Sunday, July 27, 2008

India is at war

First Jaipur, then Bangalore and now Ahmedabad. Whether we realize it or not, India is at war. This low-intensity war has been forced on it by its neighboring countries, who run training camps for young Indian Muslims on their territories as well as providing logistic and financial support to the terrorist cells working within the country.

India ranks among the world's most terrorism affected countries . Sure, we haven't had our 9/11 yet, but it is just a matter of time. The low-intesity warfare that is being carried out across the country since the nineties has bled and deprived India of vital economic and human growth.

And what is India doing about it? Not much, if we go by the results. India needs to have its own Department of Homeland Security with similar powers, if it seriously intends to combat home-grown terrorism. There is a need to retrain the demoralized police force, which, most of the time is unproductively deployed in guarding dignitaries and such other mundane duties. There is also a need to develop avenues for gathering intelligence as well as revamping forensic laboratories.

But all of those will just remain cosmetic gestures until the root problem is tackled. There is a pressing need for reforms to be carried out so as to bring young Muslims into the mainstream of Indian society. No other strategy can work as effectively as making them equal partners and stakeholders in India's progress and march towards prosperity. I sincerely hope that our politicians stop utilizing Muslims just as vote-banks and start working towards integrating them as full citizens into contemporary Indian society.

I would like to give an example here. I spent three years studying at a technical college in Agra. And during those three years, I did not come across a single Muslim student there.

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