February 18, 2010

Of motivation and inversion

"Every intelligence officer will tell you that the motivation of the Indian jihadi is not Guantanamo or Iraq, it is, STILL, Gujarat."

That's Samar Halarnkar of the Hindustan Times, on his Twitter page.

This reminded me of these lines with which I began an article I called Just as Orwell predicted a few years ago:

"According to the [Srikrishna Commission] report, the [1993 Bombay bomb] blasts were the fallout of the riots that happened after demolition of the Babri Masjid. Why have only we been found guilty? What about the culprits who have been named in the Srikrishna Commission report?"

That was said by Abdul Ghani Turk, found guilty on September 19 2006 in the (March 12 1993) bomb blasts trial.

As I asked in 2006, let's punish Turk as he deserves, but who's willing to take a stab at answering his questions? Who's willing to take a stab at reacting to Halarnkar's observation? Anyone? You?

***

Incidentally, while that article I referred to above (Just as Orwell predicted) starts with Turk's questions, it is really not about them. It is instead about a perception among many people that the riots in Bombay actually followed the blasts for which Turk was convicted. That the riots were actually set off by the blasts.

Which perception is impossible, of course, given that the riots happened in December 1992 and January 1993, whereas the blasts happened months later, on March 12 1993.

But impossible, of course, is just a word. Consider some lines I read at the top of this page on the site mumbaivotes.com.

Terrorists has been made the situation of the country quiet vulnerable Since 1992-93 B.C. Bomb blasts took place on 13 places and around 900 people were lost their lives. Thousands of people were injured. As a result of which, big religious riots took place between Hindus and Muslims and so many innocents were killed.

This was, as you will read at the top of that page, "condensed and translated from the original version [of a manifesto] at shivsena.org."

Yes, some parties strive to invert history. In an election manifesto, no less.

31 comments:

Surya said...

One thing I can conclude is Muslims are using an excuse to show their violent nature. For every bomb they show a reason..ok Gujarat happened in 2002, we have seen inumerable bombs since then. So what is the excuse for burning women and children? Ah..Hindu lives do not matter as much as a Xian or Muslim life.

globalbabble said...

Hi Dilip,

I have been following your blog for a while. Time and again you raise the same themes - that all life is precious, violence against muslims and Christians is as heinous as violence against Hindus, that majority community has specific responsibilities.

And time and again, the same people retort with scorn, malice and complete rubbish.

Doesn't that depress and discourage you? Doesn't that make you wonder if you all your efforts are useless? That there really cannot be a dialogue with right-wing Hinduvtavadis.

globalbabble

Dilip D'Souza said...

Globalbabble: given your comment, how can I begin to feel my efforts are useless? If people like you see these commenters for the "complete rubbish" they offer, well, that's a step in the right direction.

I would like to object to the phrase "right-wing Hindutvavadis". Some of the guys who comment here -- example the one above you -- wouldn't know a right-wing from a left-wing even if it hit them in the face. All they are is consumed with hate, prejudice and the need to feel like a victim always. That's all.

Chandru K said...

The question is why is D'Souza raising the issue of the Bombay riots of 1993, when we have 3 examples of horrendous violence in front of us in the last 5 days! The two Naxalite attacks, which killed 24 policemen in West Bengal, and 12 villagers, the latter supposedly being people the poor oppressed Naxals are trying to represent! And yes, if the Hindu groups had killed 36 people for almost no reason in the last 2 days, of course we should discuss and denounce it.

Anonymous said...

Chandruk, what did you make of Halarankar's tweet which dcubed quotes? that's why.

Surya said...

"All they are is consumed with hate, prejudice and the need to feel like a victim always. " - How come anything close to saying some facts against xian or musms is treated as hatred? what we are doing is also pointing out the lack of support for justice to hindus affected tooo...example kashmir..easily forgotten, no one cares..as some one wrote elsewhere...if the name is Kaul it does not matter, it matters only if the name is KHAN

Sapathan said...

