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Grotesque Terror Attacks in Mumbai

November 27, 2008
Courtesy Indian Muslims Blog

Courtesy Indian Muslims Blog

In one of the most daring and yet cowardly terror attacks, Bombay/Mumbai has been attacked. In an earlier post we had discussed the question of violence – ‘revolutionary’ violence, and the utter futility of resort to such methods. Violence is not a solution to anything; it cannot be. If anything, it is part of the problem; it is the problem. For violence begets more violence.

This brings us to one large and repressed question: repressed by the shrieking television anchor, repressed by the police, the state, the judiciary….the dead conscience of a once-aspiring nation. Even as we hear the tired rhetoric of the ‘foreign hand’ – the surest opium of a state that prefers to live in constant denial – we know that that repressed question will not go away.

If violence begets more violence, let us not forget that violence that has been and is being perpetrated over the years: Mumbai 1993, Gujarat 2002 being merely the big events, followed by the everyday terror and humiliation that Muslims are subjected to. Let us remind ourselves that all forces – including secular state institutions and media – have colluded in ‘punishing the guilty of the Mumbai blasts’ while not daring to get the perpetrators of the Mumbai riots to book. When the message sent out by the state and its institutions is that normal channels of justice are closed to some people; that law and the judiciary are also going to succumb to the power and blackmail of the Hindutva forces, what option do you leave for any kind of legal-democratic channel of redress to be accessed?

Let us remind ourselves that no terrorism has ever been eliminated by counter terror, counter violence. A political problem requires a political solution, not a military-administrative one. Once your normal channels of justice begin to inspire confidence, you may have won half the battle. Else, God alone knows….

57 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2008 12:34 PM

    Here’s an idea….Try walking yourself right through the front door of the Taj and saunder right up to the poor “humiliated muslims” who have killed 80 + people today alone, have grenades & bombs strapped to their bodies and their hands grasping AK 47’s and softly approach them with your “political solution”. Surely they’ll be more than happy to sit down with you, sip some tea and come to a profoundly “peaceful” resolution within mere minutes!
    Remember, “islam is the religion of peace” afterall. Be SURE to have the media follow you in and record the whole “peaceful process” so that the entire world can witness such a historic event! Better yet, invite barack obama to join you so he can “negotiate without any preconditions”! Be sure to let me know how your lil’ “peace summit” turns out. Meanwhile, I’ll be content and secure here in the USA under the Protection of the Most Powerful Military on earth.

    Signed,
    Welcome To Reality.

  2. Sunny Joseph permalink
    November 27, 2008 1:48 PM

    Hi Aditya,
    I can’t see the connection between Bombay 1993, Gujarat 2002, and what’s happening in Mumbai now. Do you think the terrorist who opened fire in CST was stupid enough to believe that he was avenging some historical wrong? We don’t know the politics of a bomb blast or terrorist attack yet. Retaliation for the riots in Bombay or Gujarat would have been justified if it was directed against the perpetrators of those riots.

  3. Prabhakar permalink
    November 27, 2008 3:34 PM

    Great piece! While innocents are being massacred by a bunch of beasts in human form, the sympathy is still for the “wronged” terrorists who are said to be only taking revenge for all the sins committed on them. For heaven’s sake, would you people stop this nonensical theories to rationalize terror that only go to further fortify terrorism? In this country, no section of the people have been as wronged and discriminated against than the Dalits. Do they go about planting bombs and massacring innocent women and children?

  4. Prashant permalink
    November 27, 2008 4:05 PM

    Wow, while I was expecting a post here about how this is all hindutva’s fault (gujarat riots, brahimincal caste conspiracy etc), I did not imagine it would be within hours of this ghastly incident. You guys have hit a new low here.

  5. November 27, 2008 4:54 PM

    Please don’t analyse this issue on the basis of any
    religion, politics etc. This is the most important problem of survival faced by the people of India; and not a religion, caste or political group!! We need to develop and strengthen our borders and seal its loopholes. The military and police should be freed from all the political influences. If it could be done, they will execute everything!! Otherwise, India will loose sleep forever!!

  6. November 27, 2008 5:54 PM

    And what exactly are you trying to prove by justifying these terrorist attacks?

  7. Prabhakar permalink
    November 27, 2008 7:04 PM

    I agree with you, Sunny. But these cowards have no guts to take on the strong and mighty. They can only target helpless, innocent victims including women, children and the old

  8. November 27, 2008 7:47 PM

    I think that far from justifying the violence, Aditya’s post is condemning it – calling it such words as grotesque, dastardly, violence begets violence… why does the very mention of other incidents of violence enrage some people?

  9. Aarti permalink*
    November 27, 2008 7:51 PM

    Dear Aditya, Dear All responding to Aditya,

    To begin with, lets be very clear on one thing. No one, least of all Aditya is justifying the attacks, no one has any sympathy for these “human beasts”, no one is not shocked and horrified at what we see unfolding over the last 24 hours.

    We are all stunned, all shocked, all nauseated to the pits of our stomach. Nor is Aditya making a causal connection between Godhra and Mumbai. He is simply pointing to a harsh and terrible truth that we will have to recognise now, or then forever make our compromises with terror as an everyday reality…and that truth is simply this – there is a real feeling of victimisation and anger that is being tapped in these incidents. This has to be addressed, to ignore it is to do so at our own peril.

    Please understand that we are not here to make excuses for dastardly cowardly attacks on civilians. But when will we see the writing on the wall??

  10. Subash permalink
    November 27, 2008 7:57 PM

    It is uncertain when the Indian muslims will get avenged even after Mumbai train blasts, Rajasthan, Delhi, Guwahati, Ahmedabad and other blasts. When will the Indian Mujahidin (East ,west, north and south branches) be finished with their task of avengance? Its high time this nuisance is stopped and the muslims stop categorising themselves as the oppressed.

  11. sush permalink
    November 27, 2008 8:18 PM

    The ATS Chief has been shot dead. Why was he not wearing a bullet proof vest? Most probably this is also a fake encounter. Probably the entire incident is stage managed by the police to malign the Muslim community. Right, Aditya? Yes, all acts of terrorism have underlying justification. Hindutva terror quotes appeasement of Muslims and maginalisation of Hindus as the reason. Prabhakar asks why dalits do not resort to terrorism. Good question.They should too.

  12. Aditya Nigam permalink*
    November 27, 2008 8:36 PM

    I must say that when I wrote the post, I was first and foremost reacting to the heinousness and the utter grotesqueness of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. I had not the faintest idea that my outright condemnation of these attacks, the killing of unsuspecting innocents would be read by so many people as a justification of the act. I share the anger, sadness and the agony of all those who have responded to my post. No words are strong enough to condemn them.
    Let me reiterate that my point in the post was not and cannot be to ‘justify’ the sheer cowardice that goes into such an act of killing innocent people. The only point that I made and will still underline is that terrorism cannot be fought – and I do think it needs to be fought to the finish – by military-administrative means. If one were serious about fighting terrorism, one would have to isolate the terrorists from its larger support within the community. An open democratic system with an efficient and impartial justice system is the best way of ensuring that. Merely repressive and military measures only end up cementing their ties with a community that is rapidly being reduced to the condition of Jews in interwar Germany.
    My reference to Mumbai 1993 and Gujarat 2002 was not meant to be a justification as some people seem to have read it but was meant to underline the near complete absence of democratic norms and justice in dealing with ordinary Muslims. I am convinced that a mere military-administrative response to terrorism will always be self-defeating. It will always push more and more people towards the terrorists.

  13. Prashant permalink
    November 27, 2008 8:46 PM

    Aarti ..this particular instance of violence was hardly condemned in this post. It was merely tiptoed around and used as an anchor to make the oft repeated point …”When the message sent out by the state and its institutions is that normal channels of justice are closed to some people; that law and the judiciary are also going to succumb to the power and blackmail of the Hindutva forces, what option do you leave for any kind of legal-democratic channel of redress to be accessed?”

    Without any effort of analysing the facts, the reports of foreign involvement have been dismissed as rhetoric and opiates. If this is not justification of the attacks then what is? The flames are still burning and we already have a root cause analysis !!!

    Again, as I said earlier ..a new low indeed.

  14. Prabhakar permalink
    November 27, 2008 9:26 PM

    “If one were serious about fighting terrorism, one would have to isolate the terrorists from its larger support within the community”.

