Jawaharlal Nehru - “It is not true that we covet Goa. That small bit of territory does not make any difference to this great country India. We do not desire to impose ourselves on the people of Goa against their wishes. It is definitely their responsibility to choose for themselves. We have assured Goans that it is for them to establish their own future and I further assure them on matters such as Religion, Languages and Customs”. - 21st August 1955.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
INDIA AS AN IMPERIALIST COUNTRY By Robert Lindsay, California
I thought US imperialism was bad until I heard about Indian imperialism. India is obviously one of the imperialist countries. Even worse, like the early United Snakes, Zionist Israel, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, it has been conquering and annexing land since the day of its birth. I suppose one could argue that many new nations engage in a “Nation-Building Project” that involves some sort of conquering of other people’s land to annex their lands into the new nation.
However, if we look around the world, we do not see a lot of examples of new imperialist countries engaging in nationalist conquests upon independence.
In the modern era, the examples are not many:
Nazi Germany: Program of conquest, Annexation and Colonization in World War 2.
Imperial Japan: Program of conquest, Annexation and Colonization in World War 2.
Fascist Italy: Program of conquest, Annexation and Colonization in World War 2.
Indonesia (Independence in 1949): Program of conquest and annexation of Aceh, East Timor and part of New Guinea now called Irian Jaya. There was also a project of settling colonized lands with settlers in order to subdue the natives. A number of genocides ensued. This project was led by an openly fascist political party pushing a fascist project called Pangasinan.
Pakistan (Independence in 1947): Attempted to annex Kashmir by force (uncertain if Kashmiris wanted to be annexed by Pakistan). Annexed Balochistan by violence soon afterwards after Balochis voted not to join Pakistan.
Israel (Independence in 1949): Its very birth was created by invasion, conquest, ethnic cleansing and displacement of natives. Colonization of new land by settlers followed. The following years, more and more land was conquered, more natives were thrown off the land, and more settlers were moved onto new conquered land. The project continues to this day.
Russia (newly Independent in 1991): Invaded and conquered Chechnya which declared independence from the new Russian nation. Later invaded other Caucasus republics attempting to break away from the new nation.Annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Armenia: Invaded and conquered part of Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabagh on an uncertain moral basis but strategically because it was full of Armenians. Later conquered “buffer zones” of Azeri territory similar to Israeli “security buffers.”
Georgia: Invaded South Ossetia when South Ossetia refused to join the new country called Georgia.
Morocco: Invaded and conquered Spanish Sahara after the region was decolonized. It then settled the area with 200,000 settlers.
Sudan: Upon independence in 1954, launched a war against South Sudan that continued for decades and killed 2 million people.
Eritrea: Soon after achieving independence in 1991, Eritrea attacked Ethiopia and tried to annex border land. It also attacked Djibouti and tried to annex part of that country.
Ethiopia: After independence, Ethiopia immediately annexed Eritrea. This led to a 30 year war which Eritrea finally won and achieved independence from Ethiopia.
Somalia: The new nation of Somalia attacked Ethiopia in 1977 and attempted to conquer the Ogaden region and annex it to Somalia.
Libya: In 1978, Libya attacked Chad and attempted to annex a strip of land called the Aouzou Strip.
However, India seemingly takes the cake. Soon after independence in 1947, India quickly invaded Hyderabad, Diu, Daman, Goa, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Sikkim, Manipur, Nagaland and Kashmir. All of these places had decided that they did not want to be part of India, but India invaded them anyway. Sikkim was actually a separate country, but India invaded it anyway and annexed the place. Many people died because of India’s imperial conquests. The Manipur and Naga conflict lasted many years and the Kashmiri conflict continues to this day. Many other areas in the Northeast also refused to join India in the beginning and all were attacked sooner or later.
In the midst of this wild imperial conquest spree, apparently India received 100% support from US imperialism. When India attacked China in 1962 for no good reason, US imperialism supported them 100%, apparently as an anti-Communist move against China. India was even supplied with weapons with which to attack the Chinese people.
When you talk to Indians (generally high-caste Indians) one thing you will note is the fanatical nationalism many of them have. Many don’t know their country’s history, but if you recite it to those who know about it, almost 100% of them will support Indian imperialism to the hilt. The average Indian is an ultra-nationalist, a nationalist fanatic. In part this is because the media and the government has been pushing fascist like ultra-nationalism from the early days of the Republic. The number of Indians opposed to this fascist ultra-nationalist and imperialist project must be very small, because you never hear of them.
Of late, radical Indian ultra-nationalism has been married to Hindu fanaticism in the form of Hindutva ideology. This is a marriage of fascist ultra-nationalism and with radical religious fundamentalism. The result has been a potent movement that looks fascist in many respects. This nascent fascist movement has taken high caste and middle class Indians by storm. We should not sit idly by and watch this fascist movement form while we twiddle our toes. Instead we should watch this dangerous movement very closely. It threatens not only India itself but parts of the rest of the world too.