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Ally friend, retainer and a pawn - The Sunday Observer

B N Uniyal ()
June 7-13, 1998

Title: Ally friend, retainer and a pawn
Author: B N Uniyal
Publication: The Sunday Observer
Date: June 7-13, 1998

America sees India as a friend, though not as an ally; China as
an ally, though not as a friend, and Pakistan neither as a friend
nor as an ally but only as a retainer. That is the way it has
long been and that is the way it will long be.

America and India have never been adversaries but they have never
been at ease with each other either. While India has always felt
suspicious of America's real intentions, America has reciprocated
by showing constant distrust of real Indian ambitions. While
India has an along felt that the Americans want to thwart its
efforts to become self-reliant, America has suspected that India
wants to change the world order to America's disadvantage.

The. Indians feel hurt when the Americans run down India and
extol China, when America inflicts sanctions on India for the
bomb but offers China MFN status despite all its bombs and when
America blocks open sale of supercomputers to India but overlooks
clandestine nuclear supplies to Pakistan from China. Similarly,
America feels sore whenever India mobilises developing countries
at international forums to block American efforts to bulldoze its
trade or military measures.

Though this antagonism between India and America as two nation
states began only during Nehru's pro-Soviet socialist era, the
dislike of the two people for each other had begun several
decades. earlier with the publication of Katherine Mayo's Mother
India in 1928. No book ever soured the relations between two
people as did this one. The book made America a hateful word for
every Indian.

Gandhi condemned it as a "gutter inspector's report" as did every
other political and intellectual leader of that generation. Word
went round from the numerous English language reviews of the book
through the vernacular press to every Indian house how an
American woman journalist had sought to abuse, insult and
belittle India. That made every Indian hate America more than he
did the English, notwithstanding the fact that the book was even
then suspected to have been inspired by the British intelligence.
While in India the book was seen as an American journalist's
attempt to build a case against Indian independence, in America
it was used to present the Indians as a weak, brute and
degenerate people.

When after independence, Americans sided with Pakistan over
Kashmir and began blocking India's efforts to industrialise
itself with western help, Indian suspicions of American dubious
intentions were confirmed. Thereafter, the more the Americans
obstructed Nehru, the more pushed he felt towards the Russians
and the closer he got to the Russians, the closer the Americans
moved to China and China to America and both of them to Pakistan.
It did not then take Pakistan long to learn how to use one
against the other to its benefit which suited them both, anyway,
as they could both now use Pakistan as a pawn against India.

Apart from Mother India, one other book which facilitated
creation of this axis was Pearl 8 Buck's Good Earth which came
out in 1937. Whereas Mayo had pictured Indians as obstinate and
undeserving, Buck's novel portrayed the Chinese as deserving and
determined. Thus, while Mayo caused a divide, Buck served to
build a bridge.


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