– Raghav Narsalay
Nearly a century ago, Rudyard Kipling wrote memorable lines depicting how imperialists used natives from Eastern countries to defend and/or capture territories o­n Eastern soil. To quote Kipling:
“Take up the White Man's Burden
Send forth the best you breed,
Go bind your son's to exile
To serve your captives need.”
You cannot find more apt lines to describe the behaviour of the US Administration in the context of their occupation of Iraq. After all these days of illegal and undemocratic occupation of Iraq, the carriers of imperialist project have realized that they can o­nly complete their theft and piracy by either using Iraqi forces or by using forces from the South.
The sad part is that although governments of some countries from the South have been compelled by public pressure to abstain from supporting these nefarious goals of the US Administration, they have been providing backdoor support to the unfolding US project. The Indian government is a classic case.
Due to enormous domestic public pressure the Indian government finally agreed to not send its troops to Iraq. The US Administration has been desperately trying every means to get troops from India and Pakistan to fight o­n their behalf. This is so because, soldiers from India and Pakistan are internationally known for their skills to handle situations like the o­nes in post-occupation Iraq. It would be difficult to term the operations expected to be carried out by Indian and Pakistan soldiers as 'anti-insurgency', because if this would be the case then, the India or Pakistan soldiers would have to flush out US and the British troops and not the Iraqi citizens, as the former are 'insurgents'.
The right wing Indian government in order to prove its loyalty to its unworthy friends in the US Administration then used some clandestine ways to offer this help. Shamelessly, they have used Indians to not o­nly provide security to US troops and executives, but also to do menial work of US troops.
These shoddy actions got exposed a couple of days ago when interviews of four Indians who were held by US troops to do their menial work were published in a major daily “The Asian Age” o­n May 6th 2004. Aliyarunj Faisal, Abdul Aziz, Shahjehan, Haniffa Mansool and Hameed Abdul Hafiz said that they signed up in August 2003 with a recruiting agency to work for a caterer in Kuwait. When they reached the Kuwait Airport, a US soldier ordered them to board a bus (containing around 20 other Indians) that took them to a base near northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Their protests were not paid heed to. According to Shahjehan, “every time the camp was attacked by Iraqi fighters, we took shelter in the bunker. The fear of seeing so many bomb explosions still haunts me…when I refused to (do menial) work and told an officer that I wanted to go back, he beat me up.” They along with 12 other Indians finally escaped after paying USD 20 to Iraqi truck driver who took them to Baghdad.
While this controversy continues in the newspapers, and as the Indian government keeps o­n defending itself by making surreal remarks o­n this issue, another controversy has emerged o­n the horizon.
Reports in newspapers reveal that the Indian government has facilitated the passage of retired Indian soldiers to Iraq by using the services of some of the private security firms. The private security firm that has off late become the centre of controversy in this context is, “Trig Guard Force”, which has signed a contract with another Company (name unknown). The latter unknown entity has secured the original contract for Rs. 1400 crores or USD 311 million (1USD = Indian rupees 45) to provide security to for US civilian workers and executives in Iraq.
Speaking to the press the Head of “Trig Guard Force” categorically stated that he has been sending personnel in Iraq o­nly after receiving the necessary government clearances. He says, “The government has given the necessary clearances. Everybody we have sent has got the official emigration clearance, visa clearance… All my people have exited the country by air. Nobody has gone by ship or some other irregular manner.” Asked if any official agency had contacted him to suggest his company was violating government regulations, he said no.
The External Affairs Ministry spokesman said that it was unlikely that any Trig employees would have received the necessary sanction to work in Iraq.
As these controversies keep o­n surrounding the Indian government and as they shamelessly keep o­n finding o­ne curtain after another to hide their faces, a fact has been revealed, which is, Indian government has defied the democratic will of their people and has betrayed their faith.
They have shown that their nationalism is all about carrying the imperialist's burden.