Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Three Weeks Later


Three weeks have passed and the city (where I was living just six months ago) has returned to normalcy, they say. Much has been written about the despicable and terrifying ordeal that Mumbai and its people were once again subjected to. I’m listing some of the views which resonated with me.

An Angry Moslem

A rational look at certain silly reactions from some Indians

A Worried American

A Thinking Indian

A sane voice from Pakistan

As for me, I’m ashamed of my identity at two levels. As a Human Being and as a Moslem.

A day after the ordeal ended, I watched the lovely Irish musical film, Once and felt better. The fact that the same species which can take so many innocent lives has the ability to create something so delicate & beautiful amazes me. It also fills me with hope for us and the world.

ps: thats the now wounded Taj Mahal Hotel from a 1903 postcard

26 comments:

mr bojangles said...

very well said and written:

As for me, I’m ashamed of my identity at two levels. As a Human Being and as a Moslem.

in just two short sentences! Gave me a sense of shame, for not feeling as strongly.

Saman said...

i disagree with the feel ashamed of my identity as a muslim bit...coz i firmly believe that terrorism has nothin to do with any religion,it is a religion on its own..Those who are marginalised and deprived over a period of time turn into terrorism..its just by coincidence that they happen to be muslims here...LTTE is one of the largest terrorist groups and they are not Muslims..

meraj said...

thanks Bojangles!

Saman,
its like this:
let us assume that i have a brotherand let us also assume that he goes out raping women and robbing people. i would be ashamed of him despite the fact that i havent done such deeds (and i dont believe in doing such deeds). similarly, despite the afct that i'm not a believer, i belong to a tribe which consistently keeps embarrasing its own tribe.

LTTE is a terrorist group and i'm equally ashamed and embarrased about it at the mankind level. similarly, i'm ashamed of the Nazi holocaust or Mao Tze Dong's mistakes or Stalin's attrocities. but then i'm proud of belonging to a species which produces a Mozart or a Confuscious or a Dostoevesky.

hope you get what i'm trying to say.

Anand Nair said...

Of course, all of us are saddled with multiple identities. I am a human being, an Indian, a Hindu, a Bright, a Malayali and so on -- all at the same time.

I do feel (mildly) "proud" when the Indian Cricket team scores a victory, or when Kerala achieves high standards of health and poverty alleviation, or when Parvati Omanakuttan wins a beauty contest. I do feel mildly ashamed when people kill and rape claiming that they did this to save the religion (or State or Nation) into which I was born.

So long as we keep such sense of pride or shame (based on identitification of self with a larger group) within limits, this is harmless. But when such identification of self with a larger group crosses a threshold, this can become toxic...

Anand

Saman said...

yes, meraj i get it now and thanks Anand uncle for illucidating it more..

Smiling Dolphin said...

great post. couldn't open the second link. the pakistani voice was good to hear.

shame is not an option, forgiveness is. it's just a lot more difficult to feel.

POOJA NAIR said...

An eye opener of a post as usual!

Nice selection of links...

'Once' is a great movie. Everyone must see it! :)

Cheers!

meraj said...

thanks Natasha!

ghaza said...

so, I have a blog which I so rarely post on ...... that it takes an effort for me to recall the name ........ and I more often post what I feel as a comment on meraj's blog ......... so I should start with my experiences of the night of 26th ........ so, I was a bit tired and the first reports that came on the internet said that there had been a gang-war in-and-around leopolds, which I read and went to sleep ....... then I was woken up at 7:00 a.m. by a worried call from the US ...... I re-assured him by telling him that it was just a gang war at leopolds .......... and then cacked for 45 mins about other friends ........... by the time we hung up I had another missed call from the US ......... contrary to general procedure I called it back, absorbed the same concerns and repeated the same reassurances and immediately received the following retort: "abe $@@!( jaake TV dekh" ....... so I woke up late (pun intended) and my subsequent analyses of the situation have always been more subdued than my fellow vociferous coffee-shop conversationists ........ but I promise you all that I shall do something about it ............ I have no clue what, right now ........ but it will be something concrete ......... and as most of you know, I am never so forth-coming except under the influence of old monk .......... for which we have to thank shobhit, who ironically just that night was contemplating between going to leopolds or to tian's and thankfully for me decided on tian's ........... which leaves only the P.S. which must mention that the weird combination of letters I am required to type in to enter this comment are just one j short of "hijack"

meraj said...

ghaza,
will look forward to that 'something'

Nibras Bawa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anand Nair said...

