It is a tradition, hoary and venerated, of dividing the people of India along myriad dimensions depending on the motives of those doing the dividing. Taking a cue from the British, past masters of the “Divide and Rule” strategy, the Congress party — Neo-colonialists — greedily embraced the D&R for the same purpose. With a vengeance, they classified and tagged people into various castes and creeds.
The raison d’être of the Indian government appears to be the division of people, I think. For instance, these days you cannot mention rural development without being bombarded with stories of how information technology is being brought into rural India to bridge the oh-so-horrible “digital divide” and how internet kiosks will transform rural India. And what are these kiosks being used for? Admittedly some of the time for communications and for “learning computers” (whatever that means). But these kiosks are most popular for printing astrological charts — that most useful of marriages of idiocy with technology — and e-governance. And what is e-governance, you may ask. It is the printing of “caste certificates.” You get your caste certificate printed and based on that, you get to grab different set of goodies from the government cornucopia.
As an intellectual descendant of Diogenes, the cynic, I see the motives of the governments of India to be what they are: the blatantly odious manipulation of the population by pandering to the basest desires of people to gain advantage over others. Vote bank politics taken to absurd extents that destroy the cohesion so necessary for not just economic growth but social development as well.
The latest outrage of the Congress-led UPA government of Sonia Gandhi is its attempt to divide the Indian armed forces along religious lines. I am so livid with rage that I cannot even think straight, leave alone compose a fitting response. So I will have to lean upon Nitin Pai and let him take it from here. He wrote in The Acorn that there is absolutely no reason to politicise the religious composition of India’s armed forces:
One of the most dangerously irresponsible acts of the India’s Congress party-led government is the setting up of a high-level committee to prepare a report on the demography and ’socio-economic situation’ of Muslims in India. The terms of reference are broad on one hand, and go into specific details on the other. Although the government won’t admit it explicitly, the objective of the entire exercise is to pave the way for reservations for Muslims in education and employment. The manner in which the terms of reference have been framed leaves no doubt as to their intended purpose.
The Acorn has previously argued that Dr Manmohan Singh’s government will be remembered for having entrenched a culture of entitlement that will undermine India’s economy and deepen the divisions of its society without doing anything better for the supposed beneficiaries of the reservation policies. Vote-bank politics, of course, will receive a boost. Not content with having sliced and diced the myriad castes and communities its Hindu population, the Congress party has turned its attention towards India’s Muslims. And lest you ask, all this is by the way of secularism, of which the Congress party is a staunch supporter.
What is absolutely unforgivable is the UPA government’s decision to drag in the armed forces into this web of cynical political calculus. The armed forces are the one place where religious and communal divisions are not institutionalised. As Gen J J Singh, the chief of the Indian army says, “it is not the Army’s philosophy to discriminate or maintain such information. We are equal-opportunity employers. We strive to take people on certain standards after which only merit takes them forward. We do not bother about where they are from, their faith or their language”. There is no reason at all to investigate the ethnic and religious composition of the armed forces, let alone to do this with a view to ensure the ‘adequate representation’ one particular religious group. The Indian government has no grounds at all to question how the armed forces select, appoint or place their personnel based on their religious affiliations. As Gen Singh pointed out, collecting and keeping such data is the thin end of the wedge. Putting such data in the hands of a political class hell-bent on creating pockets of entitlement is a recipe for undermining the morale and the espirit de corps without which armies cannot even begin to fight their wars, let alone win them. And then there are those who want to use such data to make the loyalties of Muslim soldiers the subject of innuendo — there can be nothing more unpardonable than this. And lest you ask, all this too is by way of secularism, to which the UPA government is committed.
The UPA government stinks. And that’s putting it very mildly. There can be nothing but contempt for those who are running India to the ground. [Emphasis added]
Is Dr Manmohan Singh so powerless as to agree to such morally depraved and socially dangerous policies?