Sunday, March 3, 2019


Bullying, intimidating, instilling fear, creating a mob frenzy, harming physically and/ or mentally, causing injuries and if possible death - does this spell terror? Let us reflect upon our own actions. As adults we preach empathy, sensitivity, non violence et al but in reality we admire a bully and heap praises on his ability to create a space for himself. The victim is laughed at and ridiculed under the garb of making them macho. The result is that as a society we admire brute strength over most other qualities. The sports are made competitive with less of sportsmanship as the winner is admired and the loser loses sheen. At a latter stage a person who rides roughshod over others' sentiments is admired over a person who displays compassion. The former becomes a leader while the latter is not even deemed fit to be a follower.

Move over to entertainment, the physical prowess is bestowed with so much importance that the inevitable pummeling by the hero or the wielding of weapons is recognised as the trademark of gallantry. If life is such, in death we glorify people who die for a cause, confer martyrdom, celebrate such deaths with least sensitivity to the near and dear ones of the departed. We turn poetic in glorifying such deaths to the extent that one poet states that a flower would rather lie on the feet of a martyr rather than any other place including on a deity. How far can we go in this act of hypocrisy?

It is not that we never meet deaths of near and dear ones. At any given point of time there are thousands who are placed on ventilators when doctors have given up hope. Would there be a single case wherein the person on the bed is glorified to have made a valiant choice to exit? Every penny is scrambled to save the mortal. Hence, the moral is as a society we love to goad someone to sacrifice his life for our own safety or achievement of goals.

However, if the goal is averse to our own goals then the other person  inflicting such pain is a terrorist. In case he pursues our own goals then he is a warrior. 

Thus, the first step to eliminate terror is to eliminate this hypocrisy from each of our own selves and then attempt to inculcate the same in others. Would it be a more difficult task to admire a person who rides a bike on a footpath or jump a signal or to admire one who is able to provide timely assistance to a victim of such an accident? When will the society move from celebrating martyrdom to celebrating compassion. Will we ever return to felicitating a Florence Nightingale or a Dr. Kotnis or lesser souls who show their sensitivity to the needs of the others? Can we imagine felicitating a soldier of the Armed Forces who is able to bring home a terrorist alive or reform him? Will we confer on his the Mahavir Chakra?

The direction we have to move in is that while individual goals could clash, the explanation of a position would be better. This in no way means to belittle the valour of the Armed Forces but only is a desperate attempt to request the society to recognise them as human beings whose sentiments need respect and praise even when they do not die or face a hazard. 

The move needs to start at a tender age when a bully is set on the course of compassion. The victim is strengthened and steeled with living up to the laws of survival. Are there any takers for starting a movement on these lines? Can we eliminate terror by making it clear that the one who wants his life secure wants the other to lay his life down for his goals? 

Let us highlight the fact that Hitler went into a bunker while his soldiers died in battle for his Fatherland. Did not the cadre of Khalistanis shed their blood and lives for Bhindranwale who holed himself in the Golden Temple? Did not the cadre of Tamil Eelam not consume cyanide or become suicide bombers for Prabhakaran's goals while he entrenched himself in Jaffna? Was not the cadre of Taliban not deluding itself for the fancies of Osama Bin Laden who lived a royal life? Closer still is the case of Masood Azhar or the leadership of Naxals or the Maoists. This constant discourse could pave way for the reduction in terror cadres leading to ultimate elimination of terrorism as a political tool.