Sowing Division, Reaping Unity

Back in 2006, after the Malegon bombings, I was struck by the defiant attitude of the locals who refused to divide themselves along religious lines, as the terrorists obviously intended.

Mumbaikars kept back from the scene of devastation, Colaba. Photo by Vinu.
Mumbaikars kept back from the scene of devastation, Colaba. Photo by Vinu.

Whoever these terrorists in Mumbai turn out to be, its clear that they are trying to sow division and hatred in a country of many cultures.  The fear is that Hindu will now turn against Muslim, and India will now turn against Pakistan.  This is certainly what the cynics expect.

I am hopeful, however.  Back in 2006, after the Malegon bombings, I was struck by the defiant attitude of the locals who refused to divide themselves along religious lines, as the terrorists (in that case, militant Hindus attacking Muslims) intended.

There is a lot of cynicism about the over-use of the word ‘Hope’, and about the potential of digital technologies to help create a genuinely new politics.  I think this atrocity, terrible though it is, presents an opprtunity to put these optimistic sentiments to practical purpose.  What is needed is a grass-roots response to the current crisis, similar to the We Are Not Afraid phenomenon, which wrestles the narrative away from a divisive blame-game.  Its a way in which advocates of peace, those who recognise our common humanity, can win another PR victory against these vicious ideologues.

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