India's foreign policy and Muslim vote bank
Ghulam Muhammed <Ghulam_muhammed2@yahoo.co.in>
The Milli Gazette
Mumbai: A debate is on, targeting Mulayam Singh Yadav, in the wake of coming UP assembly elections, as to how Samajwadi party is playing with the security of the nation while courting the Muslim vote bank, when it declares its intention not to break ties with Iran in the manner our newly acquired 'strategic partner' - the USA demands of us, under threat of consequences.
In fact, this poser of alternative - vote bank politics and national security - is merely a red herring. The word - vote-bank as used especially for Muslim voters' mass commitment to a single political party, is traditionally used by the Congress opposition as a pejorative. In fact, forming a vote bank is just like forming a political party or forum or front. It is the very essence of democracy in action, however otherwise the fascists may take it.
On the other hand, the current debate on foreign policy has very grave consequences for India, both in internal and external dimensions. As is clear from vigorous opposition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's personal initiative to completely lock up India's foreign policy with that of the United State, the subject concerns all and not just the Brahmanical minority that rides roughshod over rest of the Indians. Manmohan Singh's single-handed negotiation with the US over civilian nuclear cooperation with India, resulting in a virtual veto for the US over India's foreign policies and its sovereign right of freedom to decide its own strategies on war and peace, depending on changing times in the future, is too obvious to be missed as a greatest blunder India could make.
The US has a longer term plan for a NEW WORLD ORDER, which is a public document giving out America's hegemonist agenda in the rest of the world. To commit India to a distinct and unchangeable role in the US / ISRAELI NEW WORLD ORDER, with serious impediments and consequences for any possible change of course if so desired or necessitated in the future, is something that concerns each and every citizen of this democratic nation of India.
The whole process of India's negotiation with the US, without any prior reference to Parliament or the people of the nation, is sheer negation of all norms of democracy. How can a cabal at the top decide such important changes in India's long-term security commitments without taking the people into full confidence and without exhaustive debate and even special referendum? The US audacity and arrogance and glimpse of the future level of give and take was quite visible when ordinary individual Congressmen, could demand India, on pain of consequences, to abide by US interest in boycott of Iran, during a vote in IAEA. There is no prior understanding between the two nations on this subject. Just a phone call and Indian government was forced to change its declared policy and vote against Iran. And this even before any agreement on the nuclear deal was even put to vote in US Congress, US was openly blackmailing India. This was an ample proof that as is its wont, US is not willing to give any quarter to its partners, when it comes to its own national interest and even if clashes with the obvious and clear interest of its partners. India and Iran have long relationship and India depends on Iran for its fuel needs. It has future plans to develop further sources of gas supplies from Iran to India. All had been summarily thrown out of window and US gets its way on Iran vote. Naturally, the people of India are aghast at this turn of events. The Muslim factor was brought in, later to confuse the issue. Though India's special relationship is still sticking out as a sore thumb and India public, except for the Hindutva political lobby, is not willing to see India being humiliated into turning Iran into a foe. Tomorrow, the US may ask its 'strategic partners' to join its forces attacking Iran. Why should India toe the line and abide by the US list of friends and foes and why not it keep its freedom to deal with its neighbors and rest the world, in the best interest of its own. The more ironical part is that America has all the freedom to change its relationship with Iran and make peace in an instant, while India will be left out to deal with a jilted Iran in any such future happenstance. As is the norms in the East, this India and Iran enmity could last for ages.
Why India should enter into any such binding and suffocating relationship without the other side being made aware of our sensitivities and the limits of our commitments.
The question of Muslim vote bank impacting India's foreign policy is relevant in another equally important dimension. There happens to be a distinct contrast between inclinations of a 4% Brahmin minority and another 15% Muslim minority. In the caste war erupting all over the political arena, Brahmins are getting more and more isolated, while the quantum of Muslim population has started to be viewed as free from its earlier bondage to Congress and easily accessible to lower caste political groupings. Muslims, even though without any meaningful participation in political, administrative and foreign affairs of the nation till now, being completely sidelined and ostracized by the Congress Brahmins, have their natural sense of brotherhood with a sizable mass of Muslim nations in India's immediate neighborhood. If instead of the 4% Brahmins, the 15% Muslims could line up rest of the country behind them, even on merit, India will have much closer relationship with its Muslim neighbors and the whole of Middle East and Africa. The Brahmin foreign policy binds India to Israel and results in a different set of isolationist and confrontationist policy that is counter to India's ethos and its freedom of choice.
The kind of foreign investments flooding India from the US and its cronies from all around the world is peanuts if compared to the investible funds available with the gulf countries. However, India's Brahmins with their pathological apathy against Islam and Muslims could hardly be prepared to let Arabs invest in India, even though Arab investment would never have come with such onerous terms as the US imposes.
It would not be a far fetched conjecture to imagine that the haste with which Indian Brahmins have concluded such a one-sided strategic partnership agreement with the US and bringing in Israel in a big way into the India's national and internal security set-up, is the direct threat of Muslim vote bank slipping from the Brahmanical political parties to the coalition parties from the lower caste grouping.
It is time, Muslim leadership figure out the wider implications of its voting Brahmins into power once again.