Giving into pressure from his promoters, the so-called opposition parties in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has, as usual, condemned Pakistan for Mumbai blasts, and threatened disruptions to any peace talk with Pakistan. The right-wingers of India are jubilant at this prospect of forthcoming war with Pakistan, in which they hope to wipe out Islam from the world.
The irreparable damage that could not have resulted from the right wing political rhetoric alone, has now been done through their orchestration of Mumbai tensions. Following the blasts, most of even otherwise liberal people of India are now readily supporting the cause of Hindu fanatics in declaring war against Indian Muslims and Pakistan. This is grossly pathetic display of patriotism by any standard, and a sense of ingratitude towards a great, exemplary minority religious community of India that has actively helped save whatever is left of India’s grace.
Hindus who constitute an overwhelming majority in India have an obligation to display a great sense of responsibility at this time of national crisis. Let it be mentioned that Mumbai blasts is an international tragedy caused by global terrorists (we will soon go to who are the people that are the terrorists and who fund them, and for what cause etc). It is definitely not an occasion to play communal political opportunism. ALL words and actions and thoughts and indications, discriminations and prejudices against Muslim population MUST STOP in India. And blame games against Pakistan and Indian Muslims must end and the peace process must resume as scheduled. This is the least we can do to ensure that India has not yet turned a mad militarist (Although the reality is it is. Although since it’s not North Korea and since it is an ally of USA, India was not declared a terrorist country of the world even after its missile tests last week).
Muslim influence in making of modern India is one for great celebration. Indeed, if the British colonialists would not have forced their way to further gaps between the two communities and would not have manipulated their power structure to divide the country into two or three halves, we would have a different history today.
India’s History of Freedom Struggle against Hindu Fanatics:
The history would have been surely different, if Mahatma Gandhi or Netajee Subhas or Bhagat Singh (all three had radically different ways of approach towards freedom struggle, but convincingly similar goals in mind) would have had their ways. All three of them fought tooth and nail against Hindu fanatics and did not tolerate the ideology that was preached in name of Hinduism. Three of them were secular to the core and they believed that the country’s foundation must be built on Hindu-Muslim unity (not separation).
Whereas Bhagat Singh was assassinated by British imperialists, Subhas Bose’s ideals were massacred by homegrown reactionaries like Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi was shot to death by well organized Hindu fanatics of India.
Whereas the freedom fighters wanted secularism at all costs, the reactionaries wanted communal tensions at all costs. Hence, India’s so-called glorious history has been nothing short of a shameful, casteist, communal history of religious hatred, incited, engaged in, and managed by Hindu supremacists.
This is true that Muslim League, despite having some great patriots of the era, was also religious in nature. But its impact waned after formation of Pakistan. But Hindu Mahasabha, despite having no freedom fighter worth a mention, went on ransacking the emotional wealth of the country even after independence from illegal British rulers.
The history of Hindu ransacking in a Hindu India has gone on unabated in India since British were forced to leave. Although the reality is that these fanatics never got any support from mainstream Indian population, (85% of whom are Hindus) despite their claims to be representing the Hindus!
In the early periods of India’s independent history, which can be truly claimed to be the only glorious period in India’s recent times, the country under Nehru emerged as highly respectable nation in the world, with an internationalist outlook, where India played global role in promoting peace, cooperation and non-violence. India was at its secular best, in curbing the forces of Hindu chauvinism and indeed acted heavily against Hindu fanatics to the extent that they had to go underground. Whereas forming the Non-Aligned Movement in order to refrain from entering a nuclear club (which a shamelessly communalist like Vajpayee or the agent of domestic businessmen like Singh marred by their show of inferiorities—declaration of India as a militarist country…sic!), Nehru stood in solidarity with socialist causes worldwide. India supported the Soviet policies of planning, programming and social welfare. Cooperation, not competition, cooperatives, not private companies, small scale industries, not multinational companies, advancement of scientific rational progressive thoughts, not superstitious religious and fanatic camps…India was the most enviable country as the great role model in the world then.
