Nehru: TNG 4 PM?

On Monday Rahul Gandhi became Congress General Secretary and consequently a likely future candidate for Prime Minister. At 37 he is the same age as his Rajiv Gandhi was when Rajiv first started his political career. If Rahul succeeds in becoming Prime Minister, that would make him the fourth generation from his family to have held the top leadership post, something I believe would be a record for any democracy.

India’s obviously not the only country with a political dynasty. The United States has two examples where a father and son held the Presidency in over 200 years: John Adams (2) and John Quincy Adams (6); George H.W. Bush (41) and George W. Bush (43).

There are other dynasties in the American Congress or in various governors’ offices. Just off the top of my head I know there were two generations of Gores, two generations of Dodds, and three generations of Kennedys in Congress (although more than three Kennedys in those generations).

Outside the US, Pakistan has two generations of Bhuttos, Bangladesh had Rahman and Sheikh Hasina, and Indonesia has had Sukarno and Sukarnoputri. I’m sure there are others.

Still, we’re talking about 3 generations of Gandhis as PM in a mere 40 years, and the possibility of a fourth generation being raised within 60 years. It reflects quite poorly on the quality of India’s institutions. What does it say that Congress thinks Rahul will give it an advantage in the next elections, despite his poor political showing in UP where he got schooled by the BSP?

Does the Congress party have such poor politicians that the best repeatedly come from a single family? It’s clearly not genetic because the PM’s position had been offered to Sonia, who was a Nehru by blood, not birth.

It must be the name, but does the party have so little to offer that they have to ride on name recognition alone? If so, what will happen if Rahul’s cousin Varun runs for office? Could there be a Gandhi as PM under the BJP?

Lastly, why Rahul and not Priyanka? Rahul left Harvard, and may not have finished at Cambridge or kept his job as a management consultant at Monitor [Link]. Priyanka was the charismatic sibling, and the one everybody thought would enter politics. Does India only want Nehru women if there are no Nehru men to be had?

Somebody really should remind both Hollywood and the Congress party of the danger of sequels. Police Academy 4 anyone?.

196 thoughts on “Nehru: TNG 4 PM?

  1. I asked a simple question and nobody answered:

    What happens to Askai Chin, and Karakoram?

    What do we do with the Karakoram highway, which is one of the most militarized highway in the world, by no one else than Chinese.

    Oh mighty Chinese !! Should I ……..

  2. What do we do with the Karakoram highway, which is one of the most militarized highway in the world, by no one else than Chinese.

    the nature of the answer depends on who the “we” is doesn’t it? e.g., ABD, DBD, pakistani (there are some around on SM right?), indian, etc.

  3. I believe the “we” would be the “we” making suggestions of cessation irrespective of the nationalities and countries of birth.

  4. I believe the “we” would be the “we” making suggestions of cessation irrespective of the nationalities and countries of birth.

    let them have it. china can roll over india in a conventional war anyhow. and now that india has nukes that’s the real deterrent, not conventional armies at strategic location (this assumes that china wouldn’t be deterred by the economic bleeding that would result from the occupation of hundreds of millions).

  5. Krishnan, you obviouslly do not properly understand the notion of strength. Patel wanted Kashmir for two reasons, one to simply make the territory of the Indian state larger, and just as important out of pure spite towards Pakistan. In the past 60 years, all that has been accomplished is the expenditure of men and capital (both political and economic) for an altogether inconsequential territory of a few million.

    For an ostensibly democratic India, the legacy of Kashmir has one of military rule, fraudulent elections, and arbitrary arrests for political agitation.

    In any case, some people put far too much emphasis on “legitimate” accession to the Indian union by Hari Singh. Prior to the entry of the Pathan irregulars from the NWFP and his flight to Delhi, Singh’s policy was one of systemic persecution of the Muslim population, culminating in liquidations by his Sikh and Doghra soldiers. Singh aimed to create a no man’s land between Kashmir and Pakistan by depopulating the border, driving thousands of refugees into Pakistan. The killings didn’t end with the arrival of the Indian army either.

