6. THE (UNFRIENDLY) NEIGHBOURS IN ASIA"/> The Ferengi's Columns | <font size="+1">6. THE (UNFRIENDLY) NEIGHBOURS IN ASIA</font>| Marathi stories | Hindi Stories | Gujarati Stories

Android app on Google Play iPhone app Download from Windows Store

 

6. THE (UNFRIENDLY) NEIGHBOURS IN ASIA

6. THE (UNFRIENDLY) NEIGHBOURS IN ASIA

India is surrounded mostly by unfriendly neighbors. We see either Islamic countries promoting a rabid anti-Hindu policy, such as Afghanistan or Pakistan; or small inconsequent nations such as Nepal, which owe so much to India, yet often harbor India�s enemies, as shown by the Indian Airlines hijack of December 1999. Further East, we find Japan, which has a sad hegemonic history, but was one of the most vociferous nations against India after Pokhran II

.

Pakistan

who was responsible for the Partition of India? Yes, the British used to the hilt the existing divide between Hindus and Muslims. Yes, the Congress was weak; it accepted what was forced down its throat by Jinnah and Mountbatten, even though many of its leaders, including Nehru, and a few moderate Muslims, disagreed with the principle of partition. It was also Gandhi's policy of non-violence and gratifying the fanatical Muslim minority, in the hope that it would see the light, which did tremendous harm to India and encouraged Jinnah to harden his demands.

But ultimately, one has to go back to the roots, to the beginning of it all, in order to understand Partition. One has to travel back in history to get a clear overall picture. This is why memory is essential, this is why Holocausts should never be forgotten.

For the Jinnah�s, the Zia ul-Hacq�s and today the Mushraraf�s are only the vehicles, the instruments, the avatars, the latest reincarnations of the medieval Muslims coming down to rape and loot and plunder the land of Bharat. They are the true sons of Mahmud Ghaznavi, of Muhammed Ghasi, of Aurangzeb. They took up again the work left unfinished by the last Mughal two centuries earlier: 'Dar-ul-Islam', the House of Islam. The Hindu-Muslim question is an old one - but is it really a Muslim-Hindu question, or just plainly a Muslim obsession, their hatred of the Hindu pagans, their contempt for this polytheist religion? This obsession, this hate, is as old as the first invasion of India by the original Arabs in 650. After independence, nothing has changed: the sword of Allah is still as much ready to strike the Kafirs, the idolaters of many Gods. The Muslims invaded this country, conquered it, looted it, razed its temples, humiliated its Hindu leaders, killed its Brahmins, converted its weaker sections. True, it was all done in the name of Allah and many of its chiefs were sincere in thinking they were doing their duty by hunting down the Infidel. So how could they accept on 15th August 1947 to share power on an equal basis with those who were their slaves for thirteen centuries? "Either the sole power for ourselves, and our rule over the Hindus as it is our sovereign right, we the adorers of the one and only true God - Or we quit India and found our own nation, a Muslim nation, of the true faith, where we will live amongst ourselves".

Thus there is no place for idolaters in this country, this great nation of Pakistan; they can at best be "tolerated" as second-class citizens. Hence the near total exodus of Hindus from Pakistan, whereas more than half the Muslim population in India, chose to stay, knowing full well that they would get the freedom to be and to practice their own religion. In passing, the Muslims took revenge on the Hindus -once more- and indulged in terrible massacres, which were followed by retaliations from Sikhs and hard core Hindus, the ultimate horror.

Partition triggered one of the most terrible exodus in the history of humanity. And this exodus has not ended: they still come by the lakhs every year from Bangladesh (it is estimated that there are today twelve million illegal Bangladeshis in India), fleeing poverty, flooding India with problems, when the country has already so many of her own. Some even say that they bring with them more fundamentalism, a Third Column, which one day could organise itself in a political, social and militant body.

