Book Discussion on ‘The Warrior State’ by T.V.Paul
24th June, 2014. Nehru Centre Library, Mumbai
India and Pakistan, sons of the same soil, have been fighting with each other since their independence. Both the countries share the intense animosity towards each other and continue to be a hot topic of discussion. There are volumes of books written on Pakistan by various authors, each one bringing out a new dimension of that nation. The Warrior State, as the author rightly calls it, has a lot to reveal about its internal conflicts and infights.
The book discussion organised by Nehru Centre Library further highlighted the deep issues affecting Pakistan. The discussion began with the Chair of the Panel, Dr. Manisha Tikekar’s (Head of Department of Political Science in SIES College, Mumbai) brief address on Pakistan and its nature as elaborated in various books. She was followed by Mr. Jayant V. Umranikar who was posted in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Against the backdrop of the history of Pakistan as the warrior state, he mentioned how Panini the Sanskrit scholar (4th Century B.C) in his work ‘Ashtadhyaya’ had labelled the geographic region of Pakistan as a warrior State. People in that region depended only on the profession of arms. Kautilya (popularly known as Chanakya, 370-283 B.C) too referred to the region of Pakistan as the Marshall Republic or the people living by arms/weapons in his Arthshastra. These insights into the history of the Warrior State were indeed revealing and interesting. He believed that Nawaz Sharif is a different Leader of Pakistan, being the only one from a non-military background. He peppered his talk with valuable and unique anecdotes while he served in Islamabad.
Thereafter, Prof. T.V.Paul, the author of the book, took the discussion further by highlighting the points that he had made in the book. The hyper real politik, bloated self-image of Pakistan, the major inferiority complex it faces vis-a-vis India and its self-created race to go on war with India were the issues he elaborated on. Pakistan could instead focus on internal changes following the model of Turkey, Europe, Egypt, Korea, etc. Further it could shift its foreign policy focus from India and Afghanistan to opening up to South Asia and West.
Issues of the role of Civil Society and social media in changing Pakistan under the Nawaz Sharif Government were also discussed. The discussion concluded with new perspectives and constructive strategic solutions for the State which is at perpetual war with itself.
More on the Book:-
Reading the book was an enjoyable experience due to the objectivity maintained by the author, allowing the readers to form their own opinions. The book describes how year after year Pakistan has maintained an outward looking war based policy rather than an internally focussed economic development. Its failure in integrating the whole of Pakistan has resulted in numerous internal factions causing chaos on the issue of internal security, be it – the Shias and Sunnis or the Pashtuns. Had Pakistan, its leaders and elite focussed on using the grant from U.S on development rather than on weapons and self-interest (mainly corruption), it could have emerged as a better nation. Instead, it entangled itself in Afghanistan and India, leaving it as a ‘Rentier Nation’ as the author calls it. Over the years Pakistan has lived only on the Rent it acquires from the various countries it has allowed to create a base for the Afghanistan war, turning its geostrategic position into a geostrategic curse.
The key would be to look inwards, develop economically – following models of Turkey and Indonesia, and overhauling the education system for a better and stronger Pakistan.