  6. Do we have some commenter here on Chinese payroll?

    kush, i did not realize you were reading from the playbook of the republican party. although to be fair, you should also use the phrase “cut and run”.

    i am glad that you are standing brave, firm and aggressive for kashmir.

    on a blog.

  7. My idea is not so much to let Kashmir go by itself, as to let all the Indian states become more autonomous – while also doing everything possible to make them see that it is in their own interest to keep the larger, but looser Union intact. As Razib and Kush have both noted from different perspectives, the unitary nation state is a straitjacket that fits India ill. It was a contraption and a compromise that was drawn up during 1947-50.

    I suggested in a different thread that all of South Asia ought to move toward a (con)federation. Just as Scotland might separate from Great Britain, but still stay in the EU – similarly, if ‘Kashmir’ wants to leave ‘India’, they should be able to, but they would not secede from the federation of South Asia, they’ll see it in their overwhelming interest to stay. EU becomes stronger just as Great Britain might become ‘weaker’. And East and West Germany can combine (a Cold-War anachronism, that I suggest ‘India’ and ‘Pakistan’ in some ways also are), while Czech Republic and Slovakia separate from each other, but all within the EU.

    That all nation-states are negotiated entities with respect to the prevailing world order (Razib): I agree completely. Whatever the local Hindu-Muslim etc dynamics might have been, Pakistan wouldn’t have been born or survived as an independent state unless it also served both ‘Great Game’ and ‘Cold War’ strategic purposes, both vis-a-vis India and vis-a-vis (Soviet) Central Asia.

    As the particular phase of ‘globalization’ we are now in gathers strength, the issue is whether a continuing antagonism between Pakistan and India, or indeed a multi-sovereign-state structure in South Asia still makes sense – even just for the states themselves, but also from an economic and geopolitical standpoint for the global system as a whole. The AQ Khan issue and the North Korean entanglement of Pakistan, for example, makes world system managers think – that this is ultimate result of the creation of two mutually antagonistic states in South Asia in 1947, so perhaps we should address the core issue, which is not just Kashmir, but the logic of Partition itself.

    SAFTA is also an idea whose time has come, and political structures should evolve in a direction that makes the gains from SAFTA more easily achievable. The EU might represent a model of overlapping sovereignties and jurisdictions in a diverse continent that might be applicable to South Asia. The way Quebec is accomodated within Canada could also be a model for how ‘Pakistan’ is accomodated in a future South Asian Federation, including protection for language, culture, religio-social institutions, etc. Kashmir may leave ‘India’ but it will not exit this new South Asian Federation – geography, history and the gains from SAFTA will make sure of that. I suggest however, that once Kashmiris are actually given the choice to leave, they may choose to stay, even if by a small margin, just as Quebec is still part of Canada, although it has the right to leave.

  8. and kush, to answer your question, the reality is that the 2007 population will need to decide. if you realistically believe that you can restore kashmir to some pre-1947 utopia, i would love to understand the reason for that belief.

    additionally, i agree with this statement of jing – “For an ostensibly democratic India, the legacy of Kashmir has one of military rule, fraudulent elections, and arbitrary arrests for political agitation.” having our claws in kashmir by force, aggression, and oppression is not a solution.

    this is what i have said in my earlier comments.

  9. What started the rant was I do not feel good about SM commenters in the USA – myself included – deciding that Kashmir should just be let go because its simply not worth the loss of life etc .

    this is not what i said. however india’s hands are not clean in this matter, and i do not see why the current reality is morally superior, or even if you believe it is, that it has achieved said idealistic goals. or what path you see from the mess of today to the utopia.

  10. the sunni muslim kashmiris [shias wish to remain Indian] who demand plebiscite have not a legal leg to stand on. If nation states begins giving in to the demands of every little fringe group, then we would have a million Iraqs around the globe.

    anybody else find it ironic that the same kashmiri muslims who demand azadi and accuse indian army of unspeakable atrocities, are responsible for cleansing the kashmir valley of it’s entire [close to 99%] indigenous population – kahsmiri pandits- by targeting them for selected murder, rape and general thuggishness. 1990 was the second time that the non-muslim [indigenous] minority was completely expelled from kashmir since the advent of islamic rule.

