Silenced?

This place has me a bit surprised. I expected the Malegaon blasts to have a significant reflection on this site if any. However I find an uncomfortable silence even here. This phenomenon is however not limited to IM. Somehow these blasts haven’t met with half the furor that the Mumbai blasts evoked. And I do question the reasons but have been unable to come up with any answers that satisfy me. So why the underplay of anger this time? Because fewer people were affected? Because people are tired of reacting? Because they belonged to a community on which the needle of suspicion often rested? Because they have already said all that they have to say and now little is left?

Any answers?

And please let me know if you think that I am imagining a silence that doesn’t actually exist.

About Sadia Raval

I am a clinical psychologist by profession, with a strong affection for poetry and a little-to-boast-about skill at photography. I maintain a blog (http://ambiguity-defined.blogspot.com) and am illusioned enough to believe that I wont be sued for the writing I inflict upon unsuspecting people of this world.
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17 Responses to Silenced?

  1. Adnan says:

    Yes Sadia, silence. I think we are as shaken as we were when killings occurred at Sankatmochan temple, blasts in Delhi or Mumbai. Even I expected somebody would write.

    But. I personally feel that just every tragedy is followd by the similar expression of sadness and condemnation, which all of us did and heard on TV, papers etc. Cliches. Many of us were probably seeing how the state government and the centre reacted…and the emotions thus took sometime to pour out…What I have felt, I have written…a few days later though, but when I felt like the angst was too much to bear and after seeing the approach of Maharashtra police and government….

    Adnan

  2. Mohib says:

    Khamoshii Khud apnii sadaa ho, aisaa bhii ho saktaa hai
    sannaaTaa hii guuNj rahaa ho, aisaa bhii ho saktaa hai

  3. Sharique says:

    Well i think the media is still to come to terms with the fact that a hindu can be a terrorist! Something similar to the kind of response muslim media showed to muslim terrorists. The media is so prejudiced against muslims that even a small act of terror is islamized, even though media is not necessarily hindu. It will take time before organizations like the bajrang dal and rss are labelled as teerorist organisations but for that notion to set-in, perpetuity isn’t a bad guess :)

  4. Titanium says:

    Yes the silece here is coz the site owners are not publishing comments. I stopped after a couple of comments of mine were not published.

    I think we should get over the notion of Hindu thing, as the media is completely dominated by Brahmin/Bania and NOT Hindus…You can extend the same to the Establishment.

  5. Girish says:

    Let me suggest a somewhat different reason for this silence, though all the Sadia has suggested have some contribution.

    It is not just fatigue with such incidents. After all, we have had bomb blasts since the 1980s around India. Yet, there was outrage at the Mumbai incidents.

    It is not just that the victims were Muslims. Did you know that there were huge casualties recently in Naxalite violence. Most of the victims were Hindus. But there was hardly any news of it and not much public outrage either.

    It is not just about the number of victims. During the peak of violence, more people have died in Jammu and Kashmir in incidents than at Malegaon. Why violent incidents, more people often die in incidents of buses falling in rivers/canals or a train ramming into a bus at a railway crossing.

    So while these may well have some contribution, my submission is that the real reason is something else. Most of the media and many of us Indians who are on the online spehere are actually from the large cities. We may have grown up in smaller towns (or even villages sometimes). We may have gone to study in Universities in smaller places. But for the most part, Indians who are visible on the media and on the net are those who either grew up or currently live in the large cities of India. We tend to relate at a person level with these cities more than the rest of the country. It is a natural thing that this is the case. So when an incident happens in Delhi or Bombay, there is a large reaction. Even if we were not disproportionately from the large cities, the mere fact that these are large cities means a high representation from there.

    Thus, my submission is that if the Malegaon blast had instead happened in a big city, say in a mosque or dargah in Bombay, the reaction would have been much bigger. For most people, Malegaon is place they may have not even been able to locate on a map before this incident. Much less be able to relate to it. One may ask why the Varanasi or Ayodhya incidents got the coverage and reaction they did. Varanasi, despite its smaller size, or Ayodhya are different – they are like Mecca. One may have never been to these cities, but there is still some emotional connection that Hindus have with Benaras or Muslims have with Mecca due to their religious significance. If the Varanasi blast had instead happened in another city of its size, or even a bigger city like Kanpur, I bet it would not have received much attention.

    To summarize, I don’t think there is much case for conspiracy theory style conclusions about the secret right wing leanings of the media or that this is a deliberate playing down. It is simple case of lack of emotional linkage for most people outside of cities they have personal linkages to. And people in the media as well as on the blogosphere and elsewhere on the internet tend to be disproportionately from the big cities. It is sad that this is the case, but it is the case nevertheless.

