Beyond Fatal Democracy
Moorthy Muthuswamy, April 2003
This is the third and the final one in a series of articles on India’s national security. The first one titled "A National Security Vision", identified the problem, the second one, "New Ideas for a New War", developed some solutions and a framework, and this one extends these ideas further.
Very recently, I was in India for a short visit. I had a chance to interact with a cross section of people and visit a number of places. India is indeed turning the corner. Can it emulate nations such as China in long-term security, growth, accomplishment, and prosperity? To answer this question, I am going to discuss here the most crucial issues of governing and leadership of the nation.
I can report that India is moving decisively forward as a nation. This is reflected in the outlook of Indians in relation to America, the home of the most sophisticated civilization on earth. Indians wanted to know what has made America so successful and how they could emulate its success. This is not wishing in vacuum, -- India, for the first time has shown, it can compete successfully at least in one major area, -- software engineering. The resulting change in attitude and accomplishment was transparent, -- in the form of higher income levels and comfortable flats in high-rise buildings.
This marked change in attitude needs to be contrasted with the ones exhibited by Indians in a visit of mine about 15 years ago. It was full of empty and self-righteous rhetoric and the talk of how great the ancient Indian culture was and how materialistic America was etc.
Opening up the economy
Economic growth is very crucial to sustaining India’s ability to withstand and eventually prevail in the war on terror. Protected markets only breed mediocre and lethargic work force, and ownership, -- resulting in a country of mediocre people. Such a country lacks initiative to accomplish any thing successfully, -- including winning wars, as is the case with India. Opening up the economy should lead to manufactured goods that are cheaper and better, that can be sold both inside and outside. This will also create wealth, and a skilled/intelligent workforce. Such work force will make the entire society far more competent in dealing with problems of any kind.
But, as I have written before in, "New Ideas for a New War", even for a rising India, the long-term future is dismal due to a fast growing population of Muslims that is sinking in most indicators of progress – literacy, tolerance, wealth, and health, – compared to the majority population.
India Vs Saudi Arabia
The question with regard to bringing progress to Indian Muslims comes down to this: Who has more responsibility towards seeing Indian Muslims progress, India or Saudi Arabia? Unfortunately, at the moment, Saudi Arabia has been given a free run of shaping Indian Muslim outlook. The Saudi interference has been both ideological and financial. Saudi Arabia also finances Kashmir terrorism directed at "infidel" Hindus. Given that Saudi Arabia has officially embraced Wahhabi Islamic ideology that stands of hatred of non-Muslims, retrogressive outlook, and above all, non-performance, it is time for India to be a responsible nation vis-à-vis shaping Indian Muslim outlook. Unfortunately, as discussed in my previous paper, there exist no Indian version of Islam that is tolerant or progressive.
If Saudi Arabia has the right to impose a proven, fascist, intolerant, genocide, and non-performing version of Islamic ideology on Indian Muslims, India has even more rights to conduct a humanitarian liberation of Indian Muslims toward an ideology of Muslim ancestors, proven to believe in coexistence and progress: Hinduism.
Extremists gain power by controlling mosques and madarasas. This observation also tells us how to neutralize them and thus make an organized effort by them to resist very difficult. The flock, used to indoctrination, can then be reverse-indoctrinated to Hinduism. Majority community controlling the machinery and about 95% of the economy can be of help in facilitating the liberation process. Anything less than the liberation is a half-measure, resulting in eventual doom of India and its non-Muslim residents.
I have concluded after looking at various scenarios, the entire liberation process could be competed within about a year’s time.