  11. Curious, that is the very definition of a nation state, a political body which derives its legitimacy from the popular sovereignty of specific culture or ethnicity. The inclusion of various multi-ethnic populations via the application of force is by definition an empire.

  12. anybody else find it ironic that the same kashmiri muslims who demand azadi and accuse indian army of unspeakable atrocities, are responsible for cleansing the kashmir valley of it’s entire [close to 99%] indigenous population – kahsmiri pandits-

    I do find it ironic..

  13. If nation states begins giving in to the demands of every little fringe group, then we would have a million Iraqs around the globe.

    who said it should give in to demands of every little fringe group? slippery, slippery….

  14. I don’t think Patel had any special plans for Kashmir. He would have wanted Hyderabad more than Kashmir. and I believe asked for a compromise with Jinnah, you take Kashmir and I take Hyderabad.. finally ended up taking both.. I have no complaints..

    There is not much of expenditure on men and materials due to Kashmir. If dirt poor India of 1950s can manage than successfully, growing India of 2000s can do it as well. plus people in the army fight for going to Kashmir since that gets them special perks, I think. As long as you have volunteers signing up all across the villages and towns of India, the cost is not much..

  15. anybody else find it ironic that the same kashmiri muslims who demand azadi and accuse indian army of unspeakable atrocities, are responsible for cleansing the kashmir valley of it’s entire [close to 99%] indigenous population – kahsmiri pandits-

    There are no 1-2 who happen to be somebody’s friend.

    They are (according to CIA factbook on India, unless someone thinks that number is bogus)

    refugees (country of origin): 77,200 (Tibet/China), 50,730 (Sri Lanka), 9,700 (Afghanistan) IDPs: at least 600,000 (about half are Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu and Kashmir) (2006)

    Around 300,000 or so.

    Aksai Chin and Karakoram is 20% of original Kashmir. So Uyghurs will be part of new Kashmir, as suggested by the new federation by chachaji. Is Chinese on board on this new arrangement? Is it kosher with them? From wikipedia on Aksai Chin

    Pakistan has a claim on Kashmir. However, border agreements between Pakistan and the China in 1963 which transferred the Trans-Karakoram Tract and 1987 say that Pakistan recognizes China’s claims on the areas. No Pakistani Government has ever officially claimed this region. The Pakistani Government has given tacit approval of China by considering Aksai Chin as a part of China.

    The biggest problem is that India should really commit in economically developing Kashmir…..step by step, slowly

  16. the cost is not much.. Really?

    I don’t think, when people sign up for the army they don’t expect this kind of risks. It’s part of the job they signed up to do. Even though I feel sad to say this, the truth in India is “human lives” (esp. soldiers / police etc..) are not treated that worthy. You constantly read about the news reports of Maoists killing 40 policemen, militants ambush army patrol etc.. and just move on to the other item. Of late, even civilian deaths in various terrorist attacks have become routine.. There is not much anger on the streets..

  17. The biggest problem is that India should really commit in economically developing Kashmir…..step by step, slowly

    Who says that they haven’t tried doing it already? Almost every prime minister from Rajiv Gandhi, Narsimha Rao, and more recently Vajpayee, have tried to buy peace in Kashmir by offering huge development packages for the state.. I need to dig up and find you the references..

  18. anybody else find it ironic that the same kashmiri muslims who demand azadi and accuse indian army of unspeakable atrocities, are responsible for cleansing the kashmir valley of it’s entire [close to 99%] indigenous population – kahsmiri pandits- I do find it ironic..

    Me three. That being said, the conduct of the Indian army doesn’t help. Govts/uniformed military are held to higher standards.

