Has ‘Shishupala’ moment for Pakistan finally arrived? Is Pulwama attack the thousandth and final cut before Bharat can slay the monster, at one fell swoop once and for all?
Pakistan has always dreamt to “bleed India with a thousand cuts”. The question is this: Is Pulwama, where over 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were martyred in a fidayeen attack on 14 February, the thousandth cut?
Pulwama Attack: The site where 40 CRPF jawans martyred in Jihadi Attack
“The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain,” vowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Question: Is February 14, Pakistan’s Shishupala moment? Three years ago, former Research and Analysis Wing chief Vikram Sood had advocated that India should stop playing the “good boy” of India in international affairs. Question: Does February 14, mark the end of the idea that India is a peace-loving nation ready to be humiliated, trampled, and killed?
Across the planes of time, space and beyond, on battlefield Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna, after several rounds of attempting to deliver peace, each of which was destined to fail, had advised the reluctant warrior Arjuna, fraught with tamas, to go and fight. Question: Is this India’s rajas moment, a moment when the collective consciousness of a nation comes together and sheds its tamasic mode and embraces the rajasic spirit? Is the new India that is emerging from the ashes and graves of our 40 CRPF warriors, not merely delivering retribution, but is, in fact, one small expression of deeper rajas, expressing itself through rage?
In this picture taken on December 30, 1999, Taliban Islamic militia commandos ride in the rear of a truck towards an aircraft of Indian Airlines hijacked by Islamic Kahsmiri militants which stands on the tarmac at Kandahar airport. A document reported to be from al-Qaeda released on February 5, has hailed the 1999 hijacking of the Indian Airlines aicraft as a ‘successful operation’ from which other guerrillas can learn lessons. The plane was hijacked after it left the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, en route to New Delhi on December 24, 1999, and later landed in the Afghan city of Kandahar
Rajas is a state of being in which one goes out and does things rather than waits for it to be done. It applies to the evolution of individuals, as they generally evolve from a tamasic state to a rajasic one to finally end up in the sattvic state.
Under tamas, men and nations succumb to world-energies, are overborne by them, afflicted, subjected, somehow seek to survive, “to shelter himself in the fortress of an established routine of thought and action in which he feels himself protected from the battle,” wrote Sri Aurobindo. On the other hand, rajasic men and nations fling themselves into battle to slay, conquer, dominate or, helped by a certain measure of the sattvic quality, “make the struggle itself a means of increasing inner mastery, joy, power, possession.” According to Swami Vivekananda, “Tamas is typified as darkness or inactivity; rajas is activity, expressed as attraction or repulsion; and Sattwa is the equilibrium of the two.” Every person, animal or plant, he says, is a mix of these three traits.
As every Indian who has read the Bhagwad Gita knows, so far as the individual goes, the gradation of beings is clear. But as a collective, this principle applies to nations as well. The collective is the spiritual agglomeration of the
individuals. And as the evolution of individual beings, so the spiritual progress of nations. Driven by a strengthened will, India’s transformation follows its spiritual resurgence. In its rise since Independence, India has been on a runway to rajas, as reflected in its culture or the economy, both of which have impacted the world and earned it respect. The missing part of India’s rajas has been on the physical side, in its defence and military policies.
Here, it is the will of the people that has been missing. When people say we need to learn from Israel in dealing with Pakistan, they forget that behind the leaders of Israel stand the people of Israel and their collective will to sacrifice individual preferences, to suffer, even to die, if needed. This creates and supports aggressive rajas of a small nation surrounded by enemy nations. This rajas has been missing in India. Blaming leadership is easy; looking behind them is not.
In the Kandahar incident of December 24, 1999, for instance, it were the cries of the relatives of passengers that soon turned into orchestrated protests outside Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s residence, “with women beating their chests and tearing their clothes”, writes Kanchan Gupta. Vajpayee caved in to the demand to release the terrorists, one of whom, Masood Azhar, is the founder and leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) that has claimed responsibility for the February 14 CRPF terror attack. “Give away Kashmir, give them anything they want, we don’t give a damn,” Gupta quotes a relative as saying. Clearly, India wasn’t ready to sacrifice. Tamas won.
The Kandahar was a work-in-progress in Pakistan using terror as a state policy against India. A decade earlier, on December 8, 1989, less than a week after Mufti Mohammed Syed was appointed Home Minister in Prime Minister VP Singh’s Government, terrorist Ashfaq Majid Wani kidnapped his 23-year-old daughter Rubiya Syed. After several rounds of negotiations, five terrorists were released to free Rubiya. The 122 hours of Rubiya’s captivity, writes With Kashmir, set the tone for the future of terror in Kashmir. “Kashmiris saw India being brought to her knees for the first time.” This time, it wasn’t some average citizens that pushed – it was the Home Minister himself. Again tamas won.
On its part, Pakistan has been clever. Having lost four wars, one each in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999, its army that runs the country, knows it cannot fight India in a conventional war. In war, once the rajas force is unleashed through the military, Pakistan doesn’t stand a chance.
And so, firm in its understanding of the tamas of the Indian people, it created and nourished a terror network that has been wreaking havoc not only in India but across the world, attacking countries from the inside, using Wahabi Islam as a weapon and 72 virgins as their ultimate rewards in Jannat. In all such acts, India has been told by the global community to stand down, from December 13, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament to the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks to the September 18, 2016 attack on the Indian Army’s brigade headquarters at Uri. Pakistan has been right. The world and Bharat’s tamas allowed us to be humiliated, trampled, maimed and killed the rajasic Pakistan.
