June 22, 2009

Bodies

"The bodies of eight of the nine slain alleged 26/11 terrorists have started to decompose, necessitating their early disposal. ... [T]he bodies ha[ve] begun showing symptoms of fast decomposition, as they were not made to be kept for long preservation."

(From "8 terrorists' bodies need quick disposal", Hindustan Times, June 20 2009.)

Question: whose bodies are "made to be kept for long preservation" anyway?

But more seriously. From the same report: "The bodies, sources said, would be consigned to the elements at some government land, as Muslim bodies had refused to allow the burials in their cemeteries."

(The two uses of the word "bodies" in that sentence, you understand, refer to different things).

You will remember that some months ago, this particular refusal stimulated a fair amount of commentary in various quarters. For just one random example, on ScienceBlogs, Ed Brayton confessed that it "kind of warms my little black heart a bit." One of his commenters speaks of his "hope that at least some Muslims are willing to emphatically reject the extremists."

So let me understand this: It takes a refusal to bury mass-murderers for this man to find such hope? If he had not heard of this refusal he would have continued in his belief that most Muslims, what, embrace the extremists?

To me, the way to consider this is what another commenter there writes: "a criminal is a criminal regardless of religion or politics. If someone viciously murders 100 people, it doesn't matter if they are Christian or Mulsim, Republican or Democrat, white or black. The proper definition for such a person is 'criminal' and it applies across the board."

Look at it like that, and this much is clear: Muslim organizations and cemeteries have no greater connection to the dead bodies of these criminals than the rest of us do.

If the government chose to ask Muslim organizations if they wanted to deal with the bodies, it should have asked every other section of society the same question. Since it did not do that latter, it had no business asking the question of Muslim organizations either.

In other words, the authorities should, with minimum fuss, have incinerated the bodies as soon as possible after the November attacks.

Among other things, that would have sidestepped today's headache: bodies not made to be preserved now decomposing in the morgue.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well this is Pseudo-Secularism at its best my friend.

zap said...

Very droll last lines Dilip.

Tell me, so do you believe that a persons public life should have nothing to do with his personal convictions?
I completely see the prejudices that abound around 'muslim' and 'terror' in the world today and disagree with those terrible prejudices.
But how does being a terrorist not make a person a muslim or a christian or hindu or malayalee? It surely must be worth something to understand why or in which milieu someone turned to terrorism.

Dilip D'Souza said...

zap: of course a person's public life has plenty to do with his personal convictions, and indeed we must strive to understand the milieu as you suggest.

But what I'm getting at is the attitude of the authorities in charge of those bodies (and so many of the rest of us). Why even raise the question of Muslim organizations burying those bodies? If those organizations did bury them, they'd be damned for somehow siding with terrorism. When they didn't do it, there are guys who applaud them and say "at least some Muslims are willing to reject terrorism".

Both reactions, it seems to me, only reinforce the fundamental prejudice that we must all question: why is it easy to assume that because these guys have Muslim names, all (or most) Muslims are connected to terrorism? We make no such assumption about any other religion or caste or language identity.

Which is why I'm saying: think of these guys as criminals, period. Nothing else. They committed a ghastly crime and they've been shot dead: now simply dispose of the bodies as fast as possible and with minimum fuss. Why even open up irrelevant cans of worms?

And in the meantime, of course continue with trying to understand the milieu.

Nikhil said...

Maybe read this persons opinion on the issue and see how refusing burial for these people makes sense.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/dec/19mumterror-no-islamic-burial-for-mumbai-terrorists.htm

Not that I expect you to agree with this, but psychologically this can be a deterrent.
For future Paki terrorists, this is one of the disincentives.
I think actons taken by the Muslim bodies go a long way to create good relations between Hindus and muslims than any work by secularists, so called liberals and peaceniks - not more essay competitions and activism.

Nikhil said...

Interestingly you only referred to them as muslims and not their primary identity 'Pakistanis'. Why ignore that angle?
Indian muslims by taking such actions - show that they are Indians first.
Incidentally if they were Indian muslims they should be given a burial. These may be sick minds but as Indian citizens they are entitled to certain rights and however much we may loathe their actions, they have to be given citizens rights.
However why give Pakis the same rights. That includes lawyers, biryani etc.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Zap, check this sentence:

Indian muslims by taking such actions - show that they are Indians first.

I hope you can now see what I was getting at in my earlier comment.

Here's a guy who assumes Indian Muslims are not "Indians first" -- until an Indian Muslim organization pronounces that they will not bury the bodies of eight murderers. Until they pass that fantastic and somewhat repulsive test.

And it is a characteristic of such tests that nobody actually passes them. The next time there's an atrocity, the same test, or a variant, will be trotted out, the same condescending phrases spoken.

