While watching in disgust the
gruesome television footage of the Boston bombing that inflicted
mass casualties and deriding those cowards responsible for the
needless waste of human life, I realized that there is something
more in American psyche than the normal concern for loved ones. An
incipient hatred against Islam lay hidden, somewhere deep beneath
the rich American cultural edifice which propagated the philosophy
of liberalism for centuries.
But, is this paranoia confined to
the American society only? I questioned myself over and over
again, only to find that nothing but confusion is stewing in my
mind. The mad rush to pin down Muslims after every terror attack
and castigate them in a manner as if nobody else from other faiths
can encourage such dastardly acts is an attribute visible in
Indian society too. Hours after the bombings that transformed
celebrations into grief in Boston on Patriot’s Day, Bangalore,
India’s cyber city was rocked by a low intensity explosion.
The nation and its hyperactive media, on the prowl for breaking
stories round the clock, wasted no time in apportioning blame.
Indian Mujahideen (IM), a locally bred anti-national force, many
of whose members are in the payroll of Indian intelligence, was
cherry picked and accused of criminal conspiracy instantaneously.
If the Indian state is to approve of the theory of IM hand in
Bangalore blast, questions need to be asked about the efficacy of
the nation’s intelligence set up. How is it that a radical
organization with well entrenched Indian intelligence asset within
its top hierarchy and whose founder was successfully eliminated in
a targeted mission deep inside Pakistani territory, gets away
planting bombs here and there so frequently?
Credible intelligence sources
however indicated a much deeper conspiracy, that of a nasty
political motive working overtime to polarize the Indian society
on the basis of caste, creed and religion prior to the election
season. Moreover, an undercurrent of unity prevailing in the
political spectrum ensures that none in the investigative system
is allowed to peep into the bitter factional feud in the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP), whose leaders claim that the bomb in Bangalore
was meant for them. How can one ignore the hard reality that
influential Hindu terror module members operating on Indian soil
and responsible for several high profile terror acts were found to
be associated with some sister organizations of the BJP? Is it not
intriguing that the major terror attacks with which the IM was
linked initially later turned out to be handiwork of those
professing the same invidious political ideology BJP propagates?
The leadership of the party which used to take pride in calling
themselves different from the rest of the hoard might be tempted
to refute the facts by labeling them as insidious rumors. Perhaps,
it is time for the BJP in particular and the political class in
India as a whole to do some honest introspection before things go
out of hand completely.
Exploiting the sensitivity of a pluralistic society endlessly for
electoral mileage will at the end of the day create irreparable
fissures within India’s unique multicultural democratic fabric and
weaken the plinth of this behemoth which has become a model for
the world. Let us for heaven’s sake not typify Indian Muslims and
force upon them a strong sense of guilt for abiding by a religious
belief that in no way condone violence perpetrated against
Unlike their American counterparts,
Muslims in India are yet to face that xenophobic retribution but
they have started experiencing a subtle wave of religious
intolerance whereby their community is being looked upon with
suspicion every time a bomb blows up somewhere in the country.
Aping the features of American anti-terror policy selectively will
only stimulate the modus operandi of branding an entire community
and tarnishing the religious belief it adheres to. It will be a
disaster for India and the government will do well to keep itself
away from aligning with American vengeance as Washington’s
favorite justice delivery tools include torture, targeted killing,
indiscriminate armed drone strikes and the black hole of
Going by conservative figures, US has so far taken 30 Muslim lives
for every American lost. None of these instruments will help serve
New Delhi’s purpose of reining in the multiple terror outfits
operating in the region considering the fact that India does not
enjoy America’s locational advantage. Additionally, India is home
to 11 per cent of the global Muslim population, which is the
second largest after Indonesia. Since hate could instantly devolve
into violence, any racially directed anger needs to be contained
by vigorously espousing the cause of secularism that this nation
has preached over the years. The media has a gigantic role in
helping the society achieve a minimalist agenda of decent human
existence. Unfortunately, a sizable section of the Indian press
ends up demonizing Muslims after deviating from course.
The Indian government it seems have also been swayed by the
prejudice as the prime minister failed to mourn the loss of 55
precious lives from serial car bomb explosions in Iraq which
coincided with the demise of three sporting enthusiasts in Boston
even though he made it a point to express solidarity with
President Barack Obama. May be, the Indian foreign office is
resigned to the fact that Iraq is the kind of place where we can
expect nothing apart from violence. On the other hand being in
Washington’s good book attracts a lot of incentives — political,
economic and strategic — even if it means buttressing the American
way of delivering the full weight of justice.
is a Kolkata-based journalist and columnist.
The above article was
first published by Saudia Arabia's leading English daily Arab News
on April, 22, 2013.