Politics in Western European countries these days is hopelessly divided and poisonously partisan. However, under no circumstances, is it advisable to resort to an ad hominem response to populist politics. It often backfires.
First, constant criticism of Donald Trump as a person, instead of expanding the debate and discussion on policy-related matters, seems biased to observers of politics, who are not even sympathetic to Trump’s views. Why has the Trump administration decided to rely more on Saudi Arabia and less on a Turkey, even though Turkey is a member of NATO? This and many such questions need more coverage than the constant smear campaign against the Trump administration. After all, there are many things that his political base views as positive, and on the contrary, there are policy-oriented issues raised by democrats that need scrutiny. For example, it is pertinent to ask why Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, wants to break up major tech firms such as Facebook. What about the advantage that Facebook offers and would that benefit USA or China?
A second example can be given from U.K. where the unsolvable Brexit dilemma has resulted in overemphasis on Boris Johnson’s hair style instead of staying focused on the stark choices facing the British society.
Donald Trump stays remarkably popular despite attempts to ridicule him and his political base. His base is still loyal to him and according to recent polls, his popularity is likely to remain more or less stable till the 2020 elections. Trump’s approval among his loyal supporters jumped to 49 percent, its highest mark this year. The nationwide survey was conducted on Sept. 28 and 29, less than a week after House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry. These are domestic issues. When it comes to coverage of foreign policy and and international relations, the credibility of especially the British media, which has enjoyed a status as unbiased, is also found dilapidated. BBC is now jokingly referred to as Biased Broadcasting Corporation because of its biased and neocolonial coverage of the abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir. They constantly invite guests who are left-leaning liberals, unable to understand the quagmire of nuclear brinkmanship played by Pakistan. Even other Muslim countries have stopped paying attention to the Pakistani tribal dance of nuclear threat, but not Britain.
Britain’s credibility as a nation is threatened by the never-ending Brexit melodrama, while the British media like The Guardian and BBC are still acting as if they were spokespersons for their colonial masters. Their inability to understand the geopolitical changes taking place in South Asia has created a vacuum and need of an unbiased media channel in Europe, which can give an unbiased report on the region.
India is itself to blame for its treatment. Instead of putting all its eggs in the British basket, we could have easily bifurcated our attention to other European countries and established stronger ties with them. The dynamics of European politics is experiencing a tectonic shift and India’s fixation on U.K., politically speaking, can be compared to the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Let’s give the British news media a break and let them realize that they are no longer the colonial masters who are invited to interfere in India’s internal matters.
The Anti-India, Anti-Sikh Bigotry of the BBC
Sikhs are nothing if not a race of people who stood up to defy the brutality and intolerance of Islam. Now 21 st century political correctness and the Liberal desperation to appease Muslims attempts to deprive the Sikhs of their truth and their identity.
Indarjit Singh, Lord Singh of Wimbledon, recently left the BBC Radio’s Today program’s Thought of the Day feature after 35 years. He claimed that the BBC had tried to prevent him from broadcasting an item about commemorating Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, who was tortured and executed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb for opposing the forced conversion of Kashmiri Pandits to Islam and refusing to convert to Islam himself. The BBC objected on the grounds that it would offend Muslims. It was not the first time that Lord Singh had been prevented by the BBC from expressing Sikh beliefs in order to prevent offence to Muslims. This craven anti-Sikh bigotry must not go unchallenged.
Sikhs were originally a sect of Hindus. Sikhi was an attempt initially at setting aside the complexities of doctrine and ritual that were the monopoly of the Hindu clergy, to focus purely on the quintessential Indic doctrine of Karma and Dharma. There are many traditions within the Indian system of spiritual and religious thought that are focused on Karma and Dharma, including Buddhism and Jainism.
Anyone who knows anything about Sikhism understands that the fundamental spiritual doctrine was laid down by Guru Nanak, and expanded upon by 9 further Gurus. Their writings, and those of many of their Hindu and Muslim companions, make up the Sikh scripture which was sanctified and anointed the final and eternal Guru of the Sikhs by the 10 th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, as Guru Granth Sahib. In that journey from the first to the tenth Guru, and beyond, is the story of how the devotional Bhakti movement, starting in the 8 th century in South India, was transformed by the intolerance and brutality of Islam, to create the ferocious, warlike Sikhs.
