(AMW only) Indo-Geletian Revolutionary Council
(Bah, can't log-in with Beth Gellert, so excuse me for Welshing it up a bit)
The throaty cries of heron fastened to a thick garment of humid sky, secured by the mechanical stitching of a pneumatic drill. Real fabrics, now, by and large, were fashioned on a small scale in the individual phalansteries rising in every direction from the heart of Kolkata, and it was construction work, raising these very communes, and demolitions, bringing-down the old sweatshops and their like cousins, that joined the birds in sounding across the Commonwealth's largest city.
Bigger than Moscow, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, Rio, or Paris, and twice the size of Chennai-Madras-Porthmadog, Bangalore, or Hyderabad, the de facto capital of the Soviet State of West Bengal was reforming itself, striving to be worthy of its dimensions, apparently thinking to do so by producing a din of really world-class sort. The city, for all of its noise-making, was responsible for probably a third of economic growth this year in a nation that had elsewhere harvested the low-hanging fruit of potential development.
Still, what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. This climate of enthusiasm, the experience of flavoursome progress, it bled much-needed inspiration that could yet spill down to the comfortable south, and it made Kolkata the ideal showcase and the best stage for a -notably selective- pan-India conference.
The Bengali State Senate was all but complete. A vast theatre of debate and decision, its outer walls were all that remained incomplete, and two dozen masons worked on any given day to reproduce and adapt the world-famous works of their predecessors to a standard that demanded some respect. Inside, red flags draped over windows and doorways where they deadened the sound of chisel on stone, and Indians gathered in as many sizes, shapes, and colours as could be found across the happy city.
The massive doorway, through which one felt as likely to fall as walk and by which the westerners would enter, was guarded by a bronze Subhash Chandra Bose, fixed atop a large stone base inscribed with his words, "Tum mujhe khoon do main tumhe aazaadi doonga". The significance of this to the Ghandi-influenced Unioners would be hard to pre-judge with certainty.
Twelve-hundred Commonwealthers mustered on the benches, leaving comfortable room for so many as eight hundred Unioners against the unlikely event that they should have arrived in such numbers.
The Soviets wanted to discuss the future. The coming of a tomorrow that had an unusual immediacy about it, emphasised by the setting. Enemies were evident, and sure to be vanquished, but it was over friends and neighbours that the Geletians especially bit upon their nails and twisted their hair. Cliques were forming, and an increasing number of Commonwealthers called them opportunist and called for greater idealism. That, certainly, was the point of this gathering...
A middle-aged white man in a western-style suit, bespectacled and silver-haired, clean-shaven and short statured, suddenly the focus of a cavern-full of intelligent attention. Graeme gave a nod, a smile, cleared his throat, and waved his left hand to the assembly, or was that a revolutionary salute?
"Jai Hind, Comrades!"
The Crooked Beat
The western delegation hits the Bengali capital all at once, as an afternoon train pulls into Howrah station with over two thousand Unioners aboard, some hailing from as far away as Quetta and Islamabad and many in transit for the past day or two. Delegates flood the State Senate, before long filling all the seats and benches not occupied by their hosts and after that moving to occupy floor spots throughout the building. More Unioners, unable to squeeze inside the unfinished Senate, head back outside and look for drinks and food, the likes of which it soon became quite difficult to get ahold of on the train trip. Others try to hawk bootleg records.
Bose's statue at the senate entrance, and its famous inscription, provokes mixed feelings on the part of Union delegates. Unioners, the beneficiaries of Walmingtonian support from the very first days of independence and in large part willing allies in the fight against Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan, are less inclined to see him as a patriot and more inclined to consider him a traitor. It is still a subject of controversy, and most are quick to point out that the modern Indian National Army carries no affiliation with Bose's Japan-sponsored INA of the Second World War. But Bengali sympathies are understandable and it is not a great point of contention.
The Bedgellens are not the only ones concerned about what some Unioners have described as increased factionalism amongst the progressive nations, already a diverse group of peoples and governments to begin with. Few doubt that, if the proper effort is applied to the task, France and its cronies can be driven-out of Africa, Portugal given back to the Portuguese, and Gibraltar returned to Great Walmington. League navies will be scattered and sunk and its influence will be smashed, more likely than not, should the free nations present a united front and act in concert with one another. Unioners will be eager to impress this opinion upon the Bedgellens, and will call for tolerance and leniency towards less-tolerable regimes in the short term at least.
Rudradaman Khan Parikh, a date farmer from Gujarat's Saurashtra Peninsula and the de facto leader of the Union delegation, approaches Graeme Igo and shakes his hand, before taking a seat on the floor, in front of the first row of Union benches. The Bedgellens will have the opening statement.
Quietly, a dispatch from North Sienna, Armand's Indian capital, requests that the Combine be allowed to send a delegation to observe the proceedings and voice its opinion on subcontinental matters.