Dilip,

The link of causation is misplaced. Extenting your analogy, if social atrocities and violence targeting a group are to be quantified, Dalits probably have the highest grievances on that count. So are you saying it's only natural for Dalits to rampage on the streets with a gun?

To say that there will be violence until every single historical wrong is corrected is a silly argument.

Though I must add, I agree with violence per-se.

Dilip D'Souza said...

are you saying it's only natural for Dalits to rampage on the streets with a gun?

No.

I'm saying there are constant reminders that we have not delivered justice, in particular, for many acts of terrorism. That we are not even trying to start delivering that justice. (For that matter, we don't even want to call them terrorism).

This simply gives fuel to yet more maniacs and terrorists, like the 26/11 guys, or the Pune guys. A good way to defeat them is to take away that fuel.

Surya said...

"This simply gives fuel to yet more maniacs and terrorists, like the 26/11 guys, or the Pune guys. A good way to defeat them is to take away that fuel."

Finally...I am on the same page as the author.
Terrorists are Fighting for Justice. [If Vajpayee and LK Advani OR Thackery(shud top the list) are hanged to death Terrorism will cease and Pakistan will exit out of Kashmir. All the Madrasas from Kerala to Borders of Bangaladesh and UP will start spreading the message of Love and Religious Tolerance. Saudi will allow Hindus to carry pictures of deities. Best of all, Pandits will get back their homeland.] Also lets forgive all the "justice fighters", show mercy, am sure that will help too..

Nikhil said...

globalbabble
I decided to respond to your comment earlier as you and Jai are the reasonable and sensible commenters on this blog.

First to your comment:
that all life is precious, violence against muslims and Christians is as heinous as violence against Hindus.

All violence against innocent citizens is bad and should be condemned. The perpetrators and instigators should be punished - with death if need be.
So whats the problem? Ask the blog owner if he has shown such a consistent record.
If Shiv Sena and their assorted likes indulge in violence, condemn and ask for their punishment. But if maovadis etc carry out gruesome killings, look the other way, do not condemn and better still - ask to tackle the root cause. No condemnation at all.

When somebody points out the anomaly above, he will be tarred as a bigot,consumed with hate, prejudice and the need to feel like a victim always.

The dishonesty comes throught when he equates ├Źndian jihadis'with the 26/11 perpetrators and slyly brings in Guajarat.
First the perpetrators were not Indians. Second - how can he explain that they were specifically targetting Americans, British and Jews. None of these people had anything to do with Gujarat.

Next to your comment:
that majority community has specific responsibilities.

Can you elaborate what specific responsibilites? Does not everybody - majority, minority or whosoever have responsibilities? Or is that only one side has responsibilities while the others should go on behaving irresponsibly?

Dilip D'Souza said...

you and Jai are the reasonable and sensible commenters on this blog.

As opposed, of course, to the person who wrote this comment some months ago. In response to news of some Muslim organizations refusing to bury the bodies of the 26/11 scum, this person said, and I quote, "Indian muslims by taking such actions - show that they are Indians first."

This person evidently assumes that Indian muslims are not Indian first. That it's only when these organizations refuse to bury the bodies of terrorists that, somehow, Indian Muslims "show that they are Indian first".

This person, of course, is the very same Nikhil above.

Forgive me, but I feel no urge to take tests devised by such folks, not least because their unique characteristic is this: as soon as you take one, there will be another. For example, in the comments here, one test went thus: "Here you are mentioning 1984, 1992-93 and 2002. Do not know if this is deliberate, but no mention of J & K 1990."

It quickly morphed into "Any idea Dilip why you are outraged now and have raised this now and not in 2004?"

Etc. The same Nikhil again, of course. Asking about 1990, then why the outrage over 1984 didn't manifest itself in 2004, and then about "maovadis". Like I said, forgive me if I skip trying to pass these slippery tests.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Surya, were you trying to be sarcastic? I've spent days trying to figure that one out.

