A call for new strategies for the oppressed Nations of South Asia

Kaka D Iralu *

South Eas Asia Map

All the smaller nations that were forcefully stuffed into the British created modern Nation States of India, Pakistan and Burma are now fed up with peace talks and negotiations for a solution to their political problems with these three Nations. These smaller Nations are- in the context of North East India- Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. In the Burmese context, they are the Kachins, Karens, Shans, Mons, Wa's etc. In the context of East Pakistan which is now Bangladesh, the victims are like the Chakmas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

In ancient South East Asian history, these smaller Nations were never a part of the British created India, Burma or Pakistan modern Nation States. For example, in the case of Burma, prior to the Panglong Agreement of 1947, there was no union of Burma. Up to this point of Burmese history, three quarters of the present Burmese territory which comprised of all the mountainous frontiers were inhabited by non Burman ethnic peoples like the Kachin, Karen and Shan Nations etc.

As early as 1922, the Karenni and Shan territories were recognized by the British as sovereign States. Central Burma or the predominantly Buddhist Ava Kingdom existed as an independent kingdom only up to 1886 when the British after three wars completely defeated the Burmese kingdom and added it as a province of their empire in India.(Information source: "Life under military rule," A report by the Naga youth organization, Burma, 2010 and other historical documents).

However, all these independent Nations in South Asia were just dumped into the belies of this British created, post colonial Nation States in 1947 and 1948. The British on their departure also armed these modern Nation States with a lethal arsenal of modern weaponry which included light armored tanks, aero planes, heavy artillery and heavy machine guns. This arsenal of weapons sealed the fates of the smaller Nations from asserting their rights to independence.

When they protested against this historical injustice done to them, they were simply silenced by the overwhelming populations and military hardware that were bequeathed to these newly created Nations by the departing British Government.

And as history rolled on from the 20th century to the 21st century, the story and plight of these smaller Nations have been a story of "Beaten up Nations." Yes, their villages were burnt to ashes, their women raped, their young man tortured and they were forced to flee their own ancestral lands ending up as pathetic refugees in neighboring states like Thailand, China and even the West. Back home, their ancestral lands now lie sodden with their ethnic blood and uprooted broken lives. Just visit some of the refugee camps in Thailand and India and any white foreigner will see the reality of what my pen is trying to paint.

And now we hear the white races are coming back again to their former colonies for a second exploitation of south Asia's mineral and economic wealth. This second incursion will come through the "Look East Policy" sponsored mostly by the Indian and Burmese Governments. Now, if these smaller oppressed Nations do not collectively assert their national rights, this new policy could disastrously end in a second rape of South Asia where only India and Burma will gain from the adventure. Presently both India and Burma are committed to building international highways that will connect Burma and India to the rest of the world.

Once these roads are built, our gold, our precious stones, our metals, our decorative marbles, our forest wealth, our horticulture, agriculture and herbal wealth will all steadily disappear from right under our feet. They will be shipped away to western countries by foreign multi millionaire companies in collaboration with the Governments of India and Burma. They will also eventually build giant dams across our Chindwin and other big rivers to tape hydro power to their own countries. Such plans are already under consideration and execution. Our rich irrigable and agricultural lands will be submerged under such gigantic hydro electric projects presently being undertaken by Indian, Burmese and even Chinese Governments.

Fellow oppressed Mongolian Nations of south Asia, know this fact that this wealth does not belong to some Bihari or Tamilian politician in Delhi. It also neither belongs to some Burman Princely descendant or a Burmese General. These gold and silver are our God given and ancestral protected wealth that rightfully belongs to us and our children.

For the moment, these second Colonial powers are dolling out a lot of their money for our so called development. But mind you, in the long run, they will eventually reap back hundred folds of their spent money through doing business with western Nations exploiting our economic wealth. (Unfortunately, some of our present political leaders are lavishly enjoying these dolled out money and think that their fenced walls and the accumulated wealth within, is the end of economic growth in south Asia) !

But despite these short sighted and day dreaming political leaders, when this second economic invasion of our lands come, we all must stand together as a federated Union and confront the Western European Nations and collectively say; "The land that you now tread with economic interests is not Indian or Burmese lands. We are the rightful landowners of this portion of south Asia. Therefore if you want to do business, talk with us."

Such a stand and confrontation is historically, politically and legally valid and viable. It can also be defended in any international court of law. Such an act on our part may also politically rectify the historical injustice inflicted on us by yesterday's European Colonial powers. Fellow South Asians, sixty years of political oppression caused by a collaborated act of the Indian, Burmese and Pakistani politicians along with the British Colonial powers of yesterday must finally end through such a concerted act and stand on our parts. Indeed it is high time for us to make a collective stand and free ourselves from both colonial as well as post colonial tyranny.

* Kaka D Iralu wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on March 06, 2013

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