Who were the terrorists that sruck Mumbai ?

So who who were these people ? who are these people that we so easily brand as fanatics and terrorists, or muslim extremists ? It is so easy to hide behind ‘isms’ and tribalism. I saw only one picture of a young man that looked barely 19 years old. He looked like a boy who I would expect to see in college in Mumbai. I put myself in his shoes – and at 19 I was barely discovering the meanings of my life and was spending most of my time coming to terms with myself. What motivated this young man to come out with an AK 47 and a few hand grenades and kill innocent people indiscriminately ? Its easy to write someone off as a muslim extremists and fundamentalist. That is usually a mind that is looking for simplicity and easy answers. Unfortunately that is exactly the mind itself falls prey to fundamentalism, of any kind.
The search for simplicity and the inability to look at life in it’s complexity is often mistaken for the search for purity. It is not. Purity is far more deep and far more complex than simplicity and can only be arrived at through compassion. I am not saying we should be soft on terrorism. I am trying to fathom it.
The world is in turmoil. We cant just write of everything as fundamentalism. We need to understand why it happens, and strike at the root cause. The root cause cannot be Islam itself. It is the deviant expression of a religion that leads to such acts of barbarity. Such barbarity was prevalent even in Christianity n the dark ages – just look at the horrendous stories of the crusades and the Spanish inquisition. It has occurred often in Hinduism too.
What goes on in the mind of a 19 year old when he decides to kill innocent people indiscriminately ? Knowing that he will probably die doing this himself ?

27 Responses to “Who were the terrorists that sruck Mumbai ?”

  1. Himanshu says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    What I see is a young guy who has been totally brainwashed – I think he may have been recuited when he was 16 and brainwashed for 2-3 yrs and told that giving his life for Jihad was his mission so it is definitely extremish – to go through international waters with guns/grenades in full knowledge that you may be killed the same night requires complete fanaticism, but the real problem is the sponsorers who sit across the border and they feel that such acts will destabalize a very powerful country like ours. Like Deepak said on CNN last night we need the middle east to account for where the petro dollars are going – are they being used to support these groups and bring these countries to the table, let the moderates say that we don’t support these groups and that they’ll themselves act against them. That will solve not just the problem for India but for all the countries in the entire region and the majority of attacks all over the world.
    Best Regards,
    Himanshu

  2. AJ says:

    Thursday, November 27, 2008 1400 PST
    Prayers and Peace Prayers in Sunnyvale
    Peace, Peace Peace
    Mumbai and India whole world stand with You
    Shameless attacks are on Humanity
    Very existence of humanity is challenged.
    Let us all stand together to eradicate this evil terrorism.

  3. Aakarsh says:

    it sounds cliche but it is indeed a profound fact that Criminals are not born, they are made. What made him turn into a terrorist? Every question of this nature has only two answers – Injustice and Education. Some injustice he might have witnessed or experienced or been exposed to, coupled with lack of proper education…and education which is not about textbooks..but that education which builds a character, instils the value of truth..that education which lends a sense of rational thinking to a mind.. Individuals lacking such kind of education when see injustice..turn into criminals or fall prey to criminals who nurture them.
    And injustice and lack of education, both stem from Bad governance. So..t we think is an effect is actually a cause..and they both meld well, these days, leaving us to wonder about and search for solutions. My only ray of hope, lies in grooming individuals of strong character,by imparting proper education.

  4. Dev says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    My heart goes out to all those innocent people killed by this barbaric act of humanity. May God give their loved ones strength to go through this ordeal.
    I completely agree with your post above and I have been saying the same thing whenever there is a discussion on the issue of terrorism in India or elsehwere.
    Everytime such a thing happens, rather than looking for easy answers and blaming squarely on one group or another, we need to look deep and trouble ourselves till we get very honest and objective about the whole thing. It is easy to be swayed by emotions when our own country and our own people get killed or are affected, but that wont solve a thing. We have to ask why and why, again and again..like anything else, unless we go down to the root of the problem, any half baked or emotionally charged solution will only take us further down in this mess. Also, we have to be very careful about the mumbo jumbo forced upon us by media and by countless opinions of all and sundry.
    Regards
    Dev

