by Justin Huggler
The message was scrawled in chalk on a brick wall in a slum outside Bandra
station, just 50 metres from where the first bomb went off in a packed
commuter train on Tuesday. "We condemn the ones who did a terrorist bomb
here," it said in English. "The culprits should be hanged to death."
It was a message from the wrong side of the tracks. As the death toll from
the Mumbai bombings was confirmed at more than 200 yesterday, suspicions
about who was responsible centred on Islamic militants. The simple message
chalked on the wall was the heartfelt response from a dirt-poor Muslim
suburb of Mumbai where the people had watched in horror as the bomb went off
and immediately rushed to help the injured.
The Mumbai bombings were more than just an attack on the India's financial
capital. It is no coincidence that India has already started referring to
the attacks as 7/11. Mumbai is India's New York, a city that, more than any
other, defines the Indian dream. Every day, hundreds of migrants from the
villages and rural hinterland arrive in Mumbai, hoping to make it big. The
city has communities from every corner of India; every caste, every ethnic
group, every religion is represented.
But it is also a city that has been riven by the Hindu-Muslim tensions that
have haunted India over the past 15 years, with a history of riots, and
bombings blamed on Muslim extremists. Whoever was behind the bombings
appears to be trying to exploit those tensions. But this time, there have
been extraordinary scenes as Mumbai's Muslims have come out in defiance to
defend the unity of the city. Muslims queued for hours to give blood for
Hindus injured in the bombings. Even the leaders of the hardline Hindu
nationalist Shiv Sena, a party rarely given to praising Muslims, said they
were "overwhelmed" by the reaction. . . .
Luke Harding, "Heart of Darkness,"
Guardian, September 15, 2003
Somini Sengupta, "Bombs
aimed at India's well-off," New York Times, July 12, 2006
Rajnish Sharma and Abhishek Sharan, "Pak's
ISI masterminded 11/7, says intelligence," Hindustan Times, July 13, 2006
[In the Muslim world, Islamism is "objectively progressive", to use Marxist
idiom. It is in the vanguard of reform and change; it argues for human
rights and democracy. But the issues in the Indian context are primarily of
the accommodation of Muslim community's interests in the national life and
the preservation of space for maintaining the community's profound cultural
India's political system based on democratic pluralism theoretically
provides space for all ethnic groups and sub-nationalities. But, in
actuality, there have been severe deficiencies in the way it functions.
. . . New Delhi should guard against the almost inevitable temptation to
view the violence in Mumbai through the prism of the "war on terror".--M K
Bhadrakumar, "The roots of
Muslim anger in India," Asia Times, July 15, 2006]
[Nor did the First Lord of the War against Terror underline a far more
crucial feature that the U.S. and India have in common: a marked propensity
for creating and sustaining enemies, through the exercise of policies that
are so misguided as to be suicidal. . . .
To spell out the scenario in the simplest terms: the more closely we ally
ourselves to the U.S. and participate in its schemes for global domination
in the 21st century, the more vulnerable we will be to attacks from its key
adversaries, namely, the forces of Salafism, otherwise described as global
jihad or, more loosely, Al Qaeda.--Ranjit Hoskote, "The
price of exclusion," Hindu, December 31, 2006]