The Myth of India as a Soft State by Dibyesh Anand

“India as a soft state?”

There is motif common amongst many security types, nationalist media as well as ordinary bourgeoisie that India is a soft state that cannot respond strongly to terrorists, Pakistani intrusions or Chinese incursions. That it is a state held hostage to vote bank politics, bullying of vested interest groups and deferential to human rights lobby.

Had this been confined to security types alone, one could dismiss it as self-serving bureaucratic elite and media elite propagating their trash. But I have met disturbingly large number of ordinary middle classes who subscribe to this view.

This widespread currency is due to the Indian brougeoisie NOT seeing Kashmiris, ‘north-easterners’ (using this awkward and problematic term for the lack of a better one; could also use ‘Orientals’ i guess), Dalits, adivasis and Muslims (especially non-upper caste) as Indian. Had these marginalised and brutalised peoples constituting around half the population of the country called India been seen as Indian, the nationalist bourgeois discourse of India as a soft state would not exist. Who in Kashmir or Nagaland or Dantewada or Kudankulum, etc would see Indian state as soft? When Indian state, in complicity with the big and small goondas, big and small corporations, big and small feudals, comes in full force to evict people from their lands in the name of development, would these people see it as a soft state? Kashmiris who have to encounter a rude, often abusive and armed representative of Indian state cannot but see India as a non-soft-state.

That India is seen as a soft state is thus a most effective propaganda victory of the state. Encourage a criticism of itself as being ‘soft’ in order to then excuse more violence and get away with it.


Dibyesh Anand

[An example of the propaganda – from]


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