  19. having our claws in kashmir by force, aggression, and oppression is not a solution.
    1. Let me start of by conceding a few points. Yes, Indian government probably did rig the state elections. Yes, there was a large presence of the army, which by extension must have led to some atrocities.

    2. Having said that, the Kashmiri disenchantment and violence was never to the levels that we have seen recently. Pakistan decided to get externally trained fighters/mercenaries to fight in the valley and that was the reason for the amount of violence today. Even if India decided to give greater autonomy to Kashmir, what is to say that Pakistan will be willing to do the same.. Pakistan doesn’t care about Kashmiri freedom, it only cares about the freedom of Kashmir to join Pakistan.. I don’t think we need to rehash this whole freedom fighter/terrorist argument here.

    3. The point about Kashmiri Pandits is that by driving them from the valley, Pakistan thinks that it gives greater strength to the 2 nation theory – since pretty much the Kashmir demographic in 2007 is very largely Muslim. There is no question of plebiscite.. The Pakistanis have successfully rigged the outcome of that already. (I am not suggesting that Kashmiri Muslims are necessarily inclined to favor Pakistan over India).

  20. 3. The point about Kashmiri Pandits is that by driving them from the valley, Pakistan thinks that it gives greater strength to the 2 nation theory – since pretty much the Kashmir demographic in 2007 is very largely Muslim.

    Well, just to be clear, when you are talking about demography, i think you are talking about the Kashmir valley. Jammu is Hindu majority and Ladakh is Buddhist and both the regions are overwhelmingly in favor of India.

  21. Yes, Indian government probably did rig the state elections.

    Sure, some of the elections have been doubtful. No doubt Indian Govt./ Indian Army made some huge mistakes, and they need to be held to higher ground.

    But blanket statementa on this this thread reeks of ………

    Let me bring the Lion of Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah into the picture. According to wikipedia (the following text is from wikipedia_:

    Hari Singh appealed for Indian military aid but Nehru demanded the state’s accession to India and the inclusion of Sheikh Abdullah in the state administration. Both of these demands were eventually accepted by the Maharaja and Sheikh Abdullah became head of an emergency administration and raised a force of local Kashmiris to patrol Srinagar after the Indian troops had landed. After the tribals were defeated with the help of the Indian Army Sheikh Abdullah became Prime Minister of Kashmir on March 5, 1948. The government of Pakistan viewed Abdullah and his party as agents of Nehru and did not recognise his leadership of Kashmir.

    In 1953 when he asked India to grant the promised autonomy to the Kashmiris he was dismissed as Prime Minister by the Central Government in Delhi and jailed for eleven years, accused of corruption and separatism. After his release he was reconciled with Nehru. After Nehru’s death in 1964, he was later interned from 1965 to 1968 and exiled from Kashmir in 1971 for 18 months.

    He returned to mainstream of Indian politics in 1975 after coming to an accord called 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord with Indira Gandhi, then India’s prime minister, by giving up the demand for a plebiscite. He returned to the position of Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, which he held until his death. He was followed as Chief Minister by his son.

    His son, Farooq Abdullah, and grandson, Omar Abdullah, became leaders of the party after him.

    My question: Was Sheikh Abdullah part of Indian rigging or is he an Indian agent, the man who spent years in Indian jails. Is he a true Kashmir patriot? Or according to some people here, you do not care but like bombastic statements.

  22. “Do you think they chose Rahul in part because he’s … fairer?” he is not any more fairer than jawahar lal nehru or indira gandhi, both kashmiri pandits, whose color played no role in their becoming prime ministers of india. indeed, since 1947, numerous light skinned, light browned haired and blue/green eyed kashmiri pandits have held positions of great import [d.p.dhar, m.l.fotedar,t.n.kaul, p.n.dhar, t.n.raina etc..

    Hogwash. Nehru and Indira were of course darker than italian Sonia’s children. You must be smoking something if you think the kashmiri cronies of the Nehru family who led India to beggary and defeat were “light browned haired and blue/green eyed”. Posters should always qualify remarks about desi fairness with the phrase: “by indian standards”.

