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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 1, December 20, 2008

Terrorism: Threat to India’s Unity

Sunday 21 December 2008, by Anil Rajimwale

“Whoever fights monsters shall see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” —Nietzsche

The monster attacked us again, this time in Mumbai, with all its force. In perhaps the most well-planned operation the terrorists engaged the security forces for more than two days, costing us some 200 lives, besides heavy losses in material terms and wealth. This particular attack has led to a countrywide anger and debate.

What Does Terrorism Want?

TERROR is not just a simple act; it is a cowardly and dastardly act. It is a strategy meant to destroy a whole people, irrespective of religion and belief. It is medieval revivalism used by the extremist forces in capitalism and imperialism. Terrorism is used by the most extreme communalists, pseudo-religionists and revivalists to cover up the crisis of imperialism and finance capital.. Let it be clear that they are downright cowards, otherwise they won’t stealthily use the most advanced and sophisticated weapons against totally unarmed and innocent people, used as sitting ducks. This can only come about by shedding the last drop of humanity. Terrorism and terrorists use innocent children, old men and women, not to talk of able-bodied young men and women, as their target to spread terror and break the spirit of the people, to disorient them into panic.

Yes, that is the aim of terror: break the spirit of the people, so that they are not able to think soberly and sensibly, coherently and clearly. Terrorism, most of all, wants to create dissensions and disunity among the people of the country, as of the whole world. It aims at incapacitating the people and the country so that they do not go on with their normal life and are not able to solve their social, economic and political problems.

Ideology of Terrorism: Variety of Fascism

TERRORISM is a most destructive and poisonous ideology, a variety of fascism, and a product of the crisis of world neo-imperialism combined with and using medievalism to disunite and disorient people, so that they fight among themselves. And, therefore, terrorists are among the most dangerous enemies of the people.

The roots of terrorism go into the most extreme sections of imperialism, finance capital and big business closely intertwined with feudal and medieval survivals. Extreme sections of imperialism skilfully use terrorism against the unity of the people.

Terrorist outfits, movements and individuals have been using the pseudo-religious garb to make the people of one religion and community fight those of the other. In this sense, terrorism is a variety and extreme form of communalism. Terrorists cause and incite religious fanaticism, shout pseudo-religious slogans loudly, use and misuse traditions, issues and events to further their nefarious games. Terrorism knows fully well that people and institutions would begin to accuse and fight each other. Terrorists of one community know fully well that their acts would galvanise commu-nalism and terrorism of another community under another religious cover. Therefore, one type of communalism and terrorism helps another variety. The main target of attack by terrorists is the political, economic and religious unity of the people and the country.

Debates and conflicts have been raging in this country for the last nearly three decades, particularly in the recent years. Communal and terrorist forces in all the communities have been trying to spread communal and pseudo—religious poison. They all have similar slogans, similar methods and aims; only the label changes. More than physical division, terrorism and commu-nalism seek to divide and poison the minds of the people, and that is the worst thing.

Concept of ‘India’ under Threat

ALL terrorists have one thing in common in our context: they target India and ‘Indian-ness’. Terrorism and communalism do not talk about ‘Indians’ and India but more and more about ‘Hindus’, ‘Sikhs’, ‘Muslims’ etc., and their ‘identities’. In the last two decades, they have been forcing the people to think more along communal lines, to consider themselves as belonging to this or that community, rather than as Indians. That is what terrorism wants to achieve: divide and break up the minds and consciousness of the people, and India will break up automatically. This is to create ‘a mental balkanisation’. Once this is achieved, it would be as easy to break up India as that!

We all know and remember the dreadful days of Khalistani terrorism, and how many lives it gobbled up. A large number of most innocent people, Communists, Leftists, democrats, progressives and others sacrificed their lives fighting the terrorists and defending the people. That variety of terrorism has been overcome.

But its methods and slogans have been picked up by the present variety of terrorism, which go under various names such as Lashkar, Fedayeen, Al-Qaeda and so on. They use ‘Islam’ as their cover. Not that they would like to save the Muslims and Islam. Any number of Muslims and followers of Islam have been killed in the attacks by the “Islamic” fundamentalist terror, both in India and Pakistan. At least forty Muslims were killed in the Mumbai carnage. Even while discussing India, one should not forget that a large number of attacks on mosques and bazaars have been made in Pakistan itself, in which hundreds of people, including children, have been killed by the fundamentalists.

This once again proves that terrorism has no religion; its only aim is the destabilisation of the society and to pile misery on the common working masses.

Terrorism: One Nature, Different Garbs

AND now terrorists and terrorist plots have been uncovered among the extreme Rightwing ‘Hindu’ organisations. This is natural as Hindu and Muslim communalism, fundamentalism and terrorism are only two sides of the same coin. They are ‘Hindu’ only in name; really they are communalists, terrorists and fascists. In Indian conditions, we may characterise them as communal-fascists.

