This is perhaps not a politically-correct time to voice an outright insensitive opinion. But I feel, I have to.
Sadly, Diwali has arrived early in India – with the solitary difference being that Naragasuras are doing the bursting of heavy-duty, high-impact crackers this time and Krishnas are looking about haplessly, trying to understand what has hit them.
Numbers never tell the true tale. 50 people are dead in the bomb blasts – that is nothing compared to the 2002 carnage in Gujarat. In fact, Blueline buses kill more people every year in Delhi and more people die of cracker-shop accidents on the Diwali eve. So, why all this fuss, in a country that is so accustomed to death?
Every celebrity, worth his/her salt, says police intelligence needs to be improved. Terrorists have to be found and punished. Strong punishment will be the only deterrent. Security needs to be tightened. Technology has to be embraced. Well, well, well. Deep within, each of these celebrities knows, none of these matter; none of these will save them from the unknown, unseen terrorist.
This is the time for introspection and not the time for investigation and interrogation. At best, we will catch hold of the terrorists who planted the bombs; so, what? Will it make life safer for us? Will improving police intelligence, stop the emergence of newer terrorists? Will frisking the common man at the hospitals and malls, ever help avert a single blast. The terrorist does not have a target. Rigid measures can help save a target that is known, like a Prime Minister or a President? But, how would you deal with an enemy for whom, any one of the billion people can be the target; who doesn’t differentiate much between the Parliament and a hospital? He is not after the impossible; he is happy to kill anybody who can be killed as long as the collective psyche of the common man is shattered. Sometimes, unlike most orthodox fundamentalists, he is not even bothered about whether his voice is heard; he doesnt seek to justify his motives to others; he cannot be lured by money or limelight. How can punishment become a deterrent to a person who is willing to die, to be able to kill.
Why does someone or so many, so badly want to destroy us? A good free democracy is inherently vulnerable to terrorist attacks. But the vulnerability is hardly exposed or exploited, if the democracy has a conscience. What we need to strengthen, is not the police intelligence but our collective conscience. It is no coincidence that terrorism has been getting more intense with the rise of the fascist right over the last 20 years. It is no mere coincidence, that the worst was reserved for Ahmedabad, the fortress of the worst- ever-fascist to have come to power in India. It is no coincidence that the feeling that arose foremost on hearing the news of blasts in Ahmedabad was fear for those who are alive, ahead of sympathy for those who were grotesquely torn apart – will we stand mute witnesses to one more carnage? (gasp of relief! no reports of violence yet – is it because, the power in Centre has shifted and Modi does not have the license to incite anymore, or the fascist-ultimate has reformed?).
It is absolutely no coincidence that the global terrorism has been strengthened because of a fascist controlling the world’s only superpower. History also teaches the same – the imperialist Churchill, the nuclear-terrorist Truman and the tyrannic Stalin all rose to prominence, fuelled by the fear for the fascist Hitler.
Fascism breeds terrorism and unfortunately, feeds on terrorism. But fascism can never stamp out terrorism. Only the end of fascism can make terrorism irrelevant and thereby end it. It is time we discard the Modis and re-discover Gandhi in Gujarat and the rest of India.