    For a change, you are making sense, Aditya. I would add, more importantly, “isolate the terrorists from its larger support outside the community also”. Let me do some plain speaking. I am a genuine secularist, who is against all forms of communalism, whether majority or minority. I do not endorse the saffron brigade’s attitude towards minorities. You refer to the underlying reason for some Muslims resorting to terrorism as vengeance for atrocities committed on them, sense of alienation and so on. Have you ever thought why only the Muslims suffer from persecution complex? Why is it that the Christians do not share this feeling? (recent attacks against the Christians by the saffron parivar notwithstanding). Why is that the Christians do not suffer from minority complex? Why are they in the forefront of social, economic, cultural and educational activities in the country? Reason is not far to seek. They are an emancipated, forward looking community, free from radicalism. When the Muslims find themselves left behind, you people drill it into their minds that it is because of discrimination by the State which only adds to their sense of alienation, trapping them in a vicious cycle. Many states have reservations for Muslims in education, special schemes for their welfare and several other measures for the upliftment of the community. None of you guys who pretend to be their saviours feel the need to encourage them to genuinely introspect and see if there are problems within the community they should address. The worst approach to solving a problem is refusing to see the problem. Instead, you vie with each other to put the entire blame for the problems of Muslims on the State and Hindus. It may help in posturing, but hardly helps the Muslim cause. Aditya, can you please tell me why the Dalits do not turn terrorists? People like you would be doing a great service to the society if rationalizing terror is put an end to. Of course there are genuine issues to be addressed, but let us not mix them up with terrorism.

  15. atreyee permalink
    November 28, 2008 2:04 AM

    I find it strange that the word ‘justify’ features here time and again. Is it for us to justify, apportion blame, express dissent, shock and awe- ensconced in our little insulated worlds? I don’t know… historically celebrated narratives of violence have all evoked this sort of response, I suppose. From Holocaust to 9/11- when people who live ‘innocent’ lives are killed mercilessly, it evokes a kind of catharsis in us, that in many ways, marks milestones in the history of humanity. When WE get killed, disfigured, raped, plundered- it is worth remembering in history.

    My friends and family are safe and my anxiety ends there. I don’t know what it feels like to have one’s world shattered in a matter of moments, so I don’t have the wherewithal to feel shock or outrage. At this point, I feel nothing except confusion. And if someone in this moment seeks to shoot a few more bullets in vengeance, I won’t dare to claim that I understand her motives.

    Violence begets violence- and causes greater damage and should be avoided. I empathise with that worldview sitting in front of my computer, but something pokes me inwardly as I think of the myriad instances where vengeance and loss have not found sufficient solace in Gandhian pacifism.

  16. nil permalink
    November 28, 2008 3:42 AM

    three things that are absolutely necessary to be done if the indian ruling class wants to save its civilians from such
    acts of terror –
    (i) stop tagging behind usa in the mid-east process
    (ii) accelerate programs to improve socio-economic condition of minorities
    (iii) have a referendum in kashmir under multilateral supervision
    it is the responsibility of the secular forces in the country to force the government to work on these issues.

  17. Abhijit permalink
    November 28, 2008 5:44 AM

    Hi,
    Read your post and the short discussion on violence in the previous posts.

    I agree with much of what you say here. I have been this unfortunate event unfold on television since yesterday and the one question that keeps coming back at me is “How do you fight something like this?”

    People bemoan the security apparatus, blame the intelligence agencies etc. but I really don’t understand how any of that is going to make these things stop, leave alone counter/avenge it.

    What scares me is the posiibility that some of these violent entities may be too intransigent to engage in a political/peaceful solution.

  18. Prabhakar permalink
    November 28, 2008 8:52 AM

    atreyee: “Violence begets violence” : Where did the violence that begot the violence beget it from?

    nil:”stop tagging behind usa in the mid-east process”
    Perhaps you are not aware that India is one of the strongest supporters of the Palestinian cause

    “accelerate programs to improve socio-economic condition of minorities” – add one more to the badwagon! We have fooled ourselves enough with the “condition of the minorities” argument to rationalize terrorism. Can someone tell me why Pakistan is also suffering from terrorism? The minorities here are the majority there.

  19. heronubmerone permalink
    November 28, 2008 10:51 AM

    The debate on what inspires people to become terrorist on one hand and the futility of violence on the other being carried out on kafila should be welocmed in such times of crisis. I would like to make few points:
    Recent history and facts show that there is a connection between failure of secular, democratic institutions to provided justice and Indian Muslims involvement in terrorism. Not a single policeman has been punished for demolition of Babri-Masjid, Bombay Riots or Gujarat Riots. Small small time politicians have been convicted, that too after sustained struggle by human rights groups. It is a fact that until Babri-Masjid and subsequent Bombay riots, Indian Muslims were never involved in terrorist activities. All terror acts that happened in Kashmir were carried out by foreign based militants. To me this failure of the state to provide justice gives fodder to the terror groups to recruit local Muslims. Thank god that Dalits have not taken up arms. I hope jehadis, maoists and the ULFA also lay down arms. But they won’t because violence and nihilism is central to their politics.
    The central question is what is how does one go about in the struggle for justice. In this I believe the answer is provided by Gandhi and his philosophy of non-violence, compassion and restraint.
    We must recognise that all ruling groups, whether they call themselves democratic or totalitarian use violence as an instrument in different degrees to maintain status quo and and remain in authority. But more importantly they want those who oppose them to respond with violence. Once that happens, the ruling classes will always get the upper hand by violence as a strategy breaks down rational dialouge.
    I know there are many instances where groups using violence have come to power. Maoists in nepal being the latest example. I would again like to remind people of what Gandhi said, the character of the liberated society will depend on the nature of struggle of the oppressed use for liberation. Lets see how how democracy functions in Nepal in the coming future!
    There will always be violent jehadis, maoist, ULFAs etc. There will always be liberal congress and righ wing BJP and RSS. There will always be oppressed tribals, muslims, dalits, women, homosexuals etc. Oppression is subjective and relative. But the most important thing is the nature of struggle and the strategies used. For god sake lets stop glorifying violence!

  20. Rajesh permalink
    November 28, 2008 12:00 PM

    When I read Aditya’s earlier post on revolutionary violence and the present one on Mumbai, I can see clearly that he has no sympathy for violence as a means. There is something mind-numbing about `action-reaction’ statements of the kind that Rajiv Gandhi and Modi made. Suddenly flesh-and-blood individuals disappear, as do arguments and counter-arguments, there is only the enemy who must be repaid in his own coin. I remember the mysterious e-mails that appeared post-Godhra about kar sevaks misbehaving with a Muslim girl, the daughter of a vendor at Godhra station. I remember writing to all those who forwarded it to me requesting them to desist, as the mail only reproduced the action-reaction non-argument.

    I think the connection between this post of Aditya’s and the earlier one is that of the disappearing middle ground. The need for the middle ground has been expressed by the PM and by many others as a justification for legislations like the NREGA and the Forest Rights Act, the latter’s preamble even talks of righting a historical wrong where adivasis were evicted from their traditional lands. The intention behind the legislations is positive, the implementation is quite another matter. The middle ground is promised but does not fully materialise. The middle ground does not even begin to appear for the victims of communal carnages or for those who desperately need urgent economic succour. A feeling has been created that the only way to get the attention of the state is to indulge in some violence. The line between mass democratic movements and mob action gets blurred. Civil disobedience is no longer a carefully considered political act but often a cynically exploitative one.

    So what? What do we do now against this kind of terrorism, we may ask. The political middle ground that we long for will take its time to appear. In the interim, one of the little things we could do is to appreciate the importance of security rules, accept that they are necessary inconveniences, demand that everyone follow them. Co-operate with the overworked constable who frisks us, or the ill-paid private security guard who checks our bags, not throw a tantrum like the Planning Commission member I once saw who thought he was too important to enter his name in a register.

    In solidarity,

    Rajesh

  21. November 28, 2008 12:23 PM

    Aditya,

    I fully understand your sentiments behind the postings. However, we cannot ascribe a motive or a “root cause” behind such mindless acts of terror.
    We should see events in isolation. Gujarat riots were heinous and the perpetrators should be punished because the riots were heinous and legally wrong. Not because of the terrorist strikes or in the fear of future terrorist strikes. The collapse of judicial and administrative response to grave situations in India has afflicted all citizens of India. The minorities and dalits and tribals are worst to be hit. However, identity based counter-response to such situations will further endanger the situation.

