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Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Dish Best Served Cold


By Swapan Dasgupta

Last Wednesday, Pakistani troops crossed the Line of Control, fired on an Indian army patrol and killed two jawans. They then subjected the bodies to “barbaric and inhuman mutilation”—an act that revived memories of the brutal killing of Captain Saurabh Kalia and the mutilation of his body during the Kargil war.

Not unnaturally, this provocative act has outraged public opinion and nullified the contrived, gush-gush diplomacy of recent months. No foreign policy can work in defiance of the popular mood and, for the moment, attempts to ‘normalise’ India-Pakistan relations are destined to be in deep freeze. However, before emotive calls for retribution unsettle matters further, it is instructive to travel down a by-lane of history.

History is rarely the great healer but its reading can often help understand contemporary events a shade better.

In Return of a King, a thoroughly researched and gripping account of the First Afghan War of 1839-42, popular historian William Dalrymple has vividly described the unspeakable horrors of two military expeditions across the Khyber and Bolan Passes. A passage relating to the return journey through the Khyber Pass of the ‘army of retribution’ in November 1842 stands out: “The following day, (Neville) Chamberlain and John Nicholson cork-screwed down the path just below Ali Masjid, accompanied by the chaplain Allen. Turning a sharp corner the three found the road thickly strewn with the bodies of their colleagues from whom they had parted the previous afternoon. The entire party had been trapped and overwhelmed by an Afridi ambush. Now their remains were ‘lying here and there, stripped and mangled, some already devoured by dogs and birds of prey…’ Among the dead was Nicholson’s younger brother. His body was stark naked, and hacked to pieces. In accordance with Afridi custom, Alexander had his genitalia cut off and stuffed in his mouth.”

Nor was this bestial conduct reserved for the feringhee ‘dogs’, it was extended to the ‘kaffir’ sepoys of the British-Indian army. Indeed, for many of the Afghan tribes participating in the jehad, the Sikhs were a particular enemy on account of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s occupation of Peshawar and Kashmir which the Afghans saw as belonging to them.

As opposed to the rah-rah histories of the imperial age, Dalrymple has proffered an alternative ‘Black Armband’ view of a past British encounter with Afghanistan. Written with a sharp eye on the West’s grim predicament in the war against a Pakistan-backed Taliban, its message is unequivocal: the pacification of the tribal badlands along the Durand Line is a hopeless project.

To an India confronted with an unending conflict along the LoC with an enemy that believes it has a legitimate claim on the Kashmir Valley, this history may sound ominous. But it need not be so.  

First, there are clear lessons in allowing a grand strategic vision—in the 19th century it was the fear of Russia encroaching on India from the North—to determine diplomatic and military options. Mercifully, today’s governing elite in India lacks any vision, strategic or otherwise. Foreign policy tends to be either ad hoc or governed by mushy sentimentalism, neither of which (mercifully) are conducive to adventurism.

Secondly, approaching Afghanistan with a ‘strategic’ baggage, British officials allowed themselves to be swayed by dodgy intelligence reports that reinforced pre-existing convictions. Other ground reports which didn’t fit into a grand design were wilfully ignored, with disastrous consequences. The implication is obvious: no policy is workable without a credible intelligence network which, alas, is not a Government of India priority.

Finally, the disaster which overtook the Army of the Indus was a consequence of the failure to comprehend the complexities of Afghan society and, most important, its value systems. The British made a grave error in judging Afghans through a European prism, a mistake subsequently rectified by the work of the Political Department. Independent India has, unfortunately, frittered away this institutional understanding of local societies with different moral orbits. Policy is often made in a sociological void.

In sum, India needs a prolonged period of capacity building before it can substitute angry frustration with meaningful action to hit the enemy where it really hurts. Do we have the foresight and will to do what it takes?

Sunday Times of India, January 13, 2013 

7 comments:

/!\"HimaLayaN--SwaStikA"/!\ said...

