Say it hard and true, at least now
Mumbai 1993 down to Coimbatore explosions to Delhi Deepavali blasts to attack in IISc in Bangalore to explosions in Varnasi to countless blasts in Kashmir to Mumbai again yesterday. It has been a never-ending bloody saga. No country in the world has suffered, humiliated, battered, pummelled as India has been due to what is simplistically called as acts of terrorism. And no country has been so weak-kneed, naive and pusillanimous as India has been in the face of relentless targetting by the ultras. After every attack, we hear the same weather-beaten tired cliches from the same weather-beaten men. On the one hand, you have the media mouthing the silly platitudes with the whole coverage being more predictable than the run-of-the-mill potboiler from Kollywood or Bollywood. After the listless lip service, as how the ‘terrorists will never succeed in their attempts’ and the ‘peace process will not be affected’ the government gets back to its slumber. The media returns to plunging necklines and rising hemlines. Housewives walk back to the embrace of the television soaps. Husbands parrot customary but vague noises about the world becoming an unsafe place to live. And then, it is back to the square root of one till the next strike happens. It is all so predictably sickening that it makes you want to puke. How long will this silly charade go on? Can’t we do anything about it at all? We should. We can. But we don’t. And that is why terrorists keep picking their targets at will. That is why innocents keep dying. But why India, you may ask. That is because we have failed to size and shape the problem truthfully. There has not been a major repeat of 9/11 in America because they have understood the gravity and grimness of the situation. And more importantly, they have identified their enemy and are pursuing them with all their honesty. But what of us? Whenever a blast or explosion occurs, the government and the media merely invoke the name of ultra outfits like Jaish or LeT and then let it all drift. The image is unclear, the attitude is coy, the reasoning too facile, the gloves velvet. To make it seem that all the terrorists are mere remote-controlled objects of Pakistan is too dangerously simple. When the World Trade Centre was brought down, the US sent out all the tough signals to terrorists in distant Afghanistan but also went hammer and tongs against those operating from within. And after that, it has been eternal vigil, and all those charges of erring on the side of caution be damned.
So it is time India woke up and faced the inescapable truth. Which is:India is targetted because it is a Hindu nation. And those killing in hundreds are doing so in the name of Islam. There are any number of honest and peace-loving Muslims among us. But that should not prevent us from saying that the terrorists are causing mayhem out of religious fanaticism. By saying so, we are not stoking communal fire. We are only stating things as they are. Any problem can be solved only if the diagnosis is truthful and real. In the case of terrorism in India, the government and the media have been looking at the wrong symptoms. That is why we have lost thousands of able-bodied men and women. But we can’t afford to lose any more.
The nation needs to wake up at least now. Or else, it will be eternal slumber.