Mind of a Jehadi

30 05 2008

Mind of a Jehadi

By Amir Mir

(Appeared in Tehelka)

AL QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden has made jihad more central than ever before, sparking new global waves of inspiration to youth ready to give their all for the fight that he has come to symbolize. So blinded, often, is the commitment of the jihadi to the cause that those confronted with them are at a loss for counter-strategies.

He could be a dyed-in-the-wool product of a remote madarsa, bearded, aloof and intent on his purpose of establishing the Empire of the Faith. Or he could be a denim-clad graduate from a Western campus, modern to all intents and appearances, but equally single-minded in determination as his counterpart from the madarsa. He may have been part of the West and benefited from what it has to offer, but he also sees the “ills and injustices of its materialism, its determination to foist on the world an order and ethos it has created”; he is determined to fight it. As Giles Kepel, the leading French authority on Islamists, puts it in his important study, The War For Muslim Minds: “Al Qaeda was (and is) less a military base of operations than a database that connected jehadists around the world via the Internet… this organisation did not consist of buildings and tanks and borders but of websites, clandestine financial transfers and a proliferation of activists ranging from Jersey City to the paddies of Indonesia.”

In the final analysis, the jehadi is the same person, whether he comes from an ill-equipped madarsa or an affluent university, whether he comes from the poverty of the Orient or from the plenty of the West. He celebrates death in the service of Islam and resolutely believes that death in the service of the only cause worth serving is a one-way ticket to heaven. His biggest disagreement with the modern concept of democracy is that he does not believe religion is the private affair of a person but rather a complete way of life that necessarily includes politics.

Islam is his religion and his nation; it transcends boundaries, ethnicities, colour, creed and race. He rejects secularism and any social order other than that defined by Islam. He believes that Allah alone ——” is the sovereign and His commandments are the supreme taw of man. Of course, the theoretical reason why Islam had asked its followers to wage jehad was to create an egalitarian social order where the poor and the vulnerable would be treated with respect and dignity.

Jehad (struggle) never exclusively meant a holy war; it could have been a social, political, economic campaign as well. It was a fight against inequality, social injustice and discrimination. But today jehad has but one dimension — Kital, or violent struggle. And it has but one icon: Osama bin Laden, embattled with the Great West to establish the domination of his own realm of faith.

The mind of an Islamic terrorist is difficult for a non-Muslim to comprehend. What could lead a person to cause his or her own violent death is a question that is frequently raised. It is contrary to every human emotion that we have. Yet, we know there are hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists who are wilting to kill and be killed for Allah. An important reason is the promise that the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords.

According to most leading Muslim scholars here, personally, spirituality, politically, intellectually and emotionally, the questions that an Islamic fundamentalist faces are stark indeed. Personally, he asks himself if he loves Allah more than his own life? Spiritually, he asks whether or not he is willing to sacrifice himself in Allah’s cause against the Shaytan’s power and the infidel’s military forces? Politically, he divides the nations of the world into two warring camps. The nations under Islamic rule are termed, the Land of Peace (Dar al-lslam) while the remaining nations are called the Land of War (Dar al-Harb). Intellectually, the answers to those questions are crystal clear to him. Emotionally, his only hurdle is the fear of death. Once this emotional fear is conquered, the person joyfully takes up the sword to kill and be killed in Allah’s cause, anticipating his entrance into the gates of heavenly Paradise. Thus, martyrdom is the only assured path to Paradise.





Mind of a Jehadi

30 05 2008

Mind of a Jehadi

By Amir Mir

(Appeared in Tehelka)

AL QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden has made jihad more central than ever before, sparking new global waves of inspiration to youth ready to give their all for the fight that he has come to symbolize. So blinded, often, is the commitment of the jihadi to the cause that those confronted with them are at a loss for counter-strategies.

He could be a dyed-in-the-wool product of a remote madarsa, bearded, aloof and intent on his purpose of establishing the Empire of the Faith. Or he could be a denim-clad graduate from a Western campus, modern to all intents and appearances, but equally single-minded in determination as his counterpart from the madarsa. He may have been part of the West and benefited from what it has to offer, but he also sees the “ills and injustices of its materialism, its determination to foist on the world an order and ethos it has created”; he is determined to fight it. As Giles Kepel, the leading French authority on Islamists, puts it in his important study, The War For Muslim Minds: “Al Qaeda was (and is) less a military base of operations than a database that connected jehadists around the world via the Internet… this organisation did not consist of buildings and tanks and borders but of websites, clandestine financial transfers and a proliferation of activists ranging from Jersey City to the paddies of Indonesia.”

In the final analysis, the jehadi is the same person, whether he comes from an ill-equipped madarsa or an affluent university, whether he comes from the poverty of the Orient or from the plenty of the West. He celebrates death in the service of Islam and resolutely believes that death in the service of the only cause worth serving is a one-way ticket to heaven. His biggest disagreement with the modern concept of democracy is that he does not believe religion is the private affair of a person but rather a complete way of life that necessarily includes politics.

Islam is his religion and his nation; it transcends boundaries, ethnicities, colour, creed and race. He rejects secularism and any social order other than that defined by Islam. He believes that Allah alone ——” is the sovereign and His commandments are the supreme taw of man. Of course, the theoretical reason why Islam had asked its followers to wage jehad was to create an egalitarian social order where the poor and the vulnerable would be treated with respect and dignity.

Jehad (struggle) never exclusively meant a holy war; it could have been a social, political, economic campaign as well. It was a fight against inequality, social injustice and discrimination. But today jehad has but one dimension — Kital, or violent struggle. And it has but one icon: Osama bin Laden, embattled with the Great West to establish the domination of his own realm of faith.

The mind of an Islamic terrorist is difficult for a non-Muslim to comprehend. What could lead a person to cause his or her own violent death is a question that is frequently raised. It is contrary to every human emotion that we have. Yet, we know there are hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists who are wilting to kill and be killed for Allah. An important reason is the promise that the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords.

