Shall we follow the Gita ?


I wonder when New Delhi will cease chasing a mirage of global consensus to battle the evil of terrorism.  In his address at the British Parliament's Royal Gallery on Friday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said:  "There should be a resolve to isolate those who harbour terrorists and willingness to stand with nations that will fight them honestly. We need a social movement against extremism in countries where it is most prevalent and, every effort to de-link religion and terrorism. .The world must speak in one voice and act in unison to combat this challenge of our times…. We must adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN without delay. There should be no distinction between terrorist groups or discrimination between nations."(

I am afraid Modi’s is essentially too old an idealist policy now. It has not stood the test of time . A central message from Lord Krishna in the Gita is : The path of love and non-violence is futile with those who understand the language of power and punishment alone . Somehow,  architect of modern India and our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru , whom I have always admired much for his profound scholarship and socio-economic and scientific vision , happened to ignore this  time-tested prescription.

The story of terrorism against India began on October 26, 1947 when Islamabad  resorted to sending its armed forces in the guise of tribals to capture  Kashmir. Prime Minister Nehru could have crushed the evil then and there . The situation was very favourable for New Delhi to do so at that time . The state of Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of India after its then Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instruments of Accession to India ( October 27, 1947). The Indian Army was absolutely capable--- it is always so --- of defending India’s territorial integrity.  

But alas ! Prime Minister Nehru took the matter to the United Nations for mediation .   What followed this blunder is history. India has remained deprived of its   2/5ths of Kashmir (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir ).  Emboldened by New Delhi’s inaction, Islamabad has continued masterminding terror against India . According to an estimate, since 1980 India has lost over  1.5 lakh lives on account of terrorism in different parts of the country.

Ironically , the legendary Nehru soon got disillusioned over the conduct of the UN system . In his letter to his sister and then Indian Ambassador to the then Soviet Union Vijaylakshmi Pandit in February 1948 , Nehru wrote : “I could not imagine that the Security Council could possibly behave in the trivial and partisan manner in which it functioned. These people are supposed to keep the world in order. It is not surprising that the world is going to pieces. The United States and Britain have played a dirty role, Britain probably being the chief actor behind the scenes.” But New Delhi has so far done little to rectify this blunder  !

Our former Vice  Chief of the Army Staff Vijay Oberoi laments in a conversation with me , “ The successive prime ministers have all done the same; After the attack on Parliament and deploying our armed forces on the border for nearly a year, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee developed cold feet ! Remember what  Prime Minister Modi did ,or rather did not do, in the case of the Gurdaspur attack, much more recently.  None of our PMs  , except perhaps Indira Gandhi, reacted as leaders should ! "   

It seems, like his predecessor economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the politician Modi thinks things on the international front today  are in favour of uniting together against terrorism . I am afraid the reality on the ground is still harsh. A UN consensus against terrorism is just impossible with some of its member-states themselves sponsoring terrorism the world over .

Some of the key UN players , such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have recently cooperated more intensely with India in combating the Islamist terror . But they, too, still care little about the activities of many of those terror groups which pose a direct threat to India’s integrity in Kashmir and other parts of the country . In the post 9/11 landscape the world’s  major powers have focused on strengthening their own homeland security mechanism . Notwithstanding their fashionable  diplomatic postures of consensus at the UN and other fora , they still seem to think it is not for them to worry about what they call India-specific terrorism .

Will Prime Minister Modi focus on boosting India’s  own defence and security mechanism ? Will he follow the commandments of the Gita, India’s famous Holy Book, a copy of which he is often very fond of presenting to foreign leaders  ?