  5. AJ says:

    Everyone,
    Please join us in our peace efforts …
    Updates at http://www.upana.org/911mumbaiindiaworldneedspeace

  6. Annika Stödberg says:

    The whole world is once again chocked, and so sad..
    It is too complicated..and impossible to understand….
    I have nothing smart to say..
    I just want to send my love and thoughts to the people in Mumbai
    Annika Stödberg, Stockholm,Sweden

  7. RajuK says:

    I am myself constantly trying to understand this.
    1) These 19 year-olds could have been brain-washed. In fact, in any army, many soldiers are brain-washed to “kill-kill-kill”. Killing does not come naturally to ordinary soldiers.
    2) So the question is, what motivates these brain-washers? A sense of injustice (rightly or wrongly) felt. They find brain-washing young 19 year-olds as an easy way out.
    Sure, life is unjust. M.K. Gandhi fought injustice by peace, but did the British leave India because of M. K. Gandhi, or the Indian Army created by Subhash Chandra Bose, or a combination of the two?
    The way we are going, I think a nuclear war is imminent, then radiation may kill half the world’s population, then the world will come to it’s senses for about then next 100 years or so, till it is forgotten. After that, history repeats itself.
    What are the chances that a mad world leader with a terminal illness and an atomic bomb, will decide to order his brain-washed 19 year olds to use that bomb?
    Or we find Mars or a new galaxy inhabitable, and migrate over there. Suddenly, the world will seem small to the material minded people, and we may live happily for the next 1000 years. People won’t fight over galaxies, since there will be plenty to pick. Or even then, to keep up with the Jones, people will kill each other for percieved prized galaxies?

  8. Sheetal says:

    I agree to Himanshu’s views. Totally brainwashed. I mean how do you think they would do such otherwise. There are various views from the Indian blogosphere and some of them provide fresh perspectives. A site called blogadda.com has provided some bloggers who are blogging live. http://tr.im/1k9a

  9. Gagan says:

    Dear Shekhar
    Trying to understand the reasons, why anyone would indulge in such horrific crime, should not take precedence over equipping our country with necessary preparation to protect itself, and to deal with such situations swiftly and efficiently .
    Anyone can rationalize their acts, by providing any number of reasons. We all have different perspective and also different perceptions for same situation. You cannot change the thinking of mind in one day, it would have taken years or rather decades of hateful thinking to make such violent mind.
    But whatever may be the reasons, we should make every possible effort to protect ourselves, and make not only antiterror task force, but invest in building strong intelligence service, educate and spread awareness among people. In the end focus of family who lose their members, is not on the one who killed, but on who gets killed.

  10. “Hatred & Rigidity” must be going on in the mind of 19 year old, I guess.
    LOVE – The solution ?
    Is it too late ?
    May be, May be not.

  11. Dara says:

    Instead of the people we saw on TV please try and look for those that trained and equipped them. Thats where we may find answers to the questions everyone is struggling with.
    I think most people never did blame Islam. Most of us know, Islam is being misused to motivate gullible youngsters and produce foot soldiers. I think we are doing Muslims a grave injustice by not emphasising the huge gap that exists between the mainstream Muslim and their lunatic fringe.

  12. Neeta says:

    A mind that kills has been fed a regular diet of violence and the only language taught to it are to live and die violently. It has not been opened to the light of any spiritual knowledge.
    We have been fortunate enough to have an upbringing free from discrimination and the opportunity to explore life and world ideas as we would. Many are not. They are trapped young, their free spirit stunted by false fanaticism and before they can ask why? they end up taking a giant leap into darkness.

  13. James Phelan says:

    In my mind the root cause is a lack of empathy. We need a collective shift of consciousness.
    If we cared for and about one another, if we really understood, supported, and listened to one-another, if we recognised we are all here sharing the same life, then we could achieve something closer to harmony.

