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Schiller Institute/ICLC 
Bad Schwalbach Conference

Why We Need Peace
And Eurasian Union

Chandrajit Yadav

March 21-23, 2003

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Chandrajit Yadav

Chandrajit Yadav is a former Union Minister of the government of India under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He spoke to the "Eurasian Land-Bridge" panel of the Bad Schwalbach conference, on March 22. Subheads have been added here.

Since yesterday, many heartbreaking statements have been made, and I am sure that today and tomorrow, more ideas will emerge, because this gathering, in my opinion, is here to consider, in a new emerging world situation, what kind of world we are going to build. Yesterday Mr. LaRouche gave a very detailed kind of road map of tomorrow's world. And today, Helga [Zepp-LaRouche] gave us a very thoughtful and very educative historical development of the forces. We have to learn some lessons from the events of history.

Unless and until we learn proper lessons, draw proper conclusions, and also work out our proper strategy for today, the alternative strategy is a doomed world and a doomed humanity. Science and technology, on the one hand, provided all the necessary facilities for life; they have made our life very much easier, though it is not for the entire population, it is for a few privileged sections of the society. But on the whole, if you see, the progress of science and technology has turned its service to humanity. But we should not forget at the same time, that they have also given us the potentiality to destroy the whole world. And today the world has got so much nuclear armaments, that they can destroy the entire world not once and twice, nor a dozen times, but they can destroy this world a thousand times. So we are at a crossroad, humanity is today at the crossroad.

Mahatma Gandhi's Leadership

And therefore we are here; and perhaps this Iraq crisis has provided us an opportunity to give a very serious thought. Before I make some observations about ... how can India play a role in Eurasian cooperation, in cooperation with Europe and Asia, Africa—the whole world—I would like to read a statement of Mahatma Gandhi, and I would like our young friends here to know, that Mahatma Gandhi, before he started leading our freedom struggle in India, he started raising his voice against this racist regime in South Africa. When he went—he was visiting South Africa when still very young, and like you; and he saw how the racist regime was bringing oppression against the natives of Africa, how they were denying them the fundamental human rights—he raised his voice there; he started the beginning of his freedom struggle in South Africa. And 20 years later he came to India and then he made it a mass movement.

How did he do that? He did it being with the people, seeking the cooperation of the people, doing certain things on the basis of some idealism. He was a man with idealism. He was a man who has immense faith in non-violence, immense faith in truth, immense faith in justice. And therefore with the conviction, with the faith, he started the movement in a peaceful manner. And when we were in our freedom struggle in India, our young people sometimes were losing patience, wanting truly to take arms in their hands, wanting to organize guerrilla warfare against the British rulers. Gandhi said: "No, you cannot defeat violence with violence; you may achieve perhaps some result, but it will not be lasting. Don't do that! Fight on the basis of your ideals." And when there was some kind of upsurge—bloodshed, at one time there was—he said, "No, I cannot tolerate violence." And he was educating our people, that the freedom struggle is not against the British people, it is against the imperialism. It is not a question of white and black....

So, I want to drive your attention to what he said six decades before. How would he look at the world, what we are discussing? He spoke about the world of tomorrow. A small quotation of what he said, I would like to read to you. I am not reading the whole thing. He said about the world of tomorrow: "Perhaps never before has there been so much speculation about the future as there is today." (The same speculation about our future is today. This he said six decades before.) "Will our world always be one of violence? Will there always be poverty, starvation, misery? Will we have a firmer and wider belief in religion, or will the world be godless? If there is to be a great change in society, how will that change be wrought? By war, or revolution? Or will it come peacefully?

"Different men give different answers to these questions, each man drawing the plan of tomorrow's world as he hopes and wishes it to be. I answer not only out of belief, but out of conviction. The world of tomorrow will be, must be, a society based on non-violence. That is the first law: Out of it all other blessings will flow. It may seem a distant goal, an impractical Utopia. But it is not in the least unobtainable, since it can be worked for here and now. An individual can adopt the way of life of the future—the non-violent way—without having to wait for others to do so. And if an individual can do it, cannot whole groups of individuals? Whole nations?"

Then he said, and I will underline it: "Men often hesitate to make a beginning, because they feel that the objective cannot be achieved in its entirety. This attitude of mind is precisely our greatest obstacle."

Nothing is impossible, but if in our mind we have doubts, we have hesitation, we do not have the capacity to take a decision. Then the real trouble starts. "This attitude of mind is precisely our greatest obstacle to progress—an obstacle that each man, if he only wills it, can clear away."

