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A tale of two Indias: Of Burhan Wani, the terrorist and Yash Vyas, the survivor

'Witnessed atrocities' is often an argument given to justify terrorists picking up arms, but for every one terrorist who does it, there are hundreds of Yash Vyas who choose pen.

These days, narratives are being set in order to amass material and socio-political gains. Ways of patience and confidence in formal and conventional forms of justice appear to have no place. Stories of faith and resilience find no place in the mainstream channels of media, who claim to be the champions of penetrative reach and influenced by liberal values in the society.

Similar is the story of Yash Vyas, who did not find any place in the headlines that emanate from the plush recliners of a thousand-square-foot office in any major metropolis. People and the media rush to praise stories of terrorists like Burhan Wani, but fail to appreciate the anguish and tenacity of Yash Vyas, who opted not to use an AK 47 to revenge the horrific deaths of his family members, but chose to be patient with the judicial system and instead chose to educate himself to act for the greater good.

Yash Vyas is one of the survivors of 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts. Speaking to OpIndia after the recent conviction and subsequent sentencing of perpetrators, Yash recalled the incident and said, “my brother was standing with the cycle and he was burnt beyond recognition”. Mainstream media has been silent on the survivors.

On the other hand, we have terrorists like Burhan Wani, who was eliminated by the Indian security forces on charges of terrorism in 2016. He was labeled as a hero and a martyr by leaders and people across the length and the breadth of this nation.

Wani was championed as the son of a school teacher, a freedom fighter, a leader of mass, and whatnot. People defended him, claiming that this is due to a lack of opportunity, which causes grownups to become frustrated and angry. However, it is important to highlight that these individuals overlook the possibilities and chances that the Indian state provides on a big scale to states like Jammu and Kashmir in order to improve the lives of its citizens. Especially for youths of Kashmir, the central government provides scholarships of up to Rs 3 lakhs, that is far more than any young person like Yash would have got for his studies!

All acts of utter cruelty by these fanatic culprits are attributed as revenge of some kind of injustice to them by people and the media but the grief which instead pushes people like Yash to pursue a life well informed and a commitment to larger welfare finds no endorsement.

It is notable how, media outlets like The Quint, who claim to be the actual flag bearers of liberty, have portrayed terrorists like Osama Bin Laden magnanimous and great saints like Swami Vivekananda as an ordinary “cigar-smoking monk”! How disgusting this is that a saint who taught this world the principles of inclusion and tolerance is portrayed on a dimmer pedestal in comparison to a terrorist whose deeds shook the entire world and devoured the lives of thousands of people. Osama is portrayed as a husband on the other side but Swami Vivekananda, just a low-profile monk who used to smoke.

Films are being created on such evil individuals, and they are depicted as protagonists or some sort of hero who battles for the rights of people who no one knows about! Abdul Lateef, a bootlegger, who was a terrorist who supplied the explosives in the 1993 Mumbai Bomb Blasts, found a place in a Shahrukh Khan starrer multi-crore movie Raees, but Dr. Malvika Iyer, who lost both of her hands in a gruesome bomb blast at the age of 13, paved her way to this world on her own and nobody came to make a movie on her.

Malvika did not choose to sit in bed and cry about her situation as an injustice to her, rather she decided to stand for herself and be a ray of hope to millions of people around the globe. Neither Yash decided to plan revenge and get those dastardly terrorists killed by him. What they both, and thousands of people unlike Osama Bin Laden, Burhan Wani, and Abdul Lateef, choose is a life of content, satisfaction, and acceptance.

Yash, who is pursuing BSc has plans to go for further studies. He saw his brother and father perish in front of him but he did not lose hope. The sympathizers and apologists for people like Burhan Wani should come and see what Yash has faced in his life. They must be made to discern that their definition of injustice and oppression differs significantly from the true definitions. What they find unjust is simply their version of victimhood repackaged in a new cover to further their cause of preferential treatment and separatism, which has no foundation.

It’s debilitating to learn that groups like Jamiat Ulema-e-hind are defending the convicted terrorists in the Ahmedabad Bomb Blast case. This is nothing more than an endorsement of such horrific atrocities. Voices of resilience like Yash Vyas will go unnoticed as long as groups, whether media or civil society, continue to humanise, whitewash and glorify persons like Burhan Wani.

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Aristotelian and Platonic simultaneously.

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