Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Mumbai violence - Muslim terrorism a direct consequence of incompetent government and Hindu terrorism

The terrible events in Mumbai over the last day and more will have consequences not only for the individuals and families directly affected but also for the whole country.

My heart goes out to the families of those killed and hurt, and I pray for solace and healing for them.

But my heart goes out even more for our country as a whole.

At a time when the global economic crisis is already causing problems for our country, this event will add further economic challenges. Foreign investment will continue to be withdrawn, and the rupee will continue to fall in value. Various countries and major companies have already placed India on the "Alert" list against travel to the country. All this will cause even more unemployment, and thrust even more people into poverty, ironically including millions of poor Muslims.

The tragedy is that we have increasing terrorism in our country: think of Gauhati last month, Delhi the month before that, Bangalore in July, Jaipur in May, Hyderabad in August last year, the bombing of the train from India to Pakistan in February last year, Bombay in July 2006, Varanasi in March 2006, Delhi in December 2005....

Sadly, there is probably an even bigger tragedy that is yet to unfold because no one in our culture looks at history, only at immediate events.

In order to understand the current terrorist attacks, we need to remember two things:

(a) our government has mis-managed the Kashmir issue (just as it has mismanaged the Naga and Mizo issues, which are still festering, and have not produced parallel results only because Nagas and Mizos lack a support structure similar to Muslims both abroad and within India, in spite of consistently and massively repeated lies by the VHP to the contrary). Blaming "outside forces" is all very well, and may have some truth to it, but we cannot control what is happening in other countries. Let us not fool ourselves by talking about Al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. If we had acted justly and wisely in our own country, we would not have created the problem in the first place, and since we continue to act unjustly and foolishly, it is we who continue to nourish the problem.

(b) this Muslim terrorism is part of the reaction to Hindu terrorism in Ayodhya and Vadodra, and the failure of the government to bring the culprits to book, just as the government has failed to get at the culprits in Orisssa since last Christmas, and just as it failed to prosecute the perpetrators of the Sikh massacre following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi - even though, in every case, the names of the chief instigators and actors are known, and some of them are today even in high places.

As long as we Hindus, who are the majority, do not do all in our power to actively reject what Dr Vishal Mangalwadi has called "the spirituality of hatred", we will never be able to create peace and progress in India.

And there is no evidence, at least to date, that the VHP and its allies are willing to search their souls and to accept that they are to blame for whipping up hatred against minorities and secular Hindus (indeed all Hindus who disagree with the VHP).

Nor is there evidence that the Government is able or willing to bring to book the culprits for the massacre of Sikhs after the murder of Mrs Indira Gandhi, the massacre of Muslims so many times since Independence, and the increasing massacre now of Christians, as well as the re-targeting of Dalits and Tribals all over the country after the historic reduction in that oppession for a few decades.

Indeed, I have noticed over the last few years that the atmosphere in the country has become more and more fearful. Even before the Mumbai violence. Very few people are prepared to stand up for freedom and against intimidation. How can we expect individuals to stand up against intimidation, when the government itself is intimidated?

Of course the government will clean out the terrorists from the Taj and the Trident and the Jewish school. But what our government needs is the guts to bring all terrorists to book, starting with Hindu terrorists, and then going on to Muslim or any other terrorists.

In the absence of competent government, able and willing to provide justice and stability, and in view of the growth of the new Hindu spirituality of hatred, I foresee now more violence against Muslims, followed by more Muslim terrorist attacks, followed by more violence against Muslims, followed by more Muslim terrorist attacks....

Neither the new Hindu spirituality of hatred, nor the Muslim doctrine of "just revenge" can save the country.

As Gandhiji once said, "An eye for an eye makes the world blind".

It is only the spirituality of Jesus the Lord, which enables one to turn the other cheek, that can provide any basis for communal peace and progress in our country.

Meanwhile, as I did on September 13, I call again for a Government of National Unity in our country - a government that apologises for the past and is prepared to work together for the real progress of the country.

What I wrote some ten weeks ago was:

"We need a Government of National Unity which sees its task NOT (as at present) as lining its own pockets and those of the elite, but rather sees its task as addressing the basic problems of our country.

Why? Because we are wracked by Islamic violence, Naxalite violence, Hindutva violence, the general almost mindless system of violence against the poor and disadvantaged, the widespread corruption, the decay and threatened breakdown of our institutions, the unreal optimism of the even slightly-educated, the irresponsibility of most of those of us who are incredibly rich, and the hopelessness of the average Indian."

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