Monday, September 15, 2008

An authoritarian's prescription

One of the blogs on my daily readlist is The Acorn written by Nitin Pai, a hawkish foreign policy commentator and one of the editors of Pragati - The Indian National Interest Review. Pai is part of a growing group of strongly nationalistic voices on the internet, a group that I privately identify as Centralists.

Centralists are both near and distant to their Hindu Nationalist cousins. Compared to the latter, Centralists seem to have more faith in the Constitution and the prevailing nature of the Indian state (with exceptions, for example Article 370). While Hindu Nationalists take the secular Indian republic to be an impediment to the realization of the Hindu nation, Centralists are far more comfortable articulating their worldview from within the existing framework. They also better understand the power of free markets, trade, and economic growth, and are liberated from social orthodoxies. The similarity between the two is in their criticism of the habitual "weakness" of the Indian state and their lack of reservations about both internal and external projection of state or military power.

Pursuant to the Delhi bomb blasts, Nitin Pai proposes a seven-point programme towards a new national anti-terrorism policy. A couple of points for reference:
Move internal security to the PMO. The Prime Minister should chair a Cabinet Committee on Internal Security; a dedicated internal security adviser (rank of secretary or higher) should be appointed to act as the point man covering all aspects of internal security.

Mobilise the nation through a national satyagraha against terrorism. Get the grassroots to be uncompromising and unrelenting in the battle against terrorism. Pay special attention to reconciliation and form national integration committees in sensitive areas.
I sometimes think I just don't see the world as clearly as my more gifted fellow-men. What are the "grassroots" and where will they find the terrorists to fight an unrelenting battle?

For better or worse, Centralist aren't the only ones broadcasting about the bomb blasts.

Rahul at E's flat, Ah's flat too argues that:
..preventing bombings of open markets in a free society is pretty near impossible.
[Possibly nobody told Rahul about the possibilities if we have a dedicated internal security adviser (rank of secretary or higher).]

As if in direct response to Nitin Pai, Sauvik at Antidote opines:
Let it not be forgotten that the effect of all this terrorism is to increase police powers and budgets while simultaneously diminishing civil liberties. This is the actual political result. If Manmohan gives “top priority” to the war between his sarkaar and terror, this is going to be the only political result.

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