Group Capt AG Bewoor
The Sin that is Committed by Killing One, Who Does Not Deserve to Be Killed, Is As Great as the Sin, of Not Killing One Who Deserves to Be Killed.
Mahabharat Udyoga Parva. Chapter 72, Verse 18
We entered the 21st century with the Y2K bust. The visionaries who predicted doomsday had to redeem their stature and come up with something quite different. At that point in time, the Indian Diaspora was flourishing, emails heralded monumental achievements of Indians, our girls had won most beauty pageants, Indian Armed Forces were unconquerable - recollect Kargil of 1999 and shooting of the Atlantique - our economy was expanding; things looked hunky-dory for good old Bharat. In this exuberant ambience we were told that the 21st century belongs to Asia, and it caught every Indian's imagination.
Western intelligentsia, we said smugly, looks at India with respect. India with China will decide international matters for a century, we argued. Finally, our 5,000 year old civilisation is getting its place in the sun. India has arrived.
This euphoria permeated the psyche of the Indian Armed Forces and 'Think Tanks' comprising mainly retired military officers. They started writing and expounding theories and critiques on why India must become a regional power, especially since the West is saying so. The source of this astounding deduction seemed to be the single Super Power, the US. Unfortunately we ignored the fact that policies and doctrines emerging from the US on use and impact of military power have failed consistently after the Second Great War, and that many American doctrines during World War II were utter failures too. But since the victor writes history, they were smothered. So here we were, in 2001 CE, basking in the assumed glory of becoming the Regional Power. No one asked why we should become a Regional Power. Strange?
This article may be construed as a diatribe against preferred thought, and seems defeatist. On the contrary, it is time for the Indian Armed Forces, and their mentors in and out of Government, to question favourite theories and pleasant conclusions based on unsubstantiated and easily demolished deductions that please the ego, but not the soul.
Image: Priyanka Sharma, 5, scavenges for used plastic containers after a political rally, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010. Priyanka's family engages in scavenging plastic for recycling, earning less than a dollar a day. Government and aid groups' efforts to help children are overwhelmed by the staggering poverty and the dislocation of millions of rural villagers who flood the cities in search of jobs, with some as young as 3 and clutching baby siblings working the traffic-clogged streets begging for money. Picture copyright Associated Press. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited. Article copyright Indian Defence Review.