Let's make this clear: I want punishment for the terrorists of 26/11, just as much as I want punishment for the terrorists of Gujarat in 2002 and Delhi in 1984 (picking just three examples).

The 170 or so lives lost on 26/11 matter just as much to me as the 1000 or so lives lost in 2002, and just as much too as the 3000 or so lives lost in 1984.

Simple. I don't care whether those lives lost were Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Parsi, Shinto or animist or anything else. They were fellow human beings, every last one of them, and that's why I mourn them.

What insinuation will you make now? But more important, will you call for punishment of the terrorists of 2002 and Delhi in 1984? (Will Chandru?)

Or will there be the usual quibble over the very reference to them as terrorists to begin with?

Jai_C said...

GlobalB,
Some of these feuds are ancient and beyond even my understanding and Ive been reading D for years.
-------

On testing:

This thread reminded me of one my earliest comments, and first run-in with Dilip.

On some post that explored the motivations of terrorism ( something about Munich / german/ israeli I forget) I said "at least on such a post it helps to explicitly state that terrorism is not okay" or some such.

Dilip went "no hoops" and spent considerable digital ink refusing to condemn, "inviting me to think whatever I wished about his stance on terrorism".

I was troubled by how bad this was making *our side* look (I considered us to be on the same side) and a simple condemnation of 3-4 words was worth avoiding with 100s of words.

Ultimately it looked like it was a prize, the not handing over of which was very valuable to him. Looked weird and a bit silly.

Since then I have found some context for his stance in some of these scraps you see still ongoing. He also believes that condemnation of anything clearly wrong is implicit and automatic.

I'm pretty sure the Suryas, Chandrus and Nikhils all know this. Maybe they havent gotten over the wrinkle they felt when Dilip first rolled them their hoops.

I can verstand guys, it didnt feel too good even when it was sort-of 'friendly fire'. And you are the opposition. But let it go. Its been years....

thanks,
Jai the hopefully reasonable

Dilip D'Souza said...

I was troubled by how bad this was making *our side* look (I considered us to be on the same side) and a simple condemnation of 3-4 words was worth avoiding with 100s of words. [etc]

Jai, let me clarify. It's hardly a matter of expending 100s of words where 3-4 would have done the job.

Instead, the reason for this is that these guys who ask for a condemnation never stop there. You give them one, they will say "why didn't you say this in 2004", or some such. You explain that, and they will mutate it once again.

It's a never-ending game, because these guys are interested not in condemnation, but in finding a stick to beat those whose views are different. that's all. It's not a game I care to play.

When horrible atrocities like 26/11 or the 2002 massacre in Gujarat happen, I assume that everybody around condemns them, whether they say so or not. Guys who cannot accord me that same degree of humanity are not guys I feel like proving anything to.

I suspect that somewhere inside, they themselves see particular atrocities as justified, or not atrocities at all, or something. Given that, they feel like they have to paint everyone else with that same creepy brush.

Nikhil said...

I suspect that somewhere inside, they themselves see particular atrocities as justified, or not atrocities at all, or something. Given that, they feel like they have to paint everyone else with that same creepy brush.

I cannot speak for others. But my statement states it all:
All violence against innocent citizens is bad and should be condemned. The perpetrators and instigators should be punished - with death if need be.

Yest - look at what you concluded. Says it all when you have already reached conclusions about people.
Let me add the above refers to bombers, rioters (all of them - not just 1984, 1992, 2002) and the likes of Kasab etc.
Add any such monsters to your list.

Why did i mention 2004. Please see the full statement and the context in which I wrote it.

Secondly we cannot accuse people of crimes they have not committed. e.g. BJP is guilty of many things but not Mumbai 1992/93 riots. Even the Srikrishna commission report does not mention any leader.
This is for any party. Punishment needs to be meted out for the crime.

