Over the past month, I have noticed a surprising trend in the viewership of my blog. Suddenly China has been the 2nd largest source of traffic to my website in the month of May.
This is highly unusual. Unusual because I haven’t written anything concerning China and language of my blog posts have been predominantly English and occasionally Hindi, neither of which are well understood in China. Also, this is the list of countries in decreasing order of traffic to my website last year.
China is nowhere to be seen. This sudden spike in viewership from China can be due to multiple reasons which I will not go into. Whatever may be the reasons, this trend has prompted me to write this opinion post which I hope some Chinese do read and comment upon.
India and China were the undisputed greatest civilizations of ancient times. Even till the 18th century, both these countries were world leaders in GDP. Despite sharing such a large border, the two countries fought a major war only for the first time in 1962. So, India and China had a very long history of peace, cooperation, learning, sharing knowledge, culture, scholars, trade, philosophy, etc. Buddhism and various aspects of Indian Dharmic philosophies, sciences, technology influenced China and other East Asian and Southeast Asian countries. India, on the other hand, was enriched by numerous Chinese travellers, traders, scholars, inventions over millennia.
Even today, if both these two countries realize their true potential, they would definitely become world leaders in economic, philosophical, innovative, cultural, educational, technological and various other forms of human output.
So, what happened to these two great, cooperating-peaceful civilizations. In short: invasions, weakening of societies, colonialism and finally communism. Nothing lasts forever. Great civilizations do rise and fall or even go extinct (like Egyptian, Persian, Mesopotamian, Roman). But in the case of both India and China, both these civilizations are trying to rise again and have already covered substantial grounds. China has leapfrogged India and even inching closer to the US in economic terms.
However, there is one big caveat.
The caveat is China has lost a big portion of its civilizational values, culture, languages, cuisine, and a true sense of its history. A typical example is the consumption of rice in China. The vegetarian diet was an important aspect of Chinese cuisine but now, it has been relegated for the poor in Chinese society.
It’s hard for anyone outside China to assess how much a typical Chinese is aware of their history. While Tibetans and other ethnic groups in China still have a strong sense of cultural pride and history, it appears to me that Communism has successfully subdued and to an extent brainwashed their own citizens of their history, culture, language, heritage. This happened to an extent in India too. Indians were brainwashed by the British education system for example through false propaganda of Aryan invasion theory. Then another group of Islamic and communist historians emerged (Aligarh school). Their aim was to whitewash the atrocities of Islamic invaders. These people, in a nutshell, provided “intellectual” support to the illogical, bigoted, anti-Hindu, exclusivist idea of Pakistan. Not only that, our first PM, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru was also under the heavy influence of these Marxist so-called “historians”. Our education system was compromised from the start, first falling into the hands of a Maulana and then, even worse to a communist “historian” Nurul Hasan at the time of emergency. Like their counterparts in Soviet Russia, China and other parts of the world, leftists, Marxists, communists, Maoists, Leninists, liberals, seculars or whatever they like to call themselves monopolised the mainstream narrative in the education system, press and other organizations and tried their very best to destroy true Indian civilization values and culture. They partially succeeded for a while and have been able to brainwash a portion of the population some of whom holds powerful positions in the bureaucracy, judiciary, executive, film industry, press, etc. However, here there is a difference between India and China. Because China fell into an authoritarian regime while India opted for democracy. “Bhartiyata” (Indian-ness) of India survived this barrage of propaganda and attacks because Indians remember. They remember their true history and kept it alive through folklore. Indian culture was more or less unaffected and thrived after independence. Curious Indians kept on researching on their own and busted the false mainstream narrative from time to time. TV Serials like Ramayana and Mahabharata had massive impacts and to add to that, the Ayodhya Ram Jamnabhoomi movement started a new renaissance amongst the Indian masses which gained exponential momentum after the election of Modi in 2014 and also with the reach of the internet to hundreds of millions of Indians. So, despite all its faults and demographic challenges, Indians are still Bhartiyas (Indians) and many Indians are rediscovering the true history and glory of their ancestors. Contrary to that, China doesn’t seem to be doing any of that. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) heavily controls almost every aspect of communication within China and information flowing from outside into China. I even doubt that Chinese have uncensored, complete access to the original texts and scriptures of their ancestors. The whole idea of China is the idea that is approved by CCP and not the ancestors of China.