So, this is a small quotation, which I have read from his idea of the world of tomorrow.

War on Iraq and the UN

So I am saying, today the world is facing the real crisis. Nobody could imagine this. As I said yesterday, the 21th Century is going to be a century of such a great challenge. We will be confronted with the annihilation of society, annihilation of certain values. Today it is not the question, that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair jointly have attacked Iraq. The question is: They have attacked the United Nations Security Council—an institution, world-institution, which came into existence after such great sacrifices were made, wars were fought. After that, that institution came into existence. That institution today is facing a challenge: What will be of this tomorrow? And I am glad that in San Francisco the day before yesterday—where the [United Nations] idea got the roots, where it got its shape—our young people in San Francisco, U.S.A., our intellectuals, our women, our students; they came, in thousands and thousands, against their own government, against their own President, this barbaric American leader. They have been arrested in thousands in San Francisco.

It is not the United States of America which is attacking Iraq, it is a gang of people, a group of people, with the wrong idea, without understanding of the world situation. They are out to destroy these values. So I am saying that this is the situation we are confronted with today. Mr. LaRouche, you are an international personality, you are a known economist, I am glad that your ideas, your vision is catching up. People are giving serious thought to it. And that happens always with new ideas, that people do not understand, they misunderstand, they have doubts, there are people who deliberately want to defeat. There is a kind of battle between the evil and the good. In our society, in our civilization, there exists in all the time, for the whole eternity—in our mind there is a continuous battle between the good and the evil. When the good becomes stronger, evil is defeated. But when evil becomes stronger, then good is defeated. And that is how the role of the individual is important. This importance—we must give a very serious thought to all this.

I am so glad, that today Mr. Bush says: Either you are with me or you are my enemy; either you fall in line with me, otherwise I will treat you as my enemy. Who can say this? This only a dictator, a despot can say. What Mr. LaRouche says—I don't know—he said, that he [Bush] is a drunkard. I don't know, what kind of things he drinks, but one thing is very clear, after the attack on Iraq: that at least he is a power-drunkard and he wants power for himself.

And once the man becomes the victim of ego, he has no future. Egoist man is always defeated, maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after tomorrow. So the whole world today is—now think of this thing—a new kind of movement is coming. The question is that one head of a state, Mr. Bush—maybe by manipulation he won his election, but it is a fact that he is the head of state of a very important country, so-called the only superpower in the world today; he is the head of the United States—one head of state is giving an open call to assassinate another head of state. What is this, if it is not a crime, what else? Can one head of state give a call that he wants to assassinate another head of state? And then he names his operation, this attacking Iraq, Operation Iraq Freedom. He has got the monopoly to launch the freedom for every country.

New Imperialism and Poverty

This is a new kind of imperialism which the world is confronting today. And therefore we have to think about this, very seriously. And I am saying that even our young people in the United States of America—lots of people were killed, suffered in the Second World War, in the Vietnam War. And those people in the United States of America, they want to build a new kind of society free from war and for peace. Now, they are also confronted with this kind of illegality which is now there.

So I am saying that this is a new kind of situation the world is confronting. But another thing: This serious development is taking place at a time, when the world is facing a very serious socio-economic crisis. In spite of tremendous progress in science, technology, communications, space science, Internet, information technology, what is the condition of the common man, who is responsible for the creation of the wealth?

Today the wealthiest 20% of the world accounts for 87% of private consumption, while the poorest 20% accounts only for 1.4%. The number of unnourished people—almost all live in the Third World countries—was 800 million in the year 2000, as against 570 million 20 years before. Now it is increasing, the population of undernourished people is increasing continuously, in spite of all the development and the progress the world is claiming that it is making.

There are 1.3 billion poor people in the Third World today—that is, one out of every three, that still lives in poverty; in my country also, one-third of our population. Many friends do not know—a friend of mine from France today, we were just having breakfast together, then he said: How do you face the problem of 800 million population in India? I said, it is not 800 million, it is now more than 1,000 million population. We have crossed the line of a billion. So Jawaharlal Nehru used to say, that we have as many problems as our population. So our problem has increased. We have more than 1,000 million population and we have got more than 1,000 million problems in India.

We are a very complex society, but in spite of the complexity, we have survived more than 5,000 years. One of the most ancient societies in the world. We survived only because of our philosophy, because of our commitment to our idealism, because we have a very strong family unit. In spite of the fact that one-third of our young people are unemployed, they are not on the streets; their parents are there to take care of them. If parents are not there, their brothers are there to take care of them; if brothers are not there, their relatives are there to take care of them; our family unit is very strong. And that is one of the strongest points in our society, and that gives us a lot of power to sustain.

