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STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY PROF. R. P. MISRA, NEW JERSEY
My reason for testifying to the congressional committee on International Relations, I believe is more in the interest of the United States rather than India. I was born in India but came to this country in 1939, and am now a U.S. citizen. All of our children were born in this country. If we make serious wrong judgments on international matters we will risk the lives of our children and those of fellow U.S. citizens because we made mistakes and got into wrong wars-not knowing the facts.
At that time, when I came here, I was a member of the Indian National Congress Party-the party that struggled for Independence and that has ruled India since then. I was probably one of the few persons of Indian origin that have been in this country for such a long time. Obviously I was a firm believer in Indian Independence and lectured frequently, both in the United States and in Canada. In Canada the Montreal Gazette published two of my articles in the July 20th and 21st, 1942 issues. Also reports of my talks appeared in different papers.
In 1946 I went back to India and was there till 1950 when once again I returned to this country. I have visited India about a dozen times since then. The last time being 2 years ago. Further, what is important is that I have been associated with several Indian ethnic organizations as office bearer, as well as the faculty adviser of the Indian students organization at the college here. I have thus been in touch with Indians of recent vintage throughout, who have talked with me without inhibitions and freely. What is more important is that I have seen and interviewed at length more than 2 dozen Indians that have come to this country since the emergency and with only one exception, that of Dr. Swamywho being of the Jana Sangh, had an axe to grind—were all elated by the posi tive effects of the new strong government. I found that they were all elated by the fact that the antisocial elements were put behind bars and the atmosphere in the country had become such as to reflect confidence and pride in the ability of the nation to pull together.
There were however some who were somewhat skeptical about the possibility of some type of hierarchial dictatorship being set up, particularly of a dynastical type, but in reality they did not believe that was possible.
In 1974, when I visited India last for about 10 weeks things were very chaotic and the country was really going to the dogs. I wrote a talk for broadcast over All India Radio in Delhi and it is herein attached. I might add that before putting together that talk, I had interviewed many people including two Cabinet Ministers and even the President of India.
Now this speech was written to give some pro-American sentiments in the minds of the people in India, where I found that the United States credibility was very poor. Indeed this is the purpose of my testimony here.
It is my hope that the United States may have some influence in India, which I hope could be a positive one. But how can it? It espoused the successive dictatorships in Pakistan and American bombs and tanks-via Pakistan-killed the Indian people. Now I do not wholly blame the United States for this and I tried to explain this in my Delhi talk.
The fact of the matter however remains that the people of India do not trust the United States, feeling that the United States is in an expansionist role in Asia and the antidote against the U.S. arms to be used against India-via Pakistan etc.-is friendship with the U.S.S.R. Let me be clear on this point, for if they thought of China as the main danger they would have come to the United States for alliance, because most of the elite in India feel that the United States has considerable technological superiority over the U.S.S.R. (This is why, in fact, most of the elite send their children to the United States for higher education.)
The point then is that in declaring the emergency Indira Gandhi capitalized on this fear and used the CIA as a slogan. (Now of course I do not have any way of knowing whether there was any truth in her allegations or not.) The fact of the matter is that at that time India was being over run by1. Black marketeers;
2. Bribe taking officials;
3. Bribe taking politicians; and
4. Inefficiency at all levels.
Besides this nepotism was rampant-having reached the highest places. Parochial and regional slogans were being raised by the politicians towards bettering their own ends. The idea was, that if you are mine I will do something for you and everyone needed favours-since nothing was moving normally. I have written testimony of a man who in order to get a $1.10 radio transmitter permit which, incidentally, was needed for insecticide spraying by air-had to spend about $1,000.
I asked him why he did not sue-he said if he did, he would be additionally out of $1,000 and a few years of court action and then in all probability would lose the case.
The courts in India are highly inefficient-and take months or years to go through a simple civil case.
I know of a case where a retired Chief Justice of a State Court usurped the written will of a dead uncle in 1951 and the matter has not yet been resolved.
Thus the present declaration of emergency has done a lot of good things for a lot of people, in that, at least for a time some of the things that need to be done have started moving. Some efficiency has been introduced and some of the bribe takers and black marketeers are in jail. But, I personally know about several of them that would be in jail and are at present on the loose. This includes quite a few who are members of the ruling Congress Party. I wish the courts would take care of them too.
This is where Jaya Prakash Narayan's strength lay and he was gathering considerable momentum in attacking these parasites, but unfortunately what happened was that the bigger parasites, the big blackmarketeers, the neofacists and other opportunists got onto his bandwagon and saw opportunities for themselves, if chaos could be made to prevail for a period of time.
This "revolution" got squashed and the common man sighed a sigh of relief. I have no doubt that since the system was so corrupt some local policemen and local officials occasionally settled their own personal vendettas and some innocent persons were hurt and probably even tortured. I am sure, though, that this was not the purpose of the clean up, nor the national policy.
It is sad but true, that when a society is badly scrambled as are many societies in Asia and Africa, as a result of extended imperial and external exploitation either direct or indirect-it will take a while before things settle down.
India, Pakistan and the Middle East are in a mess. No doubt the people are now more powerful there than ever before and they will help to wipe out corruption, nepotism and inefficiency. We should have faith in the people.
We should not dump huge quantities of armament with this dictator or that government because that is not going to improve our image and we are not likely to be loved for it.
If we wish to help-let us help to build up:
a. Fertilizer factories,
b. Canals, and
c. Productivity increasing type of industries.
We should also flood these countries with broadcasts from the Voice of America that deal with a variety of subjects. For example:
1. How to increase production;
2. How to combat disease and filth-both bacterial and human;
3. How the free press could be made responsible and expose relentlessly corruption in public offices, as it does in the United States; and
4. How the efficiency in the courts can be increased.
Let us bring students from developing nations and teach them things that could be useful to their nations. That is to say practical things, the know how that they need. Let these students not be victims of prevailing racial prejudices in the United States. We must educate them and then make them go back to their homelands to do good-or even to overthrow despotic officials and regimes.
This should be our message to India and to others. Not to criticize them and hurt their national pride, or get some of their disgruntled nationals to give truths and half-truths, or even out and out untruths, as in the case of one of your witnesses, namely Dr. Chowhan.
Let me once again state that I am an American citizen and it pains me to see how badly American credibility stands in India. When I tell them that the United States supports freedom-the people say, how is it that the United States never gave a penny towards the freedom of these countries in Asia and Africa from European domination? Rather it seems to support dictators. When you tell them that the United States wants to have equality of opportunity for all citizens-they then ask how come the conscience of the U.S. Government was not moved in Pakistan, its ally, when it eliminated its minorities at an even faster rate than Hitler? They ask about Bangladesh and the only thing that I can say is that the people of the United States have a "conscience", when they know the facts.
The problem is to get the facts and not act on misinformation as has been provided by some of the Indians who have testified before this committee, for whatever motivation. Indeed it may be interesting to find out what was their motivation to go so far as to distort the truth.