This article by U. Mahesh Prabhu is part of The Kautilya Project of Vedic Management Center
Battle is an armed conflict; war is a series of battles. Battles are (or were?) fought on battle fields; war is series of battles. Wise sages have declared that war is a result of disturbed and imbalanced minds. “You can win all the battles and still lose the war,” say some, and it is true. Look at the state of the United States-led coalition forces, in Iraq and Afghanistan particularly. The forces are equipped with the most sophisticated tactical tools and lethal weapons, yet they are far from achieving victory. On the contrary, their sworn enemies – the Islamists and Jihadists – are using their military aggression against them to create false propaganda and generate new recruits for terror operations.
When the US launched an offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan, they had a fair rationale. The World Trade Centres were reduced to rubble by an act of terror and the mastermind behind it – Osama Bin Laden – was being protected by the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan; it was important for a superpower to reciprocate. There can be no contest to this argument. But, then, it was an absolute blunder to invade Iraq – rich in oil reserves, but ruled by an absolute despot. The world condemned the attack not because they loved Saddam, but because if the US was to invade a country to satisfy its own agendas it could create a sense of insecurity with other nations as well, including those who are democratic and peaceful. Yet, the invasion was pursued and the dictator was overthrown, jailed and, even, hanged. The situation should have been resolved. But that it wasn’t.
There’s a reason why Kautilya didn’t suggest direct armed conflicts or war. He proposed the idea of Sam, Dam, Dand and Bhed. Bhed implied war and it always came last. The options before Bhed were more incisive and meticulous. It sought after every possible way to resolve a conflict using extremely peaceful to complexly tactful means. It often began with contemplation, followed by actions that were not extreme but capable of bring one’s enemy to his senses or heels.
“War is an extreme and is to be considered a final resort,” he argues in Arthashastra. War results in loss of life… Every life is to be valued,” he advises, and also, “therefore before taking away a life, ensure that there’s no other way to neutralize the threat emanating from it.”
Wars have accomplished zilch – nothing – except death, orphaning, widowing and, even, absolute collapse of social order. “Even if a ruler is certain to win the war, he must ensure that it’s considered as a last resort,” he cautions.
By resorting to war, the US and its allies gave a brilliant propaganda tool unto its enemies, particularly jihadis. These fanatics are using propaganda to recruit “homegrown” terrorists. It has even led to a delusional refugee crisis in Europe. This has created a sense of fear and social uncertainty.
“War is best for the one in defence,” and, “worst for the one in offence,” argued Kautilya. For, “War enforced is Adharma.” In Artha Sutras, he mentions “Adharma (foul actions) leads to Ku-Karma (negative Karma).” Karma here is to be understood as Law of Causation (cause and effect) and not the karma implied by Buddhists or Hindus as “destiny”. Nothing in this world happens without law of causation.
The looming civil hostilities within United States and Europe today are because Jihadists point to the coalition-led war “atrocities” as the cause of chaos in the Middle East. When people argue for sport, instead of attempting to understand the other’s perspective, it leads to further chaos – this is evident today. With their economies in doldrums, public opinion sharply divided, and political leaders at loggerheads, the West could face dire consequences if the situation isn’t contained.
So how can they set this right? Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Artha Sutras offer significant strategies in this regard.
Suggests Kautilya, “When hostilities occur between the people of a nation, it’s best resolved sooner rather than later. Brewing hostilities are sure to create civil unrest, cripple the economy and, eventually, the nation itself.” Hostilities are best resolved by resorting to Sam, Dam and Dand only.
Hostilities occur only when there’s a deep sense of disgust and discontent between communities. When non-Muslims become Muslims, it’s not because they love other Muslims or Islam. It’s more so because they hate non-Muslims more. Hate is the root of all problems. Therefore, anything that fosters hate must be shunned. This includes hate that hates the hate itself. Hate hails from a cause and leads to an effect that is often catastrophic. If you remove the cause of hate, you’ll be rid of hate.
To zero in on the cause, one must resort to Sam or Samadhan – i.e. patience – first. This includes shunning hate and looking at things, objectively. One of the many naïve things western politicians say is, “Islam is peace.” This aggravates the situation at hand because many non-Muslims rightly ask if it is truly peaceful, then why do Muslims cite their religious texts while justifying terror attacks. Besides, to claim that “Terrorism is not a part of Islam” and, “Those terrorists are misguided Muslims” has made no senses to this day in either convincing the non-Muslim populace or to win the war on terror.
While most Muslims could be contained by a just response, not all Muslims will be open to it. We’ve substantial testimonies in this regard. Those who will never be satisfied are fanatics who believe in the words of their Prophet verbatim and believe in a greater place (read Jannat) outside this material realm, flush with all sorts of pleasures of senses – including 66 Houries (virgin women promised to the “martyrs of jihad”). For them, death is more desirable than life – be it their, of their loved ones or even their sworn enemies. They are willing to become suicide bombers because they believe they’ll reach a place in heaven where they’ll have dozens of virgin women to enjoy for eternity. There’s no point in trying to instil sense in such people. They are best handled by Bhed– brute force. But Muslims who want to live a happy life in this material world are better handled by Dam or Damya – gifts and incentives – and Danda– punishments – if the gifts fail.
