Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
HVK Archives: Preachers must set an example

Preachers must set an example - The Free Press Journal

Virendra Kapoor ()
May 21, 1998

Title: Preachers must set an example
Author: Virendra Kapoor
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: May 21, 1998

One is not surprised at the discordant voices now beginning to be
heard about Pokhran - II. Indeed, their absence would have been
a matter of some concern. The sheer size of India foreclosed the
possibility of her speaking with one voice even on such a
cathartic event as the serial nuclear blasts. But it must have
been heartening for those who had given the green signal to Dr
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Co. to learn that 92 per cent of the
people fully endorsed their extraordinarily bold decision. That
overwhelming popular support for the N-tests effectively knocked
out the utterly specious argument that the Vajpayee Government
with a mere 25 per cent of the vote share in the recent
parliamentary poll had little or no justification to conduct the

Clearly, the well-oiled CTBT lobby in this country needs a quick
primer in the Indian democratic system. For rarely has a
government in New Delhi won the mandate to rule India with 50 per
cent or more of the popular vote. In the first-past-the- winning
post system, what matters is the majority in Parliament.
(Incidentally, one of the most popular US Presidents this
century, John F. Kennedy, was elected on a minority of votes.
Yet, no one questioned his legitimate right to preside over the
fate of all of America.)

In the absence of a better mechanism to determine the will of the
people, the current system which accorded the right to govern the
country to any party or a combination of parties which had proven
majority in the House could not be challenged. Also, the
professional peaceniks would do well to note that the Indian
Constitution made no provision for a referendum on any issue
however momentous it might appear to a group of people. So that
should effectively settle the question. whether or not the
Vajpayee Government had the mandate to commission the tests. It

In any cage, given the disproportionately high exposure the
minuscule anti-Pokhran lobby was getting in the print and
television media, it should in all honesty have no cause to
complain. That the dollar-driven Star News should seek to blow
out of all proportion the so-called public protest the other day
by the CTBT lobbyists and a clutch of foreign - funded NGOs
underlined Murdoch's own hidden agenda. If less than two hundred
protesters, albeit well-heeled, could claim such long footage on
prime-time Murdoch news clearly there was something rotten in
tire news gathering process in a country hovering close to being
a billion-strong. Or may be the fault lay in the greed of
Murdoch's Indian minions who above all else lusted after his
dollars. The daily distortions of Star News should not however
detain us.

For those who packaged the nightly fare had Marxist pretensions
but capitalist goals. They pursued profit with a rare Stalinist

Thus it was that even though the venerable CNN found it right to
inform the world that the decision to order the tests was taken
by the Indian Prime Minister 'two days after Pakistan tested its
Ghauri missiles,' the Star News put a new and an altogether
uncomplimentary spin on these words to inform its unfortunate
viewers that the 'Vajpayee Government took the decision to order
the tests barely three weeks after it was sworn in.' One has to
be really dim-witted not to be able to notice the difference in
the emphasis and import of the above statements purportedly based
on the Press conference of Dr Kalam and his colleague from the
Atomic Energy Commission, Dr R. Chidambaram.

But more ludicrous was the case of those who wanted India to
unilaterally sign the CTBT. Probably, none in that small group
of protesters whom the news-casters of Star TV tried to glorify
as the genuine peaceniks that evening had ever bothered 'to
picket the missions of the five self-avowedly nuclear powers in
the world. How would they? Sonic of those, valiant warriors of
peace opposing the Indian tests felt closer to the Beijing
establishment than the one in New Delhi.

A few among them enjoyed a very profitable membership of the
international seminar circuit arcanely funded by the lone super
power desperate to bludgeon India into signing on the dotted line
on the CTBT. As for the leaders of the CPI(M), they had broken
away from the mother party in the wake of the Chinese aggression
in 1962 and one should not be surprised at their hostility
against the tests. The Marxists found it doubly hard to endorse
the Indian tests even though they were at pains to maintain a
public facade of their neutrality on the issue.

With the panchayat elections in West Bengal approaching, they
could not be seen to be openly opposing the tests. Yet
insidiously they fanned the anti-test propaganda. For, one, they
feared that these would redound to the credit of the BJP-led
Government, and two, these ill-suited the interests of China. It
was alright if China had the nukes. It was alright too if China
alone reserved the right to act as the great hegemony in Asia.
But under no circumstances should India try and arm itself with
nuclear capability so that some day in the near future it could
stand up to the bullying by the Chinese.

It mattered little to the Marxists that China more than the US
had given the wherewithal to India's recalcitrant neighbour
Pakistan to go nuclear. No word of condemnation for the Chinese
was forthcoming from the Communist quarters. Maybe George
Fernandes as a serving Minister of the Indian Union was not
strictly correct in naming China as potentially India's number
one enemy. But there was no gainsaying that more than Pakistan
it is China which posed a greater challenge to peace and security
in the entire region.

After the bitter experience of 1962, no Indian leadership can
afford to ignore the looming Chinese shadow on the nation's
borders. That China aspired to the big daddy status in Asia by
dint of its position on the nuclear high table was undeniable. In
diverse ways it sought to pin down India whether it be through
liberal assistance to Pakistan to enable the latter to
manufacture what it calls the Islamic bomb or through covert help
to the Burmese gun-runners who routinely smuggle in the lethal
arsenal for foreign-inspired insurrections in the North-East.
Despite her claims to the contrary, the fact remained that China
was yet to surrender the gains of the 1962 war. Worse, it had its
gaze set on further 90,000 square kilometres of Indian territory
as was confirmed in a bout of renewed belligerence by the
official Chinese news agency the other day.

India was beset with hostile neighbours in both China and
Pakistan. Not only was China a major nuclear power, it was also
willing to help Pakistan acquire the capability to go fully
nuclear. In these circumstances, it would have been totally
foolish for India to sit on its hands even as its neighbours
equipped themselves with the deadly weapons of mass destruction.
Of course, it couldn't be anyone's case that the acquisition of
the nukes obliged one to use them. No, far from it. Nuclear
weapons acted as a great deterrent. Never once in the long Cold
War did any nation pull the nuclear trigger. The US stopped short
of using them in Vietnam despite her suffering a humiliating
defeat. Nuclear weapons acted is an instrument of peace insofar
as their active use could prove self-destructive.

It is however the possession of nuclear weapons, and not their
actual use, which determines the standing of tire nuclear haves
in the comity of nations. Besides, the bargaining power of the
nuclear powers is enhanced vis-a-vis those who did riot have
them. Neither Russia nor for that matter Britain was a great
economic power. Yet the two wielded enormous influence in the
intercourse between nations essentially because they were
significant nuclear powers.

The breathtaking hypocrisy of those sitting on huge stockpiles of
deadly nuclear weapons is what the peaceniks could have focussed
on inure profitably. Unless the nuclear powers destroyed their
own arsenal of mass destruction, they can claim no right to
prescribe nuclear abstinence to others.

As a nation encircled by hostile neighbours, India at long last
had exercised the sovereign right to challenge this duplicity. A
admittedly, complete disarmament is a laudable goal, but it
cannot be pursued selectively. Those who preach nuclear non-
proliferation ought to give the lead by their example. And those
who rave and rant against Pokhran - If would do well to direct
their shrill cries at the Club of Five. And till such time as the
five nuclear powers possessed the capacity to destroy the world
many times over, none should grudge India a membership of their

It is the balance of mutual destruction that would henceforth
hold the key to relations between India and her hostile

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements