No war, let's heal the subcontinent
If the goal is to smoke out the mouse, it is no good policy to burn the house. Since war begins in the minds of men, peace must be sought and grounded in the soul of men.
"SINCE wars begin in the minds of men," so runs the historic UNESCO Preamble, "It is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed." Wars erupt out when the minds of men are enflamed, when human mind is blinded and wounded, succumbs to frustration and self-negation. War is the transference of this self-negation into the other-negation. The three Indo-Pak wars and the persisting will to terrorise have emanated from this savage instinct of other-negation that is the legacy of the partition carnage and its still-bleeding and unhealed wound.
Truncated from its eastern wing in 1971, Pakistan ever since has suffered from a sense of total existential self-negation. Plus the scars left by the two previously lost wars to India and Kargil fill the Army and the Pakistan psyche with a seething urge to revenge that India has to be negated, destroyed in a deep psychological sense, another Hiroshima in the subcontinent is imaginable and possible. Terrorism in Kashmir springs from such deep negating existential grounds. Like the former Soviet Union, Pakistan came into being as a result of a grand delusion and massive perversion of reality the so called two-nation theory. Like the former Soviet Union, it stands in danger of crumbling unless it modifies its reality perception and comes to terms with its post-Bangladesh identity within in the prevailing subcontinental equation. Failing this, Pakistan is bound to break up nudging the region to a nuclear nightmare, including possible South Asian Hiroshimas.
With `hot pursuits' and `surgical operations' freely making rounds among the policy elite and the public at large, the national atmosphere looks ominously charged. "On the brink," headlines The Week (Jan. 6) adding, "As men and machines are quickly positioned by India and Pakistan, the threat of war looms real." To which Gen. Musharraf counters, "If any war is thrust on Pakistan, Pakistan's armed forces and the 140 million people of Pakistan are fully prepared to face all consequences with all their might." According to Indian Express, "Pakistan has deployed medium range ballistic missile batteries (MRBBs) along the Line of Control (LoC) near Jammu and Poonch sectors in an action that will further escalate the tension between the two countries." And India's Defence Minister ups the ante, "We could take a (nuclear) strike, survive and then hit back, Pakistan would be finished." (Hindustan Times, December 30, 2001). Mr. Fernandes's formulation is certainly a tactical super shot, even a strategical super hit inasmuch as this is the very logic of India's `No-first-strike' doctrine. The Defence Minister obviously has no idea of the ethical, phenomenological implications of abandoning chunks of the Indian population to ransom for potential Hiroshimas and then `finishing' the neighbouring country of 140 million in what could be nothing short of an Armageddon. Forget these horrendous scenarios. But does this not repudiate the grain of truth for which India's civilisation stood for and vindicated across the untold millennia of its history? Yet, Mr. Fernandes, the pacifist and Gandhian, is no warmonger. As Defence Minister he had to reach at a level the Pakistanis, with their proclivity to drop the nuclear speak whenever that suited them, could have registered the message.
If the goal is to smoke out the mouse, it is no good policy to burn the house. Since war begins in the minds of men, peace must be sought and grounded in the soul of men. When peace is thus grounded at the deeper level of the soul a stadium in human historical evolution is reached at which competitive security and sovereignty become cooperative security and cooperative sovereignty in a no-war zone. European Union is the shining example. And since the EU model is extendable and applicable to all other world regions/geopolitical sub-systems, we could even visualise a globally inter-linked no-war zone, which indeed is a post-nuclear `Millennial Global Peace Order'. If this postulate could be applied to the ongoing U.N. Security Council reform process, we will then have an absolutely foolproof `no-war world' in decades.
This is no utopian idealism; this has already happened across the East-West axis of geopolitics, i.e. over the entire northern hemisphere of the planet, the North. It of course began as deathly cold war superpower confrontations, reminiscent only of today's Indo-Pak confrontation. The Berlin Blockade (1949), the Korean War (1951-52), building of the Berlin Wall (1961), the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), the Vietnam War, could all have shored out into World War III and nuclear inferno, but they were all contained and kept below the nuclear threshold. Russia is today living at peace with its neighbours, with Europe, with America and the entire world, and is in fact today on the way to joining a common NATO security system. The North has virtually become a `con-federated no-war zone' of the dollar, euro, rouble, yen, yuan blocs heralding the Global Age. When the South also emerges as partner to this Global Age, which is inevitable and only a matter of time, we will have a post nuclear Global Peace Order and the post-nuclear civilisational epoch, truly consummating God's plan for earth and humanity.
The South is the traditional colonial belt, the equatorial hunger belt, the epicentre of world's already exploding population, the would be catchment base of 95 per cent of the projected near doubling of human species in the Twentyfirst century. Inasmuch as the lion's share of the planet's wealth and resources remain concentrated within the hands of an over-aging and ever-decreasing population of the North, the North feels threatened by the growing southern human avalanche. Thus North wants amputation of this `cancerous growth' and safeguards itself by building up NMDs (national missile defence systems) and BMDs (ballistic missile defence) as the Bush administration is at present pioneering on an emergency basis.
We cannot ensure enduring global peace and human survival in the atmosphere of the nuclear and missile race in the subcontinent, in our Asian neighbourhood, above all in a world that has abrogated the CTBT and now also the ABM Treaty. We have to move the Twentyfirst century for a great healing work a far reaching North-South healing, an Indo-Pakistani healing, an Arab-Israeli healing, the healing of the divided Koreas, the healing of this very uprooted and over-heating planet of ours. When Europe's partition was healed, Europe nay the entire North became a no-war zone. This could happen to the subcontinent when we heal our partition wound. The planet will then be healed. The millennial peace and `no-war world' is definite.
New Kashmir approach
Pakistan can be redeemed alone in an existential affirmation. In a deep psychological sense this must come from India and from the entire international community. We propose a 2+5 Kashmir Commission in a combination of the Camp David, Oslo, Radcliffe models pointing to a Helsinki process in Asia (a Conference of Security and Cooperation in Asia, CSCA). We uphold the vision of a South Asian Home, parallel to the European Home, bringing about eventually a `Con-federative Remaking of the United Nations' on the foundations not of confronting armies and competitive nuclear doctrines but of Human Unity, the truly realisable psychological unity of the human race as Sri Aurobindo saw. Thus we shall, and we ought to, rewrite the UNESCO preamble thus: "War begins in the minds of men, so it shall be terminated by the minds of men converging as/in the nondual human soul."
V.T. PATIL & SRI ASIANANDA
Vice Chancellor, Pondicherry University
Professor of Philosophy, IOU (Netherlands)
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