Jai
No opposition to anybody. I am only pointing out anomalies

Dilip D'Souza said...

look at what you concluded. Says it all when you have already reached conclusions about people.

Excellent. So allow me to quote to you just two of the things you have said about me in the last several months:

as we know about Dilip - different strokes for different folks particularly if they happen to be Hindus.

and

how come you have not condemned the Israel reaction against Hamas. But wait I think that seems ok - after all Hindus are not doing any disproportinate reaction.

Like I said in my earlier comment: "When horrible atrocities like 26/11 or the 2002 massacre in Gujarat happen, I assume that everybody around condemns them, whether they say so or not. Guys who cannot accord me that same degree of humanity are not guys I feel like proving anything to."

Like I said in an even earlier comment: "I want punishment for the terrorists of 26/11, just as much as I want punishment for the terrorists of Gujarat in 2002 and Delhi in 1984 (picking just three examples).

The 170 or so lives lost on 26/11 matter just as much to me as the 1000 or so lives lost in 2002, and just as much too as the 3000 or so lives lost in 1984.

Simple. I don't care whether those lives lost were Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Parsi, Shinto or animist or anything else. They were fellow human beings, every last one of them, and that's why I mourn them."

In any number of different ways, this is what I have said for years, all my life, because it is what I believe.

Yet you have chosen to insinuate, again and again, that I am indifferent to the killing of Hindus.

So now allow me to repeat: "Guys who cannot accord me that same degree of humanity are not guys I feel like proving anything to."

Ketan said...

Or will there be the usual quibble over the very reference to them as terrorists to begin with?

I had answered your query elsewhere. More specifically, here (click):

"...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 incident, hardly makes it a terrorist attack as defined by Siddhusaheb above."


And I absolutely agree with Sapathan here:

"To say that there will be violence until every single historical wrong is corrected is a silly argument."

Because, the moment one talks of "fuel" for violence as a cause, then one is automatically dismissing the need for law and the due course it takes. Think of it, Kasab (who was caught on camera) cannot be yet convicted for his crime, and in face of that you want convicted largely faceless criminals of religious riots? I am of course referring to the lack of substantial evidence required to convict those responsible for these riots through legal/forensic evidence (and not through linguistic prowess), and not trying to say that attempts to punish those proven guilty must not be made.

Also, by bringing in point you did, one ends up on a slippery path - what "date" to pick to start avenging an incident of violence? One year? One decade? One century? One millennium? And why? Any such "date" would be arbitrary!

Another very important point raised was: if the instigating factor was Gujarat riots, then why were Jews and Americans targeted? What were the instigating factors in beheading of Sikhs in Pakistan recently? Why was retaliation for Babri Mosque demolition (in which not a single human was physically hurt) not demolition of some temple, but killing of humans (through riots and bomb blasts)?

And honestly, that something is opined by a noted journalist does not become an undeniable fact automatically for me. They too are only human with attendant margins to err and possible conflicts of interests.

You might want to read what a senior journalist, Kuldip Nayyar had to say here (click):

"The murder of police officer Hemant Karkare, who was probing the Malegaon blasts, was the doing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or Bajrang Dal."

And well, his claim/insightful "opinion" is as recent as just a week back....

Ketan said...

...If you want more instances for why I do not go by these "expert" opinions or even news reporting blindly, I would be glad to provide them.

And you know Dilip, I tried to do a bit of "research" myself, viz., actually visiting the Shiv Sena web site - shivsena.org (click)

Apparently, the web site you had linked had a "summarized" version of manifesto for Lok Sabha elections, right?

Well, at least their official manifesto for assembly elections does not contain any such rhetoric. You could go through it here (click).

The translated manifesto sounds quite suspect to me considering ridiculous goofs up like:

1. "Terrorists has been(?) made the situation of the country quiet vulnerable"

2. "1992-93 B.C.(?)"