For Danielou, the division of India was on the human level as well as on the political one, a great mistake. "It added, he says, to the Middle East an unstable state (Pakistan) and burdened India which already had serious problems". And he adds: "India whose ancient borders stretched until Afghanistan, lost with the country of seven rivers (the Indus Valley), the historical centre of her civilisation. At a time when the Muslim invaders seemed to have lost some of their extremism and were ready to assimilate themselves to other populations of India, the European conquerors, before returning home, surrendered once more to Muslim fanaticism the cradle of Hindu civilisation ." (Histoire de l'Inde, p.355)

For Sri Aurobindo also, the division of India was a monstrosity: " India is free, but she has not achieved unity, only a fissured and broken freedom...The whole communal division into Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of a permanent political division of the country. It is to be hoped that the Congress and the Nation will not accept the settled fact as for ever settled, or as anything more than a temporary expedient. For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled; civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest. The partition of the country must go...For without it the destiny of India might be seriously impaired and frustrated. That must not be." (Message of Sri Aurobindo on the 15th of August 1947).

Sri Aurobindo had long seen through the British and Jinnah's games and had warned the nation as early as the beginning of the century. His answer to a disciple on October 7, 1940 is very illustrative of the point:" Q. But now that our national consciousness is more developed, there is more chance of unity if the British don't bolster up Jinnah and his Muslim claims.

A. Does Jinnah want unity?...What he wants is independence for Muslims and if possible rule over India. THAT IS THE OLD SPIRIT... But why is it expected that Muslims will be so accommodating?"

Nevertheless, Sri Aurobindo thought that although the old spirit of the real warriors of Islam, the Muslim invaders, was still present, the majority of Indian Muslims were unconcerned: "The idea of two nationalities in India is only a new-fanged notion invented by Jinnah for his purposes and contrary to the facts. More than 90% of the Indian Muslims are descendants of converted Hindus and belong as much to the Indian nation as the Hindu themselves. Jinnah is himself a descendant of a Hindu named Jinahbahai... (India's Rebirth, p. 237)

Sri Aurobindo also sought to dispel the widespread notion that the Muslims brought so much to India: "The Islamic culture hardly gave anything to the world which may be said of fundamental importance and typically its own Islamic culture was mainly borrowed from the others. Their mathematics and astronomy and other subjects were derived from India and Greece. It is true they gave some of these things a new turn, but they have not created much. Their philosophy and their religion are very simple and what they call Sufism is largely the result of Gnostics who lived in Persia and it is the logical outcome of that school of thought largely touched by the Vedanta... Islamic culture contributed the Indo-Saracenic architecture to Indian culture. I do not think it has done anything more in India of cultural value. It gave some new forms to art and poetry. Its political institutions were always semi-barbaric. (p.189 India's Reb).

How could Partition have been avoided? Sri Aurobindo had advocated firmness: "As for the Hindu-Muslim affair, I saw no reason why the greatness of India's past or her spirituality should be thrown into the waste paper basket in order to conciliate the Moslems who would not be conciliated at all by such a policy. What has created the Hindu-Moslem split was not Swadeshi, but the acceptance of a communal principle by the Congress". (India's Rebirth, p. 189). History was going to show the accuracy of Sri Aurobindo's predictions: the Congress' obstinate pandering to Jinnah and his terms, proved to be disastrous and the partition of India was a blow from which the nation has not yet recovered. Ah, Pakistan, finally, everything reverts to Pakistan, whether you talk about Kashmir, Ayodhya, or Kargil. Everywhere the Indian Government says it sees the "Pakistani hand" behind it. It is an hostile hand, they add, active, militant, whose ultimate goal is the destruction of India. Is actually, Pakistan the continuing incarnation of those Muslim invaders who raped India from the middle of the 7th century onwards? Militant Hindus contend that nothing has changed: "their cry is still the same: "Dar-ul-Islam", the house of Islam. Yesterday they used scimitars, today they have the atomic bomb; but the purpose is identical, only the weapons have evolved: to conquer India, to finish what the Mughal Emperors were not able to achieve". To reason with Pakistan is useless, they conclude, "for once again they are only putting in practice what their religion teaches them every day -that 'the Pagans shall burn forever in the fire of hell. They are the meanest of creatures'. Or 'Slay the infidels, wherever ye find them and take them captive and besiege them and prepare them for all kinds of ambush'. Or again: 'Choose not thy friends among the Infidels till they forsake their homes and the way of idolatry. If they return to paganism then take them whenever you find them and kill them'. All these quotations are taken from the Koran and are read everyday to the faithful by their mollahs.(Koran 98:51-9:5-4:89)