According to most leading Muslim scholars here, personally, spirituality, politically, intellectually and emotionally, the questions that an Islamic fundamentalist faces are stark indeed. Personally, he asks himself if he loves Allah more than his own life? Spiritually, he asks whether or not he is willing to sacrifice himself in Allah’s cause against the Shaytan’s power and the infidel’s military forces? Politically, he divides the nations of the world into two warring camps. The nations under Islamic rule are termed, the Land of Peace (Dar al-lslam) while the remaining nations are called the Land of War (Dar al-Harb). Intellectually, the answers to those questions are crystal clear to him. Emotionally, his only hurdle is the fear of death. Once this emotional fear is conquered, the person joyfully takes up the sword to kill and be killed in Allah’s cause, anticipating his entrance into the gates of heavenly Paradise. Thus, martyrdom is the only assured path to Paradise.





Ahilyabai Holkar:A Magnificent Ruler, Saintly Administrator

30 05 2008

Courtesy: Manushi

India has had many female rulers, warrior women and poet queens, but Ahilyabai Holkar commands more affection and respect for her accomplishments during her 30-year-long reign than any other does. She was noted for her piety, for her administrative ability, for her keen interest in all her people and for an extraordinary amount of building at holy sites all over the country. Her rule of Malwa in the 18th century is still cited as a model of benevolent and effective government. Ahilyabai was born in 1725 in the village of Chondi, in Bhid district, Maharashtra. Her father, Mankoji Shinde, was the patil of the village, a member of the proud Dhangar community. Women then did not go to school, but Ahilyabai’s father taught her to read and write. Her mother also seems to have been a well-read and pious woman. Her entrance on to the stage of history was something of an accident: Malhar Rao Holkar, a commander in the service of the Peshwa Bajirao and lord of the Malwa territory, stopped in Chondi on his way to Pune and, according to legend, saw the eight-year-old Ahilyabai at the temple service in the village. Recognising her piety and her character, he brought the girl to the Holkar territory as a bride for his weak son, Khande Rao. Ahilyabai’s husband was killed in battle in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao died. From 1766 until her death in 1795, she ruled Malwa, trained in both administrative and military matters by Malhar Rao. A letter to her from Malhar Rao in 1765 illustrates the trust he had in her ability during the tempestuous battle for power in the 18th century: “Proceed to Gwalior after crossing the Chambal. You may halt there for four or five days. You should keep your big artillery and arrangeforits ammunition as much as possible….On the march you should arrange for military posts being located for protection of the road.” Already trained to be a ruler, Ahilyabai petitioned the Peshwa after Malhar’s death, and the death of her son, to take over the administration herself. Some in Malwa objected to her assumption of rule, but the army of Holkar was enthusiastic about her leadership. She had led them in person, with four bows and quivers of arrows fitted to the corners of the howdah of her favourite elephant. The Peshwa granted permission, and, with Tukoji Holkar (not a relative) as the head of military matters, she proceeded to rule Malwa in a most enlightened manner, even reinstating a Brahmin who had opposed her. Ahilyabai never observed purdah but held daily public audience and was always accessible to anyone who needed her ear. The administrator and historian, Sir John Malcolm wrote most enthusiastically about her abilities some 40 years after her death: “Her first principle of government appears to have been moderate assessment, and an almost sacred respect for the native rights of village officers and proprietors of land. She heard every complaint in person; and although she continually referred cases to courts of equity and arbitration, and to her ministers for settlement, she was always accessible. So strong was her sense of duty on all points connected with the distribution of justice, that she is represented as not only patient but unwearied in the investigation of the most insignificant cases, when appeals were made to her decision.” A contemporary American historian, Stewart Gordon, adds that a definite proof of her ability as a ruler was that her territories in Malwa were not attacked or disrupted by local battles during her reign, in spite of wars all around. According to Gordon, “Ahilyabai had one of the most stable reigns of the 18th century.” And Malcolm adds that she kept, almost to the man, the same set of ministers and administrators throughout her reign. Among Ahilyabai’s accomplishments was the development of Indore from a small village to a prosperous and beautiful city; her own capital, however, was in nearby Maheshwar, a town on the banks of the Narmada river. She also built forts and roads in Malwa, sponsored festivals and gave donations for regular worship in many Hindu temples. Outside Malwa, she built dozens of temples, ghats, wells, tanks and rest-houses across an area stretching from the Himalayas to pilgrimage centres in South India. The Bharatiya Sanskritikosh lists as sites she embellished, Kashi, Gaya, Somnath, Ayodhya, Mathura, Hardwar, Kanchi, Avanti, Dwarka, Badrinarayan, Rameshwar and Jaganathpuri. Ahilyabai also rejoiced when she saw bankers, merchants, farmers and cultivators rise to levels of affluence, but did not consider that she had any legitimate claim to any of that wealth, be it through taxes or feudal right. She must, in fact, have financed all her activities with the lawful gains obtained from a happy and prosperous land. There are many stories of her care for her people. She helped widows retain their husbands’ wealth. She made sure that a widow was allowed to adopt a son; in fact, in one instance, when her minister refused to allow the adoption unless he was suitably bribed, she is said to have sponsored the child herself, and given him clothes and jewels as part of the ritual. To honour the memory of Ahilyabai Holkar, in 1996 leading citizens of Indore instituted an award in her name to be bestowed annually on an outstanding public figure. The then prime minister of India gave away the first award to Nanaji Deshmukh. The only time Ahilyabai seems not to have been able to settle a conflict peacefully and easily was in the case of the Bhils and Gonds, “plunderers” on her borders; but she granted them waste hilly lands and the right to a small duty on goods passing through their territories. Even in this case, according to Malcolm, she did give “considerate attention to their habits”. Ahilyabai’s capital at Maheshwar was the scene of literary, musical, artistic and industrial enterprise. She entertained the famous Marathi poet, Moropant and the shahir, Anantaphandi from Maharashtra, and also patronised the Sanskrit scholar, Khushali Ram. Craftsmen, sculptors and artists received salaries and honours at her capital, and she even established a textile industry in the city of Maheshwar. One of her old retainers told Malcolm the facts of her daily life: She rose an hour before daybreak to say prayers. Then she had scriptures read to her, distributed alms and gave food to a number of Brahmins. Her breakfast, as indeed all her meals, was vegetarian. After breakfast, she prayed again, and then took a short rest. From two to six she was in her durbar; after religious exercises and a light meal, she again attended to business from nine to eleven. Her life was marked by prayer, abstinence and work, with religious fasts, festivals and public emergencies affording the only change in this routine. Her devotion was to Shiva, although she respected all religions. “Shri Shankara” appeared on all royal proclamations along with her signature. In spite of all that is known about the warrior queen and all that she has left behind—timeless testimonies of her imagination and beneficence—she has not, in my opinion, been given the recognition that she rightfully deserves. Visitors to Varanasi know of the golden domed temple of Vishvanath, Lord of the World, in the heart of the city. Pilgrims headed for Pandharpur, a major sacred site in Maharashtra, go a little further along the same route to Mangalvadhe, to a place called Gopalpur, a large endowment for religious travellers. Both are part of Ahilyabai’s building and charitable legacy. It is said that she even repaired the road from Varanasi to Calcutta, as well as other routes to sites of pilgrimage. Historians of the 19th and 20th centuries—Indian, English and American—agree that the reputation of Ahilyabai Holkar in Malwa and Maharashtra was then, and is, even now, that of a saint. Nothing has ever been discovered by any researcher to discredit that. She was truly a magnificent woman, an able ruler and a great queen.

