Revisiting: can India be a great power?\\

It was Mahatma Gandhi who once said: Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. Centuries before Gandhi, the Roman poet Virgil had stated: Anger carries the mind away. Pietro Aretino, the 15th century Italian author, categorically defined anger as an anti-intellect human emotion: Angry men are blind and foolish Aretino declared. Modern social-psychology claims that anger is an emotional risk in communication, both in understanding it and in the process of communicating. Many many Hindu Indians are angry - very very angry. This happened after this writers article Is India a Great Power? appeared in The Nation of January 26, when they unleashed a barrage of offensive emails and inconsistent political counter-attacks devoid of logical arguments or reason. And yet, the overall effect of this hostile reaction has provided the opportunity to once again make the point that has been completely lost on Indian observers, foreign policy makers, political gurus, neo-con pundits and some readers of the said article - pure anger has replaced reasonable understanding Let us go back to some fundamental ground realities: Yes, India is a massively large country. Yes, it is an enormous economy. Yes, Indias foreign exchange reserves are tremendous. Yes, India has a high profile in the eyes of the US and the Western world in the present geopolitical environment. But the question is, does all that make India capable of being a great world power? More specifically, the question becomes vitally important when Indias entire march forward is in the context of a socio-economic-geopolitical status-quo imposed globally by the US-Wests notion of ideological capitalism and hegemonic military-political imperialist doctrine. India is striving to find its place in global leadership within the box, imaging great power status precisely on the US-Wests lines. Indias fire-power and military ferocity (as claimed in wiping out China and Pakistan in a matter of four hours) is not exactly what will make it a great power. Thinking so is a paralysis of its political mindset inconsistent with the present day needs of the masses all over the world - and particularly so to the majority of the Indian population living below the poverty line. And that is precisely where the problem lies. Consider the seductive psychological treatment meted out to Indias consciousness in the last decade or so. Supposedly, India is in the forefront of a so-called cultural renaissance, jump-started by the US-Wests incessant hail India media-propelled intoxication: After Hollywood, Bollywood is the unquestioned entertainment leader of the world (is film entertainment the opium of the starving poverty-stricken masses of India?) Cricket - yes, India is the world leader (it has turned a gentlemens game into money-making scams truly in the precise image of Mafioso-ism- hasnt it?) And the list goes on of Western capitalisms unholy encroachments on the moral-social-spiritual fibre of the Indian society. Isnt this entire phenomenon of India First Now a part of the manipulative US-Wests political strategy? When seductive pleasure is over, India will certainly get a wake-up call to the harsh realities of its sad existence. For India, the cruel truth is that it has a poverty-stricken disfranchised population. Let us be fair enough in conceding the fact that Pakistan has made a mess of its country in the last six decades and is continuing to do so presently as well. And it is here, in this admission of a factual ground reality, that the crux of my argument lies for Indias future politics: a vitally important reason for Pakistans 60 years of a continued political abyss is in the Pakistani ruling elites love affair with the US. This alliance with the US-Wests global, ideological, military and political objectives and goals has driven Pakistan to its present state. Unfortunately, India is heading in the same direction now with its recently found love affair with the US. This does not mean that America is an evil nation. But it is quite certainly an evil empire. The problem lies fundamentally with the American ideological foundations: Capitalism thrives on the basis of worldwide military conflicts, political domination and economic exploitation of other nations resources as well as subtle control of their political leaderships and elite ruling groups. In modern times, media and psychological manipulations have taken a central role in this process of penetrating in the decision-making structures of Third World countries. It empowers the US-West and thereby to intervene and to influence political outcomes in favour of themselves, as well as benefiting a select group of local elites in several of these nations. Pakistan has been a victim of this exploitive process and now India stands at the verge of falling into the same trap. The angry Indians should understand that once a nation is hooked up to this kind of seductive US-Wests strategy and diplomacy, then there is no exit from this route. It slowly and gradually leads to social disharmony widening gaps between the rich and poor. The masses remain deprived, marginalised and helpless - hypnotised by a scandalous view of greatness seduced by media blitzes and tall grandiose nationalist claims. At the present stage of human civilisation, masses all over the world no more aspire to imperial grandeurs, neither do they identify with the glorious empires. They do not want wars, military conflicts, skyscrapers in urban centres, lofty ideals and claims of unprecedented military power capabilities to wipe out other nations and their innocent people in a matter of minutes. I would assume, and it seems a reasonable supposition, that common Indians, all of them, wish to see an India that would take care of their gloomy and undoubtedly difficult existence, wipe out their deprivations and sufferings of poverty, disease, un-wellness, socio-cultural disorders, sociological disparities and ever-waning hopes of a truly socio-cultural renaissance. I would also assume that the majority of Indians would prefer peace, stability, and prosperity over war, instability and lingering poverty. The US-Wests seduction and ideological romance with India will not deliver any of the above for its masses. Ideological capitalism is simply not compatible with the needs of the present day world and is not able to offer resolutions to the suffering masses problematics. Why doesnt India espouse a visionary dream of a new world order and become an important global player to achieve a political entity for itself as a modern spiritual state that places pre-eminence to the masses welfare above and beyond a notion of a Great Empire? Why doesnt it think of its future as a nation of saints and moral spiritual sagas; a nation of peace - and moral high ground - a neighbour worthy of an emulative model of true human emancipation? After all, in spiritualism, that is how greatness is defined. Isnt it? That is the question I wish to pose to these angry Indians After all, India has the potentials: Wasnt India the champion of the Non-Aligned Movement? Perhaps, these angry Indians never carefully listened to Mahatma Gandhi They certainly didnt It was Mahatma who once said: Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. The writer is an academic, political analyst and conflict-resolution expert. Email:

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