Internal Terrorism and How to Deal with it?

This blog has been preempted by BBC’s WHYS topic on internal terrorism.
Internal terrorism has been an ugly scene in India probably for as long as we have known. The independence war saw the nation split into two parts which led to not only blood shed but left a scar across the hearts of many. People who were living together were made to separate and more importantly ideologies were imposed and the immediate next generation exposed to hatred of the worst kinds. India then got involved in the problems of the eastern part of pakistan and freed bangladesh. What it brought about was another wave of resentment and more people added to the list of intolerants. The eastern states were not stranger to the problem of maosits, cry for gorkhaland and more!
Jammu and Kashmir with time became the symbol of “war for independence” and with time internal disturbances else where became self determination symbols. The Punjab terrorism of the mid 80’s is a stark example of fundamentalism rearing to give it a go. Probably the only example where it was “contained” (am not proud of the way it was handled and what it became) yet the fundamentalism was throttled. There is something interesting i have observed, living in punjab for close to 5 years, that the present generation living there does not have scars etched in them badly. No denying that since the terrorism has stopped now the present generation has a peaceful life, but also its pertinent to note that the horrors of the past are not being made a part of the present understanding.
The wars being fought everyday on the borders of India are no trivial matters. They are a total mis understanding of what “identity” is and what India stands as one nation. What has constantly fueled the wars is fundamentalist attitudes and the politically correct stands India has taken. Internal terrorists are people whose ideologies aren’t really their own but invariably based upon brain washed facts, stories, beliefs which they probably don’t even adhere to. What happened next was AFSPA, army batallions deployed to kill their own people, political decisions not being made and more broth making. There is no under standing of the term “self determination” of identity and extremists ideas that are fed, imposed, taught to the populace there become the bane for future generations. With terror spreading in the country at a critical level and day to day life being threatened by fundamentalists
and the ever convenient use of “ideological standards” by sections whose strings are pulled by people who don’t have an idea on what “self identity” is!
How can we deal with it?
1. Can we allow fundamentalism to rule the roost? That can answer a lot of this debate. When people show courage on a movie like MNIK it is a sign that the populace is ready to have its own opinion. We need to allow propagation of such opinions. Maybe the hype got to it but then again people showed that they had a mind of their own.
2. You cannot allow anything in segregation. Even when you have the leaders of such terrorist groups to deal with we have to remind ourselves that the population living there is not alien. They are people who are coerced,brain washed, threatened into believing and living an ideology which isn’t there’s. Constant dialogue sharing, confidence building, trust building has to happen with the populace living in these terror prone areas. We cannot fragment these people from the totality of being a part of one nation state.
3. Allow national interest to stay above personal conflicts and therefore hard steps have to be taken. If its the army which can sort it out then politics has to give way to stringent steps. Whatever Gill did in Punjab was a curse on human rights and the reality remains he finished fundamentalism. Yes the question “at what cost” is important but at times you have to wipe out the extremists and army should not be stopped from taking crucial decisions. (I agree there can be a lot of debate here.)
4. Fundamentalism grows when you do not take action against it. When we allow incidents like what is happening in maharashtra, andhra Pradesh (India) we are paving the path for further internal terrorism. The policy makers and more importantly the implementing machinery has to move beyond trivial interests and nip this from the bud.
5. We cannot allow a collective history of brutal memories to develop. When the mother in MNIK says “there is only a good boy and a bad boy” i cringe at that. Maybe it is our collective duty to ensure that the generation growing up now and preparing for the future is not fed with hatred and vengeance. Exchange of ideas, opinions, perspectives in the youth has to be ensured. Allowing more and more students from these terror prone areas to assimilate in the mainstream cities and ensure that the youth is not brought up with a tormented history in their system. One essential thriving point of fundamentalism is the target audience that it holds and its essential that we break that cycle. Its our collective responsibility that a muslim boy does not grow up resentful or that he is not brought up with a museum of collected horror stories. The generation bringing up its children has to move ahead with a resolve that the children grow up loving and caring. When we allow a shared history of hatred being passed into generations we are creating more terrorists.