    We must not humanize the terrorist, those who kill people in the name of Allah or Shiva. They are fed on a diet of perceived insults on their irrational belief systems.The demolition of a mosque or drawing of a cartoon or a nude painting of a god gives them their most potent arsenal of hatred. It is important to attack such beliefs and orient people towards their rational and material rights. As long as there exists a fake religious paradigm of morality, terrorists will continue to exist.

  22. Aditya Nigam permalink*
    November 28, 2008 3:09 PM

    Dear Atreyee, Abhijit, nil, heronumberone, Rajesh and Anoop,
    Thanks a lot for these thoughtful responses. I should take this opportunity to clarify one thing that at least you already have figured out: this post was meant to be brief and was written as a follow-up to the earlier post on violence where I had already elaborated to some extent, my position on ‘revolutionary violence.’
    I am, like most of you troubled about the continuing legitimacy that violent and terrorist means are acquiring all over the world and in India. Hence I address you and not all those others who can only see ‘justification’ of violence in what I wrote – for their own subtext is that of violence. Their comments are merely baying for blood – Muslim blood in revenge for Hindu blood.
    I think that question that Atreyee, Abhijit, Rajesh and Anoop raise is the really important one: how can we meet the challenge of such terror-based politics. Here I think, heronumberone, simply restating the value of Gandhian politics is not enough. For the terrorist, like many of the commentators above, thrives on another kind of violence: his is a closed smug mind, floating in the language of ‘hurt’, ‘injury’ and resentment; always full of an oral/verbal violence to begin with but always ready to tip over. See the number of ‘ordinary’, harmless-looking middle class people – men, women and children included – who looted the Muslim shops in Gujarat and you will see how thin a dividing line there is between this verbal, justificatory violence and outright participation in acts of violence.
    Gandhian politics met its most monumental defeat in the face of this kind of violence. Gandhi in fact fell to the bullets of a ‘hurt’ and ‘injured’ Hindu and his assassination was rejoiced by the likes of some of those who participate in the loot. Gandhi will never succeed before what Abhijit calls the intransigent violence of these mindsets. But the Gandhian position on violence is not trivial. Its importance is evident from the fact that it is precisely what enrages these smug creatures of ‘hurt’, ‘injury’ and ‘resentment.’ Gandhi’s monumental success was precisely that while he was alive, he dominated the Hindu imagination, leaving little space for the likes of a Savarkar or a Godse. Probably, he does still hold a lesson for us, then. But in the final analysis, it the fight to retain and expand the middle ground, the ground of ambiguity, ambivalence, – ‘undecidability’ if you will – that will strengthen the forces of sanity in the middle of this mindless baying for blood on both sides.
    And Anoop, however much our desire to see events like Gujarat 2002 ‘in isolation’, be motivated by good intentions, the fact is that Mumbai 2008, is not a freeze shot…the film has been going on for quite sometime:)
    And for the smug ones: the first signs of a Dalit-Maoist tie-up were already evident in Andhra over a decade ago and seen again, more recently in the post-Khairlanji violence. Decades of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the North East has not mitigated the armed insurgency at all – if anything, it has become more potent and more widespread. And newer and newer insurgent outfits have emerged all over. Not Muslim, please note. The Maoist-tribal connection too is very clear by now. Christians…yes…let us hope for the best…

  23. Debarshi permalink
    November 28, 2008 5:09 PM

    Mr. Aditya Nigam wants to take us for an intellectual ride outside the immediate concerns raised by the Mumbai attacks. This isn’t anything to do with Maoists, Gandhians, etc. This is Islamist violence whose justifications lie in the most virulent interpretation of the world’s problems. This violence has no centre – it proliferates through a vast, de-centralized network of terror. This violence has no country – its roots lie in the anti-modern frustrations of right-wing Islam. This violence is not merely a revenge of atrocities against Muslims – it is a revenge against modernization. This violence is against the law not in order to change or better it but in order to replace it with the Law of Islam.

    The victimization and terror which Miss Aarti is interested in has already entered a complex phase. It is easier for left intellectuals to attack Hindutva for obvious and correct reasons, but they seem to be terrorised by some unknown fear when it comes to attacking Islamist terror by name. Because the left has not yet found a proper ideological language against it. The writing hasn’t appeared in their walls yet.

  24. hemlavish permalink
    November 28, 2008 10:04 PM

    I have a request to all those who claim to sympathise with Muslims. By talking about dis-satisfaction among Muslims as the reason for terrorism, you are only helping those who seek to identify Islam with terror. As a devout Muslim, I can say for sure that no genuine Muslim will resort to terror to redress grievances. The terrorist attacks we see has nothing to do with Islam or the grievances of Muslims.They are crimes against humanity committed by sick minds. Please leave us alone, with advocates who justify terrorism in the name of problems of the community, we do not need enemies.

  25. Saachi permalink
    November 28, 2008 10:11 PM

    Here’s my two cents –
    I came here looking for a respite from the non-stop hysteria that’s currently crowding my television. I found the kind of reasoned, humane response to the incredible *violence* of the events taking place.

    We cannot afford to lose perspective at this hour. We cannot afford to just give in, to just mindlessly retaliate in the face of the magnitude of this attack. For everyone who’s berating the author of this post for not having a knee-jerk reaction to the attack, saying ‘Good god this is it, the terrorists have reached the limit, let’s just bomb them all’, really, should have just turned on their TVs.

    ‘Welcome to Reality’? In a Reality like this, Doc, everyone will lose. Everyone will succumb to the violence that will keep mushrooming in this Reality. Even you will. Even I will. So does that mean we shouldn’t choose to question it and wrestle with it and pick holes in it, and just persist with it? As Aarti says in a later post, our greatest vulnerability lies in the fact that we *don’t want to die*, and that is where this response comes from.

    PS: New ‘facts’ emerging on the TV : Nariman House was attacked for housing an ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jew headquarters and ‘the Palestine issue was most certainly on the attackers’ minds’. Whatsay to that?

  26. ranju radha permalink
    November 28, 2008 10:19 PM

    Aditya is right. Counter terrorism is not the solution.
    And i can’t resist myself from saying, while being so depressed after watching Mumbai terror in TV, that the kind of violence in the words of subash and prabhakar (read their posts here) amout to real terror. I feel pity for those who take this as an opportunity to demonise/alienate/stereotype Muslims. This is nothing less than any kind of terrorism to the core.

  27. Debarshi permalink
    November 29, 2008 2:22 AM

    Miss ranju radha is joking at a crucial moment. This is not appropriate. This isn’t about your ideas and its legitimacy against terror and counter terror. This is a moment of understanding the complex web of something which is out of our hands. Every community can be stereotyped – communities ARE stereotypical. So please don’t go into such defensive cliches. NAME the terror and be able to say what it represents and symbolises. One doesn’t have to get virulent or attack any community and yet be able to say the obvious. Its about time. If we spoke up against Gujarat – let’s speak up against this without any subtext of comparative justifications.

  28. November 29, 2008 3:30 AM

    First I want to say, I’ve been following this thread since my first post and I am very impressed by the obvious intellect and genuine concerns expressed by the majority of the commenters here. Naturally, this is a very critical issue for citizens of India and the entire region and I am encouraged to see so many voicing their opinnions with such cander and emphasis. I feel I should also apologize for my seemingly sarcastic and/or insensitive previous post, I meant only to exaggerate the futility of trying to “negotiate” or reason with terrorists.

    We must all first recognize and confront the reality of the mindset of radical Islam, these terrorists fully believe they are waging a holy war (jihad) and their interpretation of Islamic law literally mandates that they do so. In their minds, ALL who do not follow their twisted version of Islam are infidels (including other Muslims who do not agree with them) and they intend to impose their “law” on the entire world. They care not about political nor economic conditions nor do they perceive themselves as “persecuted” or “victimized”, in fact they view themselves as superior on all levels. They have only ONE ultimate purpose and that is to either convert or kill ALL who oppose them. For them, this IS a religous mandate and all other aspects are secondary at best. Yes they use many forms of deception and/or disguise to mask their ultimate goal but, make no mistake about it; Their “holy war” is waged for one single purpose, to impose Islamic law on the entire world.

    When faced with this type of radical and insane religous furvor, there is only one logical response…War. You can not “negotiate” a “political solution” with lunatics, nor can they be trusted nor even allowed to “peacefully” coexist with others when they fully believe they are the only “true religion” on earth.