Misdiagnosing Indian Muslim outlook extends to American specialists on India
With little basis, many of them have incorrectly concluded that most Indian Muslims are not extremist sympathizers. America made a not so good suggestion when pushing for elections in Kashmir, without realizing, when a population is under the grip of a religious fascism, as Kashmir valley Muslims are, democracy is least suitable (more later). Recently, Dr. Richard Haass and Ambassador Blackwill invited many Indian Muslims at the leadership levels to the US embassy for briefings. The Indian Muslim leadership, across the board, showed that it cared little for the casualties suffered by America on Sept. 11, 2001, while indirectly, even justifying the very attacks. Then it was the usual ranting about Muslims being discriminated and oppressed, while conveniently forgetting the ethnic cleansing and mistreatment of non-Muslims in every Muslim majority area in South Asia. Needless to say, it turned out to be an eye-opener for the hosts. Whether this realization by a few will reflect at the policy making level, is yet to be known. The American establishment needs to keep in mind that resolving the Indo-Pak conflict involves not just the issue of Muslims in India or in Indian Kashmir, but also the fact that most non-Muslims have been driven out of Pakistan (to India) and they are non-existent in Pakistan’s Kashmir.
Next, I am going to discuss the role of two institutions that play a crucial role in preparing the nation in the war on terror: Indian military and media.
The role of military
Sir Winston Churchill observed the need for an important role for military at the policy and decision making levels during the period of a war. India has a history of political fumbling leading to the military managing the disputes that have now become insurgencies. Further political interference without an underlying vision has left the issues unresolved, as is the case in Kashmir. Even as military is managing the affairs, not enough input from it is taken at further policy making. A new and effective mode of governing must have an increasing and important role for the Indian military.
The role of media
Like human rights activists, the media and press people have background that makes many of them view things from a narrow and short-term perspectives (details in my previous paper). This leads to publishing articles that lack depth, under the overriding concern of not "hurting" the feelings of Muslim minority. While being apologetic to minority extremism, many editorial boards have become downright insidious when it comes to the beleaguered majority community. This has resulted in an Indian public inadequately prepared to support the government in the war on terror. This contrasts with America, where the press core’s quality is elevated due to the developed nature of the country. India is an example that free press doesn’t mean an objective press. As part of the war efforts, the Indian press must be made to realize its priorities and interests. Newer and objective editorial boards in some of the English language dailies and weeklies have become a necessity.
War & Peace
Indians are tempted by the magic of sudden peace with Pakistan through half-baked peace proposals by self-described "peace activists". Even a brief study of animal kingdom indicates that the term called "peace" is very artificial and practically nonexistent. A more appropriate situation is one of coexistence achieved through the use of force. Also, a study of human civilization conveys this point emphatically. Decisive wars are a must to roll back expansionist powers. If not for the determination of the allies to wage a decisive war, Hitler and his Japanese allies wouldn’t have been defeated. Pakistan and its Islamist allies within India must be defeated ruthlessly and decisively through a sustained warfare.
Islamic terrorists have shown animalistic tendencies by obeying no rules. Hence, an application of frequent and overwhelming force resulting in large casualties is essential in managing Islamic terrorists and the supporting communities that too kill "infidel" civilians as part of jihad.
How does one judge whether the democracy has been a success for India since its birth in 1947? Clearly, there has been progress in many areas. Communities have progressed, in education, income levels, standard of living etc. But one community is increasingly falling behind, even moving in negative direction, -- they are Indian Muslims. In so far as Indian Muslim community is concerned, democracy has failed, -- miserably, especially when one notes the escalating extremization of them. We know what caused it, -- the indoctrination by medieval Muslim clerics. Democracy, if anything, works to the advantage of Muslim clerics, by giving them a free ticket to control Muslim masses. Therefore, we reach an important conclusion: If India wants to win this war, it must discard democracy as is practiced today, toward a form of government that makes liberation possible. In fact, democracy has failed on the issue of national security, by providing no framework or a set of leadership to tackle it. The national security situation continues worsen under democracy.
There is yet another reason for moving away from democracy, during this transition period. Since the past fifty years there is not even one example of a nation graduating from a developing to a developed country through democracy. It is not hard to see why. When a country is developing, its citizens, across the board, have yet to develop skills to solve problems. When so many of them get voice, governing becomes almost impossible. This lack of problem-solving skills reflect in the leadership, that too is representative of the people. The press and media too become very vocal and down right disruptive, lacking vision and abilities that are so common among their colleagues in developed countries.