The Bengali State Senate, serving as it does an internal administrative area with the population of Germany and rapid growth, had the facility to expand. When several times more than the expected number of Unioners arrived in Kolkata, the assembled Commonwealthers folded away the modest seating enhancements that were associated with each of two-thousand spaces on the steps, enabling hundreds more people to fit, so long as they didn't mind sitting on flat stone. The senate chamber was, of course, perfectly warm, but shaded and well ventilated, and refreshments were, as ever, not hard to come by, so any discomfort ought to be mild and easily off-set.
This easy friendliness may be to some in discomforting contrast with an increasingly dangerous radiation from Commonwealth, to which the Union's apparent immunity is virtually unique in the world. Most of the Commonwealth has done its early work, only the heavy Bengali state continues to struggle to the summit of its initial revolutionary task, and Soviet energies must go elsewhere, for, of course, they can not be destroyed.
The Armandians had been sent a reasonably polite and formal response, suggesting that the Commonwealth may seek consultation with the Combine at a later date. There was some chance that this little diplomatic note may be of historical interest, some day.
"Jai Hind, Comrades!.."
Igo began to speak about history, the drive for independence and individual self determination, the revolution, and the world. He described the struggle as being victorious through, "...our differing efforts" and then the revolution as throwing-off the last Walmingtonian bonds through a convergence in armed struggle.
It was not long before he openly criticised potential and traditional allies as mired in short-term opportunism and, "...left behind by India." He asked the audience, "do you not agree?"
Graeme was speaking with the democratic authority of the Commonwealth, which had reached a critical juncture. He described contrast between the vibrance and activity of the Soviets and the Anarchans with the economic predation of the Strainists, the stagnant pond of Combine conformity, and the patronising and self-important false democracy and further economic abuses of the NATO states and their disciples, from Beijing to La Plata.
Being the educated professor, Graeme Igo, Grandfather of the Soviet Revolution, addressed each case in detail. His speech was a lecture, his audience the Commonwealth's sub-continental allies. "...these nations all have been fundamentally the same. The Indo-Choson example is perhaps clearest in this regard. Like a fire, our relationship was comfortable at a distance, warm. But, when India tried to move closer, she was burned. It is the same for other nations, who would rather exploit cheap labour or natural wealth, or impress their economic or political systems upon peoples set for the same stagnation."
Igo described power-blocks and the links between them -so often the Roycelandian Empire-, from the Holy League to the twitching remains of the Co-Prosperity Sphere, but accused them of as much collusion as conflict, and of competition as a poor compensator for their abject lack of progress. "Between these are conflict and conspiracy. There is no progress. We should we associate ourselves with this? We do not wish to sit with the British to throw between us a bigger rock at the French than we could throw alone, and we do not wish to compete with the Chinese to sell extra rock polish to the British.
"What is the point?" His voice raised to a few bellows from the audience. Igo was just saying what the Senates had already decided. The Soviets were on a drive, convinced that only they and their western neighbours, and the Neo-Anarchans, were apart from the old world. All the rest were caught up in competition and conspiracy on the same plane, in the same time, content to play and fight until the future came and found them. "Well! Here - it - is!"
More roars from the Sovietists.
Igo began, amongst a lot of shouting and stamping and clattering of swords and the like, to, er, suggest that these forward-moving peoples ought to strike-out alone. Save-the-world stuff. Or rather, ignore most of it. The Soviets, it seemed, wanted India to complete its own salvation, addressing lingering issues such as Goa, Bihar, the North Pakistan/Kashmir affair, the seven sisters in the northeast, Sikkim, and the Combine, continuing to work with Bangladesh, and, otherwise, to save whom else it could. To the east, the on-going Vietnamese and Laotian reforms and the Kampuchean and Filipino revolutions, and, to the west, Africa. Graeme conveyed Soviet opinion that these places could be rescued from the quagmire, and that there was no point trying to deal with the rest of the world like it was going to change in the near future or as if its motives were ever benevolent.
"What is the point? We are eight hundred million! Jai Hind!"
(There would be calm as everyone stopped for tea and sandwiches, and Igo actually had documents... notes on the address, Indian history, and his take on what-is-wrong-with-everyone-else, the typeface being rather more sober than the vocalised form but still expressing the Commonwealth's desire to get serious about fixing the Indian Ocean and to hell with everyone else.)
(OOC: It was all better when I was less tired, much more Igovian flair and a little more substance, too. I should have waited, but I may be busy tomorrow and am ever aware of time running out for BG. Ho hum.)
During the pause for consumption of refreshments and digestion of rhetoric, Graeme makes an important announcement (http://forums.jolt.co.uk/showthread.php?t=494020) to the assembly.
