December 27, 2010

Shortchanges India

Sadanand Dhume, author of My Friend the Fanatic had an article in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago that I thought needed a response. After thinking about it a while, I wrote one. It's up on Kafila: The Definition Shortchanges India.

Comments welcome, as always.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sadanand Dhume's article was astute and lucid. He intelligently notes the similiarity between the Hindu groups and the Islamic, in observing that they both place the group above the individual, and share a perception of being persecuted to some degree. Even here, however, he could have noted the difference in the historical situation, where Hindus have never aggressively proselytized, nor really invaded other countries in historical memory( we can dismiss the Chola incursion into SE Asia for now). But Dhume rightly points out that there is a total absence of an expansionist, fundamentalist ideology among the Hindus, one that seeks to impose archaic laws on even Hindus, let alone non-Hindus.

Sachita said...

Dilip – A life lost is a life lost. Cause of 1984 riots/ LeT sponsored terrorist attach in nov 2008 is immaterial – both of them need to be taken seriously.

Though I have few questions.
1. In all these riots except 1984 sikh riots which was congress attacking the sikhs, it was a clash of religions – people of both the religions got killed. But yet the reference is as if it is an hindu terrorism. why is that?
2. As much as 1984 congress sikh riots was disturbing so was LeT’s mumbai attack. But yet you seem to be sympathetic more to one set of act than other. In short you are doing the same mistake that you are blaming the others.

Even in this article you have said”Dhume ends by suggesting that Rahul Gandhi is “out of touch with the dominant ethos” of India. Maybe so, but what ethos is that, really? One that asks us to be ostriches about one kind of violence, but only one kind, in this country?” Rahul gandhi has said he feels bigger threat by hindu radical groups when asked about LeT. If he just said he feels threatened by hindu radical groups for India that would have been different.

But by implying hindu groups are bigger threat than LeT – he is the one who is toeing the ethos that you blame others of – ostriches about one kind of violence.

Is that your kind of ethos as well, Dilip?

Ps: I do feel there is a difference between two people fighting and one bullying another. Terrorism is of later category. Again as I said since I am from Madras, I dont know the ground realities. I do see people belonging to both the religions die in these riots. There are differences between riots and terrorism – one dont need to brandish riots as terrorism to sensitize people or bring justice.
Ps1: In case you agree with Rahul’s line, Our last religious riot was in 2002. Even when Babri Masjid verdict, there werent any issues. On the other hand, the terrorist attacks havent stopped. If at all, there is a growth trend – it is the LeT terror attack.

Dilip D'Souza said...

there is a total absence of an expansionist, fundamentalist ideology among the Hindus [etc]

Which statement (and others made here) only seeks to evade the point: both Muslim and Hindu goons have managed to kill plenty of Indians. Only the perverted minds of apologists for either side will seek to find some profound difference among innocent Indians slaughtered.

Dilip D'Souza said...

it was a clash of religions [etc]

Let's take ONE example. In the village of Dehlol in Gujarat in March 2002, 40 Muslim residents of the village who feared for their lives because of what was happening in the rest of Gujarat took shelter in the mosque. The mosque was destroyed and the 40 innocent Indians inside were slaughtered.

It takes a wondrous mind to describe this slaughter as a "clash of religions".

Dilip D'Souza said...

Sorry, mistakenly ended the last comment.

Meant to add this. Would you describe the burning of the 55+ innocent Indians on the train in Godhra as a "clash of religions"?

I presume not.

Then why would you describe the killings in Dehlol as a "clash of religions"?

Sachita said...

First of all, this discussion itself is embarassing, i repeat every life lost is important.

But i think your two comments exactly indicate religious clash - "Gujarat in March 2002, 40 Muslim residents of the villag"
"burning of the 55+ innocent Indians on the train in Godhra " (since you chose to identify the previous as muslim it is only right to indicate the second one as hindus).

They both belong to the 2003 religious clash. As I said, I do come from Madras where ground realities arent the same. So, I would really like to know where the accusation of only hindu terrorism when they are both fighting.

