Now we can add one more
cursed date, February 27, 2002, to the black days in the Indian calendar: April
13 (Jallianwallah Bagh, 1919) and the days on which the battles at Panipat and
Plassey were lost. On February 27, a horrific and
brutal crime was perpetrated on Hindus: fittingly, it happened at the birthplace
of the most fanatical and brutal Muslim tyrant in India, Aurangzeb.
The facts are indisputable:
- A regularly scheduled
Sabarmati Express was carrying, in a few coaches, several hundred Hindu
pilgrims, including many women and children, returning from a trip to
Ayodhya, where they had participated in some rituals
- The train was leaving the town
of Godhra, which has a 30 per cent Muslim population, when someone stopped
it by pulling the emergency chain
- A mob of some 2000 people,
apparently Muslims, then attacked the train with firebombs and acid bombs,
and burned alive at least 57 people inside the locked coaches, including a
The response in the English-language media in India has been
quite intriguing. The editorials and reports generally blamed Hindus for
provoking Muslims by the act of wanting to build a temple in Ayodhya. The tone,
generally, was: 'We told you that Hindu provocation in wanting to build a temple
will lead to a Muslim backlash. So here it is. It's the Hindus' fault.'
Here is an excerpt from an
editorial in The Hindustan Times:
A number of innocent people have already died and more may suffer if the
Centre, even now, doesn't step in to stop the insanity unleashed by the VHP.
Right from the time when this outfit of Hindu fanatics announced its provocative
plan to begin the construction of the temple in Ayodhya, it was known that
trouble was brewing. But the BJP at the Centre, perhaps hoping that the VHP's
belligerence will consolidate the Hindu vote behind it, did nothing more than
mouth pious platitudes.
Here is an excerpt from a report in
The Washington Post, with a quote from a well-known Hindu-baiter and
Muslim apologist, whose organisation, for the sake of truth in advertising,
should be renamed 'Hinduism Combat':
Teesta Setalvad, head of Communalism Combat, a group that opposes
religious extremism in India, said that 'while I condemn today's gruesome
attack, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the
provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were
indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilisation to build a temple and
deliberately provoke the Muslims in India.'
the standards of the Indian English media and its 'secular' 'progressives',
known for their Marxist blinkers, this is astonishing. For they are
conveniently pinning the blame on the victim. If I were to take the usual
liberal position, this is the equivalent of blaming a raped woman for the crime
of wearing revealing clothes, which led to the rapist losing control. Most
civilized people would consider it the fault of the rapist, not of the raped
woman. No 'provocation', most people would argue, justifies rape. But
not so India's media or 'intellectuals'.
This issue of provocation is quite
illuminating. What could possibly provoke the
cold-blooded execution of a large number of people, including women and
children, trapped inside a locked railway carriage and burned alive? What could
their sin have been? It is alleged that there were altercations
between those on the train and Muslim hawkers at Godhra station. But notice
there was no physical violence between them.
So how does this altercation
escalate within a few minutes, and that too in the early morning before many
people are up and about, into a large mob of Muslims arriving at the scene
equipped with Molotov cocktails and acid bombs? Does this look like a
spontaneous response to an act of provocation, or does it look like a
pre-planned, well-thought-out plan for mass murder? What kind of 'provocation'
leads someone to randomly execute women and children in the most gruesome manner
possible, by burning them alive?
This is not a rational response to
any provocation; it is pure terrorism. Premeditated violence inflicted on
civilian populations with the intent to terrorize them. A good exposition of
this is available in The Quranic Concept of War (see N
S Rajaram's review at www.bharatvani.org/reviews/rev-quranic.html).
How does this compare with the
infamous 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre? In both cases, unarmed
civilians, going about their daily tasks, were attacked and murdered by a band
of ideologically hardened individuals. What was the 'provocation' by the people
in the World Trade Centre? Some fantasy that they were part of a Jewish-Zionist
conspiracy to take over the world's finances? A recent Gallup Poll shows that 61
per cent of those surveyed in nine Muslim countries accounting for half the
world's Muslims refuse to believe that it was Arabs who attacked the WTC! There
is an element of denial among Muslims that their co-religionists could be such
It appears as though it takes very
little to provoke Muslims. What was the provocation for murdering Daniel Pearl?
That he was a Jew? After all, he was forced to say to the camera, 'I am a Jew,
my mother is a Jew,' just before his throat was slit, in the macabre video his
captors created. What, then, was the provocation by the Hindus in the case of
the Sabarmati Express? That they were Hindus? That they were alive? That appears
to have been sufficient 'provocation'.
the 'provocation' for similar acts of Islamic barbarism in Kerala in 1921: the
Moplah Rebellion in Malabar. There was no provocation by Hindus, who were
minding their own business. However, in distant Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Pasha had
abolished the caliphate! This was the reason for the murder, rape and forcible
conversion of thousands of Hindus -- who were purely convenient bystanders --
and looting, arson and destruction of much property.
What was the 'provocation' by poor
Hans Christian Ostro, the Norwegian tourist abducted in 1994 by Pakistani
terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir, and later beheaded? That he happened to
travel in India? What was the 'provocation' for the Shi'ite Muslims murdered by
drive-by terrorists in a mosque in Pakistan recently? What about the 100,000
Algerians massacred, mostly by having their throats cut, by fellow-Muslim
No, it is pretty clear that there
does not need to be any 'provocation' before sections of Muslims unleash their
blood-lust on all and sundry, especially non-Muslims, and if such have already
been extinguished, on fellow-Muslims. The entire Muslim world has bloody
borders, as Samuel Huntington pointed out. Furthermore, even in their societies,
there is incredible violence.
Liberal Muslims should ask
themselves why this is so: is there something in their religion that easily
turns some people into bloodthirsty barbarians? If so, isn't this something they
need to cleanse from their religion? As Edmund Burke once said, 'All that is
necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'
After this latest bout of
bloodletting, I am beginning to wonder if Mohammed Ali Jinnah was right, after
all. Maybe Muslims cannot live with Hindus, or anybody else for that matter.
Maybe the Two-Nation Theory is in fact true. That is an awful possibility:
because it would mean that the pluralistic, liberal, tolerant world-view that
has been the hallmark of Hinduism for millennia is no longer an appropriate
paradigm, and Hindus have to become like Muslims, Christians and Marxists:
dogmatic and intolerant, just to survive. I would hate to think this is the