The discovery of terror plots and acts by the high-sounding ‘Abhinav Bharat’, the revelations regarding Malegaon and other blasts, and of even their links with Islamic terrorist organisations themselves, has put the Hindu communal forces in a bind and doused their ‘enthusiasm’ of fighting ‘Muslim terror’. Suddenly they are in a jam, they don’t know what to say and what to do. All their enthusiasm and patriotism was directed against the so-called ‘Muslim’ terrorists, using whom they could easily accuse an entire community of being terrorist, or at least sow suspicion against them. They are running a countrywide campaign of Muslims being Pakistanis!
Here, one is reminded of L.K. Advani’s view of Jinnah being a great secularist! Try squaring up the two!

While the BJP and Sangh Parivar had no objection to and qualms about using the term ‘Muslim terrorists’, they object to the use of the words ‘Hindu terrorists’! What double standards! Of course, terrorist is a terrorist, who has no religion whether Hindu or Islam. But it is the BJP which began to accuse a particular community of producing terrorists, and not any other. And it has so far not condemned the terrorist acts and activities by certain individuals and organisations in the majority community. The Hindu community does not become communal or terrorist due to the indulgence to terrorism of a handful, fringe extremist groups. Even the RSS had to come out to clarify that all those who kill innocents are terrorists.

Should we use such terms as ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ terrorism? No. We should use ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorism’. But it is the BJP/VHP which uses terms like ‘Muslim’ terrorists! They have to correct themselves. Why not talk about India and Indians?

Secular United India: the Target

INDIA gained independence in 1947 due to the efforts of all Indians, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians—all; Bismil and Ashfaq-Ullah, Gandhiji and Maulana Azad together fought for freedom. Nehru was the epitome of the secularism and national unity, and of the composite culture of India. The Communists are the most consistent fighters for people’s unity irrespective of religion and community. The Left and democrats played their due role. Gandhiji was killed not by a Muslim but by a fanatic belonging to an extreme fringe group using ‘Hinduism’ as cover. Gandhi was a sincere believer in Ram in the best traditions of peace and non-violence; the killer was a demonic representative misusing the name of Ram and Hindu religion. People like him talk of Ramayana, but behave as per the character of Ravana in it!

India has become a strong country today, having made socio-economic progress due mainly to the efforts of its workers, peasants, middle classes, intellectuals, entrepreneurs belonging to all the communities. An united, multifaceted, multicultural India has evolved, Indian-ness has evolved. People of all communities sacrificed their lives, whether for the country’s progress or border wars. It is a pity that Army jawans were killed in communal violence in Kandhamal (Orissa) and elsewhere. Nobody condemned these acts.

Tolerance to and acceptance of all religions is one of the major unifying theories of modern India.

It is this unity, this Indianness that is sought to be undermined by certain internal and external forces. India’s development and strength and role is not liked by fascists, communalists and imperialists. World imperialism, particularly US imperialism, has tried to prevent or distort India’s march to independence and progress. And failing that, it has used India’s weakness and back-wardness to help the communal and divisive forces. It was imperialist strategy, not ‘Islamic’ or any other, to set up and arm military dictatorships in Pakistan. And it is once again imperialism which does not want installation of democracy in Pakistan. Balkanisation is one of the aims.

The roots of terrorism lie in the US and British imperialist policy of ‘divide and rule’, and in the history of Pakistan’s military dictatorships, who were part of US military pacts like the SEATO and CENTO.

The US is a giving lot of sermons and advices to both India and Pakistan to fight terrorism. Good. If today the US really fights terror and takes steps in that direction, then that is welcome. Any sensible individual will help in the joint worldwide struggle against terrorism.

But when did the US realise that terrorism is a danger? Who set up the Taliban, in the first place, one may ask? It is a well-known fact that the US was the only country to recognise the Taliban Government in Afghanistan. Several Taliban delegations openly visited the US. Arms were given to them. It is also well-known that Bin Laden was also cultivated in the beginning by the US. Then the US undertook its grand armed disaster in Iraq under the false pretext of destroying the WMDs. The real aim was to grab and control Iraqi oil. They unlawfully grabbed and killed Iraq’s President Saddam Hussain, a brutal dictator no doubt. But what are the hundreds of thousands of American troops doing there now? What business do they have there? They have only managed to lay waste a resourceful and historic country.

And the result of all this is a rapid proliferation of terrorist activities, with spill over into the neighbouring countries.

So, there are strong relations of oil politics with terrorism.
The US has woken up to the problem of terrorism only after its own Twin Tower tragedy of 9/11. The monster that the US itself had created turned against it; it was never imagined that it would attack the US. Till then, it was thought that terror would only destroy the developing countries, the lives of whose people are ‘cheap’ anyway!

There can be no two opinions that Pakistan must root out the terror camps on its soil. It is the military-industrial complex of Pakistan, again created by the US arms, that is interested in keeping alive terrorism. But the people of Pakistan are also victims of the Taliban and other kinds of terror; so also Indo-Pak friendship. So the fight against terror should be carried on jointly. The military of Pakistan must be forced to take steps against the terrorists.

But, here again it was the US which made India and Pakistan fight each other, and instigated and armed Pakistan against India. And now it, under world pressure and certain aims of its own, is trying to pressure Pakistan to destroy the terror camps. Of course, Pakistan should wind them up. But in the process, certain basic principles of sovereignty are being violated, and that is bad for democracy the world over.