We’ve seen some governments giving unjust incentives to Muslims, particularly in Europe where Muslim men marry multiple women, and have children from him on a regular basis while then claiming social benefits from the government. While all religions must be respected, it must be understood that any special provisions, or favours to one set of religious people is sure to result in a sense of discontentment, anger and agitation from others. When discontentment arises, this is a sure way to create civil unrest – which, like creepers, cripple the very fabric of a nation with its ideas and ideals.
If Muslims do deserve right to refuge, then a few ground rules must be set. A Uniform Civil Code is crucial.
For example, when Zoroastrians (Parsis) were persecuted in Persia over 2,000 years ago, they sought refuge in India. The then king in modern Gujarat explained his inability to accept the refugees. But when he was compelled by their hapless state, he laid ground rules. This included dress codes and social lifestyle. Zoroastrians did get their incentive to practice their faith by having temples which excluded other religious members from entering it. But, when outside that holy sanctum sanctorum, it was clear that assimilation was their bounden duty. They were all equal before the law. This case could be a good case study for those European nations keen to welcome refugees in their home. Generosity is stupidity when caution isn’t practiced. To embrace a people about whom you’ve no idea is not a particularly wise thing. Trees are generous to creepers, but, eventually, those creepers cause its own collapse.
Implementing some ground rules are helpful, particularly with respect to a dress code that makes people assimilate better, family policy of one-woman-one-man-and-two-children, practice of faith inside the confines of home and mosque, compulsory vasectomy after the birth of a second child, ruling out niqab, abaya and other veils for women, compulsory primary education – particularly to women, etc. Should refugees have a free reign, it’s sure to break all sense of decorum, as it is already being seen in some countries that have welcomed refugees.
Let’s not forget that these refugees come with people who are indoctrinated in militant Islam, who intend to kill the ideas and ideals of all non-Islamic nations by inflating their population. Their idea of superiority of their race and faith is the cause of scores of problems in the Middle East – much before the US-led coalition invaded Iraq.
The hapless situation in the Middle East and Iran was squarely because of their religious clergy – mullahs – who are blindly followed and revered by the populace owing to their wielding of power, directly or indirectly. This is the truth that every Muslim and non-Muslims must be taught alike.
If the focus is maintained on Uniform Civil Code for Muslim citizens as well as refugees, the fight against the radical will become more practical. Should they ask for special privileges to practice Sharia (read Islamic Law), then it’s best to ask them to relocate to a Sharia-compliant nation. Educating the non-Muslim populace about Islam and its militant ideas and ideals against Kafirs (read Non-Muslims) can be beneficial. Most western people are aware of the crimes of the Church, but almost nothing about the brutal crimes of Islam and its Jihadist doctrine.
Westerners are in defence owing to their ignorance of the evils of Jihad since the birth of Prophet Muhammad. When intellectual and just retaliation begins, it’s only then that evils such as jihad can be defeated. A good number of leaders in the west are doing a fine job of educating people about Islam and its criminal past and present, including some non-Muslims.
Interestingly, the Karmic philosophy of Kautilya clearly expresses certain destruction of any idea or individual with Adharma at its helm. The Laws of Karma or Causation are scientific. It is “thou shalt reap what you sow.” Islam and Islamic countries are already in a downward spiral. The greatest Islamic terror-funding nation, Saudi Arabia, is close to collapse. It’s only a matter of time before the alternative energy sources to oil are harnessed and the world runs more effectively on renewable sources of energy. However, should Dharma, i.e. right conduct, be not adhered by the West, these very ideas and ideals of a militant faith could cripple their very institutions of democracy and freedom.
Dharma of people is to live without hate. To do what is just; it’s certainly just to stop any ideology that believes in self-aggrandizement, suppression and slaughter of those who disagree with them. Preservation of self, family, society and nation is verily Dharma. To blindly embrace the unknown is downright stupidity; that is categorized as Adharma.
Since Dharma is to live without hate, it doesn’t imply that you should only love everyone. The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. You can be kind to a person until he’s hostile. Even when hostilities arrive, you take actions that protect your interests. By hating someone or something, you kill the sense of justness and indulge in actions that are detrimental to your own cause, including self-preservation. By looking at your enemy objectively – without hate – you enable your mind to use intellect to its fullest. Hate is a slayer of knowledge and wisdom. Without knowledge and wisdom, you are sure to face doom. The challenge of West in this scenario is not just to neutralize the political and militant Islam – but also to instill sense of justness, knowledge and wisdom while achieving it.