But just as supremacist Hindus (although a tiny minority, they are so well organized with half pants and lathis and reactionary mechanisms in place) assured the end of Gandhi, they ensured the end of Nehru by fielding Patel against him several times. Both of them had rivalry since few decades before freedom, and even before Nehru could act undemocratically (which was actually the need of the hour, as Netajee had suggested, to educate people about political empowerment), Patel had let the Indian Army loose on Kashmir.
Of course Nehru cannot be forgiven for having tolerated entry of Hindu fanatics in the group already. For example, people like Ambedkar or Aruna Ali were not given the power. Neither Dalits nor Muslims had any primary say in the state of the nation. It was reinstallation of a north Indian Brahmin supremacy in India, that went on playing a different ideology than what Nehru had envisaged (as found in his own writings about the need to curb communal elements in India).
Indian private businesses started to grow after the demise of Nehru and despite valiant efforts by the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, India had inadvertently fallen into the cold war game. As can be seen from Nixon and Kissinger talks about Indira Gandhi, America started having great interest in India (strategically that’s the best bet to defeat China and USSR at the same time). To that end, as was the creation of Taliban or the Iraqi fascists, foreign aids came to Indian insurgents to organize acts of terror.
Who are the terrorists?
In the pre-independence era, when the British condemned Bhagat Singh as a terrorist, he was very clear on his response. He said he was a revolutionary, and not a terrorist.
We need to dwell on the coinage and definition of who is a terrorist. First off, this is a word founded and coined by the ruling class to portray the resisters negatively, which is why it becomes more logical to believe in their description of who fits the phrase.
For many of the resisters however, they would rather be called Revolutionaries. That’s because revolutionaries fight against the system. And terrorists are integral to the system. Hence, the police forces, military forces and the profiteering governments become the terrorists when they cause circumstances where innocent people are massacred.
This is going on right now in India. The Hindu supremacists of India –the biggest blot in India’s secular image—are the ones who spread the venoms in early last decade by demolishing a national treasure called Babri Masjid. The terrorists who stoned the walls of the mosques and destroyed it with active collaboration of police forces (since they are all integral to the terrorizing network) that December 6, went on to incite the Mumbai bomb blasts—the biggest in India’s history. The riots went on unabated with an entirely unapologetic Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackerey calling the shots and giving hateful speeches against the Muslims of India. Shiv Sainiks who were aided by BJP in demolishing the mosque are the neo-nazi elements of India who should have been declared as state terrorists long back.
These were the people who came to power by killing extremely popular labor union leader of Maharashtra Krishna Desai, who was a communist leader of amazing popularity, already a MLA and was poised to rule the state. Desai’s murder was the first act of political murder in independent India. Shiva Sena hacked him to death, whereas the police and administration watched haplessly. The rise of political mafia in India has now surfaced to become the voice of the Hindu nationalists, and there cannot be any sadder development than this in India.
Journalist Praveen Swami of Frontline writes:
“Through the 1970s, Sena gangs repeatedly attacked leading Communist trade union leaders, and in 1973 were responsible for the murder of popular Parel MLA Krishna Desai. It was only in 1984, with the Sena discredited as a criminal mafia and in electoral decline, that Thackeray sought alliances with the Hindu Right, first forming the Hindu Mahasangh, and then allying with the BJP.
Violent riots, starting with the anti-Muslim pogroms in Bhiwandi, Kalyan and Thane, and through similar butchery at Panvel, Nashik, Nanded and Amravati, marked this new direction taken by the Sena.”
Activist Praful Bidwai writes:
“The Sena consciously fomented religious hatred and communalised Maharashtra politics. It manufactured chauvinist prejudice against non-Maharashtrians and instigated or committed hate-crimes. The Sena, with its disgusting demagoguery, represents pure, unadulterated evil, a political force that concentrates much that’s negative and deplorable in Indian society, including hierarchical authoritarianism, repression and addiction to the use of force and bullying.”