Eleanor Zelliott
Manushi, Issue 124 (May-June 2001)





Leftist-Islamist alliance in South Asia

30 05 2008

Amitabh Tripathi

Victory of Maoists in Nepal has two reactions in India. One which portray this victory as an opportunity for Indian government to pursue Nexalites in India to join mainstream and follow the path of their Nepali counterpart.

According to second reaction victory of Maoists in Nepal is going to deteriorate the security interests of Indian and Indian government should work hard to crush Maoist insurgency in Nepal as well preventing Maoists to make king of Nepal irrelevant in political context.

The most dangerous sign which people in Indian media have shown is that they are pleading for Maoists and it has some serious implications as well reasons. Indian media in general and print in particular has dominance of people who are indoctrinated with Leftist ideology and most of them were activists of Left in their college period. They belong to that period when Marxism was fashion for intellectuals and college campuses were full of these people. In India since 1989 social and political change took place. After Economic reform was initiated and some drastic changes came in existence at economic level it has some impact on society as well. In the mean time surgence of Hindu forces was witnessed and leftist ideology sidelined.

After demolition of Babri structure in Ayodhya in 1992 leftists collaborated with several anti Hindu forces in the name of secularism and in this composition they don’t have more say but were surviving in any way.

After 2000 situation has changed to some extent and social division of have’s and have’s not has come in debate again and it has given a chance to leftist to curse American policies as well some agencies as responsible for all this. In Indian context this development is very important because social disparity has created a vacuum in society and provided an opportunity for any organization to woo have-not’s to their side and Naxalites in India exploited this situation in very shrewd manner. They are active in remote part of India which is very poor, illiterate and geographically scattered and made of hills and forests. Because of its geographical conditions these areas are very much terrorism prone.

Two years back I journeyed one of Naxal effected area named Chhatisgarh and met with some Naxalites. They have clear edge on security forces because of geographical structure but most important thing is that Naxalites working on parallel political and social system. They have their own school in which they not only teach children of tribal but also give financial assistance to their parents. I have a chance to visit their schools also they have their text books and these text books teach that Hindus in India are in alliance with imperialistic America and we have to fight both communal and imperialistic forces because both are two faces of same coin. They talk about a new world order where there will be no disparity and there is equality. They also publish a magazine called Mukti Maarg [way of salvation]. In this magazine they have mobilized those writers and acamecians who have left inclination. Islamists also talk of new world order based on Qur’an and shriyat and both ideologies support repression and violence to achieve their goal.

This theme has also been adopted by Islamists in India against Hindu forces as well as America. This is a common point where Islamists and leftists in India come close to each other. After victory of Maoists in Nepal left academia and establishment in Indian see a chance of resurgence of communism in global perspective and this is the reason why they are pursuing Indian people and government to hail the victory of Maoists and take it as a golden opportunity to take Naxalites back in mainstream.

I want to draw your attention on one more important point about which nobody has discussed but it has serious implications on both India and America. In India leftists have very limited electoral appeal and they are confined to only three states West Bengal, Keral and Tripura and in other states their presence is negligible. In new scenario they are thinking about their resurgence with help of Naxalites. Naxalites have big presence in more than 100 districts of India with states, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, TamilNadu, Jharkhnd, Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh. In these states they have more influence in some pockets. When two years back I visited Chhatisgarh and met with some Naxalites and their sympathizers I was told to have a close look on the developments of Nepal and told me about their plan that when they would be able to brought down system of Nepal and construct it with their plan they will sharpen their movement in India. These sympathizers of Naxalites are almost activists of Communists parties in India and with support of Naxalites and intimidation these sympathizers have a plan to broaden the electoral power of Communists in India.

As earlier I said growth of Naxalites in India have some effect on America also. After 911 we have witnessed several left ideologues overtly supporting Islamists but in India new nexus is building and leftists and Islamists have common enemy in India in the name of Hindu and America. If this nexus will get strength in India and south Asia finally it would damage America and West as well.

Four years back In India there were several people in Media with liberal-left inclination who were saying that Al Qaeda has launched a war against America and India has not to worry because Osama Bin Laden has said nothing against India. It was mischievous misrepresentation of facts. These are the people who want to see the victory of communist ideology at any cost and even they don’t hesitate to make an alliance with Islamists for this cause. Victory of Maoists in Nepal has emboldened leftists in India and they are dreaming of the resurgence of communism.

To counter this growing trend we have to take some initiatives. A parallel nationalist socialist movement should be promoted in India to fill the vacuum of dissatisfied people which ultimately culminates in strong anti imperialistic movement. Once nationalist socialist movement will take place Naxalites have no chance to woo dissatisfied people to their side. This is also true with Chinese hegemony in Asia. Coalition government in India of Congress and Left have some common agenda and congress is eyeing for next 10 years to stay in power. President of Congress Party Mrs Sonia Gandhi grooming her son Rahul Gandhi to hold the post of premiership for next 10 years. To make this happen Congress has to rely heavily on Left parties and this is why congress has adopted the policy of submission to leftists and Islamist. In this situation Indian government in near future is going to embolden the Islamist and leftist forces.

Taking into account the global scenario Indian and American interest has become very much common at least at strategic level. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and China could come close with a block in near future and it would have security implications for India. Nexus of Red green alliance as Dr Richard Benkin has predicted could become reality in South Asia. To prevent this India and America should come together and America should consider Hindu nationalists as their ally.





