Category Archives: Sikkim

India, the land of refuge

India, the land of refuge

It is common for India’s enemies — whether outsiders or, unfortunately, Indians themselves — to harp on the “rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India” (while mentioning Muslim fundamentalism in passing) and the growing intolerance of “fanatical” Hindu movements (the RSS, VHP, and the Bajrang Dal) towards India’s minorities. This has become an accepted proposition among the India specialists, historians, and foreign correspondents.

Yet, everyone seems to forget that, for thousands of years, India has been the land of refuge for all persecuted minorities of the world, whether the Jews after the sack of their temple in Jerusalem, Arab merchants, Parsis from Persia, Syrian Christians, Armenians, or the early Sri Lankan Tamils fleeing Sinhalese persecution.

Nobody mentions that not only is this tolerance a Hindu tradition, because Hinduism has always accepted the divinity of other Gods, but also that, in return for their goodness, Hindus have been for 2,000 years the target of innumerable persecutions, whether at the hands of Christians (the Portuguese, for instance, who razed temples and crucified Brahmins in Goa) or, of course, Muslim invaders (like Timur who, in 1399, is said to have killed 100,000 Hindus in a single day).

And which religion in the world can boast not only of never having invaded another nation to impose its faith upon its inhabitants, but also never tried to convert anybody, even by peaceful means (as the Buddhists did)?

Today, India is still a land of refuge. Witness the Tibetans, persecuted by the Chinese, who have been able to recreate on Indian soil a mini-Tibet (in Dharamsala and other places), where they enjoy full freedom and even the right to travel abroad with Indian documents. Today, almost the whole worldknows that, from 1950 onwards, when the Chinese invaded Tibet, 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed, either directly (through shooting, death squads and torture) or indirectly (in concentration camps, prisons, and famines). As many as 6,254 monasteries, most of them ancient, have been razed to the ground.

Sixty per cent of religious, historical and cultural archives have been destroyed. A quarter million Chinese troops are occupying Tibet. One Tibetan out of 10 is still in jail. There are today in Tibet 7.5 million Chinese settlers for six million Tibetans — in many places such as the capital, Lhasa, Tibetans are outnumbered two to one. Yet, the western world is so wary of China, where they have invested huge amounts of money, that they keep being blackmailed by Beijing and very few world leaders dare to receive openly the Dalai Lama, the living symbol of Tibet’s non-violent resistance to Chinese holocaust.

Recently, India upheld this tradition of granting asylum, when it allowed the Karmapa, third in the Tibetan spiritual hierarchy, to stay in India, after he fled occupied Tibet. Initially, there was some suspicion that Karmapa might have been sent by the Chinese to sow disorder amongst Tibetan refugees, as there was another boy who claimed to be the Karmapa (he lives inFrance).

But the Dalai Lama, whom the Indian Government trusts, has vouched for the boy’s integrity and the 14-year-old Karmapa himself, mature beyond his years, has told many (including this writer) that he fled Tibet “because he felt that he would be more and more used by the Chinese for propaganda purposes and because he refused to make statements against the Dalai Lama, asthe Chinese wanted him to”. For the moment, the boy is more or less confined to a small monastery near Dharamsala, but is eager to settle in the Rumtek monastery of Sikkim, the traditional seat of the exiled karmapas. The Indian Government is hesitant to let him go there, as it does not want to offend theChinese, when border talks are on and the President is in China.

But it should not be hesitant. For, the history of India-China relations since 1947 shows that it is always India which has shown goodwill towards the Chinese and always the Chinese who pretended goodwill while stabbing India in the back. Nehru’s policy of `Hindi-Chini-bhai-bhai’ was a disaster: China attacked India by surprise in 1962 and took away 20,000 square kms of its territory.

Today, China has transferred one-third of its nuclear arsenal to Nagchuka, 250 kms away from Lhassa, a region full of huge caves which the Chinese have linked together by an intricate underground network and where they have installed, according to US estimates, 90 intermediate-range intercontinental ballistic missiles. Tibet is of a great strategic military importance to China as, being on a high plateau, it overlooks Russia and India. But Russia is no more a danger to China. Thus it is towards North Indian cities that most of the nuclear missiles are pointed!

By letting the Karmapa settle in Rumtek, India will show that Sikkim is an integral part of its territory and that the Chinese should forget about its territorial claim on Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. India should have learnt by now that the only way to deal with China is firmness. India should also help Tibet to regain its freedom, because as the Dalai Lama has often pointed out, a free demilitarised and denuclearised Tibet would be the idealbuffer zone between the two giants of Asia: India and China. 

