tv Book Discussion Midnights Furies CSPAN May 15, 2016 7:30am-8:31am EDT
they are already higher, which makes things, whatever problems they may have. do you think the emergence of global brands are at this very powerful brand, either powerful brand in china and do you think it's a model that could be expanding and play apart's expansion of the consumer-based society? >> it is happening. you mentioned some names. some of these have more links in the state. others are more private sector. they actually wear but general maxim has one more things i did but there is an element, a desire to shift on the back of your phone made in china, designed in california. china wants -- they want to design in china. it is now a major league mark for manufacturer because it's
been investing heavily overseas and ultimately a lot more chinese companies will have to come out. if they are just selling within china are already very established brands in china. a lot of chinese brands had to buy talent market. so the internet may create a new base for them to develop. that's been the case which uses scarcity mark eating and fan clubs to take on no ps and apple, even though they are lower-priced point. chinese are frustrated, name a chinese car. volkswagen. the thoughtful about what they are keeping the volvo named. i know that you can't really create a global brand. one note though sounds vaguely italian, but they did actually buy the idea.
so it's not like the japanese way that they just buy stuff and hope it works out. there is some crazy things happening. two weeks ago, almost -- they are developed the waldorf astoria hotel that nobody seems to justify. there's a lot of money sloshing around china. there is also a sense that they need to keep talent and keep brands. another company built the largest insurance company and the chairman went missing for a couple days and we don't know why still. so it's interesting. so we heard about the relationship between government and private sector companies. this kind of a glass ceiling. for example, southeast asia are not great. how does that help companies? alibaba santa billion dollars this week by an e-commerce
platform there. and yet the chinese government is having lots of friction but there's areas. it's all very interesting. i have 12 chapters in the book or chapter 13 is the most interesting. it is happening all the time. i think that faq to wrap this up. i am happy to have you here, including friends i have been for many years and i'm happy to sign and stay in touch. find me on the beach at. duncan clark.com. [applause] >> he will be signing a rehear with their purchase. [inaudible] [laughter]
>> good morning. welcome and good morning. my name is nisid hajari. i am also a research fellow at the peace and war center. so it is not a pleasure and honor to have this conversation with mr. nisid hajari, 2016 winner from the recipient and winner of the colby military history of war. what we are going to do today is to have a conversation. you have read his bio i am sure. take a look at the pamphlet was handed out. he is a very famous journalists.
he helped set up "time" magazine edition. he lives now in singapore and works for bloomberg. and he has written that spoke called "midnight's furies." but we want to do is unpack this book. i've intentionally not read the entire bio because i would think it would be more ventures to have the conversation and put the book into it. this book deals with events that happen in countries far away over 70 some odd years ago. but you would contend that nisid's book is so time is so relevant to where we are today. it can accept headline issues that you see in the newspapers every day. the war in afghanistan, the war
in iran. america's engagement with the world. america's leadership and transforming for trying to transfer countries, with the 21st century will bring in asia. school of religion and conflicts. and if i might say, how important it is for politicians than they are running for office or otherwise to be very careful in what they say. so i want to take you back ,-com,-com ma if you will, a few centuries. i was born a long time ago. i want to take you back a few centuries to india, where hundreds and hundreds of years, this cosmopolitan, multicultural civilization within days and months of enchantments and christians, all living together, worshiping at each other's shrine. this is especially true of muslims and hindus who did that.
even today you can go to virtually any village of packets to enter india and you will find hindus worship enough muslim shrines in muslims worshiping at hindu shrine. there are enter marriage is the partition of india to place after 150 years of british presence in india and another two to 300 years of another empire before that. when the partition to please, is a hugely significant event. the point i want to bring out before we get into this as nothing as simple. this is not simply a religious conflict. i will give you a personal example. and i pulled my wrist to be the head of the indian airport. his family, like many muslim families did not think india's.
