Thursday, October 09, 2008

All about the trigger

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.

4 comments:

IR said...

your last para is spot on , i think this is what most people belive should be done ( at least people our age , who have more at stake in this country ! )

however the problem arises when our political establishment defines secularism and communalism to their advantage , unfortunate as it is, also the fact that people our age do not govern this country ,

if you fight election with this plank , you will get my vote , maybe lot of others too !

Nirvikar said...

Mahima,

Does banning rogue outfits solve problems? Well i dont agree entirely ,SIMI is banned outfit, have the terrorist activities stopped ? whether you ban them or not , really is pointless .The main issue is how do you stop the terrorist activities? Go ahead and ban Bajrang Dal and send out the message of equal rights in the largest democracy in the world, but then be sure to enforce that there are no Hindu Christian Strife , no Mumbai - Gujrat Riots.

unfortunately ,i quite agree to the fact it has become a catch 22 situation. Globally islamic countries have started being viewed as a nation of terrorists and islamic fundamentalists whether it is pakistan, afghanistan ,iraq, iran etc and being a hindu state we are more than happy to buy that theory, even though we dont publicly acknowledge that.

I would touch the issue of politicizing this issue very briefly, Like you have mentioned im not mentioning anything new here too, but , there has to be a political will and and strong leadership to solve this problem , Mahima can you name any one muslim leader which the muslims all across our country today identify with , just one? None. Our politicians need to rise above this minority vote bank game and actually address this problem , before its just too late.Like all Hindus dont identify with the likes of Praveen Tagodia or Bal Thackeray not all muslims identify themselves with the philosophy of the Indian Mujahideen .

I entirely agree with Your conclusion, hope it happens.

Anonymous said...

duh, what ?

egg style said...

What's worth triggering is thought, and the kid-you-not hope that this thought will have the desired ruboff. So here's a minor thought: what nobody can deprive another of, as Viktor E Frankl wrote, is his/her attitude. Bear this in mind. India’s big advantage is its (often) calm & meditative response to violent provocation. This is a claim to civilizational maturity, and the country’s citizens must actively work towards the validation of this claim.

In the context of recent violence, maturity here means the following recognition: unity has a direct bearing on India’s re-emergence, and this emergence could have a direct bearing on the way the world works in future. Thus, the external motivation to re-drive a divisive wedge through the country is rising. But Indian citizens need not panic: given that the grand colonial project (remnants of which are on daily display) of Indian mind-control has only been a partial success, the internal motivation to foster unity is also on the ascent.

That is precisely why it is all the more important not to prejudge anyone, or slap religious labels on tragic events. That would mean falling into the trap of an overblown cocky sense of self-righteousness. Being party to identity warfare would, willy-nilly, be an acceptance of abject defeat.

In response to the new set of circumstances, India should unconditionally renew its commitment to “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, as expressed in the letter and spirit of the law. And this is not a Raj legacy, by the way. Just as “A-cum Sut-yum” is not a porn site, and there is no clickety-click pathway of anybody’s particular definition to it.