By Bimal Prasad Mohapatra
IAS-turn-Civil Society activist Aruna Roy published a column titled “Civil Society is not enemy” on dt. 18.11.2021 in The Print and on dt. 19.11.2021 in The Indian Express questioning the constitutional rationality of former IPS and IB-Director and now National Security Adviser to government of India with cabinet minister rank Ajit Doval, who is incidentally her batch mate, advice, which she quoted in her column and I too quote “The new frontier of war, what you call the fourth-generation warfare, is the civil society. Wars have ceased to become an effective instrument for achieving their political or military objectives. They are too expensive and unaffordable and, at the same time, there is an uncertainty about their outcomes. But it is the civil society, that can be subverted, that can be suborned, that can be divided, that can be manipulated, to hurt the interests of a nation. And you are there to see that they stand fully protected” to newly trained IPS in their passing out ceremony.
Ajit Doval’s above quoted statement can be divided into two parts. Part one reads: The new frontier of war, what you call the fourth-generation warfare, is the civil society. Wars have ceased to become an effective instrument for achieving their political or military objectives. They are too expensive and unaffordable and, at the same time, there is an uncertainty about their outcomes. And Part two reads: But it is the civil society, that can be subverted, that can be suborned, that can be divided, that can be manipulated, to hurt the interests of a nation. And you are there to see that they stand fully protected.
Also NSA says about Fourth-generation Warfare, shortly called 4GW. The simplest definition of 4GW includes ‘any war in which one of the major participants isn’t a state but rather a violent non-state actor. Fourth-generation warfare has often involved an insurgent group or other violent trying to implement their own government or reestablish an old government over the current ruling power’. Currently, India has several insurgent groups or violent non-state actors and it looks like it’s some civil society members are facilitating them. When Ajit Doval says “But it is the civil society, that can be subverted, that can be suborned, that can be divided, that can be manipulated, to hurt the interests of a nation”, he accepts Civil Society has a major role in democratic governance (means civil society is not enemy); but at the same time, that can be subverted, suborned, divided and manipulated to hurt the interest of a nation, and therefore “You(IPS) are there to see that they stand fully protected.”And it is also the job of IPS to find out who, when, where and how Civil Society is subverted, suborned, divided and manipulated apart from supervising law and order in the society. Protecting civil society members from subversion, suborn, division and manipulation is the new frontiers of war.
I don’t know whether Indian Civil Society is subverted, suborned, divided and manipulated or not, but I know there are a large number of influential black sheep in Indian civil society having direct link with inimical elements abroad who have been relentlessly working against national interest by way of engaging themselves in creating political instability and disharmony among communities, castes, regions, languages, etc.
On 13 January 2018, four senior most judges including one who later became Chief Justice of India(CJI) called for a press conference in New Delhi –the first of its kind in India’s judiciary history- when they were supposed to be in CJI chamber for their morning tea together as per the age-old convention, and made some allegations against the then CJI over his style of functioning. Factually, this was an in-house crisis of apex court which is autonomous organ of Indian governance system. When this issue brought to notice of executive, it told ‘Indian Judiciary is mature enough to take care of any difference within it.’ Though the revolt did not impact the judicial functioning later and things got normalize in no time, there were several issues in which some members of Civil Society had a dubious connections.
In the presser, one senior journalist, who was the head of Editor Guild of India and having dubious journalistic distinction, and a senior SC lawyer, who allegedly violated FCRA norms to get foreign donation, were spotted prompting judges standing behind them while they were addressing press. Soon later, a senior disgruntled politician and former Cabinet Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs in Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihar Vajpayee governments, whose son was a minister in 2018, call for revolt of senior leaders and ministers in the ruling party and coalition government. It is a different matter altogether that no minister resigned including his son responding the call.
All the above discussed people are now prominent members of India Civil Society. Are they don’t know that after two and half decades of unstable coalition governance and policy paralysis which severely impacted national security, economy and social stability accompanying unprecedented corruptions, for the first time the people of India chosen a government with absolute majority to govern with stability? Additionally, they propagated ‘this is the government of 31% (as per 2014 GE vote share) Indians’, who voted for it, without accompanying information that the previous government for ten years (2004-14)had less than 30% voters’ votes, and its PM was never elected. What for the above listed activities of prominent Civil Society members? Should IPS officers not watch who, when, where and how Civil Society is subverted, suborned, divided and manipulated, and for what? Here the author of “Civil Society is not enemy” should not forget that IPSs use to take oath with “I, …., do swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to India and to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, and that I will carry out the duties of my office loyally, honestly, and with impartiality. (So help me God !)”
Before concluding, I would like to bring to the notice of my fellow Indians that I am in India where Civil Society members such as:
Painter could paint nude pictures of his mother land and majority community deities with vulgar captions and majority community people were asked to accept the same as master art pieces to get certificates of secular. During high days of such controversy, I asked one certified secular ‘Can you host these nude and vulgar pictures in your house portico, lobby, drawing room, etc.’, he told me ‘these are actually honeymoon room materials with captions san deities’ names’. Can social harmony in any country be maintained hurting religious sentiment of majority community? Here, one should not forget that religion as an issue is as old as human civilization, and world’s 93% population adhere to at least one religious identity.
Here, in my India, civil society activist refuses to read the government laws but fights and instigates people against the law(CAA-ABP debate); vegetarian-Gandhian historian eats beef to celebrate his visit to a state ruled by a party he does not like; film star born, brought up, gain popularity living his whole life in India but says he was very comfortable in Pakistan, which is known all over the world as manufacturer and exporter of terror, during his few days stay there; internationally reputed people tweet fake news in order to instigate gullible farmers for violence in none other than nation’s pious Republic Day in national capital; etc. etc. ……. there are hundreds of examples. And here civil society members (professors, writers, etc.) prefer to be fans of pop star and porn star than economists with proven caliber (Ref: Farm Laws tweet) because they are from West where evangelist-cum-inside trader convict George Soros promised to fund billion dollar to remove his branded nationalist government in India.
Are the above narrated civil society activities not facilitating violent non-state actors? If yes, should NSA mandated to protect national security not advice his subordinate officers to remain vigilant?
(Author is Research Fellow in DRaS, Ernakulam. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at email@example.com)