The Dalai Lama is among the most eminent spiritual leaders around, he being heard with attention both in the East and the West in equal measure. That attention today is second only to that of Pope, the Vatican based head of Roman Catholics.
The latest from the Dalai Lama as he spoke at an event got up by the Dalai Lama Centre for Ethics and Transformational Values on Sunday, is that nations would do well to form into Unions as the European Union did. He suggests that, instead of President Trump pushing for a wall between the US and Mexico, the two neighbours should rather merge into one.
This is a loud thinking that might not be practical in the present situation. All the same, this is worth a thought. This also fits in well with the concept of globalization — something that the United States sought to promote two decades ago, even though the new thinking there is increasingly against it. And maybe correctly so.
The spiritual leader’s proposal is to also have a similar Union between Latin American nations. He suggests that the European Union spirit could spread in ways as to form an African Union — of all nations in that ‘black’ continent.
The idea may work more efficiently when nations are generally of the similar race or ancestry. There is little of difference between the Indians and the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis, all of whom were part of a general family before Partition and Independence in 1947.
Even today, except for the Kashmir issue, there is little of bad blood between the people of India and Pakistan, except what has been sown by the military across and the politicians this side of the border. The people should bond together well.
Although, admittedly, while the common Indian has been brainwashed thoroughly to hate Pakistanis, the scenario is just the opposite on the other side. Mistrust for all things military among the common Pakistanis has resulted in the average citizen in that country to yearn for India and Indians.
There is best of cooperation between India and Bangladesh. An amicable settlement to the Kashmir issue — some positive signs had emerged briefly in the past — sooner or later could possibly bring the three nations together, at least in the form of an economic union.
Afghanistan, that has more in common with Pakistan than with India in terms of race and religion, too, can be drawn in. What is essential in this respect is a willingness on the part of the political and military leaderships to think out of the box.
Nepal and India are bound by religion — predominantly Hindu nations, but racially, the Nepalese could be considered closer to China. Little wonder, Nepal is caught between two stools. Myanmar is not far removed from India in matters of temperament. Buddhism is a common glue that can bind the two. So with Sri Lanka. Working on the commonalities and strengthening bonds is a way forward.
The Dalai Lama escaped the Chinese invasion of Tibet and landed up in India in 1959. Based out of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, he and his entourage have adopted India as their temporary home and ran a government in exile for the Tibetan people. This strained India’s relations with China, and the Tibet factor still cloud’s India’s relations with its red neighbour.
All the same, the Dalai Lama is now part and parcel of the Indian spiritual quest and he is identified more with India than with any other nation today. His call comes at a time when the US under Donald Trump is increasingly becoming isolationist, pouring cold water on the globalisation dreams when the world was supposed to head for an era of global village and there would be no barriers to movement. The European Union was a part realisation of that dream, but Brexit has now come in the way of its progress.
While Trump’s concerns are understandable, there may be less of appreciation of his plans on erecting a border wall to stem flow of people from Mexico, or to curtail visas of seven or more Moslem nations where terrorist havens exit.
These are critical times. More so as entities such as the Al Qaeda and ISIS are on the prowl. No nation can allow unbridled migration. The US was among the most open-minded in the matter of migration of people from around the world as long as they met basic qualifications. But, these are changing times.
Security is of paramount importance. For now, one needs to hold back thoughts of a global village. All the same, hope is that a time would come sooner than later when the Dalai Lama’s ideas can be given a trial.
As a final note, one may hark back to the years following collapse of the USSR and resultant break up of the Central Asian countries. Loosely known as CIS states, these territories were incapable of standing up to the pressures of independence.
Being part of a huge Union (of Soviet Socialist Republics), these countries, unaware of agricultural and industrial production, crumpled completely in providing even bare neccessities to their populace. Suffering was immense for a long time.
Eventually, the grit and determination of the people was aroused enough, so that, today each one of them seems a revitalised and vibrant nation with peace, prosperity and stability visible everywhere. Seen in this light, it may not sound absurd to say that, maybe, Indian states too might bounce back with greater vigor if this nation were to split up and situation would force each one to survive on its own.
Ensuing hardships in the form of shortage of food, luxuries, inability to migrate at will and such conditions might be positive compulsions for the lethargic to work even harder and not become parasites on the system.
While many may consider this as an anti national opinion, the reasonable among us would need to simply glance at the map of Hindoostan existing before the advent of the East India Company and take a call whether this British created India is truly a nation that we all deserve or are proud of.