Challenges in extremist-hit areas

30 05 2008

22 May, 2008, 0000 hrs IST, TNN

Growth feeds democracy — this is the essence of the strategy of inclusive growth, in contrast to the conventional wisdom on the Left that growth and prosperity are achieved by preying upon the common people. A recent expert group report on Naxalite violence submitted to the Planning Commission echoes the philosophy of inclusive growth. This is welcome.

But the report presents development essentially as an administrative task, to be carried out by the government through wise policy, sound planning, enlightened legislation and honest implementation. What this leaves out is the political essence of the process of development.

The Planning Commission appointed a 17-member committee, including three former police chiefs and senior administrators, along with social scientists and human rights activists, to submit a report on development challenges in extremist-affected areas.

The committee’s report is available on the Planning Commission’s website. The report calls for departing from a security-centric view of tackling naxalite violence. This is a refreshing break from the mainstream approach to the problem. However, the report can be faulted for not offering a radical enough vision of what is possible when it comes to emancipation of the oppressed.
The fault, in turn, stems from inadequate appreciation of the changes that globalisation has heralded and its immense potential to change lives for the better, particularly for those at the bottom of the economic hierarchy. One crucial change is that the world is awash with savings. Investible resources are available in plenty. What is scarce is availability of profitable avenues for their deployment — the sub-prime crisis shows what happens when unregulated greed mediates the mismatch between bounteous supplies of capital and a paucity of sensible investment opportunities.

And one consequence of this abundance of investible resources is that primitive accumulation of capital, through dispossession and loot, is no longer necessary for businesses to commence and flourish. Try telling the farmers of Singur or the those being evicted from their land for the Posco project this nice story about the historical obsolescence of primitive accumulation of capital, some might sneer. True, dispossession and loot do often take place, but these are far from necessary today.

Another facet of globalised growth that needs to be fully internalised in development thought is its enormous potential for wealth creation, provided people are integrated into the global production process.

Following from this is the need to carry out enormous, sustained research into strategies of creating proactive roles for the rural poor in the process of urbanisation and industrialisation.

The simple point is that it is not enough to give those displaced by new projects from their traditional land and occupations a package of relief and rehabilitation based on the current market value of the land they lose or occupations they give up.

That land use will change extensively across India has to be accepted and welcomed, if India is to build the new roads, railways towns, factories, mines, power plants, ports and airports that would create new prosperity. Millions of people will be uprooted from their traditional habitats, physical as well as economic. It is not enough to offer them ‘compensation’ linked to the current market value of what they lose. Those categorised today as ‘project-affected’ must be transformed into stakeholders in the project. This calls for concerted efforts in skills creation, creating new companies or cooperatives of the ‘project-affected’ to carry out essential services for the new project such as transportation services, construction, maintenance, etc.

But all this cannot happen, merely on account of enlightened policy. The first precondition for any pro-poor policy to work is political mobilisation of the poor, so that they have agency, a sense of entitlement and the will to enforce their rights. This cannot come from government schemes or better planning or honest administrators. Voluntary organisations can help. But there is no substitute for the intervention of a political party with the right vision, when it comes to political mobilisation.

Even today, we read reports of six-year-old girls being thrown into the fire for the crime of overstepping their Dalit boundaries and daring to walk on a road frequented by upper caste Thakurs. Scheduled caste panchayat presidents dare not assume office in some parts of the country. Tribal people are cheated, their lands are sold, they themselves are sold by their social superiors. Such violence and oppression feed the naxalite movement in this country.

Policing can tackle the core activists who preach and practise violence as the only solution. But unless redemptive politics removes the grounds for rural violence, mere policing will only breed more violence.





An ostrich mentality

30 05 2008

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=115304

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Ikram Sehgal

Whenever the economy is in trouble, central banks the world over take measures to ease pressures on the business community by lowering discount rates, as done recently by the US Federal Reserve Board and the Bank of England. Intervention is normally anathema to “free market” theory but the fear of a domino effect on the economy evoked a rescue effort. Raising interest rates and tightening monetary policy does fight inflation. In Third World countries with large blue-collar workforces fighting unemployment must be the moral objective. This is at variance with IMF practices and beliefs. While inflation lowers the buying power of salaries, it is still preferable to be employed and have some food on the table for the family than not have any money to buy food.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has woken up from years of slumber, raising the discount rate and banking charges. And that is meant to control inflation? Manufacturers and merchants will simply pass the rate rises onto the consumers, the common man has had it. Did Governor Shamshad Akhtar consult the government-in-power, what will the PPP answer to the populace? She should have anticipated the rise in inflation. The last SBP Quarterly Report was oblivious to it. Lack of anticipation also failed to prevent a run on the Pakistani rupee and enact pre-emptive measures when the world economic situation was staring us in the face for months. The US dollar was already taking a pounding because of oil prices, and food shortages worldwide were front page news. While the sudden SBP frenzy is not by itself responsible for the stock market downturn, it is certainly a contributing factor. Her recent “Asia Banker” award notwithstanding, is Dr Akhtar up to facing national economic crisis on this scale?

There are signs we may weather the “atta” crisis because of (1) early measures regulating the internal flow (2) reducing smuggling to Afghanistan (3) a bumper wheat crop expected shortly and (4) staggered wheat imports for bolstering buffer stocks. Despite protests from the NWFP and Balochistan, we must keep on hanging tough about internal movement of wheat and atta stocks while keeping supply pipelines open. Why are we being generous in giving Hamid Karzai 50,000 tons of wheat when he badmouths us all the time?

The US is impatient with the peace initiatives in FATA and Swat. While one must not negotiate with terrorists, we must differentiate between terrorists and militants. Those crossing the border into Afghanistan are mostly militants but could also be “equal opportunity” terrorists, Baitullah Mahsud’s forays reaching innocents in cities and towns deep inside Pakistan. Since he has publicly boasted about sending his fighters across the border into Afghanistan, with what credibility do we oppose “hot pursuit” and Predator strikes on locations in FATA’s terrorist-infested areas? The unfortunate Catch-22, further radicalism and virulent anti-Americanism. Both the US and Pakistani interest lie in stopping militant activity on either side of the border, with Mahsud’s terrorists faction isolated from other militants. This fine balancing act is a calculated risk, requiring both understanding and patience from the US. Incidentally our media are accessories to murder, giving media time to terrorists. Pakistan’s must be the only fourth estate in the world that helps spread the terrorist message of hate and suicide bombings. We must act more responsibly, the blood of innocents pays for the media space given to terrorists.

