Making of a Terrorist
By Ram Puniyani
Milli Gazette Online
30 November 2005
Defining terrorism and a terrorist will remain as difficult as ever. The one non controversial part of the definition will be killing of the innocents, to intimidate the political powers and society at a particular point of time. Was killing of Indira Gandhi by her body guards, who happened to be Sikhs, an act of terrorism? She was involved in ordering the operation Blue star, the entry of army into the holiest of holy Sikh shrines, the Golden temple. General Vaidya who was Chief of army at that time was also assassinated, terrorism? When Rajiv Gandhi was murdered by the 'suicide bomb', Dhanu, what type of act was that? Rajiv Gandhi had sent the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), which the LTTE regarded as a big obstacle to their politics. Did this tantamount to terrorism?
Bhagat Singh, the hero of millions, the all time idol of the youths and revolutionaries, was part of the group which killed Saunders. Bhagat Singh himself threw a bomb in Assembly, in which no one was killed. He was labeled as terrorist by the British. While on a lecture tour in Tamil Nadu one happened to give the example of LTTE as the biggest terrorist organization in the World today to be confronted by the section of audience, which felt that the LTTE is the organization for freedom of Tamils in Sri Lanka. It is not too far back in the time that Irish Republican Army decided to renounce the use of terror as a tactics to gain its goal. Timothy McVeigh, the bomber who dropped a bomb in Oklahoma to kill over 300 innocent people is still fresh in many a memories. While these acts have there own place in the history of terror, the acts of terrorism to stick to one's mind are the ones by 'Muslim', terrorist groups, here and there, all around. Last decade or so has been witness to many an acts of insanity which have been indulged by Muslim individuals and Muslim groups.
The trajectory came to stark focus with the 9/11 attack on World Trade Center, the London rail bombing, and of course the scattered acts going on in Kashmir off and on. The recent act of terror (October 2005) in Delhi sounded another tragic one in the same series, adding on the stereotype that 'All terrorists are Muslims'. Needless to say that after each such act the search against all and sundry Muslims goes up. Their demonization, that the Muslims are violent beings following a religion, which teaches violence, Jihad is ongoing process. And they are the one's out to harass the innocent citizen's of the World, becomes stronger by the day. The Delhi attack has been the tragedy of a serious order. So many innocents being maimed and butchered. The loss of innocent lives and demonization of Islam and Muslims keep running in parallel. Some times one feels that with these terrorists claiming to be Muslims and indulging in such acts, Muslims do not need any other enemies. These elements are doing their 'best' possible to get the whole community stereotyped in an adverse way. Nobody can do a better job in demonizing Islam than the acts of these insane elements.
Why somebody takes up such an insane path? Is it the teaching of religion, the parents of these terrorists, or are there some other mechanisms which create these terrorists. There are multiple routes by which one takes up the path of terror, killing of the innocents. When anti Muslim pogrom was stalking the streets in Mumbai, one did meet many a reasonable sounding Muslim youth who expressed their explicit desire to take to the path of revenge through retaliatory violence. After Gujarat anti Muslim pogrom, many a social scientists prophesied that this pogrom will surely give rise to terrorists. In a vast community surely there are going to be more than the critical mass of Muslims to take recourse to 'revenge' through insane methods, terrorism being one amongst them. This is the anger, hurt and the feeling that guilty will not be punished which later gets channelized through conduits which dish out terror.
The Kashmir violence has belonged to another genre of violence. It was the breach of agreement about the autonomy of Kashmir, under the pressure from communal elements, that Government of India started tightening the noose around the autonomy clauses inbuilt in the treaty of accession. Nehru did advocate for winning over the hearts of Kashmiris rather than the political means to reduce the autonomy. The arrest of Sheikh Abdullah, when he complained against breach of treaty clauses related to autonomy, and putting him to jail was the triggering point of dissatisfaction amongst the Kashmiri youth which in due course led to the thorny path of terrorism, of course duly assisted by the designs of Pakistan. Just to recapitulate, it was Sheikh Abdullah who was instrumental in getting Kashmir acceded to India and it was same Sheikh Abdullah who was called a traitor by many who mattered including the Right wingers. The dissatisfaction of Kashmiris in watching their elected Prime Minister
(yes he was Prime Minister of Kashmir) might have snapped many a links which help in keeping the cool and sanity. These disgruntled elements were soon to be joined helped by the trouble making designs of Pakistani Rulers.
It is just a bit later that US started its agenda to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan by the well trained Al Qaeda outfit. The money and arms for this dreaded outfit were routed through Pakistan, and the training to cultivate 'Jehadis', a concocted misnomer for terrorists, was also outsourced to Pakistan. An interpretation of Islam was manufactured to project that killing of communists is Jihad as communists don't believe in Allah. Islamic teachings were mauled by the trainers to project that killing of innocents is also part of the game in Jihad. As such, Islam, meaning submission to the will of god, does not permit killing of the innocents. But the well designed training schools of Pakistan and middle east which were playing in the hands of U.S.'s CIA did not bother as to what the teachings of Koran, Islam mean. Violence was dished out in the name of Islam and allurement of Jannat (Heaven) shown to the young recruits in the path of Islam. This was the group consciously trained to unleash terror, the bait being Islam and the reward of going to Jannat. Many a Muslim youth were recruited and trained by Maulanas in 'Islam as violence' and by CIA-ISI combine in to use of weapons and other tactics.
By this time the World started going in the path of identity politics, the era of progressive radicalism, humane struggles for rights of people started being replace by religion in the name of politics. Religious identity became the core of politics and terror here there and everywhere became the major phenomenon. This replaced the struggles for Human rights of the decades of sixties and seventies, the decades of progressive values. US President after President kept resorting to the promotion of terrorism in the Middle East. George Bush the current World emperor is most blatant in expressing the US designs and in this direction he seems to have direct communication with the almighty God himself. His communication system has reached right up to the Lord almighty, who is designing the calendar of invading one after the other country. One was not much surprised to hear his claim that it was on the instructions from the God himself that he invaded Iraq, and now of course God is preparing to give him the order to invade Iran and Syria in due course!
One shudders to think of the times to come. The global phenomenon to give boost to the US designs for controlling the middle-east oil resources is overtly visible. Once the identity of terrorism with Islam got established, courtesy the CIA run training camps in Pakistan, now the job is comparatively easy for the World emperor. Any where, the dispute can take the shape of terror; the politics has already put on the veneer of religious identity. The real issues of the World related to environment, poverty, hunger, disease and misery can be shelved to the margins with ease and 'social common sense' can take resort to the understanding that it is due to Muslims that the present sorrows and miseries are happening. As Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, wherever there are Muslims, there are problems. Where do we go from here? How can we ensure that some youth do not take the path of terror? The underlying causes, at multiple layers, need to be addressed if we want a terror free World-India.
Prof Puniyani may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org