Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Today are we really all Mumbaikers? (Part 1) {Is it a nation of 1 billion people called "India" that is fighting terrorism together? }

Recently it was reported that the ninth child, a girl, of a certain poor family in Bihar was sold by their parents to someone in exchange for a few square meals a day. I am sure it is one of the millions of such incidents in India which got reported. Its a country where poor daily wage labourers sell their blood for 500 or 1000Rs per bottle to earn a living and many people sell one of their kidneys for 50,000 to 1lakh rupees to stay alive.

This is my India that hopes to fight cross-border terrorism!

I find it ridiculous to say the least and obviously the only thing that comes from the prime-minister and the defence minister post 26/11 are a few hollow shouts at Pakistan. Isn't there a fat chance that the Indian government acted meekly against Pakistan sponsored terrorism simply to preserve their Muslim vote bank in India?Can't forget that the elections are knocking at their door!

Pakistan almost making a joke of India's calls by showing the world that it is trying to curb state sponsored terrorism by putting a few locks on the offices of some of the terrorists!

India as it stands has a completely hollowed society split under innumerable factions and it is too fragile a society in terms of unanimous thinking and this society CAN NOT fight terrorism. How is Ajmal Kasab and his men different from those doing business in India by selling kidneys, blood and doing pre-birth sex determination to kill the girl child? (whom Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen called the "Missing Women"...I wrote a blog about this some time ago )

An army fights as a group so that its organization is not infiltrated by the enemies. How can that army win a battle when its own organization is itself infiltrated by the enemies or its organization is itself crumbling due to corruption?

Let us not fool ourselves in taking pride in the elusive concept of "United Republic of India" and rusting statements about "Unity in Diversity"! "India" is just a concept that exists in pen and paper and has never existed in reality. People of this "nation" have never really thought in any unanimous way and have never thought of themselves as part of the same nation. The idea of "nationhood" has never been a part of the Indian psyche. A typical person from Kerala or West Bengal is very likely to give his first identity as a Keralite or Bengali rather than as an Indian. State identity is only one of the million possible identities that can get pre-dominance over their national identity. In some social or religious occasion, this Keralite or the Bengali might again get united under their identity of being a "Brahmin"! but even by mistake they might not unite as "Indian".

The nation called "India" is only an abstract idealization of a factious reality and the "Indian" is some fictional character.

We teach the school children very proudly about the "Revolt of 1857" and give them the idea that this supposedly "great Indian uprising" was the first organized revolt India launched against the British. I have found all these sugar-coated statements to be extremely erroneous and anyone who has read history even a little more carefully would have realized how completely disjoint the 1857 revolt was from common Indian. (not to mention the surgical door to door butchering of lakhs of Indians by the British post-revolt of those families who took part in the revolt)

1857 revolt came no where close to the French Revolution where the common man took up arms. 1857 revolt was purely a meek attempt by some local provincial kings to join forces to regain their authority over their lands. It was purely a fight by the local rulers to regain power and no one had any idea of "India" in them and they were not fighting for liberation of India.

The reality as I see today is that we still are split along the same lines as the armies in 1857 were split. Regional division is so deeply ingrained by those 200 dark years of British Rule in India that even today it takes only a little bit of spark to set one region on a blood-hunt of the other...recent example being the attack of the MNS against the candidates from Bihar!

This piece of land called "India" which is so deeply split along all sorts of local identities of caste, region, family (gharana and biradiri!), language etc is extremely vulnerable to the evil designs of any foreign power. It is trivial for foreign powers to take advantage of these local splits to infiltrate the society and create their shelters within India. Wars at the borders of India are pointless when such a split society further made desperate by killing poverty has been hacked into by the terrorists.

No wonder Al-Qaeda's recruitment advertisement tapes were found being circulated in Bihar.

And this issue of one particular identity of a person being hiked up is extremely generic to the way India works. "Those are Muslims. They are foreigners. They are terrorists" can be enough to raise many Hindus to kill Muslims in India irrespective of their profession whether she/he had another identity as a scientist or farmer or a clerk in a bank. Similarly many Christians in Orissa can probably now be made to kill Hindus by properly instigating their religious identity and telling them that "These Hindus have burnt your churches and priests". Indians have become extremely vulnerable to let any one of her/his identities being used as a crank to turn her/him into an instrument of terror.

At the end we have a completely divided India which is one nation only for a show and a cluster of provinces in reality with provincial heads working for personal gains. No wonder we still see politicians going to vote with their manifesto supporting a further split in India, the so called "Telengana"! And these splits have over the years given birth to numerous guerrilla warfare expert POWs (People War Groups), all of them fighting for local interests and indeed some of them have genuine reasons since various remote areas of India have always been forgotten by the government of India.

Imagine the situation if all these POWs could be motivated by the foreign terrorist groups to join them against a common enemy the "government in Delhi". It would be a severe collapse of the already fragile nation.

As soon as Mumbai was attacked I could hear voices around me suddenly preaching 2 ideas:

1. All Muslims be removed from India. It is impossible to live with them. They are anyway culturally so disjoint from us.

{I would rather kill myself than see people like A.P.J Abdul Kalam, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Gulzar, Amjad Ali and Zakeer Hussain thrown out of India because they are muslims!}

2. Let all Hindus assemble themselves into Hindu terror outfits which shall counter Muslim terrorism. Let the hard liners of Hinduism motivate all Hindus in India to form such military organizations. Even one former MP seemed to preach such similar ideas in an article in the newspaper Indian Express.

{I can't remember hearing more stupid ideas. Seems to me to be the perfect idea for Hindus to create a Frankenstein for themselves. I would like to put this very strongly that Hindu hard lined organization is NOT an answer to Muslim terror groups. It would be suicidal to say the least.}

But obviously one can't deny that most terror outfits in India are Islamic groups and clearly claim religion to be one of their main motivating factors. It is definitely necessary that the India government does a crackdown on all possible places and means through which such Islamic terrorist groups could be operating. Such an operation should definitely include all Mosques and Madrasas which have at various times been used as bases for terror groups. And we every now and then hear that many Madrasas are being used by terror groups as their training centers.

But now this would be extremely stupid if such a combing action gets interpreted by someone as an attack by Indian government against Muslims. One should be ready to look beyond every human emotion for the sake of national security.

But welcome to India! I am sure that many in the government would immediately oppose such a combing action since they would be afraid to lose their Muslim vote bank! This nation built on the lines of cheap politics can never hope to fight terrorism.

And then we hear further weird propaganda being carried on by various Muslim clerics outside India and there have been reports in the news papers that there are secret pamphlets getting circulated in various mosques in the Middle East which seem to say that the even though Muslims ruled India for about 800 years (Mughal Empire) it managed to convert only about 20% of India to Islam. What a shameful situation for Islam! They look at this as a great failure on the part of Islam and this is the time when this historic error needs to be corrected. Hence let us spensor terrorist groups and capture India and convert it to Islam.

Wonderful! If ever one needs an example to skewed ways of thinking then this is it!

And then from some of my friends in South India who are deeply religious about Hinduism I have heard statement like we should not count only the 200 years of British Rule as the only period of Indian history as being enslaved by a foreign power but we should count it has 1000 years including the Mughal period. They were equally foreign powers having enslaved India.

With such philosophies doing rounds in India I find it impossible to think how this nation can ever fight terrorism!

1 comment:

  1. All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Mumbai, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, " Me ahe Mumbaikar"

    Amit Kshirsagar

    An adaptation of US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's famous speech "Ich bin Ein Berliner"