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Books written by B G Verghese

Books written by B G Verghese

Books written by B G Verghese

Breivik has sought support from Hindutva elements in India whom he likens to his prospective Justiciar Knights, latter day crusaders who will ally with Hindu right wing forces to build a new world order

Dangers of Right Wing Terror

Some in India would extenuate a little bit of Hindutva terror on the side as against the more vicious “mainstream” Islamic terror. This is a dangerous illusion. Terror is terror.

By B G Verghese

Deccan Herald, 31 July, 2011

Norway has been subject to a tragic terror attack followed by a ghastly massacre of innocents. The killer, Anders Breivik, is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist who abhors Muslims, immigration, multiculturalism and Marxist culture all of which he believes are destroying the West’s Christian civilisation. In fighting the good fight, Breivik has sought support from Hindutva elements in India whom he likens to his prospective Justiciar Knights, latter day crusaders who will ally with Hindu right wing forces to build a new world order in which the latter will be called upon to function as a “servant class”.

One may dismiss this ranting but for its closely echoing Savarkar and Golwalkar’s eulogy of Nazism and Fascism when they propounded Hindtuva, which continues to proclaim an narrowly exclusive and divisive “cultural nationalism” in which Muslims and Christians are “foreigners” according to official Gujarat school texts under Narendra Modi. They, like dalits, may live on sufferance as second class citizens.

Much anger and anguish has been expressed by the Parivar over the use of the wholly pejorative term “Hindu terror” after the Malegaon- Ajmer-Hyderabad bombings. It is rightly argued that terror wears no religious label. But was it not Modi, Togadia and their ilk who rejoiced in denouncing so-called Muslim terror. Recall the language used apropos the Gujarat killings and the venomous phrase “not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslim”. Even in 2008, Varun Gandhi became a BJP mascot for mockingly excoriating “Khalilullah” and “Faizullah” as though these names signified the very devil. It was only after the “Hindu terror” bombings that the Parivar discovered that terror professes no faith.

Some in India would extenuate a little bit of Hindutva terror on the side as against the more vicious “mainstream” Islamic terror. This is a dangerous illusion. Terror is terror and must be confronted and defeated everywhere. The authorities would do well to probe Breivik’s international links in collaboration with Norwegian and other European intelligence in order to nip any nefarious cross border and cross cultural terror links in the bud. The bond could be a shared sense of victimhood against the alleged hurt done to Christian and Hindu civilisations by Muslim militancy. Such demented theories should not be lightly dismissed, as multiculturalism is becoming a dirty word in Europe and could become even more so if the American economy unravels as a result of the debt crisis.

It is therefore good that the just-concluded meeting of the Indo-Pakistan Foreign Ministers in Delhi went off well and some progress was registered in developing additional CBMs in J&K. If Hina Rabbani Khar repeated Pakistan’s tired rhetoric on Kashmir to keep critics quiet at home while serious negotiations move forward, this can be understood. But if mindsets are to change, as she urged, this logic can be pushed too far and entrap Pakistan in the coils of its own double talk. It was glib to plead that India should not take umbrage at Ms Khar’s meeting the Hurriyat in Delhi before talks with her counterpart, S.M.Krishna, because this has been standard practice in the past.

What would Pakistan think if at the next round, when any Indian team visits Islamabad, the Indians first meet someone like Manzoor Parwana, Chairman of the Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement, who was detained in Gilgit on July 28 for demanding opening of the LOC in that sector for cross-border movement, restoration of the state subject rule to prevent demographic change, withdrawal of Pakistani security forces from the region and grant of basic rights for “the occupied nation of Gilgit-Balistan”. There is, however, one difference. The Hurriyat can move and speak pretty freely in India, but this is simply not so in the case of critics in PAK or GB, which are tightly controlled and largely out of bounds.

Double standards will not progress Indo-Pakistan talks. One needs to end grandstanding and shift the emphasis to quiet and continuing diplomacy by designated interlocutors in some foreign venue out of media sight. The notion that serious diplomacy is best conducted in the market place, with “civil society” participating and monitoring progress step by step in the interests of transparency, is certified nonsense.

This, however, will require bipartisanship. Whatever their public differences, one must concede sufficient patriotism and good sense on the part of all the leading political players in India to offer and keep their counsel in a responsible manner. On the Pakistan side, the military will have to come on board.

None of this can really move forward unless Government and Opposition stop their petty, public brawling. The ensuing session of Parliament will be a testing time. The Lok Ayukta’s report on Yeddyruappa’s misdeeds in Karnataka leaves no room for dodging the stark facts of documented corruption on the part of the CM, his family and various other ministers and officials as well as Kumaraswamy and a Congress MLA. The Chief Minister has tried desperately to ensure a smooth succession that both protects him against too wounding an investigation as well as protects his party-caste factional interests. How this pans out remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Anna Hazare, now giddy with self-righteous civil society indignation, has given notice of a fast unto death, an offence under the IPC (attempt to suicide), from August 16. He has rightly been denied permission to stage this tamasha at Jantar Mantar (after the Ramdev circus) unless he gives the assurance that it will only be for a day and not more than 2,000 people will attend. Otherwise, he has been told to explore venues on the outskirts of the city. His cries of “betrayal” carry no conviction as his views and amendments are before the public. The government understandably called off its offer formally to place what was already known before the cabinet after being dubbed cheats and liars.

The country cannot be pushed around by all and sundry towards authoritarianism or anarchy. A smack of firm government is in order.

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