December 4, 2008

Of root causes and a change of perception ...

It was 10 pm on 26th November. I was at my office, working on the business plan of an opportunity we are currently evaluating. For some reason the financials were not stacking up. Frustrated I decided to call it a day. I was to travel early next morning and had to pack. I plugged my earphones and listening to some of my favorite tracks, made my way to Churchgate station.

Minutes earlier, not too far away CST, Leopold Café and the Taj Hotel were attacked. For a good five minutes I was on one of the two roads that connect these locations to the Oberoi-Trident. A few minutes later the Oberoi was under siege. In hindsight, there was a good probability of the terrorists using the road since it has relatively less traffic. It gives me shivers to think that the walk could have been my last. I was of course, oblivious to the developments.

A lot has changed for me when I reached home and took in the full impact of the attacks. I have never been prejudiced towards Pakistan and have always attributed the misgivings between India and Pakistan to a narrow minded leadership way back in 1947-48. When two men who both wanted to become Prime Minister of a young republic resorted to religion to resolve their issues. Events, however strong, in other parts of the country did not change that. OK, Kargil veered me a bit to the other side but I was optimistic that things could be worked out. But last week was the last straw. The scale and impact of the attack has been horrific. The thought that I could have been a target has been unnerving. And the heap of evidence against Pak has been too hard to ignore.

In a thought that surprised me as well, I don’t think war is a bad option. It is a sad day when the educated and the objective crowd start thinking of war. It means that solutions are extremely limited and that the inevitable is necessary. Apart from just plain evidence, this time a long time Pakistan ally, the US has made statements like ‘India has the sovereign right to protect itself’ and ‘Pakistan is an international migraine’. Strong statements if you look at the past US-Pak relations.

It also makes me wonder why does most of world terror have an Islamic face? What makes Islam a favorite exploitation ground for religious extremists? Why is this religion repeatedly and consistently used out of context compared to other religions? I have Muslim friends and they are good and righteous people. If their faith had conflicting ideas with them being good human beings they would not be Muslim; which says that it’s definitely not the religion. Is it the method of delivery? Are there too many middle men subverting the message of the Prophet and mixing it with economic and political themes? Other causes do not seem to fit in – Education? There are poorly educated nations in South America and Africa as well. Resourcefulness? Prominent sponsors of the Middle East are so wealthy it stinks. Economic well-being? Ditto.

Which brings us back to political agendas. Though it seems the most plausible, it will be interesting to know.

1 comment:

Venkat Radhakrishnan said...

I am glad you are safe, bro!