Atanu Dey On India's Development

Tragedy and Farce — Part 1

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Cyclic Tragedy and Farce

Perhaps we need to update Marx’s idea of history that it “repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce” to suit the history of terrorism in India where each cyclic repetition consists of a brutal tragedy immediately followed by a hopeless farce.

The script is tiresomely familiar. Islamic terrorists attack and kill by the scores, if not hundreds, in acts of mindless mayhem and destruction. Even as the short tragedy is unfolding, the farce begins with the prime minister and other government officials declaring that they will punish the perpetrators. That gives way to so-called “secular intellectuals” quickly justifying the horror by pointing out that we need to understand the conditions that motivated the Islamic terrorists to go on a killing-spree of infidels – namely, poverty and discrimination against the followers of the celebrated Religion of Peace.

The farce continues with furious calls of “we should not let the terrorists win by allowing them to divide us.” Candle-light vigils and moving articles of ordinary people rallying to help others sprout up like mushrooms in a dank pile of manure. Things get back to normal in a few days and the spirit of “resilience” is much celebrated in the news media. Life goes on for a few weeks or months, and then once again the tragedy of Islamic terrorism strikes and the farce is enacted once again.

Like the instructions on a shampoo bottle says, “lather, rinse, repeat.”

A Bit of Farce

The most important element of the subsequent farce involves obtuseness. The usual bunch of pseudo-secular intellectuals write what they consider to be penetrating analysis such as “What They Hate About Mumbai.” They appear to be deaf and dumb to the persistently professed goal of the terrorists of claiming India — the Land of the Impure — for Islam. The terrorists cry themselves hoarse with blood-curdling yells of “allah hu akbar” while slaughtering without compunction and yet these worthy commentators write lengthy pieces with convoluted arguments on why the killing goes on.

There are too many examples of obtuseness for me to list them all. But allow me one illustrative example. Today I received an email from a very socially active gentleman with the subject line, “Let’s reduce corruption to reduce terrorist attacks.” How about wiping our bottoms more diligently after taking a crap? Perhaps that too will in some mysterious way reduce the incentives that Islamic terrorists have in their avowed goal of killing infidels.

They — the commentators and gurus — come crawling out of the woodwork. It appears that Deepak Chopra did. Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz on Deepak Blames America:

Soon enough, there was Deepak Chopra, healer, New Age philosopher and digestion guru, advocate of aromatherapy and regular enemas, holding forth on CNN on the meaning of the attacks.

How the ebullient Dr. Chopra had come to be chosen as an authority on terror remains something of a mystery, though the answer may have something to do with his emergence in the recent presidential campaign as a thinker of advanced political views. Also commending him, perhaps, is his well known capacity to cut through all sorts of complexities to make matters simple. No one can fail to grasp the wisdom of a man who has informed us that “If you have happy thoughts, then you make happy molecules.”

In his CNN interview, he was no less clear. What happened in Mumbai, he told the interviewer, was a product of the U.S. war on terrorism, that “our policies, our foreign policies” had alienated the Muslim population, that we had “gone after the wrong people” and inflamed moderates. And “that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay.

All this was a bit too much, evidently, for CNN interviewer Jonathan Mann, who interrupted to note that there were other things going on — matters like the ongoing bitter Pakistan-India struggle over Kashmir — which had caused so much terror and so much violence. “That’s not Washington’s fault,” he pointed out.

Given an argument, the guest, ever a conciliator, agreed: The Mumbai catastrophe was not Washington’s fault, it was everybody’s fault. Which didn’t prevent Dr. Chopra from returning soon to his central theme — the grave offense posed to Muslims by the United States’ war on terror, a point accompanied by consistent emphatic reminders that Muslims are the world’s fastest growing population — 25% of the globe’s inhabitants — and that the U.S. had better heed that fact. In Dr. Chopra’s moral universe, numbers are apparently central. It’s tempting to imagine his view of offenses against a much smaller sliver of the world’s inhabitants — not so offensive, perhaps?

Two subsequent interviews with Larry King brought much of the same — a litany of suggestions about the role the U.S. had played in fueling assaults by Muslim terrorists, reminders of the numbers of Muslims in the world and their grievances. A faithful adherent of the root-causes theory of crime — mass murder, in the case at hand — Dr. Chopra pointed out, quite unnecessarily, that most of the terrorism in the world came from Muslims. It was mandatory, then, to address their grievances — “humiliation,” “poverty,” “lack of education.” The U.S., he recommended, should undertake a Marshall Plan for Muslims.

Nowhere in this citation of the root causes of Muslim terrorism was there any mention of Islamic fundamentalism — the religious fanaticism that has sent fevered mobs rioting, burning and killing over alleged slights to the Quran or the prophet. Not to mention the countless others enlisted to blow themselves and others up in the name of God.