Ashok Dhawale writes:
“Many other communal decisions were taken by the SS-BJP regime. These were the abolition of the State Minorities Commission, the Urdu Academy and the Haj Committee; the bringing of a bill banning all forms of cow slaughter, including buffaloes, but which was defeated in the Council; a shrill campaign for the imposition of a uniform civil code; an attempt to drive out so-called Bangladeshi infiltrators, most of whom were bonafide citizens of India hailing from West Bengal but who happened to be Muslim; and so on. The claim that was made by the regime that there were no communal riots under its tenure was also false. Communal riots did take place at Pen in Raigad district, Junnar in Pune district, Khirwad in Jalgaon district, in Aurangabad city and other places. The decrease in intensity was simply because the rioters were themselves in state power!”
The riot-ridden India:
By focusing only on the here and now, we shall be basically imitating television reality shows. What is needed is to introspect with historical clarity about how things have shaped up with people.
The great journalist MJ Akbar writes in his book “Riot after Riot” (Roli 2003) that Ayodhya was developed as a case in communal “dispute” back in 1885. The history of it is interesting to be noted here:
“The Englishman who reported this incident more than 100 years ago, that left 75 Muslims dead over the Babri Masjid said that the police were present but merely looked on, being “under strict orders not to interfere”. However a secular judge Pandit Hari Kishan (echoing the voice of millions of Indians) did not award the rights to Hindu fanatics to construct a temple. “Awarding permission to construct the temple at this juncture is to lay the foundation of riot and murder”. A.F. Millett, the British officiating settlement officer even mentioned, “It is said that upto that time (the riot of 1885) the Hindus and Mohammedans alike used to worship in the mosque/temple. Since British rule a railing has been put up to prevent disputes, within which, in the mosque, the Mohammedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they can make their offerings.”
Akbar says, then in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the first propagators of modern communalism, the builders of a nation in the name of religion, first came into prominence. These ideologues sent out their missionaries—priests, politicians, novelists, historians—to color the mind of an emerging nation with blood rather than peace. The growing synthesis among the upper and middle classes and the creation of a common culture among the poor was the target. “Purification” became the key of separation, as the leaders indulged in dreams of Muslim and Hindu states…..
The Global Terrorists. Who are they?
The point is the purifiers are still present in one way or the other. Some times, at the helm of power, and at other times, in collaboration. And at all times, they are inciting violence on common people in name of religion. And these days, the local terrorism by dominant religions has been almost replaced by collaborated terrorism across the globe, which we call today as Global Terrorism.
Unfortunately, the global terrorists are this time enjoying power in big powerful countries. On closer look, one can notice the strategies adopted by Indian right-wingers as very akin to the tactics used by Israeli forces. In name of protecting the defense forces (ha!), in name of maintaining national boundaries, in name of safeguarding national interests, the militarist countries like India and Israel (you may please add United States and France and Germany as well…) stop nowhere in their quest to dominate the marginalized resisters.
But as is their wont, the ruling class uses every means possible to alienate people from the resisting forces. And when people themselves become resistors, they invent an opposition from the air, in order to project their indispensability. This has happened in every ages. In the most devastating period of economic instability that America has faced since the 1930’s, we are told that Saddam Hussein or Bin Laden are terrorists. Whereas this could be true, the reality is that both of them were creations of the American interventions. Taliban indeed is a logical consequence of American policy in Afghanistan in its attempt to enforce religious fundamentalism in that land.
Likewise, Indian leadership, pathetically criminal in their words and deeds (stealing poor peoples’ thatched roofs to hand them over to industries is one of the recent examples), are detested for rising prices of essential commodities and escalating housing and healthcare costs. In face of real crisis, the country has only its structural governance to blame (BJP or Congress, in the so-called political democracy being run by private businesses, everything is the same after the polls end…). And to avoid these, the creation of external elements as the disrupters is a natural political gameplan. From Hitler to Bush to Singh, everyone has applied this tactic of state control in implicit fashion.
