Who calls the shots here? – I

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

No entity, group, nation or state, whatever the basis for its creation or existence, can have a priority over the intrinsic rights of the people it integrates to itself for supposedly higher and noble aims. Imposition of languages, culture, ethics and values, however lofty in the eyes of the imposer, cannot be justified on any grounds be they religious, social, economic or political. Such unjust impositions will always be the cause of the myriad problems that will confront them at every turn and will keep cropping up with increased vigour and frequency with the passage of time because of the incompatible nature of their association.

Authoritarianism and disregard for rights is a malady that has afflicted all the powerful individuals, groups, and nations throughout history. It doesn’t seem anomalous to them and they consider it as an inherent right for themselves, regardless of what the oppressed and browbeaten people think of the injustices labelled as national interest being forced down their unwilling throats.

The myths that are woven around the apparently noble and altruistic aims of those who embark upon enslaving people of other nations deserve a deep study to distinguish between the apparent and the hidden, myths and realities. The guile and shrewdness with which these myths are created and employed deceive most if not all, making them accept the patently false and bogus contentions as worthy and creditable. This involves deception on a large scale and more often than not the schemers succeed. Where they fail to convince the people with their pretentious rhetoric they revert to their original and sinister methods of use of force but disguising it too with clichés like ‘ensuring the writ of the government’ and ‘in the larger interests of the country’. They brook no opposition to their nefarious designs and eventually ride roughshod over the justified dissent and objections of the weaker partners; considering it below their dignity to have a dialogue with them.

Interestingly, the psyche of the dominant partner in a federating union always plays a very important part in the way other units are treated or mistreated. The weaker federating units suffer immeasurably if the dominant unit has had a history of serving those who colonized the region before it. In its desire to balance the sheets of historical accounts it has to make others do by force, if necessary, what it had done quite willingly for gaining advantage with the colonizers. It has to make others subservient to its needs and policies regardless of their aversion to grovelling at the feet of the powerful. If they also happen to provide the overwhelming majority of the armed forces, then their attitude becomes even more domineering. They become overly sensitive even to justified dissent and disagreement by other units on issues critical to them. They always opt for use of military force, which eventually and invariably leads either to secession or to eternally simmering discontent.

The ruling elite consistently represents the interests of the dominant partner regardless of the fact that the figurehead at times may be from one of the subservient units. Those who illegally usurp power become addicted to perks, privileges and concessions and never forfeit power willingly to the rightful authority of the masses. With the passage of time they become entirely convinced of their infallibility and indispensability. They earnestly begin to believe that the very survival of the world depends on their retaining power. It is difficult to persuade such individuals to shed the misconceptions of self-importance and eminence in relation to the existence of the state.

Those who set out to impose their will on people of other nations are motivated by their narrow and malevolent economic, political, religious and social interests that they think can prosper only at the expense of the subjugated people. It should be noted that ominously lurking in the background of the supposedly noble aims is also a dominant element of racism. The brutality that is displayed in making others accept what the dominant group considers to be correct and in the interest of those subjugated is an off-shoot of that evil.

The repression is explained as being taken in the interests of the federation and the opposition to the highhandedness and discrimination is termed as anti-Islam and anti-state activity being fomented by hidden hands or by persons opposed to development. These fusty arguments have always been used by those in power in their attempt to defend their illegal and unjustified actions. The constant and absurd use of these arguments has turned them into a meaningless ritual because people have seen through their hollowness. New slogans are frequently invented by the spin doctors to perpetuate the myths needed to keep people in submission.

The colonists naturally desire to subjugate the people socially, politically, culturally and economically and to ease their task they begin by inflicting indignities on the people. These indignities, subtle or overt, have a pattern and rationale; the purpose and intention being to make the victims lose their sense of identity and to make them acquiescent to the colonisers’ designs. Once a person loses his/her sense of identity, he or she can be made to submit to do the basest of tasks; nothing being baser than working against one’s own people, culture and history.

This exercise of inflicting indignities sometimes takes place individually and at times en masse. The perpetrators in their effort to make their work easier sometimes commit a symbolic indignity on the entire people to deprive them of their sense of national dignity. They at times choose individuals of great influence for the indignity so that its fallout sways most if not all; making them acquiesce to their iniquitous demands without much effort. They are often helped in the achievement of these sinister ends by traitors and renegades who sell the destinies of their nation for a pittance.

With the loss of identity, the love for one’s culture and history turns into the rejection of the same. Bringing about this rejection is never a pointless venture for the subjugator because it is this loss of identity that he exploits. Once the sentiments of rejection have set in, the attitude of insensitivity towards one’s national resources, culture, history and goals takes a stranglehold of the person’s psyche, which not only makes it easier for the subjugator to exploit the wealth and resources but he also gets an active abettor and conniver in the rejectionist.

The subjugators and exploiters dread those who succeed in keeping their sense of identity alive and do not succumb to temptations and inducements and refuse to wilt under pressures; their dread grows inversely in proportion to the defiance because defiance like acquiescence is contagious and if there is someone who doesn’t capitulate to coercion and intimidation, others try to emulate him and with that the foundations of resistance to injustice are laid. Those who retain their sense of identity remain a constant threat to the interests of the subjugators. It is because of this threat of spreading defiance that they either try to eliminate him or to contain his influence.

Nations have always had people of integrity and honour who have defied overwhelming odds and given their nations a sense of pride and dignity. They have also been a beacon of hope for those who despite apparently insurmountable odds keep struggling to retain their sense of separate historical and political identity. Amazingly these people have often succeeded in changing the destiny of their nations by bringing monolithic repressive systems to their knees. Nelson Mandela is a very recent and gleaming example of that unbending and persevering defiance to the evil of apartheid. He needs to be emulated here if salvation from repression and injustice is desired.

(to be continued)

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com

This article was first published on 14 March 2006 in The Post

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