Clean the Viper's nest

Roopen Roy

Published in (

Join hands to clean viper’s nest

Dec 09 2008

We’re in the same boat brother, / We’re in the same boat brother, And if you shake one end, / You gonna rock the other / It’s the same boat brother….

The fear and shock of the dastardly attacks on Mumbai, our financial capital, have turned into anger and rage. The carnage of innocent human beings and the deliberate attempt to inflict economic damage on our country calls for a fitting response. However, we must be calm and thoughtful. Thousands of SMSes have whizzed, urging Indians to refrain from voting. In my view, vote boycott is a wrong response. We must vote. Democracy is a precious asset that the enemies of the free world do not have. Indian democracy should serve as a beacon to the countries where men in olive uniforms rule behind the curtains.

Messages have also attacked the ‘incompetence of our corrupt politicians’. We must eradicate corruption in public life. We have talked about bringing down the people who came by boats and those who came by votes in the same breath. Some angry people have also demanded that we attack Pakistan. In all this fury and confusion, we must not lose sight of the real target. We must isolate, attack and outmanoeuvre the masterminds of terrorism.

The people who planned the attacks are in safe havens. They have used semi-educated, young Pakistanis as cannon fodder. They have not sent their own sons. These monsters remote-controlled the angels of death who came to Mumbai. All but one perished in the pursuit. Their handlers live on — biding their time to cause more harm somewhere else in the globe. Our single-minded focus should, therefore, be on destroying the viper’s nest.

Our battle must be waged from a high moral ground. This time the Mumbaikars and all citizens of India have stood up as one. We must build upon this strength. It does not matter what the colour of skin of the terrorists is, what language they speak, what religion they are born into or what gender they represent. They are despicable. We must not allow them to shake our unwavering faith in secularism and our respect for all faiths and religions.

None other than the President of their own country, who has described them as “stateless”, has disowned them. Legally, they are not “stateless”. They have a passport that reveals their national identity. But they operate in a borderless manner. If yesterday it was New York, today it is Mumbai, and it may be Melbourne tomorrow. If the spineless leaders of a country are powerless to contain these mindless criminals, then it calls for a globally concerted effort that should include the people of Pakistan.

Our brothers and sisters in Pakistan are victims of these faithless monsters who blew up the Marriott hotel, killed Benazir Bhutto and who make the streets of Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar unsafe for Pakistani citizens and children. We will reach out and appeal to them and make a common cause with them to fight this menace. The masterminds of terrorist networks operate under the protection of failed states. A way must be found to make them feel insecure and unsafe — to make them suffer and endure in the personal grief of losing a son, a daughter, a wife, a husband, a brother, a sister or a friend.

Indians are brought up to cherish diversity. We know how to simultaneously practice the preachings of Gandhiji and the teachings of Netaji, even if they present paradoxes at times. Following the teachings of the Mahatma, we must have compassion and love for those who hate us in order to awaken their conscience. We shall not forsake our ideals of democracy because they would love to see us do it; we shall not abandon secularism to suit their agenda and we shall not go to war with Pakistan because that is what they want us to do. Netaji had said, “If people slap you once, slap them twice.” We shall speak to them in the language that they understand.

But, it is not a war that the free world should leave India to fight alone. Everyone in the free world is as vulnerable as we are. Unless we clean the nests and breeding grounds of terrorists, we will continue to be in danger. We must fight with our financial weapons to strangulate their money supplies, build integrated law enforcement organisations such as the Homeland Security, use advanced forensic technology, tools and weapons and mobilise global public opinion against terror. No one is safe until we clean the vipers’ nests. It would be apt to quote John Donne here: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

© 2008 Financial Chronicle, All rights reserved

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