Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai Under Attack - Pakistan's Failure and India's Misery

TIME magazine is probably going to press, as I write this, with a cover story 'India's Muslim's in Crisis'. TIME reports -

[The disembodied voice was chilling in its rage. A gunman, holed up in Mumbai's Oberoi Trident hotel where some 40 people had been taken hostage, told an Indian news channel that the attacks were revenge for the persecution of Muslims in India. "We love this as our country but when our mothers and sisters were being killed, where was everybody?" he asked via telephone. No answer came. But then he probably wasn't expecting one.]

Article continues - [The roots of Muslim rage run deep in India, nourished by a long-held sense of injustice over what many Indian Muslims believe is institutionalized discrimination against the country's largest minority group. The disparities between Muslims, which make up 13.4% of the population, and India's Hindu population, which hovers around 80%, are striking. There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking Muslim Indians have shorter life spans, worse health, lower literacy levels, and lower-paying jobs.]

It is a huge mistake to call this an act perpetrated by Muslims in Crisis in India, to say the least. The facts are facts. If Muslims in India are unable to join the progress India made since Independence, it is a National Shame. But to suggest that Islamic Terrorism in India is the offshoot of economic underclass status of millions of Muslims in India is being dishonest to extremist's long harbored wounds from the decline of Islamic prominence since its golden years. To suggest that Islamic Terrorism in India is the child of perceived 'institutionalized discrimination' and persecution of Muslim minority in India is being ignorant of extremist Islamist's long harbored desire to return to golden age of Islam that ruled most of Indian Subcontinent, Middle East, Northern Africa and Persia.

[We (Muslims) were the legal rulers of India, and in 1857 the British took that away from us," says Tarik Jan, a gentle-mannered scholar at Islamabad's Institute of Policy Studies. "In 1947 they should have given that back to the Muslims."] - The Article narrates.

For extremists, the world history starts and ends with Islamic Golden Age. There were emperors and empires that ruled the world before and after Islamic supremacy. Asoka conquered and established Indian Subcontinent as we see today. Moguls conquered the subcontinent. Akbar took Mogul Empire to greater heights until subsequent rulers loosing to British. British lost the war of the subcontinent to Gandhi and his people. How far back one wants to look? For extremists, its as far back as it suits them. British lost its colonies where sun never set. But they don't harbor any desire to go back to their golden days. British fought,ungracefully, to keep their colonies. But once they lost it, they became graceful losers. Content with a Queen and a Common Wealth. The root cause of Islamic Terrorism in the world will take us to extremist's inability to loose gracefully.

The days of emperors and colonialists are over. The world will never go back to the days of Alexander, Asoka, Genghis Khan, Moguls and Emir of Timur. The world will not repeat British, Spanish and Portuguese colonies. After Afghanistan and Iraq, world may never see an American invasion of another country as seen in the past. So most moderate Muslims no longer harbor any thoughts of territorial supremacy on some other land. But extremists ability to steer young moderate Muslim men away from bright and promising future into sheer self destruction to achieve mass destruction of innocent people is helped largely by some of the most volatile unresolved issues of post colonial rule.

What seems to be burning the Muslim psyche all over the world is not only their lost supremacy of the bygone past but also a perceived denial of Islamic existence. In modern days, it starts with nonexistent Palestinian home land. It includes Kashmir's lack of independence. It includes Chechnya. It includes demolished Babri Masjid and thousands of their mothers and sisters lost in Gujarat. It includes Afghanistan where they once thought established the first true Islamic State in the modern era.

As I write this, the terrorists are beginning to be identified as Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals came via sea from Karachi to Mumbai. If this is proved to be accurate, TIME's notion that these attacks are some how the result of India's Muslim's in Crisis doesn't hold much weight. If at all this has anything to do with Muslim, its failed Islamic Republic of Pakistan. When the subcontinent was divided to form Pakistan, the Muslims hoped to create a "modern, moderate and very enlightened Pakistan,". Indian Muslims, with all its perceived and real crisis of confidence in Indian State, have the opportunity to become APJ Abdul Kalam, Azim Premji, Khans of Bollywood and much more. But the Muslims in Pakistan continue to slide into hopelessness and despair that beget young men willing to give up their precious lives to kill hundreds of innocent people why were living a normal life. Unfortunately that is what Pakistan failed to provide Muslims in their country, a Normal Life!

It is easy for Indian's to direct outrage against its neighbor cousin. It is easy for the world to lament Pakistan for not being able to stop extremists operating in their country. But it is not productive. Pakistan doesn't need an earful. They need help. They need help in providing HOPE to its people. They need help in giving decent jobs and dream of living a normal life to its people. The kind of opportunity they see in an India that is increasingly going global. When people loose hope, their ability to think diminish. When they shut their doors to the world, they become disillusioned. They become impressionable to the point of destroying the gift of love :(

Behind the Mumbai Massacre: India's Muslims in Crisis

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