so in the pakistani wars, he was not full leading the indian airport, muslims and muslim, you know, pitcher on both sides, both owing allegiance to their country. so the big point that i want to make is that as important as religion seems to appear, that is not always the case. i want to start by asking you, for hundreds and hundreds of years these people have lived together. in 1947, millions have gotten injured or killed. why? >> i'm glad you started with an easy one. i will give you a one-word there. power. the change in 1987, both as different from the previous 150 years was for the first time the british were leaving. they have made clear for several
years at that point they didn't have the money to maintain her and tired and yes, the political will to do it and they were wanted there. the muslims as you say had lived together. there had always intentioned but there was very limited and local. you a small riots break out in a particular city and it usually lasted a day or two. but he didn't have this masculine violent. what happened was because the rich were leaving, muslim communities and in via, vocal leaders sought a future in which they would be a permanent irony, they would be cut out of power. under parliamentary system, the congress party, which was dominated by hindus would always win. they would get the majority of those wherever they ran. the muslim parties with the consigned them in the system
than they fear was almost a winner take all system where if you ran the government, their friends and families and cronies would get the contract that he would write the textbooks that schools. you would write the rules of worship and the want and citizenship. so the political leaders, mohamed ali, founder of packets and argue till the of the way muslims could be safe after the british left is if they had a state of their room where they were majority, where they ran the government. you know, that was at the very top level. what happened as political leaders come as you say, you have to be very careful how you talk about these, what you say. they would paint pictures for followers of the terrible things that were going to happen if they didn't get their own state. not only would she be forced to traverse come her daughters would be kidnapped in your grandfathers would be killed and so on.
this filters down from the top level to the political leadership in new delhi. once you get down to the ground level, the message becomes very simple to do becomes kill or be killed. a year before partition by some terrible right broke out in calcutta. it is still unclear who started the, but something around 10, 15,000 people were killed over the span of four days. this gave indians of all stripes of vision of what would happen is if they didn't defend themselves. so they started to arm themselves. they started to organize. you have to remember this is just after world war ii. you had a thought of young men who had been trained in the military. africa and europe, asia and a lot of them still had weapons. unlike previous riots when the violence broke out, these
organized squad were much more effective, much more deadly. they were fighting with this are nicer using machine guns, but death toll skyrocketed. >> that he said should interesting theories that you've tried to connect. let me ask you that a lot of the trouble -- i grew up in bombay. my family and i went through the partition. but there is constantly if you could unpack that a part of your book for you talk about the killings ,-com,-com ma why were they vocalized? why did that happen all over? the >> a lot of people have the idea that the british left and all of a sudden violent riots break out. people were killing each other. it was not at all. i thought it was a child in bombay. no memory of any diamonds.
it is unaffected by this. there is one particular province called the punjab which is now split between india and pakistan on the western side of india. this is where the border is going to go. they decided to divide areas by hindus for a majority and do a split half-and-half. a new border is going to be drawn. the problem there is a third community known as the sikhs who were very small community, 5 million people in the middle of the province. is that it that you are sent a go in the spring of 1947 within a few months of memory, they had this vision of this vision about
what happened to them that the the british drew this border and found themselves on the wrong side of the line. there were heavily militarized. that's why it spread very quickly. it is very concentrated in this area. they were pushed out in hindus and sikhs are pushed out from the other side. as you have this movement of people, 14 million people across sides of the border for the span of a few, you know come you had these miles long convoys of refugees. 250,000 people essentially defenseless. there were some soldiers trained to guard them, but they would come swoop in and were able to master several hundred thousand people at a time. but it is the combination of communities with the new border
to provoke. >> that is so interesting. by the way, i could wanted to commend you and your dad first though calling it palm bay. but i was going to say, so this hindu muslim issue came to prominence along the border areas, but it didn't spread to the rest of the country. does that tell us anything about how deeply embedded in religion this was or whether it was a local fact having to do more with territory and advantage in revenge? >> i think that is spread. it is easy to think of this as a muslim hindu conflict. you have to remember, the leaders of india and pakistan were completely secular. they were religious at all. jenna related to come on. you drink alcohol which is obviously for big by islam. he was a man of fine taste.
very dapper. a cambridge socialist didn't believe in any of this hindu mumbo-jumbo as he saw it. so it wasn't about religion for them. it was again about territory, community. it community. in the spirit of his driving a kid that sikhs were afraid that they were going to be -- that the community was going to be massacred. the other thing that's interesting to remember is the strongest drive to create pakistan does not in the areas that eventually became pakistan. in northwest to northeast india, they were of maturity. they didn't have to fear what would happen after the british left. it is muslims in central india, southern india, other places to really push the idea of pakistan. some of them moved when it was created.
