Abi, I like your explanation of "renounce". The mistake too many people make is simple: some scumbags do something horrible -- like the blasts in Bombay, let's say -- and therefore everyone from the religion those scumbags profess are, as Patrix says, "associated" with the scum and must "renounce" that association. What is this association? Answer: none.
The thing about prejudice is simple: everybody has prejudices. Nothing wrong with that. But it's important to constantly examine them, and the inferences they set up in our minds. In this case, it's important to examine what it means to say that all Indian Muslims are "associated" with criminals. Does Suhail have an "association with the fanatics" any more than the rest of us, and therefore should we now expect him to get up and renounce it?
Comic Protest: you make a telling point,and you do it well. Continuous questioning of one faith's loyalty is dangerous by itself.
Patrix: I've never expected just Hindus to condemn what happened in Gujarat (etc). (as Anand says). I expect, no I assume, that anybody who has any sense of justice -- like you -- will be outraged by it and condemn it. It's never occured to me that you, being Hindu, have more of an "association" with the criminals there than me. If what happened in Gujarat is a blot, it is a blot on me as much as any other Indian. The same goes for the blasts in Delhi.
Nikhil: I have no problem with people dissociating themselves from some violence or the other, like the examples you offer of Tavleen Singh and Khushwant Singh. My problem is with the rest of us expecting such dissociation every single time there's some ghastly event like the Delhi blasts.
As for Tavleen Singh pointing to a "great deal of simmering rage", fine. Two responses. One, the answer to such rage is not to assume that it is justified merely because it exists. Two, there are a lot of people who have a great deal of simmering rage over other horrible events that haven't seen justice: example, 1984 Delhi massacres. Will we take note of that?
Finally, I want to make a point about something Nitin says: Punishing perpetrators of past crimes and defeating today's terrorists is not mutually exclusive. The point here, that a lot of others make too, is: let's deal with the "here and now" (Nitin's own words), let's not obfuscate it with talk about those "past crimes".
But those "past crimes" were in the "here and now" at the time they happened, were they not? If horrible things happen, and are not punished, and years pass, must we simply forget they happen, and are the thousands of people who remember them with anguish "obfuscating" the issue of the "here and now" with their demands for justice?
In that case, why not apply that to every single crime? Why not simply let a few weeks or months, say, pass and say of the Delhi blasts: "oh, those are past crimes", and let's not obfuscate the demand for justice for those blasts with the demand for justice for whatever new horror is upon us?
A simple point: to me, it is precisely this attitude of treating "past crimes" as somehow less important that makes it hard to fight terrorism.