Is Pakistan's war against India then a Muslim "jihad", the ultimate jihad against the Infidel, which if necessary will utilise the ultimate weapon, nuclear bombs? And as in the case of Ayodhya, the whole of Islam might side with Pakistan, for to their eyes India is still the Infidel, the Idolater, which the Koran asks them to slay. Says Belgium scholar Konraad Elst: "if tomorrow the Pakistani start the Prophet's first nuclear war against an Infidel country (India), a billion Muslims will feel compelled to side with this muhajid struggle and dissenters will be careful not to protest aloud."

But then you also have to understand the Pakistani point of view: take Kashmir for instance. If one goes by the logic of Partition, then at least the Kashmir valley, which is in great majority Muslim, (and it should be emphasised that for long some of the Hindus Pandits in Kashmir exploited and dominated the Muslims -who are getting back at them today), should have reverted to Pakistan. It should be clear also that Pakistan never forgot the humiliating loss of Bangladesh at the hands of India, although India only helped Bangladesh to gain its freedom in the face of what the Bangladeshis say was Pakistani genocide. General Zia-ul-Hacq's emergence was a result of that humiliation and the whole policy of proxy war by supporting the separatist movements in Punjab and Kashmir, was a way of getting back at India. And the same can be said about the nuclear bomb, for Pakistan has realised, after having lost three wars (four if you count Kargil), that both numerically and strategically, it can never beat India in a conventional conflict.

It is also clear when one goes to Pakistan today, that the country has evolved a soul of its own, has its individual identity and that in fact it has been able to do better than India in many fields. Their politicians are more accessible than in India for instance; their bureaucrats more friendly; and PIA is definitely a better airline than Indian Airlines ! Finally, can Pakistanis be accused of all ills that befall India ? The Indian Press has become possessed of total paranoia when it comes to Pakistan and Kashmir, always pointing a finger at its neighbour. But many of India�s problems are of her own making

Thus, Indians can cry themselves hoarse about Pakistani treachery and see the evil hand of Islamabad everywhere, even sometimes behind events where Pak is not involved. But then the Indian Government should only blame themselves. For have they not recognised at independence the geographical and political reality of Partition and have they not continued to do so up to now? Is there any political leader in India who dares say today that India and Pakistan are ONE? Is there any voice to proclaim the truth in a loud and clear voice, as Sri Aurobindo did in 1947: "But the old communal division into Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of a permanent division of the country. It is hoped that the Congress and the nation will not accept the settled fact as for ever settled, or as anything more than a temporary expedient. For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled: civil strife may remain always possible; possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest. THE PARTITION OF THE COUNTRY MUST GO"... India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are ONE. And as long as Partition remains, India will not be able to live in peace: Ayodhya, Kashmir, Kargil, Bangladeshi infiltration and a potential (nuclear?) war with Pakistan, are always possible.

THE "FRIENDLY" TALIBANS

Poor India ! What a way to start the millennium� For ten centuries, this sacred land has been raped and plundered by Muslim invaders who came from Afghanistan and beyond. For ten centuries, Indians have been converted by force to Islam, their women raped, their children taken away as slaves, their men slaughtered� And India always took it meekly, as a lamb goes to the slaughter house - except for a lone Shivaji or two.

