Internal Threat 1950 and now
One of the biggest lessons that can be drawn from the collapse of Soviet Union is that a country may be extremely strong on the external front but will not sustain as a nation if its internal front is weak. It is the internal front which feeds the external front. The internal front of Soviet Union had become ideologically and psychologically vitiated.
The artificial nation, Soviet Union’s romance with ‘Communism’ had expended. The State could not ensure the physical and psychological well being of its citizens. In pursuit of hard power, the State had become imbalanced vis-à-vis internal power. Citizens cannot merely survive on a diet of tanks, aircraft, submarines or satellites. Countries implode under material and psychological stress, especially the latter.
Communism in Soviet Union had outlived its lifespan and the historical and religious ferment began to assert itself. Consequently the Soviet Union splintered. The tragedy however is that while the Russian Federation and other erstwhile Soviet States may have jettisoned communist ideology, they continue to be in grip of totalitarian leadership. It is difficult to conjecture the nature of Russia after the exit of Putin, but certainly the internal front continues to be fragile.
Shaken by the split of Soviet Union, the Chinese leadership cracked down heavily on dissent, manifesting in the massacre at Tiananmen Square. The Chinese Communist Party prevailed but for how long? A few decades is a small time in history. The process of nation-building cannot be predicated on fear and terror. The internal front of China is as fragile as that of Soviet Union. The only difference is that China is wealthy (not rich) but the Soviet Union was not. Nevertheless even the wealthy China is struggling for fully imbibing Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong into its nationhood. The materialistically, neo-rich, communist China still needs the strong arm control of Xi Jinping, a dictator in every sense of the term. Prosperity in China has not obviated the practice of massive political purges. Presently the nationhood of China is predicated on one central character, Xi Jinping.
Prosperous USA is not only a super power, but also claims to be the biggest beacon of democracy. However, despite the prosperity and hard power, nation-building process in the country seems to be on the retrograde. If the internal dynamics in the US was strong, accusations would not have been made that it was Russia that had put Trump on the President’s chair. Now, there are segments that attribute Biden’s victory as a gift from China. Allegations are rife that China unleashed Biological Warfare (BW) against the US to influence the voting process, and the other parts of the world suffered because of the collateral damage.
Increasingly the internal front of the US also is becoming fragile. In the run-up to the presidential elections, the vicious ‘Blacks Lives Matter’ movement enveloped the country. The situation had become so pernicious that members of the White House had to take shelter in underground bunkers. Trump emerged with a Bible in his hand to pacify the rioters. Deployment of military was also being contemplated, something unimaginable in the US. Then, after the elections, the opposite set of rioters ran amuck in the Capitol Hill. They enjoyed support of many security personnel. The US administration was faced with a very tough and sensitive task of identifying neutral and professional security personnel for deployment during the inauguration ceremony of President Biden. It is difficult to dispute that USA stands fractured from within, wherein hard-power has no role in bridging the gap. The internal front of US appears extremely vulnerable.
This author is of the conviction that the most serious threat to India is on the ‘Internal Front’. It has taken us the decades to realize this truism. Although we talk of two and half or three fronts, we fail to analyze the challenges on the internal front because they have a very sophisticated subterfuge.
The reality is that ever since India became Independent, it is being battered by jihadism and communism. Hypothetically, if Pakistan had been a Buddhist country, we would not have suffered jihadi proxy war. If Tibet had remained a Buddhist buffer state, there would have been no threat from China. In actuality, India has no threat from China but from Communist China in Tibet. Maoism is only an extension of this reality.
