He was, I can’t say whether he will resume this again, an aspiring engineering student, his father is a doctor, though a shattered man now, and his sister is a doctor too in one of the renowned hospitals of Mumbai. Along with Areeb, three other men from more or less same backgrounds fled to Iraq to fight for the terror outfit Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), after they were persuaded by the radicalism and so-called Jihad. Isn’t this something similar to extending money to Ponzi schemes in want of unsure returns? This is however somewhat unalike because the persuaders promise these ‘heavenly returns’ not in this world, but in the lap of so-called terror-loving Almighty. Easy it is to control the mind and emotions of the youth by telling them that members of their community are being beleaguered around the world, that their sisters and daughters are being molested, that westernization would mark an end to their following, and that bringing every human under one shadow is the direction of Allah. Otherwise why would a young doctor, with a loving wife and dependent parents tie a bomb around his waist and along with him would kill hundreds of other guiltless humans? Now is this not similar to those self-styled God-men who relish the best of material perks and in the sidelines ask pupils to stay away from amusement? We have so many cases and exposures to learn from.
Prior to Areeb’s move to Iraq, they say that he shunned his cellphone, condemned her sister for watching TV, which according to him promoted nudity and filthiness, and even left a letter censuring his family. A few days later he and his friend called home to ratify that they have picked up arms for the support of ISIS and also claimed that even their families would go to ‘heaven’ for their deeds. The heaven that Areeb observed then was a disguised place where youth from distinct parts of the world were educated on dark side of Jihad and were motivated to fight against all others who are ‘dissimilar’, even if they are blameless. The stimulus, however, disgraced in a few days and this young man from Mumbai realized that this may be a pathway of death, but surely not of heaven. It then became pressing for the man to escape such unfounded acts and be a part of the same old world that promotes education, patriotism and harmony. Lucky enough, Areeb is back in the town, his father thanking the Indian government and the NIA, but those three men from the same Kalyan in Mumbai and countless others from different parts of the world are bound to pursue the path of destruction, which I can bet all of them would have realized was the most ludicrous blunder of their lives. But once you are up for radicalism, there isn’t any road for return; you die either as an outcome of counter action or due to internal rivalry/ betrayal.
How does a country prosper or an economy nurture? No government alone can reap the fruits of betterment, hence individual labors are indispensable. Now those, not a part of nation-building, are keeping the settings unmoved, while many others are deteriorating the pace of development alleging that either their share is being curbed by others or this is a revenge for harassment that men from their community faced. Should I also then pick up an AK-47 and kill that person who disrespected my father when his bicycle hit the person’s superfluous car? Justice is always hunted for by common men in the democracy from those rulers and adjudicators who are expected to check social and economic prejudice. Many a time uprightness is curbed but this does not allow anyone to harm those who had no role in the unjust. And in case you are so willing and sturdy to make the society an unbiased place, why not study law, administration, or for that matter be a part of the political structure, and then fetch justice which would not serve only your purpose, but will also prosper the lives of million others. The youth and others who abandon their social and economic accountabilities and purse the path of brutality and devastation aren’t extracting any benefits for the members of their community, but are dragging them towards a dark future, a future where helpless widows and orphan children, with no economic agility, will be forced to pick weapons, hold bombs around their waists and destroy the present and future of many others.
The separatists in the J&K and many other fragments of the world have been talking of taking the men of their religion to the doors of prosperity and nimbleness. Why then all these terror-backed states are just homes of deaths, famine, rapes and social and fiscal volatility? Is the youth of India so dumb that we cannot assess the difference between two nations, India and Pakistan, the former where radicalism is curtailed and the latter where the same is endorsed; or for that matter, countries like U.S. and U.K. where religion is far superseded by human values and respect? Shouldn’t the people of J&K question the philosophy and working mechanism of separatists and former CMs who have lots and lots of hate words to speak but had no valor to save the state from the ruins of flood? Are the dwellers of the state living in peace or is the noise of mortars and fires making them spend horrendous and sleepless nights? The young engineering student, Areeb is in the custody of the NIA and an FIR may be filed under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Other three men of Mumbai are living a disastrous life and may one day attain the ‘death’ as promised by their educators, but ‘heaven and other heavenly pleasures’ will never fall in their baskets. To Indian youth – India seeks your labors, your will and your love for the nation and its inhabitants. If you want to pursue any duty, pursue the one enlisted in our constitution, the duty of serving the homeland.
It was and would never be the aim of any lawfully formed government to suppress the wellbeing of the minority community of India. Though the past governments shouted at the peak of their voices that secularism will be chased as directed by the constitution but special perks and subsidies in the name of betterment hasn’t helped, and even the minority realizes this. For sustainable growth, one cannot be ‘dependent’, but needs to be ‘participative’. And does this word ‘dependent’ even sound honorable? Why not then be one of the pillars in the success of India, and for the same being an army man is not the only option, rather any economic activity, small or big, with bona fide commitment is what the nation demands. Lured by extremists and separatists, the youth can only be subjected to fatalities and setbacks. On the other side, however, is the road that though seeks labors but is full of contentment, peace and honor. This may be my personal view but is also the view of administrators of other countries and fiscal experts that presently India is one of the most favorable investment destinations around the world owing to the commitment of present rulers. Funds are coming and so are the opportunities, not just for a particular section, but for us all. A Muslim youth in Delhi, working as software engineer and a Muslim girl in the Indian army are examples to follow. Also the learning from Areeb’s return is worth paying heed to. His indoctrination was through internet, followed by teachings of Quran for 20-25 days. 20-25 days! 20 days to make a vibrant and aspiring youth disremember lessons on harmony! Final call is yours, my friends.
I believe that everyone must be in agreement with the views expressed by Pope Francis on his return from Turkey that he understands why Muslims were offended by many in the West who automatically equated their religion with terrorism. He also suggested of a global denunciation of terrorism by Islamic leaders, which will help majority of Muslim population. As far as I see this, unanimous voice in favor of peace by these leaders will also change perception of all towards Islam. Claiming that they aspire for community’s good, Islamic leaders, be them the religious, political or academic ones must condemn any deeds aimed at inciting Muslim youth in favor of radicalism. It is sure that with an end to violence, the world will be a more secure, hence a prosperous place.