  6. Mohib says:

    @ Titanium

    Any comment not adhering to our comment policy would not be approved.

    Thanks,
    Mohib

  7. Sharique says:

    @Girish
    Interesting observation. I wholeheartedly agree with you that people on the net or blogsphere are from big cities or are presently in a big city (even if they grew up in a town..same as me). I also agree with you that this blast would have attracted a greater attention if it was in mumbai or delhi. But the whole point is not about that.

    Its about media coming to terms with the fact that terrorist can also be from bajrang dal or the rss. It is turning out to be a bitter pill too swallow. Read Adnan’s post here http://indscribe.blogspot.com/2006/09/from-mumbai-to-malegaon-skewed-vision.html

  8. Girish says:

    Sharique:

    This is a good discussion. I also see that the media and in fact many decent people outside the media are also finding it difficult to believe that this could have been perpetrated by RSS or BD. But the question to ask is why? Are these same media persons, who apparently did a fine job of exposing the same VHP/BD types during the Gujarat riots suddenly biased in their favour? Are Indians at large (and specifically Hindus) not thinking, rational beings? Why do you think that there is no difficulty in believing that the VHP/BD are culprits when it came to the Gujarat riots but not in the case of Malegaon? After all, nobody is expressing any doubts that (not even their supporters) that the VHP goons were let loose in Gujarat or that Bal Thackeray let his goons loose in Mumbai in 1992.

  9. Sharique says:

    Girish,
    Hmm…i think riots and bomb blasts differ in many aspects, though the end result is the same. Organizations like the BD or RSS have always been considered extremist (or perhaps kattar is the right word in hindi). They don’t generally carry bomb blasts but they retaliate when provoked. That provocation also comes from them (Babri masjid demolition or the Godhra incident) so there are also responsible for the murder of innocent but in a collective way and more open as compared to bomb blasts. They usually move in groups so difficult to differentiate when it comes to trial. They represent the sentiments of the majority of people residing in the area of riots (correct me if i am wrong). Its usually local. Wherease the Muslim extremists operate on a global scale and these days the whole world is after them. So any minor act of theirs is aired all round the globe and severely criticized, both my the international as well as Indian media. But the VHP/BD are yet to be recognized as an organization that can carry out terrorist attacks. So even if they do, it turns out to be a bitter pill to swallow. And plus its uaually the case that the perpetrators of riots are not brought to book with the same zeal as the terrorists. This has to do with religious affinity (of majority of investigators) which is natural and also due to the localized influence of the riots.

    No doubt the media shown praiseworthy impartiality during the Gujrat riots but my problem is not with the media, but with the investigators!

  10. Sadia says:

    Adnan: I agree with you entirely about the cliche reactions.

    Mohib: Aisa bhi to ho sakta hai ke
    “hum labo.n se keh na paaye unse haal-e-dil kabhi,
    Aur wo samjhe nahi ke khamoshi kya cheez hai ”

    Sharique: Somehow I feel we need to change the glasses with which we are viewing the media or the system. We aren’t seeing wrong but we are being a shade myopic and a tad simplistic. It’s really not about Hindus and Muslims. Its about terrorists v/s rationals and peace lovers. I agree there are skewed views when the person or group perpetrating the act of terror belongs to a specific community but I also believe that we need to drop our cynicism a great deal.
    “Wherease the Muslim extremists operate on a global scale and these days the whole world is after them.”
    Well the world should be after them right? After all they are crazy extremists and have brought harm to innocents havent they?

    Titanium: I think we should get over not only the “hindu” thing but also any “brahmin/bania and/or whoever blaming thing. It’s not helping us just constricting positive action and thought.

    Girish: That is a most insightful observation and I agree with you about the media bias not carrying value here as they have been blatant in exposing the perpetrators of Gujrat riots.

  11. Girish says:

    I have reflected on this issue over the weekend and even had discussions with some friends (all of whom happen to be non-Muslims, though not all were Hindus) on this issue. I do think that there are disturbing prejudices that I have observed among them.

    1. There seems to be a consensus that this could not have been done by Hindus, since they are considered to be “peaceful” and not prone to violence.

    2. When I pointed them to numerous incidents of violence in India, in most of which more Muslims have died than Hindus, their response was that Hindus did not start violent incidents and only retaliated.

    3. I then pointed them to examples where this was not the case. Where violence was provoked by the action of Hindus (e.g. the Babri Masjid demolition). Most did not really change their minds even after this was pointed out.

