Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #137 - India as a Conflict Economy and Disruption of Patronage Networks

(Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash)

“Behind every fascism, there is a failed revolution.” ― Walter Benjamin


Revolutions are like straightening the deck of the Titanic. What societies need is transformation.

Changing one regime by a group of rogue criminals through sheer passion and anger sets into motion a movement that has no room for introspection. For, the moment you stop for thinking, you lose the movement.

And, when you compensate introspection with aimless emotion, you have to complement it by fanatic criminality.

From Lenin to Mao to Indira’s Congress to West Bengal’s Communists - all these regimes have only unleashed violence and untold misery on people.

What they ended up creating, in the end, were “Conflict Economies.”

Russia tried very hard to leave it all behind, but the structures, the egos, and the rules of the Communist era could not be dismantled. And soon, even in its new incarnation, it is still being ruled by the same structures.

West Bengal rose up to defeat the Communists. But, it’s people installed another despot called Mamata Bannerjee. Mamata is not a change from the Communists. She is better than them at what they did.

Creating mindless conflict.

That is why when PM Modi gave the call for “Congress-mukt Bharat,” his aim was not at a party. Which was one of the components for sure. But he was looking at the broader structures, rules, and frameworks that had developed over the years. These had created a “Conflict Economy” that had to go before something new could really fructify.

What we see in terms of the fightback by the “ecosystem” - is really the gasping by the players of that Conflict economy that Congress allowed to infest the Indian society.

They know that their end is nigh.


how the Indian government may be quietly shaping the emerging new world order

Dr. Jaishankar is a very articulate diplomat who is now a very able Foreign Minister.

In his interview with TimesNow, he says something very interesting:

"The sense that we can be non-involved, we have to put behind us...the case I make essentially is, step out, shape the world more actively, engage other players more confidently, be much clearer about what our own interests are and try and advance them."

What he is indicating is a foundational shift in how India has worked her diplomacy.

India has to engage given its weight and strengths. As the world’s 5th largest economy and the largest democracy by many a mile on this planet, it is foolish that it still is being run by a diplomatic ethos that is apologetic at best, if not inherently masochistic and self-hating.

This one shift - confidence to engage with the world given our importance and strength - is one thing that is transformational.

And, it was reflective in PM Modi’s address in the UN yesterday. He clearly laid out the context of what India was. And, then he clearly demanded India’s fair status in the comity of nations. It wasn’t begging. It wasn’t pleading. It was clearly stating the obvious.

Currently, the old world order - which has been made so hollow from within that even when the greatest global attack of an unprecedented scale like the Coronavirus has been unleashed by one rogue country - no one has even dared to launch a counter-attack.

Even worse, that old world order players have been falling over each other as they have been running to protect that criminal rogue nation!

That money, power, and blackmail have virtually run the global order into the ground should be obvious to us.

What does this lead to in the future?

Fracture. Actually deep fractures.

The old world order (politically-correct-morally-compromised left-faux-liberals) versus the new world reality (politically-assertive-morally-realistic nationalist-globalists) battle is shaking the global geopolitics’ structures.

This battle will lead to a point where the fight will not be between the old and new world order, but the underlying and hidden forces that they represent.

(Source: Vivek Agnihotri Instagram)

The old world order forces will eventually be dumped by those who are sponsoring and instigating them.

You see, really speaking, the fight was and has been a civilizational one.

The old world order champions of today have simply been purchased and coopted as foot soldiers for the masters who have a larger (and more terrible) ambition to fight for.

Morality and human rights have nothing to do with that. They are merely weapons.

Yes, social morals and human rights are weaponized tools. They have been spun well enough to hide that reality.

Interestingly, Dr. Jaishankar starts his book - “The India Way” with just precisely this sentiment.

In these recent communications with the world, Dr. Jaishankar and PM Modi are merely alluding to that post-old-world-order world and the challenges it represents.

conflict economies and its ramifications

Kashmir’s return to normalcy has been a particularly difficult thing for the Indian government even after the abrogation of Article 370. The tools, weapons, and instruments that enhanced and created the conflict have been sidelined but the impact of a structure of this society that was created to cater to that conflict scenario does not change easily.

Conflict economies are organisms that take years to be morphed into a utilitarian form. They come with their own rules, laws, structures, tests, and ways to reward and punish the people within its confines.

One fine day, you cannot simply change the whole scenario by taking away the main culprits and enact the new rules and hope that the deep structures and rules that have become the way of life for everyone will turn around as well.

They have a life of their own. That is why it is important to understand conflict economies.

Tim Eaton, Dr. Renad Mansour, Dr. Lina Khatib, and others define conflict economies in their landmark paper "Conflict Economies in the Middle East and North Africa"

a system of producing, mobilizing, and allocating resources to sustain competitive and embedded violence, both directly and indirectly.

While conflict economies may be associated with societies in a zone of war, but one may want to look at societies with an abnormal level of social conflict which promotes inequities and poverty as also cases of conflict economies.

India as a conflict economy

India’s social responses to its long social conflict have been well documented now as “Jugaad.” (Source)

Jugaad was a systemic response to years of subjugation, repression, and deliberate sabotage of a society that was inherently innovative and flexible.

Another example is the enforcement of elite structures by the powerful few. The authors of the paper call it Competitive and Embedded violence.

The use of sexual violence by the Islamic Grooming gangs (as we discussed yesterday), planned and targeted violence (from Direct Action Day to the recent Delhi riots), the gatekeeping bias of media (where half a dozen cow smugglers’ lynching is reported but millions of cows stolen and smuggled are kept off the newspaper pages) and the control over the places of worship of some and not all (Hindu temples have state control while others are free) to just name a few examples of competitive and embedded violence.