Nibras Bawa,

What if you were a born an Indian Hindu, and you were married to a Lankan Muslim? Wouldn't your kids still have said, " Daddy's people killed Moma's people", after the 1993/ 2002 riots in Mumbai/ Gujarat?

What if you were born a Lankan Sinhala and you were married to a Lankan Tamil? Wouldn't your kids still have said, " Daddy's people killed Moma's people" after the 1984 riots in Colombo?

What if you were born a Lankan Tamil and you were married to a Lankan Sinhala? Wouldn't your kids still have said, " Daddy's people killed Moma's people" after a ruthless terror strike by the LTTE?

What if you were ... I suppose you get the idea.

The point is that it is stupid for an individual to be proud (or ashamed) of being a member (by virtue of birth) of a larger group. People are to be judged by the strength of their individual character, and not based on the cultural, ethnic or religious group that that they were born into.

Anand

Nibras Bawa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anand Nair said...

Nibras,

Thanks for the understanding of my view point -- and for rooting so strongly in favour of peace and universal human values.

You observed, "No religion ever advocates violence..."

You are right and wrong, at the same time! Almost all religions would appear to support violence under various circumstances. It would seem that even Buddhism is no exception.

Even the worst among the terrorists act under the belief that they are the victims of violence -- and not the other way around. Nor are they totally unjustified in this thinking, considering the kind of violence that States have traditionally deployed not only against the terrorists and their sympathisers, but also against suspects, and worse, against ordinary community members caught in the cross fire.

At the risk of touching a raw nerve, what if the Sri Lankan governments, prior to 1970s, had bothered to understand and accommodate, if even partially, Tamil concerns (then expressed in far more peaceful terms), rather than try to put down the separatist movement with violence? I agree that there is a lesson in this for India too -- as we too face separatist movements.

We have a choice: we may try to understand, or we may refuse to do so. If we choose not to understand, the likelihood is that much worse lies ahead....

Anand

Nibras Bawa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anand Nair said...

Asanka,

This is the second occasion that I get to read your take on Nibras Bawa!

Even presuming that all you say about Bawa's past is true, I do not see the purpose behind your present tirade against this individual. As for me, I am only interested in sharing views with others in this blog. The personal backgrounds of those who engage in discussions with me are of no concern to me. (No, I am not searching for business partners here!)

I must say that I find your personal attack on Bawa to be in poor taste -- and your language is a definite put-off...

Nibras,

I hope that after the war is over, there would be a period of genuine peace, accommodation and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Mere military victory often is not sufficient to serve the cause of peace, as Bush has found out in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Anand

The Blacksheep said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ilegirl said...

I so understand your words that the actions made you feel ashamed. I have the same sense in being American, because what the government does is so frequently not in accord with my own values. It is at times positively painful.

But in the end it is how you live your life and reflect the values you hold so closely and dear that define you.

I really loved that movie Once. The innocence of it was not only charming, it left me feeling hopeful.

meraj said...

Dolphin,
thanks for the appreciation. you have put a great thought there by saying, 'Shame is not an option, forgiveness is'

Nibras & Anand
Am glad that my post gave you a forum to discuss further on the subject.

the ongoing violent actions (for the fourth consecutive day) in the Gaza area is once again repulsive. lets see how Obama govt helps the situation. am hoping for a better/different approach to it.

ilegirl,
what you said is so true: 'But in the end it is how you live your life and reflect the values you hold so closely and dear that define you.'

yet, one cant help getting affected. in fact, i feel that its important to get affected. thats when one begins to think of doing something about it...an article, an outcry, a song, a movement, a change...

cheers!
m

Anonymous said...

Mumbai is under terror attack. While I strongly denounce terrorism and killings of innocent civilians, deep down there is a great sense of “sweet revenge” that lingers in me. I can’t help it, but I’m happy that the Indians are getting a taste of their own medicine, finally.
What goes around, comes around – they say.

The Indians bred the tiger cubs (Tamil terrorists) in Madras, in government sponsored training camps and released them to the wild in Sri Lanka, trained and well-equipped to take on the Sinhalese – and look at the price we paid. They turned my Tamil friends against me, they planted hatred in their eyes. They ignited the fire that burns in this isle – it was their tactic in winning an economic war and stalling the economic boom we were witnessing in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They did succeed, leaving our Paradise in utter shambles. They poked their finger in every business in the island, and reduced us to dust – and continue to keep playing the “big bully” in the region.

