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EDITORIAL: 16-31 October 2002

Inverted Logic

Hate has a way of warping the mind. People driven by intense hate cannot see straight and fail to grasp even the most ordinary, simplest of things.

Nothing exemplifies this better than the mindless attack on Akshardham temple, the most visible symbol of the Swaminarayan sect, a group known for its piety, compassion and goodwill. 

On the face of it, it looks like a reprisal attack to avenge the state-sponsored anti-Muslim pogrom. The letter said to have been recovered from the pocket of one of the terrorists said they belonged to Tehrik-e-Qasas (literally, movement for retribution), which in itself should be an indication of the nature of the attack.

If that was not enough, the full content of the suicide note explained that they had undertaken the fidayeen attack to avenge the two-month long anti-Muslim carnage. One can see how senseless and perverted the logic of revenge can be from the Newtonian spin that Modi put on post-Godhra carnage. It was, in Modiís parlance, a reaction to Godhra. The temple attack, in turn, was a reaction to the reaction.

But, that way even Godhra was in reaction to karsevak hooliganism and attacks on Muslims at Godhra (before the train burning) and all along the route to and from Faizabad in the same Sabarmati Express for several days prior to February 27.

And if we go beyond even that, the karsevak attacks were a reaction to what the VHP told them about the Babar ki aulad. So, this is how it worksóone act of violence in reaction to another, till it becomes an endless spiral.

Extreme anger and hate distort our sense of proportion to the extent that we donít even know what is good for us. Or, even if we know, we donít care. How does the killing of devotees bring back to life the victims of Modiís wilful dereliction of duty? Or, how does the death of 2,000 Muslims bring back to life the 68 or so Hindus incinerated at Godhra? Taken further, how does the burning of the hapless Sabarmati passengers account for the hooliganism of karsevaks? 

All of us know that targetting our own people, fellow Indians, the blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh, is not going to help any of us. But driven by hate, roused by demagogues, the mobs, like remote-controlled robots, are prepared to commit the most heinous of crimes.

That brings us back to the Swaminarayan sect, one of the noblest of all religious sects in India. If anybody deserves to be loved and respected, it is these people. These are the people who never supported anti-Muslim campaigns, not even the anti-Muslim campaign over Ayodhya. But, why should the Swaminarayan be targetted? The only explanation for the attack is that a hate-driven mind is a crazed mind.

The poignant irony of it is that the Swaminarayan leadership publicly forgave the attackers, and used the occasion of the reopening of temple for reconciling the alienated Hindus and Muslims by bringing Muslim leaders to the condolence meeting. That showed Mahatma Gandhiís land had not yet forgotten its noblest son. Even Modi, who was there at the meeting , had to talk of brotherhood. 

Muslims generally donít trust deputy prime minister LK Advani when it comes to impartiality between different sets of citizens. However, for once he may be right that the attack was not locally planned, because the local Muslims know who the Swaminarayan areótheir friends. But it is difficult to deny that the attack was a reaction to the criminal pogroms engineered and abetted by people who still rule that hapless state and have strong supporters at the Centre.

The only other explanation is that hate warps the mind and one cannot distinguish between a friend and an enemy, or between what is good in oneís interests and what is not.

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