The Combine is noticeably worried about the conference, fearing that Indian expansionism won't stop with Bihar. Some mutterings about propping up the Bihari state swirl about the Combine, but cooler heads prevail and the Armandians publicly support the Bedgellen liberation, realizing that the cause is just and there isn't much they could do anyhow. North Sienna sees an increasing ramp up of militarization, with something vaguely resembling the Su-27 but somehow more modern appearing above its skies. The large Hindustani delegation allows the Combine to sneak in a few agents to keep tab on the conference.
At the same time the Armandians attempt to reconcile with Beth Gellert, as suggested by the Unioners, and offer, for the first time in both nations' mutual history, a mutual embassy exchange and a full opening of diplomatic relations.
The Crooked Beat
(OCC: Extremely sorry for the delay. And also very sorry for the fact that I won't be able to post for another week.)
Igo's announcement of Soviet action against Bihar recieves widespread Union support, as evidenced by loud applause and cries of "Jai Hind" from delegates who until recently were not terribly familiar with the term. It would, of course, be bad form for the Unioners not to support the Bihar operation, especially when Soviet assistance made the re-incorporation of Rajasthan into the Union considerably easier, after Raipur paid reparations for the Indo-Bedgellen War, and after the INA recieved 550 self-propelled guns for negligible cost. This is all in spite of Rudradaman Khan Parikh's plan to propose a peaceful re-engagement with Bihar and Sikkim, at least. Over sandwitches and drinks, some Unioners also discuss more mundane issues with their Bengali hosts, such as a Mumbai-Dhaka air route and the establishment of embassies in the scenic "Eastern Principalities," like Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Tripura, areas considered by many Unioners as recoverable without the use of much force.
With the cessation of the dinner recess, delegate Parikh takes his turn addressing the assembly. The Unioners expect him to communicate as direct a point as can be hoped for from the average Unioner, and with this in mind he begins.
"My friends, we cannot help but agree with much of what comrade Graeme Igo has said, no? Social progress, that is our duty as Indians, and no power bloc, be it the Holy League or the Shining Sphere of Revolutionary Co-Prosperity, can expect Indians to render their support unto a cause that is not just. Indeed we should not sit beside the world's republics, those that pretend democracy as long as it suits them and expect strong and lasting friendship. Many of those we once considered friends, as comrade Igo has said, are in a way like parasites, interested in the acquisition of resources and labor cheaply, and interested in competition to mask domestic stagnation, politically and economically.
"We Unioners at least must remember that our relationships with, in particular, Great Walmington and Spyr, have not by any means been one-sided. We Unioners have assisted them on occasions, and they have assisted us as well. It is, of course, impossible to ignore Spyr's particularly strong support in response to French piracy in the Pacific. So while we Unioners can believe comrade Igo's words, and see much justice in them, we cannot withdraw from relationships in good conscience.
"The Indian Subcontinent and its welfare, along with the welfare of those states that show great potential for social progress and advancement, should of course be our greatest priority. Oppression so close to home, long ignored while priorities were elsewhere, must be addressed for the long term. We should also be wary of the Combine and its efforts to spread its influence at the expense of the Afghans in particular. War between Depkazia and the Armandian Combine looms and can serve only to reinforce the standing of one of two unfavorable entities. This is an unacceptable situation, as the Afghan people deserve to be lorded-over by no man or state. Likewise, the rule of local despots, like Shareef and Singh, and Patel, ought to be broken and democracy, guaranteed us upon independence, restored to all corners of this land."
Parikh, not eager to continue on until he is more sure of the Soviet position, ends there and gives his hosts an opportunity to respond. The Union delegation, perhaps surprisingly, does agree with much of what Igo has to say, although clearly does not like the sound of all of it. Perhaps, though, as the Soviets concentrate on more local affairs, the world at large will see them as less of a threat and be content with the Indian National Union's somewhat closer relationship. It is, after all, not as though Mumbai has all that much of a choice in the matter, and for all that Parliament likes Great Walmington and Spyr, Unioners cannot bring themselves to wrong the Igovian Soviet Commonwealth.
Unioners would, though, prefer to continue their concentration on affairs to the west, in Central Asia and Africa, and leave the Bedgellens to deal with Southeast Asia and the Chinese reaction to it all. Parikh omits mention of the present war, since it does not appear to him that Igo's program carries any consequences for the two largely separate operations against Holy League interests.
(OCC: I hope this was a suitable response, constructed, as it was, over the course of nearly a whole day. If I didn't quite get the gist of it, let me know and this will be the first thing I deal with upon my return. In short, the Unioners are trying to more or less ensure the continuance of the present state of affairs, while at the same time becoming more supportive of the Soviets in their new program...or something to that effect.)
[OOC: Harsh words, my friend, harsh words. Comparing me to Depkazia is a bit unfair. Although the groupthink nature of the Combine makes it seem like a dictatorship at times, it is a democracy, and the Democratic Republic it props up in Afghanistan is much the same. I need to explain how that works, actually...I'll get a factbook up. And Hindustan's getting its MFN oil rights revoked if it keeps this up...]