Monday, December 22, 2008

The Face Of Terror

15th August, 1947. On this day, India broke away from the clutches of the British and marched into the alley of freedom. It was the day that the struggle of a nation ended. Today, sixty one years later, India is fighting for freedom from the clutches of fear. Freedom from the grip of terror. Freedom to choose between life and death.
The terrorist attacks at Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Assam are still fresh in my memory. It is appalling that a nation that walked the path of ahimsa (non-violence) to its freedom is now soaking in a bloodbath. What is the motive behind these strikes? Is it an eye for an eye?

In the recent past, a spate of bomb blasts has rocked our country. Families from different faiths, religions and geographies lost their loved ones and bread winners. Innocent lives were snatched away. The blame game was on. Fingers were pointed at the members of a communal minority. These mindless acts of violence of a few have tarnished the reputation of the entire community. The possibility of the hand of Hindu extremists in terrorist attacks hit the headlines a few weeks ago. This sent shockwaves across the country. Religious leaders were accused of fuelling acts of terror. Are religious fundamentalists abetting terrorism? Does terrorism have a religion?

Some under-trials in the recent terrorist attacks are said to have strong connections with the high and mighty. It is probably not possible to carry out attacks on such a large scale without the cushion of power and money. The water is murky and the network is large. A war of words has followed the war of weapons. It appears that the politicians are trying to gain some political mileage ahead of the elections. Are government officials, who hold top posts wielding their power for unparlimentary and ruthless actions? Are seats of power being abused?

An unforeseen circumstance or a grave incident could have led people who were otherwise leading peaceful lives to resort to acts of violence. A study reveals that youth under emotional stress are prone to become violent. Some youngsters from affluent families are also embracing terrorism. The advancement of technology has empowered the masterminds of these attacks. Highly qualified professionals could be utilizing the wealth of their knowledge to execute their well calibrated plans. What drives them to commit such unpardonable crimes? What is the reason for such irrational steadfastness?

A series of blasts at different locations within minutes of each other has been a pattern in most of the recent terror strikes. I read an article about a good samaritan who offered a helping hand to the bomb blast victims. While shifting the injured to the hospital he was killed in another bomb blast outside the hospital. Should the man on the street turn a blind eye to a person gasping for breath or should he offer aid at risk of his life?

Patriotic fervor peaks during Independence Day and people are out on the streets to celebrate. In Bangalore, M G Road is the hub of most celebrations and I was there trying to capture the action on my camera. Last year, the locals had turned out in large numbers and a plethora of tricolors were flying high. Expecting the same this year too, I promptly ventured out on M G Road and was in for a rude surprise. The usually crowded roads were almost deserted. Tricolors were minimal. Celebrations were tepid. The fear of terror could have dampened the spirits of enthusiastic Bangaloreans who seemed to have been shaken by the eight blasts which rocked the city just a few days before. Terrorists have been targeting crowded places and the fear of a possible attack might have kept people tucked in the safety of their homes. Our freedom fighters had big dreams for the country and they sacrificed their lives in the struggle to make these dreams come true. Are the leaders of today doing enough to uphold the vision of their predecessors?

What is the role of the “Common Man” in this fight against terror?

These questions and more are ringing in my head. I seek to find answers. But, I have none.

To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield….
- Alfred Lord Tennyson

I hope that the police force, investigators and leaders of our country strive to identify the culprits, seek to decipher the missing pieces of this puzzle, find the cause for these blatant attacks and never yield in the effort to make India a safe haven where peace and communal harmony prevails….

1 comment:

  1. The world has seen Mumbai shaken by the evil forces of terrorism. This arouses deep concerns and questions about the abilities of the Nation as a whole to protect itself as mentioned by Shalini in this article.
    This is a very thought provoking and intriguing article. Good work Shalini !