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Saturday, September 09, 2006

The abominable face of terror

There has been a series of bomb blasts in Malegaon in the Indian state of Maharashtra, last afternoon. Evidently, these were aimed at people who had gathered for the friday namaaz (prayer). Several children are reported to be among the dead and injured.

Thankfully, just as in the case of the recent train blasts in Mumbai, the incidents have not been followed by any communal flare-up so far.

Sometimes, it seems to me that we, the citizens of India, share at least some of the blame for such violence. After all, we have not learnt to live in harmony even after 60 years of independence and our society has deep fissures along the lines of religion, caste, etc. Before independence, the blame was conveniently passed on to the British rulers and their so-called 'divide and rule' policy. Now, it is the various political parties and their vote-bank politics that are supposed to be driving wedges among us.

Will the Indian people never realise the truth and never learn to live in peace with each other and will those who deal in terror continue to try to take advantage of that?

The history of independent India does not offer much hope, I am afraid.


Sidhusaaheb said...

I never thought in my lifetime I would be able experience “being in someone else’s shoes” so soon. I was in grade 4 in Bhopal when all the bad things happened: Bhopal gas tragedy.. thousands died; Indira Gandhi died..Sikhs were slaughtered .. riots broke out … In a peaceful city like Bhopal (until 1991 Babri masjid riots) I could myslef see from my balconey smoke coming out of Sikh owned businesses. The only good par t that yeaer was we got a very long vaccation in Bhopal and had no examsand wer given “General promotion” to the next grade. But more importantly.. what changed was how I saw (perceived) sardarjees. Had a few at school as well. I have relatives in Tilak Nagar, New Delhi and visited Delhi almost 2-3 times a year. Previously sardardjees were fun guys to me who offered you lots of food and lassi if you visit them and would hug you annoyingly tight. But that year onwards I saw a “terrorist” in every turban wearing sikh (thats why I am using the word sardarji). The pictures from the media and news made me think that way. If for example the driver of a DTC bus would be a sardarji I would hold my mother very tight and if by chance one came and sat next to me my heart would beat so fast.. and then I would read the caution message on the back of the bus seat “Savdhan aapki seat kay neechay bomb ho sakta hai” What the ^%$% man .. it scared the hell out of me. But now I as a muslim (who wears his head gear even at work and sports a beard too) living in the United ‘paranoid’ states of America could feel the very pulse of every Sikh in those years. (BTW I was just a 9 year old in 1984). I could sometimes see the 5-9 years olds giving me the same look. And dont even get me started about what happens at the airports where the waiting lobbies are equiped with CNN news TVs that continuosly flash news about the latest Islamic threat to their freedom. What should I say ? I guess ..What the &*^$%% man? I have lot to elaborate on my above ranting but I guess .. so far I have conveyed whatever came out of the top of my head.. Thanks Sidhu..
abuzaid | 09.10.06 – 3:37 am | #


Thanks for sharing your experiences, Abuzaid!

Perhaps more people will learn to be more sensitive with respect to their fellow human beings, irrespective of their religion, caste, creed, etc., some day.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 09.10.06 – 1:50 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

The tragedy about communal violence is that it is self-perpetuating and self-propogating: each episode initiates a counter episode. So the immediate need after every episode is to check that cycle and prevent the counter blast.

In the longer term, we have to work towards enduring communal harmony. The first step is to recognise injustices which drive people to desperation and to make amends. In the past also there were injustices, but they were sanctioned by custom or enforced by political might. Today we continuously have to be mindful of the other person’s feelings and rights. If not, when he feels greatly wronged, he will hit out initiating another endless cycle of violence.

Secondly, we have to consciously orient our education and media towards accepting and resolving differences as an essential ingredient of national progress. India is an overpopulated country with limited resources; we will always be competing among ourselves for the good things of life. We also have numerous differences with long and often painful histories. Perhaps more than any other large country, India needs to make communal harmony an indispensable goal of education.

Piza Karia
Piza Karia | Homepage | 09.12.06 – 7:50 am | #


I agree, Piza, that India should re-examine its educational system and make whatever improvements are required so that no educated person shall believe in religious bigotry, in the future.

I also agree that the media should be as impartial and objective as possible, while covering sensitive issues.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 09.12.06 – 2:10 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

Maybe we all need to review how the Greeks lived and what they valued. Honor.

Their lagacy was democracy and creation of an atmosphere for the intellect to thrive without destruction of religious preferences.

The clerics were not given power.

In America and throughout the world we can at least try to remember this.
Sylvia | 09.19.06 – 6:14 pm | #


That is a very positive thought, Sylvia.


I suppose, however, that this goal can be achieved in a democracy only when voters are mature enough to not vote for those with a divisive agenda.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 09.19.06 – 10:39 pm |