Remembering the counter-terrorism and security expert Bahukutumbi Raman: India and Pakistan
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
It was with great sadness in June 2013 that Modern Tokyo Times heard about the death of Bahukutumbi Raman, who was a foremost expert in the field of counter-terrorism, national security, and geopolitics in India. Raman passed away after fighting cancer during the latter part of his life. However, true to the very nature of Raman he kept on churning out essential analysis of major international events related to India – and the surrounding region – until the very late stages of his life.
I myself contacted Raman several years ago when Modern Tokyo Times was in its infancy and he kindly allowed our agency to publish his work until we could get off the ground. The beauty of Raman is that despite knowing extremely powerful individuals within India and much further afield; he was also open to anyone who cared and had a valid message to give to the world. Therefore, it was a great honor when such a distinguished individual gave the Modern Tokyo Times a helping hand in the cut-throat world of the mass media.
His distinguished career runs of the pen naturally when it comes to security-related issues and being at the center of safeguarding India. Raman is a former Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of India. Also, Raman is the former head of India’s intelligence agency called Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) which applies to external threats. Therefore, by being a former head (and one of the founding fathers of RAW) of this important counter-terrorism agency; it is clear that Raman was very important within the power mechanisms of India in relation to national security.
Raman also was the director of the distinguished Institute for Topical Studies which is based in Chennai. Alongside this, Raman was also an important contributor to the South Asia Analysis Group. Outside of major institutions, he frequently wrote about geopolitics, counter-terrorism, military issues, national security and other related areas in relation to India and South Asia. He also kept in touch “with the street” by utilizing social media and was open to individuals irrespective of their position because he firmly believed in humanity.
India Express states that Raman was “One of the few officers who witnessed the creation of RAW in 1968 by RN Kao, his analysis on Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China have been an asset to the intelligence community. In his memoir Kaoboys of Research and Analysis Wing: Down Memory Lane, he talked about his days in the agency.”
Raman cared passionately for the national security of India and to create mechanisms whereby terrorism and geopolitical land grabs by hostile nations could be dampened and repulsed before chaos broke out. On May 10, 2013, despite the pain of his severe cancer Raman bravely stated about the elections in Pakistan, “Better relations with India will be a minefield. The sensitivities of the army and the fundamentalist and jihadi organizations may have to be taken into consideration by the mainstream parties doing well in the elections before they take any major initiative for a policy change in a positive direction. They have to go very slow and keep down their enthusiasm. Better relations with India are, therefore, unlikely to be for tomorrow unless the PML (N) comes out with an absolute majority of its own.”
Raman continued, “India’s immediate policy interest ought to be not on the prospects for a quick improvement in the bilateral relations, but in the prospects for the better internal stability and better internal security in Pakistan with a genuine control over the activities of the TTP, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and other jihadi organizations… India has had a contentious relationship with Pakistan ever since the two countries became independent in 1947. If this contentious relationship continues for some more years, we can live with it provided the new ruling dispensation in Pakistan shows the courage and foresight to take on the fundamentalist and jihadi organizations and defeat them in the interest of the people of Pakistan and at the same time persuade the Army to co-operate with the civilian leadership in this direction.”
Raman even in the last days of his life and suffering enormous pain showed the passion of youth but with the knowledge of age. India should note the wise words above because Raman was focused on seeing the events of the day and the reality of long-term problems that he foresaw in the future.
Raman stated about international terrorism which is eating away at many nations based on various different factors that “How would I characterize international jihadi terrorism as personified by Al Qaeda and the International Islamic Front (IIF) formed by it in 1998, which pose the greatest threat to international peace and harmony? It is revanchist in character, medieval in its objectives and modern in its methods of operation. It wants to avenge through mass killings the imaginary wrongs which, according to it, were done to the Muslims of the world over the ages by the rest of the world. It is not a clash between civilizations. It is a clash between savagery and civilization. Civilization has to prevail over savagery and it will. It wants to take the Islamic world not forward into the modern world of democracy, prosperity and enlightenment, but back to the days of the Islamic Caliphate. It has mastered or is trying to master modern means of destruction in order to achieve the destruction of modernity and take the Islamic world back to its dark ages.“
Raman further continued, “International jihad terrorism has only pretexts for its actions. It has no legitimate root causes. In its revanchist, it is like the Nazism of the past. Imagine what could have happened to the world if leaders such as President Franklin Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill, Gen. de Gaulle and others had said: “let us first address the root causes of Nazism before we eliminate Adolf Hitler and his cohorts.” Where would the world be today? It would be equally absurd for us to say “let us first address the root causes of Al Qaeda and the IIF before we eliminate the leaders of Al Qaeda, the IIF and their cohorts.” They have to be eliminated first by all of us thinking and acting in unison.”
After the death of Osama bin Laden, the distinguished Raman commented, “The death of the jihadi Frankenstein’s monster in the cradle of the Pakistan Army has thrown the spotlight even more intensely than till now on another Frankenstein’s monster— namely, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan… Since the 1980s, the ISI was was pampered, fed and fattened by the US along with the Pakistan Army. The US, which closed its eyes to the pernicious role played by this State Frankenstein’s monster in sponsoring terrorism of various kinds against India, Afghanistan, and other countries, is confused and does not know how to act against this State Frankenstein’s monster after having killed the non-State monster.”
Furthermore, Raman noted, “The end of Osama bin Laden will not be the end of international jihadi terrorism. The non-state head of international jihadi terrorism may be dead, but the State of Pakistan, which continues to use this terrorism, lives in a denial mode. Neither the State of Pakistan nor its civil society is prepared to admit that Al Qaeda and its surviving leaders have managed to escape arrest, prosecution or death so far, because of the support extended to them by the State of Pakistan. The same is the case with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and other jihadi affiliates of Al Qaeda.”
Raman gave his soul to India and helped the international community because of his enormous wisdom. He passed away on June 16, 2013. However, he will live on within the people he touched based on his writing, knowledge, and the humanity he showed this world.
Bahukutumbi Raman – the years may pass but your words remain potent today, just like they did yesteryear.
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