Maulana Fazlullah and his “holy army” in Swat terrorised the local population, imposing brutal authority with great savagery in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. They had to be militarily eliminated; this was done in brilliant fashion by the Army. Maulana Sufi Mohammad, Fazlullah’s father-in-law, has been in government custody since returning from Afghanistan (of his own choice for self-survival because he got his “volunteers” slaughtered by the Coalition air strikes and Northern Alliance during the short, sharp Afghanistan war post 9/11). Rashid Dostum buried thousands of surviving Pakistanis, handed over by Mullah Dadullah in Konduz during Ramzan in 2001 for his own freedom and that of his Afghan followers, alive in containers in Shebergan. Estranged from Sufi Mohammad, Fazlullah took over the TSNM during his absence. The ANP government in the NWFP acted pragmatically in releasing Sufi Mohammad and entering into a peace deal with him to counter Fazlullah’s residual influence.

Trying to push the 62-clause Constitutional package through Parliament in one go is not advisable, some points will likely get short shrift. Can the PPP muster a two-thirds majority? Even in a joint session of Parliament the numbers don’t add up! The major stumbling block is the proposal to reduce the Chief Justice’s tenure to three years, making him retire before he becomes active, in effect the “minus one” formula. The president will hardly agree to giving away his powers to appoint the Chief Justice, the Chief Election Commissioner and the services chiefs.

We should not allow Musharraf-specific emotion and prejudice overwhelm our good judgment, Article 58 (2) (b) and the National Security Council (NSC) should be retained. Without these the Armed Forces would have to declare martial law (thus committing treason technically) when the situation spins totally out of control. Any presidential move should be qualified, if imposing 58 2(b) fails due judicial scrutiny, the president should resign. The appointment of the services chiefs should not be politicised in the manner Mian Nawaz Sharif did when he was prime minister. Even though Musharraf certainly had merit, two course-mates senior to him, Ali Quli and Khalid Nawaz, had no less. The choice of Musharraf was political for Mian Sahib’s own personal benefit, it rebounded in his face. The president should forward three choices to the prime minister for public scrutiny by a joint parliamentary committee. If their recommendations are in variance to his, the president should consult with the prime minister and the committee. The same process can be followed for the post of the chief justice, as well as for the CEC.

When denials to outlandish rumours without any foundation are not handled professionally, the perception will be “the lady doth protest too much,” as my good friend and colleague Kamran Shafi has duly noted. The ISI’s political cell undercuts (in public perception) the Army’s firm (and welcome) resolve to stay away from politics. Col Skorzeny, Germany’s “Commando Extraordinary” during World War 2 had it right when he said, “Politics is the soldier’s curse!” Deviation from the ISI’s primary mission is not only a waste of public money, time and effort, it undermines this national asset’s tremendous potential (and successes) in keeping the country secure from external dangers, demeaning the achievement of the vast majority of the agency’s magnificent rank and file who get a bad name simply by association.

With its political wing transferred lock, stock and barrel to the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the ISI must be actually (not theoretically) under the prime minister’s control. Rather than honestly facing unpalatable facts, this country excels in burying its head in the ground and circumventing the truth as they did in 1971. For the sake of the country we profess to love, stand up and be counted, instead of continuing to put our heads in the ground and closing our eyes and ears to existing realities.

We do not need an ostrich mentality!

The writer is a defence and political analyst. Email: isehgal@pathfinder 9.com





The unseemly politics of terrorism in India (Commentary)

25 05 2008

The unseemly politics of terrorism in India (Commentary)

May 25th, 2008
Courtesy: thaindian.com

By K. Subrahmanyam
Following the Jaipur terror blasts resulting in over 60 deaths, there is an intense debate in the country on how to deal with terrorism. As is very characteristic of the political culture of this country, this outrage, instead of bringing our political parties together in a united effort to fight terrorism, has led to mutual recrimination. This would give a great deal of comfort and encouragement to the trans-national and intra-national terrorist organisations that target this country. The debate is about the policies towards terrorists advocated by different parties, the laws available to counter them, the jurisdiction of various central and state agencies, adequacies and capabilities of organisations at centre and states etc. All these are very legitimate issues needing to be debated constructively. Instead of using those arguments to score points against political rivals there is an imperative need for political parties to get into a meaningful dialogue among themselves.

Contrast the behaviour of Indian political parties with that of parties in other mature democracies such as the US, Britain and European Union countries. In no other country claiming to be a democracy do we see as much acrimony in facing what is recognised as a national threat. This is the situation in a country that has been engaged in fighting terrorism for well over a quarter of a century.

This calls for a serious introspection among our people, academia, media and politicians on the basic features of our society and political culture that makes this country so vulnerable to terrorism and so difficult to unify in countering it.

Though the UN may not have succeeded in formulating an agreed definition of terrorism, there is commonly accepted definition largely acceptable to the social scientists. Terrorism is the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies often to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives.

While explosions like those in Jaipur, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Malegaon, Bangalore and Varanasi are recognised as terrorist acts, the killing of people during the election violence (as in West Bengal recently) has been happening routinely and is not considered as terrorism for some inexplicable reasons. Similarly, when civilians are killed in ‘bandhs’ called by political parties, they are also not described as terrorism.

But since terrorism is violence or threatened violence against people and property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies to achieve political, religious or ideological purposes, in fact all such violence should be treated as terrorism. Further, when the presiding officer of a legislature is prevented from discharging his legal duties by members storming into the Well of the house or through various moves such as shouting, that too amounts to violence to intimidate the presiding officer to achieve political objectives.

In other words, the behaviour of legislators amount to terrorism. One does not see such behaviour of parliamentary terrorism, bandh terrorism and electoral terrorism in other mature democracies. It is submitted here that all these categories of terrorism form a continuum and to arrive at the place and role of religious extremist terrorism, one must look at the whole spectrum of terrorism.

When parliamentary terrorism, bandh terrorism and electoral terrorism are tolerated by the majority in the country, that too often in the name of democracy, freedom, right to protest — all of which are permissible only if violence is scrupulously avoided — then some others push the envelope further and resort to political, religious and ideological terrorism.

It must also be clear that violence does not necessarily mean inflicting bodily harm to another person. It also means preventing and intimidating the other person’s legitimate freedom of action or legal functions. Preventing the presiding officer from discharging his legitimate duties by slogan shouting and storming the Well of the house are clear cases of violence. Stopping traffic on roads and compelling shopkeepers to shut down through intimidation are also acts of violence. They are being undertaken for political, ideological or religious purposes. Therefore they are all acts of terrorism.