War Cry and Communal Overtones

THIS is exactly what terrorism wants: war within India between communities, war within Pakistan between communities, war between neighbours, communal escalation and mutual communal accusations, mutual suspicions, blame game etc. Terrorism escalates communal tensions, makes the innocents its victims and gets away unnoticed and unpunished. This has been the story of the terror bomb blasts, whether by the ‘madcaps’ (not really! Their acts are well thought out, well planned) belonging to one community or the other. The communal forces then step in and blame an entire community, which means blaming the innocents. Imperialist forces are happy that the particular country is weakened and divided whether India or Iraq or Pakistan. Their sovereignty is sought to be violated.

If the US is sincere in fighting terror, it should see that the other country’s sovereignty is not violated. India should help build up world pressure, but at the same time not allow powerful nations like the US, UK etc. a military and intelligence foothold here.

It is sad to note that the communal forces and tendencies in our country have used the recent Mumbai blasts to blame increasingly the people of the minority community for unnamed crimes. As if it is the minorities who organised these blasts! A section of people is being labelled, humiliated and insulted.

Extremists and communalists among the minorities have also taken up a communal campaign, and they too are playing into the hands of the terrorists.

This is precisely what the terrorists want. They want the society on the edge of extreme tension, divided and at loggerheads.

The communal forces, though, ‘forget’ to mention that at least 40 Muslims also have been killed in Mumbai blasts and shootings, along with others. It is as if terror-communalists have offered a golden opportunity to communalists of all hues to intensify their campaign, particularly in the context of the coming general elections.

The communal campaign in our country fails to notice and mention the large number of victims of terror in Pakistan itself, bombings of mosques, killings and clashes between Shias and Sunnis and so on. No doubt, terrorists in Pakistan have a big hand in this too. Thus, they want to disrupt the democratic process and democracy in both India and Pakistan, and make the two countries fight each other.

The problem of terror cannot be solved by mutual war and destruction. One has to maintain peace, mental and physical balance, and find out how to fight terrorism. And let us remember that terrorism precisely wants us to lose balance and fight, within the country and with neighbours. Of course, terror bases must be destroyed. It is the duty of the Indian Government to see that terrorism does not take a foothold here, and it is particularly the responsibility of the Pakistan Government to see that terror bases are rooted out from its soil. The Pakistan Government and Army bear a particular responsibility, because they have allowed the terror outfits to grow and acquire strength. The people and the democratic processes of the two countries must solve this problem together, as it affects them both, and must not allow the imperialists to gain a foothold.

The people of both India and Pakistan do not want to fight each other; it is the terrorists, communalists and extreme sections of imperialists, who want the two counties fight and weaken each other. The peace process that has taken roots between the two countries should be strengthened. Pakistan has been ruled by a military establishment over the years and decades. It, in combination with military pacts, has helped and harboured terrorists and other anti-democratic and anti-Indian forces. Terrorism is not a problem just of India but also of Pakistan and other countries. Therefore our fight against it is also worldwide. We should simulta-neously ask: what about the hundreds and thousands of the innocents being killed in Pakistan and elsewhere? How should we help them even while protecting ourselves?

Pakistan today is seeing a halting and faltering growth of democracy, which is sought to be strangled by the enemies of democracy. That country today is divided into government, military-ISI, religious fundamentalist bureaucracy and the people. It is in a very fragile condition. The Taliban and certain imperialist circles and communalists in our country as well as there want to see the people and the country of Pakistan destroyed. These forces are egging on India to unleash a war on Pakistan, and at the same time, there are similar forces in Pakistan too. Such attempts must be fought as part of our struggle against terror. The theory of crushing and destroying a state and a people only helps world neo-imperialism, and India, as one of the foremost anti-imperialist countries, must not fall a victim to this psychology.

Socio-economic Roots of Terrorism

EXTREMISM and terrorism are rooted in the socio-economic problems and in the world economic crisis. The world economic crisis is sought to be presented as a ‘clash of civilisations’. The result (terror) is presented as the cause. All kinds of communal and pseudo-religious forces make use of unemployed youths, poor, lumpen and anti-social elements to instigate them against society. Growing poverty, inequality, injustice, uneven development, unresolved and mishandled problems and such factors cause a section of the youths to veer round to communalism, extremism and terrorism. They seek to cover up the real socio-economic, political and cultural problems, and make the common people to fight each other on non-essential issues under the cover of caste, religion, jehad, Indian tradition etc. There are fundamentalist trends among various minorities, who want to keep those communities closed and insulated from the mainstream of development. This is used by extremists of the majority community and other communities. So, communalists of all communities are responsible; none can be spared.

Terrorism as an ideology must be fought. Let us not miss the point that the fight for oil and other resources are sought to be covered up by creating and using the ideology and practice of terrorism and extremism. Terrorism, no doubt, must be fought, but the resources also must remain sovereign.

The communal extremist organisations, going by the name of SIMI or VHP or any other, have fundamentally the same character: disruptive of Indian unity.

The fight against terrorism is a big challenge before the people of India, for the unity of India.

And while we fight the monster of terrorism, we must ensure that we ourselves do not become monsters!

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