Wednesday, December 17, 2008

India's Right Wing Wants Nuclear War

by: J. Sri Raman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Kuppahalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan of India's Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Party stated that nuclear war between India and Pakistan may be necessary. (Photo: Reuters)

Mumbai's terrorist outrage of November 26 has found a response truly matching it in madness. A call for a nuclear war - and nothing less - has come as the culmination of warped and warlike reactions to the traumatizing tragedy, which has claimed a toll of 200 lives.

The demented call, which still cannot, unfortunately, be dismissed as inconsequential, is not only a regional war of the said, scary description. It is also one for a global conflict of the kind.

Fittingly, the call has emanated from the real fuehrer of India's far right. He may be relatively unknown to the outside world, and less known even in his country than political leaders of the "parivar," as the far-right "family" labels itself. But Kuppahalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan is the supremo of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the misleading name meaning the National Volunteers' Association.

The RSS holds a commanding position in the parivar, as its patriarch and ideological fountainhead. It has a hold over the political front of the "family," the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as well. Party leaders - even of such notoriety as Narendra Modi, who gloried in the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, and of such national-level ambitions as Lal Krishna Advani, styled as the "shadow prime minister" - have always had to proclaim loyalty of the RSS from time to time.

The RSS, as every political reporter in India knows, has tightened its hold over the BJP in time for the parliamentary elections to be held by May 2009. Sudarshan's clarion call came in the course of an interview with a freelance journalist and was quoted first in a leading Pakistani newspaper on December 12. Asked if India should go for a full-fledged war with Pakistan, 77-year-old Sudarshan said, "If there is no other way left. Whenever the demons start dominating this planet, there is no way other than the war. Tell me if there is any other way out. But war should be the last resort. Before that India should consider other options."

That was his only attempt at sounding reasonable. Asked if such a war would not escalate into a nuclear conflict, he was disarmingly candid, "Yes, I know it will not stop there. It will be nuclear war and a large number of people will perish."

The vision of the apocalypse was not restricted to the region. "In fact, not me alone but many people around the world have expressed their apprehension that this terrorism may ultimately result in a Third World War. And this will be a nuclear war in which many of us are going to be finished. But according to me, as of now, it is very necessary to defeat the demons and there is no other way."

Then came the coup de grace: "And let me say with confidence that after this destruction, a new world will emerge, which will be very good, free from evil and terrorism."

He had hinted at his horrific vision earlier too. In January 2002, when India and Pakistan traded nuclear threats during a terrifying standoff in Kashmir and elsewhere, Sudarshan recalled epic Mahabharata to make his point: "When [the] Mahabharata [war] was fought in Kurukshetra, its repercussions were felt across the country but now India was the Kurukshetra and the battle, if fought, would have its effects across the globe."

In May 2005, in another media interview, he said that Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (Azad Kashmir) should be "annexed by force." What if there is a nuclear war? He said, "If it happens, it'll happen. We can't keep quiet all the time because of the scare of nuclear weapons."

(read full article)