NATIONAL ROT OBVIOUSLY BEGINS AT THE TOP of the Government apparatus and seeps and infects and corrodes before finally consuming the country and the society that created the Government. In plain language, it consumes people. But the national rot begins not with a nebulous entity called Government, it begins in the innermost recesses of the people manning it. People who willingly darken these recesses by slaughtering their conscience. This holds true for functional Governments built on the foundations of honesty, integrity, transparency and a demonstrated concern for the well-being of citizens.
But how do we grasp the phenomenon of Governments founded on the absolute worst elements of our base instincts? That is, “Governments” whose foundations include unprovoked cruelty, wanton violence, unquenchable rapacity, heinous depravity and unmitigated persecution of their own, innocent citizens even in peacetime. The “Governments” of Muslim Empires throughout the world ever since Islam acquired state power are the best, lived illustrations of this phenomenon. Needless, Muslim Empires that ruled various parts of Bharatavarsha were no exception to this.
These Muslim Empires did not establish “Governments” in any real meaning of the term — both in theory and practice. They were unchained despotisms and unbridled tyrannies. The administrative structures they set up were primarily meant for satisfying a twofold objective: the lifelong enjoyment of no-holds-barred depravity and extravagance of the sultan and the unceasing expansion of Islam.
As the 19th century British bureaucrat Mooreland astutely observes, “there was no independent aristocracy, for independence was synonymous with rebellion, and a noble was either a servant or an enemy of the ruling power.”
However, Prof K.S. Lal gives us the near-perfect assessment of an Islamic “Government,” when he writes, “in the Islamic state, Delhi was not the capital of the empire; it was Quwwat-ul-Islam. The king was not the ruler of the people; he was Amir-ul-Mauminin, ‘the conqueror of infidels and shelterer of Islam.’ The army was not the royal army; it was Lashkar-i-Islam. The soldier was not a cavalry man or infantry man; he was Ahl-i-Jihad. The law of the state was not any secular or humanitarian law; it was Shariat, the law of Islam. The state was not an end in itself, like the Greek state, but a means of sub-serving the interests of Islam. Conquests were made, shrines were broken, captives were taken, converts were made - all in the name of Islam. The raison d’etre of the regime was to disseminate the Islamic faith.” (Italics added)
Under such a system, what virtue, what goodness, what sublime values, what ideals, what philosophy, what education, and what elevating art and literature can grow? In fact, empires founded on this feral ideology can only be founded after first destroying these ennobling aspects of life. Naturally, they can only be sustained through brute force even in peacetime because the fear of a more ruthless usurper is a clear and present danger that faces the currently-ruling sultan. As the Islamic history of India repeatedly shows, that usurper was often the sultan’s own son.
Muslim rule set back Bharatavarsha by its concomitant duration: of eight centuries. But there is a more fundamental side to this national misfortune. A diligent researcher will find enough material — from Islamic sources themselves — to show that the selfsame Muslim rule corrupted the ethical and moral framework of the Indian society in unfathomable ways. It is a curse that has not only endured till date but has been exacerbated almost to the point of no return.
WE NOTICE THE UNBROKEN LEGACY OF this profligate corruption in perhaps the most vital areas that impact our daily life: governance, administration and judiciary.
In fact, we can trace chilling parallels between the dissolute administrative and the scrofulous judicial system of Muslim Empires and that of the Congress “Governments“ after “independence.”
To explore these parallels, this essay considers the Mughal administrative system and its judicial setup as the role model which the Congress dynasty adopted if not aped. The reason for this selection is straightforward: the Mughal Empire is still regarded as a showcase of religious tolerance, syncretism, liberalism, magnanimity, magnificence and good governance.
This essay is largely exploratory and it would be a great national service if a researcher or scholar expands this theme into a full-length book.
FROM THE TIME ILTUTMISH consolidated his grip on the so-called Delhi Sultanate up to Aurangzeb’s blood-soaked reign, all sultans stuffed their administration with alien Muslims, and they broadly belonged to two classes.
The first class, which poured into India from Central Asia like an unceasing swarm of locusts included adventurers, freebooters, (former) aristocrats whose careers had been wrecked at home, relatives of the sultan or his clan and sundry mercenaries looking to make fortunes via shortcut.
The second class comprised foreign Muslims or their descendants who had already settled in India and had been serving in various capacities in the sultan’s administration.
Mooreland writes this about the administrative demographics of Akbar “the great” (sic): “The [administrative] Service was not by any means confined to men of Indian nationality, and in Akbar's time it was predominantly foreign. Akbar himself was a foreigner — the Omrahs consist mostly of adventurers from different nations who entice one another to Court (Bernier)… Blochmann gives a list of all such appointments to ranks about 500 horse.” (Italics added)
Here are some numbers that quantify Mooreland’s observation: seventy percent of senior officers came from Muslim families who had accompanied Humayun from Afghanistan. They were rewarded and promoted by Akbar after he became the sultan. Of the remaining thirty percent, more than half were Muslims, both Indian and foreign. The remainder were Hindus.
