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Stop "Chalta Hai - Chalnedo" Attitude

New Delhi, Mon, 29 Sep 2008 Syed Ali Mujtaba

As far as the current spate of terror related activities in the country I have been speculating for long that there are two gangs operating in India; one the Hindu variety and other of Muslim reactionaries, both feeding on each other, both tying to teach each others a lesson, both trying to run down the other to assert their position. There could be several divisions among these two groups ideologically both seem to be united on religious lines.

The Malegoan blast, the Mecca Masjid blast, the Samjuhuta express blast were all directed to kill the Muslims of the country. Similarly, the Varanasi temple blast, the Mumbai train blast and Delhi blast do fit into the pattern of competitive religious terrorism in the country.

The irony is instead of looking at the home grown terrorists, judgment is cast minutes after every blast and the chatting of Lasker – Tayaba, Jaish Mohammad, HUJI, SIMI AL Quida begins on our TV sets. All these follow the similar pattern as if they are for a Bollywood script that every Indians loves to watch again and again. The moment its “The End,” every one wants to forget that story and gets back to that mood once again when this melodrama starts once again our TV sets. No one seems to share pain and agony of those who have become victims of the blast for no fault of theirs. This conspiracy of silence reflects the narcist character that lay hidden in each of us as Indians.

This new form of terrorism that is developing in India is reminds me of the Congress - Muslim league variety of competitive politics that was seen in run up to our Independence and Partition. Congress riding on the high horse of ballot box majority, in practice constructed a soft saffron variety of nationalism that wanted the entire specificities subsumes their identity in India. This game plan was well thought out and carefully executed. When this started telling upon those who started feeling the pinch of such politics, several attempts were made to iron out the differences. However, the contending parties failed to reach an agreement and led to the division of the country. Well the rest as they say is history.

It’s since the early 1990s when India come to terms with its identity and started rapidly growing as a developing nation; the same kind of politics has started taking shape that demanded adjustment of other specificities with the dominant ballot box ideology of the country. The wounds of the Partition were being unstitched and once again the climate of mistrust and suspicion started vitiating the social fabric of the country.

It is in this context an inclusive brand of politics emerged that was based on subversion and coercion of other specificities in India namely Muslims and Christians. The script writers of such variety of politics started social service and engaged in charitable activities in order to build up humane their image. Simultaneously they also started building overt and covert modules of storm troopers terrorism to assert their position and terrorize the minorities.

It’s in repose to all these developments; there emerged the resistance from the aggrieved groups. They tried to take up the cudgels in their own way. Some took to democratic means of Stayagrah and Ahimsa. Others sought to seek the remedy in the constitutional and judicial system. But then every one can not as patient as others and those who felt the heat unbearable found their own remedy.

The irony is while one group that has been unleashing a rein of terror is called nationalist and others who actually fighting such repression are branded as anti-national and terrorists. This is a dangerous development that’s continuing unabated in this country. Until and unless we break this cycle and banish it from our body politics, no countrymen can live in peace.

The symptoms are well understood and its remedies have to be though out. There has to be a political consensus that no one should indulge in hate mongering or pursue inclusive politics that thrives on other specificities, I don’t really see an end to this madness.

I wonder whether this realisation will ever dawn upon those who are power hungry and thrive on mob arrogance. I equally wonder those who live in siege mentality could be convinced to seek the remedies other than through violent means.

At the moment every one seems to be in the “Chalta Hai – Chalnedo” mood. Every one wants to take solace in the cop and robber story and assume that the long arms of law would prevail in the end. This is a dangerous mind set and it’s going to ruin our country.

One thing that has to be hammered upon the Indian minds that the idea of unity in diversity is alone a workable model in this country. Any one who wants to rewrite the history of the country by peddling its own script are terrorists and anti-national of this country.

The way forward is to do a great deal of introspection to develop compassion and magnanimity to build a climate of trust and cooperation among communities in India. It is only then those who are trying to disrupt the atmosphere of peace and harmony through violent means could be isolated.

Email Author
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a working journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

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