Swapanji I agree with you but when we have a current Foreign Minister who was a SIMI lawyer once and helped Dowd's mother in getting passport in 30 days after 1993 Mumbai bomb blast and doesnt have any other credential to prove his appointment as Foreign minister except he can give life for Sonia Gandhi, what else we can expect? The earlier foreign minister read Portugese FM speech in UN without even knowing it till it came out in media report. The foreign policy is hostage to servitude towards Sonia like everything else. They are saving themselves from one scam & blunder to another. They dont have time to think about country. Are we condemned to be ruled by these people?

Anonymous said...

An American without mincing words said the following about which explains why Hindus are losing.

" Quit whining and making excuses for the fact that your government in the war against the mohammedan savages basically has its thumb up its ass."

Read the following report:-


"The arrests of two Unani doctors for their involvement in the Malegaon explosions of September 8, 2006, is not the first time that this medical stream has come under cloud for links with a jehadi agenda.

According to an intelligence official, for a militant outfit, a lawyer, a doctor or even a local journalist is a good recruit as they have a wide social network and they can meet and identify persons with a radical bent of mind.

Such young and vulnerable minds are considered best material for espousing the jehadi cause, sources said.

Investigations in the recent blast cases have clearly spelt out a pattern involving Unani doctors. Police found that these doctors were not only allegedly involved in providing shelter to terrorists but also acted as conduits for money transfers.

Such a trend was noticed in all major terror incidents including 7/11 in Mumbai, Varanasi blasts, Ayodhya attack and Shramjeevi Express explosion.

While two Unani doctors — Salman Farsi and Farooq Iqbal — were arrested for their roles in Malegaon blasts on Tuesday, one Tanvir Ahmed Ansari from their fraternity was held by Mumbai Police for his complicity in 7/11.

During investigations, it was found that all three had close links with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Ansari had allegedly even undergone bomb making training in Pakistan in 2004. Similar links were also traced by the UP police while probing the Varanasi blasts.

A cleric working out of a Phulpur mosque in UP, Walliullah, claimed to be an expert in Unani medicines, had masterminded the attack at Sankat Mochan temple at the behest of Bangladeshi outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI).

It was found that the same cleric gave shelter to those who planted a bomb in Shramjeevi Express near Jaunpur in UP in July last year.

Intelligence officials explained that terrorist outfits would not only try to tap professionals having wide social network within their own community but also try to work the other way round by training recruits as Unani doctors, lawyers or journalists before sending them on a mission.

The three major blasts exposed other meticulously followed patterns. Sources said Malegaon terror attacks pointed a needle of suspicion at the involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organisation responsible for earlier strikes in Mumbai (7/11), Varanasi (3/7) and Delhi (10/29)".

Anonymous said...

So far congress MPs , their allies & supporters have never really faced any terrorist threat. Hence can afford the luxury of repeating " we will not tolerate...give a fitting reply yada yada".

Let HINDU soldiers recede to the back.

Make all congress MPs,very much including PChidambarams, Kamal Naths, Digvijay Singhs , Rahul Gandhis etc etc their allies like mulayam singh yadavs , leftists including yechurys , karats & bardhans, DMK , Barkha Dutts, Vikram Chandras, Prannoy Roys, Rajdeep Sardesais, Sagarika Ghoses, Owaisis & his supporters in Hyderabad, bollywood's shah rukh khans, saif ali khans, shabana azmis etc etc STAND IN THE LINE OF FIRE. Let them face the Pakistani soldiers at the border.

Pakistan & Bangladesh have ALWAYS had their ISLAMIC Army calling the shots.

Whereas Indian Army lacks autonomy.It exists to take orders from congress party which is equally an enemy of HINDUS'Bharath. Never forget it is congressi P Chidambaram who has conferred Indian citizenship on lots of bangladeshis.

Muslims all over the world follow whatever their religious belief systems command them to do.

Whereas Indian establishment keeps conning HINDUS telling them (sic)
" Army has no religion".

If only HINDUS had internalised Lord Krishna's " Nasatho Vidhyathae...." victory would have been ours.