many others did not. many muslims never wanted pakistan to create it at all. >> yeah, just a quiet personal anecdote on this issue of how importantly a lot of muslims felt about not creating another country. to my dad at that time was an up-and-coming screenwriter and he hadn't yet made a big movie. we were very young and he was having a hard time and he got an offer from pakistan to produce a movie. he said gray. this is going to be my big opportunity am a mother of course is a freedom fighter and so on in india. she said not a good life. you're not going to go horrible country to start a movie. we don't have any money. we have two children. he went to think about this and came back and told me when we were growing up, my mother had her suitcases packed and he said what are you doing? she said you go to pakistan to
make money. so that is how intent plays the family felt. the question i have for you is i want to focus on therefore the importance of leaders and the importance of the british. do you think if the british had stuck it out, said no, we are going to work this out as they have many times over 150, 200 years, or if the leaders themselves have stuck it out. do you think there's a failing on the later side, the reddish side to have been? >> i definitely think there were mistakes made on all sides. their skill to be assigned to everyone. you can't prove a counterfactual obviously. even if the partition had happened, there is no proof that unified india would've stayed unified. these pressures that would've been there.
it's possible five years later, 10 years later could have broken up by different lines. the other thing to remember is the british only directly controlled about half the subcontinent. the other half for independent kingdoms ruled by monarchs who gleefully were independent and could choose to join india or pakistan. if the british had left them unified ,-com,-com ma they may have decided to do that. but all the leaders made mistakes. they did try to compromise. the british for a year had tried to bring the two sides together. in almost a year earlier in the spring of 46, they had come up with a compromise, a very complicated rickety compromise for you have unified india with a weak central government and the muslim areas that have a certain degree of autonomy and individual problems is with other powers. it was a face-saving way for everybody to agree and they did
agree. but then, almost immediately after they agreed to it, the congress party leader was at a press conference and he was being pressured by people from his own party say and why are you giving up all this autonomy to the muslim areas? we have fought for decades to kick the british out of this is our time to roll. he said something like don't worry. we are just saying this now. what the british labor will do whatever we want. of course for any muslim here in this company had to think how can we trust these people? they will sign this document out. once the british leave they will be empowered and they will turn on us. and then it became virtually impossible to bring them back together again. they did try up until the summer of 47. they kept trying to get back to that compromise.
the americans are putting heavy pressure on both sides to come back to that compromise. they were very worried and they wanted a united india to help with the defense against the soviet union. they didn't want us to be broken. but between the time that they struck a compromise and the summer of 47, that is wednesday's riot started to spread across the country. so feelings are getting embittered at the ground level and the tensions divisions between communities for growing and they grew between the leaders themselves, too. you have to remember they'd known each other for 30 years. his father had been good friends agenda. they argued with each other. they had friends in common. you would think they could have found common ground. >> so i'm going to in a moment
open it up and let people ask questions. what i want is now to close this part of the conversation to think about history. i had the pleasure of interviewing general gordon sullivan, chair of the board of trustees a few weeks ago. he impressed on me how important it was for him to get this history major in a huge liberal classical sense education. he said without an understanding of history, there's very little that you can do as far as making sound decisions of any chain of command. and so, i wanted to take us forward now. we've spent trillions of dollars in the strongest army in the world has taken every hill that we wanted it to, but we've not been able to prevail against an enemy, the taliban, but there's
no gdp. same thing in iraq. you can carry that through. my question to you is in america we have a say, that's history. when someone says something you think is developing him you say that's history. we ought to do away with that pain. i want you to take now what happened in 1947. and if you would, by the way everything the pressure so you go by multiple copies of the book. christmas is not that far away. you need to bring six each. can you not take us forward from there and connect this to what is happening in afghanistan especially, but the importance of history. >> it is important in two ways. for americans in particular, the reason that we are still fighting in afghanistan 15 years later almost is only because the
taliban has had a safe haven to retreat to across the border in pakistan. there's certain degree of support from the that they are tolerated and allowed to beat in the leadership is safe there. that has allowed them to keep the insurgency alive and they can keep it alive forever as they have the safe haven. why does pakistan do this? why did they take billions of dollars in support of the taliban? why did they support what you would call terrorist groups that fight the indians in kashmir, but also conduct attacks that go by attacks in 2008 and why are they building up their nuclear arsenals so rapidly in creating smaller battlefield nuclear weapons and so on? they do while this because they view india as a mortal threat. 70 years later they don't believe -- the pakistani military's don't treat india as a country that doesn't believe in their existence, doesn't want
them to survive and would like to see them fail and be reabsorbed within india. so that mentality is nothing new. that came out just a few months in 1947 that mentality was cemented within the strategic establishment among ordinary pakistanis. it's by the pakistani military has been able to rule the country because every time they take power, they say you need us to defend you india. we are going to protect the country. they've used other excuses but that's the justification for drawing the majority of the budget for the military. you need is to defend against india. so for americans, for any outside powers import to understand the roots and work comes from. we need to also understand how it's changed over the decades and how it's developed. you can start to unwind it until you know where it came from.
