India’s 29th state

Britain makes itself eligible to join the Indian Union

Forget chicken tikka masala, turbans in national cricket teams, or for that matter, auto-rickshaws. It is in matters relating to jihadi terrorism that Britain is beginning to look more and more like India.’Multiculturalism‘ is at the heart of its efforts to unite its increasingly heterogenous population. Take away the element of race and most people can’t distinguish British multiculturalism from Indian secularism. Both countries are struggling to reconcile this ideal with an intolerant interpretation of Islam that is getting radicalised and globalised at the same time.

Like India, Britain has come under attack from Islamist terrorists, ‘home-grown’ but trained, equipped, funded in Pakistan.

Again quite like in India, reports of successes against terrorists are received with scepticism—it is fashionable to suggest that these were staged by the government or the security forces to serve their own ends. Neighbours and acquaintances tell reporters how quiet, ordinary and normal the suspects are, and it must all be a terrible mistake or a motivated conspiracy, for they can’t possibly be terrorists.

And then there are those who explain away the terrorists’ motivations, citing plausible reasons calculated to exploit a vein of doubt or guilt in the public mind. It’s revenge for past wrongs, like the communal riots that took place in Bradford. Or it’s a protest against government policy—like the war in Iraq or support for the United States. Never mind the fact that terrorist attacks were planned well before the provocations they ostensibly are avenging.

Most of the time, these arguments also come from vocal advocates of civil or human rights. Their zeal for apologism causes them to ignore that that the very democracies in which these rights are enshrined are undermined if elected governments make their policy decisions out of fear of extremists and terrorists. Very often, the argument is that extremists and terrorists constitute a small minority of any community. Put the two together and the apologist argument is that national policy must be dictated or circumscribed not only by terrorists but who are also a small minority within the minority community. It’s bizarre, but it’s Britain. It’s also India.

Despite long experience, much like their Indian counterparts, British people have unrealistic expectations from their politicians. Politicians who depend on the Muslim vote are raised on the same diet—of opportunism and expediency—as the rest of their colleagues. Yet there is a general sense of surprise and outrage when they are found publicly agreeing with the apologists’ explanation of the causes of jihadi terrorism while only rejecting the violent means. Save a few honourable exceptions, the rule for political leadership in Britain, as it is in India, is to swim with the current, not against it.

Britain has long been dubbed the 51st state of the United States of America. But 59 years after it departed from India, it appears to be coming back again.

5 thoughts on “India’s 29th state”

  1. Multiculturalism itself isn’t the problem. The real issue is the inability to call a spade, a spade in an attempt to be politically correct. Having stayed in the UK, I’ve seen the cultural ghetto-ization that many Muslims there prefer. In such ghettos, it’s easy to guide pliable minds along the first steps towards extremism just by claiming to preserve the culture. If a hundred minds are ‘indoctrinated’ in this manner, at least 10-15 of them would be ready to go the distance. And of course, nipping such activity in the bud is frowned upon by people who claim to uphold civil liberties.

  2. “Again quite like in India, reports of successes against terrorists are received with scepticism—it is fashionable to suggest that these were staged by the government or the security forces to serve their own ends.”

    This bizarreness extends to US too. There are growing movements in US called “9/11 Revisited” and “9/11 for Truth” – usually extreme left wingers (mostly not so Islamic apologists) with apparent “scientific and circumstantial” proof that the US government (CIA and neocons) actually blew up the twin towers in NYC (there are google videos floating around). Why? Because they wanted to invade Iraq for oil – that oil-imperial-military industry nexus. While this adds to the conspiracy frenzy of the terror apologists, because Iraq war isn’t going well, nearly 30% of Americans believe this conspiracy!

  3. RR, while profiling may be a practical solution that limits the costs of enforcing aviation security, it can never be morally acceptable in a plural society. Political correctness does come in the way of solving hard problems, but this is one area where I would prefer that alternative solutions be found.

    Chandra, add ‘Zionism’ to the oil-imperial-military nexus. I saw some of those videos back in 2003-04 and there are also quite a few propaganda sites out there peddling those theories. There is still a lot of anti-semitism out there, and that should explain at least in part as to why a large number of people are ready to buy into the conspiracy fantasies.

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