While in some other parts of the world it has been argued that one man’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter, it would appear in India that one man’s terrorism is projected as another person’s legitimate democratic political activity: Often it becomes a matter of double standard that one’s own terrorism is permissible political activity the other person’s is not.

Which decent democracy will need hundreds and thousands of police and paramilitary personnel will be required to guard the elementary right in democracy — voting in the election — to be exercised? We take pride that the country has held successive free and fair elections under such conditions of strict policing to avoid largescale political terrorism being resorted to by our political parties. Our Election Commission is not in a position to assure our people that they will be in a position to hold a one-day poll all over the country without terrorist violence resorted to by political parties. There is yet no sense of shame or remorse among our political parties on this kind of political culture nurtured in this democracy.

In other genuine democratic countries, it is easier for security services to gather intelligence about preparations to resort to terrorism from the common citizen since such activities involving potential violence will be an aberration in the society. In India there is no rapport between the common citizen and the police force as the latter has been politicised and made an instrumentality of the ruling party.

Secondly, given the Indian political culture where local dons turn into ‘netas’ and often enjoy political power and patronage, the common citizen is not willing to take the risk of communicating to the police or security services such aberrant activities.

The politicians themselves have denigrated the reputation of the police and security services with their charges that all cases against political persons are foisted ones at the instigation of the parties in power. We have situations in which political dons are able to run their criminal empires dealing with extortion (which invariably involves terrorism) from jail cells.

While terrorism is a specific threat in other democracies, in India it is part of our present political culture. In these circumstances it is difficult to expect terrorism of the Jaipur, Bombay, Hyderabad type to be overcome before the country is able to cleanse our parliament of the scourge and to a significant extent our electoral process. But there is not even adequate awareness in the country about the nature of terrorism that is afflicting the country.

It is extremely unlikely the present generation of senior political leaders can be expected to be de-conditioned from their mindsets that accept terrorism of certain categories as part of politics. It is now up to the civil society to bring about a basic change in the perception of our politicians.

(K. Subrahmanyam is India’s pre-eminent analyst on strategic and international affairs. He can be contacted at ksubrahmanyam51@gmail.com)





Islamization crept in a long time ago

22 05 2008
Islamization crept in a long time ago
Source: http://www.trouw.nl/
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Talking about the islamization of society is apparently taboo in the Netherlands, according to Muslima Nahed Selim. Why is that? “I think many Dutch people do not fully understand the term.” She hopes that many more warnings will follow Geert Wilders’ film.

In a broadcast by the Dutch Islamic Broadcasting organization (NIO) on March 30th we saw reactions to ‘Fitna’ from Egypt, one of them from a preacher. Apart from the usual talk about respect and causing offence he was also outraged about the title of the film. He wondered whether the ‘director’ realized what fitna meant.

The words of the director in Dutch newspaper Het Parool clearly showed that Geert Wilders does indeed know. Every Muslim knows the Arabic word fitna, says the leader of the Party fort Freedom (PVV). “It refers to situations in which the faith of the Muslims is put to the test. Everything that tests their faith is fitna: uncovered women, alcohol, non-Muslims, resistance against the authority of Islam. I use the term as a mirror image: to me the pernicious Islam is fitna.” Wilders was very pleased with his find “I was set on using a word from the Koran.”

The title is well-chosen for more than one reason. Fitna is a fascinating word. On the individual level it means ‘temptation’ and ‘testing of the faith’. Remarkably the temptation that emanates from women is also indicated as fitna. In addition the term is associated with unrest, civil war, and chaos. In classical-Islamic history there have been three great fitnas.

Between 656 and 661, following the assassination of the third caliph Uthman Ibn Affan, a power struggle erupted in which Muslims for the first time took up arms against each other. The second fitna occurred between 683 and 685. This time it was also a political battle between the dynasties of the Ummayads and the Abbassids for control of the Islamic empire. The third fitna refers to the battle between army commanders and rulers during the final period of Islamic rule in Cordoba.

The fear of the concept of fitna – with its associations ranging from chaos and civil war to temptation and testing – is enormous among Muslim scholars. Almost like the spectre of World War II is for Europeans.

The Egyptian preacher, although a Christian, concluded his statement in the NIO broadcast with a spontaneous prayer to God to protect our countries and our civilizations from all types of fitnas and from their instigators.

It is debatable whether Wilders was aware of this historical dimension of the title of his film. Gilles Kepel certainly was. This French Islamic studies scholar, political scientist and authority on radical Islam was the first to use the term in his book ‘Fitna: guerre au Coeur de l’Islam’ (The War for Muslim Minds, 2004). In this fascinating book he describes the interaction between jihad and fitna. Today, very few people have not heard of jihad. Fitna is an equally important concept for Muslims, but it is almost unknown among non-Muslims. Wilders has changed that. Thanks to his film millions of people around the world are introduced to this fascinating concept.

The leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) intended this film as a final warning to the Netherlands against Islamization. Why the final warning? I hope there will be many more. Every country that has seen total islamization has gone downhill. The more islamization, the more unrest, material and cultural poverty, civil conflicts, bloodshed and other woes. Look at Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia. The society we have now is much better; for everyone.

Talking about the islamization of society is apparently taboo in the Netherlands. I think many Dutch people do not fully understand the term. Islamization does not only mean the increase of the Muslim population, or the military conquest of the country by Muslims, or the founding of an Islamic state. Islamization is a process in which religion will insidiously start dominating all aspects of life.

Turkey is an Islamic country, the majority of the people are Muslims, but the country is not completely islamized. It has a substantial group of seculars, who are completely different in the way they live and think. It is a group that continues to refuse to bow to the Muslim majority. And it is a powerful group, as they are represented in the army and the elite. It remains to be seen how long the seculars will be able to hold onto that power.

A few months ago 140,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Turkey to protest. They id not want the ban on wearing headscarves at universities to be lifted. They feared the social pressure on all women to start wearing the scarf, when the ban was a support and great excuse for many women and their families. They could always say that the state did not allow it. They also feared that lifting the ban would be an important element in the process of islamization.

