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Rahul Gandhi on terrorism


Self defence is an idea whose time has come. Ideas matter. Prejudices dont! (Cartoonist - Lisa Benson; Cartoon Courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com.).
Self defence is an idea whose time has come. Ideas matter. Prejudices dont! (Cartoonist – Lisa Benson; Cartoon Courtesy – cartoonistgroup.com.).

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday had a surprise suggestion of empowering villagers to fight terrorism.

“I am confident that this country can take on terrorism. Defeating it is no problem. If we empower those people in villages, we can sit back, relax and we will destroy terrorism in 15 minutes,” Gandhi told a press conference here. (via Empower villagers and defeat terrorism in 15 minutes: Rahul).

Are we making terrorism into a slogan

Twitter, Facebook, private emails are all buzzing about the latest statement by Rahul Gandhi on terrorism. Mostly critical. With bits like ‘we can sit back, relax’, Rahul partly deserves ridicule. But the core of his statement is a rare piece of sense.

Strangely, when Rahul Gandhi does make his rare sensible statement, unthinking reaction is to reject. Terrorism is a case where a ‘disarmed’ population has been made dependent  on the State for defence at even the local level. Would the attackers of Mumbai’s Taj Hotel have dared if they had known that many of the people were armed and liable to fire back?

To all Rahul baiters

This is one smart thing he has said. What if it his first good idea! In fact the idea is so good that no government would dare to do such a thing! Including Rahul Gandhi himself, if he were to come the Prime Minister tomorrow.

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  1. harish
    September 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Isn’t your definition of terrorism too simplistic? The terrorists are trained to die, with promises of 72 virgins et all in the other world. Well arming citizens can surely frighten some of the weaker elements of the group perpetrating terror, but I don’t think that will deter terrorists inspired by Islam to take a beating if citizens are armed.

  2. September 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Aren’t your fears of Islamic terror rather exaggerated? Aren’t you complicating the abuse of some confused minds?

  3. Galeo Rhinus
    September 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    About Rahul – I suspect he was speaking in the context of Naxal terrorism. He was probably taken out of context.

    State sponsored terrorism is an implicit declaration of war. Granted – the enemy (whoever that is) is finding your weaknesses – which you must fix – but you can’t ignore that external threat.

    “Naxal terror” needs to be dealt with differently than terrorism perpetrated by “foreign terrorists” which in turn needs to be dealt with differently than “indian muslim terrorists”

    Not because of “root causes” but because each needs a different tack.

    I appreciate the contrarian perspective – but in this case – you and Rahul are sharing something more than I would’ve expected.

  4. September 22, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Regardless of anything … having an armed population solves numerous issues. And Rahul would dare NOT implement his own suggestion.

    Terrorists, Naxal or Pakistani, or otherwise, will think many times if they are confronted by an armed population.

    Why, we will have a situation, where even Political ‘Terrorists’ like political goondas the will think twice …

    This obviously cannot be a 1-point agenda or solution. His remarks of 15 minutes … sit back, relax … solution is juvenile – and deserves the mocking that it is getting.

  5. Galeo Rhinus
    September 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    An armed population – IMO – really protects itself from the excesses of the government. That is how I saw the Indic militia model – where the civilian militia far exceeded the strength of the armies of the kings.

    In your haste to be contrarian – you are being simplistic in “empowering” the population with arms as well. How does an armed population deal with a bomb hidden away inside a building, a bus or a train? If it is an individual – no one can prevent it easily. If it is a group who is funding others – then you can deal with it using intelligence and financial tracking… and it if a another government – then you need to deal with it using diplomacy and force. Really – an armed population has a relatively small role to play in stopping terrorist bombings. Yes – they could’ve stopped the 26/11 or the raid on Akshardham or the parliament by armed gunmen… but that was only part of the problem.

    Let’s not praise naivety by even being more naive.

