By S. Qadri
India’s de facto ruler, Sonia Gandhi, has warned Pakistan against “taking India’s wish for peace as a sign of weakness” (Dec 22).
Every country in South Asia knows that India is upto scores of times bigger in size and military strength. They have also learned from experience how the giant neighbour throws its weight around. Thus, even the landlocked Nepal was subjected to an economic blockade and Sri Lanka was so worried in the 80’s that it had reportedly asked Britain, China and Pakistan tohelp it in case of an Indian invasion.
Pakistan, too, knows this and much more, having lost its eastern wing primarily due to Indian military might/intervention. So, Mrs Gandhi, everybody around here knows India’s superficial strength. But, what is real power, do you ever try to understand?
True power is what China has been exhibiting in its relations with its South Asian neighbours. When, during the 1962 war with India, it had pushed the Indian army out of the disputed territory, it declared a ceasefire and returned the Indian weapons it had captured, after duly polishing and servicing them! That is what is known as strength.
Standing up fearlessly to a 7 times bigger adversary, as the Pakistanis have been doing for 61 years, is also toughness.
It is not the bullying of weaker countries by holding a gun to their heads, as India does, won’t do. Nor is it the occupation of territories, as New Delhi did in case of Kashmir, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Goa, Sikkum and Siachen Glacier. And by no means is it the stoppage of river waters to Pakistan or Bangladesh either.
The Indian Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan had explained this in his own wisdom:
“A person in the intoxication of outer power that he possesses overloks the cultivation or the developmnt of inner power, and, depending upon the power that does not belong to him, one day becomes the victim of the very power that he holds… So it is that the heroes, the kings, the emperors, the persons with great power of arms… have become the victim of the very power upon which they always depended.”
Thus, slitting pen the bellies of pregnant Muslim women or burning to death Christian missionaries is not power, any more than holding Kashmiris or Nagas or Naxalite farmers captive at gunpoint your strength. That is why violent protestors or their sympathisers now besiege India.
If India had existed in Euope, would Italy, France, Germany or Britain have allowed it to gobble up slices of their territories? This is something that Mrs Gandhi and the European supporters of India should ponder about. How can China, Pakistan or other regional countries let New Delhi usurp their lands or riverine resources?
Former Indian President Radhakrishnan had said many decades ago: “Our opportunities are great but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil ways”.
More poignantly, John Milton had observed: “What is strength without a double share of wisdom? Vast, unwieldy, burdensome, proudly secure, yet liable to fail by weakest subtleties, strength’s not mad to rule, but to subserve, where wisdom bears command”.
Both of them could have been speaking of present-day India.