Looks like its pay-back time, coming from the one above. One by one, day by day, they will pay for what they did to us. I wouldn’t care if it takes a year, a decade or a hundred years – but the tables are slowly turning.

Call it Karma, call it the rule of the universe – its time for those who sponsored, sympathised and bred terrorism to feel it, and live it – like we did for the past quarter of a century, and continue to do today.

Well, India, welcome to our world. I hope you’d enjoy living in the world you created for us.

Asanka

Nibras Bawa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anand Nair said...

Asanka,

You are right. We, in India have indeed "entered your world" -- no doubt through several errors on our part in managing to estrange a major minority group (an error, not too dissimilar to that of Sri Lanka).

My hope is that on the matter of getting out of this chakravyuh of terror, we will display greater wisdom than your country did. I hope we will never reach the pass where we would see no option other than to try and vanquish some of our own estranged citizens using battle tanks and fighter air crafts...

We in India do have a good track record -- the way we tackled terror in Punjab during the 80s.

Que Sera, Sera. What will be, will be....

Anand

Anonymous said...

Hello Anand Nair,

Thanks. I do get irritated everytime India h!!!! pokes its silly nose into our internal matters. Srilanka is as soverign as India. Its that simple. Why can't they appreciate this simple fact ? Rajiv Gandhi tried to be too smart and he paid the price. He was killed by his own tiger friends....... Hah...hah...hah.... :-) Isn't that cool ? I may sound mean and hysterical. But you got to understand I am happy it happened. Our anger and hatred are justified. India has tons and tons of its own problems and there are many million Indians who have no access to food and medicine. India better mind its own business and took care of its own people in Dharavi Slums in Mumbai than sending humanitarian (Socalled) Aid, food and medicine to Srilankans. Now the point is this. Who wanted them ? Did we ask to send ? Perhaps India feels guilty it exploited Srilanka with the ISFTA (Indo Srilanka Free Trade Agreement) where everything is in favour of India economically. Look at the stats and you will know it is day light robbery by India. Big corporates do a bit of CSR activity to cover up their sins. Like Tobacco companies sponsoring cancer treatment clinics. Isn't that a joke ? My point is this. India deserves it totally for it created it. Nibras Bawa may not like to agree. He is being politically correct because of his Indian links. But every average Srilankan feels this way........ My way.... The cruel way... Not because we are cruel but because cruelty is the only language India understands. I am harsh. I admit. But this is what Gandhiji's pradise deserves. First clear up your own mess than trying to be too smart with neighbours. Your neighbours are not that silly or impotent. We are quite capable ourselves. Namaste !!!!!!

Asanka

Anand Nair said...

Asanka,

Your right for "justified" anger and hatred is on as much on slippery ground as Prabhakaran's anger after the 1984 riots in Colombo; or that of Kasab & Co after the Gujarat riots; or that of Bush after the 9/11 episode!

I am far more impressed when I see compassion & humanity, rather than anger & nationalist pride (justified or otherwise).

As when Sonia Gandhi publicly recommended mercy for the person convicted to death for being involved in the murder of her husband...

I am not angry. You appear to be so. That about sums up the issue!

Anand

Anonymous said...

Asanka,

It is WRONG for you to paint everyone with same brush. It is not India, rather some elements within India that created the trouble for us in Srilanka. for instance, MGR or MG Ramachandran who sponsored Prabhakaran and his goons. So did Rajiv gandhi who learnt a deserving lesson. Yes, there are blacksheeps in India as in every society, every country, every home and every family. By and large I am possitive about India. Its a great country with great people. Now who doesn't have faults ? Who doesn't make mistakes ? It is in bad taste and INHUMANE to say you are feeling happy, and your "Sweet revenge" is an insult to every Srilankan who thinks otherwise. We the islanders of paradise isle are known for our tolerance and hospitality. Aren't we ? Forget the past, lets move on. trust me dear, no one ever won a war !!!! being a muslim I am terribly ashamed of this Qasab goon. I mean I can't do anything about it. All I can do is contribute to blogs like this in a possitive way. Hope you see the point Asanka. Nothing like humanity. Nothing like human lives.

fathima zainab
colombo.

meraj said...

thanks for that sensible Sri Lankan voice, Fathima. we need more people like you.

cheers!
m