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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 107

China's new threat to Indian union

N.Nandhivarman - General Secretary Dravida Peravai

Speaking in Indian Parliament on 20 th November 1950, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru states " Maps of China for last thirty years have shown a certain portion of that North Eastern Frontier which is now part of India…. Our maps show that McMahon Line is our boundary and that is our boundary map or no map… and we will not allow anybody to come across the boundary "

The problem between India and China, which now stakes claim to Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh, started actually not by the tongue slip of Jawaharlal Nehru, but by the fact about the weakness of both side over the maps.

Emergence of Chinese Nation

Let me further quote Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru " The administration of the Mongol Empire must have been a very difficult task. It is not surprising therefore that it began to split. Kublai Khan died in 1292. After him there was no great Khan. The Empire divided up into big areas.

1. The Empire of China including Mongolia, Manchuria and Tibet. This empire was the principal one under Kublai Khan's descendent of the Yuan dynasty.

2. To the far West Russia, Poland and Hungary was the Empire of the Golden Horde as the Mongols were then called.

3. In Persia and Mesopotamia and part of Central Asia there was the Ilkhan Empire, which was founded by Hulugu and to which the Seljuk Turks paid tribute.

4. North of Tibet in Central Asia there was a great Turkey as it was called, the Empire of Zagatai

5. Between Mongolia and Golden Horde there was a Siberian Empire of the Mongols.

Mongol Empire was split up, each one of these five divisions it was a mighty empire wrote Nehru in page 224 of his book Glimpses of World History. That was the divided nature; fragmented nature of a country those in later days became China.

Emergence of Indian Nation

During British rule about 60% of the Indian sub-continent's territories were Provinces and 40% were Princely States The Indian sub-continent was always a bunch of different entities ruling different parts in India. While the arrival of the British in India, the most dominant empire in the Indian sub-continent was the Moghul Empire. The Moghul Empire acted as patrons to many smaller kingdoms all over India. With the collapse of the Moghul Empire, which began in the 18 th century, the different rulers became semi-independent.

The Indian sub-continent at the time of independence in 1947 had 562 Princely States. Some of them like Kashmir, Mysore and Hyderabad were as large as England. There were also smaller Princely states like Junagad, Udaipur, Janjira, Aundh and Cochin.

Along with the Princely States there were also 11 Provinces in British India. These Provinces were under direct British control.

These Provinces were formerly Indian entities, which the British annexed from the Indian rulers, attached them together and turned them into British Provinces. Among these Provinces were Bombay, Madras, Bengal, Assam and United Provinces. This introduction will indicate how our borders have become widening and changing with integration of princely states within Indian Union.

India and China two countries have fought bitter war and even today normalcy never returns in fostering better relationship. The legacy of the colonialism has left a border dispute, which had triggered wars in the past and now claims over settled issue like Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. To enable people of both countries to ponder over the root cause of the enmity between two great neighbours, we wish to place for public debate the border question.

The maps and the confusion created by contradictory maps

The maps of 1930 show Indian border in North East sector, which is McMahon line between India's Assam and Tibet region as Boundary Un-demarcated. In Northwest, North sectors [from Kashmir Ladakh to Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh it was inscribed as boundary undefined. Miss Dorothy Woodman in her book Himalayan Frontiers in 1969 wrote, " The innumerable discrepancies on maps might lead to the most naïve student of cartography to the view that the devil can quote maps to serve its own purpose." The discrepancies in maps are a disease infecting both sides. Both countries based their claims on erroneous maps. In Indian side as per eminent parliamentarian and scholar Kuldip Nayyar " The Government itself with drew several official maps and books which did not indicate meticulously a curve here or a bend there or which left the boundary undefined. Many maps of the Survey of India and the books of Publications Division were withdrawn, and there was a circular sent to return all such materials " [Between the Lines p 137-138].

Similarly Chinese Premier Chou–en-lai made it clear in April 1955 during Bandung Conference, that China's borders with neighbouring countries had not yet been fixed.

Colonial mentality reflected in maps

While we talk about the faulty maps of both countries based on which the people of both countries have undergone the agony of war, we must also take note of the colonial mind and colonial mentality behind the maps. To divert the subject here from India and China, so that none can say we are blind by nationalism but to stress the need to apply rationalism in evaluating our past and present claims and counter claims over territory let me draw your attention to other maps.

"Open a geography book or take an Atlas or a traditional map adorning a wall. Greenland and Scandinavia appear to be ten and three times larger than India respectively. However in reality Greenland is only eighty percent of India's size. Scandinavia is three times smaller than India. The discrepancy does not end here.

Russia appears bigger than entire continent of Africa; Alaska bigger than Mexico and tiny Europe seems to occupy more area than entire South America. This mismatch runs against basic common sense. Locate the equator and see how the northern hemisphere occupies two thirds of the space, and southern hemisphere the remaining one third." Wrote Columnist Vishal V Sharma in Times of India.

He cites the reasons for this. " The world map being shown in our books and Atlases is the Mercator map, made during the age when Europe dominated and exploited the world. The white dominated countries are thus portrayed to be extraordinarily large while non white countries extraordinarily small." United Nations in 1974 acknowledging this discrepancy accepted a new map made by Arno Peters, a German scholar. Peter's map shows countries in their relative sizes, and is based on his decimal grid, which divides the surface of the Earth into hundred longitudinal fields with equal width and a hundred latitudinal fields of equal heights.

Dravida Peravai wishes to draw the attention of people of India and China, that our countries have not understood the colonialism and its legacy, the maps, McMahon lines over which we were engulfed in enmity for decades, and spent the energies of our economies to fuel wars instead of eradicating poverty in our most populous countries.

Bangladesh borders:

The legacy of past not only haunts India and China, it also hurts India and Bangladesh. There are 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladesh enclave in India." The legacy of high stake card games between two kings, rulers of Cooch Bihar and Rangpur within old Bengal State centuries ago where they used estates as stakes when they ran out of cash, resulted in our nation having Bangladesh enclaves and Bangladesh having our enclaves. This is an issue, which had not been sorted out yet; it applies to the Indo China border dispute.

The sudden raking up of a claim over Arunachal Pradesh by China had created heartburns amidst Indian people. Indian people did not expect that Chinese would go on digging a past, a creation of colonialism, to put roadblocks to normalcy between two great civilizations and countries.

Statesmanship should prevail. Territory gained at the cost of making people live better within our countries, does not warrant it. Let us bury the colonial legacy and the problems it left behind. Both the nations and even Bangladesh must have open mind, give and take approach, and acceptance of status quo without igniting tensions with fresh claims as one reiterated unnecessarily by China. Let minds of both countries meet and resolve our border issue scientifically and amicably.

- Asian Tribune -

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