3. "900 people were(?) lost their lives"

4. "It has reached its pick(?) in Maharashtra"

I mean, one may dislike the party and their policies, but is their English and common sense really that bad? And moreover, what was the need to translate? If the party had an English manifesto for Assembly elections, they certainly must have had one for Lok Sabha (national level) elections!

One more difference between their official manifesto present on the web site and the "summary" on mumbaivotes.com is that the official manifesto does not go into giving an elaborate emotionally appealing background. Rather, it only mentions their policy-related promises in systematic point-wise fashion (which I suppose, most of the manifestos do).

Why should a party not raise an issue of national importance (terrorism) for Lok Sabha elections, but would do so for local elections?

Yes, of course, if they are out and out fools, they might goof up thus, but yet the fact remains, that for the above reasons I pointed out, the summary you have linked remains suspect.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Ketan, Your ratio argument is, frankly, meaningless. What would you say about the man killed in this account? He hadn't killed anyone that we know about. So what ratio applied in his case?

But you didn't answer either, how do you know about this 1:20 and 1:3?

ou want convicted largely faceless criminals of religious riots?

Interesting. Several commissions of inquiry named Sajjan Kumar for having instigated killing in 1984. I want him to face the law. Are you saying he is "largely faceless"? How so?

The same could apply to 1992-93, or to 2002.

Nobody is suggesting you should accept things as "undeniable fact". Halarnkar is merely pointing out what, in his experience, intelligence officers say, that's all.

As for the manifesto, it fits other pronouncements I've heard made, as cited in that article I linked to ("Just as Orwell predicted"). That's enough for me.

Ketan said...

Sorry Dilip, had missed your above response.

I just read the account you have linked, and I could not understand the point you were making. I guess, Harvinder works in the Indian army, and had been authorized by the Indian government to kill those people who, if not killed, were extremely likely to kill many more people.

According to me, the killing that occurred, does not fit the bill of religious riot nor of terrorist attack [there need not be only two categories of killings, right?]. For instance, death penalty - is it terrorism?

This was not a terrorist attack, because Harvinder did not try to terrorize any particular ethnic/communal group. Only those who plan to carry AK-47 and grenades into Indian territory with the intent of killing Indians need feel terrorized. And I consider it (being an Indian) legitimate to terrorize such people.

"Terrorism" as I understand it involves terrorizing those people with violence who do not plan to cause any party any sort of damage. Plus, it also involves a lot of planning (1), and occurs allowing very little margin for defense/retaliation to those being attacked (2). Also the provoking factor (if any) is very remote in time (3). In these cases, there is a clear-cut aggressor and an equally well defined victim (4). Every single victim who dies because of attack is "innocent" in not having harbored an intention to have killed someone specifically (5). Those "responsible" for the act employ a particular modus operandi, which is peculiar to them, and which makes it possible to guess who could be behind such acts (6). Most (not all) of the forensic evidence can be found at one place (7) - say within half a kilometer diameter and with a very well defined epicenter. The role of eye witness accounts is less significant than forensic evidence, because no one can realistically claim to have "witnessed" the committing of a particular terrorist act; so the evidence thus collected is more easily admissible in the courts of Law (8).

"Religious riots" involve many aspects of terrorist attacks, but involve significantly less planning (1). Two groups are involved with comparable ability to defend and retaliate (2), and the provocation is quite immediate in time (3). Here, it is difficult to define who the clear cut aggressor was, and who the victim was (4). Some (not all) aggressors could die simply because the one they attacked (with an intent to kill) would have defended very effectively! In which case such deceased cannot be rightly termed as "innocent" by virtue of having attempted to kill someone else; and one killing could be termed innocent in having killed for self-defense (5). The victim seems no different from the aggressor once the violence stops, which makes it nearly impossible to guess who could be behind the act (6). The evidence for these acts is quite scattered (7). Most of the bases for suspicion are eye-witness accounts, which are significantly less reliable than forensic evidence in being subject to conflicts of interests, unreliable recall, confabulation and coercion (8)....

