At your service, Mr Terrorist

India’s war on terror was always a rumour. There never was one, the war, I mean. But since our PM and HM claim it’s on and we will ultimately win it, let’s indulge their fancy. So how’s that ‘war’ to be won?

Simple. By enduring what we cannot cure. By putting up with what we cannot put out. By getting immune to what cannot be fought. By getting hit consistently with nary a demur, a la Vadivelu, come what may. We surely have the cheek to show the other cheek: The so-called Gandhian way, a weak nation’s default setting. In the face of such unremitting tolerance, even hardened jihadis as well as infidels are certain to tire and run out of steam one day. And that day, the ‘war’ on terror will be won!

The bogey of a war on terror is a must for rulers. Terrorism is very unlike corruption which can be mixed up and made to dissolve in a melting pot of political verbiose, judicial legalese, bureaucratic red tape and parliamentary procedures and made to boil for a long time. Often, most scams go up in vapour, leaving no trace of the ingredient scamsters. Even in open and shut cases, time can be bought. For instance, in 2G, MSingh assured the nation for three years that his colleague Raja was above board. In the cash-for-votes scam, he again gave his word that all was clean. We now know what his promises are worth. But he was able to get away with his lies, not to speak of his own guilt, because corruption is an abstract vile, even in sting operations. So the fight against corruption, also a shadow one, can afford to remain so. But terror is visible and instant. Its effects and evidence are tell tale. Even MSingh with all his capacity for honest lies cannot deny blasts and bodies!

But let’s ignore an impotent regime’s Quixotic war-mongering. The tragic irony is not the absence of a war on terror despite dire provocations but the continuing indulgence to terrorists as a broad national policy. There is no denying this soft society’s natural affinity to a strange idea of non-violence that renders it vulnerable to physical threats. Centuries of slavishness probably does that to a nation’s genes. Last century’s historical and geographical upheavals have also created a conflict between cultural and national identity and this confusion too has added to the myth of tolerance. But how does all this justify a soft State? Can there be any excuse for a regime, sworn to protect its subjects, brazenly abdicating those responsibilities and rendering the people sitting ducks?

Of course, we are all tired of invoking India’s secular politics that is at the root of the danger. Suffice to say Mulayam’s post-haste call ‘not to target one community’ even before the blood of victims had dried is a sterling sample of the attitude of the entire secular brigade. Indeed, if they are so worried about one community’s name being tarnished, they could have easily taken efforts to delienate the bad apples so that both national security and their favourite community’s image could have been salvaged. So forget those usual suspects whose rhetoric have ceased to have any impact. But what of the behaviour of ministers whose every word and move are indicative of orders or official positions?

One need not look beyond our HM. He arrived with great fanfare post 26/11/08 and promised to spearhead the war on terror in all vigour. Many blasts have occurred since then across India, scores have died and needless to say, almost all perpetrators are still at large. (if a terrorist is caught, it is because he has survived his own bid as a suicide bomber!) These days, if the outrage of a numbed nation does not last long, the record of officialdom is worse. After the familiar homilies which of late seem more sinister than the attacks, it is life as usual — waiting for the next attack. PC ranks high on this insensitivity scale, his scattered attention on account of scams and so forth precluding any consistent focus on the critical job on hand. The callous and casual attitude may also be because, for a man used to numbers, the blast tolls are far less impressive for personal attention. But PC has inflicted a more lasting damage. His repeated insistence on, and equation of, so-called Hindu terror with Islamic terror has been the single major factor in diluting the nation’s case and cause. Rahul’s sermons on the same lines and the rest of the UPA chorus point to an unholy power axis that seem bent on giving obvious Islamic terror networks the much needed leash and leeway.

This fatal political game being played by the ruling elite has a serious cascading effect. In a milieu wherein all official watchdogs like the CBI look up to their master’s voice for cues to bark or bite, even subtle signals from the top on the terror front could be quite clinching. PC’s open statements that leave very little to imagination are, therefore, akin to orders. It does not need much intelligence to know that much of the intelligence resources, including some of the best hounds, are chasing shadow terrorists rather than real ones! They are all busy trying to honour the words of the minister and his masters and ‘make’ them happen, by hook or crook. India’s military capabilities vis-a-vis PoK, our own land and the hot-bed of global Islamic terror, has long ago been dismantled. Now, even the internal terror mechanism is being systematically subverted and compromised from the top. The absence of actionable intelligence, CCTV cameras and adequate security at the Delhi HC premises which only three months back was the venue of a blast is proof of the paralysis. War on terror? Get off the video game, Messers PM and HM!

India’s own territory (PoK) as breeding ground; a wily neighbour who makes biriyanis of our peace doves; porous borders; a secure secular umbrella within India; a very official political cover; a regime with no commitment to protect people but with boundless understanding of offenders’ predicaments; unquestioned access across the land; dicey crowds everywhere; an invitingly lax security dispensation; many times-bitten-never-shy national mindset; a favourable albeit ‘fair’ judicial process; And finally a Never-Say-Hang lofty philosophy! Indeed, such a sanguine scenario would embolden even a novice among jihadis to have some net practice in blood-letting here.

It actually redounds to their lasting ‘mercy and compassion’ that they have been so choosy and restrained. Our ‘war’ was never a bar.

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Jawahar T R