We did not wish to be ‘enemies’, but since we have been constructed that way, should not we take our roles as ‘enemies’ a bit more seriously? I cannot speak the language of peace and love anymore. If the war is forced upon us, we will have to accept it. And since our state is too inept to handle it on our behalf, let us debate ways in which we can all participate in this ‘war’, through words, wisdom or actions.
I am afraid it will not soothe my senses anymore by being told again and again that religions stand for peace and ‘some people’ are misusing religion and misquoting scriptures. The problem is that the supply of ‘some people’ seems to be never ending. These ‘some people’ are not just a few people but like amoeba they keep multiplying. I am afraid I will not feel calmed tomorrow when I hear that we should try to understand the ‘root causes’, the injustices and anger that force people on the path of terror. I ask today, as I rage at these terrorists who may not even be citizens of my country, how dare you speak for people of this country? And if it is Babri Masjid and Gujarat that you avenge, how many times should we apologise as a nation and justify your barbarity with heads hung in shame and guilt written on our faces? If we are paying the price for being a tolerant and democratic (although not perfect) nation (there are many dissenting voices tolerated in this country including the voices that speak of hatred against communities of all kinds, voices that talk of revenge and exclusion and voices that are overtly seditious against the state), I reject the guilt, shame and tolerance today for it makes me your ‘enemy’. You punish our innocent people for crimes of a few; and scream hoarse when the ‘innocent’ in your community are held up because of your barbarity. You reject our diversity (of our opinion and politics as well that has defended you and stood for you always), you do not like it when we have spoken with different voices. I, therefore, accept the ‘national identity’ you have bestowed on me as your ‘enemy’, an identity that I had always questioned in order to understand you and your problems. Thank you for reminding us, Indians (those who consider themselves one), once again that we are all equal ‘enemies’ in your war and that we need to think of an equal and befitting response.
I find some inspiration and comfort in the words of the famous poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz:
Rakht-e-dil baaNdh lo dil figaaro chalo
Phir hameeN qatl ho aa.eN yaaro chalo
Pick up the burden of the heart, let us go heartbroken ones;
We are the ones to be murdered my friends!!
Postscript: edited to make my point of posting this clearer. I've added some emphasis on key sentences. Here is the bio. of the author:
Swati Parashar is currently a PhD candidate at Lancaster University, UK. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Ms. Parashar was a Research Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore. Additionally she has worked as an Associate Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, where she coordinated the International Terrorism Watch Programme. Ms. Parashar was a Fulbright Fellow at the Institute of Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California, San Diego, US. She and has been published extensively on terrorism and security related issues in both print and online media, and has presented papers at national and international conferences. Her research interests include feminist international relations theory, women combatants in terrorist and political extremist groups, suicide bombers and terrorism, political violence, conflicts, and great powers' politics in South Asia.
Notice that one whose profession is the study of terrorism is so shaken by what happened in Mumbai. She has declared war, and so too, I think, all of India.
....since our state is too inept to handle it on our behalf, let us debate ways in which we can all participate in this ‘war’, through words, wisdom or actions.