After coming so close to an incident of terrorism last december in IISc, my sensitivity towards these events has surely
increased somewhat. Earlier, it was no better than callousness. Like millions others, I used to think that these are
events of some other world, which affects me no more than events happening in a movie. Now, things matter at least a bit
more than that.
Mumbai blasts this tuesday was again rather close. Three of my bosom friends, and many BE classmates are in Mumbai. I
called them up, messaged them, and did all that usual lot to ascertain their safety after the blast. If at all, my use of
the wireless network was one more contributer to the collapse of the communication network immediately after the incident!
...And one would again wonder why Indians are so quick in getting on with their lives after such incidents. IISc was back
in its usual laid back way within an hour of that shootout. The terrorist escaped. A professor died. Prof. Vijay Chandru
got hurt badly. And yet, we were sipping tea at tea board within an hour, within 50 yards of that place.
Mumbai too is back into its usual hustle bustle. There's hardly any sign of anything having happened.
On the other hand, we hear about the aggressive ways of Israel in recovering that one soldier who was abducted by the
palestineans. And the memories of Russia's response to the Chechen hostage drama about two years ago is still fresh in my
memory. They killed every single terrorist. In turn they lost more lives than they could have saved by kneeling down to
the demands of the kidnappers. There's that way of responding to terrorist threats. Super-aggressive ways which make it
an issue of national pride when terrorists try being aggressive. A good sign to make it clear that the government can be
as aggressive and cruel as the terrorists. So they shouldn't bank upon the pacifism of the normal public. Quite opposite
to India's ways. The whole nation doesn't fight back. Rather they take it as if it's a matter of disgrace that should be
hushed up as soon as possible.
A rather queer parallel pops up in my mind at this point. Incidents of sexual-harrassment are dealt with rather strictly
in other places. In India, there's a strong tendency to hush up the matters. As if the disgrace is more with the victim
than with the perpetrator. Nothing can justify this. Yet, as far as I am aware, events of sexual harrassment are not any
more common in India than elsewhere. I also am not confident that women in India are indeed looked down upon as inferior
to men, any more than anywhere else. And yet, that hushing up thing is unjustifiable.
Acts of terrorism are like molestation of a complete society. And to incidents of terrorist violence, India responds like
its women do to incidents of sexual harrassment. By pretending to ignore it, or at least by not creating a hue and cry
about it. It's not justifiable. There are parallels even in the consequences. India is not any more marred by terrorism
than any other more aggressive nation. Yes, if you count the number of lives lost in various terrorist incidents elsewhere,
it would come nowhere close to the eighty thousand lives lost merely in Kashmir in the last decade and a half. And yet
India moves on. India, so frigid that she doesn't as much as groan when she is being gangraped!! Like an inanimate
automaton, she just gets up and keeps walking.
Our long tradition of non-violence might prompt us to believe that this ugly act of ignoring the wounds and disgrace others
inflict on us stands as a great weapon of survival in the long run. It's true that a handful terrorists will reach
nowhere close to even creating an twitch in a massive body of one billion people by sounding a few crackers. Yet, a long
life earned out of cowardice? Is it the main reason of our civilisation having survived so many millenia? Is this
longetivity worth having? Will the bane of terrorism ever lift from our head? Will we lay ourselves down to be raped
everytime waiting for the day when our violator finally just gets sick of our frigidity and loses interest in us?
Is my writing an angry blog any proof that I too am not one of those frigid Indians?
Postscript: Just watched a documentary in Discovery which talked about the psychological phenomena involved in turning a
person into a human bomb. Some notes from that:
* They are normal humans. Not ferrocious born terrorists as we think.
* Many of them aren't even strongly religious. Some even booze and party. That's contrary to the usual belief that religion
has anything to do with becoming a human-bomb. For instance, there's no positive suggestion in either Quran or Bible
about suicide attacks.
* Such groups originate as small local groups of 4 to a dozen young people and later on merge into bigger and bigger
* All these start in a feeling of strong friendship. Often this feeling becoming so strong that the other relations,
including blood relations, go weaker. Social sequestration happens.
* Mob psychology is strongly at work. The strengthening bonds of friendship finally give place to a strong urge to be
accepted in the fraternity, even if the life has to be laid down.
* Victims don't appear as human beings, but just targets. Bringing into mind that humans are going to be killed could be
disastrous for the execution of their plans.
* 85% of the members of Al-Queda are second generation emigrants. People whose parents had relocated out of their country
are subject to certain unique psychological developments which might prompt them into becoming human bombs.