How Should India Deal With Its Greatest Conflict In Foreseeable Future?

India is not just a nation state. It is a civilization in existence for several millennia. It has survived political upheavals, cultural transformations, religious uprisings and social revolutions. Historically, nothing has posed a great threat to its existence than the often violent pan-Islamic ambitions. In foreseeable future too, that remains the biggest threat it will have to deal with.
How Should India Deal with its Greatest Conflict in Foreseeable Future?
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The Most Important Cause of Concern in India: Communalism

The struggle between the values of peaceful co-existence among people of different faiths, which lies at the core of Indian civilization and the ever rising ambitions of pan-Islamic nationalists, is going to be the single most important conflict in India. While the Indian civilization puts maximum premium on preserving life, irrespective of faith and belief, it is facing an adversary which is willing to sacrifice any number of Muslim and non-Muslim lives for its cause.

It is a problem that has a long history. But its immediate precipitants are political agents. The legacy

lies in the communal violence that was precipitated by Muslim League at the time of India’s independence facilitated by a wilful indifference of British Rulers, who were leaving the sub-continent. Its more immediate precipitant has been the petro-dollar facilitated spread of Wahabo-Salafi intolerance that feeds on innocent minds, and devours them with masks of religion, in the name of community!

One must note, however, the India is not the only country facing this threat. In fact, India, with largest population of Muslims in the world, has probably been able to deal with challenge, like no country, developed or developing, has been able to deal with it till now.

Yet, this must be considered the greatest conflict that India faces, for the simple reason that it involves the peace and security of all its people, not only today, but for several coming generations in foreseeable future.

The Two underlying Factors

For those conversant with India and its historical legacy over the last twelve centuries, there are two factors that remain central to this conflict. The interaction of these two factors and their legacy in Indian psyche will have a crucial role to play in this war for the dominance of people's minds that this ancient civilization will have to face with the rising force of pan-Islamic nationalism, financed by petro-dollars and aided by short sighted support from different global powers as part of their own tactics.

Predominance of Civilization in India over narrow National and Communal Identities

First of these two factors is that India remains a civilization first and a political nation state later. One of the most ancient civilizations, India has seen constant change of political boundaries, rulers, dynasties, monarchies, colonialism and now democracy over the last few thousand years. Unlike most other civilizations of the world, the accumulated experience of these millennia has become part of the Indian psyche. This is one of the reasons why state and its affairs come secondary to the people when compared to the welfare of the society.

Indian Civilization as a Barrier to Pan-Islamic Ambitions

The second factor is that India, as a civilization, is facing a long standing struggle with Islamic nationalism since last one thousand years. This long standing struggle has been fought not in the battle-fields, but in the minds of people, and till the advent of twentieth century, Indian civilization has generally had the ascendance and the upper hand. In the struggle between being a civilized Indian and being a pan Islamic nationalist, the civilization usually prevailed. In fact, the greatest Indian ruler, Akbar the great, who himself was a Muslim, married a Hindu princess, who never converted and followed her own faith. Akbar, even proposed a new sect, called ‘DIN-E-ILAHI’, which was the antithesis of fundamentalism, accepted all humans as children of the same god and members of the same human family, and allowed every member to follow his religious faith, while combining features of different religious practices.

A Millennium of Interaction between India and Islam, Indian Muslims & Sufism

Operating together, these two factors had scripted a strange chapter of Indian history, where in, for almost a thousand years, many of the rulers in different parts of India were Muslims who followed and practiced Indian values of tolerance, did not differentiate between people of different faiths and hence were accepted by all. For all practical purposes, they had become Indians and merged in its civilization. At many places, there was also a fusion of faiths that gave rise to new religious streams like SUFISM, a stream of Islam that did not differentiate between those who followed Islam and those who did not, while adapting many practices of Hindu devotion.

Rise of Pan-Islamism in 20th Century & the Petrodollars

This state of Indian Islam persisted till the early twentieth century, when with increasing globalization, there was a renewed influence of Middle Eastern culture that resulted from rising contacts of Indian Muslims with Middle Eastern Islamic pan-nationalists, who saw India as a territory to conquer in their quest for global dominance. Around that same time, there were two more developments that heralded a new era of Islamic confrontation in the sub-continent. First was the British policy of divide-and-rule which was instrumental in bringing the minority Islamic fundamentalists to the centre of pre-independent Indian politics, in order to dilute the

position of Indian national Congress lead by Gandhi which was demanding independence. The second was the rise of petro-dollar influence that provided a cheap way for Oil owners in the Middle East to buy loyalty of poor Muslim peasants and labour to the Middle Eastern culture in the name of Islam.

 The rising acceptance of Islamic fundamentalism which came as a part of a very strong and often violent pan-Islamic nationalism was and still continues to be fuelled by petro-dollar empires. Unfortunately, it has also been used for their own purposes by different global powers from time to time.

The Global Events and their Impact on India

In pre-independent India, it was the British support to Muslim League, which allowed not only partition of India but also the massacres of millions during it, a phenomenon for which they had conveniently escaped the blame. Later, it was the policies governed by cold war climate that ensured that Pakistan was used as a platform and conduit to contain India, which was often seen as an ally of Soviet Union. Finally it was the struggle in Afghanistan, where many major powers came together to hype pan-Islamic violence as a means of fighting the Communist bloc. The creation of Taliban, the evolution of Bin Laden as a centre-point of pan-Islamic nationalism, and the development of terrorist and ambush tactics as its way of waging a war, were developments that took place in this very period.

As a result of all these, the monster of Islamic terrorist network has been created in the backyard of India, with tentacles spread over the whole global community. The Frankenstein monster has now grown large enough to stake claims for global dominance, and India is one of its first and supposedly softest targets.

What happened in Mumbai a few years back, was just another of its ventures, only difference being that it was conducted in a manner that allowed the TV channels a chance to keep focus on it for almost 48 hours at a stretch, and thereby allowed it to get registered in the global conscience. It was another of the various incidents of war that the Islamic terror network has been waging against the rest of the world.

The Real War is in the Minds

While Mumbai brought a lot of focus on military security, the real war has largely been ignored. The actual struggle is not between guns and people. The actual war is for dominating the minds of people. Pan-Islamic nationalism seeks to create political dominance by using people as destructive instruments in the name of Islam. In other words, it is a political struggle that uses religion as a tool for creating self-destructing soldiers in its struggle with the rest of the world.

India is probably the most important battleground of this war, because of many factors - a sizeable population of Muslims who are still largely peaceful, and who are still a part of Indian civilization and its value system of tolerance and peace. While ten brainwashed 'martyrs' can create havoc in the financial capital of India, ironically they also served to bring to the fore, for the first time in the history of Islamic terror , an open protest by Indian Muslim community, which deplored the attacks and called them 'un-Islamic'. It is here, that the Indian civilization seems to be gaining the upper hand once again.

If Indian values of peaceful co-existence between all religious communities and keeping real politic separate from individual beliefs and religion are able to withstand the onslaught of pan-Islamic nationalism and its use of terror as a tactic, then the rest of the world will find it far easier to tackle terror. If the Indian civilization fails, the rest of the world has a huge task at their hand. With nearly half a billion Muslims living in the Indian sub-continent, what they decide to do is going to be the single most crucial aspect for the future of pan-Islamic ambitions.

The struggle between Indian civilization's values and the ambitions of pan-Islamic nationalism is the single greatest conflict that India faces today and in near future. How it copes with this challenge may have an everlasting impact on the history of the world.

It will also decide the India-Pakistan conflict, as well as the fate of the people of the sub-continent!

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