Internal terrorism can be anything from what is happening in african nations to what India has been facing for a long time now to what australia is waking up to. Though stringent actions are the call of the hour to wipe the menace the grim truth is somehow political conveniences will always hamper it. So whats needed is a futuristic step to prevent further segregation, marginalisation and ensuring that a further brand of terrorists aren’t created.

What does Having a Religion Connote?

This was a question my dad brought up a few weeks back when i was meeting my parents for a quick meeting. He was updating me on what all the matrimonial sites results for my account had been, and since i hadnt allowed him to put up a religion on my profile there were inquiries from all sects! This seemed to really irritate him and he was almost regretting the “modern day education” he had got me into!

But really what does a religion connote to all of us? For my father being a high end hindu brahmin is almost like having a huge stamp or something. He has tried impressing upon me and my brother on how important it is for us to realize what it means to be from such a sect. Now i am a confused person, at the age of 24 i dont think i am religious but i do have a small place of all the idols in my room (mothers can be very strong on imposing such things) and yet i dont pray. I like lightening a lamp but, because it has something very beautiful about it and the first lamp of the evening looks very pretty, and so it has no religious connotation. So when i go home and see my mom do the whole ritual of praying etc every morning and evening its very intriguing. I ask her what it means for her, she picked up my fathers way of religious practices post marriage and it amazes me how inspite of being a pakistani migrant and all she today associates herself with being a staunch brahmin!

Religion probably is the most read about, discussed stuff around lately but really what does it connote to any one of us?What does it do to anybody’s identity? Where does it lead any of us?Does religious identity become bigger than our identities as individuals?

I think the whole religious identity talk stems from the fact that every generation has added to the whole concept of  religion is one and all we got and refuses to let go of perceptions. As a little child we expose him/her to religious ceremonies more than drawing books, every grandfather/mother love to see the lile toddler sitting in the puja room and listening to the sermons instead of maybe little children stories. As the kid grows up the elders have difficulty to accept when the child once in a while questions, “why do we read the ramayana/koran/granthsahib?” Add to this the intolerant world we have harvested around us and we have religion as that one prominent fixture which generation after generation is used as identity mark. So then why be surprised when we have religious fragments snowballing every little issue into a religious one and why discuss what MNIK has become!

Every individual has the right to religion and also a right to change his religion as is guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and similarly for nationality ( Art 18 and Art15). This assumes significance because essentially every one can change from one belief to another and thus it is possible that a lot of people who belong to one faith change to another. Yet we staunchly fix ourselves to one religion, to one faith-why? Maybe because no generation wants to believe that next generation can have a faith system grounded on principles like humanity, community oneness, issues, causes. One generations denial to let go means that ideologies are imposed on the thinking of the new generations and innovation, in terms of new relationships forging on grounds of trust,companionship,way forwards, doesn’t happen. Religion definitely does have strong roots in human civilization but does it necessarily imply that it has to be something to everyone. I don’t think so, i donot enter a temple or a gurudwara or a church because its religious, but maybe because the places look pretty, at times because they are peaceful,nice to sit in and at times give me more people to observe. But when i meet someone and only give my first name do i leave behind a part of me which should be important? I dont think so. I think we have to realize that for states to really surge ahead its important we allow innovation and discovery in forging of relationships and building new grounds for understanding of links.
Religion today probably does have a lot to connote to us and the generations behind us and maybe we aren’t too sure what it connotes to us. Yet we are ready to be taken away by the religious manifestations of the societal discourse and instill a thinking that probably isn’t even ours!
I guess it’s time that we move beyond being secular and understand what really do such things connote to us. To me religion is not a part of my identity-what is my identity is probably that of being a human and being brought up in army a national of all the identities. Maybe that can help me forge relationships that are more true and engage on the premise of ideas, thinking and change.

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

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