England’s Frankenstein by Navin Doshi by Navin Doshi (2008)

In 1818 a young English girl named Mary Shelley created a book in the snows of Geneva Switzerland destined to become a classic gothic thriller. The title to Mary Shelly’s creation was Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. In her book the 18 year old author tried to imply that a creator actually bears responsibility for his creation. This was clearly emphasized when in the novel Dr. Frankenstein’s “monster” ultimately murders the doctor’s own fiancé and other innocent people around him. During the month of Halloween it might be appropriate to reflect on how a monster created by a teenage English girl has eerie similarities to a monster created by an English nation. And that abnormal being is Pakistan.

One of the first parallels we can draw between these two creations is that both “monsters” have been abandoned by their creators. Like Dr. Frankenstein, who abandoned his ghoulish child made from dead bodies, the British currently negate any responsibility to the beast that was created by their encouraging the partition of India. Unwanted and unloved, this Islamic orphan that cut itself in two in the ‘70s to birth another orphan named Bangladesh, stands alone and unloved save an occasional feeding in the form of a new parent with lots of money. That new parent is Britain’s most reliable cousin, the United States. In fact, if we carefully examine the geopolitics of the world we can see the British have pretty much conned the US into much of their legacy of mess making, which includes not only Pakistan, but the partitioned Middle East and the partitioned Africa (just ask those serving currently in Iraq and those who once served in Somalia). This British “nakli” is much to the chagrin of many of the English’s other ex-children who have not forgotten how terrible they were treated as British colonies, whether it is Canada, Australia, India, or South Africa. I’m not condemning British people, many of whom are the nicest and most socially conscious chaps you’d want to meet. But when we talk of British Churchillians, we enter the realm of a grim Halloween horror story.

Ironically the US has a short term memory regarding past history with Britain, having fought two wars with England in 1775 and 1814, and nearly a third over Oregon’s boundaries in 1844. As late as the 1920’s Winston Churchill warned the British Cabinet of possible war with America. Most Americans are ill educated that the United States sued Britain after the Civil War (and won) because England supported the Confederate States during the War in an effort to sabotage the North’s rival mercantile industries. Churchill came to FDR with his hat in his hand and begged for support to fight Germans in WWII. However it has been stated that Churchill was the happiest man when FDR died, because FDR wanted United Kingdom to free their colonies after the Second World War.

At their greatest point in history England controlled a quarter of the world’s land and people as a way of insuring English domination of the globe. When we examine the British regiment we see it was essentially a business or “front man” sent out to provide raw materials, rare gems, and the like, for the British to control and sell to the world. British colonial policies allowed British armies to pillage rare statues from Greece or Egyptian mummies from the Valley of the Kings. The British Museum is testimony to a well executed confiscation of other nation’s treasures be they the Crown Jewels from India or diamonds in South Africa. But the haunting question ultimately arises: how many native men, women, and children throughout the Empire, were shot, starved, stabbed or burned to death to make possible this vast accumulation of wealth and domination? Ireland alone claims millions dead because of English foreign policies.

It is well known that the British also played “tricks” with their treats wherever they could to maintain their global superiority. Probably the most powerful enterprise of its time, the British India Company under Robert Clive, played cunning tricks to colonize India. Pakistan is another typical example. During India’s fight for self rule Britain used a clever “divide and rule” tactic by forcing Muslims and Hindus to solve nearly irresolvable issues before they were granted independence. Sitting back and watching India’s two largest factions squabble under purposely limited time-frames one can think of a British “monkey” watching two “cats” fighting over a piece of bread. This political treachery encouraged the Muslim League with its aggressive and later terrorist activities to scramble up as much territory in what would later be Pakistan. Relying on their Churchillian philosophy the British were anticipating that India would eventually fragment into regional, small, and insignificant countries after they left, keeping South Asia permanently weakened and insuring British domination in that part of the world. This Indian fragmentation most likely might have happened were it not for the charismatic leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and the wise pragmatism of Sardar Patel. Gandhi, himself, forced to face Muslim and Hindu conflicts that were encouraged by the British, questioned independence for India if the nation wasn’t ready for it. Nehru and Patel, exasperated by the situation, wondered if India might be better off split than with over 30 percent Muslim population. When at one point Hindus and Muslims pulled together to join ranks the British nearly sabotaged this remarkable unity of spirit. Thanks to Prime Minister Atlee, the pressure from U.S. Government, and the admiration of Gandhi by such notables as Albert Einstein, the people of the sub-continent received their freedom from a colonial power. Yet were they completely free?

