Before we go any further, a warm welcome to Hindutva terrorism. Please note: I have used the term Hindutva, not Hindu.
Some of us have been saying that it existed long ago. Now the police are convinced that those behind the Malegaon blasts last month were rightwing. But, then, this is not news. Certain political parties and leaders are not unlike terrorists.
The latest reports have found two former armymen - a jawan and a retired major – to be involved in those blasts. I have one problem with the reason dished out:
The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) is investigating the source of the RDX used in the blast and how the accused acquired the expertise to execute the blasts. “It’s not easy to procure RDX for a layman and use it to cause an explosion. One needs some training and it’s being investigated,” an officer said.
Why do you think this question has come up? We have had bomb blasts before and people are arrested on suspicion alone, even if they are young boys hawking vegetables. What is different this time that laymen are being protected?
I will tell you. This time the culprits are not ‘Islamic’ terrorists. This time the accused are from the saffron brigade. One of them happens to be a Sadhvi (she took sanyas in 2006) Pragya who was a member of the Akhil Bharati Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is not much different from SIMI.
Apparently, one of the army guys was quite enamoured of her. Reports do not tell us which one. Maybe the sadhvi is a democrat and would not like the hierarchical nature of her admirer to be mentioned. But, whether it was the jawan or the major, the guy is supposed to have been enraptured by her religious speeches.
I would think that since reports call her feisty, it must have been this aspect, or that she rode a motorcycle. Anyway, whatever floats his boat...
Come to think of it, how many of you recall that at the height of the BJP’s golden moments following the rath yatra of 1992 quite a few army personnel had joined the party?
I understand that even today many of the services personnel are right-wing. This surprises me at one level and not at all at another. It surprises me because the army is class conscious and that comes from what position you occupy; the bunker and the mess are great levellers. A friend from a well-placed family with some fancy lineage told me that as a junior officer straight out of college with not much by way of worldly etiquette, he had a rather embarrassing experience at the mess table. While using his cutlery he was making a bit of a noise. He was ticked off twice gently; the third time he was asked by the senior to walk around the room “to make him understand” table manners. It did not matter what his background was.
However, the right-wing affiliation does not surprise me because, like several intellectuals who get taken in by brainwashing that sounds rational, armymen too are victims of manufactured consent. This is easy for those who are taught to follow rule-books. The basis of the existence of an armed force is an opposition. The Opposition here is the enemy and due to reasons that history has left us with, it starts with Pakistan and ends with jihad, a term that neither those who call themselves jihadi nor those who pronounce them as such seem to understand.
Therefore, when the saffron parties go all out on their reclaiming of culture binge, it appeals to some soldiers, especially the part about ‘party discipline’! Besides, Hindutva has cannily called its movement nationalistic. How many armymen would want to be anything but that, as per the prevalent view?
To return to the current allegation, if indeed army people are involved then it is disturbing not only for the minorities but for the nation. As I said earlier, learning to assemble bombs and procure substances of destruction is not difficult anymore. But the moment former services people get involved we have to start rethinking about who is protecting whom.
We already have a situation where the police force often follows diktats issued by parochial forces in the respective states they are posted at. The role of cops during riots has been well-documented. We do not want a situation where the army too is under suspicion as an institution. And please do not dish out the ‘few bad eggs cannot give it a bad name’ line because I will turn around and ask you why the hell don’t you think that up when a few terrorists go on a rampage?
Why tarnish a whole community then? How would you feel if we now say that due to what has happened in the Malegaon blasts all Hindus are closet terrorists? How would you feel if we said that because some army fellows have been detained and may be involved the whole Indian Army is full of terrorists?
It is a sad moment, but it is such moments that lead to introspection.
Think about it, and smell the cognac, you jolly good fellows.
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Image: Sadhvi Pragya
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