top of page

Psychological Warfare: Real battlefield Is The Mind




Psychological warfare is the planned tactic used for propaganda, threats, and other non-combat techniques during wars or periods of geopolitical unrest to mislead, intimidate, demoralize the thinking or behavior of an enemy.

The very idea of going to war or the political end of imposing one's will on an adversary is born in the mind; the will to fight is born out of the victory perceived in one's mind. This is a strategic thinking process in the human mind and takes place at all levels, from the ruler to the subject and from the general to the soldier. Psychological warfare seeks to influence human thinking in order to make it beneficial to its practitioner. The practice has been as ancient as the war and its significance and its uses have been continuously increasing all the time, but its presence has been recognized to the level that more claims against the victorious enemy than to appreciate it as a contributor to the win.


Historical Background

The primary use of war of nerves occurred when a person bares his or her teeth for the primary time and threateningly gesticulates to an adversary so as to scare the latter. A wag would say the guy had lost his first war of nerves fight when a barking dog made an individual decide to not hit the previous . Such war of nerves instances are discovered in almost every culture and in the least times, as far as mythologies, folklore and prehistoric, ancient, medieval or contemporary. Sometime its military usefulness was doubted and its practice was restricted to the day's technology.

Psychological warfare and propaganda are as ancient as human history itself. The weak have always tried to depict themselves more powerful than they really are.Like the Byzantine Empire , which has resorted to such acts in its attempts to prolong its life. The emperor on his throne wanted to be raised, as if by divine intervention, and reduced again, while the stuffed lions that served as his throne's armrests belched out fire and smoke and shouted terrifying roars because the foreign land ambassadors lay down before him. The Sanskrit epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata have samples of strategic and tactical psychological warfare; Where hanuman enables himself to be apprehended by the troops of the demon king after destroying favorite Ashok Vatika garden of Ravana, in order that he can get a chance to satisfy Ravana. He lengthily narrates Rama's military prowess to impress upon him how pointless it had been to travel to battle with such a robust opponent and even advises him to be his friend instead of foe and be demolished; not only this it's also same for islam where, the Battle of Ohad; three miles north of Madina when a native tribe Kuraish that when ruled Madina attacked the neo-Muslims, led by Prophet Muhammad, with the support of other non-Muslims. Hazrat Naeem Bin Masood, whose conversion to Islam wasn't known to the non-Muslims, spread the word among the Kuraish that the Meccans weren't loyal to them in their fight against the Muslims. On the opposite hand, he propagated among the Meccans that the Medinite Quraish could betray them any time. The trick worked and therefore the Meccans and Madinite Kuraish didn't join hands against the Muslims. However ,the Battle of Uhud, witnessed the Kuraish resorting to war of nerves against the Muslims much more successfully conveying to their Muslim enemies, during their decisive counterattack, that Prophet Muhammad was killed. For this matter even the Romans want to unleash a propaganda-campaign by word of mouth about the prevalence of their legions, their bravery and iron-hard resolve to win.

Historically, the utilization of psychological operations in one form or another has proved almost as crucial to the effective conduct of war because of the use of manpower and arms. Despite its lengthy history of effective use, however, "the ability to use the authority of persuasion as a force multiplier through psychological operations to achieve domestic goals with minimal destruction has been recognized by only a few even among the foremost perceptive army officials and statesmen.




Ancient India

Famous examples like the Ramayana and Mahabharata where Psywar are often classified as literary or mythical and their historical validation are often questioned alongside comparable cases observed in Indian folklore and their literary reflection. Even a cursory look indicates that not only the traditional history of India but also the non-literary treatises of that moment describe and prescribe methods which will readily be as war of nerves because it is recognized in today’s world.

The Arthashastra, by Kautilya also referred to as Chanakya or Vishnugupta, an honest thinker and statecraft master of the fourth century BC, is the most prominent of such works. A big element of The Arthashastra is that this science isn't created by Kautilya. He mentions variety of previous officials and their opinions at 112 locations like Vishalaksha and Bharadwaja and even relates to 6 distinct schools of thought - Brihaspati, Ushanas, Prachetasa, Manu, Parasara and Ambhi - to dismiss the views; Kautilya calls it a compendium of just about all ancient teachers ' comparable treatises.' Thus the research of state and policy and science growth in India is extremely ancient, and should have begun around 650 BC. '' This even gives us excellent scope to a belief that the PsyWar knowledge and practice could even be similarly old, if less . Basically defining PsyWar as the intelligence domain - clandestine agent - and it is an operation , consistent with The Arthashastra. In most nations, including India, and in most of the scenarios, it's the practice even today. For an extended time even after the end of hostilities, even a white leaflet may be a classified document today. The US made its latest Taliban war leaflets public, but that was because it had been a one-sided affair, and neither Taliban or Al-Qaeda were during a position to launch any counter campaign or contest concerning it, Chanakya being a really elaborate United States Secret Service for the state, operating directly under the king. of 4 main tasks of clandestine agents of all kinds described within the Arthashastra; which basically includes:

  • Neutralization of principal officers who, though living by service under the king, work for the enemy.

  • Keeping under surveillance people of the country who are likely to fall prey to the incitement of the enemy.

  • Waging war of nerves against the enemy.

  • Weakening of the enemy.