India was still divided. Later, India’s General Curiappa complained to Nehru about the British creating road blocks to capture entire Kashmir from Pakistani tribal invaders which he could have done. When Kashmir was invaded by Pakistani tribesmen, the two British chiefs were actually receiving signals from London. Against Mahatma’s wishes the beast was formed. During and after partition of India, millions would die in massive slaughters causing the largest human migration in history. Yet for all intents and purposes, the child had been abandoned by its real creator. Soon America, the new step father of Pakistan with its own agendas of corralling the Soviet Union and China, would adopt the unruly urchin.

In recent years, the Frankenstein monster created by Britain was ruled by the three A’s according to the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto: “Allah, the Army and America.” But Pakistan’s new step parent has at times acted as irresponsibly as its real father. It is important to note that Pakistanis are closest cousins of Indians. However to their misfortune, they have been victimized by the power hungry arm forces. One can imagine Pakistan crying out to its American stepfather: “We have done so much for you. We were your strategic partner during the Cold War. We became your bridge to establish friendship with China during the Nixon years. We were the front line ally during the Afghan War during Soviet occupation. After the end of the Cold War and millions of Afghan refugees flooding into our country, you left us holding the bag. Again after 9/11, we are the front line to fight the war on terrorism with part of us fighting with you and part of us fighting agaist you.”

At one point in Mary Shelley’s novel, the abandoned monster demands its creator make a mate for him so that it may have a company. When Dr. Frankenstein ultimately destroys this corpse “bride” in his lab the rejected monster child lashes out by killing anyone near and dear to Dr. Frankenstein. Likewise Pakistan is now lashing out at anything near and dear to the US with jihadist training camps littered among the poor, brainwashing students, to destroy the evil infidels. To complicate this horror story, the abnormal being has its own nuclear weapons. It also appears that the monster is uncontrollable. Musharraf, during his long tenure, failed to sustain his promise to crack down on extremist groups. He was dogged by a losing struggle to reform Pakistan’s powerful internal-security apparatus, ISI, once the Taliban’s No. 1 ally. When US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage under Bush administration showed Musharraf satellite images of terrorist training camps located along Pakistan’s side of the India border it was reported that: “Musharraf acted outraged and upset.” But a State Department official told Time Magazine it wasn’t clear to the Americans whether Musharraf was angry that the camps were functioning or that the US had uncovered them! Indian muslims in New Delhi, during Dashera of the year 2002, burnt the effigy of Musharaf comparing him with another monster Ravana of Ramayana epic.

Today India and America have numerous mutual economic and strategic interests that will only grow over the next 20 years. Pakistan is therefore merely a nuisance to be contained and controlled through a dictator like Musharraf or his replacement whom the US feels it can manipulate. What is a few billion dollars given to Pakistan if you’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Meanwhile the unloved monster child must remain virtually unloved, abandoned, and then occasionally disciplined. England, the monster’s original creator, with little left of its own Empire, has discovered the only way to maintain any semblance of respect in the world is to side with the US or manipulate the US into any geopolitical ruse it created years ago. But the monster’s wounds have not healed. And they continue to grow. There are analysts in India feeling fear if President Obama would disconnect again and let loose the monster that created Taliban. Only time will tell.

One of the most powerful scenes in Mary Shelley’s book, Frankenstein, occurs when Dr. Frankenstein does nothing to stop an innocent young girl from being hung for the murder of a child whom he knows was killed by the monster he created. This silent refusal to take ownership for his own “ungodly son’s” crime and let an innocent victim be sacrificed bears a creepy similarity to what is now going on in Pakistan. India currently claims that 60,000 people to have been killed by cross-border terrorism. Neither to British government nor the American wants to take ownership, even though both nations have played roles as “parents” to this orphan. Perhaps it is time for Dr. Frankenstein to reconcile with his monster and for the monster to make amends. One thing is for sure the “English Frankenstein” is now a very sick “English Patient” and needs a cure. It also needs the loving discipline and guidance of a parent. Without it, it will continue prowling the countryside maiming and killing innocent victims like the monster in Mary Shelley’s gothic horror story. Happy Halloween.

Navin Doshi (2008)
(Mr. Doshi is a financial market trader, writer, and a philanthropist)

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