except when it was created there is a certain degree of legitimacy to the period there were leaders who didn't want pakistan to be created or excess. he would have been perfectly happy to see it fail. it's not entirely crazy. it is not the truth now. indians have no interest in taking over pakistan. but it did not do something about that we have to accept and understand. it's interesting you bring up the thing about americans in history. i agree with you at that and get on the other hand, americans have a very healthy to be self-critical and not to feel like they have to hide their or sugarcoat them or ignore them. you know, they can admit what happened in the civil war and their shelves and shelves of books about this. and then they can move forward.
indians and pakistanis still have trouble with this. i've given lots of readings in india. the majority of the population is very young. the phrases they use, the way they talk about pakistanis and vice versa is no different than 1947. they are taught a version of his jury. they get another version in their mutually anchored possible. neither side really wants to admit that they could've pretty been a fall, that maybe condi wasn't entirely a saint. maybe he didn't did make mistakes. pakistanis say maybe he was a little power-hungry and someone. until they do that, until they come up with some sort of joint narrative, i don't think they'll feel it to move forward either of that is dangerous for the rest of us.
we have to hope they will get there. >> before you open it up for questions, i want to give you an opportunity. was there a time when you wrote the book or after that you sat back and said, you know, this really came off well. i'm glad i did it. besides when you are taught about -- [inaudible] >> the moment that happened when i got my first review in the new york review of books. >> talus just personal, you thought about this for so long you wrote this book. >> it was a long process. i started working on this book five years ago in spring of 2011 and i have been working at "newsweek" magazine in new york for 10 years. i left my job gave my wife and i sold our apartment in new york and we put all of our stuff in my in-laws basement and took off
and looked out of a suitcase for a year while it did research in india and london. i had no idea where this is going at the time. i had an idea of what i wanted to accomplish. imagine you're in a library 10 hours a day throwing train going through paperthin telegrams that churchill signed in personal diaries and letters and vacuum it all and you try and the patterns in the, but at the time you're really trying to get through as much as possible. then i sat down and tried to make sense at all. it was very important to write it for general audiences. i hope they find a scholarship in it. i wanted to make a narrative that would be appealing to everyone and to try and find a narrative in this material. i cannot say that there was a moment while i was doing it but i was fully confident that i had
succeeded until it was published in somebody else told me it was all right. >> so we have a few minutes left. we will take a few questions. just tell us who you are. >> the microphones will come to you. >> sean markey. i have a question about and some of the choices you made and maybe a way to just open it up a little bit. what was maybe one of the harder things you struggled with in the work through that? or alternately, what was the best advice he got from an outside reader, either at editor or just a friendly reader that help you fix some in the west are working. ..