Add to this eunuchy attitude our unhealthy besottment with cricket.
Indian secular doctors have always been treating many Pakistanis & Bangladeshis , supplying Jaipur foot , wimpy charlatans like art of living SSSSRavishankars bestowing hugs along with prescribing kriyas & kapalabhatis( Ramdev Babas).

Indian gorement has lso heavily invested in infrastructure development of Afghanistan. The decapitation of one HINDU Engineer Suryanarayanan & the hijacking of aircraft had no impact on dhimmi indian gorement.

We will never win this war with this kind of approach & attitude.

Anonymous said...

So far congress MPs , their allies & supporters have never really faced any terrorist threat. Hence can afford the luxury of repeating " we will not tolerate...give a fitting reply yada yada".

Let HINDU soldiers recede to the back.

Make all congress MPs,very much including PChidambarams, Kamal Naths, Digvijay Singhs , Rahul Gandhis etc etc their allies like mulayam singh yadavs , leftists including yechurys , karats & bardhans, DMK , Barkha Dutts, Vikram Chandras, Prannoy Roys, Rajdeep Sardesais, Sagarika Ghoses, Owaisis & his supporters in Hyderabad, bollywood's shah rukh khans, saif ali khans, shabana azmis etc etc STAND IN THE LINE OF FIRE. Let them face the Pakistani soldiers at the border.

Pakistan & Bangladesh have ALWAYS had their ISLAMIC Army calling the shots.

Whereas Indian Army lacks autonomy.It exists to take orders from congress party which is equally an enemy of HINDUS'Bharath. Never forget it is congressi P Chidambaram who has conferred Indian citizenship on lots of bangladeshis.

Muslims all over the world follow whatever their religious belief systems command them to do.

Whereas Indian establishment keeps conning HINDUS telling them (sic)
" Army has no religion".

If only HINDUS had internalised Lord Krishna's " Nasatho Vidhyathae...." victory would have been ours.

Add to this eunuchy attitude our unhealthy besottment with cricket.
Indian secular doctors have always been treating many Pakistanis & Bangladeshis , supplying Jaipur foot , wimpy charlatans like art of living SSSSRavishankars bestowing hugs along with prescribing kriyas & kapalabhatis( Ramdev Babas).

Indian gorement has also heavily invested in infrastructure development of Afghanistan. The decapitation of one HINDU Engineer Suryanarayanan & the hijacking of aircraft had no impact on dhimmi indian gorement.

We will never win this war with this kind of approach & attitude.

Anonymous said...

Recall what brilliant Patton said:-

" No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country".

Whereas in India it is only HINDUS who are forced to stand in the line of fire & die in the name of defending this GODFORSAKEN dhimmi country surviving on voteocracy.

Idiocy certainly has no limits. Soon we hear of more HINDUS joining Indian Army.

I want HINDUS to put their cerebral atoms to work. Give up defending congressis & their allies. What have you achieved by being black cat commandoes as long as you defend terrorists called congress politicians of India ??

INSIST that only muslims should defend congressis , leftists , DMK & their allies. That only muslims like Owaisis stand in the borders facing Pakistan & Bangladesh.

Why not give it a try ?

Anonymous said...

The Indian govt is inept that is pretty well known but this incident expose the Indian Army. If they can't protect their own soldiers how they will save the country. Nobody stopped them doing the same thing immediately in retaliation instead of complaining.If a mad dog bites you; you don't complain to the dog about ethics. No politician have dared to oppose that after Army had done that.

By treating Pakistan with kid gloves; politicians get vote bank; bollywood gets good money; cricketers get millions; media gets Biryani. But it is hard to understand what Army gets by believing in this "peace" crap.

Payoj Gupta said...

I agree with you. We go about Foreign policy on a piecemeal basis. So, we in effect have to wait for events to occur before the govt. starts thinking "Now, that's a messy situation; How do I deal with it?" Then, our govt. proceeds to look around here and there like a naughty kid does when he is asked a question by the teacher in the middle of his "extra curricular activites", hoping that someone will pull him out of the current dilemma.