The Mughal Emperor Jahangir wrote in his autobiography, Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, that too many people were being persuaded by the message of the Sikh movement and its Guru, Arjan, who was the 5 th guru of the Sikhs, and that if Guru Arjan did not stop his religious preaching and become a Muslim, the Sikh movement would have to be wiped out by force. Guru Arjan dev ji was arrested, imprisoned and tortured to renounce his teachings, and executed when he refused.
His son, Guru Hargobind responded by calling upon Sikhs to arm themselves, and introduced the concept of Miri-Piri to Sikhism, carrying two swords, one signifying authority in the material realm, the other in the spiritual realm. Thence began the armed battles between the Sikhs and Muslims, starting with the Battle of Amritsar in 1634. In 1675, Aurangzeb executed the 9th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Kashmiri Pandits, the original inhabitants of Kashmir, faced intense religious persecution from Muslim rulers. Under pressure to convert to Islam, they approached Guru Tegh Bahadur for help. The Guru challenged Aurangzeb and was arrested, tortured and pressured to convert to Islam. He refused to convert. His companions who had been arrested with him were tortured and killed in front of his eyes, even as his own torture to pressure him to convert continued. But he continued to refuse to convert and was publicly beheaded in Delhi on Aurangzeb’s orders.
His son, Guru Gobind Singh, took his place. He raised the Khalsa, the community of Sikh warriors, identified by the visible markers of Sikh Identity: Unshorn Hair and beards, kirpans, metal bracelet. His objective in this was to make the Sikhs bound by honor to valor and justice, to stand and fight against unbearable odds, to defend the weak and fight the unjust, to be known by all for that character, and to never be able to refuse or hide, for the honor of the Sikh roop could never be besmirched.
Till today, Sikhs live and die by honor and cannot bear the shame of running from a fight, cannot bear accusations of injustice or brutality against the weak, of not having stood up for those who needed them. It is their honor, their duty, their spirit. It is their eternal obligation and honor bestowed upon them by Dasve Patshah (the 10 th Guru), to give them character, strength, purpose, resolution in the face of the unending, implacable hostility of Islam and its offer of conversion or death to infidels.
Guru Gobind Singh’s two older sons were slain in battle against Aurangeb’s forces. His younger two sons, just children, were captured and bricked alive into walls by the governor of Sirhind. Sikhs till today feel agony at the cruelty of the Mughals that spared not even the young children of the Guru. The Guru himself died from wounds received from a Muslim assassin’s blade. Muslims ended the line of the Sikh’s living Gurus.
Banda Singh Bahadur, a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh, led a fearsome campaign of retribution and struck terror in the hearts of the Mughals, until he too was captured and taken to Delhi with thousands of decapitated Sikh heads on spears and in carts. In prison, he was pressured to convert to Islam. He refused, and over a period of days his men were slaughtered in public. Eventually, his eyed were gouged out, his limbs cut off, and he was skinned alive.
In 1947, Muslims slaughtered the inhabitants of Sikh villages in what is now Pakistan, triggering the worst civil bloodletting in human history. The Sikhs, outnumbered by Muslims by perhaps 4 to 1, none the less reacted with a horrifying ferocity that left the number of dead greater on the Muslim side.
These are just the highlights. In every gurudwara around the world, every day, at every wedding, at every funeral, during the Ardas, the recitation of hymns, Sikhs remember their martyrs, recounting those who endured torture, having their bodies torn apart, were beheaded but did not give up their faith.
The journey of Sikhs from peaceable devotees who sang hymns, to the martial race they became and remain, is the story of Sikhs refusing to convert to Islam, fighting as ferociously as necessary and against all odds, and in peace directing that power towards justice, humility and service of humanity.
