Tibet isn't Kashmir (Pioneer, April 8, 2008)
[ In Tibet, Communism is wiping out an Indic faith, Tibetan Buddhism. In Jammu & Kashmir, Islam is wiping out another Indic faith, Hinduism. But any comparison between the two situations is erroneous and entirely out of place ]
There has lately been a slew of articles and editorials in India's English-language media about China's inhuman genocide and reign of terror in Tibet. Some of these supported the state-perpetrated terrorism against oppressed Tibetans.
The media is merely reflecting the failings of the self-proclaimed 'intelligentsia' in India. Their discourse is so distorted that what would be considered lunatic-fringe Leftist in the real world is considered 'centrist' in India. A true centrist would be, and is, deemed a lunatic-fringe Right-winger, and is instantly demonised as a fascist and Nazi. (COMMENT: For an 'exposition' on this please read (late) Shri Sita Ram Goel's "Perversion of India's Political Parlance" - Voice of India - New Delhi-110002)
Therefore, the usual perorations of the media can be taken with a large pinch of salt. A number of them support the Chinese, either out of an exaggerated sense of awe about China, or out of loyalty built up through boondoggle Potemkin trips or cold, hard cash.
But they attempt to intimidate people with a logical fallacy: They suggest that Indians have no right to comment on someone else violating human rights. Wrong. The fact that the Indian Government may be violating human rights somewhere does not preclude any Indian individual from commenting on, or condemning, what the Chinese are doing. Evil has to be resisted.
Here are a couple of apt quotations: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing," attributed to Edmund Burke, a Briton.
"First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me," attributed to Martin Niemoller, a German, speaking about the Nazis.
Therefore, it is proper for anyone to speak out against gross human rights violations. Those who use rhetorical devices to try and shut people up are bullying and censoring others. They should be ignored and laughed at.
But I found something a little more outrageous in the perspectives of a few China hands, including the editor of a newspaper infamous for reprinting Xinhua propaganda verbatim,( COMMENT: "THE PEOPLE'S DAILY OF CHENNAI"!!) and a retired diplomat. These worthies made the assertion that India must not say anything about Tibet because Tibet is just like Jammu & Kashmir. This merits attention. In fact, they are right, amazingly enough, although for entirely the wrong reasons. Consider the analogies:
In Tibet, a bunch of outsiders, Han Chinese, invaded and are oppressing local Tibetans. In Jammu & Kashmir, a bunch of outsiders, Muslims, invaded and oppress local Hindus.
In Tibet, Han Chinese are murdering and ethnically cleansing Tibetans. In Kashmir, Muslims have been murdering and ethnically cleansing Hindus.
In Tibet, Han Chinese are practising civilisational genocide. In Jammu & Kashmir, Muslims are practising civilisational genocide.
In Tibet, Communism is wiping out an Indic faith (Tibetan Buddhism). In Jammu & Kashmir, Islam is wiping out an Indic faith (Hinduism). Therefore, nobody is bothered, as it is the defined job of Indic faiths to be wiped out by Semitic faiths.
With these parallels, there is an exact match between Tibet and Jammu & Kashmir. The media mavens are absolutely right. And just as the Congress Government stood by and watched the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Hindus in Jammu & Kashmir, the UPA Government will stand by and watch the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Tibetans in Tibet. Therefore, on five points out of five, the match is perfect.
There is one difference. Tibetan Buddhism was created in the first place by the few monks who fled Nalanda with their lives when Muslim invader Bakhtiar Khilji burned the university to the ground circa 1192 AD (which in itself was a crime against humanity because of the knowledge lost), and beheaded every one of the Buddhist monks he found. Hinduism, specifically Kashmir Shaivism, on the other hand, was the faith of the region from times immemorial.
Ironically, the job was started by Bakhtiar Khilji is being completed by the Han Chinese. This is another example of the Communist/Han-Muslim axis, also seen in the AQ Khan Nuclear Wal-Mart. It appears Communists are irresistibly drawn to Muslims (although the reverse is not true: The latter liquidate the 'godless' Communists as soon as they cease to be 'useful idiots'). There is an 'understanding' between China and Pakistan to keep the lid on Uighur nationalism and separatism.
It is amazing that when it comes to Chinese oppression of Muslim Uighurs, Pakistan somehow forgets that it is the owner of the "Islamic Bomb". That, of course, may be because Pakistan's Bomb is in fact a screwdriver job supplied by China.
Similarly, I look forward to my favourite media mavens' dilemma when China starts to beat up on Uighurs, who, allegedly, are plotting terrorist attacks the Olympics. Who will said mavens support - Hans or Uighurs, Communists or Muslims? Surely they'll support the hand that feeds them.
The proper solution to both the Kashmir and Tibet problems is the same: The perpetrators of oppression must be made to realise in no uncertain terms that you cannot get away with ethnic cleansing and genocide. Therefore, it must be made clear to Muslims that India will never relinquish Jammu & Kashmir. Similarly, it must be made clear to the Han Chinese that they will never be able to extinguish the spirit of the Tibetans.
Today, the Chinese look impregnable, and they are using the 2008 Olympics as a coming-out party, just as Japan and Korea did with theirs. But there is a difference: Those nations were not oppressive empires at the time, just as India is not. Democracy has a way of dealing with conflict, which is not available to imperialists. It is quite possible that this is in fact the zenith of the Han empire, and that it is downhill from here on.
Let us remember that the historic independent nation of Tibet, which includes the Amdo and Kham regions, accounts for fully one-third of the land-mass controlled by the Han Chinese today. In fact, 60 per cent of that entire land-mass is land that belongs to ethnic minorities. Han Chinese control could collapse, just as the Soviet Union's Russian domination collapsed.
There are a couple of interesting historical parallels. In 1936, at the height of the self-glorification of the Nazi state, the Berlin Olympics were held. But in 10 years, Nazism was dead and buried. In 1984, the Moscow Olympics were held when the Soviet Union looked like an invulnerable empire. In seven years, that empire imploded suddenly. In 2008, when the Han Chinese look, in turn, like masters of the universe, brutalising others like Manchurians, Mongols, Uighurs and Tibetans. It will be interesting to see where they will be in 10 years.
That is another way in which Tibet and Jammu & Kashmir differ: Tibet may well lead to the unraveling of the Han Communist empire, while Jammu & Kashmir is not going to affect the fabric of the Indian nation.