January 19, 2021
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Iraq Resolution

'Willing To Speak But Afraid To Utter'

The surprise package in the Rajya Sabha discussion on April 9 was the contribution from the Shiv Sena member -- unedited speech.

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'Willing To Speak But Afraid To Utter'

Madam, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.  Madam, we are passing through momentous times.  I personally believe that we are not completing a formality of passing this Resolution and declaring that we have discharged our responsibility.  There are two issues that have been stated at the beginning of this Resolution.  First thing is our concept as a nation.  What are we as 'Hindustan'?  The great poet Rabindra Nath Tagore wrote a poem and that complete poem was devoted to what our country should look like after freedom.   It began with the words, "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high".  Rabindra Nath wanted us to have a mind without fear and to hold the head high and that poem ended by saying, "Father, into that heaven of freedom, let my country awake. 

I am not very sure whether we merely learnt the poem by heart or whether our decision-makers and the policy-makers realise that their views and their mind has to be without fear.  I personally believe that in relation to Pak, we have a policy where we are willing to strike but are afraid to wound.  In regard to the world, we have a policy where we are willing to speak, but afraid to utter.  If this is the direction of our foreign policy, I think a time will come when the Ministry of External Affairs will have to be renamed as Foreign Ministry. Foreign Ministry was named as the Ministry of External Affairs because it should show the independence of our policies.  If we, in the world matters, dither, fear or shiver, then probably it has to be rechristened again as 'Foreign Ministry'.

Madam, this war by all accounts is the most heinous war.  I for one am speaking on behalf of my party, the Shiv Sena, support this Resolution and cannot think of Bush without branding him as a war criminal and a mass murderer.  When I say this, I am aware that in my own situation my daughter, my grand-daughter and my son-in-law are in the USA.  Madam, this war has no sanctity in the international law.  It is against the wish of the United Nations.  It is against the wish of the people of the world.  The destruction and devastation  it has caused, the children, the civilians that have been mayhemed (sic), bruised, marred and tortured, has no parallel. 

How can we look at Bush in any other way than we look at Mussolini and Hitler?  He should be in the same cabin where Milosevic is lodged right now in the International Criminal Court.  This war has been in violation of the UN Charter.  If the USA condemns the Iraq's war on Kuwait, the US has no right to intervene in Iraq.  There are a few issues which come up because of this uni-polar world, the world that is dominated by the USA as gendarme  of the world, as a policeman of the world. 

The issue is  whether we  accept that the USA can strike any country,  any time, at will.  I would like to know whether that kind of right can be conceded to the USA and whether the sovereignty of  nations is a disposable and dispensable commodity that it can be tampered with impunity in the way in which George Bush has tampered with the authority and sovereignty of the Iraqi people.  This has arisen out of the fact, in my opinion, that America is trying to show to the world that this is an 'American Century' and they are trying to impose the doctrine of 'Pax  Americana' on the whole world.  We are likely to be only toys in their hands and therefore, our foreign policy must be a strong policy and we must say what we want to say, at that time when it is to be said. 

I feel in bringing this Resolution, we are doing something. But it is too little and too late and all the same in the current situation, it has to be welcomed.  I must mention that we have lost another initiative that is in relation to the NAM Movement.  When Panditji,  Nasser and Tito conceived of the Non-Aligned Movement, it was not an independent ideology.  It was a spirit of freedom and the extension of the same spirit of freedom by which we wanted to go beyond the yoke of foreign rule, beyond slavery  that took us to the Non-Aligned Movement.  If the spirit of freedom has to be preserved in this world, then we have to ensure that the Non-Alignment Movement remains strong. 

It was this time when George Bush was claiming that he is supported by 30 or 40 countries of the world, our Government could have taken an initiative, held a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement and shown to the USA that if there are 30 countries with you, there are 160 countries against you.  That initiative I believe has been lost.  Therefore, even now our Government should take some initiative in the NAM and try to lead them together and declare this kind of atrocities on the world committed by Bush as unacceptable to the whole world. 