Nor did we hear, in these media meditations, any particular expression of sorrow from the New Delhi-born Dr. Chopra for the anguish of Mumbai’s victims: a striking lack, no doubt unintentional, but not surprising, either. For advocates of the root-causes theory of crime, the central story is, ever, the sorrows and grievances of the perpetrators. For those prone to the belief that most eruptions of evil in the world can be traced to American influence and power there is only one subject of consequence.”

Deepak Chopra is probably not an idiot. But he sure does make it very hard to believe that he is not one.

In a farce, the only people you take seriously are the jokers. Here’s John Oliver, correspondent for The Daily Show, explaining who the terrorists are and what they hope to achieve.

A greater tragedy

It is tragic that global jihadi terror has become a fact of life. Hundreds of websites are devoted entirely to cataloging the hundreds of acts of Islamic terrorism every year around the world. TheReligionofPeace.com has a counter which reads “12,352 Deadly Terror Attacks since 9/11″ and for the week Nov 22-28, reports 63 jihadi attacks with 372 killed and over 600 injured. Another site Jihadwatch.org carries hundreds of articles every month bringing gruesome details of death and destruction by jihad.

It is tragic that humanity has to suffer so much for no apparent reason. But jihadi terror is not news. Contrary to popular American belief, jihadi terror was not invented on Sept 11th, 2001. It started some 14 centuries ago. The motives and the methodology of jihad is spelled out in all its horrifying detail in the Quran (or Koran), the Islamic holy book. India has been the target for jihadi terror for a thousand years. Tens of millions of Indians have paid with their lives, slaughtered by the Sword of Islam.

The greater tragedy is that India has not yet collectively learned that it is the prime target and the ace victim of jihadi terror. It still brings a lathi — a bamboo cane — to a fight against an AK47-armed opponent. That is not just figuratively but literally true.

The policemen in the train station in Mumbai were armed with lathis and World War I vintage guns. They did not have a snowball’s chance in hell of confronting the AK-47 armed Islamic terrorists. The chief cop of the Anti-Terrorist Squad was struggling to find a suitable bulletproof vest before he went to meet his death at the hands of a 20-something jihadi. And he died together with his officers without firing a single shot at the Islamic terrorists. Essentially the man committed suicide.

The greater tragedy is that India does not understand the force that it has faced and continues to face. It is not facing a half-naked unarmed ascetic. It is facing an army that is insane with its desire to kill the infidels in a clash that would guarantee the triumph of Islam over all of humanity, an army of men and women who are convinced that if they were to meet their death in this terrible clash, they would win their eternal reward in a paradise that is so magnificent that it is worth slaughtering every single infidel man, woman and child.

{Continued in Part 2.}

  • mohit17

    Your anger at Islamic radicals is absolutely comprehendible. While it is true that Islam in India caused lot of ruins, one can’t deny the good influence of Islam on our culture. Being someone who believes in the middle path, I do not agree with your comments on Islam. Contrary to popular belief, it was the British who were responsible for reducing the Indian GDP share from 25% to 5% in less than 200 years and that goes for the entire sub-continent not just India (GDP Per capita is aprox 2500 USD for both countries).

    It is also not fair to blame the 14% of Indian Muslims for the atrocities of less than 0.01%. Believe me, I am equally angry, if not more, with what has happened. One can’t deny that Pakistan is a state formed on religion which is why it is tolerating this kind of behavior. I absolutely despise the marriage of state and religion whether it is Pakistan or India for that matter.

    You are absolutely right about the issue of Kashmir. It was a decision made by the maharaja of Kashmir to join India and not Pakistan. One cannot deny it. So why then is Pakistan supporting Jehadi movements in the J&K valley should be addressed and addressed really soon. Today I visited the Lashkar-e-Taiba web site (Can you believe that!). They have so much rant against Indians that it will make anyone’s blood boil!

    But is war the answer? Should we use the UN assembly to muscle Islamabad? Should the Indian government improve national security right now? should the minorities be included in the progress faster?

    What are your thoughts on the solutions?

  • http://onlyvoid.blogspot.com Shivani

    Who are the sponsors of jihad – and what incentives do they have ?

  • ram

    Shivani,
    I think you havent heard of the 72 virgins in paradise …

    Our problem is that we live in a too politically correct system.

    I was aghast all the politicians , the so called right-wing BJP included, insist that this is not a ideology issue. We will never solve the problem unless we call a spade , a spade.
    An ordinary crime problem is solved by tackling the criminal. A terrorism problem cannot be solved by tackling the terrorists

    We have to tackle the terrorists’ ideology. So what if that is drawn from a 1400 yr old ideology of large following or traction

  • PoojaNair

    no amount of islamic terrorism justifies attacking islam and muslims in general…

    attacking islam itself is the lamest way to try and curb islamic terrorism.

    if only things were that simple.

