Friday, October 2, 2009


"Political power grows out from the barrel of a gun...whoever has an army has power, for war settles everything". 82 years after Mao Zedong uttered these immortal words to guide his country forward, China has erupted dramatically on the international scene from nowhere as a super power that is on course to replace the US as the greatest military power the world has ever seen.

Just 60 years ago, the People's Republic of China (PRC) was born from the ruins of a civil war and an eight-nation military invasion during which millions of lives were lost. The Chinese follow a 60 year Luni-solar calendar. October 1, 2009 marked the completion of the first cycle since the present Republic was established, and the beginning of a new one. That is why the Chinese marked this day with a dazzling show of military might that no one would have thought was possible just twenty years ago.

India became independent two years before PRC came into existence. At that time, both nations were almost equally backward and poor. While India started an uninterrupted but excruciatingly slow march towards development almost immediately after Independence, China went into a near tailspin from which it could not have recovered but for the resilience of its people and their 'chi ku'. The great famine of 1959-61 claimed around 30 million lives, and millions more were killed due to Mao's disastrous cultural revolution. In fact till 1978, when Deng Xiaoping threw classic communism out of the window to get economic cats of all colours as long as they could catch mice, India was economically almost at par with that country, although militarily it had already allowed itself to fall way behind.

But, despite these initial disasters, China neither forgot its history nor its goals, as it saw them, and used its military power to settle all issues decisively and expeditiously in its favour. Within 13 days of the formation of the PRC, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) trooped into Xinjiang and began the process of rapidly changing its demographics. As a result, as per Chinese census, the number of Han Chinese increased from 200,000 in 1949 to 7.49 million in 2000. A year later, Chinese troops marched into Tibet and by September 1951, entered Lhasa and started settling Han Chinese there too. Around the same time, India was incorporating Article 370 in its constitution to help turn Kashmir into a permanent conflict zone that would claim the lives of thousands of Indian soldiers later.

Even as Mao was trying his level best to give Nehru much needed lessons about the inescapability of having of a strong military, Nehru was busy deluding himself that the era of wars was over, that India did not need an Army and that its borders could be managed by the police. Though he could see that China was speedily converting India's buffer against that country into its buffer against India, and pushing Chinese troops, for the first time in history, to India's borders, he reportedly welcomed China's annexation of Tibet on the ground that a dose of socialism would be good for the people of Tibet.

Consistently ignoring the advise of his generals to enhance the capability of the military as the threat from the Chinese grew larger, and letting Krishna Menon play havoc with the ministry of defence, Nehru all but invited the Chinese to rout India's ill equipped and outnumbered troops in 1962. No matter what he may have done earlier, there is no way that Nehru would have got away in any self-respecting country with his monumental blunders that culminated in the 1962 rout. That he is still remembered with respect, not shame, explains to some extent as to why India continues to remain foolishly passive, and mentally and militarily weak.

47 years have passed since 1962. In these years, China has sprinted ahead to become a military giant that evokes awe. India, on the other hand, has remained content with having a much inferior military capability that has not been able to deter even a much smaller Pakistan from vigorously pursuing a proxy war for over two decades now. Mind you this is in spite of the fact that China has never stopped claiming that Arunachal Pradesh and other smaller pieces of territory all along its 4000 km long border with India are a part of China, and has doggedly refused to give up any of its territorial claims in the innumerable rounds of border talks it has held with India over many years.

China knows only too well that no government in India can afford to give up any territory to China on the negotiating table. China also knows that India's strategy-blind politicians have foolishly pushed aside and capped the barrel of India's gun, and mindlessly allowed China to speed away in conventional and nuclear military capability. India, they also know from past experience, will quickly accept reality whenever China invokes the golden lesson of Mao to settle the boundary issue in its favour.

More disturbing than the fact that China has raced ahead of India is the near complete absence of hurt pride among the elite that is responsible for, and has benefitted disproportionately from, the path that India has chosen. Not only is this lot absolutely comfortable with the increasing gap that China has created and is going to maintain, it is also conning fellow Indians and preventing them from reacting in the manner they must, by lulling them with the lollipops of 'democracy' and dishonest half-truths.

