Forgotten casualties of `war’

If only they knew they would be forgotten and disowned so easily, they probably wouldn’t have done it. I am referring to the terrorists who were killed in the recent Mumbai terror attacks in India. The bodies of the terrorists are still lying at the morgue. Their country has refused to take the remains back, and the local Muslim community refuses to let them be buried at their cemeteries, as they feel the terror attacks were misguided. This was recently reported by the BBC.¹

What this led me to think, would they have done what they did if they knew they would be in this predicament later on? Weren’t these naive young individuals led to believe they were about to become `martyrs’, never to be forgotten in the history of the sub-continent? Usually the actual terrorists are regular people who don’t know better, and have been misrepresented the truth. If only we could get this to them before the soothsaying `holy men’ preaching violence against humanity to serve their convoluted purposes.

I believe the correct information is extremely powerful when it comes to dealing with misunderstanding between people. In this particular case we could have done nothing to prevent this (other than better patrolling of course), but we do have a serious internal security problem. Isn’t increased awareness the way to go ahead? And the first step to awareness is unaltered education. I add that adjective as not too long in the past we had a government who wanted to rewrite the text books, wanted to control what was being taught in the schools. Although we have survived that, we still haven’t made much progress over making education more accessible throughout the country. The free mid-day meal programme has largely been a failure due to rampant corruption at the various ranks of the government. I believe once a self-consistent system of basic education is in place, which is free from any external tampering and is self-sufficient we could be on the right track.

Once the information is out there, the common man/woman can be trusted to make their own `informed’ decisions. After all don’t you recall what Swamiji said?

Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in Man.


  1. Completely agree dude education is the panacea of all social evils!

    • Ananth
    • November 22nd, 2009

    >correct information is extremely powerful when it comes to
    >dealing with misunderstanding between people.


    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity (Hanlon’s Razor).

    Never attribute to stupidiy, that which can be attributed to information asymmetry.
    – An extension to the razor that a friend of mine mentioned.

  2. my brother’s friend (Lets call him buddy), a boy i have known for 9 years… he was away in australia for over a year now for higher studies.Last month he was back for a vacation and my brother and some of their common friends have noticed that buddy has come back being more religious than he ever was. so much so that he takes the topic at every casual get together these guys have. Plus, he made a gross blunder recently by telling a school friend of his that his religion had flaws. Behind buddy’s back, now, his friends talk of how to put it across to him that, may be he should tone down or keep the religion out of the conversation, without having to discourage him from his new found interest in his religion and without him distancing himself from these guys. One of the boys was particularly scared thinkin of terror-recruitements… the two bangalore boys … glasgow airport. His parents are naturally very happy to see their fashion-conscious son finally has taken some interest in their religion. Hopefully buddy isnt caught in something that will cause him harm.

    But lets look at this case… do you think that education would have helped? This is what i think happened to buddy… you go far away from home… to an alien land… and there is a certain unavoidable alienation that you will experiance, and there starts a yearning to attach to something that you can relate to your identity. It can happen to anyone… its just that now there are people who are on the prowl to take advantage of gullible people. And when you are in it.. its so real…the cause seems more real than i am… bigger, greater truth. where should the education come from? where should the transparency start?

    • That is indeed an extremely delicate situation. Education definitely did not make any difference here. I think the bond of friendship, and your concern for Buddy is the right way to understand what is going through his thoughts right now.

      However I still think education is the key if we could incorporate social issues like tolerance and equality, not as some text we study in some book, but as a hands on physical experience. I still remember in our school days we used to volunteer for the school clinic and primary school. We even used to celebrate Eid, despite being in a Hindu missionary school, with some finely cooked sewai! I am definitely not religious, but all this has engraved the need for tolerance in me and most of my friends. Cultural prejudices are extremely difficult to overcome, after all they have a millennia long inertia. But given the time and attention, it should be possible … at least I hope so.

      • I landed here like i had never been here before and I take a look at this article and discover that i had left a comment! So, I have been here before :D.
        And you have replied.

        I agree its not education but the education system that has to change in this case. There are a few things that I would like to see change in our country. It should not be a voluntary choice to take part in NSS/NCC. I wish every person had to serve the armed forces for a minimum period in their lives. Forms should not have to ask for the Religion, Caste and gender of the person filling it unless relevant. Level the playing ground for all. My list can go on and on. I am so glad that Anna Hazare has set the ball rolling for a change. Want to see how far we can go. I am glad this happened cos i was beginning to feel that we are very comfortable with our inconveniences. But I still doubt if we will be willing to go as far as Egypt(which might not be necessary in our democracy). If this bill doesnt get through, I am going bach to those drives.

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