Vortex of violence

By Raffique Shah
May 03, 2021

Raffique ShahBy a curious twist of fate, I was browsing through some books on Amazon when I saw a digital copy of one of the finest historical novels I’ve read, Freedom at Midnight, co-authored by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. I couldn’t resist buying it. I would find the time to reread their excellent record of India’s (and Pakistan’s) independence in 1947.

I thought that Freedom at Midnight would be a good read some 40 years after I first read it. What I discovered in this edition is that Collins had passed on, and Lapierre dedicated a new, quite in-depth story-within-a-story about how they came to write the original. While India and Pakistan might have been news or of interest to many people, it did not seem to be the most exciting theme for a duo that had written the explosive doomsday thriller, The Fifth Horseman.

Besides, Collins was American and Lapierre, French—two nations that were far removed from developments in India.

From Lapierre’s retrospect, I learned that it was his editor who planted the seed of a good story, telling him about a half-naked, half-pint of a man he had once interviewed in India. That man, Mahatma Gandhi, had, more by inaction than action, triggered the earthquake that shook, and then dismantled, the largest empire ever in the history of humankind—the British Empire. In their research, besides encountering intriguing, sometimes fascinating, characters who had played their part in sending Britain packing from India, they also learned that while The Mahatma was seen as the ultimate Apostle of Peace, India and Indians were a very violent lot, as they demonstrated time and again.

For example, there was hardly another country operating under a democratic system of government that has seen so many of its frontline leaders murdered by citizens. Gandhi, who seemed to have courted death during all of his activist’s life—and he finally met his assassin in New Delhi shortly after independence. Nathuram Godse, an equally nondescript Indian, greeted the Mahatma reverentially (“Bapuji!”) before firing several bullets into his frail frame. Godse and another accomplice were hanged for their roles in the murder. But to this day they remain heroes to many Indians, in this case for being willing to kill or die for the creation of Hindutva, a Hindu state. Gandhi was a devout Hindu, but he was willing to die for a united, secular India in which many religions co-existed.

Also encountering violent deaths were Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in 1984, and Indira’s son, Rajiv who had succeeded his mother as PM. Many other politicians have had their careers terminated by violence. Of course, India is not singular in this regard. In neighbouring Pakistan, several PMs have met bloody ends to their careers. Indeed, similar to what occurred with Mrs Gandhi and her son, Rajiv, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed by hanging, and his daughter Benazir felled by a bullet as she campaigned to return to office.

As I perused the book on India, that country and its current PM, Narendra Modi, as well as its acute state of Covid infections and deaths, come to mind. Modi, who sees himself as a Donald Trump duplicate, seems bent on taking the second most populous country in the world down a road similar to what Trump had mapped out for Americans. Indians are dying like flies all across that vast country, mere weeks after the boastful Modi had preened on the world stage declaring India an exemplar far superior to other OECD countries. He promoted it as the “pharmaceutical capital” of the world—which it is, if measured by the number of companies operating there, manufacturing genuine and generic medications.

Where Modi is allowing bombast and hubris to get the better of him, more so his ambition to be a world-ranked leader, is when he fails to see that while India is manufacturing the most Covid vaccines of any country in the world, it does not control the manufacturers’ production or distribution networks. Even more damning, he seems not to understand that while the pharmaceutical industries make India look like being in the elite countries league, its domestic healthcare system is severely lacking, hence the acute shortages in beds, ICUs, and a basic feature in oxygen.

Also, he has totally mishandled the latter part of the Covid crisis, allowing for the festival Holi, the closest thing to our Carnival, to run free—meaning tens of millions of people jamming, and maybe “wining”, too—to send the virus and the pandemic to unbelievable levels.

Now, India faces shortages in firewood for cremations, space for burials, buckets for tears, room for anger. Hopefully, it will be spared the vortex of violence it has proved to be capable of ­entering.

4 thoughts on “Vortex of violence”

  1. A very impartial observation Bro Shah. But didn’t Kamla recommended the Sun for the effects of C-19? .India’ history is embroiled in enabling the Super powers, you are not totally spot on by saying the so-called empire met their demise in India, at the time of Sind’ march to Independence, attacks on the empire was being felt on all sides, at the end Hitler had a major say and play. The history of the ancient East African Nation, today known as India, is not recognized anymore in some quarters, descendants of the historical invading hordes have made sure of that. Hindutva means Indians at home and diaspora, will Enable, and connive with any group or Gov’t in a very deceptive MODUS OPERANDI. England, Canada, USA and Trinidad included, is well noted, the research will show. The Murderous traits of our Indian cousins has been well documented, Brain strong, with a very EVIL Heart, is the MANTRA presently being exhibited by Mr Modi, some in Trinidad, are even in the process of humanizing murderous Boysie Singh in their FLAK writing. Stolen diplomas , copy and past fraudulent degrees and corruption, does not make a great Nation, Haley forgot that she is an Indian woman while saying all the wrong things on behalf of Trump at the UN. The people of India must get rid of HINDUTVA. Let it be known that the only thing visible of India’ GREAT culture is the present burning pyre, left behind by the invading RACIST Aryans. In Trinidad, the lowest of the Aryan caste holds sway as NATIONAL TRAITORS and divisional Rajahs, while in India presently that very caste are the ones doing all the real dirty, dirty work of cleaning after all. India is Hundreds of languages and belief systems, a People that have and continue to suffer tremendous hardships, this great country have become a testing ground for all ANGLO, Euro and America/Canada pharmaceutical and chemical multi corporations, leaving in their wake mass destruction of human blood. Modern day India is engulf in BLEACHING of the Skin to make White like, true signs of a regressing people with HINDUTVA doctrine. India’ present struggle is one of Biblical magnitude, at the same time, Trinidad’ Indian christian teachers focus on the money that can be generated through graft, deceit and division, a beautiful, yet mis-educated people are living the nitemares of MATERIALISM and distrust. Hindu, the name given to South Asia by the Persians/Iran invaders have shackled India politically, greater India, because of their non-Hindu belief lives in abject poverty, not seen among Nations of the wider world.

    1. Mr Bobby Cooper, for your information, sunshine is essential for all life on earth. Try living with out sunlight for any extended period and you will not survive for long.

      Regarding India and COVID, this is lesson to the world that any country run by religious fanatics and uneducated leaders will sooner or later be destroyed by arrogance and superstitious behavior.

      Modi is no exception.

  2. The cause of the Covid explosion is india falling into a false sense of security. They were doing better than most nations. This embolden Modi to open up things. One Mela with 40 million and political campaigns open the door widely for this surge.

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