And when the Muslims invaders were spent, then came the European colonisers - and they too took India for a penny, which surrendered itself like a humble servant to its arrogant master, bar for the fight of a few braves Sikhs. And when the Europeans were gone, Nehru and Gandhism made sure that India remained the goody-goody little boy that it always was, by clipping the wings of its army, so that when the Chinese treacherously swooped down from Tibet, it was a cakewalk, a humiliation which still rankles forty years later.

Is it different today ? No ! Small neighbours of hardly any consequence, such as Nepal or Bangladesh, lend their territories to enemies of India, without New Delhi doing anything, in the spirit of the old Nehruvian "Good Neighbourhood" policy. For three decades, Pakistan, like a Ghazni of modern times, has been able to send its agents murder and loot into Indian territory without the Government reacting, except to mouth a few empty threats. Hindus are still slaughtered in Kashmir, Pakistan or Bangladesh (see Taslima Nasreen�s book), the perpetrators knowing fully well that no retaliation will come from New Delhi.

Yet, six months ago, during the battle of Kargil, the soldiers and officers of the Indian army proved that when they were given a free hand by the bureaucrats and politicians, they are amongst the best soldiers in the world, fighting in impossible conditions against an enemy better equipped and overlooking them. And for the first time in five hundred years, since the last great Hindu empire of Vijaynagar was razed by the Moghols, the Kshatriya Spirit was revived in India � and once more, what the Bhagavad Gita had preached became alive : that violence is sometimes necessary to protect one�s children women and borders; that Knowledge has to be preserved by Might in the true spirit of ahimsa�

But look at what happened when these modern Barbarians took over flight IC 814 : it is not the India of Arjuna, Shivaji, or the Rani of Jhansi who rose-up, but the meek India � the India of Macaulay�s children, of Nehru and LK Gujral, the India who always goes to be slaughtered head down, the India who for fifteen centuries has been conquered and plundered with such an ease. Instead of giving a free rein to the army, the only body which has shown that it has the courage and leadership to stand-up to terrorism, it was left to the bureaucrats to bungle the Amritsar episode, the only chance India had to overpower five men armed with a lone pistol (before the Taliban furnished them with more weapons) and a few knives (and the NSG was caught napping after all these years of useless and arrogant VIP duties). And it was still in true Nehruvian spirit ( "we are all gentlemen") left to the bureaucrats, these arrogant men who think that wearing a tie and speaking polished English make them superior, to negotiate with the terrorists, after having opened the "friendly Taliban" avenue.

Friendly Talibans ? Even the hapless Indian reading his newspaper with his morning tea ( and feeling humiliated � once more), knows that since time immemorial, Afghanistan has been Bharat�s worst enemy. He knows that today, Taliban mujahidins are the ones who are inflicting heavy casualties on Indian soldiers by their bold and suicidal attacks on army headquarters in Srinagar. He instinctively knows that since Mohamed Ghazni nothing has changed : Hindus are still for the Afghans (and unfortunately for the Pakistanis too, who are converted Hindus) the Infidels against whom a merciless Jihad has to be fought until all are conquered or slaughtered. True, the odds against a military intervention were enormous : India�s jet fighters would have had to bypass Pakistan and fly over the Himalayan ranges or Iran; and a commando�s action would have put the lives of the passengers in great jeopardy. But such odds did not deter the Israelis 24 years ago from rescuing their nationals taken hostage by other Muslim terrorists in a country which was also hostile to Israel (the Uganda of infamous Idi Amin), nor the French two years ago to storm the Air France plane and killing the all the heavily armed Islamic hijackers.

And the saddest thing is that the name "India" evokes no respect today in the world. Small countries, such as Indonesia or Saudi Arabia, can harbour deadly terrorists wanted by India; or bigger nations like Japan, a great war criminal hardly sixty years ago, give India moral lessons, because they all know that India takes things lying down. But look again at the Israelis: like the Indians, they were slaughtered for centuries and during the Second World War, six million of them went to Hitler�s gas chambers without even a whimper. But after the war, when the new State of Israel was founded, its leaders decided that enough was enough : henceforth it will be "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". Every time Arab terrorists struck their land, Israelis would retaliate ruthlessly; and every time the sacred land of Israel was threatened, its army would steal the initiative by invading the enemy�s territory. Today, Israel, a tiny nation surrounded by often hostile Arab countries, is feared and respected not only in the Middle East, but all over the world.

