Moving Towards South Asian Confederation

Re-alignment in South Asia

Sri Aurobindo had hinted in his Independence Day Message (issued on the eve of Indian Independence on 15th August, 1947) that a new poise of unity, not necessarily in the old way but in a fresh alignment would manifest in the subcontinent. The Mother later spoke of a great Asian federation that resembled mostly what the SAARC comprises today with the addition of Myanmar. She indicated that this was the hallowed and sanctified zone that supported the efflorescence of spirituality, the manifestation of the Universal Mother-principle.

In practical terms, a comfortable outcome could be a South Asian Confederation. Perhaps Pakistan with associated areas of Afghanistan and a Unified Kashmir could be Confederate States rallying with India as could be Bangladesh. Richard Benkin, American writer and incidentally a close admirer of Indian Prime Minister Modi has recently suggested that not Bangladesh in isolation but a Unified Bengal could be a Confederate State rallying around India. He suggests that this alignment could solve communal conflicts and bring solace to Hindus being persecuted by Islamic radicals in Bangladesh. However this would be doubtful unless the Confederation idea is taken up by the whole subcontinent, especially Pakistan and Kashmir, and not only in a unified Bengal. Of course, such a realignment might actually have to be initiated at one end and Bengal as the starting-point could be more conducive as Benkin seem to indicate, with others following.

Benkin suggests a modelling after China’s “one country, two systems” approach in associating former colonies of Hong Kong and Macau. Utopian as it seems today, the confederation idea in South Asia may actually flower one day and Sri Aurobindo’s idea of a new alignment bringing unity in the subcontinent cannot be arbitrarily dismissed. After all his chapter titled ‘The United States of Europe’ penned in 1916 took exactly the shape he visualized when the European Union was created by the Maastricht Treaty on November 1st, 1993. If his European dream came true, there is reason to have faith in his South Asian vision too.

Date of Update: 23-Nov-17