What do they really want?
Perhaps I’m stupid. Perhaps I just don’t get it. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out what these psychopaths who bomb Mumbai every now and then really want.
Terror? Sure. But to what end?
Of course, theories abound. Kashmir. Godhra and Gujarat. The Babri Masjid demolition. Attempts to disrupt the peace talks between India and Pakistan. And if all else fails, we always have that old bugbear, Pakistan’s ISI and its rabid pet, the Lashkar-e-Toiba, to blame.
Let’s start with Kashmir. At a recent conference I attended in Pune, a delegate from Pakistan kept reiterating that the status of Kashmir was for the Kashmiris to decide. That neither India nor Pakistan could deprive them of their right to decide their future.
But which Kashmir is this?
The Pakistan occupied part? Ooops, aren’t they already “Azad?” Surely they don’t want any more freedom?
The people from the so called Northern Areas, or Gilgit Baltistan?
Last I heard, Pakistan had gifted that area and its people to China.
The Kashmir Valley?
Isn’t that the place which was ‘cleansed’ of non-Muslims in the late 80s and early 90s by terrorists trained in Pakistan?
Isn’t that the place where secessionist swine freely roam the streets waving Pakistani flags?
Isn’t that place where teenagers stone paramilitary and police patrols for entertainment, because their movie halls are now either military barracks, or proscribed by the Mad Mullahs as evil?
And isn’t that the place which gets at least eight, if not 10 times more per capita aid from the centre than the next state on the list?
So here’s what I am hearing: Kashmiris are not averse to the largesse of the Indian state in terms of funds and resources. (Have you ever heard of a protest against subsidies there?)
But they are averse to Indian forces sent there to counter and clear terrorists and secessionists trained in the swamp next door.
I believe there is a Hindi word for such people: it’s <i>Namakharam</i>.
Now I am not for a moment suggesting that every Kashmiri is one. But surely all those who protest against “Indian occupation” while happily accepting Indian money, rations and yes, protection, deserve that monicker.
But wait a minute: How does bombing Mumbai help the Kashmir cause?
Do these cowards who kill innocent men women and children in Mumbai seriously believe it will promote a change of heart among the Indian people, or the government, on Kashmir? And if it is indeed Kashmir, how come no one comes out to say it?
Okay, so perhaps it’s either Godhra, the carnage that followed in Gujarat, or the demolition of the Babri Masjid. All of them are blots on our secular history, and those responsible need to be punished.
But again, what do the innocents who die in each terror attack have to do with any of those incidents? Some were probably not even born when the Babri Masjid was pulled down.
Could it then be the so-called “Indian Mujahideen," which seems to have very shady family tree? Or perhaps the SIMI, another domestic outfit out to “Liberate” India (with, of course, a little help from our friends in the Lashkar), which set off this latest round of explosions?
Or perhaps it really is an attempt to disrupt the much disrupted peace talks between India and Pakistan.
Who does that help? Conventional wisdom says it's the Pakistani military, which fears that its God-given authority to rule would start eroding if their nation’s fear of a strong India was diluted in any way.
Is that why Indian authorities are pussyfooting over accusing Pakistan again, because they would then have to walk their talk by (again) calling off the talks?
Meanwhile, the political circus continues. The government reads out from its standard menu the prices of those killed or maimed : 50,000 for those hurt, a lakh or five for the families of those killed...it’s business as usual.
Speaking of circuses, we have our head clown, Digvijay Singh, who ---in the strange belief that blaming “Hindu terrorists” for everything, including his own limited mental faculties, will endear him to the Muslims in India -- asserts that he can’t rule out an RSS hand behind the blasts. In many ways, I find people like him more sickening than the seditious ingrates who roam the streets of Srinagar.
As I write this, any or all the reasons I’ve listed above ( and I’m sure I’ve missed some others—the Indian state does not lack its share of bitter enemies, within and without) could be true.
Which brings me back to my original question: what do they really, really want?
If you have the answer, I sure would love to know.
-- The author is the Editor-in-Chief of india.com
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