    There will be many, many more Mumbai type attacks worldwide and worse, these lunatics will continue to escalate and increase their attacks until they either succeed with their ultimate goals or, they are finally completely wiped off the face of the earth. There is a vast and active coalition of military forces currently operating worldwide to acheive a just and suitable result for ALL nations, either support them 100% or, get the hell out of the way if you don’t have the courage to defend all that is Right and Good in this world!

    Someday, the Lions will lie down with the lambs but for now, the Lions must do what they do best.

    Doc’

  29. Sunalini Kumar permalink*
    November 29, 2008 5:10 AM

    Mister Debarshi,
    On the one hand, you berate Aditya for taking us on an intellectual ride (whatever that means) outside Mumbai, and on the other hand, you berate ranju radha for not grasping that this is a moment for “understanding the complex web of something which is out of our hands.”. I believe Aditya was precisely trying to understand the complex web of something out of our hands by using the best kind of resource a human possesses – his intellect. For that we all need to take an intellectual ride outside Mumbai, and I am grateful to Aditya for driving the bus.

  30. Debarshi permalink
    November 29, 2008 9:57 AM

    Miss Sunalini Kumar,

    You seem to be an intellectual devotee of Mr Aditya. I must confess at least Mr Aditya knows what he is taking about and is more sure of himself. So I am kind of glad it’s he who’s driving the bus for you and not the opposite. That would have been more dangerous :)

  31. ranju radha permalink
    November 29, 2008 10:18 AM

    Exactly debarshi. This is not the time to joke about “why muslims can’t be like christians” and Why all terrorist are so and so” and making slogans against communities/nations etc.
    That i find as joke, which unfortunately, has been echoed by media, politicians, bloggers, and so on.
    and i feel this is the right time to re-think about inherent biases/internal orientalisms that we carry as cultural/national trait. and all the cliches abt terror make funny remarks about “community”.
    The inherent violence within our conscience is the real terror. Terrorism is born out such cliched mindsets that demonises the OTHER.
    thanks

  32. Aarti permalink*
    November 29, 2008 12:12 PM

    Thanks all for a good discussion. I just want to respond to this question of the ‘motives’ of ‘Islamic’ terrorists, which several people have raised.

    Debarshi writes:

    This violence has no country – its roots lie in the anti-modern frustrations of right-wing Islam. This violence is not merely a revenge of atrocities against Muslims – it is a revenge against modernization. This violence is against the law not in order to change or better it but in order to replace it with the Law of Islam.

    You are right to say that this violence has no centre, and that it is an expression against a modernity. But that is the crucial difference, because the response is also and equally part of modernity. We make a fundamental error when we think of Islamist violence (like Hindu right wing violence) as being ‘anti-modern’ in some way. It inhabits the modern with ease – in terms of its understanding of an abstract political community, technocratic imagination and a politics of terror whose alleged non-state globality actually mimics completely nation-state politics itself.

    Doc responds:

    They have only ONE ultimate purpose and that is to either convert or kill ALL who oppose them. For them, this IS a religous mandate and all other aspects are secondary at best. Yes they use many forms of deception and/or disguise to mask their ultimate goal but, make no mistake about it; Their “holy war” is waged for one single purpose, to impose Islamic law on the entire world.

    This is a much longer discussion but I do not think it is useful to see Islamist violence in this way because it collapses too many things together and makes a fundamental error between ‘culture’ and ‘politics’. Radical Islam, unlike radical hinduism, borrows from the realm of culture, but is political, and indeed, even secular in its understanding of power. Certainly activists might view their personal actions as a religious mandate. But personal understandings of religious mandates do not explain historical movements. These are political , by which I mean they are located in understandings of power and the purpose of power. They are about access. This is not about conversion at all, or imposing Islamic law on the world at all. This is about creating a state form. That has nothing to do with religion qua religion.

  33. Prabhakar permalink
    November 29, 2008 1:25 PM

    Aarti writes: “Radical Islam, unlike radical hinduism, borrows from the realm of culture, but is political, and indeed, even secular in its understanding of power.”

    I’m not sure if Aarti is serious or joking. If she is not serious (I hope she is not!), kudos to her sense of humour.

    Radical Islam, as it is propagated calls for return to medieval Islam. Is there anything secular about Islamist states? How many such states can emulate a country like Turkey? Even in Turkey the hardline movement is gaining in strength.

    I don’t think anyone here is calling for blood. What needs to be done is to to isolate the terrorists and root out even sneaking sympathy for them for fighting for a “cause”. Hatred for the Indian state and Hinduism should not be allowed to colour one’s attitude towards terrorism.

  34. November 29, 2008 1:58 PM

    Aarti,

    First, perhaps you should closely study the Koran and learn what “mandates” are declared within it before you make such uninformed claims. Read especially about what constitutes an infidel and what Islam says should be done with them.

    Secondly, Islam as a religion is the basis of all Islamic law, therefore the “political” aspect is in fact secondary to the prime. ALL aspects of Islamic society are in fact based on, shaped by and derived from the Islamic religion.

    As for “power”, and the “understanding” of it, I seriously doubt the morality police in Iran or Afghanistan have any trouble exerting and displaying their “power” over the citizens of either country. Nor do I doubt that the citizens therein have any problem “understanding” what happens to those who dare defy or violate the enforcers of the “power” supplied by the Islamic government. Violence IS the primary method used to enforce Islamic law, violence IS in fact a primary element of ALL aspects of everything Islamic. If you doubt that, just ask any muslim woman if she is free to choose anything for herself, or if she fears “violence” from her husband or even her own father. Not to mention the government.

    What you so casually describe as “activists” are in reality…TERRORISTS. Furthermore, for you to even consider that Islam is in ANY way “secular” (politically or otherwise) only proves that you simply have zero understanding of the entire premise and design of Islam. Considering that your country (I’m assuming you reside in India) is currently UNDER ATTACK from the religous lunatics known as Islam, I strongly urge you to reconsider your present “understanding” of what Islam actually is and it’s ultimate goals for your country and the entire world. Perhaps the next “state form” established by Islam will be your own home land. Your neighbors in Pakistan could probably offer you a good example of just how easily it could happen.

    Doc’

  35. ranju radha permalink
    November 29, 2008 2:37 PM

    Yes, one should fight the moral policing of Talibans just as one should unitely fight that of Sagh Parivar, MNS, Shiv Sena, the Church.
    One should fight the terror agaisnt Muslim women just as we should fight for the rights of Dalit/Adivasi women who are brutally tortured by Hinduism
    One d question the “secularisms” of all kinds that hide behind the dominant ideology (religious/community etc.) which murders plurality and approapriates diversity into a homogenous linear narrative. it s a historic violence unleashed upon a culture by handful of elite who think that they r born with a divine sanction to be “meritorious” and to rule. This kind of terrorism should be fought relentlessly. Other occassional burst of physical violence comes out from it.
    the political economy of the business of terrorism doesnt confine it to the perpetrators alone. Once it percolates into the conscience as a habit, it may not be controlld even with stringent laws or counter violence.
    this is no sense suggest to undermine the anti-terrorsm activities, rather it argues for a better understanding of terrorism, its complexities. the social/cultural/political/economic aspects etc.
    last but not least, one should not let this moment to slip into the hands of rightist fanatics who may at any cost (in any country) would use this as an opportunity to perpetuate their part of terrorism.
    Avert such terrorisms. Counter terrorism is terrorism to the core andshould be condemned.

  36. Aarti permalink*
    November 29, 2008 3:45 PM

    Doc, I am not going to respond to the hysteria of uppercase that litters your comment. Clearly you seem to have some fear for mine and my country’s future, which I appreciate. But I do think that future will be better served by an expansive understanding of the complexity of the present, as opposed to a simplistic caricature of ‘Islam’ ‘terrorism’ and the relationship between the two.

    I am not a scholar of Islam by any means, and would appreciate comments and discussion from other readers in this discussion.

    What you see as crass ignorance is actually a pretty mainstream position, that has been variously worked out for Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Namely the use of religious discourse/symbols/language to address and form a political community, which is animated not by any other-worldly concerns, but transformation in this world, in the world of politics. This is what I mean by secular. That the understanding of power is secular i.e it derives not from any religious sanction or divine revelation, but from modern forms and technologies of politics.

