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Comment: Making Ekalavya off the Dalai Lama

October 27, 2009

A comment on Mr. Prem Shankar Jha's article "The
Bull in China's Shop" (Tehalka, 31st Oct, 2009)
Vijay Kranti (vijaykranti@yahoo.com)
October 26, 2006

Prem Shanka Jha's article "The Bull in China's
Shop" is only brilliant in parts where he
analyzes the timid and indecisive mindset of
India's policy makers towards China. Very
appropriately he has termed this syndrome as
perpetual "official state of denial". But,
unfortunately, he himself seems to be more
seriously inflicted by the same very syndrome
when it comes to meeting Beijing's aggressive
postures on Arunachal Pradesh. He pathetically
ends up presenting himself as an advocate of
China's jihad against the Dalai Lama and his
impressive international support base.

His suggestion that New Delhi should use its
influence on Dalai Lama to force him to water
down his position vis-a -vis China on Tibet looks
like a modern replay of Dronacharya -Ekalavya
episode of Mahabharata. One wonders how an
informed scholar like Mr. Jha could overlook the
fact that the Dalai Lama and his handful of
refugees (just around 1,50,000 in all) have won
for themselves a far more formidable position
vis-a -vis Beijing's enormous apparatus than a
vast army of Indian babus and leaders could have
ever imagined to aim at for India vis-a -vis
Beijing. In such a situation demanding Dalai Lama
to redefine the history and geography of Tibet to
make it palatable to Beijing's colonial taste
buds; to re-tailor his concept of autonomy that
fits into the wishes and work styles of Communist
Party of China or; to make him accept the desires
of PRC leadership as that of Tibetan people,
sounds as good as forcing the poor Ekalavya to
chop off his own thumb only to keep the patron of
Guru Dronacharya as the Champion of archery.

Mr. Jha's frightening image of India ending up
with "catastrophic" economic consequences, "rush
out" of foreign capital, "collapse" of share
market, interest rates soaring into
"stratosphere", India's growth "grinding to a
haltâ" and, unemployment rising by "tens of
millions" …. sounds nothing but a sad
reproduction of a Chinese propaganda blitzkrieg
by a respected Indian communicator whose opinion
and advice is taken seriously and respectfully by
policy makers and public at large . No doubts
wars do cause these problems. But no self
respecting government can be advised to come down
on its knees before its adversary by presenting a
fear list of this kind. As a keen China and Tibet
watcher for over three decades I am sad to note
that a brilliant journalist like Mr. Jha has
ended up just another foot soldier of Beijing in
latter's fight with Dalai Lama, the exiled ruled
of its colony and the people of Tibet living
perpetually under its colonial oppressive rule.

It's a public secret today how terrified
Beijing's clique of rulers is from internal
problems, especially in its colonies like Tibet,
Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. The whole world is
amused with the ever growing international
influence and bargaining power of Dalai Lama
against Beijing rulers. I hope Mr. Jha is aware
of the fact that Beijing had started the six-year
long dialogue between Dharamsala and Beijing,
that failed late last year, only under
international pressure. But for European
Parliament's overwhelming embargoed resolution to
ask its member states to recognize Dalai Lama's
exile government as the "real" government of
Tibet, Beijing would have never walked to the
dialogue table with Dalai Lama's representatives.

Today when China is threatening India on
Arunachal, it is not showing its anger with India
but only exposing its own vulnerability and
helplessness in front of Dalai Lama and his
international support. China's communist rulers
have failed miserably in bringing Tibet, Tibetan
people and Dalai Lama under its thumb in past six
decades. To wriggle out of this helplessness
Beijing leaders are now threatening a vulnerable
New Delhi to demoralize and weaken its sworn
enemy Dalai Lama through local controls. It is
for India to understand that in international
diplomacy trump cards are not to be thrown away
under adversary's howling and intimidation. They
are better kept and cared for till the right time
to strike arrives and one’s chances of winning emerge.

Since China walked into Tibet in 1949 to have a
first ever direct interface in its history with
South Asia, it is first time that New Delhi has
given a fitting reply to Beijing by not giving in
on China's demand to ban Dalai Lama's proposed
visit to Arunachal. It was, therefore, expected
of an eminent journalist like Mr. Jha to have
understood the importance of this welcome change
rather than asking New Delhi to kowtow to Beijing
in traditional manner. History has shown
innumerable times that China is a past master at
bluffing and blackmailing through threats and
howling. Beijing leadership is not too foolish to
start a war with India only because a man whom
they hate the most it visiting a place that never actually belonged to them.

Mr. Jha, please don't forget that China has too
much more to lose in a war with India and that
Chinese leaders understand their interests better
than you. Please also remember that Dalai Lama
and his supporters have taken the Tibetan
movement to current formidable levels through
half a century of winning friends across the
world. He has brought the Chinese leaders to
their knees without throwing a bomb or hijacking
aircrafts. Analysts like you have no moral or
other right to force him to fritter away his
precious gains only because you fail to
understand the fine points in a diplomatic war.
India should face China with the firmness it
deserves. India's experience of second Pokhran
nuclear blast has already proved beyond doubt
that world makes all accommodation for a self
respecting and strong nation. Those who give way
timidly are the first to be trounced upon in the
ongoing stampede of national and personal interests.

Vijay Kranti
BC 48, West Shalimar Bagh,
Delhi-110088, India

* Author of this letter is a senior journalist
and Tibetologist. He is editor of "Tibbat Desh" a
news monthly, exclusively focused on Tibetan affairs since 1979.
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