Hate the sin, not the sinner. Gandhi used to say this. Jesus used to say this too. If you try analyzing what this sentence means, you might appreciate its significance.
It was past ten in the night. I got down from bus. I started walking towards home, very close to the bus-stop. Tired, dreamy, limping. I walked. I saw.
I saw a TV today van parked on the road. The inside lights were on. The van had a big transmitting antennae on its roof. Someone was there to cover something; so close to my cousin’s place. The place where I have been staying in Bangalore. What could the event be? I wondered. I peeked inside the van-window. It had the kind of gadgets that one typically finds at a regular recording studio. The van was a recording studio. A mobile recording studio.
As I passed by the van, I saw yet another vehicle-with-antennae-on-roof parked on a connecting side-lane. There was crowd there in that area. At this hour in night, I never find so many people standing outside. But yesterday wasn’t just another day. News Channels don’t send their live coverage crew to an otherwise non-happening place like this for no reason. What could the event be? I wondered.
There was hardly any noise. A dull, almost inaudible murmuring, was all that prevailed in the otherwise calm, cold and peaceful night. People were quiet. It appeared as if somebody had died. But someone so big, that media wanted to cover him/her? How could I have been so unaware of anyone so big, living so close to my place, for such a long time? And why would someone so big live in a non-posh area like this? Something just didn’t fit in.
I reached home. Guys there weren’t aware of the media vans. They were busy discussing something else. They were talking about a terrorist whose father lived so close to their house! What? A terrorist? I reported to them what I had just seen and then I was told that it was all over the news. In fact, related coverages had been all over the news since quite some time. I guess my office timings left me with very less time to be in touch with the updates. So, well, the media was there in our area to cover and question and listen to the father of one of the terrorists accused to be involved in the recent failed UK blasts.
How can one study so hard, become a doctor or an engineer and give up everything to become a terrorist? One of the guys wondered! And then he generalized; the way Hindu’s mostly do. He blamed it to him being a Muslim! Human beings love generalizing, and especially when statistics support what you say. But generalizing has a very big disadvantage. It ends up affecting all those who are supposed to fall under it. Hindus like me can conclude that he was a terrorist because he was a Muslim. Britishers might conclude that he was a terrorist because he was an Indian! And then the feeling of fear, hate, repulsion and so on and so forth emerges. Against an entire community. Against an entire nation! Not fair. Not fair at all.
The only way to prevent generalization is to start looking into finer details. Not all Muslims are the same. Not all Indians are the same. Unless and until a very specific narrow sub-category can be pointed out, one should hold down the temptation of labeling an otherwise large community as terrorists. But cummon, who has the time to do all the looking-into-finer-details job? Do you?
So far, I talked about sinners. Accused sinners to be correct. So far, everyone talked about sinners. What no one, and absolutely no one, seems to be talking about is the sin! Talk about the terrorists, hunt the terrorists, punish the terrorists. Alright! But aren’t we missing something here? Are we sure that talking-about, hunting and punishing them will solve anything at all? Jesus or Gandhi would have had something to say on this. I don’t have. Do you?
Update: Some time back today evening, I suddenly spotted today’s Bangalore edition of TOI. And the picture shown below was on the cover page.
Below is a clearer picture of the house that you see in the above newspaper clipping:
This house is on the same side-lane that I was talking about. I pass right across it daily. So the crowd that had gathered yesterday in front of this house was there to watch all the tamasha that media was there to create!
I will be crossing this side-laneÂ even today. But from now onwards, every time I walk past this side-lane(which is like within a hundred meters from where I stay), I will be reminded of a guy who lived here and then went to UK and then created terror. Eh! I guess I am thinking too much about it. Should stop doing that.