This “communist” China is aggressive, unfriendly, overambitious, and most importantly, not trustworthy. This whole Wuhan coronavirus episode is another example of the same where lies, manipulation, the propaganda of the CCP has cost the world trillions of dollars and lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals. While I personally admire many Chinese individuals like Jackie Chan, Ding Liren, I am not a fan of the Chinese state. Disregarding their historical relations with India of the ancient times, this Chinese state has been actively trying to keep India unstable by helping Pakistan’s bid to cross border terrorism in India. Chinese state also probably supports Maoist insurgencies and other regional insurgencies of the North-East. I am sure they are involved in a plethora of anti-India activities which I am unaware of. This Chinese state is too far off the great ancestors of their past. However, they need to understand a few things about India. There is growing resentment in Indian against China. A normal Indian isn’t aware of the way Chinese state functions and this resentment which should be directed against the Chinese state sometimes is misdirected to China as a whole. The Chinese state and its state-run media should know that this India is not the India of 1962 when a leftist (communist in disguise according to Subhas Bose), deluded, and an inept leader had considerably weakened the Indian defence forces. Even then, Chinese PLA paid the heavy price and Indian army stood their grounds fighting till the last man such as in the battle of Rezang La. Mind you, many of the soldiers were using world war 1-grade weapons compared to the advanced weaponry of the Chinese at that time. Times have changed. We have discarded the delusional Gandhian principles of Ahimsa from our strategic thinking. Any misadventures, aggressions, or direct attack on India’s sovereignty will be met with a heavy response. Unlike Chinese nationalism which is created to an extent with the help of propaganda by the CCP (although there is no denying that there are true Chinese patriots too), India’s nationalism is organic and it is independent of which government is in the power. I think the Chinese state knows this too. But they want to keep provoking India a little to keep India unstable, uneasy and unsuitable for growth and progress. Which is really unfortunate and unlike the true Chinese spirit and culture. However, if this provoking is “overdone”, India might provoke back. There are many fault lines in China and the US is going to exploit it fully in the future. India will remain neutral if the Chinese state stops bothering us both directly and indirectly. India also has indicated the same to China and many sections of Indian media are openly criticizing the Chinese state the likes of which they have not witnessed even in countries like the US, UK. Palki Sharma of WION is a notable mention and has gained immense popularity worldwide for her impactful, factual, critical analysis of CCP so much so that the Chinese embassy in India has repeatedly issued warnings against these media houses and in one instance even mentioning WION in particular. Yes, there are some useless media houses in India taming the line of their Chinese masters but these media houses can never dictate the narrative in India and most of their viewership is fringe elements of Indian society. So, the crux of the matter is, no matter how hard the Chinese state tries, it cannot dictate the mainstream narrative in India in its favour through the tactics they have been trying for years. The most they can do is create a little unrest here and there through the anti-India elements within India. However, if the Chinese state returns back to the diplomacy, cooperation and politics of their ancestors and realizes their true Chinese civilization values, India and China can again be close and equal partners and this partnership will help both the countries realize their true potential and reach at the top of the human output like we used to in the ancient times.
I want both the countries and more specifically, both the civilizations to flourish and cooperate with each other like they used to do for millennia. For that to happen, Indians will have to cast aside their anti-China sentiments and instead of being lazy, learn about the Chinese culture, history and their bonds with the Indians from the past. It is without saying that Indians need to develop a good sense of the history of their own. With open and cheap internet, a lot of this is actually happening in India and India is producing brilliant, well-learned individuals on these aspects. However, this understanding has yet to reach the masses and probably our bureaucracy.
For the Chinese side, well, they are doing exceptionally well in the economic front. But discarding their civilizational values and adopting the values of the most flawed, deluded, devastating ideology will obviously result in friction with free and open societies. To add to that, unlike in India, China currently is lacking true Chinese patriots having a true understanding of their civilization and history. My hope is that Chinese civilizational values are still preserved in rural China and even amongst few members of the CCP. Also, despite the censorship, my hope is that the Chinese will rediscover their lost heritage and culture. That will open a world of opportunities for cooperation, peace and harmony between the two most populous nations on the planet.