A few more slaughtered in Syria this past week. Libya too. Yes some by Nato fire. The case was made to me this week that the reason India abstained in the UN resolution on Egypt was that the West were hypocritical, that they turn a blind eye to Bahrain, that they are acting in their own self-interest and why should India support that? Why should India support a UK sponsored UN resolution when the UK was wrong on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Why should India support the UK in the UN when they want regime change and just call it humanitarian relief?

Well, I wouldn’t worry, but this was put to me by a senior Indian Government official. I worry because if this is how India sees herself and reasons then she has no notion of who she is. God help India.

The West are hypocrites argument: It doesn’t matter. What matters is right and wrong when it comes to deaths in Syria at the hands of their Government, or in Egypt, or anywhere else. That the West are not intellectually consistent is a pathetic excuse by the morally uncourageous to actually protect their own self-interest because they don’t want the light of moral indignancy from a weapons rich West to be shone on their own internal affairs.

If India does not stand for Human Rights because the UK does not do something about human rights in Saudi Arabia, then India is worse than someone who does not think for themselves; they only think the opposite to someone who thinks for them. If India, the world’s largest democracy aspires for nothing more than this, then it has no moral courage, or moral backbone, and certainly no right at all to be on the Security Council of the United Nations. If it does not know its heritage, the land of Gandhiji, and it does not, then it may as well rank amongst the ordinary nations of the world for surely by its inactions it shall be judged.
The West were wrong on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Argument: The immaturity of this level of thinking astounds me. So on that basis anything the West ever does must be wrong and the opposite right. No, actually the West went into Iraq based on a breach of UN resolution 1441. Iraq broke the law. The law they broke was NOT that they were concealing weapons of mass destruction. So it was not an illegal war. Read UN resolution 1441 and then come and talk to me.

The West are acting in their self-interest argument: Again, so what? Is it not in India’s interest to say, as the largest democracy in the world, we stand for the rights of the ordinary citizen. But India can’t do that. It would be the hypocrite. No corrupt Government, even a corrupt democratic one can say that. And that is why India abstained. It would be incredulous for India to say we stand for the rights of the Syrian people not to be slaughtered, and at the same time Indian officials robbing her own people blind.
The West want regime change argument: When a government slaughters its own people, regime change is right. Simple. If you think a government is more important than genocide, then you know nothing of the better values of what India can and should aspire to and the best parts of her heritage and I don’t have time for you.

So it occurs to me, it is India that is self-interested, hypocritical and sadly not the nation that bore the greatest generation ever of Indians. Maybe greatness comes in cycles not in straight lines. So maybe we wait another few hundred years for a Gandhiji or an Asoka. There were Indians who knew right from wrong and defined themselves according to their own values. Of which Indian would Einstein today say, ‘in years to come the world will scarcely believe one such as this of flesh and blood once walked this earth.’ Sonia Gandhi, Chidambaram, Sibil?

So it is, for all the charges you level against the West and the UK, they have the moral courage to go in and do something. Call their motives ill, but the outcome is better than sitting on the sidelines whining and cowering on the fringes of history. You want to know why you’re not getting the respect on the world stage you think money can buy? Now you know why. Arise oh Bharat, thou were once great, what has become of thee?

Alpesh Patel