But this narrative does not suit anyone who seeks to appease Muslims. Nehru and Maulana Azad left the entire history between Sikhs and Muslims out of the textbooks of newly independent India. Hardly anyone one in India is aware of the fight that Sikhs put up against Muslims determined to convert Indic peoples to Islam, the consequences of it for the preservation of Indic religions, and the religious freedoms we enjoy today. Hardly anyone knows that Kashmir, so precious to India, would have been in Afghanistan not India, were it not for Maharaja Ranjit Singh having captured it from the Durani Afghans in 1819 and included it into his empire. Virtually no Indian knew till recently of the Battle of Saragarhi, or any others like it, won or lost, in which Sikh valor proved decisive against Muslim armies.
And now, the BBC is found to be censoring Sikh history. Because Muslims would be offended by their history being told. What is this nonsense? Liberals are always going on and on about the guilt of the white imperialists, and making white people today face the history of imperialism. So why are they trying to bury the history of Islamic Imperialism? Why are they trying to deny the victims of Islamic Imperialism and the heroism of those who fought against it?
Why are they trying to hide the history of peoples who have faced the brutality and intolerance of Islam? Iran was Zoroastrian. Afghanistan was Buddhist. Both were exterminated. The History of Islam has been violent totalitarianism. The conquest of infidels, their conversion to Islam on pain of death, and in tolerance for coexistence with infidels except in utterly reduced, near slave conditions, has been the experience of all races and religions that encountered Islam.
Nor is this ancient past. Did the destruction by the Taliban of the Bamyan Buddhas for offending against Islam not wake up the BBC? Did the horror of naked Yazidi girls having their throats slit and their blood collected in buckets, not wake up the BBC? Does the presence of thousands of ISIS fighters in British towns not worry the BBC? Has the horror of Pakistani Muslim gangs serial raping female Christian and Sikh children not woken up the BBC?
No, it hasn’t. The BBC reflects the British surrender to Jihad. UK Police let the rape of children go on, lest Muslims be offended. MPs didn’t speak up, lest Muslims be offended. Britain refused asylum to Asiya Bibi, lest Muslims be offended.
And now the BBC is censoring the Sikhs, their history, their identity, lest Muslims be offended. But Sikhs are not going to take it. Islam has a history of brutality and intolerance against the infidels, it’s the history of all those who were wiped out and no longer exist. It’s the history of those who stood and fought and became legends that Islam could not take down.
From Sikh Gurus who were executed for offending against Islam, to the case of Rangeela Rasool which caused the British to pass draconian anti-free speech laws in India to prevent offence to Muslims, to Salman Rushdie, Jyllands-Posten, and Charlie Hebdo, the world is held hostage in perpetuity and forced into silence by the Muslim propensity to take offence and the ever present threat of violence against the offence givers. And now the BBC is acting as agent.
France is proving to be a better ally. French people understand the dilemma of urgency to fight Islamic radicalism. Why have we never given attention to Greece and Cyprus? The city of Athens is often referred to as the cradle of Western civilization. Democracy in ancient Greece served as one of the first forms of self-rule government in the ancient world. The original ideas implemented by the ancient Greeks had profound influence on the emerging democracies of the world. Students in Scandinavia have to compulsorily learn Latin and ancient history, which is more about Greece and less about Britain.
Germany is economically far more powerful and far more receptive to the idea of alternative medicine whose origins lie in India. News about India in German, French and Scandinavian media is becoming far more nuanced and balanced. Despite the fact that Indians now constitute the largest immigrant group in U.K., BBC’s coverage of India disappointingly remains biased.
I am reiterating, it is a price Indians are paying because of overemphasizing the importance of Britain as if India is still tied to the umbilical cord of its colonial past. It’s time for India to grow up. Let us see how they sort out their Brexit mess. Until then, India could use this golden opportunity to initiate good contact with rest of the European countries, which need skilled labor, are friendly towards India, and understand India’s position on Kashmir.
If India improves its ties with European countries such as
Germany and France, their media could serve as a source of counter-narrative to
the monopolized narrative of India being hatched from London. Let’s visit
Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Athens and Nicosia.
Let’s give the option of learning French, German, Norwegian, Greek and Italian in higher secondary schools of India. We are after all masters in learning multiple languages in India. Federico Fellini, an Italian film director and screenwriter once said, “ A different language is a different vision of life.” English has had a monopoly on the narrative of India’s political vision, it is time to give other European languages a chance now.