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According to the Cambridge English dictionary, contradiction is “a fact or statement that is the opposite of what someone has said or that is so different from another fact or statement that one of them must be wrong”. In classical logic, a contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility between two or more propositions. It occurs when the propositions, taken together, yield two conclusions which form the logical, usually opposite inversions of each other. Illustrating a general tendency in applied logic, Aristotle’s law of non-contradiction states that “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.”

If assessed on the definition given earlier, in the history of mankind, no national level leadership has ever been seen as contradictory as the Indian leadership. Indian history itself is full of deceit, lies and contradictions. Though these contradictions have existed in the Hindu society since times immemorial, they have become more pronounced in the post-independence India. Since the leadership of a country is the true reflection of its population, the contradictory nature of the leadership is also visible in the Indian public.

The term “Non-Alignment” was coined by V K Menon, India’s permanent representative, in his speech at the UN in 1953, which was later used by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during his speech in 1954 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Although India championed the Non Aligned Movement, but in August 1971, deviating from her earlier stance, she signed a defence pact with the erstwhile USSR, which was contradictory to her long time and much trumpeted stance. In addition to other benefits, the treaty was aimed at ensuring Russian support while India meddled in the creation of Bangladesh.

India claims to be the largest democracy in the world and a proponent of democratic values and human rights. However, it neither gives rights to people of many of its own states, nor it values the aspirations of the people of those states. This is not only true at home, the same duality can be seen internationally. India doesn’t support Palestinians suffering at the hands of Israelis and Rohingyas in Myanmar.

Hindus consider cows, monkeys, peacocks, snakes and many other animals as their gods and worship them. However, they cannot even give equal status to minorities in their own country, including Christians, Muslims and other minority religions.

Hindus consider the cow as their mother. They revere cows so greatly that many Hindus drink cow urine and use cow dung and urine to sanctify their temples and houses. Cow urine is even sold in bazars. Under BJP rule, cow slaughter has been banned in all of India. Almost every day, Muslims are lynched on unsubstantiated claims of cow slaughter or beef consumption. However, India is the largest exporter of beef to Middle Eastern countries. While minorities can be lynched for beef consumption, money earning by exporting the beef is not considered bad.

Even the Hindu religion itself is full of contradictions. Hard-core Hindus do not eat any kind of meat including fish. Some don’t even consume eggs. While ordinary people consider the killing of animals a sin, influential people are exempt from such restrictions. According to their religious book Ramayan, Ram, almost revered to be a Hindu god, had gone hunting when Rawan kidnapped his wife Sita from the jungle. Similarly, history books narrate stories of Hindu Rajas going hunting. So, while the gods and kings can hunt and eat meat, ordinary mortals cannot.

A large number of Indians work or own businesses in Muslim majority Gulf countries or in Christian majority Western countries. They expect the host countries to give them rights as well as respect. However, in their own country, they persecute all minorities, including Christians and Muslims. While no Hindu has ever been killed on the basis of religion in any of these countries, Muslims and Christians remain under constant persecution in India.

In 1974, India undertook a nuclear test and named it “Smiling Buddha”, considered symbol of peace. Later it pursued a nuclear weaponisation programme and today, it has one of the fastest growing nuclear arsenals. The Indian draft doctrine claimed No First Use, however, recently the Indian Defence Minister rubbished the earlier policy and indicated the possibility of first use. One would be amazed at seeing Buddha smiling on the destruction of humanity.

The two princely states of Hyderabad and Junagadh were ruled by Muslims but were annexed by India on the pretext of majority population being Hindu. Contradicting its own stance, India signed an instrument of accession with a Majority Muslim state on the wishes of the state’s Sikh ruler. For 72 years, Kashmir had a special status and the Indian rulers always promised a plebiscite in accordance with the UNSC resolutions. Many bilateral agreements were signed with Pakistan accepting Kashmir as a disputed territory. On 5th August, 2019, Indian government suddenly abrogated Article 370 and 35A, contradicting earlier promises.

The Indian leadership claims that the Article 370 and 35A have been abrogated in accordance with the long standing wishes of the people as well as for their betterment. Contradicting its own stance, the Indian government had to move additional troops in IOK to reinforce the already housed, over 700,000 troops. If that was not enough, it imposed a curfew, which is continuing even after 40 days; denying food, medicine and other necessities of life to the people of IOK. Similarly, prior to the abrogation of the Article 370, India imposed a complete communication blackout in IOK denying internet, mobile service and even land line services. The state is cut off from the entire world and the atrocities committed by the Indian forces cannot be seen by other nations. And all this is being done, in accordance with the wishes of the people and for their good.

Looking at the history of contradictory Indian leadership as well as public behaviour, one wonders how Indians would honour their domestic, bilateral, multilateral and international obligations in future. Internally, will the leadership honour the commitments made with the people of states with special status, or will it make them suffer betrayal, humiliation and torture as it has done with the people of IOK. Internationally, will the Indians, at a time of their choosing, walk away from their commitments made to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, or obligations related to other international treaties? Though future is predictable as at present, while India works with the international community to discourage nuclear proliferation, it continues with vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The author is a retired Air Marshal of the PAF who served as Pakistan’s Air Adviser at New Delhi from 2002 to 2006, presently working as a director at Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies. The article is originally published in The Nation.

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