    Your diatribe against Islam displays a profound ignorance of what “religion” means, and an even greater ignorance of twentieth century colonialism and its aftermath in the form of cold war politics, which is directly and brutally implicated in the production of this variant of ‘Islam’, the eradication of which the west now sees as its historical mission. A good book for you to read might be Mahmood Mamdani’s Good Muslim, Bad Muslim. It will go some way towards clarifying some basics.

    First, perhaps you should closely study the Koran and learn what “mandates” are declared within it before you make such uninformed claims. Read especially about what constitutes an infidel and what Islam says should be done with them.

    To extrapolate the actions of supposed believers from what is said in the text is simple-minded and erroneous. By this logic the Upanishads justify the rape of recalcitrant women and the torture of dalits. Am I to assume this is what all hindus believe on infallible textual authority? The New Testament has pretty much the same position on infidels by the way as the Koran, and also recommends stoning adulteresses? Should we presume this is how all Christians live their lives?

    Religion is not lived like a juridical law in people’s lives or in society. Nor is what is defined as ‘religion’ the same as faith. Nor is the textual definition of religion a uniform uncontested process. Nor even if textual primacy were to be established for arguments sake, does everyone agree on interpretation. I am sick and tired of a-historical, ignorant rubbish like this. It has no clue or conception of how anyone lives their lives.

    Secondly, Islam as a religion is the basis of all Islamic law, therefore the “political” aspect is in fact secondary to the prime. ALL aspects of Islamic society are in fact based on, shaped by and derived from the Islamic religion.

    All aspects of Islamic society are in fact NOT shaped or derived from the Islamic religion, and Islam itself has a complex relationship with law. There is so such thing as a single Islamic Law. There are four textual sources of ‘law’, each of which have varying relationship to divine authority and sanction. There is no unanimity amongst Muslim sects on what is sharia. The codification of one Sharia law for the entire Muslim community in India is a dateable enterprise located in the history of colonial rule and the production of colonial forms of knowledge about the other. And further since the record of Muslim empires hitherto has been that they have historically given refuge to and encouraged the flourishing of minorities (including christians and jews from persecution in Europe, please read the history of the Ottoman empire), your claim is even more ignorant. Historically Islamic rulers have not attempted to convert the whole world. So lets be done with this hysteria. And Prabhakar if radical Islam actually called for a return to medieval Islam we would all be celebrating frankly. We have the opposite problem on our hands, the trouble is that this is a modern Islam.

    What religion means, what faith means, how people do or do not engage it as a part of everyday life, is a complicated messy and contradictory process, which interfaces with what else is going on in the world at the time. It doesn’t simply flow from ‘the book’ like some unmediated source of truth.

    But lets, for arguments sake, make an a-historical argument. Lets assume that the entirety of a Muslim’s life is completely governed down to their last detail by Koranic injunctions, straight from the book, an everyone is agreed upon what they mean. Lets go simply by what the Koran says and what is says is what defines the ‘religious mandate’ of Muslims. Then if you take so seriously the Koranic sura on jihad, as being a direct textual source and justification of the religious ‘mandates’ of jihadi terrorists, then you must also take equally seriously the Koranic injunctions which determine just conduct towards enemies. If we go by strict Koranic textual principles then to attack the other, attacking unarmed people, attacking travellers (bombing tourists) and attacking people of the book (bombing a Jewish house of worship, Christians and other Muslims) will land any believing Muslim in the pits of hell fire. How come you don’t see this as being centrally defining of the Muslim ‘mindset’?

    Furthermore, for you to even consider that Islam is in ANY way “secular” (politically or otherwise) only proves that you simply have zero understanding of the entire premise and design of Islam.

    On the contrary it demonstrates that you have actually never spent a minute in your life thinking about what ‘secular’ or ‘religious’ actually mean and so that the ‘secular’ could actually inhabit what you see as the ‘religious’ has never occurred to you. I will leave this for the next discussion. This comment is too long as it is.

    I

  37. Debarshi permalink
    November 29, 2008 5:34 PM

    Dear Everybody,

    There has been a Fidayeen attack in and on Mumbai and it has been established without doubt that International Islamic terror network is responsible. This is no longer the Indian Mujahideen, so it is no longer merely about Muslim grievances in the country. The attack targeted Jews, Americans and Britishers, so it wasn’t an attack merely on the Hindu population. This is a multi-target attack, aimed to challenge the Indian state as much as use India as a soft target to highlight the terrorists’ cause. Let us get these initial facts right. And please – let us not waste everybody’s time by going into half-baked and wishy-washy understanding of Islam, etc. And please – no spiritual angsts and warnings on violence. It sounds pretty pretentious after so many people have been killed. We have to discuss the mindset which caused this attack and resulted in this killing. A country’s sovereignty was violated and challenged. We needn’t be nationalists to defend our freedom against this terroristic threat. We have to get our understanding of this politico-religious ideology of pan-Islamic terror in place. We have to get a hang about its goals as much as its mindset to get a complete hang of the disease. This has nothing to do with the Muslim populace in this or any other country. But it certainly has to do with an increasing number of young radicals being inducted to a cause which is trying to reduce all the political problems of the world into a justification for jihad. Let us not go into the correctness or incorrectness regarding the interpretation of jihad. But one has to say this: just as Hindu right wing thought is impossible without the idea of India as a Hindu nation-state, Muslim right wing is, however caricatured, derived from the interpretation of the Quran. All right wing ideas are monolithic and in the case of Islam it is their radical monotheism. The centrality of the Quran is a problem by itself that has to be recognised by those Muslims who don’t support Islamic terror. It is not about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims – it is about those who are religious and those who are secular – and secularism cannot have anything to do with belief in religious tenets.
    Without going into larger historical stories of cold war, etc we can easily see the recent phenomenon in terms of a converging of various Muslim groups joining hands – across borders, countries and even professions, with the Indian Muslim Mafia in Pakistan aiding the Jihadis. One terrorist is a British-Pakistani, one is from Yemen. What does it indicate? That these guys are joining hands to raise the toast of terror. These attacks have nothing to do with real but imagined, exaggerated grievances. Please don’t take away the centrality of the problem by discussing secular, non-violent rubbish. In fact this attack should have put the Hindu right wing in place because the heinous atrocities these saffron fascists can commit on poor Muslims in the country has been surpassed by the huge spectral might and width of Islamic terror. The Fidayeen attack can be rightly called a challenging war unleashed against the Indian state. Let us try and get this important equation of violence between the right wing in India and International Islamic terror right. But unfortunately – and crucially – one doesn’t depend on the other ANYMORE. This is the real scare we have to live now. I don’t think this attack will facilitate the BJP’s rise to power. The scale of the threat is beyond national borders and the national Islamic terror circuit. Let us discuss issues and then see how it lends to theoretical understanding. Not brush issues with nonsense. Miss Aarti – to put in a friendly caution – the number of times you have used the word historical and historically has made these words lose all meaning. Let us not pile up layers and layers of arguments from all kinds of discourses and cook an uneatable dish of concerns.

  38. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    November 29, 2008 6:54 PM

    Master Debarshi,
    Let me begin with an invitation to you to enter the 20th century about a hundred years too late and stop referring repeatedly to women as “Miss”. In the blogworld, one simply refers to people by the names they use, assuming no gender/age etc. characteristics. In the “real” world, meanwhile, it is offensive and patronising to infantilize women with the use of this particular mode of address beyond the age of five or thereabouts. If you are simply a polite person who does not want to address strangers by their first name, try Ms.
    Second – make up your mind – you want to “discuss issues and then see how it lends to theoretical understanding”, and simultaneously address a patronising “friendly caution” to Aarti to avoid using “history”, “historically” and “historical” too many times.
    A theoretical understanding is precisely the move away from the frame that presents us with one picture and one picture only as “reality” – that picture is produced and kept stable by selectively cutting out myriads of other realities that lie just outside the frame spatially; and beyond it/ behind it, in terms of time. To recognize the latter is to enter “history” – it is one way of dissolving this relentless frame, of seeing other pictures and listening to other stories.
    It’s not surprising that the invocation of history discomfits you. You have your answer already, it was always there with you. Historical accounts trouble that answer, and trouble your clear understanding of exactly which monolith to hold responsible for everything you hate.
    (Q. Why is the world such a terrible place?
    a) “Islamic terror”
    b)”Pan-Islamic terror”
    c)”International Islamic Terror Network”.
    Kaun sa answer lock kiya jaaye?)
    With such a clear and easily comprehensible answer to hand, you find it wasteful and irritating that others continue “to pile up layers and layers of arguments”.
    You may find the “dish of concerns” that Aarti has placed before us “uneatable”, but Master Debarshi, the bland and ubiquitous junk food you offer is too expensive for us, and certainly it is terrible for our health.

