I am in Regensburg this week, a quiet town of 150,000 people on the river Danube in Germany, to steal four days of holiday from my hectic work schedule in Munich. The main source of employment for the people here are BMW and Siemens factories and of course the tourist industry. It owes its existence to a Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who fortified it as a base for his legion somewhere in 179 AD. Luckily, unlike many other cities of German it was saved from Allies bombing.
I do not pick big cities for such short holidays as I look forward to have a few days of quiet and peace. But can we run away from the harsh realities of life these days and shut ourselves from the world. Television in hotel rooms, internet and SMS all keep you connected. It’s great. But this also shatters peace every moment by bringing you the ugly side of mankind. This is what happened to me last Tuesday, when I opened the TV, my peace and tranquility was shattered. CNN announced a series of bomb blasts on Mumbai trains. In a short span of 11 minutes there were seven blasts killing around 190 people and injuring over 500. Immediately a slide show of my friends’ pictures started clicking on the screen of my mind. I thought of Kumar, who is the follower of “Sain Baba” a Sufi saint. Sain Baba was a Muslim by origin but like all Sufis he was very secular. He has a large Hindu following in India. I thought of his three loving sons, who want to see India as an economic super power and are disturbed about the plight of their Kashmiri friends. I thought of Roger Pereira a well-known PR consultant of India, I thought of Kumar Ketkar, who is Editor-in-Chief of the largest Maharati newspaper Lok Satta and is an old comrade from CPI. He is trying to build bridges between the people of Karachi and Mumbai. And then there were many others, yes many ‘Mumbaikars’ previously known as ‘Bombaywalas.’ They are the people who are struggling for a better tomorrow in this financial and business hub of India forgetting the religious, ethnic and caste bias. They are the people, who I felt in my last visit want to free India from the drag of disputes and like to move forward to build Mumbai into a world class city and India an economic super power.
The question asked by the world media is who is behind this brutal terrorist attack as nobody had the courage to claim the responsibility for this heinous crime. Political analysts guessed that it could be the terrorists who are active in Kashmir and linked the train blasts with the series of grenade attacks in Kashmir a few days back. India, like Pakistan, has been subject to many terrorists attacks in the last few years. Indian press is alleging that it was the work of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a supposedly banned outfit, which operates out of its busy head office in Muridkay, a town near Lahore. Its leader is known for his staunch anti-Hindu feelings. Recently, Osama, the spiritual and militant leader of the Islamic terrorist franchise Al-Qaeda, also added India to his list of crusades.
The US and Zia government created this monster foolishly thinking that it would die once the Soviets are defeated in Afghanistan. Today this boomerang-terrorism is cutting our own throats. It has spitted the fire of sectarianism in Pakistan, attempted assassination of the President and the Prime Minister, killed visiting foreigners and scared away the world from my country. They were proudly owned by the US Congressman Charlie Wilson as the techno-Islamic guerillas during the insurgency against the Soviet backed progressive government in Afghanistan. Today the same forces are killing the Americans in Afghanistan. That’s why I call them boomerang terrorists.
Same terrorists have struck India many times killing innocent people in attacks like the Mumbai train blasts. Mumbai trains are loaded with around 4000 passengers at rush hours and carry all middle and lower middle class Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians – you name the religion and you find it on these cosmopolitan trains.
I wonder who these terrorists wanted to punish when they planned these blasts. What do they want to achieve from this? If they are thinking that India will come to kneel and give in to their demands for independent Kashmir, they are sadly mistaken. No country gives in to the terrorists these days and then India has much more at stake if it would agree to part with Kashmir after buckling down to terrorism. Nagaland, Khalistan and Assam could be the next. What is achievable for the people of Kashmir has to be on the negotiation table.
Terrorism in any case is much different from freedom struggle. Terrorist attacks kill innocent people and hence leads to isolate the freedom struggle instead of rallying support from the people at large. I don’t think that people behind this brutal attack are so naïve that they do not understand that the bomb blast would also kill many Muslim commuters also. This indeed is not going to win any sympathy to their cause from the Muslims of Mumbai, who commute on these over-crowded trains every day.
So the other motive of these forces could be to derail the peace process between the two countries. I had always believed that as Pakistan and India would move on the peace path, there would be a strong resistance by the Jihadists, who have been benefited by the war economy. The good news is that the governments of both countries have come to realize that peace is not the hostage of terrorists and positive approach would ultimately be the winner. In Mumbai, a leading Indian newspaper Hindu reported, many Muslims have donated blood for the wounded in the train blast and many Hindus’ blood is now running in the veins of Muslims. In blood there is no Hindu and Muslim type. Alas! We created the biases. The biases, which try to blast peace and humanity. It pains but does not shatter my faith and resolution in the victory of peace!