There is a famous saying that “no one can stop the idea whose time has come”.
For more than last 3 decades, India was shouting from every podium, every forum that what is happening in India, what Pakistan is doing in India, is terrorism but the world was dismissing India with nonchalance considering it as skirmishes due to Kashmir Conflict between the two nations.
Though the world sit up and acknowledged the problem after 9/11 attacks, the political will was missing due to the fear of upsetting a particular community, whose religious teachings were being misused to spread violence and chaos. It is not a hidden fact that most of the UN listed terror organizations are Islamist. Most of the terror attacks around the world have Islamist organizations behind them. And by refusing to call spade a spade, politicians, all over the world, tried to brush things under the carpet, not only insulting the millions of peaceful followers of Islam but also aggravating the problem.
Despite the acknowledgement after 9/11, not much was done in combating terrorism other than the lip-service from different platforms. All this while, the terrorists kept on getting emboldened and attacks in different parts of the world; London, Paris, Sri Lanka, USA, India, etc.; became a routine news. This was the time, when leaders across the world started becoming popular who professed strict action against terrorism.
Narendra Modi in India, Donald Trump in USA, and many others in South America, Europe and other countries; either came to power or grown in popularity during the last few years, on one of the planks of being tough on terror, which in a way proved that the establishment and politicians were thinking about their vote banks and were completely cut off from the ground realities.
All these leaders have been branded as anti-Muslims by their respective oppositions. But they all seemed to getting more and more popular! India and USA, with the support of other nations, have taken some drastic steps to address the roots of terrorism (the results of which have been mixed) but at the same time the minorities, mostly the Muslims, have not been lynched or marginalized or thrown out, as was predicted by the opposing forces on large scales.
So why is there a gap in the understanding of the opposition politicians and the sentiments on the ground? Why any action on terrorism or after any terrorist attack, messages and posts slamming Islamophobia start circulating? Why there is so much fear mongering among the Muslims by the politicians and the media?
Over the years, after the world war 2, a left-liberal-socialist ecosystem has emerged who consider themselves as the voice of the public and if the people at large do not agree with their views then the terms like ‘Intolerance’, ‘Islamophobia’, ‘White Supremacy’, ‘Hindu Terror’, are invented and propagated to shame people into accepting their views. In India, also, this “Khan Market gang” ecosystem works as part of this larger world ecosystem, who are the beneficiaries of the political systems over all these years.
This ecosystem and their chosen leaders and parties, completely failed in addressing the threat of terrorism and instead, aggravated the problem by catering to the religious extremist and fanatic groups in the name of Secularism. They insulted the Muslims by being apologetic about terrorism thereby associating this dastardly force with Islam that is practiced by millions everyday, and non-Muslims by questioning their apprehensions and legitimate questions over this rising barbaric force that was forcing them to live more and more in fear.
Rather than calling the problem as it was, it was made more and more complex, leading to the acceptance of violence in the name of religion. While the leaders, intellectuals and think-tanks of the world, tried their best to de-link Islam and terrorism, the fact is the more they tried the more they failed. Why? Because they were unafraid of speaking the truth and were sitting on this high pedestal where they looked everyone with contempt and of lesser intellect. The years of power had made them arrogant and had cut them off from the sentiments of a common man.
They, in their great wisdom, thought that the masses were too naive and uneducated to understand this complex issue related to religious terrorism. But it was not. It was as simple as any other question out there. If a businessman does a fraud, then that does not make every businessman a conman. Similarly if someone uses some religious concepts to spread terror and violence in the world, then that does not make every person belonging to that particular religion a terrorist. See its not that difficult to understand. But that does not mean that you would not act against the ones who do.
However, when you don’t trust the masses and their wisdom and keep on taking decisions that leads to the growth of this menace, be rest assured the masses will rise against you. Because it is not the lives of those living in ivory towers and posh bungalows that is in danger, but the lives of billions who bear the brunt of this hate ideology. People will demand to separate the ones who support terrorism and those who don’t. They will demand some changes in the mindset and practices of the followers to give a strong message to the ones who are using the very same traditions to abet terror.
Won’t you demand similar changes in law when crimes related to rape, murder, corruption, or misconduct happen? But in their pursuit of the mirage of secularism, they pushed the Muslims into the hands of the extremists, specially the poor ones. Now, after so many years of behaving and thinking in a particular way, they seem wary of the leaders who don’t conform to their world view. This new crop of leaders is not afraid to call spade a spade and is for using muscle power to curb terrorism.
This attitude and approach is gaining popularity among the people as they have been fed up of living in this constant fear and feeling weak. This means the world order is again changing. This means the beneficiaries of the old system and old way of thinking, are loosing relevance and thereby, power. This is making them wary and making them resort to distort history, propagate lies and half-baked truths.
That is why there is a constant effort to reduce the intensity associated with the word ‘terrorism’ by using the word in many different contexts. A simple law and order issue of cow smuggling gets reduced to ‘Cow Terrorism’; the cases of small tiffs between two groups over petty issues gets turned into ‘Hindu Intolerance or terrorism or lynchers’; the motive is to associate the word with so many petty issues related to the other communities that the word stops evoking the kind of emotion that it evokes today.
But instead of falling for this propaganda, people are calling them out by clearly understanding the difference between highly organized and sophisticated forces that indulge in terrorism and the isolated incidents that happen due to local issues. However, that does not stop these propagandists from increasing their decibel levels. Or the politicians who want to shine in politics by using these old tactics.
Kamal Hassan’s recent statement on Nathuram Godse being the first terrorist of Independent India who was a Hindu, is a reflection of the mindset that prevailed till a few years back. No one is ready to believe that the act of a single man killing a single person whom he hated due to different reasons, belonging to the same religion, in broad daylight; is comparable to the coordinated, well planned, thoroughly executed terror operations that are even difficult for some armies to pull off or detect.
It has been tried before. With Sadhvi Pragya, or Assemanand, or Col. Purohit, or the sole man who was responsible for Christchurch shootings; it was tried very hard to paint a picture that other religions too can lead to extremist tendencies. But alas, no one is ready to believe this theory. People tend to understand the difference between fake narratives or isolated incidents by a few individuals and the organized industry that is involved in terror activities all over the world.
But the question is will this disgruntled, stripped of power, ecosystem understand the sentiments of the common man. Highly unlikely. I feel these voices are going to get louder and louder as the action on terrorism gathers pace in the coming years, with these new age leaders on the helm. However, it seems to not matter as people have stopped caring and listening to them.