Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Politics, terrorism and religious profiling

I often get into this mode... The politics of this country troubles me. It just leaves me gasping for breath…

There are serial bomb blasts in the National Capital. The police desperately searches for the inflictors, and for a change, manages to track them pretty soon (instead of the case going on for years together). One brave office dies fighting. Instead of praising the police department for its swift action, our politicians and media start another debate altogether ‘fake encounter’, 'religious profiling'.... Excuse me?

As a country we have been facing terrorism for such a long time that we are close to developing an immunity to it - no, I don't think it shows our 'indomitable' will or anything like that... it just shows are 'spineless tolerance'. Let us stop blaming our neighbors for a while and first look at solutions which are within our control… things we can tackle within our own boundaries.

India is probably the only nation in this world where the politician of a ruling party would talk of providing support to an 'alleged' terrorist. Before some of the 'human rights/ minority commission' people get aggravated with my statements, let me clear few things: I am not saying that there isn’t a possibility of some of these people being innocent.
But with every conviction, say for a murder or a robbery, there is always this possibility; do the likes of Amar Singh speak for each and every one of them? Does Mr. Amar Singh stand up for each and every possibly innocent convict?
I do not doubt that there are fake encounters in our country (or probably every country); would Mr. Amar Singh ask for an enquiry into each and every one of them?? More importantly, an enquiry is held when you have doubts on certain aspects of a situation? What reasonable doubts/ indications do you have on the justifiability of this encounter? None. Yes, absolutely none. The general public gasps in wonder of how an issue of fake encounter is created out of nowhere…
There is a democratically elected government and a fairly functional judiciary which can take care of these things.

Now, let’s come to another aspect of this discussion, ‘religious profiling’.
First things first, generalizations are wrong. There are fanatics in each and every community and the entire community should not be punished for the crime of few. Agreed.

Have you ever gone through security-checks at the international airports? Middle-east and South Asians are more rigorously frisked than say a Korean or Japanese. They don’t harm us, all they do is frisk us more carefully; very frankly, I don’t mind it. I just find it understandable. Reason: there have been more instances of terrorists from these parts of the world. And very frankly, had I been in their place I would probably do the same thing – it’s the basic human instinct I would say. Similarly, if the police department finds more terrorist links to Azamgarh or Jamia Nagar, they would do more rigorous exercises there – Isn’t that what any rational person would do? We should not misjudge this as ‘religious’ profiling. In fact I would dare to say that people of such places are probably taking the defensive approach; they can’t deny the presence of such links. (Again, I am not saying that x% of the population in a particular area has links with terrorist organizations. What I am saying is that probably y% of the mastermind network of each blast traces its origin back to few specific areas.) People of such areas should actually welcome the investigators and help them clean-up the areas.

All this is very fragile, I agree. But we need to get rigid in at least some sense. All of us need to be careful about whom we are renting our house to, whom we are selling that mobile chip to – These are the ways security agencies in other parts of the world crack down on the militant organizations. These groups can not be ‘eliminated’; they need to be ‘strangled’ for their financial/ emotional/ logistical supplies.

Would you deny that a big part of the militant operation depends on the financial ammunition – Are we doing enough to track the finances of the extremist bodies to ensure that financial aid is dried out to people who are bombing our cities in the name of religion. Oh please! Now don’t give me the minority rights theme again!! It just makes me sick. It’s no new fact that many of the madarsas are actually providing financial/ emotional/ logistical support to the extremist group. Let’s bring them under the financial jurisdiction; if they are not committing any crime they shouldn’t be afraid. Yes, I hear you saying that I am putting onus on them to prove themselves ‘not guilty’. I beg to differ, bringing under supervision doesn’t imply ‘guilty’; from my perspective escaping supervision would be an indication to ‘guilt’. (I would add that this stretches to all religious groups, we all know how religious grants and educational trusts are a mode of making black money white).

One more thing that shocks me is the ‘marginalization’ argument. Many of the thieves would be from economically ‘marginalized’ background, would that justify their actions? Many of the rapists would have gone through some form of sexual or emotional trauma; would you say we should be considerate towards them? Reformation of a society needs to go side by side, but it should in no way divert our attention from eliminating the culprits first. And that’s what has been happening. Indian media had been doing just that, instead of focusing on how terrorist network is getting engrained in our towns and cities, the ‘intellectuals’ are focusing on social reforms. I would say sure Mr./ Ms. Intellectuals, when somebody is putting a gun to your daughter’s head then try reforming him instead of nabbing him then and there… “Oh poor guy! He is agitated because of blah blah blah, let’s redress it”

We are sitting on heaps of RDX and ammonium nitrate; we can not be and should not act soft on terror. WE JUST CAN NOT.

The politics of this country disgusts me.... I do not want to write any more...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A heartfelt obituary

Life is short... shorter than we think it is...
We live as though we have 50 years, forgetting the fact that we might not have another day to live... This post is in remembrance of my friend Divesh.

Divesh. One of the first few people whom I got to know at my institute.
Divesh, n* and me organized the first dance parties at the insti... they were something of a small cultural revolution at that time... (though things have changed now)

Divesh was not just any other person. He was special in his very own ways... he personified few things. Few great things. For me he stood for Freedom. If you ask me to describe him in two words, I would say: He was a free being.

Crazy and passionate about whatever he did and did not do. Clear cut ideals. Respect for individuality, 'living life to the fullest' in the truest sense of the phrase. Joyous, happy (I hardly ever saw him sulking). Lot of enthusiasm. An intelligent passionate researcher (He was a about to finish his PhD in few months time), though absolutely opposite of a 'typical' research person... a good DJ (disc jockey), movie enthusiast, a travel freak... loved his food, drinks and ... Divesh was fun, cool, a big flirt, passionate, enthu, humorous... and above all 'free'. He had a tremendous zest for life...

There are people who might be technically very close to you, say a relative or somebody; but there are few other like Divesh whom you would remember for things they stood for and not just for their importance in your life. There are few people who really inspire me and he was one of them.

Divesh , as his profile on orkut said, "Div..goin Goa! Sun & Sand! Rest the same !"... he loved Goa, he would have gone there n number of times over the past 3-4 years... Goa is where he breathed his last
"hometown: Coorg + Pathanamthitta + Delhi + Bangalore"
"about me: If there's magic in boxing, it's the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It's th'e magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you. -Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris"

I would miss you dear friend. (and I know numerous of other people, who have known you, would be feeling the same...)... this is to you my friend, May your soul rest in peace.
This post will remind me about the how important it is to 'live each day'.