Author's Note: The 1st part of this series can be read: HERE.
The 2nd part can be read: HERE.
The 3rd part can be read: HERE.
The 4th part can be read: HERE.
To my readers: This is not just a book review or a discussion regarding a family, personality or country. This series is infact the prism through which I am discussing the political goings-on in this part of the world - the real powers-that-be who remain behind the curtains yet control the destinies of billions of people. The role played by 'respected' authors, scholars, experts, analysts, media/press, think tanks, lobbies/special interest groups, seemingly neutral organizations/NGOs, et al. I do look forward to your views... they will enrich this series of posts. Hopefully we can have an engaging discussion as well.
Have you ever thought about the great cull... that of strong and popular leaders especially in this part of the world... ?? Leaders who led and managed political parties with widespread support. It cannot be mere fate or even coincidence... or accident and/or work attributed to sundry 'terrorists'. That it is certainly not...
When the SeeIA/5-sided polygon and their cronies wanted to defeat their rivals - the Soviets and the rival ideology - Communism... they created this virulent brand of Islam... in the US universities and think tanks. This brand of Islam (whose practisioners are today referred to as: Islamic terrorists, Islamic fundamentalists or militants) did not grow out of thin air nor was it born in the muslim or Arab streets... but was midwifed by the SeeIA and 5-sided polygon in the eighties. They enlisted the help of the Saudi royal family for this purpose. The Saudis were initially reluctant... but after a series of unnatural deaths, including that of King Faisal and another royal who apparently 'died of thirst' at the age of 29, they relented and agreed to 'toe the line'.
When Mrs. G was killed... the words 'Sikh terrorism' was bandied about worldwide... even before an investigation could be done. This was designed to create a certain mindset... which spread hatred, gave rise to the "Us vs. Them" syndrome... and paved the way for certain forces to exploit it. Yet when our homespun 'great man' (through whom the imperial forces were able to impose this shameful and distorted 'theory of non-violence' on us) was assassinated a few months after we achieved our so-called 'independence'... no one talked about 'Marathi terrorists'. Perhaps in the changed circumstances of the post-independence era... there was no role for the 'great man'. Therefore the forces that created him... thought it prudent to eliminate him as well.
Nehru was a conformist. He agreed to the manner in which our nation was given independence... via a complicated C-section. He ensured that the Kashmir cauldron would be kept perpetually burning... and involved the UN in it. His daughter was a different kettle of fish altogether though. Whether we liked her/agreed with her/voted for her or not... we cannot deny her influence, legacy and the fact that she did a lot of good for this nation. Yet... certain sections want us to equate her with the '71 war (to an extent) and largely with the 'emergency' and the 'Op. Neel Star'.
In 1974, the opposition-led protests and strikes had caused a widespread disturbance in many parts of the country and badly affected the government and the economy. On 26 June 1975, Mrs. G (then the PM) declared a national emergency, delayed elections, censored the press and suspended some constitutional freedoms in the name of national security. Non-Congress governments throughout the country were dismissed.
About the 'excesses' committed during the 'emergency' ('75 - '77) - we have to mostly rely on the evidence, testimony and views offered by a legion of politicians among whom the 'Master Plaster' from Maharashtra and the Yadav Kings from the Hindi heartland rank very high. Plus sundry others... like the great and courageous writer, and journalist of unimpeachable integrity with a prolific pen - Khushi Singh. Their credibility/bona fides are quite well known... so I'm not sure if they can and should be taken at face value. In those days... the 'Master Plaster' was directing his vitriolic rhetoric and attacks at the hapless 'South Indians' by inflammatory slogans like: "lungi hatao pungi bajao" (referring to the lungi, a Marathi word for the traditional men's dress in South India), and "yendu gundu" (a derogatory reference to the Dravidian languages spoken by the people from South India). Mrs. G took note of it and then took action... thereafter the 'Master Plaster' went mum. Many years later... after 'she' was safely gone... he and his progeny did (and are still doing) an encore on the hapless 'North Indians' as well as the Gujaratis and Marwaris. Mrs. G II prefers to maintain a deafening silence.
