Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

When they come again

It will happen again. And soon. Probably in another Indian city. The objectives of the terrorists are clear. One, weaken India’s economy which has been robust in the recent past, giving hope that poverty can and will be eliminated in our lifetimes.Two, weaken India’s links with the external world. If foreigners cut down their interactions with India, trade and investment flows can suffer hurting us substantially.Three, make India unattractive for Americans and the British. This is a double whammy for these two countries are categorised as enemies of Islamist Fascism.Four, hit the India-Israel connection. Nothing rankles Islamist revivalists more than the fact that in living memory the forces of fanatical Islam have lost to secular Hindu-majority India (1971) and democratic Jewish Israel (1967; 1973).Five, drive a wedge between India’s majority and its Muslims. Indian Muslims have chosen to stay in a secular democratic country where they are freer than Muslims elsewhere, where they can vote in fair elections (unlike in any Muslim majority country) and where despite legitimate grievances they have role models succeeding in fields that have nothing to do with religion or medievalism: Azim Premji (information technology), Shah Rukh Khan (acting, an irreligious profession), Abdul Kalam (science, virtually abandoned now by the Islamic world despite a glorious earlier heritage), Sania Mirza (tennis, where her sports clothes are met with pious disapproval), Rahman (music, another sinful forbidden activity) and many more.
The terrorists would like India to view Muslims with suspicion; in this they have allies in stupid divisive politicians who seem to be oblivious of the dangers such isolation will inevitably lead to. Indian Muslim men and women with high aspirations and achievements in multiple fields are the best allies India and indeed the larger world has in our joint fight against reactionary Islamist FascismSix, drive us into silly excesses passing new laws when we cannot implement existing ones, creating new Government agencies when we starve existing agencies of funding and resources.
Let me stick to practical steps which I hope (or is that hoping for too much?) no one can disagree with. One, there will be another set of attacks in Mumbai or in another Indian city. I have no insider information. I am just making a prediction that we know in our heart of hearts is true. While our intelligence needs to be strengthened, nothing is going to prevent a determined group of terrorists getting through. Indulging in blame games about intelligence failure is precisely what the terrorists would like us to be trapped in.


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