    I doubt too many people feel sorry for what has happened to the kashmiri pundits considering the great harm they did to India. That miserable coward Kaul for example ran away from the battlefront in the 1962 war with his tail between his legs, leaving his men to their humiliating fate. His excuse? He needed to “nurse his sore throat” in Delhi!

  23. kush, does this section which you quoted not give you pause about india’s behavior? and does it not make you wonder why abdullah rescinded his demand for a plebiscite?

    In 1953 when he asked India to grant the promised autonomy to the Kashmiris he was dismissed as Prime Minister by the Central Government in Delhi and jailed for eleven years, accused of corruption and separatism. After his release he was reconciled with Nehru. After Nehru’s death in 1964, he was later interned from 1965 to 1968 and exiled from Kashmir in 1971 for 18 months.

    He returned to mainstream of Indian politics in 1975 after coming to an accord called 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord with Indira Gandhi, then India’s prime minister, by giving up the demand for a plebiscite.

  24. The thought that the Nehru-Gandhi family still believes that it has a divinely mandated right for its bloodline to rule India in perpetuity is actually repulsive when you think about it. Sixty years after independance, despite all the hard times India has been though, she has also done some great things, made great strides, and set itself on a course of an open economy and at least aspiring to a meritocracy. And yet one of the main ruling entities sets itself up as a neo-Mughal agency which exists for no other reason that to ensure that the offspring of one family be leader of India forever. They should put themselves out to pasture. India needs to cut the cord with this family who, after Nehru, have done more harm than good to India, and will continue to do so if the policy of the state and the opportunities for leadership remain in the arrogant lap of one clan and their supine spineless party supporters.

  25. Sure, some of the elections have been doubtful. No doubt Indian Govt./ Indian Army made some huge mistakes, and they need to be held to higher ground. But blanket statementa on this this thread reeks of ………

    reeks of what.. being on the Chinese payroll?

    Look.. I am being honest. I believe that the accession of Kashmir to India was completely legal. I also believe that Pakistan has no claim to Pakistan. However, it is accepted by most independent sources that the Indian Govenrment, at the very least, tried to influence the outcome of the state elections in the 80s. And, of course there were going to be some atrocities when there is a army occupying a civilian population.. What do you think this is, some bunch of docile Canadians who lost their hockey match to Quebec??

    Somebody called you out earlier on this as well – this is straight from the republican playbook. Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn’t mean you call them traitors or question their patriotism.

  26. kush, does this section which you quoted not give you pause about india’s behavior? and does it not make you wonder why abdullah rescinded his demand for a plebiscite?

    Sir, please read my comment #.124, the first sentence I make is ………No doubt Indian Govt./ Indian Army made some huge mistakes, and they need to be held to higher ground.

    I am not making blanket statements. I have read, and discussed the complexity of the Kashmir situation, everyone else involved in it – India, Pakistan, and China. India, India, India is the villian.

    Sir, you commented me being aggressive on a blog. You are ……..Didn’t I see you on BBC, yesterday, on Srinagar chowk spreading message of love and peace.

    Much regards, and hope you are keeping warm on a Srinagar winter.

  27. India needs to cut the cord with this family who, after Nehru, have done more harm than good to India

    Are you implying that Nehru was good for India????

    He was the worst of this sorry lot.

  28. Sir, you commented me being aggressive on a blog.

    it was in response to your comment on rolling over (like some of our more esteemed commentators), and other bombastic” statements.

    whenever anybody might bring up an issue where india is less than perfect (on this and other threads in the past), you seem to want to tar them with the brush of traitorousness, ignorance, or smugness. my apologies for offending your sentiments, and for wasting your time.

  29. If Kashmir goes then Tamil Nadu will be the next to leave. In fact that is the reason that the Indian state will fight to keep every state within itself. eg Punjab / Assam in the 80′s.

  30. btw, talk about the ‘domino effect’ if kashmir goes reminds me a lot of the 1% rule advocated by cheney. imagine the worst possible scenario, ignore all other parameters, and you can’t lose.

