The bomb blasts in Hyderabad, India on Feb. 21 killed many and injured dozens of people.
We mourn the death of every one killed in this mayhem, and empathize with their families through special Muslim prayers. May their souls rest in peace, Om Shanti, Om Shanti, and Inna Lillahi O Innna Ilaihi ur rajeeoon (From God we come and to God we go). Every life is precious and in this context, every Indian life is sacred.
As a Muslim, I am tempted to blame bad guys among Muslims, but what good will it do to India? Deepen hatred for the Muslims? If I blame Hindus, what good will it do to India? Will it bring harmony or tear up our nation further apart?
It is a shame that we have among us, men who cannot find solutions through a dialogue and resort to violence.
What do we want as Indians? If we want a society where everyone gets along and minds his own business, then let's do things to take us there, let our language build bridges and not place wedges between the people.
It is human to seek justice. When we watch the Bollywood or Hollywood movies, the end is usually good, good wins over bad, we sigh and we feel secure. We cheer when the bad guy gets beaten, we feel good about it, not necessarily because he was beaten, but because justice prevailed. Satyameva Jayate!
It's not just the movies, but also in real life, we seek the same: justice. When 23-year-old Damini was gang raped in a New Delhi bus, the whole world stood up for justice for her, and each one of us had our own sense of justice. When 14-year-old Malala was shot, the world stood up with her as well.
Whether Malala was a Hindu, Christian or a Muslim, or Damini was Dalit, Brahman or Sikh, our outrage would have been the same, would it not? We have to continually stoke the goodness embedded in us and keep it alive.
We all seek justice and Justice is the ultimate truth in preserving trust in a given society to function cohesively and effectively. Blaming Religion will not bring the joy that we cherish in seeing the villain beat up in our movies, or a bully in the neighborhood gets beaten. It is justice that gives us relief and restores normalcy in our society.
I request that the thrill seekers in India who want to make it a Hindu and Muslim issue to consider this seriously.
The Communal Riots
During the communal riots in Jabalpur (India) in the early '60s, both Muslims and Hindus were killed in the mayhem, as it happens every time. I wish every father in India, America and elsewhere teaches this lesson to his kids. He told us the "individuals" are responsible for the bloodshed and not the religions. If we get the guy who started the conflict and punish him for disturbing peace, we would have saved so much anguish and bloodshed. He was crystal clear in his message.
My father emphasized that blaming a religion does not restore justice. He said we must blame the individuals who caused it and punish them accordingly for disturbing the peace and thus bring a resolution to the conflict by serving justice. He said you cannot annihilate, kill, hang or beat the religion, then why bark at it?
Muhammad Yunus, an Indian Muslim intellectual, suggests Muslims to offer special prayers for Hindu victims of the senseless bombing of fellow Indians, and adds, "Let this be a clarion call to both Muslims and Hindus of India to shun religious bigotry. They are racially the same lot as any genetic profiling can demonstrate and have paid very heavily in flesh and blood and possessions in riots, exodus, wars, migrations and forced evictions dating from the unholy partition of India. The peddlers of hatred must therefore be resisted by all sensible people to avoid merciless retaliatory killing of a community of innocent people be it in terror attack or communal violence. "
Let's get the bad guy, beat him up and let it end like a Bollywood movie. Does it matter who the bad guy is, what he eats, drinks, wears or believes?
The cheap thrill of blaming the religion will create more frustrations, and will not bring the relief as it would in getting the bad guy. If we blame an intangible like religion, we simply cannot kill it, bury it, hang it or beat it and bring justice. But when we lock up the bad guys, it brings relief and restores trust in the society and without any fear or protection, we can go to the malls, mosques, temples or movie houses, that are what we want and that is what we should work for.
If the trouble maker is caught, both Hindus and Muslims ought to celebrate it together regardless of what religion the bad guy professes. Get the man and keep the religion out of the equation.