Ketan said...

...These are the differences I find between religious riots and terrorist acts. I admit, I might not be able to provide water-tight distinctions between terrorist attack and religious riots, but does that mean you are proposing total scrapping of the term called "religious riot", and that it is a misnomer?

What category of killing done by Harvinder do you put in? You want Harvinder punished, considering he had killed a person remorselessly?

Anyway with regard to the ratio, that of Hindus to Muslims killed in Gujarat riots could be found here (click). And with regard to Mumbai terrorist attack, do you have any other ration to offer than approximately, 1:20?

Sajjan Kumar is obviously not faceless, and if there is sufficient evidence against him, he must be punished! I have never expressed reservations against that.

But, we have been using the term "terrorists" in plural, and implicitly referring to many, many people (not just one or two; nor a dozen, nor a score; probably hundreds of people). How many people did Sajjan Kumar himself kill? I do not think it was humanly possible for him to kill 3000 people singlehandedly in an instant (like say through a bomb blast). The whole event must have involved many other people, and hardly anyone of them could be now recognized with conviction. They have merged into the general public, and however much passionately we want, we cannot find them using forensic/legal evidence. How do we punish such people, and on what grounds? But as against that, for what people typically call terrorist attacks, if the perpetrators have been known, there is nothing that should stop us from punishing them befittingly!

Well, with regard to the Shiv Sena manifesto, since we do not have their official original manifesto, the issue becomes redundant and as it is, it is not related to the current discussion much. I was merely expressing my skepticism against the authenticity of its reproduction for the reasons I enlisted - something (expressing skepticism), which I anyway do for many claims, especially if there are reasons to doubt such claims.

Dilip D'Souza said...

I'm getting on a train in a short while, so there's time for only a quick clarification.

Ketan, I was referring not to Harvinder, but to the man he killed in that story. What ratio would apply in his case, please tell me?

Ketan said...

Dilip,

If I got the account correct, ratio of people killed to that trying to kill would be 2:5.

And though you didn't refer to Harvinder, I am now refering to him; what category of killing would you put it in? And on what grounds?

TC.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Quite a turn around, Ketan. The earlier ratios you were talking about were terrorists to the number of people they killed. Now it is people killed to people trying to kill.

What ratio should we discuss?

Ketan said...

...Now on the same lines, I will give you another example, whether someone suffers from pancreatic cancer or AIDS, the final most likely outcome is death. The patient dies in a few months/years. Because of this reason shall we stop calling them pancreatic cancer and AIDS respectively? Would you want medical people to start calling everything by the same name "terminal disease", and much worse, and expect of doctors the same drugs/therapy for both the diseases only because to the patient both the diseases mean the same thing? Would you say you are suffering from "disease" irrespective of whether you are suffering from common cold or diarrhea?

So, why blur the lines between religion-based riots and terrorist attacks?

I have not advocated different punishments for both! I have never said one is better than the other to suffer from! But I can make out some tangible differences between the two and have laid them before you. If you find the distinctions that I have set before you, please point out why you find such distinctions inadmissible.

And there is one more thing that I had anyway talked of in my prior comments and you had omitted that in quoting me. You had asked me, if Sajjan Kumar was a faceless person. And you had ignored this part from my very first comment:

"...and not trying to say that attempts to punish those proven guilty must not be made."

When I said the above thing, it was implicit that Sajjan Kumar (because he is not faceless) must be punished if found guilty by the court of law! What did you find objectionable about it? It is weird that he has been able to obtain an anticipatory bail, while in hiding. But I would not comment upon court's wisdom in not yet punishing him or granting him that bail. How do I know that indeed sufficient evidence was provided against him?

