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Thursday, September 1, 2011

CLRI 2/4 September 2011

Editor's Line

Public Crusade Against Corruption

A great philosopher has said theories follow action. True. Days before Anna Hazare, a veteran social activist and Gandhian, started his pre-planned anshan1 for bringing a law against rampant corruption in the country, a good number of political parties sidelined themselves safe. Many even voiced against Anna’s agitation. They have the reservation that a law should be made in the Parliament only (so that the law comes to the Parliamentarians and they do what they want). They allege that law is not crafted in the streets (it risked becoming a stray law), it is crafted in the Parliament. Two, if some day another man sits on a similar anshan and agitates to bring a law of his choice, how the government can make laws based on such demands. Three, the government argues that if the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill is brought about, it would run like a parallel government.

So before Anna began his anshan he was arrested by the Delhi police for precautionary measures and sent to the Tihar jail in Delhi. As soon as this news reached to the people, they came out on the streets voicing against Anna’s arrest and demanding his immediate release. Soon the movement gathered momentum and it became the movement of the people. They took Anna’s arrest as Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975, for which she is criticised even today.

Seeing the ever growing anguish against corruption and support to Anna in the streets—that streets grew in number day by day—the theory changed within few days. With their changed ideology, the language of the government also changed. Those parties and politicians who were questioning the very movement of Anna started supporting him, some even paid a visit to Anna at Ramlila Maidan where he was on fast unto death.

The intellectuals are showering high accolades on the crusade against corruption, they are saying this is the first time in free India history that the apolitical people have come out in such a large number. Till some time back, these very people were regarded uncared about any happening on the Indian political stage. They were accused of being reluctant to participating in voting during election, keeping themselves away from being part of any agitations, and were busy in enjoying the luxury that liberalism brought in for them.

Now even the government is meek. Earlier some politicians were attacking Anna harshly while now they are meek. Had Anna’s agitation failed as did Baba Ramdev’s, those who were vociferous against him would have gained deeper faith in their side. They might have shown such an agitation does not earn anything. But it is because the people—the middle class that comprises of the youth, intellectuals, and above all the taxpayers in general are in support of Anna’s cause. Now everyone seems to be against corruption and wants to support such a law that can eradicate corruption completely.

Hints: 1. Fast unto death

Terrorism has No Religion

No, there is no Islamic terrorism, there is no Christian terrorism, there is no Hindu terrorism. It does not exist. But some terrorists and terror organisations do certainly have a religious face. Any attack that has certain fundamental logics is the stereotype of “-ism” killing. If an individual (or an entity) claims to be a true believer of a faith, he clamours for a pan “-ism” world of his faith, does not like to share space with other believers, and carries on killing with a fascist approach, such a man is a terrorist and his mission is terrorism.

We often commit a mistake by being too fast in drawing the religion the terrorists follow than accusing them for their deeds. Also we find people divided, many others reject that these terrorists have a religion. But you cannot say that such a person is not a true believer if he belongs to a certain religion, and yet carries attack on innocent people. As to quote Joyce Dubensky, CEO of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, that "millions of Muslims say Osama bin Laden is not a Muslim, that no one who believes in the prophet Muhammad commits mass murder." Likewise Bill O'Reilly said a similar thing on his Fox News show about Anders Behring Brevik, who killed over 90 people in Oslo, Norway in July 2011, "Breivik is not a Christian. That's impossible. No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder”.

This is simply because no one has the right to snatch one’s faith, it cannot be possible either. Not accepting the truth that terrorism has a religious face would be a blunder. So Osama bin Laden and Khalid Mohammad are Muslim terrorists, Sadhvi Sangya and Assemanand are Hindu terrorists, and Timothy McVeigh (the American Christian who killed 168 people in the bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995) and Anders Behring Brevik are Christian terrorists.  These people have almost the same feelings toward their own religions and others’ as well.

But the bigger question is whether we should say that a religion’s tenets promote terrorism. No, again. A religion never tends to promote terrorism or mass killing, whether it is Islam, Christianity, or Hinduism. So if Osama is a Muslim and terrorist, the entire Muslim community cannot bear the brunt of his misdeed, likewise all Hindus cannot be made infamous for Hindu terrorism, and the entire Christianity cannot be made responsible for Christian terrorism.

Moreover, it would be a great blunder to believe that the entire community sanctions terrorism as soon as we get an example of a terror attack by a believer. So a community should not be blamed for terrorism and should not be made a persecuted community. Rather it should be considered misinterpretation of their own faith by some handful individuals.

Typically such terrorists do not hesitate to kill their own fellow believers if their target fits. Many Muslim terrorist organisations have killed thousands of innocent Muslims, McVeigh and Brevik killed Christians in both the attacks, and yet they claim to be true believers of their respective religions.

CLRI 2/4 September 2011 Issue

Contemporary Literary Review: India (CLRI) is ever growing on popularity chart among readers and writers. Thanks to one and all! CLRI is soon releasing its half yearly Kindle edition. Keeping the growing popularity of CLRI, it is now planning to bring out the print version also. Both the CLRI Kindle edition and the CLRI print version would be half yearly issues for now, which would later turn into quarterly issues.

CLRI 2/4 September 2011 Issue presents some finest pieces such as poems by Richard Luftig, Lucas Wilson, Zachary Kluckman, Lisa John, a critical essay by Rigan Mazumdar, and artistic presentation of corruption in India by Ashish Chadda along with thought provoking editorials.

Khurshid Alam,
Editor, CLRI, September 2011.

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