Nikhil said...

Aaaaaah. This is so typical Dilip. Take one statement and twist it out of context. Please show me where i have assumed all this 'that muslims have to be subjected to such 'repulsive' tests to prove their Indianness.'

Not that I expect you and your chamchas to engage in meaningful discussions with people, but let us set the record straight.

First - this is the first such incident in India. So we do not have any such precedence. But if you see the earlier article, I linked to, it clearly states that there are graves of foreign terrorists in India.
When the muslim bodies refused to allow the terrorists to be buried here, they have sent a clear message to Pakistanis that they also do not tolerate such actions by them. Else Pakistanis have delusions that these are opressed souls waiting to be liberated.
This is contrast to an opinion poll taken in London after the bombings there that revealed a large section of the muslim population there believed that the bombers were doing the right thing.
Now do you see the meaning? At least the muslim bodies have been unambiguous in their nationalistic stand unlike you and your likes who have not called for suspension of economic, social and cultural ties. But how is that possiblewhen there are hidden agendas involved?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Let's see here.

Take one statement and twist it out of context.

Fine. Let's put back the immediate context. Here we go:

you only referred to them as muslims and not their primary identity 'Pakistanis'. Why ignore that angle? Indian muslims by taking such actions - show that they are Indians first. Incidentally if they were Indian muslims they should be given a burial.

First sentence: says I didn't refer to the murderers as Pakistanis. Clearly, nothing to do with your claim about Indian Muslims.

Second sentence, a question, asks why I didn't refer to the murderers as Pakistanis. Clearly again, nothing to do with your claim about Indian Muslims.

Third sentence, now that's your claim about Indian Muslims.

Fourth sentence, you say "incidentally" that if the criminals are Indians, they should be buried.

Fair characterization of the context of your claim?

OK, your turn. Please tell me how this context makes any difference to your claim that when Indian Muslims "take such actions" (i.e. that some organizations refuse to bury the bodies of murderers), they "show that they are Indians first".

Please show me how, when you make this claim, it is unreasonable to conclude that your belief is that Indian Muslims are not Indians first, and it is this "such actions" that shows you that they are.

I'm waiting.

Dilip D'Souza said...

By the way, Nikhil:

I assume that you personally did not take "such action" -- meaning you did not issue a statement refusing to bury the bodies of the terrorists. (i.e. you have not "sent a clear message to Pakistanis" that you too "do not tolerate such actions by them").

Applying your own logic, then, should I assume that you are not "Indian first"?

Why or why not?

Ot said...

oh shutup, Dsouza. All Muzzies are suspect, period. Get used to it, like they are getting use to it. Many posts ago I told you that was the libertarian position and you didnt react. Lets see you react now.

Ot said...

Of course, nobody wants to talk about the fact that the only reason the muslim bodies were asked is because this government loves to pander to muslims. We'll just ignore that part of it, becase D'souza has decreed it so.

Sidhusaaheb said...

There are two sets of standards that are applied in this country. So, terrorists, who generally have the same religious affiliations as a minority community and are seen as Hindu-killers, have to be demons. On the other hand, mass-murderers, who generally belong to the majority community and slaughter innocent Sikhs or Muslims or Christians in large numbers, can very well be heroes.

The latter can contest Lok Sabha and/or state legislature elections and win by huge margins. They can even become ministers, besides being 'popular leaders', despite their murderous backgrounds being an open-secret.

So, any one who offers to dispose the dead body of a terrorist with a certain amount of dignity is obviously going to be dubbed 'unpatriotic', whereas if a mass-murderer of minority-community citizens were to die, he/she would in any case be given a state-funeral by the government or, at least, a grand-funeral by the political party to which he/she was affiliated.

Nikhil said...

Dilip
For your comment
I assume that you personally did not take "such action" -- meaning you did not issue a statement refusing to bury the bodies of the terrorists. (i.e. you have not "sent a clear message to Pakistanis" that you too "do not tolerate such actions by them").

Applying your own logic, then, should I assume that you are not "Indian first"?

First of all I am not the person in charge of disposing bodies, nor do i have any jurisdiction over Muslim burial places. So good try as usual of creating a strawman
But assuming that I had some say in the matter, I would have disposed off the bodies in the most undignified manner.
Intersting comment by OT and a general inquiry. Why did the govt not follow the usual procedure of incinerating the bodies or treating any unclaimed body?
Sidhusaheb. Please do the courtesy of reading my piece. I have stated that any Indian citizen -terrorist, rioter etc needs a dignified cremation - even though their acts are bad - But not for Pakistanis.
Kindly show where I have stated or hinted what you have written:
So, terrorists, who generally have the same religious affiliations as a minority community and are seen as Hindu-killers, have to be demons. On the other hand, mass-murderers, who generally belong to the majority community and slaughter innocent Sikhs or Muslims or Christians in large numbers, can very well be heroes.