I do feel slightly disturbed by your endorsement of Rahul Gandhi's statement of Hindu groups being more threat than LeT - are the lives lost in LeT related terrorist activity any less? I find this as one-sided as you say others of. Infact, you or me or any of the xyz comments dont matter as much as Rahul Gandhi's. His err in opinion (and he is full of that) affects the nation much more.

Chandru K said...

There is still the question, unanswered( because there is really no answer) about number, range, type, frequency, motivation/intent, ideology, long term goal and degree of state support. Also, the hope for discussion and reconciliation. You have to compare the Moslem terror and violence with the Hindu, on all these points.

I am back said...

Inciting violence for political gains in an election is very different from what is commonly referred to as Islamic Terrorism. (In case you feel obliged to be secular in the Indian way, feel free to add Hindu/ Sikh/ Christian/ religion of your choice terror here)

The end result analysis in terms of body count misses the point so completely that no one in their right mind would ever spend time on this. But then, Dilip is special. So, let me ask him a simple question: isn't it logical to differentiate those who claim responsibility for violence as an honor and those who don't?

Of course the differentiation is merely in the means, and I'd be as indifferent to either hanging or sentencing to life all of them as I would about setting them free. Because I don't really care either way -- but Dilip seems to pretend to, and therefore it behooves him to have that intellectual clarity.

Dilip D'Souza said...

differentiate those who claim responsibility for violence as an honor and those who don't?

Ah, the quibblers.

All right. So when some killers of 1992-93 pronounced that what they had done was to "protect" Hindus in Bombay, without which protection Hindus in Bombay would have been "destroyed", what should we call that?

Sounds a whole lot like honour to me. As if that matters in the first place.

And it's this sort that speaks of intellectual clarity. Tell me another one.

Dilip D'Souza said...

your two comments exactly indicate religious clash.

Astonishing.

How does the burning of 55 innocent Indians in a coach amount to a "clash"?

How does the murder of 40 innocent Indians in a mosque amount to a "clash"?

The twisted thinking of apologists for some particular kind of violence indulge in never ceases to astonish.

the accusation of only hindu terrorism.

Who made this accusation? I have cited instances in this very comment, as above on this page, of what I consider to be terrorism by both Hindus and Muslims. Yet the same twisting turns that into "only Hindu terrorism".

Your opinion is clearly that the LeT variety of terrorism is more of a threat than the Hindu variety. Fine. That's your opinion and I have no problem with you holding that opinion.

Why then do you have such an enormous problem with Rahul Gandhi holding a different opinion?

The very vehemence with which people denounce his opinion tells me what they know to be the truth inside, but are unwilling to admit even to themselves.

Sachita said...

Greaer threat isnt a debate. A Threat is a threat. Period. It has to be taken seriously. I dont want to be blown off by LeT nor by some angry religious mob.

"Why then do you have such an enormous problem with Rahul Gandhi holding a different opinion?"
I have clearly stated.
My opinion doesnt count a penny. His will impact the direction this country's security system!


"The very vehemence with which people denounce his opinion tells me what they know to be the truth inside, but are unwilling to admit even to themselves."
- this is such a generic response!
I assure you Dilip, what I argue here is what I actually think, This is all there inside and outside as well!

The only truth I know is, the bomb blasts have grown and there is a literally no investigation what so ever.. and I find the prince of India(the bane of dynasty rule) saying LeT isnt a threat.

I think I want terrorism to be taken seriously. I want the congress sikh 1984 riot to be investigated with all seriousness(not make one person resign and close the issue) and every single death in the same way. I dont think anybody should have double standards towards death.

By endorsing what Rahul Gandhi said and completely ruling out the difference in the impact of an ordinary citizen and the prince of the ruling dynasty you are some how toeing that line.

I know my argument is not going to be taken seriously among the usual comments from bigots you get. but atleast i tried.

Chandru K said...

How is Hindu terrorism a threat at all? What precisely is the threat,and what is the long term danger to India, and to other countries, including Saudi Arabia and the US, from this putative terrorism that Rahul Gandhi( and D'Souza) refers to?