  31. ah razib #135—spoken like an engineer. but it only works if the worst case is indicative of the average case as well.

  32. The secessionist tendencies of Tamil Nadu are greatly exaggerated.

    ah, but you are missing the master plan. it is that annoying ram setu that is jamming tamilnadu against india and preventing it from seceding. dig it up, and it creates all this room for tamilnadu to just float away. that is mu.ka’s ulterior motive.

  33. ah razib #135—spoken like an engineer. but it only works if the worst case is indicative of the average case as well.

    well, for the record, i think the 1% rule is crap. though mostly because it often doesn’t take into account the consequences of the acts we take to prevent the 1% possibility. similarly, i suppose the kashmir fiasco will continue indefinitely because there is a chance that tamil nadu, assam, hyderdabad, gujarat, bollywood, or the mukherjee clan (kajol and rani) will secede from india.

  34. also, just in case anybody has doubts based on srinagar sightings of me, i am not rage boy.

    also, if the indian government was willing to go to such lengths to break this great patriotic lion of kashmir, wouldn’t the common man be more than a little skeptical of their intentions?

  35. I wont blame the Nehru-Gandhi clan as much as the morons that surround them (which does not mean they are all great). If someone gives you a country on a platter and a chance in history irrespective of whether you deserve it or not, you would not say no. As to why these bunch of gutless sheep in the congress behave this way, I think it’s because the morons have been dependent on the clan for too long and don’t know any better. After all none of them has the experience of running a party for too long and neither have they experienced creating a party from scratch. The one time it happened that there was no Nehru-Gandhi influence in the party, Sitaram Kesri and co so screwed it up that it destroyed the congress’ confidence in itself for a long long time.

  36. Why is this trite piece of crap being bandied about as the cause to current day problems? Given the fact of india’s integration after independence, does it mean everytime there is trouble with a state, we give it away ? Maybe we should go back to 500 petty kingdoms.

    Some of us have already given us our explanation why Kashmir is different.

    Oh for those attackig ABDs for having an opinion, why not? DBDs do not seem to be shy about talking about US politics and wars. I know I personally went to India for my entire middle school years and used to follow my grandpa to freedom fighter meetings. So I will speak for myself. I am personally invested in anything independence related for India. Kashmir has been a burning issue since that time. The other states have been post independence problems. And let’s not forget the global issue Kashmir is. I even supported Patel’s strongarming efforts as good strategy. So I wasnt opposed to India trying to get Kashmir. But they fucked up for too long. Way too long. And blame lies with Nehru’s ineffective governance. The guy was too wishy washy with Kashmir. He was too emotionally invested to look at the big picture. Unlike the 500 other kingdoms, Kashmiris have on the average thought of themselves as separate.

    And as a child of Andhra parents, I give my full support for Patel’s efforts to get Hyderabad. Nehru would have found a way to botch that up.

    Anyway, I brought up Patel because we were talking about the Nehru family and how their dominance has held India back. They need to look outside that freaking family.

  37. why do you think that?
    The secessionist tendencies of Tamil Nadu are greatly exaggerated

    TN stays in largely due to the lack of belief in an ability to pull off a separatist movement. If Kashmir falls, there will be many who are eager to have a separate nation. TN nearly broke away in the 60s. Kamaraj and Rajaji were probably the reasons why a secession movement did not take active root. I have commented in an earlier post about the undercurrent of resentment against the North. Although I suspect that the under 20 crowd would prefer to be a part of India. Karunanidhi mocking Ram is pandering to his vote base. Many politicians in private wish they were a separate nation ( to loot and plunder with abandon??). The Tamil Diaspora is rather strong and would love a homeland. I wonder how the LTTE would react to a Tamil Nadu.

    btw tamil nadu literally means land of tamils.

    The only trouble with all of the above statements is that it is based on touch and feel – kinda tricky to get hardcore data.