  6. A fan of your blog
    September 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Anuraag Sanghi :Regardless of anything … having an armed population solves numerous issues. And Rahul would dare NOT implement his own suggestion.
    Terrorists, Naxal or Pakistani, or otherwise, will think many times if they are confronted by an armed population.
    Why, we will have a situation, where even Political ‘Terrorists’ like political goondas the will think twice …
    This obviously cannot be a 1-point agenda or solution. His remarks of 15 minutes … sit back, relax … solution is juvenile – and deserves the mocking that it is getting.

    Let me bring to your attention the the second amendment to the US Constitution: The Right to Bear Arms. Of course, there are caveats to its use as described in the wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
    I am not aware if India has such a provision, but if it is does, then thats great. People can and should invest in carrying firearms as a means of self defense (so long as there are caveats that restrict the use).

    I believe it is a beautiful thing because it addresses many ills of society. It puts power back in the hands of the people, who are at the mercy of a corrupt bureaucracy, judiciary and law enforcement.

    I do not find Rahul’s statement ridiculous or juvenile or worth mocking at all. I am not a fan of the Gandhi family, but what he says has a lot of merit and should be enforced as a constitutional right.

    One of the big evils of today’s society is the rise of the land mafia. They rely on force to indulge in illegal activities. By arming citizens, it will help develop a balance in society.

    In terrorist attacks too, the population has the ability to counter attack. It may not help in case of a bomb, but knowing the other person can be armed and can retaliate will play a role in curbing activities of extra-societal elememts.

  7. Galeo Rhinus
    September 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    India did not have “provisions”… it was never a top down polity to decide what rights people should have or not have… and therefore without these “provisions” there would be no “caveats”… these words or equivalents have no meaning in an Indic context…

    India’s strength was the wide dispersion of polity amongst its masses who had clarity of what those in power should be prevented from doing. Which included disarming them. To arm or to disarm the population was not a decision of the king – because he simply did not have that authority. Like he did not have the authority to monopolize currency… like he did not have the authority to raise taxes over 16% (25% under duress)… like he did not have to authority to take more than 16% of the treasury of the king he defeated… and so on… and this knowledge was dispersed in the population…

    …now given that the world *today* has a top down polity – the US constitution does a better job in this paradigm. For India the question is – should we continue on this path of a top-down polity… in which case we can look the US for guidance… or look into our own past and understand *why* we were able to create a nation that allowed the triad of freedom?

    …and it remains our choice… a choice for which we will have to struggle for…

  8. A fan of your blog
    September 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Galeo Rhinus,

    Another brilliant post from you. I am hoping your new book will address the benefits of the Indic system that you mentioned and the drawbacks of this western form of democracy that has been thrust down our throats. Anything that takes us away from today’s paradigms of governance and puts more power in the hands of the common people is definitely worth learning about.

  9. samadhyayi
    September 25, 2010 at 9:56 am

    is local democracy working. there is no local democracy in india. that is the problem. local people dont get together to solve local problems. that is why somuch is rotting. in the old. before democracy arrived there used to be local democracy. now in the name of democracy what we have is chaos. we think somebody is in control. nobody is in control . everything is chance.
    the biggest threat is not terrorism but big govenments. the big brother governments. look out they are coming. governments are not for helping people. they are for harvesting people. growing us like in matrix like batteries.
    that is why we see all the signs. some people being excluded. this would never have happened if people have the power.
    you see we took the decision making power from the person affected. we took the education and put it in hands of experts. no you dont know what to learn . be dead and learn what we tell you to learn. go to doctors who will cheat you and sell your organs. go to psychologists who will invent new diseases to extract money from you. the expert. we have inveneted the expert. we should solve our own problems. but now they say leave it to the expert.
    you get me.
    this is not freedom. this is not democracy.
    kill the expert(this statement is likely to be misunderstood. i dont have the langugae skill, brian power to articulate this in a better way. so leave this alone. discuss other things.)
    home schooling rules.
    doctors suck.
    trust yourself. dont trust governments, doctors, teachers, school boards.
    certainity is death. uncertainity is life. risk is life. safety is death. when you are dead you are safe. when you are alive there is always risk. but man seeks the illusion that somewhere there is security in this search he evades life. he stops living. out of fear we created governments and now they will control us. our fear controls us. the golden days of humanity are long past.

