- “The geopolitics of India must be considered in the geographical context of the Indian subcontinent — a self-contained region that includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and, depending how one defines it, Nepal and Bhutan. We call the subcontinent “self-contained” because it is a region that is isolated on all sides by difficult terrain or by ocean. In geopolitical terms it is, in effect, an island.”
(the Indian Subcontinent – src Wikipedia)
The identities of India and the Indian subcontinent are linked geographically, culturally and historically. Every one of Indian origin, one would think, would aggressively guard the name “Indian Subcontinent” and be proud of it.
After all, such pride is what sustains nations and builds up their identities. America is the largest and most dominant country in North America which also contains Canada and Mexico. Do you think there is any chance that the name North America will be changed to something else that separates the region from America’s identity?
Take a much smaller country that really doesn’t have the same size of a claim? We speak of the “Persian Gulf”.
(view of Persian Gulf from space – src Wikipedia)
If you look the above view from space, you notice that Arabia has as much right to this Gulf as Persia or Iran does. This is why the Gulf countries began calling it the Arabian Gulf or simply the Gulf. Iran reacted very strongly. As a result the names Arabian Gulf or The Gulf were dropped. Today, the only internationally recognized name is the “Persian Gulf”.
So what ‘Indian’ on earth would tolerate an insipid name like South Asia that jettisons Indian identity? Even if the breakaway regimes of Pakistan & Bangladesh push for the change, what Indian would ever accept it? No one, right?
Wrong! Indians fell all over themselves to hail the term South Asia. The Indian Government embraced it and named its regional group as SAARC, South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation. Indian Journalists use the term South Asia in their newspapers. Indians were delighted to ‘give up’ the core of their identity to pacify smaller, breakaway regimes that have been nothing but inimical to India.
We should not be surprised. That is the central finding of our earlier article Why Does India Tend to Collapse So Often? That article chronicled how 1,000 years of subjugation has taught Indians to give up or surrender rather than fighting. Independent India has actually raised this ‘give up’ habit to a national requirement.
But that can’t be true of Indian-American Journalists right? After all, America is a tough country and living in America must have provided Indian-American Journalists at least a couple of bones in the back, if not a complete backbone, right?
- “Where Journalism intersects with South Asia…A Network for Education, Inspiration and Training …Upgrading South Asia coverage …Uplifting journalism standards.” (emphasis ours)
See, no mention of the Indian subcontinent. To read the SAJA website is to believe that India & Pakistan share the same values, the same ideals.
Every one in America knows that Pakistan considers the Indian-Pakistan relationship to be a zero-sum game, that the lobbying of Pakistan is almost 100% anti-India. These are, by now, self-evident truths to every American Congressman, Senator and every American reporter. But to SAJA, there is no distinction between the interests of Indian Reporters and those of Pakistani reporters.
The “Chindia” Difference
A couple of years ago it was fashionable, at least in financial journalism, to use the term Chindia to refer to China and India. China despised that term. From what we read, China never considered India to be in its league. China considers itself to be the Number Two economic and military power in the world, whereas India is way down the line.
In 1996, China helped form a regional group sort of like the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation of which India is a part. What did China call the group? The Shanghai Five. The group was expanded in 2001 to include other members. So it was renamed as Shanghai Cooperation Association.
This group has Russia as a member and India was recently invited as an observer. But the name is still Shanghai Cooperation Association in deference to China’s standing.
This is the ‘Chindia’ difference, a China that zealously guards its national identity and an India that falls over itself in renouncing its national identity. Does this symbolize which of these two nations defeated the other in a war? Which of these two nations is dominant and which one is more subservient? We think it does.
What Does Secretary Hillary Clinton Say?
The United States has good relations with every country in the region we speak of. Most Indians would argue that the USA has been closer to Pakistan than it has been to India. So Secretary Clinton would have every reason to use a neutral term for the region, right? Wrong!
Last November, Secretary Clinton wrote a detailed article in the Foreign Policy Magazine titled America’s Pacific Century. Read the first two sentences:
- “The Asia-Pacific has become a key driver of global politics, Stretching from the Indian subcontinent to the western shores of the Americas, the regions spans two oceans — the Pacific and the Indian — that are increasingly linked by shipping and strategy.” (emphasis ours)
There you have it. Secretary Clinton called it the Indian subcontinent and not South Asia. This is not to be treated lightly. An article on record about America’s Century written by the US Secretary of State goes through myriad reviews and each word of the article is read, reread and scrutinized. So the use of the term ‘Indian subcontinent‘ by Secretary Clinton is deliberate.
Now read the sentence below from the last paragraph on page 2 of the article:
- “We are also expanding our alliance with Australia from a Pacific partnership to an Indo-Pacific one, and indeed a global partnership.” (emphasis ours)
Again the use of ‘Indo‘ signifies the core Indian identity of the region, the Indian subcontinent region bounded by the Indian Ocean which rests on the Indian tectonic plate.
Does this answer the question Who Stands up for Indian Identity? Hillary Clinton or Indian Journalists? You know it does.
Is Pakistan the Real ‘India’ within ‘South Asia’? – A Question for SAJA
This is really a question for all Indians, especially all Indian journalists. We focus on SAJA because their name blares out their embrace of the ‘South Asia’ identity and their rejection of the ‘Indian subcontinent’ identity.
India is the center of the Indian subcontinent. As long as the region is called Indian subcontinent, the name India belongs to today’s India. If the identity of the region becomes South Asia, then shouldn’t today’s Pakistan call itself India?
Think about it. In a region called South Asia, the name ‘India’ should belong to the country that contains the river Indus. After all, the name India was derived from the river Indus.
(Indus River – src Wikipedia)
The map above shows that the Indus river runs mainly through the country that calls itself Pakistan. So as the country of the Indus river, Pakistan could claim a legitimate right to the name ‘India’ within a region called ‘South Asia’.
Why should that bother any of today’s Indians? The real name of their country is Bharat any way. So what does it matter if Pakistan
gets the right to be called India? Giving up the name India would be consistent with the 1,000 year long ‘give up‘ and ‘surrender‘ attitude inculcated in today’s India.
So let us ask SAJA, the organization that symbolizes South Asia. Should Pakistan get the right to call itself ‘India’? Will the SAJA Board support that demand if Pakistan makes it?
We await your answer, SAJA.