Jobs @ MG
Terrorism: symptom or disease?
By Ram Puniyani
|The bombing of Parliament has shaken us all to the core. This coming in the aftermath of WTC bombing is still more frightening. While words are not enough to condemn these heinous crimes by the terrorists, a new dimension has been added up in the tragic scenario, and that pertains to its association with Jihad, Islam and Muslims. On one hand the social common sense is being subtly doctored to believe that Islam as a religion gives rise to terror and Jihad, which is an integral part of Islam, means violence and aggression. On the other hand the means to tackle terrorism have been defined, which essentially focus around tightening of security, intelligence etc. A prescription to harden the nation and society is being dished out as it is being said that we as a nation are victims of terrorism as we have become a soft society and soft nation. Also some talk is in the air to launch an aggression against the neighboring country where the terrorist camps are believed to be located.
Myopia at its worst is on the display. Can violence originate from any religion worth its spirituality? Does Jihad mean violence? Is there terrorism because we are a soft society and nation? These understandings have serious flaws, as they do not look beyond the nose of those promoting these ideas.
How is Islam related to terror, or for that matter how is any religion related to the cult of violence? Were the Crusades undertaken by Christian kings to promote Christianity? Did Muslim kings undertake Jihad to promote Islam? Were the Dharmayudhas by Hindu kings undertaken to promote Hindu religion? By no stretch of imagination any war related violence could be attributed to these religions. It is the kings whose basic goal was to expand their kingdoms, who undertook these wars and misused the names of their religions to get more people involved in the same. Timothy Mc Viehg, Oklahoma bomber was not serving Christianity, neither Dhanu was serving Hinduism when she acted as a live bomb killing Rajiv Gandhi and innocents around him, nor was Bhindranwale serving Sikhism when he promoted the cult of violence which led to murder of Indira Gandhi and then the butchery of thousands of Sikhs, nor was Osama bin-Laden serving Islam when he thanked Allah in the wake of the WTC tragedy, nor are the Kashmiri militants serving Islam when they maim and kill innocent Hindus and Muslims in the Kashmir Valley. Terrorism is the product of social and National discontent, discontent, which flows through the barrel of the gun or explodes with the bomb of terrorist when the democratic channels are not available for its expression for the victims of Injustice. People belonging practically to all the religions under the sun have resorted to terror in the name of their religions. It is not that only one religion has the distinction for this misuse.
In Indian context the terrorism of Khalistanis could be contained when the dealing with the militants could be combined with winning over the hearts and minds of people and by making available the effective democratic options to the people at large. The present terrorism by the self proclaimed Jihadis is definitely a slightly different ball game. The role of Pakistan in this is very discernible. But here our myopic vision stops and fails to see the imperialist designs in promoting the terrorism and routing this through the conduit of Pakistan. We are unable to see the deeper imperialist goals of control over oil resources, which has nurtured Talibans. Our policy makers are eager to jump to the softness thesis so that POTO or the worse forms of violations of civil liberties can be brought in with ease so that they can get away with their other hidden agenda of creating a religious fascist state. It is surprising that our Govt. is prostrating in front of the very power, is touching the feet with reverence of the very imperialist power, which has promoted the cult of violence, the cult of Jihad to ensure its control over the oil resources by controlling the political power in the subcontinent.
Right since the formation of Israel and its being backed by US the signals were around of its designs in the Middle East and then in the sub-continent. Israel went in to violate all the UN resolutions, attacked Arab world repeatedly to capture the Palestinian lands and to cause the loss of home and hearth of close to a million Palestinians. In due course US started tightening its grip on the resources of the region. First it helped in the ouster of Mossadegh (Iran), who was planning to nationalize its oil wells and replacing that by a puppet Raza Shah Pehlavi regime to ensure the cheap flow of oil into its tanks. Later it went all out to promote the fanatic groups in the Afghanistan to fight the Russian occupation. Since then the base for the fanatic camps was laid in the region. Pakistan as the handmaiden of US imperialism kept acting as the conduit to promote the US interests by all possible means. US in order to keep its hegemony in the region was playing different games. With Ayatullah Khoemeni replacing the US stooge Raza Shah Pehlavi; US backed Iraq, in Iran-Iraq war for long years. Later it turned its barrel against Iraq itself on the pretext of rescuing the Sheikh of Kuwait and his sovereignity. With the Russian occupation being pushed back the fanatics, basically products of US training, started intruding into Kashmir, in the process worsening the Kashmir imbroglio, where due to weak democratic institutions the alienation of Kashmiri people acted as the base for the terrorist game and the green valley turned red with the bullets flowing from the barrels of militants and the Indian army.
The dissatisfactian in the Arab world initially got manifested through the terrorist attacks on Jews. The terrorism here had two dimensions, one anti-Israel- US and later anti-Soviet occupation. US encouraged the latter through the conduit of ISI. Now after 9/11 the cycle has turned full circle giving further pretext to US to interfere more in the affairs of the region. The end of Socialist block has also marked the beginning of the demise of the role and power of UN, whatever it was worth. With US acting as the super cop and super bullly rolled into one the problems do not seem to have their respite. So contrary to USs own attitude vis a vis 9/11, a blind reprisal and aggression on Afghanistan, it is advising restraint to India on one hand and increasing its own grip in the region on the other.
No amount of hardness of Indian society and state, as if it is not violative of civil libertarian norms already, can solve the problem in the present setup where US hegemonic designs are on their naked march.
While on one hand the intensification of military vigil and intelligence can act as a short term measure, the region cannot breathe in peace unless it is left to itself sans the US interference. Removal of US hegemony in the region is a must for any possibility of peace. The regional confederation of Middle East and South Asian countries on the line of European Commonwealth should not be a goal meant for dreams but an urgent necessity. Along with UN, the movement, which has suffered a serious set back is the non-aligned movement. Its a tough task to restore and further strengthen NAM and to expand the SAARC into an Asian Commonwealth, but that seems to be the only base around which we can think of sidetracking the US designs in the area and bring an end to the symptom of terrorism in the region. In a way this symptom is secondary to the primary disease of Imperialism. Terrorism is not a disease, it is a symptom of the underlying disease, the disease which manifested first in the form of Colonialism (projected as white mans burden) then went on to crushing the nationalism in different countries, Vietnam, Chile etc, in the name of defense of freedom and now is further continuing its agenda in the name of clash of civilizations, the economic lust of more advanced countries to control the resources of weaker countries and to create market for their goods in these countries.
The choice before us is either to buy the logic promoted by these powerful countries and focus on the superficial symptom of terrorism and to demonize one religion, or to have some vision and prepare to chart out a long-term goal of Asian Commonwealth.
Prof. Punyani is working with EKTA,
Committee for Communal Amity, Mumbai q