Having written extensively on the Mumbai blasts, not just for reasons arising out of proximity to location, but more out of a sense of shock and unbridled dismay, found myself numbed into denial this time with the Malegaon bombings. Despite serious resolve, was unable to extrapolate on the ludicrous event.
However, irresponsible reporting, insiduous intentions to conflagrate, incite unrest or sensationalise with scant regard for propriety of ethics, is wont to occur with regularity. Its important to avoid falling into the trap of imbibing information dished out as Gospel..take with a ladleful of salt instead.
Mid-day carried on its front page a statement made by a tailor of Malegaon, that a body he recovered had been severed in half.to lend credence to the theory of a suicide bomber who he claimed was found besdes the cycle that allegedly carried the bomb.Further,the report says:
He added that the beard had also fallen off while the body was being shifted to the ambulance, thereby raising suspicions about a false identity.
This is reported in third person.Later on in the article when the tailor was direcly quoted it appeared thus:
After I handed it over to the people inside the ambulance, I heard someone scream that the dead man’s beard has come off! I didn’t check it then since there was too much chaos at the spot.
Its astounding how primarily on suspicion or at most a flimsy doubt, an article which screamed “He had a fake beard” as its headline, is permitted to appear on the front page. To an analyst the innate meaning is not lost.
These subtle references even if inadvertent, unintentional, or innocent, can and often do sow the seed of unrest and retribution in gullible minds. Whether it was a Hindu or a Muslim, bearded or otherwise is basically redundant when the act in reference is related to terrorism. By now, most open minded citizens have wholeheartedly accepted the truism of the statement that terrorists are a nameless, faceless, stateless, Godless, phenomena. What is the underlying purpose and intention behind this licentious display of sensationalism?
It would be only fair to expect a newspaper of the stature of Mid-day to validate its stories with complete certainty before opting to accord it centre-stage…in this case front page!
American writer William Dalrymple, on page 10, has rather categorical ideas on reasons for terrorism in India and abroad..which seem not only simplistic but dangerous in their inference and implication. Especially at a sensitive stage in Indian history when citizens are grappling with doubt and uncerainty towards their Governments at State and Centre level, on the one hand and doubts/misgivings of communal disharmony on the other, his averments tend to create a flurry. He states:
“The cause of terror is almost always injustice. It’s significant that Indian democracy failed most dramatically in Kashmir, which was the place that had the most prolific insurgency and the most violent results. It was because there were no democratic or unrigged elections during the time of Indira Gandhi and the problems festered.
The whole Kashmir insurgency need never have happened. Kashmir’s notably an unmilitant group of people. It’s the fact that you’ve had a flawed form of democracy, a rigged democracy, that produced terror in Kashmir, which has now come to Bombay.”
Fuel to the already raging fire?? Most definitely. If democracy or its effective functioning were to be viewed as contentious issues, in his view rightly ascribed as basis to terrorism, Indians should have by now, en masse adopted artillery training as mandatory.!
Why should there be the need to rationalise, logicalise terrorism? Where is the surety that in eliminating one such cause, the problem will have been struck at its roots? Why 9/11, in that case? Did they have issues with American democracy as well? No, this time according to Mr.Dalrymple the culprit is lack of American education in Islam. HUH?
“It’s quite clear that one of the problems America has with Islam is sheer ignorance. In 2002, according to the 9/11 report, five months after the 9/11 attack, the number of students who graduated in Arabic from all the universities across the length and breadth of United States was 17. America has no exposure to Islam, no understanding of Islam and no knowledge base for a comprehensive understanding of it.
President Bush, it has now emerged, even two months after the invasion of Iraq had no idea of such a thing as Sunni or Shia. So I certainly feel that there is a job to do.”
By bringing in religion, the conundrum shows chances of dissipating into a myriad ramifications, none addressing methods to curb if not stifle terrorist activities. None can pose to be an authority capable of dealing with psyches drenched in fanaticism. Unless Allah grants his ‘Rehem-o-karam” and decides to convert a terrorist into an Islamist..in its intended connotation.