For the upajaapa, the four-point formula of Sama, Dana, Bheda and Danda tackling the present or potential scenario of dispute has much use. Kautilya strongly recommends the utilization of the doctrine throughout the continuum of operation and suggests many methods for every of them and most of them are often followed with Psywar's weapon. These techniques could even be utilized in different combinations and order of steps, which further improves the Psy-war's strategic usefulness.

After Independence, India’s interest in war of nerves was more spasmodic than episodic. it had been wont to shoot wars; counter-insurgency and proxy wars and peacekeeping activities without their professionals getting much advantage from institutionalized doctrinal, organizational, policy and back-up planning. Not only this but it's yielded encouraging outcomes whenever and wherever war of nerves has been resorted to. Even for greater appreciation, the military operations of our moment are often categorized into three categories, namely:

  • Wars

  • The war

  • The counter-insurgency operations.

The attitudes and psychological effects related to war and safety developed before, during and after; hostilities and maybe the media coverage of these wars played a role in shaping attitudes. But the Psy-war cannot be called that. it had been just happening. It's hard to urge any formal confirmation during a visit to the Tawang-Sela-Bomdila industry in April 1999 it had been learned that in 1962 the Chinese had dropped flyers with pictures of an Indian soldier.As this was a war of nerves example, of course. But his creator's poor attempt hadn't performed tons of homework. The very fact is that the local people that speak excellent Hindi besides their tribal dialect, are traditionally lukewarm to the Chinese and even 'Tibetans for whatever reason.


Techniques of Psychological War


Most of these techniques were developed during World War II or earlier, and have been used to some degree in every conflict since. Daniel Lerner was the predecessor to the American CIA and in his book, attempts to analyze how effective the various strategies were. He concludes that there is little evidence that any of them were dramatically successful, except perhaps surrender instructions over loudspeakers when victory was imminent. Measuring the success or failure of psychological warfare is very hard, as the conditions are very far from being a controlled experiment.

  • Demoralization:

  • Distributing pamphlets that encourage desertion or supply instructions on how to surrender.

  • Shock and awe military strategy.

  • Projecting repetitive and disturbing chicken noises and music for long periods at high volume towards groups under siege like during Operation Nifty Package.

  • Tolerance indoctrination, so that the totems and culture of a defeated enemy can be removed or replaced without conflict.

  • Propaganda radio stations, such as Lord Haw-Haw in World War II on the "Germany calling" station.

  • Renaming cities and other places when captured, such as the renaming of Saigon to Ho Chi Minh City after Communist victory in the Vietnam War.

  • False flag events.

  • Use of loudspeaker systems to communicate with enemy soldiers.

  • Terrorism.

  • The threat of chemical weapons.

  • Information warfare.

Lerner also divides psychological warfare operations into three categories

  • White propaganda (Omissions and Emphasis): Truthful and not strongly biased, where the source of information is acknowledged.

  • Grey propaganda (Omissions, Emphasis and Racial/Ethnic/Religious Bias): Largely truthful, containing no information that can be proven wrong; the source is not identified.

  • Black propaganda (Commissions of falsification): Inherently deceitful, information given in the product is attributed to a source that was not responsible for its creation.

Current Scenario of India Pertaining to Psychological War

The experience demonstrates that in India the war of nerves worked the maximum amount as elsewhere. It's succeeded even when waged during a counter-insurgency scenario by a not so strategically-savvy district police . Innovative weapons were employed by the British to wage it, first to deny education then to doctorate education to take care of their colonial rule and obviously hostile India. In both world wars, they used it to strengthen the religion of the colonists in their invincibility, to stop any opportunistic upsurge during the war, and to boost an enormous colonial military and logistical help to sustain their war efforts. Their early Psychological Operations were, of course, secret and subtle too and thus escaped the eye of the Indians, only a few of whom were learned. When asked about the extent of awareness about the war of nerves within the country, noted strategist K. Subrahmanyam said, "Zero. it's an enormous zero. The leaders belonging to all or any political parties, without an exception, believe that when the time comes their word would be taken as a vedvaya. These leaders are alleged to be communicating to the people, taking the media and academia into confidence on security issues but they are not doing this . Nobody has said why the troops were deployed for such an extended time and why they were withdrawn - though these were the proper steps - and this has given Musharraf an opportunity to mention that the Indians withdrew because they were scared. "The Bhagwad Geeta, the undoubted essence of Indian philosophy and culture, is the result of a war; more precisely a war of nerves , and therefore the Geeta itself is a superb piece of its practice. But its military significance was lost in high philosophical and devotional values. The book has been studied and commented upon over and over again in India for millennia from religious, social, philosophical and every other angle except the military.

The present Indian society, even after many years of foreign rule, continues to embody the mythical Arjuna and stand where he did before Krishna in Kurukshetra when it involves the question of security. it's susceptible to a pacifist thought to the fault. The poor state of strategic culture India possesses involves more concerted efforts to cause general awareness about national security and impress upon its past, present and potential challengers. But such efforts aren't seen to have been made during the post-independence period.

This got to communicate not only with one's own people but also the population of the adversary isn't felt so earnestly during this country. The spectrum of public information has no room for vacuum. If the proper information isn't placed thereon in time, somebody else will fill the gap with wrong information or what's right for him/her. it's difficult to regain the initiative within the war of nerves if lost once. things becomes unenviable since it's perceived that India is that the most threatened country.'' Even today the country is simultaneously fighting a war in Kashmir.

21 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page