This implicit (and accepted) conflict has created certain structures, beneficiaries and rules. These structures include the narratives and ideological biases built into the literary and educational systems. Subversion of the youth today has happened over a long time via these structures of embedded violence which had been providing returns to certain elite groups and cliques.

Those structures are tough to dismantle.

The authors of the paper share an interesting insight - Short Term Elite bargains versus Disruption of Patronage networks and challenging rent-seeking (example of corrupt and violent money-making)

The authors argue that while Elite bargains may provide short-term succor, the real change can come via the tough act of disrupting the patronage networks.

And, that is exactly what India needed.

Congress-mukt Bharat is not a political stunt. It is a way to deal with an erstwhile hopeless Conflict Economy called India.

Bringing down structures that we have been seeing Modi do in his second term - from Article 370 to Ram-Janmabhoomi to the Farm bills - is to disrupt the patronage networks.

nota bene

Killed Wife, Sis-in-law, MIL; then raped their dead bodies: Noor Hasan, 27, of Patti Kaliyana village of Sonepat district, admitted to killing his wife Madhu, 25, sister-in-law Manisha, 18, and mother-in-law Jamila, 48 and raping the bodies. Hasan suspected that his wife was having an affair and that his in-laws were supporting her. On September 5, he drugged and killed his wife and sister-in-law with sharp-edged weapons. He covered their bodies in quilts and dumped them. Later, on September 8, he took his mother-in-law from Gamri village and strangled her to death near Bursham Village. He tried to burn her body. (Source)

Khalistani and ISI names come up in Delhi riots case: Names of three supporters of the Khalistan movement, a Sikh separatist movement, and Pakistan intelligence agency ISI have cropped up in a disclosure statement of an accused in the charge sheet filed by Delhi Police Special Cell in the riots case. The alleged involvement of Pakistan ISI and Khalistan movement supporters surfaced in the supplementary disclosure statement given by accused Athar Khan, who has been charged with the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (Source)

Who writes the Bollywood Drug Actors script?: According to sources, the NCB seized phones of Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, and Deepika Padukone's manager Karishma Prakash after recording their statements. Data will be recovered from the same for further investigation. Sources also reveal that during their interrogation, the actresses had the same response to the terms 'hash' and 'weed'. They revealed that the terms were used as code words used for 'rolling cigarettes' in which they would fill tobacco. However, the NCB is not satisfied with their statements. Sara admitted to smoking cigarette, however, denied taking drugs. She added that late actor  Sushant, on some occasions did smoke weed. Shraddha Kapoor too denied taking drugs before the NCB. She also dismissed all allegations against her in the case.  But, Shraddha revealed to the officials that she had seen Sushant Singh Rajput take drugs in his vanity van and sometimes on the sets during the shooting of the film. Wow, that’s remarkably ditto!! (Source)

Fake Doctorate ceremony Busted: Mysuru City Police, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police A N Prakash Gowda, conducted a raid on a ceremony organized to distribute fake honorary doctorate degrees and took two persons into custody. It is alleged that the honorary doctorate degrees are sold to people for money. Gangamma Devi Shakti Preetham Trust, National Human Rights Peace Council, and International Global Peace University had organized a ceremony at ‘Ruchi The Prince’ hotel in Mysuru where the local Harihara MLA Ramappa was the chief guest. He returned without attending the function citing COVID. The reality is that he himself was a candidate for the degree. A total of 142 candidates from across the state and from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had gathered to obtain the degrees." (Source)

NRI woman as NBA team’s asstt coach: The Memphis Grizzlies today announced the team has added Sonia Raman as an assistant coach. Raman (SOHN-ya RAH-mun) comes to Memphis following 12 seasons (2008-20) as the head women’s basketball coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Engineers enjoyed unprecedented success under Raman, winning the program’s first two New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championships (2018, 2019) and reaching the championship game in 2020. Memphis Grizzlies are an American professional basketball team based in Memphis, Tennessee. (Source)

India starts talks with non-Pashtun Afghan leader: In an interesting development close on the heels on Afghan peace talks in Doha, India hosted a key non-Pashtun leader of Afghanistan as part of Delhi's efforts to broad-base its engagements in the war-affected landlocked country. On Friday External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with former Afghan vice president and Delhi's old friend Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum (Uzbek origin). Dostum is no stranger to India having engaged with Delhi in the past. (Source)

Kashmir - one year after the abrogation of Article 370

Both, Aarti Tikoo and Abhijit Iyer are what I call “recovering leftists.” They started out on that spectrum and strongly so, but as they grew, they took stands that were, well, honest.

And, that one quality was the biggest stumbling block in them being even accepted by the leftist gangs. Suddenly, Aarti, who was the associate editor at Hindustan Times became a pariah. She does an exceptional job at IANS - the news agency. She remains targeted by those very folks who were close to her at one time.

Abhijit has an exceptional depth of information and knowledge on things related to geopolitics and his personal style makes him a very effective commentator. He almost seems like the younger version of Suhel Seth, albeit better informed.

Here they both share a lot of interesting stuff on Kashmir and what has gone on in the last 1 year. Their historical perspective is also very insightful.

Sham Sharma is a smart anchor. When he understood that the two informed - and ideologically passionate - analysts were sharing great information, he kept his presence to the minimum. That is what made this discussion so useful. Not that Sham is a bad commentator himself. He is good. But this topic needed some real-life information. And that is the forte of Abhijit and Aarti.

So enjoy.

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