  39. ranju radha permalink
    November 29, 2008 9:00 PM

    http://www.fakingnews.com/2008/11/mumbai-terror-attacks-by-media.html

    see how fake-news looks at the whole TRP game of media

  40. sush permalink
    November 29, 2008 10:06 PM

    Instead of addressing the points Debarshi has raised, give him a lecture on netiquette and attack him…….. shoot the messenger!

  41. tilaka permalink
    November 30, 2008 12:15 AM

    The talk of Islam’s allegedly inherent violence is pointless – where does that take one??? Even fundamentalist Islam takes a great many forms, of which most essentially espouse just praying like there’s no tomorrow.

    Nor do I think what happened is necessarily an aggrieved response to a perceived injustice or to prior violence. No matter who masterminded it (and I really have many many questions about that), it was calculated and offensive, with no specific demand or articulated protest – very, very different from fidayeen in 80s Palestine strapping bombs to themselves when under seige. The rhetoric of non-violence has the unfortunate effect of preventing a theoretical engagement with specific forms of violence. It’s understandable to intellectually swoon and beat the breast when such things happen, but at some point, it’s definitely worth thinking about violence in as historicized and monolith-busting a way as anything else.

  42. Richa permalink
    November 30, 2008 1:56 AM

    Looks like Arti and Nivedita towards the end and Aditya Nigam and many others in the what appears to be a well-established clique, are trying to sideline the issue in so-called facts of History. The issue is that a Pakistan based organization whose business is to establish the Muslim rule throughout the world, has attacked the microcosm of the world. Hindus, Jews, Christians, people of man faiths and many countries have been the victims. The way this Aditya, Arti, et al clique looks backwards, this organization is also backward looking. The role of Muslims in India in this ghastly attack is nominal, if at all there is any at all, so your sensse of rationality, your sense of histiriocity, your sense of social democracy holds no water when applied to this case. India and the rest of the world need not waste time in the crap of “left out”, “discriminated against” “psychologically raped” “victimized” “burned down” Muslims, even the Muslims will dislike the idea of linking the social evils of India with this attack. India should deal with this menace as strongly as did United States after 9-11. Go ahead with the referendom with Muslims, leave out the clique of Hindus who is hijacking the Muslim cause for their own bread and butter, the majority of the Muslims will support aggressive policies against, not only external aggression, but also internal security. The clique is no worse than the colonizers who thought that their subject is no powerful or sensible enough to communicate what it wants. So listen clique you are doing a great disservice to the Muslims by putting words in their mouths; no in fact not even trusting them enough to putting the words there; by listening to what they are not saying. You are like the Indian state of the past to whom the first thing came to mind after such terrorist activities was ISI; to you it is Muslim oppression. If this country listens to you, it will remain weak, and leave alone Muslims nobody will want to be with the weak. The wind which spreads a conflagration, extinguishes the weak flame. There hasn’t been a single attack on United States after 9-11, not a single attack in the capital of israel, no other country made so many enemies as did these two. Israel several Pakistans in its neighborhood, several Arabs who are in as bad a state as Muslims in India, why hasn’t been the series of bomb blasts there? Why haven’t the terrorists been able to take hostages there? China and Russia too have their “discriminated” Muslims, do you hear anything happening there as gruesome as this? Just once in Russia, and then these jihadis fell in line. Jihad, by all countries, must be ruthlessly crushed, if the clique thinks it to mean that Muslims should be crushed, I can do nothing but pity them.

  43. Aarti permalink*
    November 30, 2008 3:28 AM

    Dear Richa,

    I truly wonder whether we inhabit the same world. Since when is Israel a beacon of safety and security? Since 2000, the death toll in the region is estimated at about six and a half thousand people – Israeli and Palestinian. And the American death toll in Afghanistan and Iraq has now crossed the lives lost in Vietnam. I mean what honestly are you talking about?

    It is no one’s case, least of all mine, that we should not take measures to tackle terror. And yes, it seems that this attack has brought a different model of terror to our shores. But the point being made by some of in the ‘clique’ is that unless we understand what this terror is and are willing to face up to it in a clear-eyed fashion, we will simply respond in ways that excerbate the problem.

    America’s war on terror that you lay such store by has rendered the entire world unsafe. It has produced political Islamist terrorism in countries which had no history of it, such as Iraq. It has made the lives of ordinary Americans of all religions, and especially Muslim Americans unsafe and insecure. Americans have been targetted around the world, as have countries that supported this ‘war’. Why do you think Obama won this election? because the American people were thoroughly sick and disillusioned by the very war on terror that you hail.

    This is why we waste our time discussing, what you consider to be, trivialities like history and caution against the simple-minded, brash war-mongering you favour. Please have some sense and exercise some caution when you use phrases like “jihad must be ruthlessly crushed”. Do you even know what this means, or entails?

    These are difficult times for all of us. I assure you our lives and the lives of our loved ones are as precious to us as yours are to you. We do not have any magic cloaks that will protect us from the bombs and bullets of terrorists. We are as invested, perhaps more so, in the safety and security of our cities as you are. But unlike you, we do not have the easy consolation that terror can be fought by ratcheting up terror in response. there is a certain sort of world I value as dearly as my desire to live in it. I would not have it marred and brutalized by frightening rhetoric of the likes of you.

  44. Sanya permalink
    November 30, 2008 6:21 AM

    Some people in this discussion do not want to enter the debate keeping one simple fact in this particular case in focus, which needs to be examined. That there is a phenomeon called ‘Islamic terror’ and it has not been imagined by either the Hindu right wing in this country or the Christian conservatives in the West (though it may have been initiated by them). And this does not mean Islam = terror. And these parties, invariably, like all other fascists in history, think in only one direction: that of genocide, or subjugation of certain races/people.

    Aditya said: “If one were serious about fighting terrorism, one would have to isolate the terrorists from its larger support within the community. An open democratic system with an efficient and impartial justice system is the best way of ensuring that. Merely repressive and military measures only end up cementing their ties with a community that is rapidly being reduced to the condition of Jews in interwar Germany.”

    Here, Aditya clearly implies Muslims and their community, so Nivedita, please abstain from reducing other people’s arguments to ‘lock kiya jaaye’ type reactions viz. Muslims.
    I think no one here, not even Doc (who tends to be a little extreme sometimes), is suggesting that *Muslims in this country* should be attacked. Or that (like the media) we should be willing to give up our civil liberties for the sake of the kind of security America forced on its people after 9/11.

    I feel hemlavish’s intervention was important: that he as a Muslim feels that your tying up the genuine grievances Muslims have in India with the terror that is unfolding will only feed the anti-Muslim sentiment. That violence is the *only way* left to them. Here, too, heronumberone’s important argument comes into play: that the means of the struggle defines where it finally ends up.

    As for the example of the Jews & what happened to them, I can only say that the collective burden of guilt, that most of Europe shared, enabled the Jews to snatch land from the Palestinians, and create another holocaust. In our guilt of what we have witnessed in the subcontinent, let us not get carried away as well to enable another Palestine like situation in the future. Which is why we take our due lessons from history and wish to prevent both Nazi Germany and the subsequent Palestine-Israel type of situations.

    Violence is a very real problem that has been surfacing very often, especially in India. But yes, military-administrative methods are not the only ones available. There is something called ‘diplomacy’ but there too power comes into play. Countries flex their muscles, so it’s not as if that is entirely free of ‘violence’ in a strict sense.
    When Pakistan is asked pointedly whether it will hand over specific terrorists if found in its country, none of its representatives answers in the affirmative “Yes, we will”. They only say, “we will suport India”, “show us the evidence”, etc. The answer to that is not to ask the US to send in its troops to the Pak border, of course, but to diplomatically ‘force’ it to surrender certain people. But isn’t the power the US currently has over the rest of the world the result of a certain kind of fear it has bred? So diplomacy too has its roots in power, and violence is part of the psyche of all nation states.

    Also, while democracy plays itself out, legally redresses grievances that all secular citizens need to strive for, the immediate cessation of this terrorist-type violence has to be effected. That fact cannot be escaped.