    Unfortunately its a little more complex. Devout muslims who condemn terrorism outnumber these terrorists in huge ammounts.

    We are intelligent people. We should be able to differentiate between islamic terrorists and regular muslims.

    Only when we do that will we be able to think of a real solution to terrorism.

    If i live wiht you and get chickenpox. Would you rather kill me to protect yourself from chickenpox?

    i would appreciate it if you would help me wiht medicines and take other precautions to protect yourself.

    i think that analogy explains my point…

  • http://the-redpill.blogspot.com vakibs

    Hi Atanu

    Clearly we have a problem, and this is Islamic terrorism. This nuisance is getting unbearable, and we cannot afford it much longer. We need a solution.

    So, let’s stop whining and put on our problem-solver hats.

    Muslims account for 18% of India’s population. Looking at a bigger picture, the Indian subcontinent has 45% Muslim population. You cannot expect to alienate all of these people and usher in an era of peace and prosperity.

    When we have a problem, our first task should be to isolate it. In the current context, our task should be to isolate the pockets of hatred that are breeding terrorism and eliminate them for once and for ever.

    The reason for terrorism is neither poverty nor illiteracy. Tempting though it may seem, we cannot club these problems together. All the terrorists who attacked Mumbai are from rich and educated classes.

    Terrorism arises because of intense hatred for “impure” people and intolerance for other cultures. This kind of hate-speech is going quite unchecked for several decades now, in several Mosques and Madrassas across the country. In the internet-era, this has spread onto blogs and youtube channels. You might contend that this hate-speech is present right in the Quran itself,but clubbing unrelated religious issues into this hate-speech serves no purpose, alienates liberal-minded Muslims and muddles our task. As we get stuck in inane academic debates, terrorists will keep carrying on their rampage.

    Our task is simple : put an end to all this hate-speech. We should build an intelligence network against the media-centres of this hate speech and target specific individuals. These people account for less than 0.5% of the Muslim population. Amongst this tiny minority, people who take up arms for terrorism are even fewer. Our task should be to isolate these specific regions of cancerous tumors and amputate them from our society. In this task, our best weapons are indeed liberal-minded Muslims, so we should strengthen them.

  • therationalfool

    Pooja:

    I learnt in my profession long ago that one should not push analogies too far, but in this case it’s not too far.

    I live with my wife, and I did get chicken pox early in our marriage. She didn’t kill me, but took care of me. Food, medicines, and more. That’s because she didn’t confuse me with the chicken pox .

    Don’t confuse Muslims with Islam.

  • PoojaNair

    Islam is not the chickenpox

    ‘terrorism’ is the chickenpox

    Lets not confuse terrorism with Islam or with Muslims.

  • http://www.rationalfool.com therationalfool

    Terrorism is a means. What’s the end? You decide:

    “They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.” [Koran 4.89. Just an example verse; there's a lot more of this nonsense.]

    “[the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps] will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world. ” [The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran - emphasis mine.]

  • prateeksha

    “The policemen in the train station in Mumbai were armed with lathis and World War I vintage guns. They did not have a snowball’s chance in hell of confronting the AK-47 armed Islamic terrorists.”

    Exactly! We cannot blame corruption for the terror attacks, like you said. But we’ve to blame corruption for not being able to deal with the attack properly! I too, was utterly shocked to see the police with rifles.

  • prateeksha

    “The long coastline with its inadequate policing makes it easy to land arms and explosives at isolated spots on the coast.” from Arun Shourie’s article on Indian Express (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/surprised/392625) . A really good article.

  • mohit17

    Prateeksha, Atanu
    I would like to add a minor point which has come out to be the most important thing in this saga. Wasn’t it the lathi that actually caused the terrorist to go unconscious rather than kill him with an AK-47. Apparently the cop who caught the lone terrorist didn’t have a choice. What a blessing in disguise!

    Vakibs:
    “All the terrorists who attacked Mumbai are from rich and educated classes.”
    That may not be accurate. The lone captured terrorist is one belonging to a very poor family.

  • Pingback: Tragedy and Farce — Part 2

  • PoojaNair

    Attacking islam is attacking muslims.

    Muslims follow islam.

    Islam can be interpreted in many ways. You have caught hold of the terrorist interpretation.

    All the rest of the muslims have adopted a very “infidel” friendly approach.

    I think we will keep dodging the terrorists if we keep attacking islam and hurt the sentiments of good-hearted muslims…Instead we should join hands wiht these muslims and attack only the murderers, i dare say, on both sides – hindu and muslim

  • ram

    Attacking islam is attacking muslims.
    Muslims follow islam.

    Since you started these analogies
    Consider this analogy,
    Is attacking the problem of narcotics , attacking the drug-addict himself or is it helping the drug-addict.

    The drug-addict really worships his dose of hasish