I was confused to begin with, then, as I grew up listening to it, I got used to it. Nowadays, I find it rather funny. What exactly is this “Dealing Terrorism with an Iron Hand” or “Having Zero-tolerance for Terrorism”?
I was confused because I did not know, when I was young, what terrorism exactly was, except that it was bad and we should not tolerate. I got used to it later, because I found these statements following every terror attack in the country – the next time terror strikes, I used to think, I would hear this statement from the President or the Prime Minister of India. Now, I find it plain funny. What I would feel about it in the future? Irritating? Disgusting? Or would I find it too commonplace that I stop giving terrorism a damn thing?
A present, however, it is funny because it carries no meaning in the first place – I normally laugh when someone says anything that doesn’t mean anything at all! Then, the people who say this do not actually mean it – they just read it out of a written script. I find it funny because the script-writers have run out of imagination and creativity that they repeat the same words after every terrorist strike. Then, I find it funny, as everyone seems to say the same thing – that they have zero tolerance for terror. The Prime Minister, the president, the Home Minister, the Quasi-Prime Minister, and every other politician in this holy country of non-violence, make it abundantly clear that they will never tolerate terrorism, but they keep tolerating it, just as the buffalo would tolerate the vultures that feed on its wounds. Well, not that I compare anyone with buffaloes here, anyway – that was just an analogy that came to my mind.
But then, to think of it, what should the Government actually do, if its policy really is zero-tolerance to terrorism? It should beef up security, make its border security fool proof, be ultra-smart in intelligence gathering and sharing, never acknowledge anyone who Indulges in terrorist acts, and refuse to negotiate with any organization or institution or country that abets terrorism, as part of its overt or covert agenda. And a country that has zero-tolerance for terrorism should be prepared to face the consequences of terrorism with a brave heart and a drawn out sword, willing to sacrifice for what it believes in, without flinching or stepping back from what it stands for.
Terrorism is war declared by the terrorists on a nation – and when it is war, there will be pain. A country that has no backbone to bear the pains will never be able to deal with terrorism with an iron hand. And a country that has zero-tolerance for terrorism would not have let terrorists walk out of a hijacked airplane that was landed at Kandahar! If terrorists hijacked the plane, an uncompromising nation would have ordered blowing up of the plane along with all the innocent lives, whose fates were badly intertwined with that of the doomed terrorists. If terrorists want to negotiate holding a bunch of ill-fated passengers for ransom, the Government should refuse to acknowledge the terrorists – and challenge them to blow the plane into pieces themselves, or offer to do it for them!
Now, that would be dealing with terrorism with an iron hand; that would be zero-tolerance for terrorism. And if the Government had done that, there would not have been a 26/11 master-mind, who merely shifted the battleground – and its cannon fodder – from one place to the other, from Indian Airlines flight IC 814 to the Taj at Mumbai.
Terrorism cannot be fought against with zero casualties. When we have a dangerous neighbour, there is something better than living in fear – and that is to be ready to die with courage. Somehow, there has not been a single Government at power in the Centre in all these years of Indian Independence, which has shown the courage and the conviction to deal with terrorism with an iron hand, to have zero-tolerance for terrorism. And even as I write this piece, I find that it is not funny anymore – it is only pathetic. It is a pity that of all the people in power, over all these years, of the thousands of people who have only grown fat in politics, there has not been a single man who had the balls to deal with terrorism with an iron hand!
So, my dear terrorist, you may feel free to bomb the living daylights out of our country. Our politicians have all the tolerance you may expect from them for your terrorist deeds – and they would only deal with you with a feather touch, never with an iron hand.