I must congratulate France, Germany and Russia.  France and Germany are NATO members.  Even then they stood up.  We have counted them as  one amongst many.  They could do it though they are members of  NATO.  There is an agreement between them.  We could not have a say till today after 21 days of the invasion.  I must compliment the Iraqi people.  The spirit of patriotism they have shown has only a few parallels in the history of the world.  They are Arabs.  They are Muslims.  I and my party Shiv Sena go ahead and congratulate them.  I salute them because they are true to their motherland and true to their soil.

If there are unpatriotic Muslims, they should take a lesson from these patriotic Muslims.  They can lay their lives on the altar of the patriotism and altar of their motherland.  There are Muslims in other parts of the world; let them realise that that is the true path to eternity, to die for one's land and to stand by one's motherland.  There are some Muslims who think just as George Bush is thinking of Pan Americana, they think of some Pan-Islamic fundamentalism.  They must take a lesson from Iraqi people who are true to their nation, to their soil and to their patriotism and, therefore, we congratulate the Iraqi people.

Madam, this is not only a stand which I am taking in the Parliament, my Party leader, respected Shri Bala Saheb Thakre, has openly taken the stand and that stand shows that we Hindus, in Hindustan, are not against Muslims because they are Muslims, lahu ka rang lal hai; we are against only those Muslims who are working against the nation and we are with all those Muslims who are true to their nation, and, therefore, I congratulate the Iraqi people for their commitment to their nation, their sacrifice on the altar of the freedom and sovereignty. 

Madam, this thing has been brought here from Mumbai, please permit me to say this, and you will be surprised to know that my party newspaper, Samna, has manifold Muslim readership than Hindu readership these days because day-in-and-day-out, we are writing articles against Iraq.  We are writing because we feel that is an atrocity committed against the Arab people of Iraq and everyone of us is against this.  But, Madam, our External Affairs Minister made a statement that we could make premature strikes. 

My party's opinion is that if you cannot make premature strikes against the camps where terrorists are being bred, trained and generated, why announce it?  Make an attack and show that you can make that attack.  Madam, there are camps not only in Pakistan, but there are camps in Myanmar, and we are told that there are camps in Bhutan......(Interruptions).  It is related because after the statement by our External Affairs Minister, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. Colin Powell had to tell us that we cannot do that, as if he is the headmaster of the world. 

How could he retort to the statement made by our External Affairs Minister, Minister of a sovereign nation.  And, we stand by the statement made by our Minister.  How could Mr. Powell, as if he is the headmaster of the world, tell him, "No, no, this is not correct"? Is he there to interpret the law of the world and the international statute?  We condemn the statement that Mr. Powell has made.  We welcome the statement that our External Affairs Minister has made and we say that let him match his words with his actions and let him attack those camps where terrorists are being bred, trained and generated, because they are a threat to the world. 

In this world, we not only have one thing. We like the Iraqi people who are fighting for their freedom.  But, we do not like the thing that some people, in the name of Jehad and Islam, from other parts of the world, go and fight in that country.  That is also a threat to this world. Just like George Bush, who is a threat to this world, the other parallel Islam and, in that name, people are leaving their respective countries and going to that country to fight for Jehad, is also a threat to this world and a threat to India, and, therefore, that must be berated, deprecated and condemned at all costs. 

Madam, Shri Arjun Singh had very wisely mentioned.  Now, they call it reconstruction.  But, Madam, it is a feast of vultures.  I will never, in my life forget, that characterisation of the post-war Iraq as a feast of vultures.  Madam, let that feast of vulture not take place.  Let us intervene in the comity of nations as a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement; let us stop this war now; let us push Americans out.  India is a country of hundred and ten crore people, every single human being on this planet and in this country -- China has taken a stand; we have taken a stand; Russia has taken a stand; Germany has taken a stand; France has taken a stand.

Madam, if we join together, America has to withdraw here and now. With these words, I once again solemnly stand by this Resolution, support this Resolution, and congratulate the Government of India for bringing in this strong and significant Resolution condemning the aggression on Iraq by the blood-thirsty Americans and their leader George Bush. 

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