a threat to our sovereignty over the entire border area.

It is not that Prime Minister Nehru was not warned about these developments. Shri. Guruji, who played a decisive role in the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India, had also tried for sound friendly relations with Nepal. He had personally visited Kathmandu and held discussions with King Tribhuvan and his Prime Minister Tulasi Giri, with whom Shri. Guruji had excellent personal relationship. On coming back he wrote a letter to Pandit Nehru about his experiences and suggestions in this regard. Over and above, Shri. Guruji invited King Tribhuvan to be the Chief Guest at the Nagpur Vijayadashami function in the year 1965. Had it materialized, the relationship between the two countries would have risen to very great heights. But, Pandit Nehru blocked King Tribhuvan’s visit to India. This naturally embittered the King’s attitude. A golden opportunity was lost on account of personal prejudice over-riding National Interest.

Monarchy might be anachronistic in the modern world. But it is not always a negative symbol. Even today, in spite of England priding itself as the model of parliamentary democracy, maintains a dynastic monarchy for which the entire nation owes symbolic allegiance. Monarchy in England is not a negative symbol. Similar is the case with Japan. They hold their king in the highest esteem, while there is a dynamic, functioning, full-fledged democracy all the time. Nobody plead for retaining monarchy anywhere in the world including Nepal. But anarchy and violence are not suitable substitutes for symbolic monarchy.

Dalai Lama is condemned for his efforts to get back to Tibet and perform his spiritual ministry to his people in his homeland. It is condemned, it is alleged, that he will be presiding over a theocracy. But the same people have absolutely no hesitation to uphold the Pope as the Head of a much smaller Vatican state and from that position to rule over a huge empire of Catholic community cutting across every national border. If this is not double standard, then what else is?

Maoists coming to power in Nepal and occupying adjacent Tibet, totally under Chinese control is a matter of grave concern for India. Already there exists a well entrenched “Red Corridor” with armed gangs of Naxalite network right from Nepal to Andhra and even TamilNadu and Kerala. All our security experts are agreeing that the greatest threat that India is facing now arises out of this powerful paramilitary organization. It is in this context, that the latest developments in Nepal and Tibet have to be perceived and measures taken to cope with it. It brooks no delay. It must also be remembered that recognized political parties and forces that supported Chinese invasionists of 1962 are still very much active in India.

published date: 
Thu, 05/01/2008
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