was moving towards independence. these things are all happening in the same day. most books, most accounts treat them all separately. there's a chapter -- you realize one simple cup of what he went to wendy about this and another me about that. he was operate onto his -- two hours of sleep and they got a letter from his girlfriend. you can kind of get into the had a little bit more and understand the pressures they were under and why the would've made certain decisions. there are certain decisions made that i haven't seen explained before. you realize he made a decision at the end of his three-hour meeting with the talked about something before and. i can imagine what he would of
been thinking. the hardest part for me was making it a narrative your because you many, many characters, huge forces at play and it was chaos at the time. so it's hard to know what's real, what's not. a lot of people's memories afterwards were not all that trustworthy. if you hear the same story over and over again that my aunt was on a train and everybody was killed by her, i heard this story dozens of times and it's generally not true because they stop most of the trains but this is something people told themselves for generations. you have to sort of see the records at the time to kind of no that no, there were not that many train massacres. and then finding a way to make it a chronological narrative which i did this use of two
characters. i did their personal relationship, gave me a giggle and which the larger forces, politics and history that really felt it through almost a day by day account of what they're going to at the time. >> did you do most of the research in india or pakistan? >> i did most of it in london actually because up until august 15 when the british left all those records were british records. they existed in india but trying to work in the archives is although difficult. you have to fill out request forms on people in sentiment and three days later you get a note back saying we can't find the file. it's more straightforward at the british library. in london you can get more material quickly. there's a lot of personal papers there as well. i spent about to go to india, went back for a few weeks and almost a year in london. >> if you would've taken the time spent on research versus writing?
>> it was about half and half. >> until the first draft. >> right. about a year researching, i wrote the first draft between may and december. and then i accepted the job, move to singapore, then i read the first draft and realize there was more work to be done. it took me another year but that was weekends and evenings to sort of polish it up. >> class of 68. when you are researching the book was there and aha moment for you that changed your mind or understanding of the history? >> my understanding was wrong and it was this way. >> can you share that with those? >> there wasn't a single moment. there were individual moments. there were days when you go to
the library, work through the archives and you come on and you you've found something new. everything you read that day has been read by somebody else and so on but then there are days when you find that nugget that illuminates a particular angle. a combination of those leads to the sort of new narrative that you create. so for instance, some of the best material i found was in the state department archives in maryland. nobody ever looks at them. the american diplomat at the time in new delhi were well-connected. i do intend to talk to them. they knew the americans with a rising power in the world. they had great details. there was a moment, the british ambassador in london the day the british decided to create pakistan in june 1947, he called in the u.s. ambassador to explain the decision. ambassador rights back to washington and says they're going to do this, create pakistan. that going to hand over power possibly as soon as august to
india but then pakistan is not ready yet. they will hand over power later, maybe a few months, maybe a year, hasn't been worked out yet. that sort of brings them to you, you understand why does it so fast. how could they thought this was a good idea? if because they had not thought it through. they felt somehow the pakistanis will want us to stick around to help them set up the government's everything is going to be okay if we don't need to worry about the details. there are certain moments like that wacky decision why did the british decided to leave so quickly? it seem so crazy it's a stupid come energy relies it's because they didn't think they were leaving pakistan that quickly. >> i'm a student. pakistan is providing for the taliban. the past couple of years, even the current president of afghanistan have been trying vigorously to bring taliban and
all the parties to negotiate peace talks. it never worked out. afghanistan even doesn't have the capability to provide security inside the country or at its borders. what do you think is the solution left for afghanistan? what do you think they can do to fight taliban? do you think they can bring this power inside the country? >> a nobel peace prize is riding on this. >> exactly. my tenure at "newsweek" i oversaw coverage of the war in afghanistan, and i wish i had a good answer. i think you're right there has to be a negotiated solution. i think all the parties a right to work towards that. pakistan and even though they give the taliban safe haven, they don't control them. idb leave the pakistanis genuinely want the taliban to come to the peace table now. they are not able to do. on the other hand, if they said
were not getting anymore safe haven whatsoever and we are taking out all the leaders or we will arrest you, then i think they might change their minds. at the pakistanis are not ready to do that yet. the one positive development that i've seen so far, and it's not a breakthrough yet come is the fact that china is now involved. and china is much more interest in stability in afghanistan now than it ever did before partly for economic reasons because they want to develop minerals there and so on but also because they are worried about islamic extremism coming across the border into western china. and china is the one power that has influence over the pakistanis. they have more influence than we do. so they're the ones leaning on the pakistanis to try to bring the taliban to the peace table. they've offered to host talks. if they sustain the pressure, if we could get within. it's important to remember to our tensions between the as china and the south china sea,