  38. Aksai Chin and Karakoram is 20% of original Kashmir. So Uyghurs will be part of new Kashmir, as suggested by the new federation by chachaji. Is Chinese on board on this new arrangement? Is it kosher with them?

    Kush, good question. The fact that Pakistan has never laid claim to Aksai Chin, which India claims is part of ‘Kashmir’, shows that the Pakistani claim to Kashmir is not based on religion alone. It was also partly about having sovereignty over the headwaters of the Indus and its major tributaries that flow through West Punjab. And it was about denying ‘India’ contiguity with NWFP and Afghanistan (through the panhandle) with (what was then) Soviet Central Asia. During part of 1947, it initially seemed that NWFP might elect not to join Pakistan, and might either claim independence, or become ‘West India’, and ever since then, the spectre of an independent ‘Pukhtoonistan’ has haunted the Pakistani polity. Similarly, there has been secessionist sentiment in Baluchistan, and for that matter, also in Sindh.

    That India should claim the Aksai Chin, all of which lies to the east of the major Himalayan ranges, and where, moreoever, neither the Kashmir Maharaja’s troops nor independent India’s troops ever had much of a presence – shows that its claim was based merely on a line drawn on a map. If Pakistan has the good sense not to claim the Aksai Chin while claiming ‘all of Kashmir’, then surely it is time to retire India’s claim as well.

    With regard to the South Asian confederation, of course, China won’t like it initially, because it might deprive them of their client state and their entry point to the Persian Gulf – Gwadar. In general, a unified South Asian voice on foreign policy, and a South Asia-wide free market (with a population already larger than China’s, and growing faster) could be a seen as a threat. But if India retires its claim to Aksai Chin, and China recognizes Arunachal Pradesh as part of India – then a major issue goes away, and there may not be any essential conflict. There could be a lot synergies in trade, and everybody could win.

    But if India can’t first see beyond its nose to settle the conflict with Pakistan by forever retiring the issue of Kashmir, and simultaneously evolving a political culture that can eventually accomodate Pakistan within a federated South Asia, and do so in a manner that all concerned will see as fair and just – instead of going for silly one-upmanship and zero-sum games – then all bets are off, and the future could be just like the past.

  39. TN stays in largely due to the lack of belief in an ability to pull off a separatist movement. If Kashmir falls, there will be many who are eager to have a separate nation. TN nearly broke away in the 60s.

    While we’ve come a long way since the 60s, I agree that this is always a danger. That is why I emphasize the federation aspect, which could have local sub-nations like Indistan, Bangistan, and Dravidistan, while also preserving the current Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan etc – to provide a channel for regional and subnational aspirations, and a guaranteed space for local languages and culture. So here if (say) Andhra Pradesh felt that Tamil Nadu was too dominant in Dravidistan, it could secede and join whichever other contiguous sub-nation might be more suitable – perhaps ‘Greater Maharashtra’ – or go it alone, all the while staying within the South Asian federation. Similarly, Telengana or Vidarbha would have rights to secede, but don’t worry, they ain’t goin nowhere, coz there ain’t nowhere to go, when the South Asian federation becomes the only show in town, like the EU is today.

  40. Chachaji – at least in the present scenario not many Indians think that Kashmir costs too much, and it has like it or not become an issue of national pride (aah those emotions which make sure pragmatism does not get a say). Plus there is the issue of the Kashmiri Pandit resettlement which even if impractical from the perspective of some people is not a populist opinion. In fact the right wing parties use it to the hilt to increase anti muslim paranoia in the country. Thus the chance that India will give up claim to Kashmir unless something drastically changes from the status quo is next to nil. That would be political suicide for any party. And this is discounting the political fears and other strategic reasons that people here have alluded to.

    What’s instead quite possible and has a better chance of being accepted by the masses too if the Govt. promotes it the right way (and in both nations actually), is the possibility of making the LOC and IB. This along with some measures for interaction between the two separated Kashmirs and steps to make Kashmir economically prosperous (plans that actually work) may just manage to get the Kashmiris to accept this solution. If that does not work out, as long as care is taken, the current status can hopefully be reverted.

