POSTED BY K.V. Bapa Rao ON Dec 07, 2009 AT 01:56 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 07, 2009 01:56 IST

Author Pankaj Mishra makes it seem in an article that appeared in the New York Times  of November 28th, 2009 that, in mainstream India, outside the excitable and--according to him--right-wing news media, there has been little resonance with the commemoration of the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. Mishra says said media have been attempting, without much success, to resort to an analogy with the attacks on America on September 11, 2001, in order to whip up an exaggeraged mass emotional hysteria directed against Pakistan, where he says the attacks were "partly" planned and financed. He notes that these right-wingers remain enraged and frustrated because Pakistan has boxed India into a corner where there are no aggressive options for the latter. The reason 26/11 has not resonated with mainstream India, says Mishra, is that Indians are too fatalistic and preoccupied with various ongoing crises. Mishra registers his disapproval of America's response to the September 11 attacks, and expresses his relief that, mainstream India's indifference to 26/11 would prevent India from responding to assured future major attacks from Pakistan in America's manner, that is to say, driven by arrogance and hubris.

The full article is here.

Going by Mishra's article, the only way to understand Indian emotions flowing from the attacks is to see the emotions as a phony product of a vast conspiracy of rich right-wing urban twits. In sharp, Sarah Palinesque  contradistinction to this group, Mishra sets up the real India, which is (of course) fatalistic, lives in villages, and doesn't give a damn about the attacks on Mumbai. He doesn't mention them, but presumably the left wing, of the rich and  twitty as well as the other kind, is also a part of this real India. Does this mean that Indians espousing left-wing politics are barred from expressing honest grief and outrage at the attacks on their country? Mishra doesn't say.

About the only support Mishra presents for his assertions regarding his putative real Indians' feelings about the attacks on their country is his use of the "fatalism" codeword, an implicit allusion to a vast and persistent body of Orientalistic  writings and prejudice about the passive and fatalistic Indian. Certainly logic and internal consistency are not Mishra's friends here: Rural Indians could well have chosen to ignore the attacks (assuming that this is demonstrably the case)  or even cheer the attack, but their choice would not necessarily be on account of their fatalism, which is doubtful in point of fact. As Mishra himself says in the article, many of those Indians are busy coping with their personal crises or  engaging in Maoist insurgencies or even suicide--none of these behaviours is fatalistic or passive, suicide least of all.

Mishra's message is that this questionable Indian fatalism has prevailed over an overwrought right wing to save India from the latter's hankering to emulate America's response to 9/11, which Mishra labels with the twin epithets of arrogance and hubris. These are two terms that hearken more to timeworn anti-American liturgy than imagination, let alone fact.  Mishra, aside from the Pakistani leadership, the Taliban, and understandably Afghan civilians, is likely one of the few who thinks America and NATO's UN-approved 2001 effort to dethrone the odious Taliban in Afghanistan was morally wrong. The Taliban did, demonstrably, have a major role in the 9/11 slaughter in Manhattan, Washington and in the skies over Pennsylvania. The 2003 attack on Iraq was, of course, the universally-deplored war, and also hardly controversial, but in an opposite sense. The two are not to be conflated, as Mishra does.

The deeper, moral problem here is that in Mishra's world, a country responding to an attack to the limits of its ability is arrogant and hubristic, whereas, the country launching the attack deserves the benefit of every doubt, real or made up. Thus, to Mishra, the Mumbai attacks were "partly planned and financed" in Pakistan, with the remainder of the planners and financiers no doubt ensconced in the land of perennial mystery that also harbours the real assassins of John F. Kennedy. (While we are at it, why not also magnanimously concede that the British were "partly responsible" for Jalianwala Bagh?)  And, while he doesn't say it outright in the flagship newspaper of the city that is about to re-experience its 9/11 trauma with the upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Pakistani architect of the 9//11 attacks, Mishra's exclusive focus on the orchestrated aspects of the 26/11 commemoration, their alleged "right-wing" associations, and the efforts to link the attacks to America's 9/11 experience, suggests that  that America's response to 9/11, including the mass emotional outpouring of its people, was somehow phony and disreputable. Certainly, Mishra's cheap if unoriginal gibe at the erstwhile War on Terror as a "war ... on abstract noun[s]" telegraphs his withering contempt for the American people's heartfelt outrage and their government's robust if ruthless steps that have kept Americans from experiencing any further direct attacks since 2001.

Mishra himself recognizes that Indians, by contrast, are virtually guaranteed to be the victims of further major attacks from Pakistan. Now that is a country which remains unrepentant and determined to harm India in relentless pursuit of what its thought-leaders see as the righteous cause of supremacism. In view of this, Mishra's own determination to tag India, rather than Pakistan, with arrogance and hubris represents a perverse inversion.

POSTED BY K.V. Bapa Rao ON Dec 07, 2009 AT 01:56 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 07, 2009 01:56 IST
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Daily Mail
Dec 26, 2009
01:05 AM

>> he is programmed to defend the indefensible.

There is no one more programmed in this forum than you. You are a veritable hate-spewing bigot!
Dallas, United States
Dec 26, 2009
12:58 AM

>> demonize his arch-enemy- Hindus who disagree with him, by calling them "names", as in this instance, referring to them as rabid attack dogs.

Unless you are retarded, I was not calling Hindus attack dogs. I called a poster an attack dog, and even he did not consider my comment communal.
Dallas, United States
Dec 26, 2009
12:58 AM

>> demonize his arch-enemy- Hindus who disagree with him, by calling them "names", as in this instance, referring to them as rabid attack dogs.

Unless you are retarded, I was not calling Hindus attack dogs. I called a poster an attack dog, and even he did not consider my comment communal.
Dallas, United States
Dec 14, 2009
03:43 AM
Look at the grin on Pankaj Mishra's face. You can see he is happy. It is easy to tell why. He is telling the world:

"Look what a smart chap I am. In a tough world all I have to do to earn good money is to write some easy articles setting out a deliberately eye-catching, provocative view, turning black into white and depicting a passive, liberal, overly peace-minded country like India as the villain as against Pakistan, a known and notorious instigator of terrorism."

Mishra is OK. He is paying his bills. We Indians don't need to worry about him.

It is not Mishra's fault that over as much as three decades India, through cowardly inaction, allowed itself to become the easy victim of terrorism exported from Pakistan. That was Indiia's failure, no-one else's. Let us be VERY clear about that. Pakistan very understandably got the impression that organising terror attacks in India was a cost-free exercise. Large numbers of people got involved. You can't blame them, given Indian passivity.

India can still correct the situation quickly. It can simply fund and arm Pathans, Sindhis, Baluchis and others who are opposed to the Pakistani government. Pakistan would then very soon take fright and call off the terror attacks on India. The USA would IMMEDIATELY jump in and use all their might to force Pakistan to act.

The grin would go from Mishra's face.

How about it, Indians?
Momeen Rashid
Delhi, India
Dec 13, 2009
09:20 PM
As a matter of fact, if India simply funds and harbours Sindhi, Pathan and other malcontents, Pakistan will soon lose all enthusiasm for instigating terror attacks in India.

The US, too, will come down on the Paks with all their might, in that case.

All Indian rulers need are balls.
Momeen Rashid
Delhi, India
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