over trade, all these other issues. it's important remember the big picture we need to help on north korea. we need to help on afghanistan's which is sort of, even as we compete in some areas we have to work with them in others. i don't anticipate a breakthrough anytime soon, but if pakistan and china keep pressuring them come if the afghans can hold her own at least, if they keep losing territory and the taliban have less incentive to come to the peace table, but if they can hold their own maybe we'll get to a point where you can bring them in. what a power-sharing agreement wilwill look like indian idol because you have to preserve the liberties that have been created in afghanistan. know what is going to give those up now. you can't go back to the taliban days but they will have to be some part of the solution eventually. >> just as a follow-up to this. do you think the american presence, continued presence, helps, or do you think if we let
the countries they would strike a balance within themselves >> i think we are still needed their now that i think the afghan army is unable to hold its own against the taliban without our logistical help and intelligence and so when. i think our presence, we can't solve this for them sending more troops. i don't think there's a surge that happened where we did in iraq that will turn things around but i also don't think we should necessary rush to draw down to zero. >> you recognize someone in the back? who is in the back? go ahead. >> such an iconic figure for americans and certainly for indians as well. can you just talk briefly anything about how your perceptions may have changed in the writing of this book? i know he is a figure but can you just talk about that? were you surprised by the things you learned about gandhi and other might affect our memories
of him speak was it's interesting, you have to write about him carefully obviously, especially for an indian audience, but gandhi was much more of a politician than people give him credit for. he seems like this saintly figure that sort of spots proverbs that sound great and is for peace and so on and hates violence. he was a very shrewd politician. he used nonviolence against the british because it worked. into the indians didn't have the weapons to challenge the british army. this was the advantage they had over them. he had great success in the '20s and '30s. but he was also fairly vain man, and he was surrounded by admirers telling them what a great person he was and how infallible he was, even indian leaders came to for advice as if he were a google.
first, he never understood the way muslims saw him. he thought i make your persevered i have no prejudice, nothing against muslims. of course, they must embrace my message. he couldn't understand that for many muslims they would see gandhi dressed up like a hindu sage, holding his prayer meetings. hindu chants and so on. stories, the parables he used while the new parable to choosing into gothic he never understood that image was projected to a lot of muslims was fairly frightening. they saw him as a religious leader, not as a secular democratic. and then he also didn't understand the impact of his words. by the time partition came around, he was in his mid to late '70s, and he was a little i don't want to use the word senile he was not as sharp as he had been before. i know in a rented would tell them that. everybody would still act as if
everything he said was gospel. so he would do things like when these riots were starting to spread, there were reports, rumors about rights in far east in india, what is now bangladesh. rumors that they were going to massacre hindus, raping hindu women. he brought this up at a prayer meeting in delhi, and he was dying to say don't retaliate, don't use violence, don't fight back. instead for all of you tens of thousands of hindu women who are at risk of being raped, you should kill yourself instead. he hadn't thought this through at all. the way this message was heard out of the provinces was hindu women are being raped. people, local politicians added much, much lower level of the use of this message and rallied and went out and committed a massacre over several weeks of several thousand muslims. it's something that in muslim
leaders blamed gone before and said look, you are spouting this stuff and people are warping it and it's causing this violence. he wouldn't acknowledge that. he thought his spirit was pure, his intentions were good. and they were but he didn't understand the impact of his words. they were also times, this compromise that image, he fought against it the most and dragged out the negotiations. i think favorite except much earlier it's possible that couple mike bell. fail. there were moments in the process what he would've been put as a spiritual figure, a moral figure but should not have been involved in politics because he was very hard to make compromises. >> class of 1970. i was intrigued after watching the news for the last month that in the book, janet and nehru
were very egotistical, narcissistic to some degree, and seemed not to catch on to things that a more practical or humble person might see. it just reminded me today. >> there are some very perils. these three men had huge egos. may be part of the reason why they rose to the top. have to have a certain degree of self-confidence to do this. but, remember, they were in a british system where, combined with the indian feudal caste system where nehru which a political rally, he was surrounded by worshipers. he would give these speeches in english talking about socialism and this and that, if these farmers had no idea what he was talking about. they just knew he was this godlike figure who would come
for down from dell and they were just there to be in his presence. it was called darshan, to just listen to this guru. they did want to touch his feet or shake his hand or this or that. again, nehru if this was dangers. 10 years before in 1937 when he was a younger man and was receiving all this adulation, he wrote an essay for a magazine under a pseudonym that warned against the danger of a leader like him become economic dicta, leading the staff got his head and that the party needed to be wary of this. the country needed to be wary of this and not allow to happen. so he knew it was a danger but he still let it happen. chaddock, assembly. janitor been fighting for recognition for years and years and all of a sudden once he started promoting pakistan hundred thousand people come to his rallies and he was surrounded by guards waving swords and uniform and he loved it. he actually loved it.