    The Indian state has been extremely violent with many of its people, the Kashmiris, those in the Northeast, and the state governments too have picked up those methods: in Gujarat, in West Bengal, etc.
    But again, that belongs to a different discussion. The matter of interest & debate here, in this scenario needs to be, what I feel many people here have been urging: what makes Islamic terror possible? Let’s get into a theoretical debate about the same.

    Even if we are to accept what Aarti said (not having read the books she has) that Cold War made it possible, let’s then discuss what has made it continue? What feeds it, keeps it alive? What are the ends of this ‘revolutionary’ (though it is actually ‘reactionary’) violence?
    She has not addressed this question, being busy in protecting the Quran from attack. Let’s not make holy books of other religions more holy than we would like to our own, and in the process lose critical distance from both.

    Aarti said: “To extrapolate the actions of supposed believers from what is said in the text is simple-minded and erroneous. By this logic the Upanishads justify the rape of recalcitrant women and the torture of dalits. Am I to assume this is what all hindus believe on infallible textual authority? The New Testament has pretty much the same position on infidels by the way as the Koran, and also recommends stoning adulteresses? Should we presume this is how all Christians live their lives?”

    Well, conservatives in every religion, including Hindus and Christians *do* believe in such trash and actually do live out like that. They do criminalize and punish according to those laws. Hindus’ laws are defined by that great text Manusmriti which most of the conservative ones live by and treat Dalits (& lower castes) and their women by its strictures. Similarly, Christian conservatives still have a problem with abortion and they indulge in witch-hunting, demonizing homosexuals and other crimes using the Bible as their ally. So, why is it so difficult to accept that Muslims too have their conservative counterparts and their text, the Quran too has portions that can be appropriated and used by conservatives for their own ends?
    And since culture has evolved differently in various regions of this world, there are contradictions in every religion. And yet, there’s no denying that conservativism of any religion is a problem.

    The question here is of ‘selective reading’. It suits some sections of the Islamic world to do that kind of reading to radicalize a portion of their people. Let’s discuss that.
    And if you want to ask why should *we*, right now, be interested in that discussion, is because we have discussed the big problems that have faced us and others in the world, and would like to do the same now. Not bring in ten other issues when it is a specific one that actually needs unbiased debate & a lot of thinking of its own. Bringing in other issues will just distract us.

    Moreover, the Hindu right wing in India, the Christian right wing in the West, are somewhere restricted to those regions and we/they have intellectual & legal battles going on with them. But Islamic terror has penetrated different parts of the world at different occasions. If we can talk about the US penetrating Vietnam & Iraq, we can surely discuss radical Islam and how it has pointedly affected the subcontinent since its inception. We are not even coming to that point of debate because people keep skirting it (I hope Nivedita will not mind my usage of the term ‘skirting'; please excuse me if I am unaware of the latest developments in politically correct terminology).

    In fact, Aditya’s continual pointing in the direction of the grievances of Muslims is what makes them a single, unbroken entity. Are we not aware that Muslims in Gujarat are very different from those in Hyderabad, those in Maharashtra, those in West Bengal, those in Kashmir? To say, in fact, that it is due to the non-redressal of their grievances that they are *collectively* turning towards radicalism and violence is to deny them the regionality that is an essential part of the Indian, even the subcontinental, mindset.

    Having said that, he seems to be less interested in what breaks this regionality, if it does — in fact in a way he squarely lays the blaim on Indian Muslims (the single entity), that many here are not doing — and more in something that is part of another important debate, that of their being subjugated to violence by the Indian state ever since its independence from colonial rule.

    Debarshi said: “The centrality of the Quran is a problem by itself that has to be recognised by those Muslims who don’t support Islamic terror. It is not about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims – it is about those who are religious and those who are secular – and secularism cannot have anything to do with belief in religious tenets.”

    Like I said earlier, even among Christians and Hindus, and Jews as well, the idea of a centre from where religiosity and the feeling of being a ‘community’ is derived, is the problem of conservatism. As secular (and non-violent) human beings we cannot either shield conservatism, nor attack it by making it accept secular laws of the state. It backfires, like the abortion law did in the US, and the UCC will in India if it is forcibly enacted.

    But we still need to relentlessly address the problem. Dialogue and argue and debate dispassionately the same way we would with our own families and friends: in fact, the farther one is from the other, the easier it is to nod in understanding, ‘yes, you are right, if I had suffered all that, I too would have responded similarly’. Would you have? And if yes, then why? Is there not a need to urge the ‘other’ to be non-violent too?

    Does not our blood boil when we read about the violence that has been meted out to Dalits over so many years, and is still going on? But what are we doing instead of mindlessly killing upper caste people; supporting the BSP (if we believe in democracy at all), even as we know of its shortcomings; and during our support also critiquing it. And if a debate on the problem of Dalit politics ever comes up here, we need to discuss dispassionately, though rage is difficult to prevent, given we are human beings.

    A similar rage is being vented by most people on this post, but they are being turned into villians, as if they are interested only in killing Muslims, and not stopping the killings that have become a part of our everyday lives. Again some of you would say Muslims are being killed every day, but so are homosexuals, so will that prevent us from talking about dowry deaths and marital rape and problems of marriage (all crimes on heterosexual women) till those on homosexuals end?

    Aarti said: “It inhabits the modern with ease – in terms of its understanding of an abstract political community, technocratic imagination and a politics of terror whose alleged non-state globality actually mimics completely nation-state politics itself.”

    Yes, it’s true that right wing politics has come out modernity and the idea of a nation state, and even uses its methods, but does that prevent it from *pointing towards* an anti-modern, religious utopia as its goal? And that utopia is a theocratic nation state, not a democratic one. That is precisely what we wish to contest, that’s all.

  45. ranju radha permalink
    November 30, 2008 11:32 AM

    From Pakistan’s 9/11 to India’s 9/11
    the world treversed could not recognise the world imagined.

    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=44902

    global terrorism’s utopia need not be a new “nation-state”. it s sustained by its ownpolitical economy. it is beyond theology. and not necessarily confine to a religious utopia. the corporate imperialist ideology suits its course of action. No religion can stop it or counter it, i think.
    (Malegoa/khadhmal/gujrat may be built on a Hindu utopia, but not the LeT type).. it is the global corporate business of the millenium

  46. Richa permalink
    December 1, 2008 1:05 AM

    When Arti, from the clique, read my posting, I don’t know what she thought of my suggestion of merciless crushing of Jihad. Please don’t panic your friends the current self styled jihadis, in my suggestion, should be given a chance. They need to be reeducated by mullahs that what they are doing is not good for world and not good for Islam. If it doesn’t work, they need to be sent to jannat; that’s where they will go for having such religious zeal. They will reach where they want to be, and some who don’t want to remain on this earth will remain here. Neither I, nor perhaps you, want to go to heaven/hell befoe we die of natural deaths. Sadly though, no matter how sympathetic you are to them, they won’t be especially kind to you for your views. They will find you in Indian territory, one of those who raped their manufactured mothers and sisters. Wish you have a tete-a-tete when their types visit India once more. Hope your and the clique’s opinion about them, how should they be treated, will change.
    Your example of Americans and Israelis having got killed is after the stringent laws after 9-11 is deliberately chosen and shows how great you are at misreading. Americans and Israelis got killed even before 2001; tell me how many civilians could be killed by the self-styled jihadis whom you and the clique sympathizes with, with in the countries, Israel and the US? I don’t remember having ever supported the war on Iraq neither in my posting nor in my life otherwise, I don’t know why you would attribute that to me. In fact you should have like the war as Saddam Hussein would not let your jihadi friends flourish in the region. He was zillion times more secular than the clique you represent and so were the Iraqis till Jihadis infultrated th region and made everything communal, the way you guys do in India. The difference being they vitiate the environment with their senseless use of weapons and the clique does it with their mindless use of language.

  47. sush permalink
    December 1, 2008 9:42 PM

    My dear brother, it is not Islamophobia. We have nothing against Islam or the huge majority of Muslims who are our brethren, and who are peace loving. We are angry. Very angry that our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers are being slaughtered in cold blood by terrorists who claim to represent Islam. And there are still people within the community and outside, who sympathise with them. Instead of attacking those who protest, please vent your ire against those who are bringing bad name to the community.