  41. That is why I emphasize the federation aspect, which could have local sub-nations like Indistan, Bangistan, and Dravidistan, while also preserving the current Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan etc – to provide a channel for regional and subnational aspirations, and a guaranteed space for local languages and culture.

    Probably the most optimal solution. Hope it becomes a reality.

  42. Chachaji – in your plan for sub-nations, if things work out it may turn out the way you propose. However, if anything even tiny goes wrong we may have a runaway situation where nations may become sovereign outside of the federation or if that is not possible, a couple of sub-nations may get together and then secede from the federation and there wont be much anyone can do.

  43. Federation Schmederation.

    The Himalayas are the Himalayas. The Ganga is the Ganga. Ram is Ram. India is India.

    Nirad Chaudhuri, no Hindutva,, btw:

    Q: You have been following whatever has been going on in India: the inci­dent in Ayodhya, the communal riots and so forth.

    A: There must be a complete recognition of the historical responsibility on both sides. They must not try to avoid it. All Hindu historians are liars. From 1907 onwards we became aware of the Hindu-Muslim problems as regards the nationalist movement. From that date until 1946 every fellow Bengali I have asked and every other Indian too had only one standard argument: The Hindu-Muslim problem does not exist. It has been created by the British.

    My point is that it is the very nature of things. That what happened in Ayodhya should not have happened is another matter. But I say that the Mus­lims do not have the slightest right to complain about the desecration of one mosque. From 1000 AD every Hindu temple from Kathiawar to Bihar, from Hima­layas to the Vindhyas has been sacked and ruined. Not one temple was left standing all over northern India. At the beginning of the 18th century the Jesuit priest and mathematician Tippenthaler noticed in the evenings as he traveled from Malwa the flickering flames of tiny earthen lamps placed by the villagers at some risk to themselves. Temples escaped destruction only where Muslim power did not gain access to them for reasons such as dense forests. Otherwise it was a continuous spell of vandalism. No nation with any self-respect will forgive this. They took over our women. And they imposed the jizya, the tax. Why should we forget and forgive all that? What happened in Ayodhya would not have happened had the Muslims acknowledge this historical argument even once. Then we could have said: Alright, let the past remain in the past and let us see how best we can solve this problem.

    From the 18th century onwards the Hindus took the offensive. They would not allow the Muslims to lead their way of life. In the ’30s I wrote several articles on the subject. The last one is in 1939. I have not changed my views from the ones I expressed then. The gist of the argument is that the Hindu view of life and the Muslim view of life are completely oriented towards a clash. The Muslims were the first to invent the theory of permanent revolu­tion. The communist took over from them. No Muslims can live under the po­litical domination of non-Muslims. Secondly, Muslims divide the world into two; regions of peace and regions of conflict. It is the duty of every Muslim to bring the latter within the fold of Islam. The Arab equivalent of the ca­liph is “Commander of the Faithful”. And his obligation is jihad (holy war). Where do you think the word mujahedin comes from? Mu in Arabic means ‘to be with’. Mujahid is to be with the jihad and Mujahedin is its plural. Why, I ask the English people, do you call them fundamentalists in Kabul and nowhere in England? The reason is that the English people have become completely ig­norant. What is more, like us, they have cannot face reality.

    European civilisation is going down. So too is Indian civilisation. We became independent after 700 years. We should have had a new life. Like the Japanese. But we did not.”

  44. why do you think that? The secessionist tendencies of Tamil Nadu are greatly exaggerated TN stays in largely due to the lack of belief in an ability to pull off a separatist movement. If Kashmir falls, there will be many who are eager btw tamil nadu literally means land of tamils. The only trouble with all of the above statements is that it is based on touch and feel – kinda tricky to get hardcore data.

    I think the secessionist feelings have died down because Hindi (or any other regional language) never became necessary for success. As such it is much harder to argue that being Indian is at the expense of “Tamilness”. The parochialism just manifests when farmers in Karnataka & TN bicker over the Cauvery.