During the height of the '71 war (Bangladesh Liberation War)... the US diplomat, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Henny Kissmonger tried his best to involve China. The US wanted China to take advantage of the situation... since Indian forces were busy fighting the Pak army... other areas were vulnerable. Even though relations between China and the US were frosty at best... yet the 'cowboys' had/have no qualms about talking to anybody if they smell an opportunity conducive for themselves. They are self-serving from the marrow of their bones... so to speak. But China refused to intervene. Whether 'big brother' USSR had any role in that decision... we do not know. In fact the Chinese officials who met Kissmonger (after several requests that is) were very courteous and politely thanked him for some other event! Needless to say Kissmonger was thoroughly disappointed... and resorted to name-calling, referring to Mrs. G as "that witch", etc. The Pakistan army conducted widespread atrocities against the civilian populations of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). An estimated 10 million refugees fled to India, causing financial hardship and instability in the country. The United States under Richard Nixon supported Pakistan, and mooted a UN resolution warning India against going to war. Nixon apparently disliked Mrs. G personally, referring to her as an "old witch" and "clever fox" in his private communication with Secretary of State Henny Kissmonger. Mrs. G signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, resulting in political support and a Soviet veto at the UN. India was victorious in the 1971 war, and Bangladesh was born. (Incidentally Lyndon Johnson referred to her as "this girl"). However some noblemen were impressed with Kissmonger's contributions towards peace and making the world a better and safer place to live in... and conferred the Nobel Peace Prize on him in 1976. Barack H. Obama too has been bestowed with this prize (2009) even though he has yet to open his 'peace account'. Let's see...
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) advised the then Saudi King - King F - to use oil as a bargaining chip with the Americans. The Saudis had huge quantities of it... and America and its allies were heavily dependent on the Saudi oil... in order to cater to their ever-growing energy needs. Believing in pan-Islamic unity, he developed closer relations with nations such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations... besides China. Bhutto wanted to unite the Islamic world. He wanted to create an Islamic block and unite all the Muslim nations... in order to consolidate their power/economic and political clout. He called a meeting of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) in Feb. 1974 and it convened in the city of Lahore. Bhutto, Moammer Q of Libya and King F of Saudi Arabia were especially united in this cause. This did not please the West (esp. cowboy country) one bit. Bhutto was a dangerous man and had to be gotten rid of. Kissmonger warned him, Democrat and Republican went hand in hand and warned him. The consequence; Bhutto was hung in a coup (4 April 1979), King F was assassinated in March 25, 1975 and Qaddafi's Libya was reduced to an international pariah state.
It is a long-known fact that whenever the United States wants to advocate its foreign policy through a non-diplomatic channel it usually echoes in its newspapers. This was the case in the seventies when a senior American official writing in the Washington Post warned of "dire consequences" should Pakistan's Prime Minister, Bhutto not comply with the "great white elephant" as he (Bhutto) once famously put it. The matter at the time was Pakistan's fledgling nuclear weapons program. The Americans wanted it rolled back. The senior American official was the American Secretary of State Henny Kissmonger.
Nevertheless, ZAB went ahead and initiated Pakistan's nuclear program. India had just tested its nuclear bomb (under Mrs. G's premiership)... much to the annoyance of the US and its allies. Kissmonger is reportedly said to have warned ZAB after he decided to go ahead with Pakistan's nuclear program... "we will make a horrible example of you". They did keep their word... see how they dealt with him and his family apart from King F of course. King F had been one of the financiers. Kissmonger apparently also said (to ZAB) - "your daughter is more dangerous than you". Benazir is the architect of Pakistan's missile program.
The US got the 'dirty job' done through Gen. Zia-ul-Haq... the Chief of the Pakistani army. Ironically on 1 March 1976, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto approved Zia-wool-Haq as Chief of the Pak army, ahead of a number of more senior officers. ZAB chose the most junior, superseding seven more senior generals... apparently impressed by Zia's 'humility'. He was distinguished by his role in the "Black September" in Jordan military operation in 1970. ZAB was unseated on 5 July '77 in a coup d'état after 'widespread civil disorder' (led by the lawyers, Islamic parties and sundry others) and then hanged (4th Apr. '79) on a trumped-up murder charge. Judges were coerced/pressurized while some resigned/retired... finally the Supreme Court of Pakistan handed down a sentence indicting ZAB in a split 4-3 verdict. The hand of the Jimmy Caterer administration behind the 'widespread civil disorder'... has long since established. Incidentally... the 'moving force' behind the epic 'lawyers' movement' was a prominent member of the protesting lawyers even then. He left the PPP and joined the Tehrik-e-Istiqlal floated by Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan... who too was involved in the 'widespread civil disorder'.