    Now, the people I have spoken to are all people I consider decent. All educated and from the elite institutions of India and most with advanced degrees from the world’s best universities. None of them would think of raising a hand against another person. None of them seem to have extremist views. Most of them are people who are disgusted by politicians like Modi. Most of them would be considered liberal on most issues like women’s rights, even on minority rights. Yet, they seem to have prejudices on this particular issue.

    Why? I am still searching for answers.

    P.S. I like how Sadia characterizes the issue – that it is not a Hindu-Muslim issue, but an issue of extremists vs. others. We need to reframe this question. In this respect, I don’t think references to “Islamist terrorists” or to “Hindu extremists” are appropriate. They are just “terrorists” or “extremists”, period. Even if the rest of the world does not change its way of describing the terrorism/extremism problem in the world, we in India must do so. A reframing of this problem would obviously require more than just changing nomenclatures, but it is an important component nevertheless.

  12. Sharique says:

    Sadia and Girish,
    You know what this world is not of good people who would like to see peace prevail. I wholeheartedly agree that this issue should be seen as an extremist issue but then what about the majority. Girish pointed out that even quality education doesn’t diminish the prejudices. It has to do with us being humans and thus all the drawbacks with it. We tend to associate ourselves with the identity we are given as a kid and as rational and concerned human we would like to have opinions about things in life, which are mostly biased. To err is human and we are human beings!

    BTW did you guys see the recent ‘is islam a peaceful religion?’ crap? Its so venomous that even a calm guy like me can become an extremist. You see these provocations will keep popping up and as humans we cannot resist ourselves to fall prey to them.

  13. Adnan says:

    Sharique bhai, that really shocked me. Coming from Desipundit and Desicritics, both carried the headline without a thought! These sites are a big let down. I feel hurt when I need support of my fellow countrymen to stand for me and that’s why I took the vow not to indulge in unnecessary commentbaazi outside my blog.

  14. sai says:

    Hi

    I am a newsperson, and since the question somewhere impacts what I do for a living, let me see if my pov makes any sense?

    I have been watching the coverage of the petrol pump strike in Mumbai, and been left with the question if the coverage would have been similar, say, if it were happening in Mangalore. Or, say, Malegaon?

    Similarly, 9/11 was not the first time “the civilized world

  15. Sadia says:

    Girish: Pointing out the prejudices as objectively as you did requires a certain ‘bigness’ :) (the only word i felt like using)

    Sharique: that ‘Sadia and Girish’ coment was terrific. It almost sounded to me like Sadia and Girish (Sigh! when will these two non-wordly-wise souls get up and see the light of the day !!! ) haha.

    On a more serious note: the world also isnt full of bad people who woudnt want to see peace prevail :) . The errors I agree are because we are humans. But then sharique, is being human an excuse to err knowingly?
    Why should a good thinking calm person like you ever become reactionary in the face of provocations? Now thats where the true test lies isnt it? When we know its a provocation and we know we are falling prey to it then isnt that where we need employ restraint. let whoever wishes to speak, have his say and we shall continue in our vein. History is replete with examples of big movements that have been started by a handful of people. The only criteria is that those people need to believe in themselves:).

    Adnan: why do you get so upset? If you give up commenting you dont speak. If your voice isnt heard, others take its space and we lose one more voice that is rationally asking for peace. Its like not voting because you dont like the political system. You only harm your stand more. Regarding that article I’d probably put up something here soon. Need to figure it out well enough to get articulate about it :)

    Sai: hmm that is another interesting additional point of view. never thought about it this way.

    Shucks I reread what i wrote- i sound like a lecturer:( (special apologies to sharique- I seem to have professed most to him)

  16. sharique says:

    Sadia,
    First it was your poetries and now your lectures..i need a break :P
    Well the thing is i never implied being an extremist in the sense you seems to have interpreted it…i just selected a wrong word. I should have used agitated. Now the thing is that article was deliberately written to incite passions. It has no substance and the rationality he talks about is biased. BTW i am also thinking of a reply so if you are writing one then i can also contribute.

  17. sujai says:

    I fear this is just the dawn of Indian Hindu fascist and terrorist activities. I fear we will witness many more events like these. I believe that unless we make conscious efforts to root out the prejudices (that are being encouraged by all quarters of society) things will only deteriorate. The coming years will prove extremely dangerous for all Indian minorities. Indian Hindus are flexing their muscles riding the wave of good economy and massive military buildup; they are getting bolder; they want to dominate; they want to correct perceived mistakes of the past- and nothing will stop them but for themselves.
    More at:
    http://sujaiblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/dawn-of-indian-hindu-fascism.html

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