From the comfort of my couch
From the comfort of my couch, I have seen the financial capital of India being hijacked by a small group of terrorists. I can afford to be analytical, angry, clam, restrained or upright cynical. And that’s exactly what I am doing.
The entire nation was shocked by sheer scale of the terror strike, on the city of Mumbai. How a small group of armed men, from the neighboring nation, came by the sea route and literarily declared war on the city, was appalling. But was it actually that unanticipated - after American planes were used as missiles against its own country by few individuals, and that too in the nation of ours where internal security is considered every individual’s personal problem?
Were these strikes unimaginable? Can’t we envisage an individual, who by physical appearance, can never be distinguished from a citizen, entering a railway station, getting out of a train or a theater and open fire at the people around, or act a human bomb?
We are the second most populous nation in the world, the biggest democracy and still a developing economy. With our cultural laxness and not so warm relation with a neighbor of the same ethnicity, there are certain limitations we have. Which can surly be worked and improved on, but need to consider while analyzing the situation. Are we ready for tougher laws? Can we be sure these laws would be put to proper use and not abused? Are we ready to abide by those laws and even before that, the existing laws?
We have problem with a movie director visiting the place of attack and we call it ‘Terror tourism’. And what were we doing by inviting friends to come over to our place and watch the commando operation live on the television? The media giving ‘live’ footage of the entire operation even after being strictly instructed not to by the security personals, how responsible was that? Everyone is ready to punish the ones in the government, go on war with the nation responsible or at least abuse a movie director for the ‘insensitive’ act. But how responsible are we ourselves?
Considering the nature of terrorism and the violence India has seen over the years, it could be called a retaliatory terrorism. It all started with the partition of India in 1947 and with the rulers of Kashmir deciding to join neither India nor Pakistan .But in 1948 Pakistan forces attacked Kashmir and the king of Kashmir requested the Indian government to intervene .The India government promised support in return to Kashmir joining the India union. The Pakistani forces were driven out by the Indian forces and Kashmir became an integral part of India.
Then in 1965, Pakistan retaliated with an attempt to infiltrate the Indian borders. In the bloody battle the followed, both sides had huge casualties. This led to the formation of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Indian intelligence agency which was to later mastermind the separation of East Pakistan. In 1971, RAW agents trained rebellion in East Pakistan, went on war with the Pakistan, defeated it and which finally led to the formation of Bangladesh.
To Pakistan, this was a huge setback, which it avenged by the strategy of funding and fueling separatist movements India since the mid 80’s.These grew into full fledged terrorism in Kashmir, Punjab and the North East.
Then, towards the end of the 80’s and early 90’s saw the rise of the Hindutva forces in India, advocating the Hindu Nationalism. It entered the main stage politics by raking up religiously sensitive issues like the Ram Janmabhoomi(The demand to re-build the Hindu god, Ram’s temple in Ayodhya, which was centuries back demolished by the Mugal rulers to built a Mosque).This finally led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid (the mosque) by an army of fascists. This was followed by massive communal riots in Mumbai and other parts of the nation. The leaders of both the communities made full use of the situation and spread intense hatred among the people for each other’s community. This could be considered the point of surge in terrorist activities in India.
This time the retaliation job for the Mumbai riots was outsourced to the gangsters and the Underworld of Mumbai. They planned and executed the ‘Mumbai serial blasts’ of 1992, in which hundreds of lives were lost. Since then India has seen many communal riots and blast in different parts, with the worst being the Godra riots of 2002. And all these acts of retribution.
So, are we not at some point responsible for all of this? Is it not that our silence during the riots of 1990, 1992 and 2002 someway responsible for all this? Is it not because of our inability to vote out a government that was responsible for this huge massacre in a state, the reason that few people of some minority community have to support the enemy nation? Are we not to blame for the silence?
The ones involved in the final execution of these horrendous crimes, be it the roits, the blast or the demolition of the mosque are young men in the teens or early twenties. Why do these men feel they have found a purpose in life? Is it actually the purposelessness that has driven them into joining these groups?
There is this factor of Pseudo Machismo in the young men, which these terror elements take complete advantage of. Pseudo Machismo is the false feeling of chauvinism, strength, purpose and pride that are constantly fueled in these young men and which always work in the background to keep them motivated.
Young men in the small towns and villages are the easy prey. They don’t grow with a vision of better future. They don’t see a path ahead of them after education, there is no one to show them the dreams of a good decent life. This is one major reason for the school dropouts’ .They grows up just as their ancestors did years back, without a dream, without a vision. But the world around them keeps changing and when these men get a peep into the world around them, they feel left out and the frustration creeps in.
It is then that these young men dream, a dream that their counterparts are living. A Slice of it could be seen in the small town colleges where politics is prominent. How young men just out of High school are lured into dirty politics.
All the terrorists captured or killed in the attacks recently were all school dropouts and ruffians, in their early twenties. When even the educated and matured men get influenced, these uneducated, village folks stand no chance before the poisonous hypnotism of these fascists’ leaders.
All these are the external factors and influences. But what about the devil we hide within us. The hatred we have for certain people, certain beliefs and certain things. The hatred, jealousy, fear that is passed on to the children by parents and elders in the name of experience. Experience, as someone said corrupts the mind.
Is it not the time we left the couch and looked within to become the change we want.
"Abe chodna yaar, channel badal,match laga..."