Our security forces are battling jihadism and communism on the external front in sub-zero temperatures, but who will fight with the jihadis and Maoists on the internal front. Sardar Patel was the last determined warrior on this front. He fought and gave us present India in the present shape. In his book ‘India from Curzon to Nehru and After’, Durga Das writes: “Patel launched a powerful attack on the disruptionists… He ruthlessly crushed the Communist revolt in Telengana in Hyderabad State with the help of hand-picked officials. He ordered the police to shoot at sight and kill as many rebels as was necessary to break the back of the uprising. As a result of the directive, over a thousand persons were shot dead and the Communist extremists were so demoralized that for the next two decades they eschewed armed action and took to constitutional means…”
“The Sikh extremists raised the most delicate issue. Conveniently forgetting Master Tara Singh’s pledge to Nehru, they started talking in terms of a Sikh state and, if that was not possible, a Sikh-majority State where they could establish their separate identity and function as a religio-political entity by making Punjabi in Gurmukhi script its official language. Tara Singh and his brains trust in the Akali Dal decided to try conclusions with Patel first. They demanded separate representation for the Sikhs in the Central Services on the basis of their population. Sardar readily agreed, but meaningfully added that the population formula would also apply to the Army. Since the Sikhs constituted a large proportion in the Army, Tara Singh saw through the implication and dropped the request.”
“Later, Tara Singh decided to organise a demonstration in Delhi in a bid to project the Akalis as a major political force. He called upon a hundred thousand of his followers to swarm into the capital for a march demanding Punjabi Suba, a Sikh state. But Patel was not to be awed. He got Tara Singh arrested before he could reach Delhi, held up the lorries and trains bringing in his followers and broke up the various camps that were being organised to receive and feed the demonstrators. At this point, Tara Singh and his aides realised that they could not intimidate or blackmail the Iron Man and decided to suspend the fight and take their chance after Patel left the scene.”
“Patel told that he had been helped by three factors in dealing with Tara Singh’s challenge. Intelligence kept him posted on the divisions in the Akali camp and this helped him to play one against the other with the support of Defence Minister Baldev Singh, a financier of Tara Singh. Secondly, his Regional Commissioner, M.R. Bhinde, a Punjab civilian, gave him a detailed assessment of the main personalities among the former Sikh rulers and the Sikh politicians and their manoeuvres. He also drew attention to the influence that the Communists were building up in the Punjab countryside with a view to repeating Telengana. Thirdly, Patel had brought to Delhi from Ajmer as Chief Commissioner a Civil Servant, Shankar Prasad, who was very experienced in handling problems of law and order and troublesome politicians.”
The forces that Patel had to contend with are still challenging the unity and integrity of India. Pakistan was a jihadi project, but its creation did not put an end to jihadism, over the years it became even more acute. It had to, because, in the sub-continental variety of Islam, religion overrides Indian nationhood. For them the Islamic nationhood (Ummah) and the Indian nationhood are in contest. This holds true for Pakistan and China as well. Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a product of this contest, Popular Front of India (PFI) is also a product of this contest. Even for most communists, Indian nationhood is subordinate to communism. It is for this reason that many communists came out in support of China during the 1962 war.
Following the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), jihadism and communism, in the context of India have a common cause, which has manifested in the ‘Tukre-Tukre Gang’. The challenges that Sardar Patel faced are still threatening at the borders of Capital. The only new entrants are the Shaheen Bagh jihadis. Supporting them are anti-nationals in the garb of intellectuals, activists who peddle their anti-India agenda, generally in the English language. They have created a huge ecosystem in academia, politics, judiciary and are now trying to infiltrate the armed forces through the retired community.
We live in an era of nation-states. Nationhood is predicated on shared sense of past and a common purpose of future. More than nation-state, India is a civilization, a complete civilization. To keep this civilization fresh and vibrant, winds from all directions are imperative for its nourishment. But, winds cannot be allowed to build into destructive storms, that threaten to uproot the civilization, the very basis of nationhood.
Jihadism and Maoism are the two main destructive storms. Fueling these storms are India’s enemies as well as the forces of proselytization. They have to be crushed both at ideological and physical levels.
We have been squeamish in dealing with the problems because of the misplaced notion that all ideologies are basically benign and beneficial, they are not. 73 years of our post-independence experience is testimony. This misplaced notion has caused at least a lakh lives in Kashmir alone, resulting in ethnic cleansing of Hindus from the Valley by the jihadists.
Sardar Patel did crush the communist revolt in Telangana, but in the following years due to subversion of our political class, it grew into the ‘Red Corridor’, i.e. from Tirupati to Pashupati. These forces have to be vanquished to secure the internal or the third front.
By RSN Singh