Because the question is easily answered when it comes to Islamic terrorism, both to India, and the world.

I am back said...

Dude, it was you who clubbed the Sikh massacre and Hindu riots with it. The onus of clarity rests on you -- not on others.

I thought this was clarified by someone and his Dialogues about 2000 years ago. Else I recommend reading it again: http://plato-dialogues.org/plato.htm

Dilip D'Souza said...

His will impact the direction this country's security system!

Even if this is true, so what? Is it your case that the running of the country -- security concerns and otherwise -- *must* reflect your outlook, and only yours, on the world? What about that phenomenon called "democracy"?

Your "opinion doesnt count a penny"? By my reckoning, nobody has been punished for the three atrocities I mentioned in this article. In contrast, LeT thugs and others have been killed, or tried and sentenced, for atrocities like 26/11 and the March 1993 blasts. The contrast appears to match your opinion. Yet you want to make out that your "opinion doesnt count a penny".

there is a literally no investigation what so ever..

Astonishing again. Really, what kind of world do you live in? Take the 1993 blasts alone: there was an investigation and trial lasting 15 years of some 150 suspects, many of whom spent most of those 15 years in jail and have since been sentenced and are serving their punishments. Yet you want to make out that there is "literally no investigation what so ever".

my argument is not going to be taken seriously among the usual comments from bigots you get...

I have no idea who you mean. But the very fact that you're getting these replies from me should suggest to you that your comments are being taken seriously. As your (widely-shared) opinion is. So please stop making out that nobody is listening to you.

Dilip D'Souza said...

clubbed the Sikh massacre and Hindu riots ...

Hmm. The quibbling continues. All right. So when the killers of 1984 pronounced that what they were doing was "taking revenge" for the assassination of Indira G, what should we call that?

Sounds a whole lot like honour to me.

Please do find yourself a name, won't you, and preferably not your own, as before? "I am back" doesn't have quite the same ring as "Sapathan" and "Pub Chick" and the like, wouldn't you agree? Besides, it's been only two comments here and you have still to refer to my "appeal to emotion". Just a reminder.

I am back said...

Okay, now I remember why quit coming here. You're not merely silly but boring. Taa!

Chandru K said...

Even if you dubb what took place in Gujarat in March 2002 as terrorism, that was still more than 8 years ago. Since then, Islamic terrorists have conducted at least a dozen terrorist attacks on Indian soil, not including Kashmir, where the number would be easily over 50.

So then, which is the greater threat? Is there a danger of the Gujarat rioters( or whatever you want to call them) perpetrating violence over and over again, all over India, as well as in the US, Europe and Indonesia? If so, what are the details of their plans, and when were they foiled, and by whom? Because they were obviously foiled.

Dilip D'Souza said...

not merely silly but boring.

I aim to please.

Anonymous said...

The very vehemence with which people denounce his opinion tells me what they know to be the truth inside, but are unwilling to admit even to themselves.

Is there a nice way to say you're an idiot?

1) The reason Islamic Terrorism doesn't bother Raul Gandino is because he finds parties far more entertaining:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/21442/LATEST%20HEADLINES/Rahul+in+party+mood+soon+after+Mumbai+crisis.html


http://www.dailypioneer.com/138663/Partying-Rahul-raises-hackles.html

2) How does one defend against foreigners showing up on a boat and letting loose with their machine guns? (out of the common man's control) By hoping that their leaders won't devalue that concern when discussing it with other foreign leaders who are a position to help


3) How does one stop a riot from occurring? (very much within common man's control).

People are angry with Raul for devaluing what is a very serious concern for a lot of people over here.

I can promise you, there will be lots of advance warning the next time Hindus decide to go after Muslims for whatever fictional / non-fictional reasons. It will be very easy to know when and where the next outbreak of that particular violence will occur.

Where will the next suicide bomb explode?

Nobody knows. It is safe for a muslim daughter to walk the streets of Ahmedabad right now. As we speak. She will not be attacked by Hindu mobs. But could she be blown up in a bomb blast, along with her Hindu brethren any moment now? Very possible.

