29 April 2009

Shaken, not blurred

Not only can terrorism lead to economic uncertainty, in a roundabout way, political, social and economic uncertainties – and, therefore, discontent – can give rise to terrorism. Some of this notion can brew and grow as movements of national liberation as well. The French and Russian revolutions are a case in point; not to mention the continuing insurgency in rural India by Maoist Naxalites.

There are ideological differences too, closely linked to this uncertainty and discontent, and perhaps as a result of it. These differences often motivate sections of people into challenging existing/ruling regimes, holding them responsible for racial/religious/ethnic discrimination, inequality in distribution of wealth and therefore polarisation of lifestyles, political exclusion, and obstructing civil rights.

In India, we have seen and experienced a variety of terrorist acts due to ideological differences. These include planned acts of terror by Islamic radicals who believe that their Allah is the only God and whose goal is to create an Islamic State not just in Kashmir, but across the globe. And, let’s not forget violence from Hindu extremists who wish to save our country from this Islamic challenge.

Like many others, we, too, have believed in national liberation and have freed our country from British Rule. And, on achieving Independence, we have declared our country as a secular State, where we believe that several points of view can coexist harmoniously and that no single view or dogma is likely to be entirely right for the welfare of our people.

Yes, it’s true that, specifically in the last ten years, we have been a target of terrorist attacks and have suffered at length. Still, I hope that, though our confidence may have been shaken, our sense of values and good judgement have not been blurred. As we go to exercise our constitutional rights on Election Day 2009, I hope we shall all continue to believe in the foundation of a secular State and not let our prejudices cloud our judgement.

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