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Sunday, September 10, 2006

September 11 (or should we say, 9/11) and what it entails…

Five years after Sept. 11, bin-Laden is still at large, a recent video supposedly of him plotting the twin-tower bombing is a reminder well timed that he continues to cast his shadow on the international policies, commerce and security.

A US govt. report released yesterday absolves Saddam Hussein of all connections with bin-Laden thereby knocking off one more of the primary reasons for invading Iraq by the USA, with many earlier reports already saying that there were no WMD in Iraq, the Bush administration stands with its head held high on a pedestal of lies, utter lies and nothing but lies the Iraq war. They ought not to deny some of the lies as it would make them look like fools.

The five years have produced an annual ritual of ground zero articles, more on ‘clash of civilizations’, a witch hunt on Islam and more concretization and polarization of the world into small groups of those who believe in their faith’s ability solve all world problems – whether the faith be Islam, Christianity, Democracy, Trade or Modern Science & Technology.

Sadly, these groups don’t lead a mutually exclusive existence. The globalized world is so highly inter-connected that the life in many urban centres of the world are inter-connected and cannot survive without other cities functioning in other parts of the world. A new global inter-dependency means, more engagement with each other. In a concretization of groups through their faith systems, the first premise is the absolute and non-negotiable correctness of oneself with a corollary that everyone else is wrong. Such fanatical holding to ones’ position should have resulted in a highly fragmented world. But that is not the case, the world is not in fragments and seems to get more inter-connected, which means either there is something wrong with what is uniting the world or there is something wrong with such groupism. Perhaps there is something wrong with both.

However, this has resulted in each group accepting the globalized world order and giving it ones own interpretation and colour to hide ones’ opportunistic and hypocratic holding on to the faith system. The
Communist CM of W.Bengal giving hurried clean chit to the Cola giants and so many myopic discussion on Vande Mataram rendering are recent examples in our own political sphere, which is only a sample of what is happening across the globe.

There are no puritans of any faith system, there are no ‘orthodoxy’ but more of the meaningless ‘fanatical’, there is no ‘ideologues’ or ‘conservatives’ any longer whom one can look up to for what is it to conserve a tradition, a view, a political ideology or a religion. The days of disciplined adherence to an idea that is not compromised in the day to day turmoil, seems to have disappeared even the realm of science which in earlier centuries saw the fearless adherence and pursuit of truth. Commerce and concretization of resources has ensured that the scientific enquiry too is pre-validated through investor’s microscope. Yet there is no lack of fanatics who hold science and technology as a solution to every human problem far superior to any other such solution ever found by humanity, this group may become one of the largest group of fanatics in the coming days (if not already).

The prejudices that are imposed by the polarized media, restrict even interaction across certain group boundaries, repeatedly emphasizing its point of view and ensuring that the status quo demons remain demons.

September 11th, 1893 saw Swami Vivekananda give a lecture in the Chicago Congress of Religions in which he stated that the day of ‘bigotory’ is over and mutual respect and inter-dependency has to be respected. Thirteen years later, in 1906, Mahatma Gandhi convened a meeting in which the idea of a Peaceful Struggle ‘with God as the witness’ was proclaimed (
read the article by Venu and Dilip in the HINDU on this), and perhaps the most amazing social tool of the previous century, called Satyagraha was born.

Gandhiji and earlier Swami Vivekananda prescribed by the Bhagavat Gita and some of the verses from this ancient Hindu book illustrates our current situation. Arjuna (who represents the normal human being in the conversation between the human and the God), asks Krishna, “knowingly why does a human being commit crime? What is it that impels him, despite his knowledge to commit a crime?”, the response holds a lesson to modern society,

Kama esa, Krodha esa rajoguna samudbhava
Mahasano Mahapapma viddyenamiha
vairinam (3.37)

‘It is sensual desire, it is anger, born out of
Great Craving and Great Crime; know this as the enemy here (in
human life)

Consumerist attitude, fuelled by Desire and Crime fuelled by Anger these can over shadow any knowledge and overwhelm the knowledge holder. Aren’t these our problems today, unrestrained consumerism that is often promoted as a ‘way of life’ that wants to consume as much resources as possible even at the cost of destroying others and an anger so complete and blind that it deprives a group of its human-ness. And both these groups accepting their position as non-negotiable. Sept 11 is a celebration of this impasse, a statement on the failure of knowledge before consumerism and anger. A reminder that the commercialization of knowledge is but a subservient of a un-restrained desire of a fanatical trading community; that terrorism is but an angry response to such greediness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Boston Globe Op Ed -

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