The World Bank, in its latest report on poverty, predicts that the number of people living in absolute poverty could reach 1.5 billions. So it is continuously increasing, it is not decreasing. It is a matter of serious concern, that the world is becoming poorer; that those who are creating proper wealth, they are becoming poorer, because of this system we have today, this exploiting system. The stronger has the power to get more in the society.

The Condition of Children and Youth

According to WHO [World Health Organization], one-fifth of the children of the world are undernourished and half of the world population has no access to essential drugs. Each year, 12 million children under five die—even today—and 95% of them die of poverty-related illness. Because of poverty they die. They don't have even the bare bread to eat and therefore they become the victims of all kinds of diseases. One-third of the population in the developing countries have no access to suitable drinking water.

My dear friend Bi [Jiyao], a professor, a doctor, and an economist, has presented a very good picture of his country. China is becoming in our days a matter of notice, because of its speedy fast development; because it has got a vision, it has got planning; they are determined to remove poverty, they are determined to remove unemployment, they are determined to build a better progressive society. But in spite of that—I think you are 300 million more than us in population, and you were telling me, "Maybe in another ten years you will cross our population, you will become number one."

Maybe we will become number one, but with this system, what we have in India, we cannot become a number-one rich country or richer country. Maybe our problems will increase, maybe our population will increase.

So I am saying that this is now the situation, that this is still the situation in the world. The Third World foreign debt, which totaled some $500 billions in 1981, has reached now more than $2.5 trillion. So far, the developing countries' debts are also increasing. More than a billion adults remain illiterate; more than 130 million school-going children are growing up without access to basic education, the dropout percentage—below six is standard; it is terrifying. They go to school, but they cannot afford to go to school for a long time. If school expenditure is increasing, fees are increasing, education is becoming costlier and costlier every day. Therefore their parents force them to go to do some work. They are not able to remain in this school, so the dropout percentage is also very high.

The truth which cannot be hidden is that there are currently 800 million people who are suffering chronic hunger and have no access to healthcare services. In addition, the AIDS virus is spreading fast among the poor countries, especially in Africa and Asia. In its territories, 35 millions are affected with HIV. Helga: When you visited India with Mary [Burdman] and some of your friends, you were taken to some areas of poor people in Delhi, our national capital. And you saw with your own eyes, there are voluntary organizations, but this is a growing problem, because the poverty is the main culprit of these things. They have no access to healthcare. And they are poor people. So this virus is growing.

Who Is Responsible?

The important question which has to be answered is: Who is responsible for this situation? And then, What is the solution? This is what I want you to think of. I am not giving you any kind of "my" solution. I know my limitation, I know my capacity. I am not an economist. I am not that kind of intellectual. I am basically like an ordinary worker, who was born in an ordinary peasant family, got self-educated, and came into politics with a certain idea, a certain vision, inspired by great people of the world. Not only Mahatma Gandhi inspired me; not only Jawaharlal Nehru inspired me; Abraham Lincoln inspired me, Lenin inspired me, at one point of time Mao Tse-tung inspired me.... But then, where are we today? So I am saying that these are the questions we have to think about today.

Are the rich industrial countries morally obligated to come forward to assist these unfortunate people and take care of their well-being? Developed countries are every year spending billions of dollars on the research, development, and manufacture of deadly armaments. Can they, in the name of humanity and justice, divert a considerable percentage of that money to wipe out the miseries of these poor people? The answer is very simple: So long as this madness of arms race continues and the present capitalistic system remains, one should not expect any help from them. It is estimated, that the attack on Iraq by the United States will cost not less than $50 billion. Mr. LaRouche was saying, that it will be perhaps more than that, it will not remain only $50 billion. So on the one side poverty, unemployment, diseases, children dying; and on the other hand $50 billion that one country can mobilize to destroy another country? What is this world, we are building today?

Now, the globalization. Unfortunately, we thought a few years ago, maybe 12, 15 years ago, that there are two parallel systems working in the world: capitalism versus socialism or communism. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, after the disintegration of the Eastern European countries—I could never imagine, that Bulgaria will join United States of America in attacking Iraq. I could never imagine.

