Why does Indian foreign policy not reflect vengeance against its invaders and colonizers?

Francis Fukuyama in his new book “Identity” talks about the emergence of identity as the locus of many movements worldwide. As per Fukuyama, the issue of identity also explains the behaviour of states like China and RussiaThe NYT review summarizes it as
"Fukuyama suggests that we are living in an era in which the sense of being dismissed, rather than material interest, is the locomotive of human affairs. The rulers of Russia, Hungary and China are driven by past national humiliations. Osama bin Laden was driven by the treatment of Palestinians. Black Lives Matter has been driven by the fatal disrespect of the police. And a large swath of the American right, which claims to loathe identity politics, is driven by its own perception of being dissed." (emphasis mine)
This brings us to the question — Why does Indian foreign not reflect the desire to seek vengeance against its invaders and colonizers? (Or Does it?) The vengeance here necessarily needn’t be against particular countries. It’s more about a desire, in general, to assert and dominate the world, and to feel confident so as to heal the troublesome past wounds.
Consider this:
India was also once one of the prosperous nations. It was also attacked and destructed. colonized and humiliated.
The revival of the feeling of “we were a great once upon a time” took a turn of reviving ancient achievements, often exaggerated and false ones, but it did not turn into a desire to again become prosperous and seek vengeance.
The experience of colonization and thereby humiliation led to scepticism towards anything western in the early days of independence but it did not turn into vengeance against other states.
Memories of violent invasions took a communal turn but it’s not manifested in foreign policy in form of vengeance against those other states.
Why? What explains this? Some hypotheses on the top of my mind
  1. Is it due to the different nature of humiliation?
  2. Is it because the former humiliator, Britain is no more great, unlike the case of Russia whose rival is still in a position of power? Because, after all, what’s the use of vengeance against someone not great?
  3. Because of our inability to do so considering our economic state?
  4. Because we are too caught up with other problems that we did not find bandwidth for this?
  5. Because of leaders of the independence movement and early independence who did not promote hatred?
  6. Maybe we reacted but it took a different shape — nostalgia turning into religious rejuvenation etc?
  7. The generations that felt the humiliation has passed and new generations don’t remember?
  8. Is it because different regions of India had different experiences hence can’t articulate a unified version?
  9. Is the practice vengeance because of the autocratic nature in Russia and China? Or autocracy is the result of the need to become great?
  10. Maybe, is it because of the historical roots of India that makes it not look at the world in a hierarchical manner? As former foreign secretary, Shyam Saran says, India is comfortable with a cosmopolitan world and have no issues coexisting alongside multiple powers?

1 comment:

  1. No. 10 seems more plausible. No.6 can also be the reason but not fully in nature of vengeance THAT china, Russia have shown over the years. Economic status is definitely a strong factor which decides whether to capture a foreign territory or feed the people. As mentioned in many examples, it takes different forms in different countries.Would love to hear your views.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete