Normally, I don’t really engage myself in heated discussions with people on any social or political issue. I find it a waste of time because I don’t find such communication useful when the listener is not really listening to understand, but merely to know exactly which point they have to retaliate back to. But today, somehow unknowingly, I was pulled into a conversation with my boss that really left me furious and annoyed in the end.
It started with him making a remark about Pakistanis. I have noticed he does that, always. Being an Indian Hindu, I feel he has grown up hating Pakistanis. And his mentality is such that he feels that deep down, even the Indian Muslims side with the Pakistanis. So I always find him probing me, poking me by sometimes uttering downright stupid and baseless comments about Pakistanis and see how I respond to it and my response would be judged and accordingly it would be decided whether I am a good Indian or not. His reaction is pleasant when I might agree with a point he has made, but when I get down to oppose him, that’s when he acts like a loser. Anyways, back to the point. Anyone following Indian news would know that yesterday India was divided between 2- supporting the death penalty of Yakub Memon and those who advocated human rights.
I had no idea about the history of this guy till 2 days ago but whatever I gathered from the news and people around me, in a nutshell is this : This guy was linked to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in the year 1993. His brother Tiger was one of the masterminds who is believed to be either dead or in hiding. So Yakub apparently surrendered to the police in 1994 and was a resource of information about the plotting and execution of the attacks. He served his purpose for the past 11 years and the Indian Judiciary finally decided to convict him for his crimes. Early morning today, he was hanged to death.
So I was in the group of Indians that found it unfair. And I voiced it out in front of my boss only to hear some unrelated crap about India-Pakistan partition, Hinduism being the original religion of the country (which is true) and invaders and conquerors forcing people to accept their religion, either Islam or Christianity. Also something about India’s secularism being the root problem of these terror attacks and that things would noticeably improve if India embraces Hinduism as the official religion of the country. Of course, it was all sugar coated with laughs and smiles and ended on a vague note of ‘sighs’. I felt deeply hurt and offended. I really do not understand why an attack plotted by a Muslim (mind you, only by name) and not a Christian, or Hindu, or Buddhist or Maoist is termed as a TERROR ATTACK. Is the definition of terror exclusive to Islam?
I also realized one more thing today, that no matter how educated and well-mannered, kind and gentle a person seems to be, these feelings of ill will towards a particular religion(s) sometimes clog their ability to view beyond the realms of faith and just judge someone based on humanity.
What now, tell me, is the difference between such people and a terrorist? Level of extremism. That’s it.