What is the Root Cause of Terrorism?

Let me state it loud and clear: it’s people crossing diversity borders for political or economic reasons. As I point out in my book, Gandhi, Ambedkar, and Tagore held similar views. Let me produce some quotes from these three thinkers (I’ve used them in my book).

Let me state it loud and clear.

The root of all global problems today is the fact that people are crossing diversity borders for political or economic reasons at an unprecedented rate.

As I point out in Chapter 3 of my book, three of India’s most important thinkers, namely Gandhi, Ambedkar, and Tagore, held similar views.

Let me share some quotes from these three thinkers (I’ve used them in my book).

Mahatma Gandhi pointed out that people become ‘confounded’ when they come in contact with others of different natures, religions, etc. His point was that the very meeting should not take place. He literally considered the British-introduced Indian Railways evil:

[Man] is so made by nature as to require him to restrict his movements as far as his hands and feet will take him. If we did not rush about from place to place by means of railways and such other maddening conveniences, much of the confusion that arises would be obviated. Our difficulties are of our own creation. God set a limit to a man’s locomotive ambition in the construction of his body. Man immediately proceeded to discover means of overriding the limit. God gifted man with intellect that he might know his Maker. Man abused it so that he might forget his Maker. I am so constructed that I can only serve my immediate neighbors, but in my conceit I pretend to have discovered that I must with my body serve every individual in the Universe. In thus attempting the impossible, man comes in contact with different natures, different religions, and is utterly confounded. According to this reasoning, it must be apparent to you that railways are a most dangerous institution. Owing to them, man has gone further away from his Maker.

B. R. Ambedkar issued words of caution to be exercised whenever there is the intermingling of diverse peoples. According to him, if diverse peoples are ‘forced to take part in a common cycle of participation, such as Government’, there can be neither fellow-feeling nor peace because of racial and cultural conflicts which arise due to sheer ‘enforced juxtaposition’:

Why do Tamils hate Andhras and Andhras hate Tamils? Why do Andhras in Hyderabad hate Maharashtrians and Maharashtrians hate Andhras? Why do Gujaratis hate Maharashtrians and Maharashtrians hate Gujaratis? The answer is very simple. It is not because there is any natural antipathy between the two. The hatred is due to the fact that they are put in juxtaposition and forced to take part in a common cycle of participation, such as Government. There is no other answer. So long as this enforced juxtaposition remains, there will be no peace between the two.

Rabindranath Tagore wrote profusely about how India’s task from time immemorial had been to make social adjustments to deal with racial differences between Aryans, Dravidians, Greeks, Persians, Mohammedans of the West and Mohammedans of Central Asia. In an environment charged with fervent Indian nationalism and Gandhian claims of ‘oneness’ in everything that mattered all over India, Tagore was deeply conscious of India’s diversity and deeply worried about its rising neglect. India was ‘naturally many, yet adventitiously one’, and therefore, a reconciliation of race differences was central to India’s mission on earth:

Races ethnologically different have in this country come into close contact. This fact has been and still continues to be the most important one in our history. It is our mission to face it and prove our humanity by dealing with it in the fullest truth. Until we fulfil our mission all other benefits will be denied us.

Clearly, nobody cares for the words of caution issued by these three great Indian thinkers any more.

Today, it has become stupid – even antinational – to think like this in India. How can a patriotic Indian think pan-Indian trade is evil? How can travelling on the Indian Railways be evil? How can someone even think Tamils and Andhras are in any sense different? They’re both Indians! And how can someone talk of different races on Indian soil? And finally, how can someone talk as if international trade is evil? It’s the crown gem of humanity!

(For the sources of the above quotes, please refer The Pyramid of Corruption)

Understanding Paris

Last night’s brutal shootings in Paris have proved that the old European model of nation-states has officially collapsed.

Last night’s brutal shootings in Paris have proved that the old European model of nation-states has officially collapsed. Francois Hollande was quick to proclaim that the attacks are an ‘act of war’ by the ISIS. But remember that the ISIS is not an accepted nation-state by the Frances of the world.

Therefore, it’s not a war between two nation-states as the West knows them. It’s a war between a nation-state and something the West cannot understand, but uses the word ‘terrorist group’ to identify.

Why can’t they understand it? Because they’re unable to think outside the nation-state model that they’ve laid down for the world. This is also the reason why not only France, but every nation-state is incapable of containing what is known as ‘terrorism’.

Nation-states have armies, navies and air-forces so that they can fight other nation-states coming out to fight a professional war. But those days are clearly gone. What happened in France isn’t a war of this sort. Just think of Mumbai – was it such a war? Was 9/11 such a war? No.

This is exactly the reason why Islam, a religion and not a nation-state, gets the blame for these ‘wars’. Just think about it: people blame a religion for a war on a modern nation-state. As if someone thousands of years ago has chalked out a plan for unleashing the kind of violence we’re seeing.

Despite the fact that some parts of the Kuran can indeed lead to interpretations in which which organizations like ISIS can find their own legitimacy, I find it impossible to believe that any religion can be the source of the kind of violence that Paris witnessed yesterday.

When we’re not ready to see our own role in our misfortunes, we end up pointing a finger at all sorts of entities. Therefore, ‘Islam’ (popular among all other religious groups), ‘religion’ (popular among atheists), even ‘Islamic civilization’ are blamed for these attacks.

The last of these is used by those who think these are attacks on ‘western civilization’, the concept of ‘freedom’, etc., etc. Such analysts seem to realize that the violent attacks in question target not one particular nation-state but something intangible that links all the nation-states of the West. There is truth in this viewpoint.

However, the West refuses to admit any role played by itself in the whole matter. Hence the widespread belief that the shootings in Paris are one hundred percent unprovoked. That’s why the word used is ‘terrorism’: they’re unleashing this sort of violence because it’s simply in their DNA. No provocation necessary for the ‘barbarians’.

Sorry, this is impossible to believe. Newton’s third law applies.

The fact is, Western imperialism is already a provocation. What the nation-states of the West have done to the peoples of the Middle-East, Africa, etc., in the last four or five centuries, must count as provocation. Only, the provoked aren’t organizing themselves in the only way that the west understands: as formal nation-states. Western thought may require it, but it’s not necessary.

Understandably, it is difficult for the current generation of the West to recognize this provocation. It was something they did long ago. It’s not as if Africa was colonized yesterday and the shootings happened today. It’s not as if the Middle-East was destroyed yesterday and the shootings happened today. Therefore, they don’t see the provocation. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any.

A long time to react doesn’t make a reaction a non-reaction. Nor does it rule out an original action.

To summarize, I find it impossible to believe that ‘terrorism’ is unprovoked. One needs a special instrument to recognize the provocation. It’s called a mirror. One also needs an eye for detail and the readiness to remove the elaborate intellectual make-up, together with the old foundation, before looking in it. The make-up may make us appear pretty, but that’s not the goal here.

Narendra Modi got it one hundred percent right in Wembley. India, and only India, has the solution to the ‘terrorism’ problem. But that’s not the same as saying India is on the right track today – and that’s a completely different topic.