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Simplicities






I

What lovely times those must have been when a rose was a rose by any name?

Many must have thought so, although I doubt that the man who wrote that line actually thought so, or why else would he have also asked "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo"?

Same with the rose. Ask the orchid lover, or the one who loves the cactus best.

In post-Freudian times, we know of the case of a young man who actually died from allergy to the rose.

Best be wary of the truths we are told; such as, for example that the stock market equals the fate of India. Exactly 3% Indians dabble in its fortunes and, now, salutary misfortunes. Or, the banking system: 70% or more Indians do not bank!

II
So what is "terrorism"?

Engaging in indiscriminate violence? You must be joking. That would make the American chief executive by far the prime terrorist of past, present, and—safe assumption—future times.

Killing innocent human beings? Same conclusion. Name me one event or all events taken together that killed more innocents than "little boy" in Hiroshima. And, not to forget Nagasaki.

Killing without cause, or in the name of some spurious cause? Like the invasion of Iraq in the pursuit of the non-existent WMD?

Killing in the name of religion? Don’t say it, unless you mean to refer to pretty much all of western history upto about the beginning of the 19C. And later as well in places like Ireland.

That which the puissant call "terrorism"? More to the point.

Think that crashes among currency notes on the stock market are designated "carnage" and "bloodbath"; and the millions who die from malnutrition, preventable infection and such-like—millions, that is, of human beings, not currency notes—mere inevitable victims to the "inexorable laws" of economics and Nature.

III

Thus, what were "terrorists" till yesterday in relation to the Godhra train burning in Gujarat, 2002, have today been kindly denotified as ordinary enough criminals who acted out of "sudden provocation." If indeed they did.

This, thanks to the findings of a Review Panel on the subject of the 120 or so accused (muslims) who have been rotting in jail for six long years without trial or bail as per provisions of the since- repealed POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act).

Findings now upheld by the highest court in the land which has pronounced that these denizens of the Indian Guantanamo cannot after all be tried under the said draconian Act since they are not "terrorists" in the first place.

All that should bring good and bad tidings, severally, to two honourable retired Justices of the Supreme Court.

Good tidings to Justice U.C.Bannerjee who headed a committee set up by the Railway Ministry, and pronounced pretty much as the Review Panel now has; and bad tidings to one Justice Nanavati who has been heading another Commission and has only some weeks ago furnished an Interim Report (an illegal procedure, since as per law governing Commissions of Enquiry, only complete findings can be submitted) concluding that the train burning was an act of "conspiracy".

Since the Interim Report was all- too- obviously tailored to enhancing Modi’s political standing and prospects, Justice Nanavati went further forward to proffer just the conclusion to the still non-existent Part of the Report that will concern the Gujarat pogrom that followed the train burning, namely, that neither Modi nor any of his hench agencies bore any culpability in the matter. Hallelujah, we say; three cheers for brazen gumption and bold untruth.

This is the same Justice of whom it was heard in a sting operation recording of a conversation with a Modi satrap "he is our own man." Provenly so.

But something after all does work in the state of Denmark, although despite the judgement now delivered by the Supreme Court, we may not put it past the Modi dispensation to go in appeal. It may thus still be a while before those that yet survive the Sabarmati jail are granted bail. But who said India is perfect, and then Gujarat.

And yet, what a tribute to the exertions of the tireless tribe that will not take fascism lying down. The vicious triumph, as has often been said, only because the well-meaning opt out.

IV
So, what is "terror"?

Just those clandestine bombs going off, killing anything from one to a hundred people?

Make a computation and you will find that the total victims of bomb-terror in recent decades in India is but a miniscule percentage of those butchered, burnt, and banished in the pogroms conducted in acts of mob-terror—and all invariably with the state watching in silent connivance.

Not to speak of the fact that mob-terror derives its howling, animal energies from ideologues who sit high among both the polity and government, and directs its depredations against chosen targets among the populace. And the further fact that it does not hide its face because it thinks it is working its murderous business in the interests of the nation, and because it knows that any number of worthies will promptly flood the tv channels to pronounce that same "patriotic" sentiment. And that the channels will find this distinction between "terrorism" and "patriotism" as compelling as the worthies aforesaid.

Even as the blood gushes and hacked limbs lie aground, the face of this terror exults in triumph and apes the famous blood-curdling victory call of Tarzan.

Sitting in their up-market homes, the successful Indian heaves grunts of satisfaction that some people there are who are thus boldly forth to cut down "evil", and that the state has the sense to stand aside. Indeed, that, thank god, somebody will do what the state is too pusillanimous to do. How else is India, the new super-power, to be saved?

V

After all, throughout history, what is remembered is what the puissant dish out to us.

Everybody knows how many Stalin sent to the Gulag; how many remember that some 8 million Russian soldiers and 20 million civilians gave their lives to defeat Hitler and Nazism? Or, that had Hitler not opened the Eastern Front, Nazism may well have triumphed.

Interestingly, where German historians will tell you so, the Anglo-Saxons ones will not.

And, think about it, how many actually believe that Hiroshima was the single most unforgiveable, "evil" if you like, thing that modern men have done to other modern men?

Not to speak of the umpteen and countless wars unleashed upon all regions of the world by Imperialism in the pursuit of material ascendance?

Or, how many remember that the Taliban were "freedom fighters" when they were put up against the Russians and became "terrorists" when they turned the gun the other way?

Thus, India’s mob-terrorists may well come to be remembered and recorded as the heroes who saved India from "terrorism." Very few may venture the truth that the two remain inseparable complementarities.

 

VI

For now, nonetheless, the happy development in relation to the Godhra accused brings hope to those who insist that a rose is never a rose just by any sort of name. And that, whatever the frustrations and the systemic collusions, there is good work to be done on behalf of democracy, justice, the rule of law, and equity. Even plain human decency.

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