Now that we have terror everywhere, it makes sense to consult the dictionary to understand what the actual meaning of the word is. The Merriam-Webster's online dictionary has this to say:
1 : a state of intense fear
2 a: one that inspires fear : scourge
b: a frightening aspect
c: a cause of anxiety : worry
d: an appalling person or thing
Looking at this definition, the perpetrators of the horrific Mumbai carnage were not terrorists to the UPA government as it was neither fear inspiring - given that Rahul Gandhi, the heir-apparent, partied all night when commandos were still engaged at the Taj. It was neither appalling nor a cause of anxiety. Apparently, our honourable PM did not lose sleep over this as much as he lost over the condition of a mother of a bomber. Even if the nation was terrorized, the UPA government was probably not.
However, the current event is terror inspiring to the UPA. Abdul Rahman Antulay is a terror not only to his party comrades, but also to his co-religionists and all Indians.
By his parrot-like repetition of an ill-conceived conspiracy theory the likes of which are often repeated (recall the canard of a CIA-Zionist plot of 9/11 that is claimed as gospel truth in a large part of the Muslim world), Abdul Rahman might have endeared himself to Islamist fanatics and the sensationalizing aspect of Pakistani media - but has become a political hot potato now.
His wayward comment about Karkare's death not being at the hands of terrorists is not only irresponsible but also downright malicious. In an exercise that Goebbels would have been proud of, a Pakistani channel and Abdul Rahman mutually reinforced one another. Now each will have the other's word as evidence. How convenient!
If we look back at the events that transpired, we had a few people, incidentally Hindus, investigated in the Malegaon blasts. The fact that the Indian media took this up with undisguised glee and projected this as the Hindu counterpart of the global threat of Islamic terrorism is indeed deplorable.
When the Mumbai events unfolded, the world saw the unprecedented horror occurring before it. Even so, Somini Sengupta in the New York Times in her report of the Mumbai events had to have a footnote on "Hindu Terrorism" - which, even if this Sadhvi character is proved to have committed, would amount to less than a drop in the whole Arabian sea.
I read somewhere that India now is a dubious statistic of being the second worst terror-affected country after Iraq (which is under civil war!) in the last five years. How much of this loss is due to "Hindu" terror?
When I read Somini Sengupta's piece that mentioned this "Hindu" terror in the same piece in her Mumbai report - as the events were transpiring - I squirmed in my seat. What blatantly misleading information was being fed here! Luckily, due to more sensible media houses in the west - who were on the ground and not dependent on their Indian agencies, the extent of the damage as well as clear information on the origin of the perpetrators was conveyed to the world.
The public has a short term memory. Three weeks later, people are just normal - of course - we don't want people to continue to be terrorized. Politicians are back to their quibbling ways. However, several common people have been really shaken by the events and they are taking to the streets in protest.
There are welcome changes occurring too - though I don't know how many of these will be effective in the long run. The first one is the refusal of the Waqf body to conduct an Islamic burial for the slain terrorists. Till now, all slain terrorists, be it in Akshardham or in J&K were apparently handed over to some Islamic body which would then bury them in Indian soil. Now this will not happen. I am so glad that the Muslim community has come out in strong protest.
The second one - in smaller measure - is the red gun salute given by Naxalites in memory of the Mumbai victims. This was unprecedented. If the trained Naxalites were to fight the LeT-types... I continue to dream.
The third one is the support - diplomatic and logistic - that India is getting (finally!) from the US, UK and Israel. Not that this was not done earlier - but there is a feeling of increased solidarity against terror.
Fourth, new guidelines about crisis coverage have been instituted by the news broadcast association. This should hopefully trickle down to lessened sensationalism in other spheres as well.
Fifth, a national body to counter terror, curiously labeled NIA (they liked the CIA acronym?) has been set up. This should hopefully increase intelligence dissemination among government agencies.
Coming back to Antulay and the UPA, I would at least hope that the UPA has enough sense to boot him out of the party and make him a political pariah. But this could be a double-game by the UPA. By retaining Antulay, it can retain the vote bank of insecure minorities while pandering to the majority at large by effecting ineffective changes such as mere legislations and ministerial resignations. Why am I such a cynic?
Whatever happens, I hope the haunting images of smoke billowing out of the Taj and of that gun-toting criminal walking through the CST looking for his next kill never fail to awaken righteous indignation amongst all Indians.