terror and it’s response

In Religion on July 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Let us start with Pakistan.

In a recent post by Aatish Taseer Why My Father Hated India, he explored the notion of Pakistan. He says the poetic architecture for the ideal was laid out by Muhammad Iqbal in the 1930s. While Pakistan was not too clear what it wanted to be, during it’s seminal partition from India, it was very clear on what it did not want to be:

The pluralistic Indian society with its composite culture

This created what Pakistan is today. The opposite of an Indian society. What could possibly be the opposite of social, philosophical, racial, ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism? Pakistani monism was in response to India’s pluralism. The underlying singularity in the Islamic tradition is what governs all things Pakistani.

The monistic Pakistani society with its unique culture was founded on Islamic principles

While modern Pakistan is in fact pluralistic in parts, the Taliban with its complex networks reaching into ISI and the government has effectively nullified the all-encompassing embrace of secularism.

Secularism needs explanation in the Indo-Pak context. The western meaning of secularism is the separation of religion and state. Whereas the eastern meaning of secularism is the acceptance of all religions by the state, without favor for one.

Pakistan has been exporting terror into India for quite some time and India on it’s part has shown passive resilience. Terror works in peculiar ways. When it’s evil tentacles reach into India, our reactionary questions seems to be:


Is Islam a religion of peace?

As a matter of fact, we say, it is a religion that preaches violence and terror. This simplistic conclusion has no merit and is rooted in our great suspicion about Pakistani monism, or the nature of non-pluralistic existence and it’s impacts on friendly neighbors.  The debate rages on.

It’s own non-pluralistic militant existence is evolving, mostly fueled by Taliban influences, and with a spate of violent attacks against it’s own minorities, monism is fast leading to a perceived culture of rampant intolerance.  These visions have been scripted by Ayatollah’s Iran.

Pakistan has been caught and derided as a pariah state by it’s long standing ally, the US.  The duplicity involved in the safe harbor provided for Osama in Abbottabad, the violent gag order for investigative journalists, the abuse of ISI funds to lobby and campaign for Kashmiri statehood in the US are just sneak peeks into a nation working overtime to structure a non-existent identity with other peoples money.  US withdrawing the handsome dowry for it’s allegiance is going to be ruinous to this arranged marriage.   A divorce can only lead to the manufacture of more unsophisticated and cheaper forms of improvised explosive devices.  Why is that the case?

The funds were in return for a guarantee that Pakistan maintain stability in the region.  Hence it is in the best interest of Pakistan if these terror attacks multiply, should the funding dry up.  Such a correlation will, they hope, get the funds back.

The Arab Spring

Taliban is not helping Pakistan either. The country is crippled of it’s intellectuals, it’s trading partners and it’s economy. It’s vision for Pakistan will bomb it into the dark ages. The silk route will be permanently held hostage. The new generation will be refused an entry to the 21st century. The youth of Lahore has been painfully watching the successes of their counterparts in Egypt.  These revolutions, inflicting blows of Gandhian non-violence, aptly named the Arab Spring, has only left Pakistan an arid desert of tribal and crony military politics.  How they wish they could take matters into their own hands and improve their lot.  But the trees in the oasis of their fertile minds are being systematically uprooted.  Clearly, the Pakistani youth understands that the Arab Spring proves once and for all that terrorism cannot topple anything larger than concrete buildings.  Let alone regimes.

How should India respond?

We connect the obvious dots quickly and draw on Hinduism for our own defense. It seems we are called to question why Hinduism is a dormant observer of a militant Islam. Why can we not strengthen our Hindu resolve and fight back? Unfortunately that response cuts against our own constitutional secular and pluralistic views. Any religious response from India will be a knee jerk reaction to what is already wrong with Taliban’s Pakistan today. It is in this backdrop that we live in today. Our patriotic resolve, on the other hand, appears to be weak and unresponsive. We are frustrated with our feeble ‘this is the last warning’ jabs from our politicians. Can we not tap into Hinduism and match or exceed Pakistan in our defensive responses?  The terror threat does not seem to go away anytime soon and like a habitual nightmare, we wake up in cold sweat and tell ourselves how strong and resilient we are. Thank god we have some sensory perceptions left intact that tell us we are still alive.

All of a sudden, secularism, the cornerstone of our democracy appears to be developing cracks and we want to fix it quickly. Ironically, we are playing into Taliban’s narrow vision, without even knowing it.  When we ask ourselves:  How do we wage a Gandhian war of non-violence to fend ourselves from a sneaky and cowardly war of terrorism, should our response be an emphatic Bush-era western cowboy bravado?  Should we be lead to believe that the Pakistani government itself is waging an internal war with these same elements, and hence what we see as terror attacks on our soil has nothing to do with Pakistan, but a spillover of it’s own baddies and their small time squibs?

To India’s credit, it’s own 150 million Muslims have been largely unattracted to extremist views.  The full wikileaks content that published this can be found here. It’s amazing how much intelligence can be gleaned from this foreign intelligence report.

The highlighted portions in this wikileak document are not mine, but a Pakistani’s, who took pride in noting that India’s perception about it’s own Muslim population was completely wrong.  Breathing a collective sigh of relief were also the 150 million Muslims of India.

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