Why must India kow-tow to China?

April 18, 2008
For 60 years, China has humiliated India at every step. It betrayed Jawaharlal Nehru’s naive trust in a Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai friendship. It treacherously attacked India from Tibet [Images] which Nehru had implicitly left to the Chinese, humiliating the Indian army which would take decades to recover.

It directly or indirectly encouraged separatist movements in the Northeast; it used Nepal as a front State against India; it armed, and worst of all, gave the nuclear bomb to Pakistan, a crime against humanity.

Today it is still sitting on a million square metres in Aksai Chin (supposedly given to Pakistan), which rightfully belongs to India; it claims Arunachal Pradesh, and sometimes Sikkim, does regular incursions into Indian territory and is still busy encircling India in Burma.

The Chinese despise Indians, witness how they summoned the Indian ambassador at 2 am in the morning as if she was some lower hireling.

Indian leaders are also perfectly aware that the Chinese, in a span of fifty years, have killed 1.2 million Tibetans, razed to the ground 6,254 monasteries, destroyed 60 per cent of religious, historical and cultural archives and that one Tibetan out of ten is still in jail.

As we have entered the Third Millennium, a quarter million Chinese troops are occupying Tibet and there are 7.5 million Chinese settlers for six million Tibetans — in fact, in many places such as the capital, Lhasa, Tibetans are outnumbered two to one…

India has also to wake up to the plain fact that China needs space and has hegemonic aspirations: It got Tibet, it got Hong Kong, it got part of Ladakh; now it wants Taiwan, Arunachal Pradesh, the Spratly islands and what not!

Fifty years ago, during the Korean war, Sri Aurobindo, had seen clearly in the Chinese game: ‘the first move in the Chinese Communist plan of campaign is to dominate and take possession first of these northern parts and then of South East Asia as a preliminary to their manoeuvres with regard to the rest of the continent in passing Tibet as a gate opening to India.’

And magically, for once, India had a chance to get back at China without appearing to do so. It would have been easy to have a little less security for the Olympic torch and let the Tibetans express their anger and resentment in a way that would have once more been flashed all over the world.

Yet, India did exactly the opposite: It went overboard to please the Chinese, giving more security to this sham that was the Olympic relay in New Delhi than it does for Republic Day.

Did anybody see the utter farcical absurdity of this flame, which slept in a five star hotel, had to be guarded by 17,000 security men and ran without spectators, creating unheard off problems for the poor citizen caught in traffic jams?

Is there any peace, is there any sporting and Olympic spirit in such a flame which has become the symbol of Chinese repression, arrogance and thirst for domination in Asia?

Tibet is so important for India: It has always acted as a peaceful, non-violent buffer zone between the two giants of Asia: China and India. And the Dalai Lama [Images] wants it even more peaceful: A demilitarised, denuclearised harmony region.

But it’s exactly the opposite which has happened: According to the CIA, China has transferred one third of its nuclear arsenal to Nagchuka, 250 kms away from Lhasa, a region full of huge caves, which the Chinese have linked together by an intricate underground network and installed nearly 100 intercontinental ballistic missiles, many of them pointed at Indian cities.

The reason for this is that the Chinese, who are probably among the most intelligent people in the world, have always understood that India is their number one potential enemy in Asia — in military, nuclear and economic terms.

Today India is encircled by hostile neighbours, from Pakistan to Bangladesh, from Chinese-occupied Tibet, to a Maoist Nepal.

Never has India faced a darker hour whatever gurus say. Never has she faced so many enemies at the same time — and truly China is one of the most dangerous ones. Yet India always bends backwards to please the Chinese.

Why is that so? Because the Indian intelligentsia, the secular politicians, the journalists, top bureaucrats, are the descendants of these Brown Sahibs, created by Macaulay more than 250 years ago.

The man who thought that all the historical information which can be collected from all the books which have been written in the Sanskrit language, is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgement used at preparatory schools in England [Images], wished to make of Indians a darker version of the British. He has been immensely successful and has created a nation with a colonised mind.

Many of India’s politicians, bureaucrats and journalists are always aping the West, or are always worrying about what the West thinks of them. They never think Indian, they have no idea about India’s great culture, philosophy and spirituality. Very few have read the Bhagavad Gita, or understood that it encourages yoga in action and that sometimes it is important to defend one’s country, culture and borders, by force if necessary.

They are no match for the Chinese, who are proud of themselves and their nation and will use any means, open and covert, legal and foul, to foster their dream of a Greater China. The Olympics [Images] are just such a tool for them.

Francois Gautier