Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday : Who is to blame?

Still going with the topic of terrorism. The other day there was a description in the papers of the life of the terrorist (Kasab) captured in the Mumbai attacks.

He is the third of 5 kids. His father is a 'dahi puri' seller in Faridkot. His mother is a home maker. His elder brother is a laborer, and his elder sister is married. His younger siblings are still teenagers. Clearly not the perfect example of 'the good life'. He was made to break school, and then sent off to stay with his brother, since his father could not make ends meet, and over there, this young boy developed a dislike towards his brother's life of toil with no big money. So after a fight with his family, he went on to a path of petty crimes. Once while at a religious gathering, the LeT's political arm was distributing pamphlets on special arms training they wanted to give young people. Unsuspecting young man, went forth with the idea that arms training will help him further his career in armed robbery!

Brainwashing, incensed videos later, he emerged a hardened, insensitive terrorist. But post his tete-a-tete with the Lashkar, he was a venerated man in his village. Similar to the treatment received by Izmat Khan in the book 'The Afghan' after his brush with the Afghan war. Kasab's family was given a lac and a half as 'reward'. So when he unleashed venom on innocent civilians, he felt that what he did was correct.

Granted, no merciless killing of innocents is correct. But this chap was 21. 14 when he ran away from home, to be brainwashed. How mature could he have been? I remember the movie Aamir, wherein the protagonist decides to sacrifice himself when he comes to know that the box in his arms contained a bomb. His family had been taken hostage in the movie, but his conscience refused the killing of innocents for his selfish gain. But can a teenager be that strong-willed? I remember when I was in school, fresh after the Mumbai serial blasts of '93, there was an open question - 'What will you do if you become Prime Minister of India?' Many of us answered - anti-corruption, better roads, 3 days holidays in school etc etc (we were in school remember). But one chap said, "I would go and bomb Pakistan and wipe it off the map."

That was the degree of maturity. So can we really hold the terrorist responsible????????? When it is social censure, hunger versus conscience, the balance tips precariously against what is right. Who is to blame? Typical filmy answer would be - 'Woh bura nahin hai, haalaat ne use aise banaaya'. So merely clipping the leaves of the weed won't be enough. One needs to cull out the root of the evil. Yes, the breeders of terrorism are at fault. The terror camps, the religious fanatics there, the brainwashers who manipulate gullible, impressionable minds for their own morbid gain, all under the twisted guise of religion.

So we have only two ways out. Prevention or Cure. Cure would be - a global movement to root out all terror training camps - in religious strangleholds, or in inaccessible, ungovernable caves. This needs a co operation of all governments, who believe that terrorism is indeed an evil, and not a convenient armrest. With the present 'nature' of our 'peaceful neighbors', the cure option is a far cry. Which brings us to Option 2 - Prevention. Stringent protection of our borders. Cruel inspections at times, 'Nobody is a friend' attitude. Strong anti-terror laws, and prohibitive punishments. In an extreme fallout of such 'protection', we would begin to suspect every passerby on the road. At least that is better than not living to see another passerby on the road!!!!

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