A diminished India

Imran Jan July 11, 2024
The writer is a political analyst. Email: imran.jan@gmail.com. Twitter @Imran_Jan


There is an interesting scene in one of Quentin Tarantino’s movies titled Django Unchained. DiCaprio is the white slave owner of Black men, depicting the days of slavery in America. In the scene, DiCaprio is having two Black men fight with each other where victory means the death of the opponent. That is the sort of entertainment white men liked to enjoy back then. The victorious Black man kills his intra-racial fellow and earns a large bottle of some kind of alcoholic drink along with a slave girl for the night. He stands tall and appears physically very strong and grand but very small in terms of respect and dignity.

I described that scene because there is a strong parallel between that scene and how India behaves in global politics nowadays. I had a chance to watch an Indian news channel on YouTube, which for some reason was in English. Some female anchor in her thick Indian accent was talking about news in English. Not only was she describing India in a manner like India was perhaps the most important player on the world political scene but also that India was this badass nation-state that could intimidate others. The show could easily pass for a comedy one but that is not how they had categorized it. Perhaps YouTube’s algorithm should evolve a little.

She was talking about India being this strong and powerful nation that can scare China into changing the latter’s foreign policy. She also said something along the lines where India was so important and aggressive that a global meeting being held soon would be attended by Putin and Xi but only the Indian foreign minister would go and that Modi decided to skip because India had better things to do. Pure comedy.

India is evolving its global posturing toward Russia and China in a quite aggressive manner. But none of this is India’s own policies. Just as Pakistan since its inception believed in borrowed power using alliances with the west, today’s India is using what could rightly be called as borrowed posturing. Russia and China are not India’s enemies as much as India is being told to see them as such. In fact, Russia was quite an ally of India during the Cold War. Even Bollywood in so many movies of Amitabh and others favoured a sympathetic stance toward communism. That, as much as Pakistan and America would have been against, was India’s own organic stance. This current Indian saber rattling at China and Russia are totally synthetic stances made in Washington DC.

If the past is any indication, the US foreign policy goals executed by another state have never served that state. India tries to appear aggressive and tall but in reality has become a proud puppet state of the United States. What is more alarming is that other US puppet states are enlisted by merely enlisting some of the strongmen inside the country. In India’s case, however, the entire nation of 1.6 or so billion people is very welcoming to the daily teachings of the media that somehow being the US puppet state was the most miraculous thing to have happened to this nation. Perhaps that is what they mean by the dark side of democracy. Just like the Black man in that scene described above, India also hates because the hate is manufactured for it by people other than its own. It may like to congratulate itself for signaling aggressive postures to heavyweights such as Russia and China, but it is only causing its own standing to diminish. India has become a textbook puppet state that is not even objecting to it.

Hitler and his followers were quite educated people and they also believed very genuinely that theirs was a just cause and that they were on to a righteous mission.


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