American author Irving Kristol famously defined the neo-conservative as “a liberal who has been mugged by reality.” But Indian liberals have erected the walls of political correctness and multiculturalism around themselves, shielding them from the assaults of reality, however terrifying it may be. Properly secluded, they continue to propagate myths and sell lies, especially about Pakistan and jihad.
Sagarika Ghose, who is often wrong but never in doubt, writes in The Times Of India (October 12), “A weak, terror ravaged, nuclear-armed Pakistan next door, many are agreed, would be a disaster for India. A thousand years war is hardly a realistic option.”
Which “many” is she talking about? The relics of the Nehruvian Consensus? The fossils from the age of non-alignment? What further strains the mind is the rape of commonsense: how could a weak, terror-ravaged, though nuclear-armed Pakistan be more dangerous than a strong, terror-spreading nuclear Pakistan?
The “many” policy and opinion makers Ghose is talking about have actually been the bane of India’s foreign policy. It is time we scrutinized not only their role but also that of their forebears, the guys (many of whom were on the payroll of KGB) who shamelessly compromised India’s interests. Such was the severity of their treason that they left 54 Indian prisoners of war (PoWs) to rot in Pakistani prisons, despite the fact that India returned over 90,000 Pakistani PoWs. This was quite apart from willingly handing over the gains of the 1971 Indo-Pak War.
Indira Gandhi’s key officials failed the nation in the modalities of postwar negotiations. It was P.N. Haksar, principal secretary to Indira Gandhi and the country’s most powerful civil servant. Haksar was the chief architect of the 1972 Shimla Accord signed by her and her Pakistani counterpart, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
Haksar was part of Mrs. Gandhi’s kitchen cabinet which was called ‘Kashmiri mafia.’ It comprised a bunch of haughty intellectuals and bureaucrats; other prominent members were D.P. Dhar and P.N. Dhar. The term, however, is inaccurate, for her coterie also had non-Kashmiris. Their defining feature, apart from their elitism, was their dogmatic belief in Nehruvian socialism and its cognate pathologies. ‘Leftwing mafia’ would be the exact description of the gang that surrounded Mrs. Gandhi and shaped her policies.
Haksar later explained New Delhi’s approach in Shimla. “The most painful and difficult moment in our mutual relationship was reached in December 1971. Pakistan lay shattered. Several of its tehsils were under occupation of our army, resulting in displacement of nearly a million people; 93,000 prisoners of war were in our custody affecting several lakhs of families in Pakistan.”
Notice his concern for lakhs of Pakistani families. I am not aware if he ever showed similar solicitude towards the millions of Bangladeshi Hindus and Muslims who suffered the depredations of the brutal Pakistani Army; he certainly did not do anything for the minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Haksar believed that Pakistan’s “moment of defeat must never be converted into a moment of humiliation.” Fair enough, but would asking the return of all PoWs have amounted to humiliating Pakistan? Would asking for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which was handed over to us by the Maharaja of Kashmir by way of the Instrument of Accession, have been unfair?
The high-and-mighty supercrat, however, had no time or concern for such matters as national interests or the liberty of captured soldiers; weightier issues awaited his attention. As he said, “Only a resumption of the interplay of political processes could possibly resolve the crisis and lead to Pakistan’s normal political, economic, social, and cultural evolution.”
Further, “the common people of Pakistan must know of India’s interest in maintaining the integrity of Pakistan.” Only a quintessential intellectual—that is, a person who believes only in his ideology and who has absolutely no regard for commonsense—could have said such a thing. India was responsible for the dismemberment of Pakistan—and Haksar thought that the Pakistanis could be made to believe in New Delhi’s “interest in maintaining the integrity of Pakistan.”
Haksar’s jaundiced perspective on international politics was the product and function of Nehruvian idiocies like Panchsheel and non-alignment. As he said, “The very concept of force as the basis of state policy has become a kind of fetish…. The West cannot think of dialogue unless it is based on force. President Reagan, for one, says: ‘The only way to negotiate for peace is from a position of strength’… [But] it should be clear to anybody that negotiations ‘from a position of strength’ cannot by their very nature be constructive, since they are intended to impose one’s will… on one’s partner. They rule out the possibility of achieving mutually acceptable, balanced results.”
Haksar and other members of the Leftwing mafia not only betrayed their own country and the 54 PoWs but also the victims of Pakistan Army and its Islamist collaborators. While Indira Gandhi’s lackeys spouted highfalutin claptrap—and, in the process, ignored 54 PoWs—Islamabad was concerned about the safety of its soldiers facing serious charges. In fact, right from the beginning, Pakistan schemed to shield its soldiers who were guilty of mass murder, rape, torture, pillage, indeed war crimes. In the Case Concerning Trial of Pakistani Prisoners of War (Pakistan versus India) in the International Court of Justice, Islamabad said that “Pakistan has an exclusive right to exercise jurisdiction over the one hundred and ninety-five Pakistani nationals or any other number, now in Indian custody, and accused of committing acts of genocide…”
What was really ludicrous was its claim that “the allegations against the aforesaid prisoners of war are related to acts of genocide, and the concept of ‘crimes against humanity’ or ‘war crimes’ is not applicable.” Only a very high level of chicanery could have proved that genocide is not a crime against humanity; but Pakistani politicians and officials were equal to the occasion. For, ultimately, they managed to protect the guilty soldiers. On the other hand, the Indian political leadership did not even press for the detention of the 195 soldiers accused of war crimes. According to www.wikipedia.org, “There are no known instances of criminal investigations or trials outside Bangladesh of alleged perpetrators of war crimes during the 1971 war.”
Pakistan’s trickery was matched by the treasonous behavior of Indira Gandhi’s coterie. In fact, they not only betrayed India but also helped those accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Sagarika Ghose is favorably referring to the intellectual descendants of the Leftwing mafia that surrendered India’s interests in Shimla. Evidently, she has carefully avoided any encounter with the reality.