A media person of sorts who had his teeth deep in the political ice cream during Zardari and Nawaz governments, and who had been amply rewarded by both for his services to them, vents his frustrations during a TV program. “They want to eliminate the political leadership of Pakistan”, he laments, without naming the perpetrators.
“They use terrorism as an instrument of state policy to de-stabilize the region….. Their footprints can be seen all over, from India to Iran….. Don’t chuckle over the way Modi’s nose has been rubbed during the post Pulwama standoff, Indians will strike back, and this time they will not commit the mistakes which resulted in the downing of IAF planes…. They will avenge their humiliation”. He actually did not utter these words. But this is actually what he implied. In the army, we call it “words to the effect”.
An Indian Army veteran asks me to comment on the forcible conversion, in Sindh, of two Hindu girls, who, thereafter, were equally forcibly married to two local waderas –landlords. When the Indians talk about such events, they also have in their minds an “invisible drummer” to whose drumbeats the dancers dance their dances in Pakistan.
Deep state in both Pakistan and India?
A deep state is a form of clandestine government made up of hidden or covert networks of power operating independently of a nation’s political leadership, in pursuit of their own agenda and goals. Examples include organs of state, such as the armed forces or public authorities (intelligence agencies, police, secret police, administrative agencies, and government bureaucracy). A deep state can also take the form of entrenched, career civil servants acting in a conspiratorial/non-conspiratorial manner, to further their own interests.
The intent of a deep state can include continuity of the state itself, job security for its members, enhanced power and authority, and the pursuit of ideological objectives. It can operate in opposition to the agenda of elected officials, by obstructing, resisting, and subverting their policies, conditions, and directives. It can also take the form of Government-owned corporations or private companies that act independently of regulatory or governmental control.
When the Pakistani pseudo-intellectual vents have rage against the movers and shakers in Pakistan, even as the Indian Army veteran talks about the forcible conversion and marriage of the Hindu girls in Sindh, they have the same force to point at – the Pakistan Army- ISI combine, euphemistically called the ‘establishment”.
Why should the Indians link the forcible conversions and marriages in Sindh to the Pakistani establishment? It is because, to them, anything and everything, which has to do even remotely with the religious bigotry, is caused by the establishment.
Contrary to the perception created by the Indians and their Pakistani lobbyists, India is not simply a democracy governed by the known organs of state – the parliament, the judiciary, and the executive. It has its own deep state which impacts the state policies. So, if Pakistan has a deep state, and India also has a deep state, what is the big deal?
Difference between Jinnah and Nehru
We should not take Jinnah’s remarks lightly when he said “I had counterfeit coins in my pocket”, implying that his political colleagues in the Muslim League were “nincompoops”. And this has been reported by no less a person than his ADC. When you combine this remark with another remark of Jinnah: “I made Pakistan with the help of my type writer and my stenographer” (Iskander Mirza, Pakistan’s first President, said that this is what Jinnah told him), you get the complete picture.
Sometime back, I had written:
“What is democracy in context of Pakistan? There are a few political dynasties ruling the roost. These dynasties control the political parties where there are no internal elections and an inner circle makes all the important appointments. The parties are run like fiefs and the electorate is hoodwinked through false promises and catchy slogans. What is the Pakistan army’s role in this imbroglio? Is the Army again overstepping its domain, as propounded by some? These are the questions which agitate the minds of the common people.”
Let us now come back to India. What is the difference between our deep state and theirs?
Whereas Jinnah died soon after creating Pakistan, Nehru ruled India for 17 years. Even as an infant, he has a psyche that doesn’t differentiate between himself and the world around him, Nehru did not differentiate between himself and India. According to him, he was “the last Englishman in India.”
He sculpted India’s political and administrative institutions, its state-run enterprises, and the way it is perceived by the outside world even today. “If you seek his monument, look around you” – To no person applies this epitaph more appropriately than to Nehru.
Nehru spent the largest segment of his post-independence life in the Indian parliament. But he ruled India with an Iron hand, not with constitutional consensus. He even forced many Congress stalwarts to take retirement from politics.
Indians say that Nehru had a foreign policy whereas India had none. They criticize him for internationalizing the Kashmir dispute and for the Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan.
While Nehru built a powerful airforce and navy, he was suspicious of the Indian Army and gave it secondary importance. His relegation of the Indian Army translated itself into a defeat during the Sino-Indian border war in 1962.
Read more: From Nehru’s India to Modi’s Hindustan
How did Nehru rule? What were the constituents of the Indian deep state? Unlike Pakistan where the Army gradually stepped into the vacuum created by Jinnah’s death, Indian Deep State comprised Nehru’s inner circle of politicians, journalists, intellectuals, and civil bureaucracy.
Was there a deep state during Nehru’s time?
Though Nehru was suspicious of the Indian Army as a whole, he had his favorites like Lieutenant General B.M Kaul, a fellow Kashmiri and a distant relative who was a regular visitor at the PM House.
Homi Jahangir Bhabha was the nuclear physicist who advised Nehru on all matters nuclear. Bhabha was the architect of India’s clandestine nuclear weapons program. He cleverly contrived an apparently peaceful nuclear program that had military connotations.
Read more: The myth of `integral part’: Nehru’s perfidy
Then there were journalists like Rustom Khurshid Karanjia (R.K., for short), a Marxist, with whom Nehru constantly brainstormed to remove his mental cobwebs. R.K. was Nehru’s “roving ambassador” who continuously toured the Middle East (A region which was accorded great importance by Nehru) and conferred with Nasser of Egypt, Abdel Karim Kassem of Iraq, King Husain of Jordan and many other Arab rulers) and provided valuable inputs to Nehru.
R.K also interviewed USSR’s premier Nikita Khrushchev and played a role in resolving the dispute between Egypt and Iraq. At that time Khrushchev was leaning more on Lt Col Kassem, the Iraqi strongman, than on Nasser, his long-time ally. So, the Indians rightly ask what their Ministry of External Affairs was doing at the time.
Industrialists like Tata and Birla also comprised the Indian deep state under Nehru. At Nehru’s behest, Tata even created Lakme, the company which was to produce beauty creams, nail polishes, and cosmetics to make India self-reliant in these products.
This was Nehru’s court which continued to thrive under Indira Gandhi. R.K played an important role under Indira to create contacts between Raza Shah Pahlavi, the Iranian monarch, and Indira.
The Indian deep state
The Indian deep state continues to thrive under Modi. The old players of this deep state have, over the period, been replaced by Ajit Doval, the RAW supremo, and Anil Ambani, the Reliance Industries owner who, with Modi’s blessings, has cut a deal with Dassault of France to become the strategic partner to assemble Rafale fighter jets in India. Like Nehru, Indian political leadership still views the Indian Army with suspicion.
So, folks, don’t whimper when your army chief meets with the Saudi and UAE monarchs to iron out the differences between Pakistan and the petro kingdoms. In India, the same tasks are performed by intermediaries of another kind.
However, Ajit Doval does not brief the Indian parliamentarians the way the Pakistan Army chief briefs the Senators about the security environment in the region. The Indian deep state does not trust its politicians.
Saleem Akhtar Malik was a Lt Colonel in the Pakistan Army. He holds an honors degree in War Studies, an MBA, and an M.Phil in Management Sciences. He is the author of the book Borrowed Power. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.