In the forty long years of his reign, Akbar appointed a grand total of the following numbers of Hindus in his administration: twenty-one. Of this, seventeen were Rajputs. These appointments were part of his calculated move to consolidate his hold over Rajputana. The remaining four Hindus include the following: Birbal, Raja Todar Mal and his son, and finally, a Khatri official whose name is unknown.
Cut to Nawab Nehru, the last Mughal cum Brown Sahib cum Stalin’s serf by proxy. The extended circle of his advisors and friends and people he looked up to mostly included foreigners. Edwina Mountbatten tops the list. During his unmuzzled Prime Ministerial nightmare of socialism, the Soviet and Chinese embassies in Delhi became the biggest beneficiaries. For a comprehensive account of how this played out in real life, I highly recommend reading Sri Sita Ram Goel’s Genesis and Growth of Nehruism, How I became a Hindu, and Nehru’s Fatal Friendship. Here is another example: why couldn’t Nawab Nehru couldn’t find a single Indian architect to build factories, townships, cultural and educational institutions? What compelled him to import the American architect, Joseph Allen Stein to design and build sprawling complexes in the Lodi Estate area which includes the India International Centre, the HQ of Ford Foundation, UNICEF, Worldwide Fund for Nature, and the India Habitat Centre. Other buildings that Stein built include the Durgapur township, IIM Kozhikode, Triveni Kala Sangam Arts centre, and American Embassy School.
Cut to Nawab Nehru’s daughter, Czarina Indira Gandhi. She outdid her father’s Communist addiction by packing her PMO with hardcore Communists. That P.N. Haksar wielded frightening power is well-known but what is now forgotten is how he directly took orders from the Kremlin. The whispered tales of Soviet suitcases landing directly in her official residence deserve a separate chapter in the recent history of India. On the other side, Indira Gandhi as PM was constantly anxious not to upset her powerful British friends in the UK. They repaid the favour by arranging a whirlwind, pan-England tour for her in December 1978 and gave her a national platform to play the victim card. Her other close friend was the American journalist and photographer, Dorothy Norman, wife of Edward A. Norman, the son of an early Sears & Roebuck businessman.
Cut to Rajiv Gandhi, and the foreign element takes on a sinister dimension in the form of an Italian wife and most notably, Quattrochi and his vast network of defence contractors and powerbrokers and fixers. In those days, it was pretty routine to read news reports and exposes which invariably mentioned the scary clout that Quattrochi’s European and American friends exercised in the corridors of South Block. The Bofors scandal was undoubtedly the scariest manifestation of the extent of foreign control over the Indian Government.
However, public discourse in India has largely overlooked an equally scary incident which is significant on a very sensitive plane: the plane of national self-respect and the morale of our defence forces. This is Rajiv Gandhi’s misadventure in Lakshadweep in December 1987. On 26 December, the selfsame Rahul Gandhi who is now literally on the streets, alighted on the shimmering beach from an orange-white Lakshadweep administration chopper with four of his buddies, all of them in jolly party mode. Funded by the Indian taxpayer. The chopper departed only to return with another fresh batch of his buddies. They joined Rajiv, Sonia, Sonia’s mother, their Italian relatives and other foreigner-friends, Amitabh Bachchan and a few others in Rajiv’s close circle. The finest quality of alcohol flowed like the luscious waters of the Arabian Sea even as the Nehruvian revellers fattened themselves on the sumptuous food paid, again, by our money. But the climax of this abhorrent drama of casual impunity was using India’s premier warship, INS Viraat like a private taxi. For ten full days. Now imagine that you’re the captain of INS Viraat and you witness this perverse soirée of entitled quasi-tyrants playing out before your own eyes. Imagine serving foreigners who have access to such a sensitive naval infrastructure. Access granted by the Prime Minister himself. Imagine what that does to the morale of your junior officers and seamen. Just. Imagine. It chills the bone to envisage what would have happened if Rajiv Gandhi had gotten a second term.
It is only the Tapasya of our Rishis that helped Bharatavarsha survive Rajiv Gandhi.
Cut to super PM Sonia Gandhi, and we observe an entirely new and eerie magnitude of the foreign element in India’s administration. If Nawab Nehru and Indira Gandhi had Soviet advisors and Italians ran amok in Rajiv’s regime, PM Manmohan Singh was superseded by an unconstitutional and treacherous body called the NAC. The name Jean Dreze comes to mind immediately. Why was a Belgian — whose name no one had ever heard before — given such frightening levels of access to the highest offices of the Indian Government? Essentially a federated network of anti-India and anti-Hindu NGOs, most members of the NAC have proven links with international breaking India forces. The damage that this deadly institution has inflicted on India has been irreparable in several areas.
The parallel with the Mughal administration is clear as daylight. Even if it is unjustified, the Mughals at least had a reason to stuff their administration with foreigners. Islamic kinship and tribalism were tremendous bonding forces in that era. Besides, they had realised that tyranny and oppression were the only means to maintain their power in an alien land populated by a majority of Kaffirs. What excuse did the Nehru dynasty have?
Which brings us to the second parallel.
To be continued
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