The seculars in Turkey understand much better than our government what islamization entails. Islamization is also the process, no matter how slow, that gradually leads to the islamization of thought. The islamization of thought will mean the end of all creativity, originality and creative power, for creation is a divine quality patented by Allah. He will not tolerate competition from man. Islamization is the process by which Islamic values eventually gain the upper hand over all other value systems, in all aspects of life.

This process has been going on in the Western world for quite a while. And it is demonstrated almost daily in a series of incidents.

For example when a Muslima pharmacist refuses to sell the morning-after pill or condoms, when a Muslim doctor refuses to treat aids patients or perform abortions, when medical students refuse to carry out those parts of their curriculum they claim are in conflict with their faith, when Muslim taxi drivers refuse to transport blind customers and their guide dogs because their faith tells them dogs are unclean, when it becomes almost impossible to criticize Islam or Muslims without being threatened; when youth welfare agencies have to enlist the help of imams to be able to do their job among Moroccan families, when municipal officers refuse to shake hands with women, when female teachers and other civil servants represent Islam during their work by wearing their headscarves when they should be representing the state; when Fortis bank scraps the little piggy bank they used to give to children as a present because it is an unclean animal to Muslims; when museums take down photographs and refuse paintings because they fear Muslim reactions, when it is no longer allowed to hang posters of classic nudes in the metro stations – and the list can be much longer.

These are all incidents that occurred in the Western world in recent years, also in the Netherlands. And they are all signs of the progressing process of islamization. Is a political party allowed to warn society against it? Of course it is. Indeed, it is part of their job to warn society about these dangers.

My criticism of the film ‘Fitna’ is that Wilders does not deal, or insufficiently, with this aspect of the gradual mental and institutional islamization while it poses a graver threat to the democratic, secular society than the terrorist danger.

Only one sentence in the film refers to this institutional islamization. Wilders presents a voice that says: “The mosque will become part of the Dutch system of government.”

I am afraid this has already started. What else does it mean when an official from the youth welfare services can only do his job when he is accompanied by an imam? In this way the state delegates part of its tasks to the mosque. This also proves that the loyalty of these Muslim families lies only with their clergy, not with the government or its officials.

It is a pity that Wilders did not focus more on these aspects. He would have been able to establish that the Muslims are not the only ones to blame. This institutional islamization is frequently enabled by native Dutchmen who already start self-islamizing because they do not have the faintest idea of the separation of church and state.

The most intense part of ‘Fitna’ is, of course, the first part where we are shown images of terrorist attacks, linked to sermons and verses from the Koran. Wilders wanted to demonstrate the link between the acts of the terrorists and their theological foundation – a link that is categorically denied by all commentators – Muslim or non-Muslim. However, I can still trace most of the sermons by those horrible imams, almost word for word, back to Koranic verses and statements by the prophet Mohammed. Every Muslim I have heard about it rightly distanced themselves, described them as radical and extremist interpretations. The point is, however, that these are not interpretations at all. They are literal quotations from authentic Islamic sources.

What is extremism?

Take Ramadan, for example. The normal principle of faith is that the fasting lasts one month. For that is what the Koran says. It is radical or extreme to fast all year round. Or take prayer. According to Islam prayers must be said five times a day. A religious movement that expects the believers to stay awake all night to pray continuously, can rightly be described as extremist or radical. It deviates too much from what is prescribed in the sources. A simple principle, I would think.

However. What if things were the other way around? I know Muslims who will not use certain medicines if they contain alcohol, because the Koran says you are not allowed to drink alcohol. Are they radical? Or is the Koran radical? The Koran also contains instructions for the believers to slaughter the unbelievers. This is too extreme for most Muslims. They refuse to carry out these prescriptions. It would seem to me that they are more sensible than their holy texts. But what if someone, for whatever reason, takes these commands seriously and acts upon them. Is he extreme or his text?

You don’t have to do everything the Koran says, I sometimes tell other Muslims, for example about the headscarf. The guaranteed answer is that you do, because these prescriptions are from a holy book.

There is a wonderful saying in English: You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

People want to believe that the texts revealed by God possess a level of wisdom and beauty that is unique. They feel they have the right to profess everything it says literally, even if it deviates from the rules and regulations of this society.

The film ‘Fitna’ confronts them with a few cruel texts that possess no wisdom, beauty or ethics whatsoever. If the book did not bear the name Koran, the court would have prohibited it immediately. For a sincere believer the film may lead to a fitna, a testing of the faith. Most believers avoid that confrontation, put the blame on the interpretation, on the cleric who recites the texts or the director who makes a film about them.

Of course every person is responsible for his own actions. No text, holy or unholy, may serve as a license to kill another person. As no film or cartoon may serve to justify riots and attacks. How many people will have the courage to endure this confrontation?

In a previous article I wrote that there are moderate Muslims, just no moderate Islam. But anything can happen.

In the meantime I found Muslims Against Sharia, started over a year ago in the United States. This is a Muslim organization for Islamic reform, with thousands of supporters all over the world. Their motto is: acknowledge mistakes, accept responsibility, move on.

The goal of this organization is to raise awareness among Muslims and non-Muslims about the dangers of some Islamic religious texts. And they are against – and this is unique – the introduction of sharia law. On their website you can find a list of verses that the movement describes as ‘morally problematic’. Some verses are even described as ‘ethically unacceptable’.

Mulsims Against Sharia want to publish a version of the Koran from which all those problematic verses have been removed. No actual tearing out pages from the Koran, but rational evaluation which verses are worth keeping.

And so Wilders gets what he wants after all.





Nobody’s Friend news

18 05 2008

Nobody’s Friend news
17 May 2008

India’s war against terror has only just begun. But the security forces cannot fight it on their own. If the political leaders of our country, and the public, “do their part”, we will find ourselves losing it, says distinguished commentator Prem Shankar Jha

India’s war against terror has only just begun. But the security forces cannot fight it on their own. If the political leaders of our country, and the public, “do their part”, we will find ourselves losing it, says distinguished commentator Prem Shankar Jha

The first reports from Jaipur have put the death toll from the serial bomb blasts in Jaipur at 60 dead and 150 injured, but dismal experience tells us that the final tally will be substantially higher. The shock that this has given to the public is indescribable, for it reveals not only the perilous vulnerability of the entire country to acts of pure, hate-driven terrorism, but the increasing sophistication and killing power of the terrorists.

