Monday, July 03, 2006

Terrorists: What's to be done?

Terrorists are amazing people. They are very clear about what they want to do and have no doubts in their minds. They have no “un-absolutes” in their life and are either on one side or the other. There is no middle path for these guys.

I wish they use this kind of fervour for the benefit of the society instead of killing innocents (for those terrorists who do that).

Terrorism is but one side of the coin where the overall ideology is very narrow and heavily in favour of one thing (or way to responding to external "stimuli"). In other words terrorism is extremism. The other side of the coin is absolute non-violence (like Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology) which is again a kind of extremism because it is heavily in favour of one kind of approach no matter what .

What most of us have been suggesting is the middle path. Middle path will be, that we first talk and do good justice to it and if talks fail, neutralize them with over-whelming force. Force can neutralize individuals but it cannot wipe out an idea. You kill a few, a few more will come and then a few more and then more and so on. The mindset of the people (terrorists especially the religious fundamentalist types) you wish to talk to might be set in stone and they might not compromise. Whether their demands are fair or not, their ideology may attract many followers and continue to live in the long run.

As I see no path promises a complete solution. A few questions linger on:

How do you deal with extremism? Do you reply with extremism (Not necessarily violence as there is this other side to the coin) or walk the seemingly impossible “Middle-path”.

Most important of them all:

How do you destroy an ideology?

Remember one thing: not all terrorists or naxals are bad. Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekar Azad and many others were called terrorists by the British government (when they ruled India) but they were and are heros to us. Even to this date we study about them in our history books under the sub-heading “Revolutionary Terrorism”. It’s all about the point of view.

I remember reading some where about the American Independence struggle. It is said that the declaration of independence was signed by a set of men and sent to the then king of England (George I guess, dunno the number though) and then they fought a war with GB and won their freedom. Those men went on to become great freedom fighters, father of the nation and some got their picture on the currency notes much later. Had they lost the war and if they were caught alive, they would be termed as terrorists and would be executed by the British and today we would remember (if we would) them as terrorists.

With reference to religious fundamentalists who are terrorists I know one thing that violence can be used to control it but not finish it. The remedy for such terrorism might be religion itself. The followers should be made aware that the basic postulate of a religion is not to destroy or kill but to create and preserve. Religion should be presented in a form that motivates people pursue higher studies and realize that mission of every person born here is to futher the cause of mankind by unravelling the mysteries that exist in this universe. And this can only be done in the form of cult movements of religious renaissance like the bhakti cult or the sufi movement. Religion is the opium of the masses and if this opium can be used to spread/ create terrorism it can also be used to curb/ kill terrorism.

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