And if you are under this impression that I would object to Sajjan Kumar being called a "terrorist" because it is a derogatory word or something, then that is not the case. He is foremost a criminal (if proven), who had support/incited innocent people's killing. That in itself is a very ghastly crime to commit, and earns my deep contempt. But as I am trying to say, criminals could be of various types, and according to me, he does not fit the criteria to be called a "terrorist", the way we conventionally use the term. What I do not like about your approach is the disrespect for classification system of crimes, because it oversimplifies things (just like calling common cold, diarrhea, AIDS and pancreatic cancer, simply as "diseases").

Ketan said...

Dilip,

One thing I will say, and it should hold good for anything I comment in the future, on your blog or elsewhere - there are very few narrow areas, in which I could claim to hold any kind of expertise. And this holds true for terrorism and its causes, too.

My first comment, on which the entire discussion started was sarcastic and only in response to Siddhusaheb. If I were to know, I would be given case studies to comment upon, I would have tried to write an essay on terrorism v/s religious riots!

Anyway, I do not consider what I said in my previous comment a turnaround at all. Because I can talk of another ratio - Harvinder killed one person, so that ratio (of number killing to number killed is 1:1). And that is so because from the same set of data many things can become numerator or the denominator, and hence we could derive more than one ratios. I still did not understand what did you mean to ask me through pointing to Harvinder's account.

And what is important is that you have sidestepped many questions from me. Why is it a case that I only answer questions asked by you and you do not have to answer those asked by me?

I too had asked you a simple question - what category of killing do you put the one committed by Harvinder in and why? Why is Harvinder not a terrorist?

If some terrorists/rioters come to your house and attack your family, and in retaliation you kill them, after 20 years how will you prove, using your own terminology that you were not a "terrorist", especially when most of the forensic evidence would be destroyed?

My point is simple, and that being the word "terrorist" has a particular connotation (may be not a fixed definition), and that connotation should be respected, because, if at all we want to try to prevent these problems, how well we understand the problem helps. And in any "system" under study, be it chemical elements, medical disorders, sexual offenses, electromagnetic radiations, literary works and crimes - we have CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM. And that classification system is based on differences in attributes of what we are studying.

Your logic is (and correct me if my judgment is wrong) that every person who kills another person, irrespective of whether it is a conventionally called a "religious riot" or a "terrorist attack" is a terrorist, because "to the victim and their family, it does not make a difference". Am I right?...

Dilip D'Souza said...

Ketan,

In turn, one thing you should know is that I do my best to answer everything that someone like you raises. Given time and travel constraints (I was on the train to Chennai all day yesterday), it isn't always possible, but that is my attempt. Sometimes it takes a while to get to everything, sometimes I may not get to it all, that's the way it goes. But I do try.

Your first comment about the ratios was sarcastic? Well, you certainly fooled me.

You told me that the difference between 26/11 and Gujarat 2002 was the ratios between the number of terrorists and the number of people they killed: 1:20 in the case of 26/11, 1:3 in the case of Guj.

So I asked, if we are going to measure terrorism in this way, what ratio whould we apply to the guy whom Harvinder killed? (Extreme cases are always good to test our theories).

Are you now saying this was sarcastic? In which case, forgive me for taking it seriously and let it pass.

I do want to try to respond to your other stuff, but there's a lot of it and I am out of time right now. I will give it a shot later.

Jai_C said...

Ketan,

Your last couple of comments were pretty solid. I havent followed this entire thread, esp since it loops in stuff from even earlier. So I dont know how you guys got so adversarial here.

Google an earlier post from Dilip: "two hands of the question" to get some of his basic thinking.

IIRC Dilip was a lot less snippy there in comparing and discussing differences and similarities between terror attacks and riots; even ratios were discussed though in other terms with less needle back there.

re. your analogy:

Instead of terminal diseases, consider the analogy of a patient with 2 diseases both of which are treatable, at least initially, but one of which gets ignored while the other one gets significant attention. Does it help the patient to cure or arrest one disease if the other insidiously develops and kills him anyway?

Thanks,
Jai

Ketan said...

Jai_C,

Thanks!