The vacillating attitude of the Indian Government in giving political asylum to the Karmapa, again sent the wrong signals : is India really become a "soft" state ? Are Indians actually "cowards", as Gandhi once said ? Even Nehru granted immediately political asylum to the Dalai Lama in 1959, recalls Claude Arpi in his remarquable book "The Fate of Tibet (Har Anand) ! China is a paper Tiger which growls a lot : but when it threatened Israel in December to break diplomatic relations because the Dalai Lama was to meet the Speaker of the Knesset, the Speaker told them to go to hell and he met the Dalai Lama. The NEXT WEEK the Chinese signed a huge arm contract with Israel�

India is a much bigger and powerful nation than Israel. It is an ancient civilization, which in spite of fifteen centuries of Muslim conquests and European colonialism, still carries within herself a Knowledge which once roamed the shores of ancient Mesopotamia or Egypt, but which has today disappeared from a world ruled by the dogmas and intolerance of it two monotheist religions. But who will protect this Knowledge from the modern Barbarians ? Who will redeem India�s long battered honor ? Who will stand-up to Islamic terrorism and Chinese bullying ? Where is the Shivaji of modern India ?

SRI LANKA

There seems to be little doubt that once upon a time, not that long ago, India and Sri Lanka were linked by a small strip of land, which can still be seen today from the air: Adam's Bridge. And this is how the first Tamils, those who settled in the North, came to Sri Lanka (are they the first inhabitants of Sri Lanka and not the Sinhalese? This is another question!). There is also no doubt -and the Sinhalese recognise it- that they ( the Sinhalese) are originally Indians, although some say that they came from Gujurat, others from Bengal. Thus it can be established beyond doubt that Sri Lanka and India are one ethnically, although they differ in religion (but the same can be said within India). And throughout the ages, under one form or the other, Ceylon was under the influence of India. That is why, when the British conquered it in the late 18th century, they chose to attach it to their Indian empire. But when they left in 47, in their desire to see that India never dominates too heavily the subcontinent, they facilitated the creation of Pakistan and handed to Sri Lanka its freedom. And India and Sri Lanka seemed to part way for ever, as Tamils and Sinhalese were left to war with each other, until Rajiv sent the IKPF in 1988.

One has to go back a long time to understand what decisive factors shaped the psyche of the island's two communities. And this decisive factor bears the names of two of the world greatest religions: Buddhism and Hinduism. The first one, Buddhism, is a gentle, peaceful creed, that teaches non-violence and brotherhood, even to enemies. Unfortunately, Ceylon, often called the "isle of beauty", has always been too tempting a prey for sea-faring invaders. And indeed, successive colonisers, from Arabs to Africans, from Portuguese to Dutch and finally, British, preyed on the tiny, defenseless island. In the name of Buddhism and because, the Sinhalese are by nature a fun-loving, gentle people, not only did they hardly resist these invasions, but often, many of their women, mingled freely with the foreign intruders. The result can clearly be seen today on the faces of many Sinhalese women folk, with their African-curled hair, or Arabic features. As a result, the Sinhalese slowly lost their sense of identity, their feeling of being a collective being, to the point that when the British came, they collaborated wholehearted with them and had to be handed back their independence on a platter, for want of a real freedom movement. Today, democracy and western institutions are just a flimsy cloak that the Sinhalese wear. Lurking underneath the pleasant, sometimes servile attitude towards Westerners, is a sense of hopelessness and a terrible violence. And in reality, since independence, Sinhalese politicians must have been some of the least farsighted of the entire subcontinent: nothing is made in Sri Lanka, everything has to be imported and only tea, tourism and Western grants help the country survive.