Although the identity of the killers is still to be established, the similarities between this attack and the one on suburban trains in Mumbai on July 11, 2006 suggests that the perpetrators are indeed members of the Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI), as the government has surmised. In coming days there will be the usual chorus of condemnation of the Rajasthan police and of the Intelligence Bureau for having been caught napping, and the usual spate of demands from both to ‘do something’ to curb the terrorist menace. Such demands invariably force governments to promise to beef up the counter terrorist capabilities of the security forces and improve their information gathering capabilities.

The security forces usually respond to the pressure by diverting the blame elsewhere. In the past decade their favourite whipping boy has been Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence. The ISI has been accused, with ample justification, of having assisted in the birth of the HuJI, just as it assisted the growth of the Lashkar-Tayyiba into a full-fledged terrorist force a decade ago.

But this is a barren, and ultimately futile exercise. The ISI is playing it with equal vigour, accusing India of stoking rebellion in Baluchistan, but that is not making the task of controlling it any easier. All that the rival establishments have succeeded in doing is to impede the improvement of relations between their countries.

The truth is that when the only motive for murder is hate, and when the killers do not mind whom they kill, there is no way to anticipate where they will strike next. The only way of preventing such attacks is to gain prior information. But that information can only come from the people among who the terrorists seek shelter as they plan , and execute, their murderous attacks.

That is where the real threat to the country lies. For the failure to anticipate the Mumbai train blasts, the attacks in Delhi, Varanasi, Bangalore, Malegaon, Jaipur, and on the Samjhauta Express, shows that there is now an established network of bitterly alienated families in the countries that hate India so virulently that they will assist in acts that could easily lead to the hounding and destruction of their own community.

That kind of rage is not far removed from the rage that is motivating suicide bombers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its existence in a critical mass of families and individuals in India to provide the killers with secure bases of operation in more and more cities, shows that the complacency Indians feel about the absence of extremism among Indian Muslims is no longer warranted.

The challenge that the security agencies face is daunting. Ham-handed action taken under pressure from the media and public, such as the wholesale detention and questioning of young Muslims after a terrorist attack, is almost certain to more harm than good. For instance, the investigations that followed the Malegaon bomb blast only deepened the alienation of Muslims in the area and enabled the terrorists to achieve a part of their aim.

The only sure way to prevent future attacks of the Jaipur variety is to obtain information before they happen. The police cannot do this without the active cooperation of the Muslim population. They have had a fair degree of success so far. For every successful terrorist attack that the country has suffered, there is at least one other that was averted because the police got a tip-off from someone in the community. The most important was the failed attack on the RSS training camp in Nagpur in 2006. But the police still have a long way to go.

In the long run, terrorism of the kind we are experiencing can only be defeated if the people on whose behalf the terrorists claim they are acting repudiate them and force them to stay away, or inform the police of their plans. But for this the community as a whole must feel that the police, and the majority community are their friends. In the recent past the police has all but lost that image, and not just among the Muslims. To most of us today it is an inefficient, corrupt and high-handed force that regularly preys upon the poor. Add to this the targeting of the Muslim community that follows every terrorist attack, and the task of building trust begins to look like trying to build a house on sand.

An effective anti-terrorist strategy requires us to look even more deeply into ourselves. The police and security agencies only mirror the prejudices of the majority community, and these have become more pronounced in the past two decades. Why has no one in office ever formally expressed regret for the terrible pogroms that have scarred the face of our society , from the Mumbai killings in 1993 to the Gujarat massacres in 2002. Why are Indian courts suddenly handing out death penalties by the dozen, with a predisposition towards singling out the minorities? Indeed so great has been the bias, and so quixotic the rulings, that it has provoked Amnesty International into making a scathing criticism of the Indian judiciary.

India’s war against terror has only just begun. But the security forces cannot fight it on their own. If the political leaders of our country, and the public, do their part, we will find ourselves losing it.





Editorial: Defiance of Terror (arab news)

18 05 2008

Editorial: Defiance of Terror
17 May 2008
Source: arabnews

It is still unclear who was behind the horrific series of bomb attacks in the Indian city of Jaipur on Tuesday which killed 63 people and left some 200 injured. Suspicions, however, are being pointed at a Jihadist group, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) which is thought to be based in Bangladesh. Its leader in India, Mohammed Jalaluddin, who claimed to have been behind the 2006 Mumbai train bombings which killed 187 people, was arrested in Lucknow last year and reportedly told police at the time that Jaipur was one of his organization’s top targets.

If this is true, then sadly once again deviants have been responsible for what is a crime against humanity. Given that possibility, we state again the most important fact here: What twisted minds did in Jaipur is at variance with everything Islam stands for. They and their actions stand utterly condemned by the overwhelming majority of Muslims here, in India, in Bangladesh, everywhere.

If the intention was to divide Jaipur, the majority of whose inhabitants are Hindus, although there is a substantial Muslim community, it has gratifyingly done the exact opposite. The shock has resulted in both communities getting together and talking together. That is no surprise. The inhabitants of Jaipur, whatever their faith, have a strong sense of identity as Jaipuris. In the aftermath, they did not ask if a victim was Muslim or Hindu or Christian, they mourned them all regardless. In fact, at least 12 who died in the blasts were Muslim and 30 Muslims were injured — another indication that Muslims are as much in danger from the fanatics as anyone else. Already, Jaipur is shaking off the dust and getting back to work now that the curfew is lifted. There is a resilience there, a determination not to be intimidated. It is not a particularly Jaipuri thing. It is the same resilience that has been seen after in New York, London, Madrid, Sri Lanka, Bali and anywhere else where terrorists have struck in the belief that they can effect political change. It is a human refusal not to bow to terror — which is why the terrorists have never succeeded in changing anything and never will.

That refusal to be cowed is linked to another factor that the terrorist fails to comprehend. India has faced violence from a various sources — Jihadists, Maoists and Naxalites, Sikh militants, militants in the northeast wanting independence. Two of its prime ministers were assassinated; intercommunal violence is a beast that remains unvanquished. But, horrific though they are, bombs in Jaipur are of no long-term significance, other than to the victims and their families. That is because the overwhelming majority of Indians have confidence in their political system — just as the overwhelming majority of Spaniards, Britons or Americans have confidence in theirs. That is the reason why terrorism and violence in India will not succeed. Indian democracy will not be undermined; the drive to Indian prosperity will not be halted. Nor even will the Rajasthan tourist industry will be destroyed — because the world has confidence in India.