In fact, the examples of East Asian nations of Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea or even China, indicate that by achieving stability and a strong economic growth through a good economic vision, while sacrificing some rights in the short-term, can lead to long-term dividends of economic prosperity, stability, and a natural transition to democracy.
What about the possibility of an undemocratic government misruling India?
Culturally and religiously, Indians are much closer to East Asians in terms of nation-building than Middle Easterners or Africans. Like East Asians, Indian immigrants in Western countries have done very well, unlike the immigrants of Middle Eastern or African origin or even immigrants from Muslim majority regions of Pakistan/Bangladesh. Hence, we shouldn’t fear that an undemocratic, but a visionary government at the center would misrule India, -- like the Middle Eastern or African dictatorships.
Conclusion: Persisting with democratic system, proven to be dysfunctional, in India and in developing countries worldwide, will likely turnout to be fatal for India.
Yearning for leadership
If the immediate past is any indication, and going by the vision of Islamists to Islamize the entire South Asia, terrorist attacks are going to increase inside India. A nuclear attack launched inside India by a smuggled weapon from Pakistan may not be far away, as discussed in a mainstream English newspaper in Pakistan. As I have pointed out in my analysis before in "New ideas for a New War", Islam, as is practiced in India is dominated by an outlook that emphasizes only jihad.
The Hindu public, by and large, is resigned to the fact that the Indian establishment and the current generation of leaders have no real plans to defend them. Like the Nazi slaughtering of Jews during World War II, Indian Islamists supported by Pakistan and Pakistani infiltrators are slaughtering "infidels" within India. This will lead to unraveling of the communities, and the already tenuous government – public partnership.
Mode of governing
The leadership inadequacies we are seeing cuts across party lines. The Indian democratic political system has been nurturing and placing career politicians who have little experience in solving problems. These are consensus figures with a little vision of their own. Therefore, the most likely way India can win this war is by going outside of this failed democratic system to find a competent and decisive leader. A poll conducted by India Today has identified the realization of most Indians the seriousness of Islamic terrorism and the yearning for a competent leadership. I am confident that the public will quickly embrace an articulate, visionary, and modern leader, who can make liberation Indian Muslims, the real solution to the problem of Islamic fundamentalism and managing India’s Islamic neighbors, possible.
Towards an effective mode of governing: My suggestion is that the leadership of the majority party forms a governing board. They should hire a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to manage the nation under martial law. Such a board should also have representation from Indian military, given that India is waging a war. Some people may find this suggestion different. But the facts and past history shows that there is no other choice, India now has to choose between death and destruction in hands of Islamic terrorism under an inept democracy or toward a system that can install a capable leader to lead the nation. The system I have suggested is like running a company. However, the citizens still control their destiny through the governing board, which can hire or dismiss the CEO. While I consider such a system as a must now, I am confidant that it will automatically abolish itself, toward a democratic mode of governing once India moves to echelons of a developed country, -- defined by a literate, skillful, and a well-off population.
What should be the attributes of the CEO, the new leader?
Attributes of a leader
This person should be a proven problem solver, decisive, television friendly with an economic plan, and above all, a visionary who has a plan and can articulate one, to defeat Islamic fundamentalism comprehensively. Mao couldn’t bring progress to China, but Deng could, probably, thanks to working in France in his younger days. Hence, Someone with an extended and accomplished stay in a country like America must have developed proven problem solving skills, and is desirable. This writer is an example that being grownup in India and having lived in America for some time, one could still be a visionary when it comes to South Asian Islamic fundamentalism. I am not totally discounting the homegrown politicians either. Some new generation politicians such as Arun Shourie or Narendra Modi certainly has shown leadership skills and insights needed to wage the new war with vigor.
Brief note on Hindu reform
While it is true that Hinduism suffers from various maladies, including caste-based, a sustained and strong economic growth will lead to a much more educated and skillful population. With Hinduism being very weakly institutionalized, I am fairly confident, as the individual Hindus make the adjustment and update their outlook, so will the religion. Hence, at this time, there is no need to spend time and resources on reforming Hinduism. Never before Hindus have been so united with the fear of Islamic fundamentalist barbarians.