Monday, May 3, 2010

Upshots of terrorism

Upshots of terrorism: Moshe and Kasab

The events of 2009 Mumbai attacks unfolding before my eyes, via television channels, reminded me, in context, of the famous lines from the play Hamlet, ‘Look here upon this picture and on this, a counterfeit presentment of two....’ persons involved in the same Mumbai terror attack. Moshe and Kasab, two paradoxical upshots of the same fateful event, terrorism! One had lost and was searching helplessly for his mother killed in the event; the other was pining for his mother during incarceration for committing the ghoulish act along with other perpetrators. One, innocence personified getting tainted with the macabre event at age two; and another, a morbid personality, who has grown into twenties remembers his mother like a child during his interrogation by anti-terror squad! Both belong to two religions each with diehard qualities, its extent sometimes looking incongruous to the world in modern age with developments in societal thoughts.

The real issue here is how these two personalities separated by thousands of kilometers were intertwined with atrocious results by the admixture of religion and politics. Is it possible to untangle the issues without referring to Moshe and Kasab or the two religions and pan out societal forces trying stone age methodologies with modern means to settle archaic scores?

Moshe would remember, probably forever, that on the eve of his 2nd birthday both his parents were gunned down for no fault except that they were Jewish preachers taking care of their brethren in a tightly knit religious community. Considering the strong bond amongst their community and the history lending its own characteristic ignominious support, Moshe would not be allowed to forget easily that his parents had been brutally shot dead with him screaming, sitting on his haunches by their dead bodies, trying to make sense of the senseless world around.

If Moshe has his life ruined for him, Kasab’s would be none the better for what he could anticipate for himself with present relations between India and Pakistan as they are. At individual level, Kasab’s case seems comparable with any irresolvable historical event of the world dominated by heady mixture of religion and politics. But for the world run by either religion or politics or their mixture, Kasab is now just an identity to bandy around, not even a hypothetical soul, without caring for his physical self. Ostensible religious preaching unto him promised heavens if he would do his duty, (a la Bhagvat Gita!) but he has found himself in environments worst than purgatory. If he is let out, there are diverse groups both in India and Pakistan who want to deny him even a simple existence. Irony, eh!

In societal framework Governments are comparable with a father as a provider in the family while religion nurses the emotional growth as a mother would do for her children. In any country in any times, a lopsided Government developing specific regions and its people is planning for unrest; so does any religious group, in any times, preaching hatred directly or subtly through some aphorisms is blasphemizing itself. Kasab grew in a very poor family in this globalized world with four other siblings. The hierarchy of his religion encouraged outnumbering followers of other faiths but ignored providing the daily bread for hungry mouths and care for empty minds in their own clan. In fact, empty minds were painfully encouraged to set up devil’s workshop into them. Kasab is a product of this admixture of religion and politics and with his failed mission to Jannat has ended in life that is more tragic than death.

It would be interesting to know what thoughts must be fleeting through the minds of Islamic people, especially in countries such as Pakistan, and those under the rule of Taliban and Al Qaida. Do they feel an acute pain of being neglected and wretched just as a beggar’s child would when it comes across one happy with life’s comforts all around? It is easy to see terrible pain in one eye and dream in another rapidly interchanging their places when it sees another child with sweets and toys. Kasab felt the same as he was growing up with media glaring the fun of being alive and here he was being brainwashed into considering the terror whirlpool his way to end the beautiful life that one gets only once…only to get a hypothetical heaven after the gory death.

Moshe’s life has got scripted as an antonym for Kasab’s up to this point. But, what is the next act for Moshe? Perhaps even their later parts may extrapolate this trend. His grandfather has drawn plans for him to continue in his father’s footsteps! Possibly, he may turn a composer, a scientist or an artist, life is yet an uncharted journey for him!

The remainder for the society of all terrorism acts is why? We know how, what and who of terrorism? But the social hierarchy evades the issue of what makes terrorism thrive? Perhaps it has itself to blame. If one considers irresponsible governance by the political system then Naxalism, ULFA and unrest in India and elsewhere in the world could be understood and resolved. Lack of rational and worldly education and sustainable development with bleak future to stare at, encourages explosive minds. Nobody wants to break away from U.S., the land of opportunities!

A police officer friend tells me that some of the worst antisocial elements in Mumbai hail from economically poor parts of India.

[Published in “oHeraldo” a newspaper in Goa, India]

Kalidas Sawkar 9158985758