Sunday, November 30, 2008

Root causes of terrorism

It would be a crime if I don’t blog on Mumbai terror attacks (even though I write a blog post far and few) while all through the last four days I’ve been following each development related to it forgetting everything else. Now when I write, post-mortem of the incidents and the innocents are going on, and perhaps this post is going to be a part of it.

The first reaction of most of the Indians to the terror attacks (apart from despair, dismay and disgust) was – it’s all due to our politicians. I don’t think it was a new reaction as surely most of us end up cursing the politicians, but this time intensity was really high, as measured by media reactions and blogs/comments on websites.

But it also troubled me, especially comments like “Where is Raj Thackeray? Why is he hiding now when Mumbai is under attack?” etc. My ‘love’ for Raj Thackeray and his policies is not a secret given that my last two blog posts have been about him only, and I’d hate that even here he takes center stage.

So when a fellow Bihari friend sent me the same message, I shouted back at him at how could he still think like a Bihari when it was time to think like an Indian? In his defense, he had to tell that it’s his frustration as an Indian only which was being reflected in such messages. Because he (a Bihari) was insulted and shooed away when he thought himself as an Indian and Mumbai as his home. He might be right in his conviction and contention, but I still argued that it’s not an ‘Indian’ reaction.

I also shouted back when a Citibank telemarketer called me up to inform me that I was eligible for a loan. I called the poor girl/woman an ‘idiot’ who was selling me a loan when Indians were getting killed. I later apologized to her and I hope she understood. She was just doing her job and I overreacted due to a possible sublime sentiment that she was not being ‘Indian’ enough.

Reactions of political parties are not even worth mentioning, they are hardly ‘Indian’ ever.

I encountered many reactions that were ‘Hindu’, ‘Dalit’, ‘Marathi’, ‘Middle Class’ (there are people who think that the only reason central Home Minister resigned and other heads could roll was because ameer or rich people were attacked at Taj and Oberoi), ‘Academic’, etc. while I kept looking for that elusive ‘Indian’ reaction.

The same ‘Indian’ reaction that we see when Sachin Tendulkar scores a century, the same ‘Indian’ reaction when… (help me find another regular non-cricketing instance…)

It’s not that there was no ‘Indian’ reaction at all. The common men gathering at Gateway of India wore that reaction. The people who greeted NSG commandos after the Nariman House operation were showing Indian reaction. Many other reactions on media were ‘Indian’, similar to what we had witnessed earlier when bomb blasts took place in different parts of the country.

But I fear these reactions would fade away, and worse, the other unfortunate reactions would overwhelm this feeling of being one as Indian. I pray my fears are proved wrong.

My fears spring from a feeling that while most (or some?) of us are united today and showing that ‘Indian’ reaction, we might not stay together, as it has happened on earlier occasions. I guess this happens because after reactions, we want solutions, and as a civil society, we seem to be clueless about a solution to terrorism.

Take for example Jessica Lall or Nitish Katara murder case, the civil society (backed by media) could see a solution - punish the criminals. But in case of terrorist attacks, our society is divided. We don't have a clear solution. Why?

Because we keep discussing 'root' causes of terrorism – resentment among Muslims, Hindutva, et al. Come on, there were 'root' causes of those murders too (and for that matter, all crimes have ‘root’ causes), and those root causes were much more complex – a cocktail of problems of ethnicity, crime, corruption, class, among others. But our society didn’t waste time in analyzing those causes because the priority was to get justice, so that we can call ourselves a ‘civil’ society.

But in case of terrorist attacks, it seems priorities are different. The focus in not to get justice or to get the criminals punished, but to happily debate the ‘root’ causes of terrorism. In fact, there are people who are ever ready to block any attempt to get the terrorists punished. They want to 'discuss' the roots instead of 'decimating' them.

A crude analogy, but it almost seems like discussing morality when a rape has taken place when someone insists upon discussing root causes of terrorism.

We can again say that politics is responsible. No, it’s because our ‘Indian’ reactions fade away after such blasts, and worse, the other unfortunate reactions (‘Hindu’, ‘Dalit’, ‘Marathi’, ‘Middle Class’, ‘Academic’, and others) overwhelm this feeling of being one as Indian.

Remember, there can not be any homeland security as we just seem to have a ‘land’ called India, not a ‘home’ called India.

This is the ‘root’ cause of terrorism.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, You R Correct.In this commercialised environment,many are exploiting the ups and downs of people.People are illiterate of fact, but only knows the media& thinks what the media says is correct. This is the main thing which exploited by our renown leaders,who thinks Divide and Rule is the best Strategy. There we forget we are Indians and become so and so.So I'm encouraging U to expand your Ideologies to the Entire World.