  14. North says:

    Dear Shekhar; my mind is so boggled by this; my heart is in painful anxiety with disbelief at so much horror, death and destruction in India’s beautiful city!! And.. for what? for what? There is NO reason good enough to warrant this form of terror!!
    Sending prayers of peace and healing to all in Mumbai. May God’s love, comfort all whom are in mourning; and May Swift Healing prevail for those wounded and injured in body, mind or spirit!
    And May those whom carry hatred and death in their heart, mind or spirit; be given an epiphany of “truth and realization” of loving peace, and lay down their arms of war forever.
    donna doreen/aka-north

  15. Horst Vollmann says:

    Dear Shekhar:
    There was a time when I felt that bringing greater economic justice to the countries of the third world or countries with struggling economies, of allowing its citizens to live a life of dignity, without hunger and fear of the tomorrow, it would make the soil less fertile upon which anger, resentment and hatred grows. I thought that if the distribution of material wealth were to be more equitable and if the common man were to be given the opportunity to live more meaningful lives there would be a diminishing incentive to become a terrorist and throw one’s life away in the name of a cause they only vaguely comprehend. I am not so sure anymore if that would in fact stop that 19 year old.
    Of course, we have not yet made any noticeable progress in seriously bringing economic relief to those whose minds are susceptible. But I don’t believe it would make any difference as long as there are more sinister forces at work. Young minds are being poisoned and groomed to commit ghastly acts by the dispensers of hatred. They have somehow managed to penetrate the heart and soul of the vulnerable under the pretense that their acts would right the wrong and would forever bring them salvation when in reality they are only interested to further their own terrible agenda that has its roots in the dark and ancient aisles of intolerance, hatred and barbarism. It will probably be very difficult to find them but we can start to educate those who are an easy mark for these propagators and make them more resistant to these whisperings. Force against them will only beget more violence and will make it that much easier for the hidden persuaders to find new recruits.
    We are fighting an invisible enemy who cannot be conquered with the conventional weapons of warfare, we have to think of something vastly more subtle and have to curb the rhetoric of threats. We must infiltrate their ranks and recognize and resist the beginnings early on. It is too late to employ medicine when the evil has already grown strong.
    With best regards.
    Horst

  16. North says:

    You asked what goes on in the mind of a 19yr. old whom would carry death to so many? and for what reason?
    I can tell you a few reasons “how” such young men are “made, molded and formed” as extremist soldiers of war, corruption and greed!
    These are boys kidnapped, tortured, starved and brainwashed. They are rarely willing participants. They are often kidnapped or sold to slaveries by their own families whom may have been desperately poor, lots of children,thinking they sold thier son to a rich farmer. they never hear from their sons… again. Until perhaps their picture is flashed on tv as a “terrorist.”
    What other ways are killers created? Oh yes, boys tortured mentally, emotionally, physically by their fathers, uncles and older brothers if they do not conform to “idealisms” which befit their cultural background. Once again.. the boys are firstly, a victim, then they are reborn as trained killers.
    It is the oldest story of world wars, corruption and greed.
    Poverty is also a root-cause and reason for poor boys, men to “have to choose death by starvation, or death by insanity?”
    It all breaks my heart; because poverty and greed, manifests the wound of humankind!!
    donna doreen/north

  17. rema says:

    Hi Shekhar,
    just came upon your blog. So shocked and saddened to hear about the Mumbai tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Mumbai and with everyone in India. The destruction of lives of innocent people is beyond understanding. No religion preaches violence. Maybe we can start peace talks/peace practice at homes, in schools and colleges in churches and temples, and in political spaces.

  18. mitra says:

    misguided childhood, lack of love from pepole around like teachers, parents,complexities in life,early adulthood and many many related problems building chain of cause and effects to it