Actually, the discussion/debate between Dilip and me has occurred on multiple blog posts with the major point of contention (at least from me) being that though terrorist attacks and religious riots have similarities in being devastating to the victims, but then there are sufficient differences, too. So the two events must not be equated. I am saying the difference is more than merely semantic.

I will never say that one disease needs cure and the other does not. My objection is that both pancreatic cancer patient and AIDS patient require treatment on their individual merits. Whether one gets treatment or not should not be made subject to whether the other gets it or not. Better analogy would be this:

There is a pancreatic cancer patient in another hospital, and the medical superintendent of OUR hospital is urging the doctors to try to treat that patient such that he does not die (asking Pakistan to try to curb Taliban-violence so that future deaths do not occur). That should not become the basis to criticize the same superintendent for not punishing a different set of doctors from our hospital who had not tried to or had killed the AIDS patient (1984 riots). What the doctors did/did not do (leading to the death of the AIDS patients) was punishable and still is bad, independent of whether the superintendent urges the doctors of the other hospital to try to save the pancreatic cancer patient or not. They both (superintendent and doctors responsible) ought to be criticized anyway for the way they dealt with AIDS patient! There is no need to link the two separate patients. Because by linking the two incidents, one kind of makes superintendent's inaction legitimate if he would not urge the doctors of the other hospital to treat the cancer patient. Of course, just for the time being assume that

Again, what constitutes cure could also be debated. But unless and until we identify both kinds of occurrences as separate entities with different underlying causes, there is no chance we can even think of a solution. Punishment to the guilty is imperative (in that a legal/moral contract to not harm others is breached by both the set of criminals), but it will hardly contribute to the treatment.

I will be overestimating my understanding of the problems if I claim to have solutions for them, but to give an example, let us assume people can be made more confident and independent thinkers through reformed education and thus more tolerant of the existing differences between various communities, which in turn would lessen the chance that people react as a mob and would rather try to think before following any religious/political leader (e.g., Sajjan Kumar) blindly. Can we use the same technique to reform terrorists coming from outside our country, where we have no power?

We have to strike a distinction between problems that are originating because of factors purely restricted to India and those that have at least some contribution from outside. Because in theory, the problems restricted just to India could be totally eradicated, but those originating from outside India can at best be thwarted.

Anonymous said...

Ketan,

The 2 hospitals in your analogy are close enough that cross-infections happen by er... air or water or whatever. Neighborhood health and hygiene is a concern.

I dont think anybody has it that the superintendent lecturing the neighboring hospital anyway absolves him on his own dereliction.

Beyond that, in my analogy of single patient, the 2 diseases help and enable each other in their effect on the patient. Not treating or slow-treating one directly affects and aids the spread of the other.

thanks,
Jai

Ketan said...

Jai,

I have not made reference to cross-border terrorism, because pancreatic cancer is not an infectious condition.

Actually my own analogy is now inadequate considering the newer issues you have raised.

I was only talking of the superintendent urging and not lecturing the doctors in the other hospital. If you feel this amounts to duplicity and his urging is wrong, then I do not disagree with you. And on the basis of that you may or may not want the superintendent to stop his urging. And what you have pointed out indeed is the point I had already raised. That if the superintendent sanctimoniously lectures then he is overstepping his authority, but if he simply urges on humanitarian grounds, he is not wrong. Applying this analogy to the case of the said minister, if he had simply tried on humanitarian grounds to Pakistan/Taliban to stop killings he was within his rights, but if he had demanded of Pakistan to punish whe wrongdoers because the victims were Sikhs, then he was overstepping his authority.

But the superintendent must punish the doctors who had erred in the past irrespective of what goes on in the neighboring hospital. So whether he urges the doctors of other hospital to discharge their duties or not, it is binding of him that he punish those who had erred in the past. His having urged to the other hospital does not increase his obligation to punish the doctors of his own hospital, because if that were to be the case then his obligation to punish would reduce had he not urged! Do we really want that?