How did we become terrorists?

Today the news is Mumbai. Yesterday we had the same news, and tomorrow will be no different. The news is its tragedy. Its misery, its shame, its loss, its grief and mostly its helplessness. And I am fed up. With the details of the plot and the politicians (‘PLOT-icians’). With the mess the media is making. With the fuss and the buzz the moviemakers tend to make out of this. With the blame game. With the ‘chocolate protests‘. With the cover-up and purposeful misdirection. With the dog, donkey and lion remarks. Fed up with the undirected reaction profiting the candle business and the torchbearers. With the public acrobatics and police circus. With P. Mukherjee’s vague universe and Condoleeza Rice’s skillful hypocrisy. And I just can’t stand Zardari’s sorry tale of victimization anymore.

Being this fed up, I give up. I unplug the TV, burn the newspapers and pack off my PC. I shut down the windows and pull down the curtains and close the doors. I shut myself from this cyber and digital world which seems to make less sense every day.

I give up trying to figure out what happened, what may not have happened or what will happen given so and so had happened. Amidst all this bloody chaos, I brace myself, I calm myself and ponder over that essential question everyone wants me to dump, “Why India?”. “Why us?”.

We are the largest functioning and fruit bearing democracy with our roots in the cradle of civilizations. Our soil is fertile and watered by the sweat since the dawn of mankind. Our culture has been raped, looted, dismembered, disfigured, reshaped, restructured and redesigned by the Aryans, the Macedonians, the Persians, the Mughals, the Mongols, the British and many more. Physically, we were fired upon , subject to lathis and humiliation. Throughout history we have been at the receiving end of every attack. Never ever did we even by way of placing a thorn in some path harm a society or a nation. Not a single nation has attacked either militarily, psychologically, or economically. Missiles, we did not fire and rockets were not misfired. We invaded none despite being invaded by every other Tom Dick and Harry. Terrorists were not exported and yet imported ones and home-made ones were tolerated. We are the birth place of satygraha and non-violent struggles. The garden of religious co-existence. The miracle of a spirit embedded with divine peace.

This is the India we live in. Where we have always lived in.

And so, I ask again, Why India? Why Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore? Why Indians? Why are we always the victim and at the receiving end? The more I ponder over this, the more I realize that there is no direct magic answer.

We must realize that we are not alone. Blasts and terrorist attacks have punctuated and punctured every other Asian and African country in the past 5 years. Violent outbursts against innocent people is becoming more of a common phenomenon. Machine gun wielding maniacs have terrorized the world right across continents and oceans. And hence, in the face of such a complex phenomenon, it wouldn’t make much sense to find a single and compact solution. It would be the pinnacle of stupidity to lay everything on Pakistan and claim that our job is done. We must remember that Pakistan is subject to terrible blasts and attacks much more frequently than anywhere else in the world.

Yet, as Pakistan can never fully wash its hand of the blood, we must not turn a blind eye to the fissures and decay within our own institutions and society. It is only then that I realize the true nature of state of affairs. The war between the ‘haves’ and have-nots’. The social decay and ignorance that laid the groundwork for the creation of such bloody murderers. The complex political manipulations. It is then that we realize how political and financial corruption at the highest level under the cover of extreme luxury can trickle down to the last common man in the most heinous manner. How even the most minute injustice can trigger an apocalypse.

If we seek a solution that ignores all the socio-political and historical context which resulted in the present state of affairs, we are being mere hypocrites playing into the hands of terrorists. We could appease the masses by bombing Karachi and having a dozen more fake encounters. But are we really solving anything? We cannot apply the same tactics used by the USA and UK as the geographical context is entirely different. Sincerely, we must seek a solution keeping aside all petty differences.

And so in seeking a solution, I have become a terrorist like you. A terrorist who upholds the idea that is India. An idea that blessed mankind. A terrorist who would strike fear in the heart of every miscreant who would even contemplate to harm the spirit of India. A terrorist like you, who causes corrupt politicians to tremble. A terrorist that terrifies every gun wielding maniac into giving up their half-baked cause for nonsense. A terrorist like Gandhiji whose skeletal figure was all that was needed to cause the sunset of an empire that sought to colonize the mother of mankind.

[May the victims find peace. And may the living be protected. Amen.]

Raji A Rauof

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