On the other hand, Hinduism with its strict caste hierarchy, which in the old times forbade contact with outsiders, particularly sexual contact with foreigners, protected Sri Lankan Tamils from mingling with their invaders. Thus they preserved their identity, their racial purity and their culture. Sinhalese live an easier life in the South, which was always more fertile than the arid North. As a result, Tamils have often been better at studies and more hard- working, (although one should not generalise). This was quickly noticed by the British, who often gave Tamils preference for jobs and university grants, thus angering the Sinhalese, who after all were the majority community.

It is this deep-rooted resentment of the Sinhalese towards the Tamil community which is in greater part the cause of the present troubles. When the British left, the Sinhalese quickly moved in to correct what they saw as an unbalance: they set on depriving the Tamils of most of the rights they had acquired under the British and proceeded to establish a Sinhalese-dominated Ceylon. And every time a Sinhalese politician tried to give the Tamils their just share of power, he quickly had to backtrack under Sinhalese resentment. For years, the Tamils bore the brunt of Sinhalese persecution. But one day, too much became too much and Tamil armed groups started springing up to defend their people. To cut short a long story, the LTTE finally emerged as the most ruthless and sole militant organisation. For those who remember the Tamil Tigers in their early years: young, bright, soft-spoken university students, there was no doubt that they had started with a genuine aspiration to secure their just rights. But violence breeds its own violence and today the Tigers have lost all sense of measure and restraint, eliminating ruthlessly all what they think stands in the way of their freedom.


Yet, in 1988, Rajiv Gandi stepped in to mediate between the warring Sinhalese and Tamils. But the LTTE betrayed the hand that had fed it, because it wants total and unequivocal freedom and it saw India's move as thwarting it (that is the main reason for their murdering Rajiv Gandhi. If he had come back to power, as indeed he was sure to, he would have pressurized the Sinhalese to grant the Tamils a semi-autonomous region in the North-East). But that is another matter. India's thus got bogged down in a guerrilla war it did not want to fight, with one hand tied behind the back to avoid killing civilians; and ultimately it had to leave because of pressure at home and Mr Premadasa's distrust of Indians, which is unfortunately shared by many Sri Lankans.

Today, Tamils have actually come one step nearer to freedom. The partition of Sri Lanka may be considered a "fait accompli". It might take some time, but ultimately, some Sinhalese leader will have to come to the conclusion that Sri Lanka's economy cannot be bled any more by this senseless war. What happens if one day the island's one million Tamil tea planters, (whose forefathers were "imported" from India by the British, another parting gift from dear Britannia), who up to now have kept away from the conflict, join hand with their North-East brothers? It would be the end of Sri Lanka. And how long can tourism, the island's other source of revenue, be promoted in the midst of strife? The LTTE have chosen for the moment to leave the tourists alone. But it would be enough that they kill a few, to scare away Sri Lanka�s main source of revenues.

But even if the partition of Sri Lanka in two is granted by the Sinhalese, with the north-east portion for the Tamils, the island will remain a hotbed of uncertainty, a potential time bomb in South Asia.

The Great Japanese Hypocrisy

When Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh visited Japan in 1999, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi urged India to sign the global nuclear test ban treaty, "so as to remove, he said, a lingering thorn in Indo-Japanese relations". What he implied was that Tokyo, one of India's main aid donors, will otherwise not resume all the loans and aids which it had cut off after India�s nuclear explosions in May 1998.

Japan makes it out as if its rigid moral stand against India � the harshest in the Industrialized World after Pokhran II � stems from the horrendous memories it has of the two nuclear bombs dropped in 1945 by the US Air Force on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "Never again this monstrosity of man upon man", they say. And to illustrate their painful point, a ruin has been left standing in Hiroshima and periodical exhibitions are taken all over the world, showing the unbearable photos of what nuclear weapons do to humans beings and cities. Adversaries of nuclear armament within India, such as Prafulla Bidwai in his co-authored book "South Asia on a short fuse", also repeatedly use the Japanese example to proclaim : "see what kind of world we are giving to our children"...