Something that can be predicted, can be controlled, and is therefore less of a concern.

How does one stop a riot? Call out the army, declare a curfew, shoot-at-sight. You'll have a solution in a few days.

How does one stop somebody from showing up in a public place and blowing his muslim self up?

Since Raul-ji has the tacit support of people like you and other media persons who have whored themselves out to one political mafia or the other, he has a say in how this country is run. As someone who wishes this country functioned like a democracy and not the hereditary fief it has come to resemble, it worries me - like it worries a lot of other people with an independent brain inside their skull.

But Prince Raul has spoken, and the damage has been done. The next time India worries about terrorism, we will be ridiculed and ignored everywhere. And they will tell us to look at ourselves. And look at us. We don't even know what terrorism is - some of us think anybody dying for any reason is terrorism. Truly we are a nation of impotents, cowards and hypcorites - and deserve the trouble we get.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Is there a nice way to say you're an idiot?

Yes.

It is safe for a muslim daughter to walk the streets of Ahmedabad right now. As we speak. She will not be attacked by Hindu mobs.

Not what could have been reasonably said to be true on, let's say, any given day of March 2002.

Not what could have been reasonably said to be true in Bombay on, let's say, any given day of January 1993.

Etc.

So spare me your learned convolutions.

we will be ridiculed and ignored everywhere.

If you choose convolutions to define terrorism to your convenience, you should hardly complain at being ridiculed and ignored.

If you also choose the cowardice of hiding your name, you show the world just how seriously to take you, and again you should hardly complain at being ridiculed and ignored. Besides, cowards cannot stand up to terrorism.

After saying which, I will pay no more attention to this stuff.

Chandru K said...

So what is D'Souza's point after all this blather? That Hindus are equally guilty of terrorism as Moslems, both in India and the rest of the world?

The evidence doesn't support it even in India, let alone the world, where the threat of 'Hindu terrorism' would be laughable. In India, the events are too few and far between to be equated.

Anonymous said...

mr chandru k, you say "the events are too few and far between to be equated."

what abt the death tolls??

wht is the diffrence if 1000 ppl are killed in 10 seperate incidences or in 2 seperate incidences? they are still killed, no?

Chandru K said...

"wht is the diffrence if 1000 ppl are killed in 10 seperate incidences or in 2 seperate incidences? they are still killed, no?"

Depends on the circumstances and the motivation or ideology. Those so called examples of terrorism from Hindus were just extreme, awful responses to horrendous behaviour from Moslems or Sikhs.

The numbers may( or may not) be roughly equivalent, but what you should look at are the more than 400 terror cells and more than a dozen terror plots that were found out and thwarted. If they were 'successful', we wouldn't even be contemplating equating the two types of behaviour. Which we shouldn't anyway.

Anonymous said...

Reaction to comment thread: I'm sorry, but this is the reason I disrespect all religions equally. Sane people get completely nutty around their religion.
Now go ahead trolls tell me it is the degree of nuttiness that you are debating..

- Zap

Anonymous said...

*That should read:

Even completely sane people get completely nutty around their religion

- Zap

Anonymous said...

If you have such a problem with people being anonymous on your blog, why do you enable that option? Simply because it gives you pleasure to be able to call them cowards, obviously.

Then it also makes it convenient to ignore the arguments made which directly prove you wrong.

Jai_C said...

Sachita,

1. Rahul G made a much more nuanced point about a developing or growing threat from H. fundamentalists which would be a bigger threat than LeT. I dont think he discounted LeT.

2. "...there is a difference between two people fighting and one bullying another..."

Dilip may have put it more bluntly but AFAIK he is essentially trying to convey the same point I am going to try to put across here:

riots are not wars between evenly matched groups (not that any such fight would be any the less illegal or hateful, but it would approximate your description). Rioters are thugs and murderers in massive mobs who pick on weak and mostly defenceless targets.

In some cases rioters and some sections of law establishment are in collusion at least to the extent that due process is not done. Terrorists are on the run but some rioters *dont need to*.

thanks,
Jai

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