India: The re-assimilation of the Jewel in the Crown of Western Empire*
By Sushant Taing
Founding fathers of the Non-Aligned Movement: From left: Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Sukarno of Indonesia and Josef Broz Tito of Yugoslavia.
I look around my country today and see that India has become a very ‘wannabe white’ (i.e. Anglo-American) society. I guess we can blame that on our history as a British colony. Still, we won independence and then, for a while, ours was an anti-imperialist country, headed by the likes of Nehru, who refused to acknowledge Israel and founded – along with Sukarno, Tito, Nasser and Nkrumah – the anti-imperialist Non-Aligned Movement that represented a united ‘Global South’.
Sadly, things changed after the assassination of our Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in 1984 (whom Nixon and Kissinger really hated). Her son, Rajiv Gandhi, became our next PM, riding on a wave of sympathy following his mother’s assassination. He was married to Antonia Maino, better known as Sonia Gandhi, daughter of an Italian Nazi, and alleged by many to be a CIA agent sent to infiltrate the Gandhi family.
Rajiv Gandhi began cosying up to Ronald Reagan and improving Indo-U.S. relations. In December 1984, one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, the Bhopal Gas Leak, happened. According to many estimates, it went on to kill over 15,000 people while injuring another 50,000. Many thousands more (including those born much later to the victims) have been suffering from various diseases and disabilities.
The Bhopal gas factory was owned by U.S. corporation Union Carbide (later taken over by Dow Chemicals, and which now contributes funds to our two main neo-liberal parties, Congress and BJP). So what did PM Rajiv Gandhi do? Instead of seeing to it that Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson was prosecuted, Rajiv personally escorted Anderson on a flight back home to the U.S. (where Anderson enjoyed a long, prosperous life, until last year, when he died at the age of 94).
Later on, Rajiv Gandhi and many in his coterie lost public support because of their involvement in the Bofors scam, in which they received kickbacks for importing Swedish weapons. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE (Tamil Tigers) militants in 1991, but his protégé Manmohan Singh (future PM from 2004 to 2014), known to have connections in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, was made finance minister of India.
Manmohan Singh destroyed Nehru’s socialism by embracing the famous free-market reforms of 1991. Funny how this happened to the USSR and Yugoslavia at the same time. A few months later, by early 1992, India finally started having diplomatic relations with Israel (and Israel today is India’s largest supplier of defense equipment – after Russia, that is). ‘Thanks’ to those ‘free-market reforms’ of 1991, Western multinationals started coming in from left, right and centre. From having three state-run channels both on TV and radio, suddenly there was a plethora of private TV channels, both from India and overseas.
Because there was no RT or Press TV or CCTV back then, the large majority of English-speaking Indians took a fancy to CNN and the BBC. Because English is the foreign language understood by most here, people also took a fancy to Hollywood movies and TV shows. There were also various multinationals that gave employment to many, the salaries were lucrative, and some also got recruited to work in the West.
And so, US ‘soft power’ succeeded in re-colonizing us Indians (especially the generation born post-1970s). Today, almost all English-speaking Indians consider the US-UK to be ‘bastions’ of ‘Democracy, Equality, Secularism, Free Speech and Human Rights’. Even other poor and working class Indians are in awe of the West. Indians living/working in NATO countries (especially the US, Canada and the UK) are treated as deities over here.
A large majority of Indians supported the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. A substantial number among us back Israel, have no idea how and why the Taliban was created by the British and American security services in cahoots with the Pakistani ISI, and consider ISIS to be a bigger threat than Saudi Arabia and the NATO corporate oligarchy.
People like Nehru are hated by our increasingly right-wing Hindu middle class because he was ‘a socialist’ and ‘secularist’ and wasn’t ‘friends’ with the West. Shakespeare is far more popular than Dostoyevsky, and Dickens is far more popular than Tolstoy. Our secular elite reveres CIA stooges like Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama… because the West venerates them.
We have pathological liars like Arundhati Roy and Pankaj Mishra, who are ‘celebrated’ as dissenters in many Western universities and media organisations for demeaning and maligning India with lies, half-truths colonial clichés. Western puppets like Greenpeace, PETA and Amnesty International are seen as ‘saviours’ and ‘heroes’ by our English-speaking class. A NATO sham like the Nobel Peace Prize is seen as an achievement to be celebrated. Such is the success of the indoctrination of Western corporate media and pop culture on Indian minds.
Last year, we elected (for the first time) a right-wing party i.e. BJP, with an overwhelming majority in our parliament. Our current PM Modi is a right-wing Hindu, an Israel supporter, a neo-liberal, and a big admirer of the US (no wonder he invited Obama to become the first US President to be chief guest at our Republic Day parade on January 26th this year). Modi and his right-wing political party BJP have a lot of backers and sponsors in the US (mainly via the Indian Diaspora).
One good thing PM Modi has done, however, was sign various treaties with President Putin in December last year to ensure that Russia remains India’s primary defence partner. I guess then that another first at this year’s Republic Day parade was Obama becoming the first US President in history to applaud Russian weapons and aircraft.
But today, overall, we in India (among the ‘educated’ classes) are left with basically two kinds of people:
1. Hyper-jingoistic, Muslim- and Christian-hating, and Israel-supporting, right-wing Orthodox Hindus that are mainly from business/corporate backgrounds. Many of them are under the illusion that all advancements in science and technology, as well as art and culture, came from ancient India. They do like the US though, because it is seen as ‘so developed’, is ‘good for business’, and because the US ‘kills Muslims’.
- An Anglicized/Americanized trendy/pseudo-liberal crowd that supports Palestine but also supports the Tibetan movement and various separatist movements in India. Many of them are atheists (Sam Harris and Bill Maher-style atheists). They love propaganda films like Argo, 300 and American Sniper. While they may not be racists or religious bigots, they have very low self-esteem and self-worth. Instead, they are very self-loathing, and look outwards for approval, acknowledgement and redemption from Westerners. They loathe Hindu gurus but the Dalai Lama is a wise sage for them. They hate our current PM Modi for being a right-winger but are charmed, even enchanted by Obama for being the first Black President of a ‘First World Democracy’, having no clue about Obama being a bigger genocidal criminal than both Bushes combined. Speaking of Bush, these liberal Indians do hate him, but they consider the Democrat party of USA to be ‘liberal’ because the Democrats are pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ rights and recognize man-made climate change.
Because most of these ‘trendy’ liberal Indians love CNN, MSNBC, BBC and the New York Times, they are obviously duped into hating President Putin. You see, we are so wannabe Westerners, so we trust the Western media more than our own media. Thanks to these ‘trendy’ liberals, India is still seen as the land of slums, and now – the West’s new label – the ‘Land of Rapists’.
People like me are increasingly becoming a tiny minority here. It’s much better to be Russian or Chinese. But still, I am slightly optimistic about my fellow Indians. I am sure many of us would have smelled the coffee before NATO turns fully hostile against us (which they inevitability will).
Power to the BRICS alliance.