In an interview with rediff, Lieutenant General M L Thapan, PVSM (described by many of his subordinates and military analysts as a ‘thinking man’s general’), speaks on many issues including the Bangladesh War of 1971 and the Sri Lanka Campaign against the Tamil Tigers.
We need a moral re-armament programme in India.
In the end, he discusses the 1961 war.. and has some interesting (and damning) observations!
I have never had a very high regard for Gandhi.. and one action of his has left me bitter over many others – the hard headed backing for Nehru and asking Sardar Patel to step despite knowing Nehru’s weaknesses. Read the words of Lt. Gen Thapan carefully.. you will realize that the Gandhi’s pet peeve of Non-Violence was planted by Nehru as a State Policy! This is what I have several issues against.. and where I think Gandhi was more of a villain than a hero. It was JUST due to this policy that India lost the Chinese war in 1961.
What is Non-Violence
Non-violence, I am CONVINCED, is a personal virtue! It cannot be and indeed should not be imposed on anyone.. least of all a state policy! You could amply see the shallow-ness of Gandhi when he went on hunger strike against the entry of the refugee Punjabis (mostly Sikhs) who sought refuge in a mosque in those cold winter months following the partition! To ask some one – including women and kids – who seek refuge to leave a place to FEIGN non-violence or a principled mnd-set.. is criminal!
I have a very simple test for Non-violence. When your action of not taking up arms or lifting your hands in defence – benefit the Violent.. instead of the Victim.. then you are indulging in INACTION.. and ONLY when your not taking up arms benefits the Victim as opposed to the Violent can you peacefully claim that you have demo-ed Non-Violence!
I do wonder sometimes, given the situation of Indian Independence, that if indeed the Brits overplayed Gandhi to independent India’s detriment and to “buy” time.. to return back to rule us when the damage of WWII had been taken care of?
In that sense, I believe that Chinese Reaped What the British Sowed!
Then China, where I was not involved, in 1962, was a disgrace. Again, we can blame our own people. (Then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, (then defence minister V K Krishna Menon. Menon most of all, Nehru for being naive and ingenuous. These chaps had closed minds.
As far as the defence sector was concerned, he (Nehru) said there is no need for a defence sector. He said we are a peace loving country. All our neighbours too are supposedly peace loving. So we don’t need you. So when you have that kind of a man ruling a country, in self delusion…
I think it was (India’s second President Dr (Sarvepalli) Radhakrishnan, who later made the point that this man was living in a world of his own. And he listened to odd-balls like Krishna Menon.
Lt. Gen Thapan then goes on to vent his thoughts on the present day situation in the country and how it could be improved. His thought of “Moral Re-Armament” is an interesting one:
But the thing that I have been wanting to write about is a moral revolution.
Morality is a word that has disappeared from the Indian vocabulary. So you need a moral re-armament programme. But who is to give that?
There is no accountability in this country at all. You can get away with anything. When that happens… the younger generation, who does it learn from? Only from their superiors. If their superiors are in that game, then the younger generation has no choice. It is very sad.