  48. Debarshi permalink
    December 1, 2008 11:09 PM

    Sush is being honest and clear. That helps her make her point without going into jargons or creating a smoke-screen of theories to take the glare out of the issue as others are doing. Self-appointed gurus of peace are perhaps not missing the truth – they are deliberately creating a truth in the happy confines of their cocooned world. I don’t find any social angst in their writings. Only stylized versions of wisdom mongering. In fact, just because we have to avoid a war and inter-community violence, we have to thrash out the discomforting facts and sideline them as specifically as possible. If this is subverted by crying wolf about people having turned fanatics or that everybody except the great critics here don’t understand the problem, then I am afraid things are neither going to change or improve.

  49. December 2, 2008 1:14 AM

    [...] “These terrorists are a black spot on our religion, we will very sternly protest the burial of these terrorists in our cemetery.”
    Ibrahim Tai, president,
    Indian Muslim Council [...]

  50. ranju radha permalink
    December 2, 2008 8:36 AM

    It was “fun” to read the angry and frustrated comments in newspapers/blogs post-mumbai 26/11. The attack on Taj was depicted as that on “india”. Terrorism is only one symptom of the disease called nationalism and patriotism. As one foreign friend queried, “why can’t the elite India morn when Dalit huts were attacked with weapons, burnt and DAlits killed/raped on every day basis in this very “India”? We can’t see “upper”caste/class India morn for tht. Their India may not include Khairlanji and Khandmal.
    CST was sidelined, ad Taj being projectd asthe symbol of “india”. (see the media coverage)
    Our idea of India should not confine to Taj and we should get out of Taj to invent ‘India’. The Other India also reside here confronting day-to-day brahminical “terrorism” in urban/rural mileaus. Are you ready to morn and condemn this terrorism guys?
    Else, even crocodiles will collectively commit suicide seeing the kind of pseudo-sentiments aired in the name of nation.

    • Nikhil permalink
      July 11, 2009 4:43 PM

      The attacks have no class, caste or religious bias, ordinary people lost their lives for no reason…. India has behaved with grace that most foreign countries lacked, when such attacks happened on their soil, be it 9/11 or the London bombings. My point is you cannot equate two tragic incidents and claim that it was an attack on eltist india, the fact that the police officals and many of the people, who were killed were hardly elitist. This jaundiced way of looking at all issues from a religious or casteist viewpoint is the bane that this country faces. Innocents must not be killed, in terrorism, both state sponsered and otherwise.

  51. Hussein permalink
    December 2, 2008 9:01 AM

    Is it proven beyond a shadow of doubt that muslims are implicated in the Mumbai terror? Was 911 not stage managed/masterminded and orchestrated?Is State terrorism not a reality in global politics?Is India really as peaceful with its minorities and neighbors as we are made to believe?Why does India not bring the right wing Hindu under control?THERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS.WHY? it is because our very global leaders have a terrorist mindset and are not inclined towards peace as they claim.The killing of 1 million Iraqis is and will remain OPPRESSION/BRUTALITY and is ILLEGAL in terms of international law.Who destroyed that country in the name of the WAR ON TERROR? Why is India aligning itself with such terrorists that have killed half a million children? Is it islam or the crusade mentality? Our very democracies are a complete farce. if we truly seek peace,we need to change our leaders and find the most upright honest amongst us.State sponsored terrorism tells us that we cannot trust our very leaderships. Lastly,please clarify without a shadow of doubt who attacked the twin towers(911)in New York?

  52. adg permalink
    December 2, 2008 9:56 AM

    Debarshi,
    OK, let’s leave aside jargon and theories for the moment, but let that not that be an excuse for a lack of reflection on what’s happening in the world at large… the reality is complicated; let’s face up to that. And complex geo-political realities warrant complex analysis to arrive at precisely what you’re after– some clarity in this madness.

    I will try to be as clear as possible :
    1. Indeed, there are discomforting facts that need to be addressed. To begin with, not so far away from home, the U.S led military attacks and repeated incursions into the Northwest Frontier Provinces that kill civilians as innocent as the ones we lost in Bombay. Unfortunately, there aren’t a hundred TV cameras streaming images of smoke and gore constantly; perhaps that is why we are not outraged. And perhaps that is why the assaults in the Frontier Provinces do not figure anywhere in the conversations here. And they should. The happy confines of the cocoon are for those who choose to ignore the global frame and the interconnected-ness of regions, repercussions and domino effects.

    2. Richa says “several Arabs who are in as bad a state as Muslims in India, why hasn’t there been a bomb blast there?”… are you kidding us Richa!! Try telling a Palestinian this, or an Iraqi. The Iraqi will let you know ‘there has been a war’ (if you haven’t heard already) and let’s hope the Palestinian mistakes you for an alien from Mars.

    3.Sush says “We have nothing against Islam or the huge majority of Muslims who are our brethren, and who are peace loving”… It’s a pity Bush did not discover you before he went out of office; you could have been his spokesperson! And if B Hussain Obama is serious about intensifying in Afganistan, you still have a chance… though many others are hoping that was just a smart man’s rhetoric to come to power.
    Anyway this blame game is lame. Or is it?

    3.What’s important is we orient people towards their ‘rational rights’… how Anoop?… orient them to their rational right to haloed ‘democracy’ through war, sanctions, starvations, deaths; orient them through terror? There’s a global war OF terror. In the heat and hurt of the moment, let’s not lose sight of this globality.

  53. Debarshi permalink
    December 2, 2008 4:56 PM

    Lyricist Prasoon Joshi sent us this poem that he wrote after the Mumbai terror attacks [Images]. Says the ad guru and film lyricist, “I believe it should reach as many people as possible because it is our collective pain and voice”.

    Is baar nahin
    Is baar jab woh choti si bachchi mere paas apni kharonch le kar aayegi
    Main usey phoo phoo kar nahin behlaoonga
    Panapney doonga uski tees ko
    Is baar nahin

    (This time when that little girl comes to me with her bruises, I will not blow gently at her wound, nor distract her, I will let her pain grow.
    Not this time.)

    Is baar jab main chehron par dard likha dekhoonga
    Nahin gaoonga geet peeda bhula dene wale
    Dard ko risney doonga,utarney doonga andar gehrey
    Is baar nahin

    (This time when I see pain on faces
    I will not sing the song that eases pain
    I will let the pain seep in, deep�.
    Not this time.)

    Is baar main na marham lagaoonga
    Na hi uthaoonga rui ke phahey
    Aur na hi kahoonga ki tum aankein band karlo,gardan udhar kar lo main dawa lagata hoon
    Dekhney doonga sabko hum sabko khuley nangey ghaav
    Is baar nahin

    (This time I won’t apply any balm
    Nor will I ask you to shut your eyes
    and turn your head
    While I gingerly apply medicine
    I will let everyone see the open, naked wounds�
    Not this time.)

    Is baar jab uljhaney dekhoonga,chatpatahat dekhoonga
    Nahin daudoonga uljhee door lapetney
    Uljhaney doonga jab tak ulajh sake
    Is baar nahin

    (This time when I see difficulty, uneasiness
    I will not run to solve the problems
    I will let them become complicated�
    Not this time.)

    Is baar karm ka hawala de kar nahin uthaoonga auzaar
    Nahin karoonga phir se ek nayee shuruaat
    Nahin banoonga misaal ek karmyogi ki
    Nahin aaney doonga zindagi ko aasani se patri par
    Utarney doonga usey keechad main,tedhey medhey raston pe
    Nahin sookhney doonga deewaron par laga khoon
    Halka nahin padney doonga uska rang
    Is baar nahin banney doonga usey itna laachaar
    Ki paan ki peek aur khoon ka fark hi khatm ho jaye
    Is baar nahin

    (This time I won’t pick up my tools as a matter of duty
    I will not make a new beginning
    Nor will I stand as an example of one dedicated to my job
    I will not let life easily return to normalcy
    I will let it descend into muck, on the twisting paths
    I will not let the blood on the walls dry out
    Nor will I let its colour fade away
    This time I won’t let it become so helpless
    That you can’t tell blood from paan-spit
    Not this time.)

    Is baar ghawon ko dekhna hai
    Gaur se
    Thoda lambe wakt tak
    Kuch faisley
    Aur uskey baad hausley
    Kahin toh shuruat karni hi hogi
    Is baar yahi tay kiya hai

    (This time the wounds need to be watched
    Carefully
    For a long time
    Some decisions are needed
    And then some brave moves to be made
    We have to begin somewhere�
    This time this is what I have resolved)

    … Prasoon Joshi

    (from rediff.com)

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  1. What’s worse? « Akhil Tandulwadikar’s Blog
  2. “Mindless,” “Muslims” « Kafila

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