Burning Ring of Fire

We had anticipated the New Delhi serial blasts, all the more hoping the Red Alert in the Capital would wane out in time as things would quieten. But we had least expected it to happen, and happen in places we go to with friends or were going to go before last minute cancellations or left just minutes before bombs were detonated.

India is no longer just a victim to terrorism; it has become their favourite playing ground. Blasts have become a regular feature striking cities where least expected and when least expected. Blasts have become an inevitable part of our existence with lives hanging precariously on the hopes that the crowded market places they are visiting don’t become hapless targets to another ‘backlash’ by the Indian Mujahedeen and other terrorist organisations. What are they revenging through blasts is beyond my understanding.

What is sad is that attaching the name of ‘Allah’ to their causes, in spite of Islam not advocating such violence. This makes the Muslims world over vulnerable to violence and counter strikes. What is even more startling and not wholly unexpected is that the targets can be visually categorised. So what we see are bearded people with turbans being indiscriminate victims in the hands of the general population. This is injustice to a whole religious section where only a few handful perpetrators give a religious twist to their inhuman causes leaving the real, good men to bear the brunt of society.

Blasts also bring another contrast to my mind. One of human lives and stories. While many of us must be happy that our friends and family were not hurt in the blasts, we happily answer phones calls assuring them of our safety and continuing on to talk about the banal things in life and catch up on where we left matters a long time ago. Are we escaping the grim reality or rejoicing our safety by focussing on the smaller but happy things in life? Human vanity and insensitivity as some may put it, to my mind its reassuring yourself and the life that has been given to you- and while saying this I am talking to people who came really close to a tragedy or could have come face to face with it, but escaped it unhurt. We then move on with our life striking out incidents that could have had us.

There is another part to this happy story. The part we never want our story to be like, and least expect our story to be like. The victims and their kith and kin. They could be breadwinners, or just a central part of a closely knit family or circle of friends. It is unimaginable for such a thing to happen to people we know and ourselves also. It’s always some random unknown people we see on TV who are affected by such incidents. They don’t sound happy or hopeful on the phone, all they wish for is that it could have not been them had they ——. What could have happened remains mysterious. These lives have been affected already, no amount of speculation can turn time back and make you do things a different way, no matter how much you wish to make things right for your loved ones and family. This is the real story of a blast. A chain of effects that can leave thousands if not millions embittered, asking for justice.

Where is this call for justice directed? Not necessarily by the aggrieved families, but nevertheless to the other people of religion who are defenceless and as common as any one of us. This becomes a vicious circle of hatred and violence that breeds on itself. And all this in the name of religion and justice. Even legal defenders of terror suspects are targeted, as in the case of the Lucknow High Court.

Blasts and terrorism is bad enough, with secondary forms terrorism adding to acts of violence. Then, it becomes a war of religions, with all sense, reason and evidence lost.

Charulata Somal

[Image courtesy: http://blog.mlive.com/news_impact/2008/07/large_080726-india-explosions.jpg]