What Bal Thackeray said today, that Sonia Gandhi’s attempt to de-link terrorism from religion is wrong, made me think really hard about some issues in front of us. One the one hand she is correct – by making terrorism a purely ‘Muslim’ issue (instead some some very, very angry people who just happen to be Muslim), we put the entire community at risk. People don’t trust them, the police give them a hard time, and their lives just suck that much more. But then again, de-linking it from religion is also kind of a Sarah Palin answer to global warming: she says it doesn’t matter whether it is man made or not, but of course it matters, if you don’t know what caused it, how will you prescribe the right cure? So, and especially so, after the Indian Mujahideen (responsible for the latest series of bomb blasts) claim in an email that they are angry about anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, about the Babri Masjid and Mumbai riots, which were clearly Hindu-Muslim issues, how can we dare to frame this entire problem outside the purview of religious problems? Now, I’m not a total retard and of course by linking this recent spate of terror activities to Muslim extremism, I don’t mean to link every Muslim to terror. But, unfortunately, the Catch-22 is, this happens.
But at the same time, in the light of Hindu-Christian strife, there have been calls to ban the Bajrang Dal. This is a clearly religious problem, and again, by lashing out at Hindu extremists, it doesn’t automatically mean all Hindus are extremists. (There are just so many more Hindus in India, the same rules do not apply.)
See, the entire problem (and of course I’m not pointing out anything new here) is that politics takes advantage of the religion, and then any normal, rational discussion is lost. For example, in the news are reports that Ram Vilas Paswan and Lalu Yadav would like the Bajrang Dal banned because that would help their minority vote bank. Now, their reason for supporting the ban should ideally be that the Bajrang Dal has been proved, without a shadow of a doubt, to be an extremist organization, and for the safety of its targets and for the national peace, it should be banned. The same goes for extremist Muslim groups – the reason we should go after them is because they kill people and create chaos, not because it would excite a Hindu vote bank.
But, my point is, if people are using religion to perpetuate violence, then we should call them on it. As all non-extremist Hindus should denounce extremist Hindu organizations, so should Muslims do the same with their rouge outfits. And we should not become too political correct (or incorrect) and not do the right thing.
The world is what it is.