the most vain of all three. he counted every little ribbon on his uniform and spent most of the summer when these death squads were forming sort of working out what the flags would look like the coaches on independence day and so one, the kind of pomp and circumstance of it was why he was there. it is, you do have to worry. if you are a leader you do have a responsibility. you can't just let this stuff go. >> two quick things. one, i thought it was fascinating about how the normal indian folk am a muslim and it is didn't want to leave. i would interesting to get an insight into why that a deep feeling of unity instead of separation. secondly, the flipside of what really happened, so speculative he had the two leaders been more religious, maybe they would have different perspectives and would not of been something. any thoughts about that? in other words, in the sense of
their deep secularism which was an effort at, could that have led to sort out the failings? and then thirdly, the two hours of sleep deprivation that he was legally impaired, he would be more than legally intoxicated by alcohol. so fascinating subject for us, how these were later a big decision while they are impair impaired. and he isn't the last. so that's a really cool thing that you uncover for us. >> working backwards, it was fascinating to see, these guys did everything themselves. they had ever run a government. confided in a politician but really just a leader, a street leader in a way. he had never been an executive, had government anything. so we tried to run everything and so. reason he'll got two hours of sleep is because he was both dealing with negotiations and sent out invitations to conference. when the riots broke out they spread to new delhi, and hindus
in new delhi were going out to massacre muslims. a friend came to his house and said there's a bridge where muslims can refugees are coming across the ridge and they're being killed when they come across because these gangs are waiting for them. nehru is now the prime minister of a country of 400 million people. he gets this dusty giant revolver that used to belong to his father that has not been fired in 30 years. goes to his friend and says it will do, dress up like refugees and walk across the bridge over the tried to attack us we were shooting. his friend said no, you would tell the police decoder into this but that was the mentality that they had. the religious question is in which. i never thought about that before i do that would make them more humble. condi was fairly religious and was not all that humble. i don't know it would have been a guarantee against that. it would have been a problem in other ways because after these
riots broke out there was a real a lot of people in india who didn't want muslims to stay. want them to all be sent across the border including some top politician. it was nehru an in god who fougt against it and said will be a multiethnic society. we are not going to allow this. it was not a popular decision to this is why comity was assassinated because he was fighting for the rights of muslims. i'm sorry, i have forgotten that the first question. [inaudible] >> right. i think over centuries, in most of these places religion wasn't all that organized. you would have a village shrine, a village mosque and if you're living in close quarters together, you basically the same for. some people don't eat beef but he uses the same spice. you dress the same way. relation between men and women are very similar. your children will go to school together in many cases. i think most people generally want to get along.
[inaudible] >> it did generally work. muslims have legitimate fears politically about what would happen but they were solvable. there could've been a compromise that would have solved that few. if you don't if you're first accepted and not just pretend everything is great, everybody loves each other. there were real tensions. >> i've never thought of this issue myself but there's another piece to this. had there been more religious but india is a very religious country. what these people were really like i won't draw your debt into this conversation but of all the stories about mr. nehru and everyone knew what these people were about. so the other side of the coin is it didn't seem to make any difference, that all these very religious people knew what these people are, right? >> right. know, no muslims really believe jinnah was a true -- it's interesting, in some of these
local elections, muslim league organizers would go out and try to get votes. one of them, i found a letter one of them wrote back to headquarters and said it's great these people, they think jinnah is this long bearded imam who is very religious, spouts the quran or this or that. they had never seen them. they were able to manipulate ordinary -- >> let's go back to the audience, please. >> you mentioned that one of the major flaws, if not the major flaw, the british will of the partition was to execute quickly and left a lot of details on done. any other major flaws in hindsight now that -- >> there were a bunch. i will say that i am less critical of the british than many writers are. partly because i feel like the indians and the pakistanis wanted independence.