Mrs. G is said to have commented... that had she been in power... she would not have let this happen. By a strange co-incidence... Mrs. G was out of power as a result of the hue and cry raised due to the 'excesses committed by her regime during the emergency'. A motley group led by the Janata Party and headed by the 'iconic' Morarji Desai was in the saddle. In 1979, Prime Minister Morarji Desai resigned. His successor was Choudhary Charan Singh who upon failing to secure support from a majority of MPs who had earlier formed the Janata coalition, turned to Mrs. G for support. She promised him that support, but a short while later withdrew it, forcing new elections and the end of Janata Party's time in power. Vigorously attacking the confusion in the years of the crumbling Janata government, Mrs. G's heroine-Goddess image of the Indo-Pak War of 1971 and the tough ruler of the early Emergency years returned her the previous position. She made allies out of key political foes.
In Jan., 1980... Mrs. G and the Congress Party returned to power in a landslide. She was not too fond of ZAB... so by her statement she may not have meant ZAB per se. But the 'lesser evil' so to speak... since instability next door and the presence of dubious forces was not desirable/beneficial for India. On 23 June 1980... her younger son and designated heir (reportedly) died in an air crash near Safdarjung Airport in New Delhi. ZAB's nemesis, Gen Zia-wool-Haq, was killed (17 Aug., '88) in an air crash... after 'jihad' (Islamic holy war) was over in Afghanistan... with the retreat/withdrawl of the Soviet Russian forces from there. He was installed shortly before the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan... and was instrumental in building up the 'Mujahideen' or the 'Islamic holy warriors' in conjunction with the SeeIA/5-sided polygon and their allies... in order to fight the Satanic forces/Soviets/Communists.
The pro-India 'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came to power in Bangladesh... after the end of the '71 war. He is the father of the current PM Sheikh Hasina Wajed. On 15 Aug '75... he along with his entire family (including his nine year old son) were mercilessly killed in a coup d'état led by a group of junior military officers. This was followed shortly by another coup and counter-coup and ultimately led to the consolidation of power under Lt. Gen Ziaur Rahman (then a high-ranking officer in the Bangladesh Army) as Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator.
He subsequently became the Chief of the Bangladesh army as well as the President of Bangladesh (1977-1981). It has been alleged that Zia helped individuals involved in the assassination of Sheikh Mujib rehabilitate at home and abroad, and gave them immunity by the Indemnity Act. Only Sheikh Hasina and her sister survived... since they were abroad at that time. Ziaur Rahman was the husband of the former premier and current opposition leader in the 'Jatiya Sangsad' (Bangladeshi parliament) Begum Khaleda Zia... who leads the right-wing Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and is bitterly opposed to the more moderate Awami League of Sheikh Hasina. The hand of the Pakistani intelligence agencies has been suspected behind the massacre of Mujib's family. However, it is common knowledge that the Pakistani intelligence does not act on its own... without a nod and a wink from you-know-where.
It is usually said that the failing political process in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh could be salvaged by holding elections within the political parties... so that they could break out of the 'dynastic stranglehold'. Strangely, it is the large/national parties with widespread/grassroots support and their leaders who are targeted with the 'dynastic bogeyman'. The other parties - regional parties with narrow agendas - are rarely asked to do the same.
Yet... in India the Congress has suffered the most. It is the largest party and the only national party we have. The BJP is not a pan-India party as yet... and I do not see that happening anytime soon, though it is not quite a regional party either. After Mrs. G was killed... the Congress party was weakened in no time and so was India. In fact, in a short span of time the Congress was turfed out of its strongholds... by regional parties that mushroomed overnight. Where did these come from, their finances, etc??? Sitaram K and N. Rao too damaged the party heavily.
Rajiv Gandhi was no great shakes as a leader and hasn't really left behind a legacy. Yet, he was the leader of the only national party of India. After he was killed... fingers were promptly pointed towards the LTTE/Tamil Tigers... an ethnic group operating out of Sri Lanka. The Congress party was weakened even more... while India went through another bout of political instability courtesy several weak and shaky governments... that badly affected our economy/business/political and social fabric, etc. Certain policies formulated by these weak and shaky coalitions that came one after the other has destroyed several sectors, e.g., education.