It wasn’t always so. Five millenniums ago, in the Mahabharata, Sri Krishna had promised to pardon a hundred offences of his cousin Shishupala. At Yudhishthira’s Rajasuya ceremony, when Shishupala crossed the hundredth offence and freed Krishna of his promise, the Sudarshan Chakra beheaded Shishupala with a single stroke. The beheading came within the confines of morality, the needs of justice, and most important, the sanction of Aryavarta. Most kings at the sacrifice spoke not a word. Some swallowed their rage. And some applauded the act.
Supported by China, the Pakistani establishment has been looking for its Shishupala moment, confident that India would do nothing. But now, it seems India’s Krishna moment is here too. Three reasons. Number one: For the first time, except for the pseudo-secular Leftists, the common man across the country stands united behind the government seeking unequivocal retribution; she seems prepared to sacrifice. Number two: for the first time, despite elections being around the corner, most Opposition parties stand behind the government, giving it the political heft it needs to deliver the mortal blow – this reflects the spirit, from tamas to rajas, of the people at large.
Lastly, riding the two pillars above, India seems to be embracing military rajas. It continues to seek peace, failing which it will slay the monster. Unfortunately, in our dealings with Pakistan, this elusive peace has to be painfully extracted out of the jaws of war. And for which, above all, it is the rajasic force that needs to express itself. The time to whine and appeal to a world that ignores our pleas is over. Even the world listens only to rajasic powers, as it did when the WTC’s twin towers went down in the US and the war on terror was globalised in 2001. “Pakistan helped nurture the Taliban,” noted the 9/11 Commission Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The realisation that we are on our own, alone in the reality that global powers will partake of our economic growth but not support us in our fight against terror, has been a reality we have tried learning to live with.
Pulwama has changed all that. Powered by the realisation that our people in the Kashmir Valley have been victims in a larger game of asymmetric warfare of terror, a fight that India will certainly not indulge in, we are ready to make sacrifices – that too is part of the country’s rising rajas.
War will deliver victory no doubt; but it will also inflict pain, physical, economic, psychological. Terrible will be the destruction if Pakistan uses the nuclear option. Our growth, prosperity, economy, well-being will be wiped out for years. The violent transformation into rajas after Pulwama has prepared us for it.
Pakistan will bleed too. Like never before. Soldiers, generals, jihadis, their corner plots, their post-retirement sinecures, its economy, and its terror infrastructure, and the whole she bang. Once India’s rajas force is unleashed, it will be irreversible. It won’t stop with the killings of Hafiz Sayeed or Masood Azhar. It won’t end with the reclamation of Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It will go deeper than that. It may not begin tomorrow or at the end of next year. The rajas force will sustain; it will grow stronger, become wider, climb higher. It will hurt, it will deliver pain.
Despite this, the rajas of India will be different from that of Pakistan’s, which is led by a brutal, regressive Islam. In its evolutionary trajectory, India not only lacks this motivation but does not seek this savage and uncivilised state of being in the first place – to that extent, the rajas of India will be unique. India’s rajasic retribution will be hard, cold and decisive. But we can trust our soldiers not to cross the line of civilised behaviour, a control we have seen them exercise in Kashmir. And even in the act of bombing Balakot, India has gone out of its way to ensure there are no civilian casualties. Balakot has delivered an initial catharsis, but it is only the beginning – India needs to be relentless and not relapse into tamas. If Kandahar, Rubiya Syed, Parliament attack, Mumbai attacks were tamas, Balakot is the beginning of rajas.
Several millenniums ago, this rajas played out in the Rig Veda, when ten kings attacked the kingdom of Trtsu-Bharata together. In the battle that followed, all ten were defeated by king Sudas. This rajas expressed itself in the Mahabharata repeatedly – Arjuna defeating the Kauravas at Virata, or Bhima single-handedly killing all 99 Kauravas, for instance. This rajas waded through blood in 1660, when Baji Prabhu and his 300 men fought an army of 10,000 to protect Shivaji. This rajas powered the battles Rani Lakshmibai fought, it flowed from the guns of Chandrashekhar Azad, it expressed itself in the valour of Bhagat Singh. On rajas rode Mahatma Gandhi, this rajas powered Subhash Chandra Bose.
After years of foreign invasions, first by Mughals and then by the British, the soul of India began to lose its rajasic spirit, declined into tamas or sublimated into sattvic. We aspired and reached the higher wisdom of the sattva in the realm of ideas, economics, social change, civilisational reach, literature. But on the military side, we embraced weakness, dullness, tamas. Otherwise, how is it possible that Pakistan, a country whose GDP is one-eighth of India’s, manage to inflict so many deaths, wreak so much havoc, become the global hub of terror? Yes, Pakistan does carry the cross of Islamic terror, but equally, India is guilty of being swamped by tamas. That is now changing.
The execution of a national rajasic force rajas rests with leaders of nations. The leader is like the head of an arrow. If the arrowhead is blunt, all the will of the people, the force of a billion emotions, the rush of the spirit, and the power of rajas will get blunted. As it has been for the past decades in dealing with Pakistan, a testing time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government – Balakot is only the beginning, as Pakistan prepares to retaliate – we wait to see whether he rides India’s big leap to rajas from tamas. Or caves into tamas and encourages the rogue state of Pakistan into another round of carnage and terrorist killings in India.
(The writer is Vice President at Observer Research Foundation and writes on international and Indian economic and strategic issues. The article was originally published on www.orfonline.org. Link: https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/narendra-modi-must-use-balakot-to-consolidate-indias-rajasic-transformation-48607/)