Bakunin In Bombay – Part I

In India on December 3, 2008 at 3:42 am

We have just come to the end of a long and bloody siege in which the city of Bombay was held by a small group of terrorists for several days.  These attacks have shown us how vulnerable India is despite having suffered terrorism for over three decades.  None of the “counter-measures” have worked.

Despite having a history that stretches back nearly to the beginning of recorded time, Indians are not a people with a sense of history.  And because Indians are not a people with a sense of history, all of this horror will be forgotten in a few weeks or months.  Headlines will proclaim that Indians are among the most optimistic in the world and people will wonder when India will become a “superpower.”  The task of self-congratulatory forgetting has already started.  What is forgotten is that India had senseless violence even before reforms allowed a limited progress.  That the terror is also homegrown and joins the richest states such as Gujarat, Punjab and Maharastra to the poorest such as Orissa.

There will be more violence and people will repeat cliches – sometimes asking for resilience, sometimes for anger, without fully knowing the reason for either.  Individual rights, already so rare, will continue to leak away.  Laws that violate every right which should be inalienable will be passed by politicians of every stripe.  Whichever majority (or minority) elected them will respond that government knows best.

This is scarcely a projection of the future because it is only a recounting of the past – a past which like the teachings of Indian philosophy repeats itself in endless circles.

Not that Indians are a people with a sense of philosophy.  India does have an ancient philosophical tradition but the dominant part renders critical thinking and reasoning useless because it teaches that events are predetermined and written somewhere other than the world we live in.  That man’s life is bound by destiny.  That whatever happens was meant to happen according to some plan.  There is in India no existing philosophical tradition that shows people how to live in reality without turning to the supernatural or giving up and turning inward to avoid desperation.

Given the lack of historical and philosophical sense it is not surprising that India, reeling under terrorist attacks today, has actually supported terrorists for most of it’s history as a political entity.  This is what was done when India supported the U.S.S.R. even as that country created terror inside and outside it’s borders.  India was the first non Arab country to support the P.L.O.  Now the birds India helped set free have come home to roost.

That is the existential problem.

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