But if in your secular framework you see this then it is fine.
Please see the article that I attached. All my comments were based on that article which I agree with fully.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Nikhil, you did not answer. You asked for context. I put your statement in its original context. So may I repeat:

Please tell me how this context makes any difference to your claim that when Indian Muslims "take such actions" (i.e. that some organizations refuse to bury the bodies of murderers), they "show that they are Indians first".

Please show me how, when you make this claim, it is unreasonable to conclude that your belief is that Indian Muslims are not Indians first, and it is this "such actions" that shows you that they are.

I'm waiting.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

which one is it that 'Intersting comment by OT'?? 2:27 pm or 6:26 pm?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Nikhil, you did not answer.

Silly me, what did I expect.

Nikhil said...

I have already answered the question in my previous comment. As I mentioned I had no say in the matter - nor am i any expert on how bodies should be disposed.
But hypothetically if muslim bodies insisted that these people should be given a proper burial because they are muslims, then they show that they place their faith above the country. But in refusing this, they place their nation first and define themselves by their nationality first and everything else later.
Hope this clarifies the matter.
Yes - I am unabashedly nationalistic unlike Sidhusaheb and other worthies who keep on harping on Hindus opressing others but love the fanatics and zealots on the other side of the border in the name of Lahori love. Please see his blog for further details.

Dilip D'Souza said...

I have already answered the question in my previous comment.

Please don't sidestep, Nikhil. The questions you didn't answer were about the context you wanted, and may I repeat them now:

You asked for context. I put your statement in its original context. So may I repeat:

Please tell me how this context makes any difference to your claim that when Indian Muslims "take such actions" (i.e. that some organizations refuse to bury the bodies of murderers), they "show that they are Indians first".

Please show me how, when you make this claim, it is unreasonable to conclude that your belief is that Indian Muslims are not Indians first, and it is this "such actions" that shows you that they are.

I'm waiting. Please don't evade the issue again.

Thank you.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Just to emphasize, Nikhil, this is what I really would like an answer about:

Please show me how, when you make this claim, it is unreasonable to conclude that your belief is that Indian Muslims are not Indians first.

Nikhil said...

First I do not go with pre-conceived and fixed opinions like many of you. I base my judgment solely on actions of people - whether individually or as a community / group.
When communists and some Muslim organizations hold demonstrations against a visiting American president just because of his actions in a distant gulf country or just because communists are supposed to hate America as a rule, such people do not give me the impression of being Indians first and anything else later. They are not thinking of national interest.
When some Muslim organizations protest the US Afghanistan attacks, are they thinking about India or the national interest?
In your definition even earlier, you say all the above actions are in the national interest.

By casting aside all religious affiliations and standing up for their country, the Muslim bodies have shown the world particularly your favorite neighbors that they are Indians first and that they put their country first before everything else.

My opinion is Except for a minority segment like the above mentioned protesters against Bush, the rest of Muslims consider themselves Indian first. I cannot spare more time to explain further

Do you now at least see the point now? Strange you guys see bigotry even in praise. Do you still need any further explanations?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Except for a minority segment like the above mentioned protesters against Bush, the rest of Muslims consider themselves Indian first.

I see. It does read somewhat differently from your earlier claim, which was:

Indian muslims by taking such actions - show that they are Indians first.

No mention of "except for a minority segment" there. Why not? Why didn't you write something like: "When this minority segment of Indian muslims takes such actions, that minority segment shows that they are Indians first"?

No, what you wrote was about all Indian Muslims. And that statement, made openly and before you were put on the spot, seemingly captures your true feelings about Indian Muslims -- that they are indeed not Indians first.

This is not praise, it is bigotry. Thank you for calling it as it is.

Nikhil said...

No, what you wrote was about all Indian Muslims. And that statement, made openly and before you were put on the spot, seemingly captures your true feelings about Indian Muslims -- that they are indeed not Indians first.

This is not praise, it is bigotry. Thank you for calling it as it is.

Please call it that. If after all my explanations, if that is what you read, please call me a bigot.
I admit I am not too good at wordplay and i do not draw pre-concieved conclusions. You went ahead and seemed to read my mind. Even after I explained in all detail, you refuse to see it.

If applauding people for their patriotism is bigotry, then I am proud to be such a bigot.

Nikhil said...

Further your clever ways of twisting arguments backfire at times. It is then your art of peddling lies gets exposed

Dilip D'Souza said...

i do not draw pre-concieved conclusions.