they had been asking for for years. the responsibility was theirs to prepare for it with wants it influence over these death squads. they were not ordering it themselves, but at lower levels of the parties people were involved in procuring weapons and so on. so it was their responsibility to stop this before the violence really broke out. the british did a couple things. but in the long run they contributed to dividing these communities. in 1909 they decided that they would create special seats for muslims to run for provincial legislatures, and all the muslims could vote for those particular people. then you cut party breaking down along religious lines. they did this of course to divide the two and sort of weaken the opposition its own. but that was earlier on. during world war ii there was a moment at which fdr in the u.s.
pressured the british are held in 19 fortitude to give up india, to grant independence so that they would join the fight against the nazis and the japanese. and churchill single-handedly resisted. the rest of the british government was ready to do this but churchill was not. he threatened to resign if fdr kept pressing him. they backed off. if they had been is that i think this would not have happened. there was no real momentum for pakistan in 1942 at all secret handed power to a unified government. the british would've stayed. nobody want to kick them out in the middle of the war. you would have a longer transition. in addition to leaving too fast, they underestimated the threat of violence. it wasn't a surprise. were telling them they with the provincial, sending daily cables and this is happening, i need more troops, i need more troops. on paper they could a peacekeeping force that was supposed to go to this province.
he wasn't fussed with the details. he was busy drawing his life. is supposedly 50,000 member army force ended up being less than 2000 people with actual rifles. so they were not able to suppress the violence quickly. the only way to stop this would've been a mass application of force very, very quickly. they didn't have the troops in place. that was the british responsibility. they were responsible for law and order up to that point. there were mistakes made by think it's important for indians and pakistanis to take responsibility. you go to india today, pakistan, it's far too easy for people to say it's their fault, a day visit to us. the british were not helpful in some ways but they are not entirely to blame. >> so you have written a wonderful book. you don't have any limits to have many you sign per person, do you speak was not at all your the more the better.
>> thank you for writing this book and thank you for the intellectual exercise, the time you spent connecting with our students, faculty and classrooms. so i want to congratulate you, and thank you all for coming, and best of luck. [applause] >> thanks very much for coming. >> you can all get out now. [inaudible conversations]
>> you mentioned there was a bit of a kerfuffle when you're doing prep for this book but i'm going to quote you and the chautauqua is that we're talking about president obama and this is you speaking. everybody refers to him as the first black pressured or i'm not saying it's wrong. i'm just saying that it's interesting. it would be great if it didn't matter that the people could call the next. >> ya. >> do you consider him to be the first black president? president? >> i do but that's all because i am playing by the rules that have already been sent. you know what i'm saying? i always tell my friends, i bet you, you know, i would bet you that growing up there were black folks that did not accept him come off black folks who said he talked white. and you know, after you, you reach a certain level a lot of times the same black folk turned
around and said okay, well now that you've establish itself, now we can accept you. we as a race, because of slavery, we've been put through so much that when it comes to identity, it's confusing. it's really confusing. i can understand how we as black people want to find as many from our tribe as possible. i get that but at some point that's going to have to end. because where do you draw the line? where are you going to draw the line? there's some black people that are lighter than you, you know what i'm saying? they been treated a certain way their entire lives. it's not fair, you know? i think at some point we're going to have to move on. >> you can watch this and other programs online at the
booktv.org. >> [inaudible conversations] >> good evening, everyone. i'm carla freeman and i'm delighted to welcome you to this evenings foreign policy institute conversation with author and one. she has just produced her latest, excellent book, "the gray rhino: how to recognize and act on the obvious dangers we ignore." it's wonderful to welcome michelle. i'm so grateful for