Yet, one has to go a little beyond appearances so as to take a fresh look at the real facts. Firstly, the Japanese are not as goody-goody as they would like us to believe. Right from the beginning of the century, Japan displayed a natural bend for expansionism and colonialism, acquiring for instance Formose, occupying Manchuria or Korea and massacring thousands of civilians in the Chinese city of Nanking, a genocide, which still stands out for its sheer unwarranted barbarism. The atrocities committed by the Japanese during the Second World War, where they sided with the Nazis against most of the Free World, are as horrendous if not more, than the effects of the two nuclear bombs dropped on them. In 1941, they attacked the United States by treachery in Pearl Harbor, destroying the entire US fleet and killing thousands of people. The Japanese were also known to be extremely cruel to their prisoners of war, starving and beheading many of them, or using "slave" prostitutes for the pleasure of their soldiers (many of whom were Korean women and are still alive today). The Japanese soldiers were fanatical to the point of absurdity - remember how the "kamikaze" pilots would throw their planes against American ships, taking their lives, along with many others ? They were disciplined to the point of being robots of war : until recently, lone Japanese soldiers would still come out of hiding in remote jungles, forty or fifty years after the end of the war, because nobody had given them the order to surrender (and note that they were welcomed as heroes, not as nitwits. Indeed, many present Japanese politicians still consider that Japan did no wrong during the 2d World War). Furthermore, India seems to have forgotten that the Japanese invaded her borders 54 years ago and killed many in Assam.

Quite a few historians believe that in 1945, after four painful years of war, Japanese morale was still so exalted and its high command had such a an inexhaustible reservoir of soldiers ready to die for their country, that that the two nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki shortened the war by TWO years. It is true that they created unspeakable mayhem, killing 150.000 people in Hiroshima and 80.000 in Nagasaki, but they probably saved four times that amount of lives and allowed the world to go back to peace and start reconstructing. We all know that there is no "good" nuclear bomb and that we have to move quickly towards a denuclearized world if we want lasting peace. But in the spirit of the Bhagavad Gita, force is sometimes "dharma", duty - when it is to defend one�s children or borders, or when it helps shorten wars. The two bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have sprung from that sense of dharma; and even India�s nuclear deterrent makes such sense, when one knows about China�s hegemonic ambitions and the ninety ballistic missiles it has placed in Tibet, most of them pointed towards Indian cities, or the "Islamic" Bomb in the hands of volatile Pakistan.

Thus, in the light of Japan�s not-so-ancient violent past, it could be asked to the Japanese who they are to give moral lessons to India after Pokhran II ? Because it is also obvious, for those who know contemporary Japan, that the old hegemonic spirit is not fully dead � it has partly reincarnated itself in other fields and its expansionism might be waiting to manifest itself anew. Japan today has shown us, for instance, how business can be conducted as a war� and also in a spirit of revenge for their humiliating defeat by the Americans. The ruthlessness of the Japanese can still be perceived in their over-competitive system of education, which leads many of their children to commit suicide. It is also said that Japanese tend sometimes to be racists : they particularly look down on colored races� such as

Indians ! Militarily, their navy is beginning to flex its muscles and it may be only because they are forbidden to have nuclear weapons by the US, that they have not tried their hand at it (and why they vent their frustration on India for having done so !).

Finally, compare Japanese bloody and war-like history with India�s.India�s armies never invaded other nations to colonize them; India has always been a land of tolerance, accepting in its fold all persecuted communities of the world, be it the Parsis from Iran, the Jews, or the Christians from Syria; and India never committed genocides on other communities, like the Japanese did on the Chinese. Finally, Japan should be a little more grateful to India from whom it got Buddhism, its martial arts (kalaripayat), or even the concept of the Samurais (kshatriya) !