  10. raman
    September 26, 2010 at 7:08 am

    anurag, whats your quicktake on the ayodhya issue. strangely enough u have been largely silent on this one.

  11. September 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I am not going into the Congress-BJP-Left-Yadav-Muslim politics. The way this entire issue has been played out: –

    1. The ‘Hindus’ clearly want an acknowledged end to this ‘Muslim’ belief of ‘our-religion-is-superior to your religion’ attitude. Respect other religions also, is seemingly the main ‘Hindu’ point here. The most prominent intellectual supporter of this VS Naipaul.

    2. ‘Muslims’ are evading this issue by expressing a worry that Babri-Masjid-toRam-Temple conversion may not be the last such claim. If at all, this may be the first such claim, they say!

    3. The average Hindus and Muslims of Ayodhya and UP are bored by this issue – and would like the country to move on.

    4. There cannot be an arachaeological or a legal solution to this issue.

    5. The Desert Bloc idea of ‘competitive religiosity’ is the problem here. The ‘temples of modern India’ are another example of this ‘religion’ where ‘new’ idols have been declared superior to older idols. Republican Democracy, with its 250 years record of failures is another such example.

    6. The need to ‘convince’ others – to convert, to proselytize is the main problem, the heart of the problem.

    7. The State is not the answer. The answer has to come from outside the State.

  12. harish
    September 28, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Anuraag Sanghi :

    Aren’t your fears of Islamic terror rather exaggerated? Aren’t you complicating the abuse of some confused minds?

    Most people are confused. The point here is you seem to not recognize the Islamic ideology. By ignoring its barbaric history and current trends to you seem to be ignoring the nature and purpose of Islam. There is a reason why they live and die by the sword.

  13. Galeo Rhinus
    September 28, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    1 – agree
    2 – agree
    3 – speculative (also meaningless)
    4 – agree
    5 – disagree – modern as in temples from 500 BC and earlier? buddhist caves from 200 BC? temples from 300AD? temples from 700 AD? temples from 1300AD? temples from 1600AD?
    6 – agree
    7 – agree in principle

    the key point I see is that we must understand and respect Indic belligerence when it comes to protecting its turf. India is solely the world’s only ancient living civilization purely because of this “insane” obsession to defend its beliefs and its icons. Islamic rulers and later Christians and now liberals have attacked these icons with the hope of putting an end to this unbroken continuity.

    If this continuity is to be broken – and Indic icons and the ideas that they once represented are going down – they won’t do down without a fight.

    Ayodhya remains at the center of this fight.

  14. Jindal
    September 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    The root cause of human suffering is religion — The mini-Buddha in me.

  15. September 29, 2010 at 7:29 am

    harish :

    Anuraag Sanghi :

    Aren’t your fears of Islamic terror rather exaggerated? Aren’t you complicating the abuse of some confused minds?

    Most people are confused. The point here is you seem to not recognize the Islamic ideology. By ignoring its barbaric history and current trends to you seem to be ignoring the nature and purpose of Islam. There is a reason why they live and die by the sword.

    Not just Islamic ideology – but the entire Desert Bloc ideology. Are you saying, that the record of the Christian West is any better!

    India’s terrorism problems has its roots in the support of Pakistan by the West. Not Pakistan alone, by itself.

  16. samadhyayi
    September 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    muslims are being attacked for the last 70 years. why wouldnt they fight back. but arab muslims are enjoying while iraqi , afghan , pakistani muslims are suffering. indian muslims are the safest. they are enjoying more freedom than in any part of the world. most indian muslims are of indian blood. they have a lot of indianness in them. all desert bloc are evil. they crucified christ. what more proof is necessary. if christ was there in india would we have crucified him . never.

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