This piece does not intend to be a rejoinder to Harinder Baweja on ”Making of a terrorist: Babri Masjid demolition triggered Azhar’s jihad”
If it was one, I would have told the author to feel a bit of shame before using the adjective audacious for a terrorist, one who sneaks through the border in dark, hoping to attack when victims are asleep and does not have the guts to face them face to face, man to man. The adjectives that are suitable are cowardly, dastardly and craven, instead.
If it was a retort, I would have asked her as to why does the phrase, “O Babri Masjid, ….. you were a sign of our glorious past and we will not rest till we restore you to your former glory” reveal the hurt cry of an invader, an erstwhile ruler whose war loot, converted into a mounted trophy, that was Babri Masjid, has been taken away by the erstwhile defeated, subjugated & ruled race and definitely not an anguished cry of a Muslim preacher whose place of worship has been demolished?
If it was a rejoinder to Baweja, I would have asked her as to whether a terrorist who exults with ecstasy when holding an AK 47 in his hand and feels that the gun was ready to talk to the enemy, dreams of falling bodies, should expect the securities agencies to shower him with rose petals after his arrest?
If it was a riposte to said piece, I could have argued that the religious strife in this part of the world did not stay frozen before 1992 as per the convenience of her logic, that the action-reaction theory does not find its origins in 1992 and everyone whose place of worship is wrecked or desecrated, does not become a terrorist either, or India would be a nation of terrorists, we had around 40000 reasons for being one, and more.
No, it is not a counter to the Harinder Baweja.
Instead, it attempts to be a tribute to the tribe of terror apologist, a salute to the undying spirit of those who try to beautify whom the world thinks as beasts and the insurmountable challenges they face while doing their task.
Believe me, defending a terrorist is no cakewalk. It is more difficult than say, even brain surgery. Let me explain.
Each time a brain is operated on the surgeon finds the cerebrum and the cerebellum in the exact same place each time. Each person’s brain is the same, regardless of sex or nationality. Each incision is made with the knowledge that precisely what lies below is going to be there. Each time.
The surgeon also has a whole battery of equipment that can be used to see through the skin and bones before the operation to help even more with the preciseness of the operation. It would be a bit more challenging for the surgeon (to say nothing about the patient) if the brain was different for each operation and there were no way to see into the brain.
The challenge for a terror apologist is much, much bigger.
While brain surgery is precise and exacting, the process of defending a terrorist is imprecise and unexacting. Where each brain is the same, each terrorist is different, with none ever the same.
Each terrorist brings his or her own level of extremism, militancy and criminality to the parlour (The objective being beautification, remember!). He may be a pathological hater, a deluded fanatic, a serial killer, a psychic criminal, a heartless slaughterer, it takes all kind, you know. Also for example, there is no way to know how the terrorist would react to a recital of his crimes, with proud confirmation or with a deceitful denial or whether he would take out his gun and shoot you! But despite all these uncertainties, apologist has to deliver the final product in the standard form; an object of pity or sympathy, even respect.
Now, let’s look at what all has to be done to hide what is ugly and make the species presentable to the world.
Typically, the defender has to first find and focus on a physical attribute or personal trait which answers to adjectives like diminutive, soft, homely or an average Joe to set the tone of brief. It lays the foundation of building up the victim narrative later.
Next come the salutation, very important aspect in the business of image laundering; very important component of beautification. A respectful salutation has the power to negate all the killing and crime committed by the subject, in the public perception.
Then comes the most important part of identifying a life changing event which is the cornerstone of the apology, the main structure of the edifice; the narrative of victimhood. It goes something like, “The diminutive Maulana, angrily stamping the ground, squashing the Indian soil with his shoes, crying and saying….” Now the structure is ready.
Then the process of softening of how acts or events are defined begins, like a process of makeup; lighten the dark spots and the blemishes. For example, an exchange against hostages becomes flight to freedom, prying on the innocent people becomes turning his attention, collecting funds for terror activities becomes procuring donations, a cowardly, audacious strike, inciting people becomes a much positive phrase of motivating them, etc. The list is long and the effort needed on the part of the apologist is immense.
In short, a terror apology needs its author to be highly accomplished to be able to pull it off a credible piece. Very challenging vocation, indeed!
What is surprising is that the literary world has not yet woken up to this genre that is neither fiction nor non-fiction, instead deserves a name and place of its own. Nor have Sahitya Academies instituted any awards in this field?
As a common man, only thing I can say is, “May their tribe thrive, forever”.