I was a friend of Bulgaria. I visited Bulgaria several times. I thought, it is a beautiful country. And I remember, when I was going to visit Bulgaria, I met our Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, and told her that I have been invited to visit Bulgaria, so I am going there. I was ... in the Communist Party at that time. So she said: "Chandrajit, you are visiting a small country, but they are beautiful people, a very affectionate people. They are peasants like our peasants. But one thing you must always keep in mind: Never treat any country, as that it is a small country. Every country has got its own personality. They have got their own history, their own culture, their own aspirations, their own artists; therefore respect those artists. Respect them. Don't go divide up the country."

And I am so sorry that Bulgaria today is on the side of Mr. Bush and attacking, saying that we are fighting a "war of peace," we are fighting for the freedom of Iraq.

Crisis Provides Opportunity

But now I am saying: Every crisis also provides an opportunity. So the Iraqi crisis is again providing an opportunity for the thinking mind of the world. For our younger generation, this may be Mr. Bush's policy. But he has been exposed. And what is happening today? Even a few months before I used to tell, in my public meetings, that Europeans have shown the wisdom, they have united. They have a European Common Market. They have a European Parliament. They have one currency, the euro, for the whole of Europe. Why can not Asia, why can not Africa also follow that? I used to quote that as an example.

But today, what is happening to this European Union? The European Union, as Mr. LaRouche says, it will not survive. The beginning has started, where it has to be broken—but broken on a principle, broken on a cause. And France and Germany, two important European countries, taking a stand against this mad policy, it is a good sign, it is an important sign, that one has to note.

So I am saying, to meet this situation, what role India can play. Very briefly I will tell you. India must play a role. India is not only a country of more than a thousand million people. India has played this role, even when we were not free. Mahatma Gandhi did play a role, Jawaharlal Nehru did play a role. Jawaharlal Nehru used to visit European countries. He was invited by Mussolini as a young leader, and he refused to accept his invitation. He said, I cannot meet a dictator because I am one of the freedom fighters. So India has played a role. India played a role with China and other countries, with Egypt and other African countries. We became one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement.

So I am saying that this opportunity is provided.... Countries must revitalize now, they must come together. African countries must see that African unity is strong. They are not divided. We must see today that this triangular idea—Eurasian cooperation, Russia, China, India, along with Korea and other countries—they must come together.

They must seize this opportunity, and I want to tell you, for your understanding. Mr. Bi is sitting here, representing his country. India and China unfortunately were in a border conflict. For many years, we were not talking to each other; but ultimately, wisdom prevailed in both countries. Both leaders today—I remember visiting China about 15 years before, and I was meeting one of their top leaders, and he said about the India-China border solution, [he quoted] our late Prime Minister Gandhi: He said we have problems, but we cannot afford to be permanent enemies. We are two great people, two great populations, two great civilizations, how can we become permanent enemies? The border solution, he said, has to be solved with patience, with understanding, and with mutual interest. But let us talk on other things also.

We are talking. Today Russia and China and India are good friends. We are planning, how intellectually we can work together, and I am sure that this Iraq crisis has given more ideas to work on that. So, I am sure that this 21st Century, which is an important century, it has to be taken full care of. Without peace there will be no development. Peace is the most important factor for development. Therefore peace at every cost. We must become the peace workers. We must work for peace and our priorities will be today: Unite the movement, not only the governments; not the Indian government, not the Chinese government, not the Russian government, not the French and German governments, but the peoples who are there. A bigger factor than the governments are the people. Now they have come on the road, they have raised their voice against this aggression.

Youth Is Revolutionary by Nature

So let us make a plea to unite the people of the world. Let the people of the world today unite for peace, against injustice, against violence, against terrorism, against war. And this is where I am going to finish. In my opinion the role of youth is most important today. The youth is revolutionary by nature, youth is forward-looking by nature, youth is anti-establishment, youth is against traditions. Youth have got new vision.

So the role of youth is very important, and youth must work with faith, must work with conviction, must work with determination. And they must say we are not going to tolerate the world, the ideas and vision of Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair; the new kind of imperialism which wants to destroy the whole world. We are going to work for peace, unity, for a better world.

And with these words I call upon the youth, who are participating in this conference in a large number: Go with a mission, go with a conviction; go with the faith that whatever it is, if we have to make sacrifices, we make them. I know that many, many youth in every country, for their freedom, for their independence, they gave their lives, they gave their blood. They did not achieve freedom in their own life, but their blood did not go to waste. Their blood brought the freedom, their blood brought the better future.

So I have great faith in youth, and I call upon all our young brothers and sisters: Make a pledge, that we are the soldiers of a new world.

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