The events of the last two weeks brought to fore the intense recalcitrance in Indian attitude towards Pakistan. India is unwilling to compromise on the hard-line stance it has taken against Pakistan and looks like it has gone too far in its animosity towards its neighbour. The stinging riposte of the Pakistani air force to completely bizarre Indian aggression has multiplied the Indian anger as is manifest by the poisonous Indian media harangues.
Bashing Pakistan on the eve of elections has not gone out of fashion in India despite the country claiming to have progressed physically and intellectually. It is generally accepted that an emotion is recalcitrant when it exists despite the agent having a belief or judgement that is in tension with it. It does involve cognitive factors of perception but they display an equally intense conflict. Such a situation ultimately gives rise to contradiction but recalcitrant perception willingly denies it.
Historically, Indian perception has been whipped up by contradictory narratives regarding Pakistan but the emergence of ultra-rightist Hindutva angle has given it an aggressive tinge. More dangerously, Hindutva has instilled in the caste-Hindu population, the aspiration of transforming into a conquering entity that has been suppressed since centuries. There is certainly no objection to aspiring to accomplish something outstanding but not at the expense of annihilating your neighbour who you think was responsible of keeping you subjugated.
It is the perceived humiliation of centuries that has gone into the base of Hindutva and has created a message that is xenophobic in the extremes. It is a classic example of conflicting cognitive abilities going haywire when India persecutes its Muslims and then tries hard to become member of a largely representative body representing Muslims. Indian recalcitrance is therefore underpinned by mental opacity that fails to convince sane observers.
Modi government in India has tried its best to inculcate the essential teachings of Hindutva and it has strengthened its stance by displaying clearly biased attitude towards minorities in India. But while doing so it has failed to secure the support of majority opinion. The lukewarm response by Indian military establishment in carrying out aggressive actions of the Modi government depicts that saner elements do not buy Modi’s intransigent superiority hogwash.
Indian opinion currently appears to be cowed down by the boastful aggression of the Modi regime, BJP and ultra-rightist cadres who have tried to browbeat any opposition to their designs but voices are emerging against such provocative actions and Modi supporters are reconsidering their options. The recent set-back in provincial elections to BJP has proved to be an eye-opener for Modi’s supporters and has driven away many who were on the sidelines.
Indian democratic governance faced prospects of arbitrariness when Indira Gandhi tried to rule through emergency provisions but she was divested of her office and the challenge was beaten back by democratic elements. The challenge offered by Modi is certainly more dangerous as it attacks the very moorings of Indian polity. A vast swathe of Indian population is not sure where they belong to as the rising extremist Hindutva opinion has sidelined all minorities. This time round the Kashmiris were given the bitter dose of alienation when their persecution outside their valley forced them to rush back to their homeland.
India always took pride in its pluralistic democratic existence but not anymore. Hindutva has provided strength to Indian recalcitrance that may have far reaching negative impact in future. This is actually an existential threat faced by India and the Modi bogey has already harmed the concept of Indian nationhood. It was precisely this danger that Modi tried to circumvent by being aggressive with Pakistan to rally his people around but the ploy failed. Despite its temporary hype, the failure has instead given rise to intense retrospection within the country.
Indian bullish attitude is also symptomatic of its ambitions to become the supreme power in the region but with China and Pakistan in the field it will not be possible. China may ignore territorial disputes with India for the sake of economic ties but it may not give up its territory as was made clear during the recent Chinese spat with India over Doklam plateau neighbouring India. The stand-off showed that China is not comfortable with Indian designs and it mentioned that India is certainly not for peace though it always puts peace on its lips.
Pakistan has been trying hard to draw attention to the duplicitous Indian designs but the lucrative prospects of trade with India have blinded the world, particularly the western countries, towards real Indian intentions. The events of the last two weeks imbued with Indian recalcitrance should be enough to view matters in different but realistic perspective. Pakistan has been sincerely trying to create opportunities for normalisation of relationship with India but it appears difficult that Indian recalcitrance will pay any heed to them. Pakistan is, however, calm and ready for any challenge. TW