Originally Published 2004-02-17 09:56:12 Published on Feb 17, 2004
Whoever in India that says West Asia is Middle-East, Jammu and Kashmir is ¿Indian Kashmir¿ and painting the face with the national Tricolour at cricket stadia is the height of patriotism have got it all wrong. If anything, they are fast tracking towards a ¿patented one-world order¿, knowingly or otherwise, with India¿s soul and resilience of the past centuries being tormented, without trace or knowledge.
Patenting 'One-World Order' ?
Whoever in India that says West Asia is Middle-East, Jammu and Kashmir is 'Indian Kashmir' and painting the face with the national Tricolour at cricket stadia is the height of patriotism have got it all wrong. If anything, they are fast tracking towards a 'patented one-world order', knowingly or otherwise, with India's soul and resilience of the past centuries being tormented, without trace or knowledge.

It is already happening in the US, where 'core issues' like security and economy have become the 'basic structure' of the all-American 'Believe in America' syndrome. To question such beliefs is a sacrilege that no American, present or past, has even dreamt of being branded a 'commie' during the 'Cold War', and possibly a 'jehadi sympathiser' of some kind in the post-9/11 era.

The US is not alone in this 'denial' of truth, whether it undermines the belief that 'America always wins' in the military-security context, or market capitalism is the panacea for all of a nation's economic ills. With the result, the westerner, whether it is the policy-maker or political administrator, academic or the common man, is happy debating peripheral issues, which include the virtues of democracy, a Watergate or a Monica Lewinski here, or a Profumo or a Diana's death, elsewhere.

It may be no coincidence that the westerners have allowed the proverbial red-herring to divert their collective intellect away from a national security perception that is hollow and needing correctives, and an economic philosophy that has pushed them into debt and deficit of a very high order - which they ask the rest of the world to abhor. Vietnam can be discussed as far as 'body bags' and the causes of failure go, but you cannot discuss the need for war, or the belief that America, or the West, has to dominate a world without borders.

So fragile is the fig leaf that when a 'Great Depression' occurs, or a 9/11 catches them unawares, they recoil, or fight, out of self-doubt and fear, both camouflaged as self-esteem and supreme assertion. The Emperor who finds himself wearing no new clothes, rather than doing something about it, clouds his vision and that of others through the smoke-screen of a 'Iraq War', or whatever, the kind of which becomes as much an embarrassment as the original embarrassment was a shocking surprise.

The Indian experience is no different. Shocked out of 'democratic socialism' of the Nehruvian variety at the height of a forex crisis, we have put economic reforms beyond the pale of mid-course discourse, if not correction. In a nation where the medium and long-term costs of liberalization are yet to be evaluated, security, like in the West, has become another 'holy cow'. So much so, the political failures in a Kargil War, or a Kandahar hijack, or a Parliament attack are all non-starters as points of discussion, if not debate. What more, the nation that punished the perpetrators of the 'Bofors scam' only a decade or so earlier, now readily lends shoulders to those for whom their injured innocence over a 'coffingate' or 'tehelka scam' is an exclusive symbol of the nation's pride, security and integrity.

The flip side is there for all to see in the Indian context too, but we have given ourselves to not seeing it. With security-related defence purchases becoming as much an 'untouchable' as the consumer-driven economy which refuses to take off beyond a point, 'secularism', or 'pseudo-secularism', as the case may be, has become the crumbs for a nation, whose life-line it used to be, and it should have been. Ayodhya-centric 'Hindutva agenda' hits the centre-stage now and again, but there is no talk of 'Swadeshi', or whatever it represents, with the great national political divide consuming it in their consensual approach, which remains uncomprehended.

It is another matter, such unqualified self-belief peaking at the prime of India's perceived global role in the post-Independence Nehruvian era has left us shaking when the 'Chinese aggression' came about. We as a nation are yet to recover from that humiliation, which has become complete and un-erasable even 40-plus years later. This, despite our ready acceptance of the British ruler, and the assimilation of the Islamic invaders, earlier. A somnambulist walk into a 'patented world order' based on self-belief and self-assertion could end up as an unrecognizable and often unintended trap, and our self-acclaimed resilience as a nation and State, culture and people could be found wanting - even to recognize it, leave alone getting out of it.

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