How political religion uses terror to its advantage

And the easy way to block freedom of speech in India

Amardeep Singh’s astute analysis of the on the terrorist attacks on New Delhi cinemas.

For me today, then the bombs aren’t the issue so much as the irresponsibility of the SGPC’s campaign against a film that, in the bigger picture, did not constitute a threat to Sikhism or the Sikh community. The SGPC seems increasingly like an organization desperate for direction, now that their established enemies — the Congress Party, the Nehru family, the Indian Army’s counter-terrorist measures in Punjab — have either dwindled or transformed. In an era when the Prime Minister is himself a practicing, if secular, Sikh, Sikh organizations in India can no longer claim exclusion or discrimination. They have as a result chosen to mimic the world-wide rhetoric of religious outrage, exemplified in India by the RSS and by conservative Muslim groups. The rhetoric of outrage is, it seems, the primary way in which religious leaders — around the world, and in every major religious community — attempt to make themselves relevant to modernity.

Sad to say, this turn to the Politics of Censorship will probably work for the SGPC. The fact that the SGPC’s (unsuccessful) campaign against the film was followed by bombings — awfully convenient, isn’t it? — means that the future campaigns they undertake, no matter how frivolous, will have to be taken seriously. What’s more, the bombing will appear to many followers and potential followers as hard evidence of the influence and strength of the SGPC. Terrorism works.

Insofar as no one can publicly challenge the drift towards fundamentalism amongst — seemingly — the leadership of all the major religious groups, we are in for more misdirected outrage, more censorship, and yes, more religious violence. It is the surest way to political power. [Amardeep Singh hyperlinks added]


7 thoughts on “How political religion uses terror to its advantage”

  1. Pingback: The 3rd world view
  2. Before you accuse someone of doing mischief and draw your own conclusions, first you need to identify the people behind the bombing. May be someone who wants to turn down SGPC is doing this. Or may be Amardeep Singh was behind the bombing – just to write a piece like this. Who knows! My point is, may be SGPC is responsible, but you have to find the culprits first.

    In Bangladesh, we have dealt with many bombings. We accuse each other of doing so. The truth is: we don’t know a thing (except some recent bomb blasts). We don’t have the tiniest possible clue to accuse each other. But, still we are doing so only to denounce the opponent politically. I guess you are doing the same thing, too!

  3. Wamy,

    While the exact culprits are yet to be apprehended, Amardeep’s point was that SGPC’s stand led to a situation where it cannot escape the blame (and the benefits).

    Btw, personally I’m reasonably sure that Amardeep Singh is not behind this bombing 🙂

  4. Agree with the Amardeep Singh’s overall point.

    We would argue though that it isn’t the “leadership” of major religions that’s embraced fundamentalism; rather, it’s that the leadership of major religions is open to be grabbed, and the fundamentalists seem to have made the first moves. This does not mean, however, that we should cede to fundamentalists their claim on leadership.

    The saner elements need to confront these pretenders to leadership and wrest back their respective faiths from their fundamentalist clutches.

  5. Dr. Singh brings his postcolonial chums into disrepute by his over agressive use of hyperbole with no facts or basis. Is this where the postmodern desis have ended or just a bad example of someone desperate for legitimacy?

    The good prof’s works are boring, over-rated and egotistical, but accepted because he plays his sikh card well. Indian when it suits otherwise anti-indian ‘south asian’…..

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