INDIAN HEGEMONIC DESIGNS AND THE FUTURE OF KASHMIR
1. India’s hegemonic designs have always generated intense academic, intellectual, and strategic interest and controversy. Historically, Indian expansionist psyche can be traced back to the concept of ‘Vishal Bharat’ or Greater India. Since its independence, Indian leaders have exhibited a distinct role consciousness - a deep seated desire to play a central role in the region and in due course assume the status of global power. Of late, the rapid build-up of Indian military muscle along with its ambitious nuclear and missile pursuits is also being viewed as a vindication of the role and status consciousness of India.
2. Most political scientists agree that Indian hegemonic attitudes have left indelible impression on her foreign and security policies. Is India, the land known for Gandhian non-violence and Hinduististic passivity and renunciation, really a hegemonic state? Is Kashmir linked to, or indispensable for realizing Indian hegemonic designs? A hegemonic state would not like to see a piece of land, howsoever disputed this may be, go out of its fold. This makes the search for a solution of the Kashmir issue that much more difficult. Is there, then, a solution of the Kashmir problem that would satisfy India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiri people, and not become a victim of the Indian hegemonic ambitions? I would hypothise that despite heavy odds there is a way out of this grueling impasse.
To explore the basis and manifestations of Indian hegemonic designs, their implications for Pakistan, future of Kashmir issue in this grand design of regional hegemony and proffering recommendations for the resolution of issue.
INDIAN HEGEMONIC DESIGNS
Hinduism preaches a life of passivity; Gandhi ostensibly stood for non-violence. The image of Hindus in general is that of a peace-loving and non-violent people. This has been disputed by scholars like Nirad C. Chaudhry, a renowned Indian writer, who believes that “in reality, however, few human communities have been more war-like and fond of bloodshed”. This facet of Hindu behavior is rooted in a legacy of fear from the invasions of the Subcontinent from the North West starting with the Aryans around four thousand years ago; the Greeks, the Huns, the Mongols, the Afghans, the Persians, the Turks and the Arabs. The last one thousand years witnessed the Muslim invasions. Incidentally, Pakistan thus symbolizes the character and direction of that great Indian fear. This fear generates a serious complex in an Indian, leading him to assume an aggressive posture. Thus in modern India, this complex has led to the generation of one of the biggest war machines of the world. The image of non-violence associated with Hindu India is shattering rapidly.
The Indians are also conscious of the fact that in its recorded history, India has never been a single nation state, and has, instead, always consisted of small and big states mostly at war or in conflict with each other. Not even rulers like Ashoka or Aurangzeb could bring entire Subcontinent under their sway. Only the British united this vast stretch of land through a brutal use of force and a robust administrative and military control. Owing to a wide diversity of race, color, creed, religion, culture and language, the factors that make up a nation, there have always been strong centrifugal forces in India, with no shared bonds of nationhood or oneness. The Sikhs, the Kashmiris, the people of the southern states of India, the Assamese, the Nagas, the Mezos, the Tripurans, have all exhibited strong desire for separateness. The fears generated by inherent and generic divisive pressures have also affected the mindset of Indian leadership and its elite, who are willing to go to any limit to ensure the unity of India. This deep-seated fear of national disintegration also contributes to shaping up the Indian hegemonic designs and...
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