Alright, but who are the terrorists then?
Terrorists are people who cause terror. From our experience, we know that terrors can be imaginary (as in dreams or in political speech) or real (as in price-rise, homelessness, death due to cold wave). So the answer is not very complicated. The real terrorists are the military-industrial complex of politicians who rule through the produces: militia to enforce and money to allure.
But if we need further critical appraisal, here it is: The terrorists make plans. They define territories. They decide on allegiance. They talk of countries and boundaries. They think of their own nationalities, and regionalism. They do not think of world’s working class, they are concerned about domestic business class. They enforce different privileges for citizens and immigrants and aliens. They terrorize people through enforcement of draconian legislations like POTA, TADA or Patriot Act. They use police force and military to perpetrate crime on women and children by declaring war. They use tanks and guns to suppress people who use stones and slogans. They get international support from all terrorists, thus making terrorism not a sectarian act any longer, but a global business.
These terrorists terrorize people by talking sweet and killing their aspirations, or by planting bombs and blaming imaginations. Scolding each other (look how Manmohan Singh scolded Pakistan today for Mumbai blasts!) while failing to apologize and resign because of inability to maintain law and order. In fact they are so involved in creating riots that they make a profession out of it and enjoy allegiance of people.
Today’s India is a result of the Communal Politicians like Bal Thackerey whose party went on rampage merely because of his wife’s statue getting defaced and who has threatened several times to eliminate Pakistan from world map. It is the Communal Politicians like Manmohan Singh who instead of acting on the right wing fanatics are blaming Pakistan for every single law and order disaster in India. New York Times reports Singh saying “I have explained it to the government of Pakistan at the highest level that if the acts of terrorism are not controlled, it is exceedingly difficult for any government to carry forward what may be called a normalization and peace process.”
The same article quotes Tasnim Aslam, the Foreign Office spokeswoman for Pakistan as saying, “In the past two days, India has not given us anything in writing or talked of any evidence.” Sumit Ganguly, a professor of politics at Indiana University in Bloomington says to NYT: It (Mumbai blasts) cannot but help India’s cause in Kashmir.”
Indeed, the goal is to help India’s cause in Kashmir. India’s cause in Kashmir has been one of repression, oppression and violent acquisition of the state’s population. Anyone who resists the Indian Army could be termed as someone backed by Pakistan. Or perhaps some of us might even say backed by America. Things will not change by the proclaimed associations or phrases such as “terrorists”. The power which has been ruling over Kashmir for six decades now need to recognize its need to let the people take back the state. Let there be referendums in Kashmir. Indeed, let there be referendum in India.
Different questions beg different answers. Just like during Mumbai blasts, in recent (as always) Israel attack on Palestine, different questions are being asked too. Some are engaged in finding out who is behind the attacks. I am trying to figure out who benefits in the long run from these attacks.
The people who ask questions like “who will then rule Kashmir” or “who is behind Mumbai blasts” might be asking possibly candid and urgent questions. But my question is altogether different. Mine is “whose interest do these serve”. Occupation of Kashmir or Mumbai blasts serve the political elites of India and Pakistan who are aided in their so-called peace-process (a conversation that takes place entirely without considering the resisting people, who are conveniently always dismissed as “terrorists”) by the US of A. My question then does not seek any answers. Definitely not on this blog. It facilitates further questions.
For example, I am still wondering why the attacks were carried out, why the police without investigations said it was Pakistani backed terrorist groups, why the prime minister before investigations were over, said it was just a few terrorists, why did the Shiv Sainiks go on rampage two days before blasts with its president threatening major repercussions (more violent than the cartoon controversy), why was it that despite its hand in the biggest blast in Mumbai (1993 march) in inciting mass scale murders, and despite right wing roles in genocide in Gujarat—interestingly the media do not touch these communal violence at all as antecedents–no investigations are being done against the parties which have been involved. Even judicial commissions that find Shiv Sena guilty are dismissed (Srikrishna Commission for example). My question also is why has law and order completely failed to take up responsibilities and although we cannot expect the Army (or Indian military) to come help people in crisis, why is it not at least contemplating over the past so many decades of massacres that have been leading to such escalating tensions.
