When occurs any terrorist event in any corner of the world, especially in our country, a feeling of pain and horror haunts me for a while. We all know that nothing is more perishable than a newspaper and public memory is very very short. But for me, it lasts a little longer. I feel terrible for two reasons. One, to see my brothers and sisters dead or disabled because of the act of some monsters and beasts. It is difficult to imagine the plight of their family members, how they take it, how quickly a beautiful evening spent on buying bangles and dresses turned into a nightmare and how are they ever going to forget that fateful day. I pray to the Almighty that those who are resposible should be identified immediately and be chopped off. We don’t want any more killings of the innocent civilians losing lives for the agenda of some terrorist groups. Let us hope and pray for the same, insha Allah.
The next heartening thing is what the newspapers and magazines carry as ‘news’ following that incident. Apparently, to see them equating ‘Islam’ with terrorism. Yesterday I happened to flip throught the pages of the Tamil version of India Today and sank in the same feeling. It was extremely irritating to see words like ‘Islamia Adippadai vaadhigal’ (Islamic fundamentalists) repeated so often. Without doubt, it gives a normal reader a perception that Islam advocates terrorism and any Muslim is a possible terrorist. I do not understand what they mean by ‘fundamentalists’. I am a Hijaab clad Muslim woman who to the extent possible, tries to strictly adhere to the principles of Islam. Now I had this doubt after reading it. Do I also fall under the same category? What do they mean by that term?
When I was going to take Rockfort during my bim days, there was a metal detector and a police who stood at the entrance of the Egmore station. My brother was carrying one of my bags and I was having another one. He didn’t sport any beard nor wore any skull cap and apparently didn’t carry any signs of a possible so called ‘terrorist’. He was left to go to the station without the bag being checked. But the police stopped me and wanted to check my bag. I sincerely cooperated and was glad that the police is being so dutiful. But the question is why me alone? Though that incident happened for just a few minutes and I laughed over it to my brother, it is still painful to think about that.
We do see bomb blasts and killings of innocent people not sparing women and children happening in all corners of the world, be it Sri Lanka or Kashmir. We don’t call LTTE as Tamil Terrorists, do we? Thank God, that is not the case, if it was, I will have two reasons for being tagged: one for being a Muslim and the other for being a Tamil. Just because these morons carry an Arabic sounding name for their groups, mostly starting with ‘Al’ (which means ‘The’) and sport a Muslim’s looks, the entire community and the religion is blamed. I do not know how many people know the word Islam comes from the root word which means peace. And when we greet each other, we say ‘Assalamu alaikum’, which only means ‘Peace be upon you’. I can quote innumerable number of verses from the Quran that advocates peace, forgiveness, patience and perseverance.
What is more painful about the tagging done by the media is that impact that it leaves on a common man. One of my colleagues said, ‘why can’t there be some earthquake in Pakistan and Pak occupied Kashmir so that we won’t have any more bomb blasts like this?’. I was seriously taken aback at this statement from her since she has a firm belief that all Pakistanis are terrorists. Another incident is when someone in my office while talking about Iraq justified Bush’s killing of millions of innocent civilians in Iraq. He asked what do you expect Bush to do when there was an attack like that on WTC?
These statements are not from any school going child or an old grandmother, but from well educated individuals. Well, it is plainly their perception and it is absolutely certain that they will not think of any harm. But failing to think and letting their beliefs and thoughts be shaped by media is terrible. Though this may not have an immediate impact, it is sure to have one in the long term. I don’t have to say how many Muslims were chucked out of their rented homes following the blasts in Coimbatore, for the act of a few. I don’t want to blame those landlords, as it is the basic human tendency to avoid risk. When educated individuals are not able to reason properly, how can we expect the older generation to think beyond what is projected falsely?
It is may be that I’m exaggerating things by being scared for what is only perceived by people. Hmmm. All I can do is to have a good laugh and say ‘aio en munnadi zandu balm, tiger balm kooda solladhinga’ (don’t even say Zandu Balm or Tiger Balm in front of me).. Life has to move on and to make it a little more colourful, it is important to laugh at ourselves. 😀 😦
“Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives, and the fruits of your toil. But give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who say, when afflicted with calamity, ‘To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.’ They are those on whom descend blessings from their Lord, and mercy. They are the ones who receive guidance.” (Quran 2:155-157)