BOSTON BOMBINGS: Yet Another Set of Questions

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A tragedy of any nature invokes remorse from those involved, sympathy from the onlookers, a rueful shake of the head from the elders, shock and confoundedness from the younger ones, but one thing that a tragedy gives rise to invariably is, “questions.” And it’s the answers to these questions that can alone extend a glimpse of closure in the aftermath of a catastrophic loss.

On the unfortunate day of April 15th when I first heard about the Boston Marathon bombings, almost reflexively a myriad of questions swarmed my heart and mind. All of which were like ricochets of bullets fired decades ago and repeatedly ever since.

When are civilians going to stop being the biggest casualty of almost every political, religious and territorial skirmish? Why is it that the ends these devastating measures are endeavoring to achieve have nothing to do with the actual victims? How come today politics and religion have risen higher above humanity and become “the greater good”?

Hailing from a country like India, which is “secular” on paper I still see it battling its internal conflicts both political and religious since it procured its freedom

Hindus, Muslims, Silkhs, Christians—India is a land of cultures and faiths and yet there are bombings and attacks that have absolutely nothing to do with the Muslim man who died the very same moment as a Hindu two-year old toddler in the mass bombing of 2008 in Bombay.

Whom does one implore to? Who does one bow before? Is there any meaning left to mankind when ruthless acts of terrorism and savage violence incur on the society the greatest suffering known to earth, all under the veil of political and religious fabric?

To a cynic’s eye like mine, every political action appears to be either mercenary or militant by default. I have never construed the answers that politicians proffer in the aftermath of national disasters such as the recent one in Boston.

The perpetrators, one still a minor, didn’t make me feel threatened when I looked at their pictures in the newspaper. I didn’t feel a chill run down my spine or the hairs at the back of my neck stand up. All I saw was a pair of young men looking into the camera just like the umpteen times I may have in my life.

But they were more dangerous than the bombs they detonated. They were bearers of fate, fate of a hundred and eighty people who were severely injured, and fate of those three individuals who lost their lives.

What irks me the most is the fact that almost instantaneously the government makes this a cockfight between the Republicans and the Administration over why the older perpetrator wasn’t kept tabs on for the last two years.

In the face of a catastrophe, how does political stance and religious preference hold any significance? Is life only as long as a political career or as influential as a faith? Is there no other connotation of life?

I am aware of the fact that religion and politics form the matrix of the modern society, but maybe for a skeptic like me, they are also those viruses that are making human beings social invalids who either need to be conformists or revolutionists in order to sustain.

Every nation weathers a blow as harsh as this one through its own way and in its own time. India is like a multicultural caravan that stops for nothing and doesn’t break between its song even for a breath of air. Every predicament, disaster and tragedy, no matter how grave, is met with a staunch wall of “Unity in Diversity” which is one aspect of India that I am proud of.

I hope even here, my second home, people find the courage within themselves to hold each other’s hand and construct a protective wall that shields us from pernicious attempts of wrong-doers to infiltrate this wall of unity and trust. There’s no bigger solace than solidarity.



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BOSTON BOMBINGS: Yet Another Set of Questions