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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pakistanis, leave us alone!

Pakistanis, You left us in 1947, Now leave us alone!

By A.M.Jamsheed Bahsa

The Mumbai terror attack has no doubt shocked the nation. It was an attack on Mumbai, an attack on India. It is a matter of concern for all of us Indians. But the community that has to be concerned most is that of the Muslims of India, because those who came and attacked the financial capital on the fateful day of 26/11 were bearing Muslim names and had come from the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

It is a different thing that the Muslims would disown them as practising Muslims, for they were sporting guns and ammunition and above all they were wining and dining, and who knows, womanising, something not expected from hard-core religious elements. To a common man they were just Muslim mercenaries on a mission to cause maximum damage as per the directions of their mentors sitting across the border. They did exactly that and vanished from this world, a fate they deserved most. Then what next? Pakistanis may try to put a brave face but they cannot deny that these evil men were their countrymen, born, brought up and trained by a terrorist organisation in their country for this day.

The Indian Muslims, particularly our Urdu Press should behave responsibly. It is no time for a blame game. It is no time for concoction of a theory of conspiracy alleging complicity of the saffron brigade. It may be best left to the investigating agencies to unravel the real players behind this sordid drama. The whole of India and every Indian is angry. Not for the loss of life and destruction caused alone, but for the attitude of the politicians and helplessness of the government of the day. The people’s ire would be shown elsewhere in the next ballot, but the mood is one of action, a firm action, a decisive message that should go across the borders and the steps that should be taken to secure the nation and insulate it from future attacks. Yesterday it was through land, today it was through sea and who knows tomorrow it may be through air. All these vulnerable places have to be protected and secured for we should allow no incursions into our land from any side. These steps are vital for the future of this country. The prime concern of the citizen today is how safe and secure we are in our own country. This is the general feeling and mood of the countrymen.

Like me, many such Indian Muslims are equally angry and frustrated and unable to understand why disaster after disaster is staring at them all the time. What’s wrong with our community and why are we in such a position of feeling like strangers and alien in our own land. We have been living here for centuries and also after we were ditched by the greatest villain of the century, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Company, who partitioned India in the name of two-nation theory. Don't the Muslims of today feel angry at them for they were responsible for our present state of affairs? They left us, and still they are not leaving us alone to deal with our problems ourselves. Who are they to interfere in our internal matters? Muslims should come out in open and tell the people of Pakistan or any element fighting in the name of Islam to keep off from our problems and mind their own business.

Govt of India did the right thing in issuing a demarche, a strongly worded message to Pakistan, to do something tangible to wipe out the remnants of terror outfits from their soil and hand over all those listed wanted criminals that are enjoying the hospitality of the Pakistani people at the cost of Indians, including the infamous Don Dawood Ibrahim, the kingpin of 1993 Bombay Blasts and whose complicity in 26/11 terror attack can also not be ruled out. President Zardari, came on his knees virtually pleading with India to spare Pakistan and not to punish her as retaliation for the act of a few disgruntled elements. The same voice of concern and anguish came from Premier Gilani and his Foreign Minister recently touring Indian. Mere words would not do, Mr. Zardari and Company, show it in action and deeds alone would gain confidence of the people of India.

Indians demands firm action in one voice and would not tolerate any more attacks on them. Muslims of India are solidly behind the Government and the people of this great country. It is said wise men do not do desperate things in desperate times. It would be wise for Indians to act with restraint. This is the call from across the globe as like us the enemy across the borders too is armed with nuclear arsenals. Any emotive action at this stage would not be acceptable to the world at large either. The world is not prepared to go through a nuclear holocaust. It calls for sober thinking and actions. Pakistan was told in strongest terms that it should act and cooperate with India to solve the terror plot besides curbing the activities of the terror groups that are freely moving in the country. The same sentiments were echoed by US Secretary of State, Condolisa Rice, who is travelling to India shortly, specifically to offer us American support.

It is incumbent on the Muslim intelligentsia and the Urdu Press in particular that they do not inflame passions in any way. Instead, they should send a clear cut message to all the Muslims that India is our country, where we have to live and die. We are Indians and Muslims and there is no distinction between these two. Our prosperity and well being lie here and nowhere else. If we have any problems or grievances, it is for us to try to resolve them in a democratic manner. No one from outside need interfere. We the Muslims of India constitute the biggest Muslim population of the world after Indonesia. Though we are leaderless for the time being , we are resilient enough to sort out our own problems without outside interference as we have been doing in the last 61 years.

The Muslim Press whether it is Urdu Press or any other vernacular managed by Muslims, has a duty of guiding its people in this hour of crisis. Muslims are at a crossroad with no guide in sight. The educated Muslim class should rise up to spread the message of love, compassion and brotherhood. We need to reassure the nation. The bullet of the insane terrorists did not distinguish between Muslims and others. Among those who got killed were a fair number of innocent Muslims too, over 40 at the last count among the 179 dead according to the latest official figures. It was a pathetic description when a bearded Muslim was narrating the ghastly incident at a TV programme, "We, the People" telecast by 24x7 News channel, how six of his family members were brutally killed on the spot while he was away to fetch a water bottle. His voice was chocking, eyes welled up with tears, unable to describe how he would live along with the orphans. This tugged at the hearts of one and all participating in the debate. The silence in the hall was eerie and mood sombre. We could feel the mood of the participants in the debate. Those who were watching too could not control their emotions. Our eyes too welled up, some hid their faces with their hands, and a few were seen fighting their tears. One could immediately feel as if our own family members were killed there. Imagine how the family of 195 people who were killed would be feeling at the loss of their near and dear ones. Think again of the sacrifice made by our great son of India Karkare, ATS Chief, and five others of his team, who laid down their lives performing the sacred duty of this great nation. This was the tragedy that unfolded on 26/11. My heart goes out to all those families who are grieving over the loss of their dear ones.

Our nation is great and so are our people. The spirit is high and India will certainly bounce back. Mumbai's cosmopolitan spirit is springing back to normalcy, with business as usual. But the incident has left a deep scar on the psyche of the people. Let’s all allow our investigating team the time and peace to probe while people keep a tight vigil in their respective places. Till such time, do not lend ears to rumours. It is our ardent duty to guard our unity in diversity with life. Jai Hind.

A.M.Jamsheed Basha is a Chennai-based writer.

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