When a Muslim organization refuses to bury the bodies of murderers, you say that "such actions" show that "Indian Muslims are Indians first".

Not the members of that organization, but "Indian Muslims" in general. No qualification in your statement.

It seems clear from this that you nurture the belief that Indian Muslims in general are not "Indians first".

Seems like a preconceived conclusion to me.

Nikhil said...

Why didn't you write something like: "When this minority segment of Indian muslims takes such actions, that minority segment shows that they are Indians first"?

No, what you wrote was about all Indian Muslims. And that statement, made openly and before you were put on the spot, seemingly captures your true feelings about Indian Muslims -- that they are indeed not Indians first.

Why - that is the same argument you keep on putting to others - what they should write and what they should not have and then attribute motives and begin to twist arguments.

before you were put on the spot,

You think I am scared of liars and manipulators? I have said everythin in plain language and if any normal person sees this (including muslims) he will only see praise unlike you who goes into spin with his DAT
- Dilip Argumentative Techniques TM

If by these comments, I become a bigot then you can well be called a terrorist enabler and supporter.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Nikhil, given that you've commented here for years, I'll try this one last time and I make one final appeal for you to give it a thought.

Let's say there's a mob attack on a demonstration of farmers protesting a SEZ (sort of what happened in Nandigram). Let's say the police fired at this mob and killed one of them. Let's say his name is Bhadrakant Parikh. Let's say the police takes his body to an owner of a crematorium, his name Daulatram Sharma, and ask Sharma to cremate the body. Let's say Sharma refuses.

Would you say this about Sharma's refusal: "Indian Hindus by taking such actions - show that they are Indians first"?

No "ifs" and qualifications. Please. Just a simple yes or no: would you make that statement?

If you would not make that statement, as I think you would not, please understand that it is exactly as disturbing when you make it about Indian Muslims.

(If you say you would make the statement, then you need to explain why you believe Indian Hindus are not Indian first).

That's the point.

You can call me liar and manipulator and terrorist enabler and so forth all you want. But the point above remains. Please give that a thought.

Ketan said...

By simply glossing over the religious allegiance of a terrorist, we only end up missing the genesis of an urge and impetus to kill innocent people.

Slight difference between Gujarat terror attacks of 2002 and others you pointed out was the ratio of terrorists to victims that got killed. In Gujarat, it was about 1:3 - one terrorist killing only three other people before getting himself/herself killed - how disingenious!

Whereas, in other two you mentioned terrorist to innocent victims
ratio was easily above 1:20!

I guess, the Indian governments have (justifiably or unjustly, so) always been respectful of dead bodies! So, they simply asked the rightful owners of crematoriums for permission to bury the terrorists according to the religion they had followed before dying!

Dilip D'Souza said...

In Gujarat, it was about 1:3 ... [etc]

Am I really seeing right?

For one thing, would you care to explain how you know these 1:3 and 1:20 ratios?

For another, are you really saying that we should measure the horror of a terrorist act by divining this ratio? So if just by chance the Taj happened to contain only one person that Nov 26th, and the ten Pakistanis went there and killed him but didn't find anyone else and then were killed themselves -- in that case, we should say "Hmm, the ratio is 10:1, so this is pretty non-serious terrorism"? That's what you will say?

Ketan said...

Dilip,

Well, the ratio aspect of my comment was directed in response to Siddhusaheb. Sorry, I goofed up there in not being clear enough and mixing up.

But still to answer your question, it is precisely this kind of ratio and the amount of planning that go into the assaults that determine whether they ought to be termed a religious riot or a terrorist attack.

Terrorist attack is well planned, and allows little margin for retaliation.

The fact that 1 "terrorist" had died for every 3 "victim" that had died in the Gujarat, hardly makes it a terrorist attack as defined by Siddhusaheb above.

The hypothetical situation you have presented in which only one person would be killed would be simply termed a homicide. Merely having an intent without its execution hardly amounts to anything.

As to the source of ratios I quoted, they are same as/similar to the ones that told you of all the events discussed in your blog post as well as in the comments.

So, of course I was not even talking of "seriousness" of crime. Just like every disease has specific diagnostic criteria and hence a technical name, every death of a human being qualifies as one form of death or the other.

And what form of death it is, and depending upon the causes behind it, determine how best to prevent such unfortunate events, provided one is interested in such prevention.

To give extremely extreme examples, wearing condom while having sex cannot prevent death due to a terrorist attack, and guards standing at border cannot prevent deaths due to AIDS.

Likewise, best immediate preventive measures, if at all any, for events that occurred in Gujarat and Punjab, would be different from those that can prevent deaths caused by people living across the international border. Hence, the insistence on striking distinction between religious riots and terrorist attacks.