Someone needs to take responsibility. Surely none of the current crop of leaders can take stands like Lal Bahadur Shastri, but its time media stopped quoting a failed and feeble and ashamed agent of global capitalism called Manmohan Singh, and indeed demanded his resignation for failing to act upon the communal elements.
Every act of terrorism must be condemned. The more pressing need is to understand who are the terrorists. Only a few months back, when the Naveen PatnaiK Government of Orissa in its zealous bid to sell the land to some profiteers ordered mass murder of tribal people without any provocation or need, that was an act of terrorism, which went unnoticed. The Kalinga Nagar incident escaped attention of world media, because it did not involve Muslims. Or when the American firm United Carbide plant killed more than 20,000 people of Bhopal, it was not considered terrorism because it was not a reaction from Muslims. Or when Gujarat Genocide took place under right wingers of India, it was not global terrorism, because Muslims became the worst sufferers.
Without getting lost in the web of words, one must act on the root causes of today’s mishaps. When one does that, it can be unquestionably found that the far-right wing factions of world religions are the perpetrators. And so far at least, in India or America, the Hindus and Christians in their fundamentalist form have been holding power mechanism to their favor to declare war on Islam (American administration has not atoned for its post 9/11 crimes of religious discrimination nature nor is Indian government likely to for its post 7/11 outbursts against Pakistan and Indian Muslims).
The people in Mumbai did not die because they were innocent. They did not die because they were protesting Islam religion. They did not die because they were Hindus. They did not die because they were Mumbaiites.
They were massacred in systematic, organized fashion because the Indian administration failed to arrest the perpetrators even after they had sent clear warnings. And because even after the blasts, the Indian administration failed to carry out investigations into the cause of the blasts. People who planted the bombs could be unemployed, misguided missiles, either Hindus or Muslims. But the ones who used them to further their goals are still in power and they are fighting one religion against another. It is these communal politicians who need to be declared as terrorists. We should not use terrorist word only because the present American president (who has been declared by people as the real International Terrorist on the streets of New York) thinks the war is against Islam.
The war on global terror is actually a war on global poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, a war against war mongers and militarists.
However, terror is not an illusion. The real terrorists are very much present before us. They are the politicians and bureaucrats and blood sucking industrialists who own every means of mental production so much that they make us believe in the unreal terrorism. They do so by generating conditions of violence and then declaring the violence itself as terror, whereas they thrive on the conditions.
We need to ask different questions. Presently, we must force the communal politicians to introspect, if not be forced out by the same people it claims to be “terrorists”. People resisting against the communal politicians actually fight for their own human rights, and I am quoting a great singer from Goa, Remo Fernandes in his album “Politicians Don’t know to Rock ‘n’ Roll”, who represented a profoundly secular majority, thanks due to which the world still is surviving. The minority ruling classes of the world will soon be forced to withdraw from their communal tactics. The world without religions is the one dream…of Lennon to Sahir, and hopefully, to some readers of this blog.
How do you feel?
This song is dedicated
To a species most hated
The curse of the Indian nation
The Communal Politician.
How do you feel? How do you feel?
You who have taught us to kill?
How do you feel? How do you feel?
Are you happy that blood has been spilled?
Do you have sweet dreams at night
Or do the sounds of fright
Come gurgling from your victims
As they feel the knife?
Do you have wet dreams in bed
About the throne you wish you had
Or do you hear the rattling skeletons in your head?
How do you sleep? How do you sleep?
With a dead body lying beside you
How do you sleep? How do you sleep?
Can you smell the rotting heart inside you?
Are you happy inside, or do you try to hide
From the graves you’ve been filling far and wide?
If you can’t have your cake
You’d rather poison the world!
How do you feel? How do you feel?