Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Are Money and Power the root causes of all terrorism?

Well, that's the truth always - all aggressions, all hostilties, all wars fought till date have been for more wealth. India used to be attacked from time to time by foreigners because of the wealth. Even the East India Company started their seize because India's GDP at the beginning of 18th century was almost same as that of entire Europe's.
Well, all understood. But ther are surely exceptions. Do you think Osama Bin Laden lacked wealth or authority? He could have commanded more authority had he spent his intelligence and energy in his business. Doesn't a Warren Buffet or Bill Gates command more authority than any most people of earth? He had Roti, Kapda, Makan, Sadak, Bijli, Pani everything - whatever you say. But still he has been waging war. So I don't think you can generalize aggresson or terrorism. The case of Jinnah's aggression falls exactly into your classification. Had he got the proper space within Congress he won't have gone for Muslim League or for the matter of fact the Two Nation Theory. He wanted more power and authority. He was the last person to talk about Islamic rule, neither was he a true Muslim from any point nor he had any communal or parochial views. But still he went ahead and sowed the seeds of the biggest communal tensions in this subcontinent. Bush's aggression in Iraq also falls into that category.
Somali piracy, ongoing Naxal terrorism in most districts of  India - to some extent, Bajrang Dal's attack on Hussain and his paintings and their most other vandalism, LTTE terrorism, the Kashmir militancy to some extent and many other can be traced back to either some economic deprivation or some urge to grab more power and authority. Had Raj Thakarey been the CM of Maharastra hw won't have given a damn to non-Marathas in Bombay. Had Bajrang Dal occupied some good positions in central or state governments, I'm sure they won't have fought against Hussain. The entie Babri Masjid was planed to gain political power and it's true that BJP won't have emerged as a national level party alongside Congress without that.
But I can't accept that all acts of terrorism is just for more wealth and power. Yes, Kasab won't have come to Bombay just for 1.5 lakh Paistani Rs had he had some better job. Yes,most of the terorists who actually die in the attacks are very very poor. By giving roti, kapda and makan we can surely stop these helpless people from becoming terrorists. But can you stop an Osama Bin Laden.
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was a professor at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore. He is educated, modern, and also not poor. So why did he become a terrorist? Why did the Saudi Sheiks take part in Afghan jihad in various forms? They are anyway among the richest people in the world. They just drained their wealth for something for which they didn't even get the credit (or discredit). So why did they indulge into all these?
There's an attempt to link the Global Jihad to economic benefits for the Muslims round the world and specially the Arab countries, but is it at all an acceptable justification? The British rule drained so much wealth from India in course of 200 years that we're converted from one of the richest to poorest. But did the Indians launch a Jihad against the British people. A very relevant and interesting reference here is Manmohan Singh's speech in Cambridge:

"There is no doubt that our grievances against the British Empire had a sound basis. As the painstaking statistical work of the Cambridge historian Angus Maddison has shown, India's share of world income collapsed from 22.6 per cent in 1700, almost equal to Europe's share of 23.3 per cent at that time, to as low as 3.8 per cent in 1952.

Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th Century, "the brightest jewel in the British Crown" was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income. However, what is significant about the Indo-British relationship is the fact that despite the economic impact of colonial rule, the relationship between individual Indians and Britons, even at the time of our Independence, was relaxed and, I may even say, benign."

So here also the hypethesis that economic deprivation always leads to aggression is proved wrong. The Global Jihad, fumed by the Islamic fanaticism is much more complicated than the "Money Hai to Honey Hai" logic. I don't know what's the best way to tackle this. By improving the economic condition in Pakistan and Kashmir might help a bit in controling people getting inducted into militancy for meagre amounts, but the rich and educated fanatics would still remain.

1 comment:

Sudipto Das said...

by Uday

Well, all understood. But ther are surely exceptions.

It is ALWAYS all about the economics, everytime ! It just takes different forms and "caste, creed, religion" camouflages it !! Your sign-off paragraph ackowledges the former sentence. Except maybe, in mythology war , the naturally corollary to aggression, has always happened over economics, then the others like power, etc followed. And the perpetrators are always well educated, as in "educated" meaning to be, being more aware than the others. I think it also fair for us to try and understand that all the terrorists, naxalites (in any form, economic, political, militant, etc - emails also) do have a dissenting viewpoint; it is the manifestation of their viewpoints that makes us debate and take cudgels either way. maybe some follow up action too?

The sad thing is most of the indignation about issues (terrorism the latest particularly after the recent attacks) is coming from the educated class ( who then goad/goaded the political class into some action?) in India; from those that have good or better education, live in gated communities with "security" of their own, drive 4-wheelers to work and everywhere (and spoil their kids silly with these indulgences amidst unfound fears), who shop in malls for even basic home needs, (or home delivery, if you please) etc. I wonder, if these people had more "touch" with real life as it exists, things would not be so bad as it is. Translate this to the whole world and we may still have hope.

How much are we doing to alleviate ANY issue apart from just talking and talking and talking ? This verbal diarrohea is a "right" of the educated, who use sophisticated and advanced technologies to espouse their cause. Because they are the privilged few who want to flaunt their " I have arrived" (in life) status !! (the examples in Bangalore are many and I won't take names here since some of those are very good acquaintances of mine) Do we contribute to anything, apart from monetary contributions to Trusts (like the politicianand the religious leader in karnataka or TN also) and that too only because we get Sec 80 C benefits? Hum kuch denge, lekin hamme kuch pana bhi hain. That's the disgusting motto of the so called educated class , again I will not take names here. This clas hide their crassness behind the veneer and yet never tell in public that they basically came from a India that is still largely deprived. Not that they need to but do they do anything in the public domain that helps because they are educated? Naw. Theirs (and so ours) contributions are more to events inside the community we live in and sadly to the functions in layouts, apartment complexes and clubs; yeah it helps networking but that's a hep word nowadays; I dare say the intention to contribute to even office functions is something that stops within 2-3 years after the education phase and mostly that's for "hangover" reasons. Like, when our family dentist just returned from LA, highly qualified and practised there, too, born and brought up in Tumkur, told me about this carnival in our Layout where she demonstrated the art of flossing (btw, do the educated class amongst us, floss?) and then gave the game away when she said " you know, Mr Menon, lots of the Layout people were asking me about the location of my clinic!" Its always about the money, honey.