Jingoistic and Talkative India

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Loud  mouthed boasting of a nation’s strength will by no chance improve  its worth among the world nations. Real worth is when the rest of the  world praises a nation for its performance that was achieved as a  result of humble toil.

The brutal killing  of 18 jawans in Manipur shocked the nation. A swift counter-attack by  the Indian Army brought cheer to the armed forces and people alike.  The Government’s response was a welcome change from the paralysis  of 2001 when the Bangladesh Rifles killed 16 BSF jawans in cold  blood.

Pictures of a  smiling commando team were a hit on social media and representative  videos seen on TV channels. A first-time minister talked about 56  inch chest and another referred to ‘change in mindset’. It was  also said that Indian Army went inside Myanmar territory forcing  their government to issue a denial. Though noteworthy, the current  operation is smaller in scale and success compared to what the 57th  Mountain Division achieved in 1995 during Operation Golden Bird, 38  rebels killed and 118 caught with weapons.

One appreciates the  need for ex-Army men and ministers to pep up the Armed Forces and  share changes in thinking with the nation. However, the widely held  impression is that coverage was overdone. This also gave Pakistani PM  Sharif an opportunity to score points by stating its desire for peace  with India. A country that has made export of terror an instrument of  State Policy is talking peace!

Members of the  Strategic Affairs Community debated the possibility of launching  similar attacks on Pakistan Occupied Kashmir at 9 pm prime time. To  the cynical it seemed like a carefully crafted media event. For the  emotional it was a perfect chance to display patriotism. Some news  channels added to the excitement.

This is not the  first time that the Indian people have gone overboard. Our behaviour  borders at extremes. When a cricket team wins they are praised to the  skies. One season later the captain could see his home stoned for  losing a critical match. Before the onset of monsoons, its lack was  being discussed. The next discussion could well be about ill effects  of excessive rainfall.

Some  pitfalls of recent behaviour

Details  of counter attacks and back room diplomacy manoeuvres need not be a  part of public discourse. Public reaction and external forces might  then make it difficult for neighbouring governments to conduct joint  counter-insurgency operations. India’s adversaries would have got  the message with or without extensive media coverage! India has now  upped the ante with terror groups. Now it is their EGO which could  compel a response.

These  verses from chapter 16 of ‘The  Bhagavad Gita‘  throw light on ill-effects of ego.

Verse  7

The  demoniac know not what to do and what to refrain from; neither  purity, nor right conduct, not truth is found in them.

Verse  16

Bewildered  by many a fancy, entangled in the snares of delusion, addicted to the  gratification of lust, they fall into a foul hell.

When  ego enters the picture, the mind becomes ever unsteady, irrational,  agitated, loses power of judgment and discrimination.

We  can expect a terror attack by Pakistan or North-East groups sooner  than later, not to say that India is incapable of protecting itself.  They will then taunt the Indian government and people just like the  Pakistanis did after they conducted nuclear tests post Pokhran-II.  Speak softly with stick in hand. Also excessive talk puts pressure on  the Armed Forces to succeed every time. The fight with local  insurgency needs to be won without publicly humiliating misguided  Indians. A victory that leaves the other humiliated leaves lifelong  scars of resentment.

Given that most of  our wars including the low-intensity ones were with Pakistan, one can  understand why ex-servicemen want to hit Pakistan back? But can that  be the only reason why sections of the media and people are obsessed  with Pakistan. By constantly comparing ourselves with a country whose  economy and achievements, since independence, are a patch of ours, we  are only belittling ourselves.

India’s biggest  threats, in the 21st century, shall come from the East, North-East  and the seas. Can we think differently? In a deeper sense, such  behaviour reflects a constant craving for recognition. Western  governments have sensed this and play up to the Indian ego by using  words like superpower, economic powerhouse, India overtaking China’s  growth rates. More Indians must visit China for a reality check.

Be it the IC-814  hijacking in 1999, 26/11, Kashmir Valley 2014 or Nepal 2015,  reporting by sections of the electronic media has invariably been  hyper, excitable, hurt local sensibilities and India’s strategic  interests. Self-regulation is the need of the hour.

As a nation can we  work silently, with the faith that we reap what we sow, and let  actions speak for themselves? Remember Vallabhbhai Patel did not give  himself the titles ‘Sardar’ or ‘Iron Man of India’, the  people of India did. The title is a reflection of his contribution,  that defined India’s borders, Karmas in short. A nation  that is confident of its abilities need not shout from the rooftop  and brag about its competence.

The day India truly  arrives, the world will speak to us differently. The humble and aware  will sense the difference. Market your good work by all means.  However, the dividing line between sharing and jingoism is fine. Here  is a example of sharing. 35,000 people did asanas on International  Yoga Day at Rajpath, New Delhi and thousands across the world. This  one day has done more to showcase Yoga  than a million words  could have. It is a subtle message that India is the home of Yoga. No  need to ask the world to thank India for this science.

During the Emergency  school buses were painted, ‘Talk Less Work More’. It worked.  Excessive talk consumes energy and creates misunderstandings. If  politicians talk less they might create less controversy and thus  content for news channels. This might force channels to focus on  producing quality content. India can gain by recalling these words of  Maharishi Aurobindo: “Our first necessity, if India is to survive  and do her appointed work in the world, is that the youth of India  should learn to think — to think on all subjects, to think  independently, fruitfully, going to the heart of things, not stopped  by their surface, free of prejudgments, shearing sophism and  prejudice asunder as with a sharp sword, smiting down obscurantism of  all kinds as with the mace of Bhima. ” India’s Rebirth.

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1. Why post-independent India is at odds with its true nature