Today merit has been dispensed with to such an extent that even teaching faculty are appointed without it. What kind of students our educational institutions are churning out is anybody's guess. Even for admission to professional courses - engineering, medical, management - merit has taken a backseat. How can students who do not have the aptitude/with very low scores, sometimes barely the pass mark/grade... get admission into professional courses (especially into our elite institutions) due to management quota/other quotas/donations etc is beyond my comprehension. Professional courses require aptitude... and there are many students among the weaker sections (economically and otherwise) who do have that. They need assistance in the form of monetary aid, etc to pursue their education and then contribute towards nation-building. Not the ones whose basic education is weak, and certainly not the ones who come from educationally and financially sound backgrounds... yet claim benefits under the quota/reservation system, just because some distant ancestor was a fisherman, cobbler, barber, farmer, etc. This policy is only dividing India socially and perpetuating the obnoxious and distorted caste system more forcefully. This is a sure-shot recipe for disaster... whereby the scourge of caste discrimination will continue to prevail for generations to come... in a far more distorted manner. I was shocked to learn that we have 6000 castes and 65,000 sub-castes ... and counting! What have we done? What is it that we are getting at??
Filling up seats by drastically lowering the cut-off percentage and pushing students who are not prepared/do not have the aptitude towards professional courses... is an injustice of the highest order. It is certainly not helping these students and their families (and by extension this country) in any way. What happens to these students once they pass out... in many cases after multiple attempts?? Who will employ them? What about the ones who cannot clear their exams or quit midway?? Putting quantity over quality is not acceptable. Yet nobody speaks about doing anything to improve the abysmal condition of our primary and secondary education system and govt. aided schools... especially in the interiors. The focus is solely on the few institutes of excellence that we have - the IITs, IIMs and IISc. Also the proliferation of educational institutes with sub-standard facilities and faculty is playing havoc with our country. In a few years we will have a predominance of unemployable engineering/medical/management graduates... and will have to import skilled labour from abroad. That way not only our energy needs but also our technical/technological/medical/management requirements/needs will be heavily dependent on foreign nations. They can and will have us by our jugular. We will never be able to come out of that neo-colonisation.
I think there is a far more sinister game that is being played in this region. Popular leaders leading large/national parties are cut down mercilessly...
Small and regional parties with narrow agendas - ethnic/linguistic/caste based/community based manifestos are ruining our economic, political and social fabric. Even playing havoc with our education system. The medium of instruction need not be the mother tongue... for someone to 'learn' their mother tongue. Nobody is going to forget their mother tongue... and our regional languages are under no threat/danger from the English language. English is a language spoken all over the world, is a link language in which business is conducted. In India, English has been spoken for 300 years and we have the largest English-speaking population... compared to Europe and US combined. That is our strength. Plus... the English language has borrowed heavily from Sanskrit... a language almost forgotten in the land of its birth. And we still call English a 'foreign language'! Instead, the focus should be on developing a culture of reading... books/journals/materials in any language including one's mother tongue. This will broaden our thinking, enhance our knowledge... and get us out of the destructive 'kupamandup syndrome'... ('kupa' means 'a well' and 'mandup' means 'frog').
Even countries e.g., Spain, China, Russia, the Philippines, etc who have ignored English for long... are taking steps to make amends. In a short time they will be our formidable rivals and pose a mighty challenge to us... by attracting foreign investments, business and thereby creating more and more employment opportunities. If we continue with our 'sons of the soil' rhetoric and bombastic talk about the 'glory of the mother tongue'... spearheaded by forces which are inimical to development/growth/progress and who have no stake in it... we are doomed. We need to build on our strengths so that our weaknesses can be minimized. We should not surrender/squander/give up the few advantages we have as a nation; nor should we destroy the few remaining centres/institutes of excellence that we have... to pamper the distorted and myopic views of certain groups/vested interests. We do not know who/what forces are behind them. The MNCs are known to hire people/groups in order to protest/demonstrate/agitate against their rivals... especially indigenous rivals... and India has never had a shortage of quislings...
Benazir Bhutto with her father (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) and Indira Gandhi... at Shimla (where the Shimla agreement was signed) in 1972. Pic courtesy: link. Recently... Benazir's niece Fatima Bhutto launched her 'must read' memoir/book "Songs of Blood and Sword" aka "SOBAS".