  19. Deepshikha says:

    Pakistan and its tribal belts are so easily being branded as the terror hub of the world. By statistics it may be true but that does not explain how finely dressed, modern looking young boys are motivated into doing such heinous crimes. It is not religious fanatics alone — it has something else to it — It could be the years of suppression, the years of being treated with doubt, contempt and disgust which has grown so deep into the minds of a mid sized section of every religion. And then these people target soft and vulnerable minds and talk them into believing that revenge, bloodshed and extremism is the answer. They perhaps influence the young in such a manner that they are made to believe that this is what they are destined to do – this is their mission for a bigger cause of wellbeing of their own people. I cant totally blame them for falling prey to these cruel people till the time I am confident that we as individuals respect and show tolerance towards people who have a different belief system. We have to give the young minds a world where they see things are not as described by the fanatic religious leaders. Till the time there is no acceptance and compassion, there will be no solution. Take a poll amongst the Hindus you interact with, you will be surprised to see how many of them totally hate the Muslim community at large. Do a reverse poll and surprisingly the results are not same. Then consider that fact that in India there are far more non-Muslims than Muslims. And we all know how a Muslim is treated by the common janta and the state institutions of this nation.
    The argument and business of tit for tat can go on for centuries and these crimes will never stop. But who solves the problem? Each of us and our political system. Each of us should respect and kindly tolerate people of other religions and beliefs. Each of us should have an open mind and not let others influence us easily — there is no better knowledge than the knowledge gained by thorough analysis and by a sound and open mind. Each of us should be aware of what is happening to our tax money. Each of us must stand up to the rights of our men in the defense and police. Each of us must protest and make the government treat the protectors of this nation with respect — allow them good salaries, trainings etc. Lastly and most importantly Each of us should elect leaders based on skills and competence and not based on religion and community. If our leaders are good then we will be good.

  20. austere says:

    Brainwashed. And so well trained.
    This is NOT the lumpen, without opportunity or education.
    The extent of local support is what I find disgusting.
    A betrayal.
    I may be simplistic, but I’m entitled to hold and express an opinion, you may delete this if you so wish.

  21. Rashmi says:

    Its truly heartbreaking to see whats happening in Mumbai, how can intelligence fail so miserably, who are these people, what do they hope to achieve out of this…crazy
    God grant us all peace and sense in this mad, weary world !

  22. Chaitali says:

    Exactly how I feel. No soft corner for the kid, ya he is a kid, but imagine, how and why he reached a state to do something so inhuman.
    World Peace Rally on the Marine Drive promenade.
    By Indian Citizens.
    All those who are in Mumbai do come and invite all those who can come.

  23. Yuva says:

    Very insightful length article, gives interesting views & ideas.
    How to defeat terrorism
    http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/kuipers/opinions/defeating-terrorism.html

  24. koizen says:

    Your opinion actually makes one think of socialism.
    Who are these 20 something terrorist? who are these who install fear
    But why cannot we blatantly ask Who is behind this? Who are the groups who are not comfortable in their skin, conscience and souls trying to destroy India?
    Who is playing with tender minds? Who is giving those 20 somethings false mission to die for? And Why do they listen? How are they motivated for being a martyr?
    Another thing is we are objective in a way that we just watch TV and SMS Call our people in Mumbai if they are safe but I am unable to come to terms with my thinking about those 100 odd victims and 300 odd injured people as to what kind of fear and hatred they and their family will have.

  25. Rajesh says:

    This is just the prenup of the coming new civilisation..I wouldnt bet for getting anything better…Do you?…this is war people…
    This is the mistake we make..things will improve and this positivity about life is what makes us complacent and an easy target…
    Sorry to say..but expect the worse..save yourself and your loved ones….We are on a tipping point

  26. viji says:

    Well..just one question asked ..
    if we would be discussing on justified reasons for these kind of attacks if we had lost a loved one in these attacks ..NO WAY !
    We would not be able to forgive what has happened if it were your /mine husband ya children …
    No ones knows what they achieve by doing this ?
    killin innocent lives ..No amount of justification would do after you take away lives .
    19/20 -People are grown up enough to understand what they are doing in life !!!

  27. Ram says:

    Am very impressed by the movie Wednesday which shows how one individual can take things into his hands and terminates four terrorists. The scene showing the scared terrorist saying why he should live for this ’cause’ to delivery more killing tells it all. All these brain-washers are basically not invisible folks – they are real individuals who can identified, tracked and hunted down. If this govt doesnt do it, then soon individuals will be taking this into their hands like the movie’s protagonist.

Leave a Reply