Democracy is not the reason why India has fallen behind, just as communism is not the reason why China has powered ahead. The US is a democracy as are all countries of Western Europe, while communism has failed and collapsed everywhere. China is where it is today because its leaders have shown a realism and dynamism to ruthlessly discard, where necessary, copied systems and ideologies, and adopt new ones keeping in mind the nation's objectives. They have thrown into the dustbin virtually everything Mao taught and practiced except the one thing that got into China's fold vast swathes of territory and made it secure against another aggression or invasion. India, on the other hand, refuses to change track; individuals and families continue to take precedence over the nation.

China has not forgotten the fact that it was invaded in WW2; nor has it forgotten the earlier invasions of the Mongols and others. "Remember history well, do not forget the past"; that is what Chinese President tells Hu Jintao tells his people. India's leaders and bureaucrats, with the help of power journalists like Shekha Gupta, on the other hand, want Indians to forget the past; remembering it reveals the harsh truth that they have failed to learn the needed lessons and do whatever it takes to ensure that we are not tripped in the same manner by anyone ever again. It is not out of thin air that Mao spoke of the need of a powerful military much before the communists came to power. It is not by accident that China is today a military super power while India not even in the frame.

We don't need enemies to defeat us; there are many among us who, like always, are doing that job well. That is one reason why some don't want us to remember what happened in the past.

As you would have noticed while watching that awesome show of Chinese military might, the military not only projects a nation's power, it is a powerful symbol that visibly enhances national pride among it citizens and awe, fear and respect among those of other countries. As a result a powerful nation wins many 'wars' without firing a single shot and losing a single life. The Chinese understand that well. But in a nation where cops and generalist bureaucrats can think of nothing better than running the nation's military down just to claim top spot for themselves as individuals with the help of conniving media personalities and corrupt politicians, what better can you expect, except dirty tricks to sweep their dirt under the carpet, even as the nation continues to remain much, much weaker than it should be and therefore almost afraid and ever ready to crawl? Can something so illogical and dysfunctional be even imagined in China and the US?

It is not just the military. China has also put in place a system of governance and employed ideologies that are unique to the requirements of that country. India, on the other hand, has not only not stuck to a model of democracy blindly copy-pasted from a very different and tiny island, but has actually further subverted and corrupted it willfully to suit the selfish interests of a few individuals, cadres and groups, who very well know that the nation has paid and is paying a heavy price for it. For them, the self comes above all else.

More than 30 million Chinese died of starvation 60 years ago. Today there is not one Chinese below the poverty line. Very few Indians have died of starvation in the last 60 years. But today 880 million of them live a sub human existence on less than Rs 20 a day. What meaning does democracy have for them? Should we the better off be so selfish as to be happy with a system that gives us the kind of 'freedom' we want but keeps many, many more just as poor and enslaved as they were 62 years back?

The very, very few who have become very rich and powerful due to their sometimes criminal and almost anti-national decisions that continue to keep nearly 70% Indians in the dark bowels of deprivation and exploitation, and the nation militarily as vulnerable as it was in 1962, want status quo to be maintained. They want Indians to continue to remain ignorant of their many colossal failures because an honest and much needed overhaul will throw them from the perches they have dishonestly created for themselves, mostly at the cost of the nation.

If India has to break free of the terrible shackles that they have put around it, they have to be ruthlessly weeded out. There is no other way.

India desperately needs a Deng Xiaoping.
Readers may also like to read:
1. Facing the challenge of China's military modernisation
2. China and India:winning wars vs defending the country
3. India's 'Power': weakness=virtue, strength=immorality
4. China and India: bully and forever bullied
5. Democracy, morality and national interest
6. Myanmar lost to China: India's encirclement complete
7. Diplomacy cannot counter China's challenge
8. China gets dangerous, but nothing can move India
9. Admission before accusation, surrender before attack