A sham took place today in central Delhi. From Vijay Chowk to India Gate, right in front of the Presidential home, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, a few famous people held a torch and ran a few metres, light a few more torches held by other famous people who also ran a few metres, all the while being watched by a few Chinese and thousands of security personnel. This was the famous Olympic torch run on its India leg.
This was also a prime example of the Indian government behaving like a servant in front of the Chinese, who they treated as masters. If you've seen a servant in front of his master, he will fold his arms and do everything the master tells him, and flog his wife on the side in order to cede to the orders of his master. The Indian government flogged its own people, and gave into the whims and fancies of the Chinese overlords. Unprecedented security surrounded the Olympic torch run and the only people who were allowed direct visual access were some important officials, some Chinese and some school kids. The general public and anybody who even closely resembled a Tibetan were kept far away.
The US reaction was a lovely example of democracy. The Olympic torch run had to be protected, and it was. But free speech is also a right and the protesters were allowed that. Even though W made some random comments about how the Chinese and the Dalai Lama should engage in a dialogue, the US reaction was largely neutral. The Indian reaction, on the other hand, was very pro-Chinese. Although some Tibetan voices were heard, the knee-jerk reaction was to cow them down with force and bundle them into vans to transport them to jail. Tibetans were not allowed to demonstrate or protest freely. If it turned violent, then by all means enforce law and order, but not when it is a peaceful protest.
A major fallout of the Indian government thinking the Chinese way was the traffic situation. Since India Gate is at the centre of the city, a ripple there causes a wave in the rest of the city. The journey from my office to my house takes barely 30 min, including normal traffic. Today, it took me 150 min. There were portions where we did not move for long stretches of time. I was wondering how long it would be before the Army was called in to drop essential supplies.
Is it really worth inconveniencing millions, literally millions, of your own citizens to satisfy some neighbour who you don't like anyway? Is this not the attitude of the servant? The Chinese would have very smugly packed up the torch after the run, laughed amongst themselves at another battle won against India and left by the next available flight. The Indians meanwhile will be waiting expectantly for the largeness that the Chinese will show after this act of friendship and good faith. Do you know what the next Chinese move is going to be?
The Olympic torch is going to do a detailed run across China. But during that run, the torch is also going to visit a monastery that just incidentally falls in Arunachal Pradesh. Do the Chinese have the requisite Indian permission to do that? I don't know, but my guess is in the negative. Is it a bold move by the Chinese to claim ownership over disputed land, to show that parts of Arunachal Pradesh actually belong to China, just like Tibet? I don't know, but my guess is in the positive.
India, stand up for yourself. If you don't treat yourself with respect and demand respect, nobody will treat you with respect or give you any.