Opinion Maker

Where do you think our landlords, judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, military officials and others of their ilk come from? They come from the class conceived by Lord Macaulay – ‘Englishmen in every respect except for the colour of their skins.” What is the most important aspect of “every respect? It is the mindset. They learn to think like the master and adopt his value system.

By Humayun Gauhar

Why are we wondering whether we will arrive at a new and more equitable relationship with America, and if so on what terms? Why after such a long history of a master-slave relationship with every power that has conquered us with sword and mind? Need I tell you who is the master and who the slave?

We have had such a relationship, overt or covert, with our rulers, real or symbolic, for long whether native or foreign or those waiting in the wings. We had the same relationship with our British masters not to long ago. After ‘independence’ that relationship transferred to the new bully on the global block. Except for a lucky few, we have unfailingly kowtowed to all conquerors, tribal chieftains and warlords primitive to the core, feudal robber barons, princelings, potentates and satraps. The few who don’t kowtow and fail to enrich themselves are regarded as stupid by the supine. The question then arises: “Is submission and slavery in our genes?” As Muslims, we are supposed to submit only to God. Perhaps we don’t know God and imagine Him to be the White Man carrying our burden on his shoulders. Idiots.

When America is being rough with us, which it almost always is, we fool ourselves into believing that it is because we are very important – “our critical geostrategic position, you see.” If America ignored us we would worry that we are no longer important. Such is the mindset of the enslaved who don’t know their rights, their faith, are bereft of ideology, concerned only with personal well-being at the expense of others without giving two hoots for the greater good. Our ruling gang, in government out of it, is akin to the slave foreman who would whip other slaves on behalf of his master if they picked cotton slowly. The slaves called the foreman ‘boss’. Now our ruling gang is America’s foreman, as indeed it was the foreman of the British not so long ago before they sold it to our latest master some six and a half decade ago.

Where do you think our landlords, judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, military officials and others of their ilk come from? They come from the class conceived by Lord Macaulay – ‘Englishmen in every respect except for the colour of their skins.” What is the most important aspect of “every respect? It is the mindset. They learn to think like the master and adopt his value system. Good foremen and slave drivers can preempt what the master would want and do his work for him without their master having to order them while putting up a charade of resistance to prevent any possible slave rebellion. Those foremen, slave drivers, bosses, who become a pain or outlive their utility are ruthlessly trashed seemingly at the hand of slaves and replaced by ‘better’ ones but not by the hand of the slaves.

  Mr. Karzai: blood is thicker than water

I hope you have noticed that I have said ‘ruling gang’ rather than ‘ruling class’. I hate such labels, for they generalize. Ruling class should broadly mean all those who are in what one calls the upper middle class, the rich, the powerful and the influential. The majority of the ruling gang comes from this class, particularly of the feudal variety There are some honourable ones amongst the feudal, but alas only a precious few, but they are still part of the gang, aren’t they. And there are many dishonourable ones from amongst the middle and lower middle classes that are happy to be part of the gang. The few honourable ones regardless of class have understood their social and political genealogy while the objective of the many dishonourable ones is to join the Macaulay’s class which should have become a relic of the past were we not still mentally colonized. Human beings and the societies they evolve are complex. Thus not all members of the ruling class or even the ruling gang – or to use the much-misused word ‘elite’ – think like slaves or slave drivers. Which is why there is hope yet. They are the true elite, a word that means the best, cream of the cream. A poet, a writer, a good teacher wields great influence but is usually not very well off. Yet such persons are amongst the elite. Bullay Shah, Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib spring to mind, as do teachers like Sufi Tabassum, Khwaja Masud and many others. They were the elite amongst poets, thinkers and teachers of not only their time but for all time and influenced people’s minds a lot. They can never be equated with the slave drivers for it is the slave drivers that they were out to obliterate. But while acknowledging the honourable few we are in danger of losing our way, of losing sight of the wood, seeing the trees only. Such people of the genuine elite are but aberrations – so far. What we have to concentrate on is a gang and a class collectively, not individually. That is where the voices of the honourable few get drowned and the voice of the many, those who are foremen and slave drivers. It is they who always prevail and do great damage.

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Yes, we will certainly ‘reset’ our relationship with America because it is stupid to have no relationship or an adversarial relationship with still the most powerful country in history. The question is whether it will be an equitable relationship. Have no doubt about it: so long as we are led by foremen and slave drivers, the reset relationship may be less inequitable than before for a time, but it will be inequitable nevertheless. In any case, bankrupt countries whose economies are aid-driven and dependent on handouts like slaves always are can hardly adopt a strong negotiating position much less take the high ground – except for appearances sake. We are great at fighting mock battles and creating storms in teacups but don’t wake up when the time comes.

Yes, NATO supplies will resume after more pennies are thrown our way. America will pay for the damage to our roads. They will agree to release the money they owe us under the Coalition Support Fund – no favour there because it is our money and not paying it is tantamount to petty theft – petty for America, a lot for us. They might even give us the fig leaf of some sort of ‘inclusion’ before their drones strike and ‘innocently’ kill many innocents as ‘collateral damage’, a term that could only have been coined by Satan himself – or herself, a lady called Madeline Albright. Our military may get some more outdated toys for which we will have to pay through the nose. The ‘civilian nuclear deal’ as America has with India is a joke. We don’t need it since we already have such a relationship with China. In fact, we are ahead of India with our relationship with China than India is with its controversial deal with America. I shouldn’t say more on such a sensitive subject. We put the civilian nuclear deal on the negotiating table only for political purposes to put pressure on America. That is all. We don’t really need it. But then what should be our terms be if our reset relationship has to be meaningful and equitable?

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Our external debt is around $65-70 billion. We have wasted at least $85 billion fighting America’s ‘war on terror’. We should ask America to pay off our entire external debt. That’s no write-off or favour. It’s a due. As to the balance of around $15-20 billion, America should pay it off by investing it in equal installments in our infrastructure over five years. That will solve our energy problems, get our planes and trains running, enhance our road and train networks, give our people clean drinking water, build hospitals, schools and colleges, dams and canals and so forth. All of this will provide jobs and kick-start our economy. $20 billion is nothing for America. Why, it spends as much in a few days in the wars that it is stupidly fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. It spends more in a year on Israel because it is in a reverse master-slave relationship with it. Corporate type ephemeral investments, IT and the like, America can do in India. Such things we can do ourselves. We can make burgers, pizzas and fry chicken. We get their useless franchises because we are in a master-slave relationship. Given our once great civilization, it is we who should be franchising chicken tikka, bun kebab and biryani to them.