Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peshawar’s Children


More than a hundred innocent children were killed by the Taliban today in Pakistan’s Peshawar.  Many were injured.  Teachers were burnt alive.  All in the name of religion.

Nurturing a cruel thought in your mind implies you are cruel.  I remember having read something to that effect long ago in Dag Hammarskjold’s little classical diary, Markings

How cruel must one be in order to line up innocent children and fire bullets into their hearts?  And they call that religion!

Like most religious fundamentalist organisations, the Taliban was born out of a conflicting mix of passions: hatred towards certain sections of people and a childish longing for an ideal world

Mullah Omar was a barely literate jihadi who had lost his right eye fighting the Russians in Afghanistan.  In 1994 he witnessed a local warlord eliminating an entire family, not before raping every girl in it.  The incident put the fire in the romantic soul of Mullah Omar.  He vowed to restore the true sharia in Afghanistan.  He went from madrassah to madrassah enlisting volunteers for his ‘noble’ cause.  Soon the Taliban was born.  It recognised no Islam but their own.  It imposed its will on the people.  It became the law. 

True to the spirit of such romantic dreams, it elected Omar Amir-ul-Momineen, Commander of the Faithful, in 1996.  In no time, the Mullah became the successor of the Prophet himself and declared jihad on anyone who opposed the Taliban.

Thousands of people have been killed all over the world by this organisation which grew out of an infantile dream and much hatred.  People like Osama bin Laden, “idealist and romantic, dreamer of past future glories and perhaps even harbouring apocalyptic visions of martyrdom” (as described by Charles Allen in his book, God’s Terrorists) and the learned Dr Ayman al-Zawahri lent their support to the Taliban dreams.  Pakistan’s ISI used the organisation for its political purposes.  And today, there it strides all over the world like the Frankenstein  monster.

How do we save ourselves from such monsters who come donning the garb of the Messiah?

We, the ordinary people, are quite helpless. We can question them.  We can refuse to support them.  We can speak against them, write against them, teach against them.  What more can we do?

We are the hapless children of Peshawar.

Politicians use such monsters for their own nefarious objectives.  Politicians create them too.

Ignorance is the root cause of such diabolical forces which masquerade as holy outfits, custodians of public morality and guardians of gods.


They have existed throughout human history in one form or another.  When will mankind be redeemed from these redeemers?

22 comments:

  1. only when we will have educated and highly spiritual (not to be associated with religion) will come and join politics all over the world. we have to reject the argument of Bertrand Russell that "politics is the last resort of scoundrels". we need good men not scoundrels

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    1. Ranesh, I appreciate your eagerness to get educated people enter politics. I have seen you make that remark in various places and I know you mean it genuinely. But I think the whole politics today anywhere has been so vitiated that educated people will dread to enter it. Perhaps, not just today, politics was always the realm of the crooked and the criminal-minded. That's why Dr Johnson (not Russell, as you have quoted) said more than two centuries ago what you've quoted.

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  2. It appears mankind will never be redeemed, as it outreached in all states whether it is religion, or it is region.

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    1. True, Saurabh, mankind has outreached its limits, it seems. It has gone against certain natural laws. Going against the natural laws beyond a limit is dangerous. If you leap from a height that nature has set limits to, you will break your limbs. Mankind may have to get some limbs broken...

      That's one way of looking at it. But hasn't science always been about going against nature?

      But, again, science is realising the need to make nature a partner!

      Religion is going against nature today, it seems. Religion in the past was a part of nature.

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  3. Vinaash kaal main vipreet buddhi...vdrt sad act against humanity.

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    1. Vinaash kaal and Kali Yug, Shweta, go together.

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  4. it never ends, it will never end, only the attendant justification will change

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    1. Very true. And the justifications sound quite stupid.

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  5. Killing kids in the name of anything is plainly an act of lunacy. How can they even do such things and then take pride by claiming responsibility for the act?

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    1. Lunacy or criminality? I wonder. I think all terrorists are plain criminals wearing a different mask.

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  6. I think the reason for such a barbaric mindset is rooted in subconscious through indoctrination from early years. I do agree with you on the analysis!

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    1. Yes, Uppal, indoctrination is what plays the game really. Youngsters become human bombs and suicide squads. Not the oldies. The oldies do the talking and the youngsters do the dying and killing.

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  7. I somehow feel there is no end to it... it is greed that makes us destroy ourselves, families, society religion and country. And as human beings greed runs in our veins, some want a new car , some want people in their religion, some want Kashmir , some want whole world. This greed will engulf everyone one day and mankind will be destroyed.

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    1. Greed is taken to holy heights, I should say, Shruthi. Religion is a good mask for hiding one's vices. Masks of holiness and martyrdom. The ultimate reward waiting in paradise...

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  8. Once the terrorists had occupied the building, the building should have been bombed by the nation's army. We would have lost many innocent children even then, but, we would have saved many more others by killing those terrorists.

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    1. The terrorists were killed without all that...

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  9. Not joining them itself is powerful, that makes us ordinary people more than hapless. The day they cannot recruit anymore their operations will cease.

    But unfortunately more than half of the world lives in poverty. Like in your earlier blog post of yours, like those farm workers in tea estates selling away their daughters, many take up job of killing instead of starving themselves.

    Until the world becomes a level playing field, crime will exist. In other words, there is no end to crime as long as there are humans. We will have to learn to reduce it by letting poor earn more.

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    1. Agree, Anand, poverty is a major source of crimes. But there is also ignorance that plays an even more crucial role. Most religious fundamentalism comes from ignorance.

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  10. I always wondered how Talibans originated. This is the first time I am coming to know of the story. Very scary foundations of the group, the result is going to be disastrous for sure as we are witnessing today.

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    1. Yes, Indrani, scary origins. All terrorist outfits have some scary origins. Illiteracy or semi-literacy and poverty - the usual ones. Romantic dreams like in the case of bin Laden.

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