Jihad

This post got selected as BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Picks. Click here to see the BlogAdda page.


Nov 26, 2009 – Early Hours

He had been trying to sleep unsuccessfully for many hours and just ended up turning from one side to another on his rotten charpai. It was not that he was accustomed to better comforts, having slept on this same bed since eternity. It was something else that was making him uncomfortable - those sounds that kept resonating in his head trying to tear it apart. One word that kept repeating itself in a constant loop behind this loud rattling of the local cleric, sent shivers down his spine – ‘Jihad’, he had said.

His eyes were wide open as he watched the old fan, hanging on the worn off ceiling, turn ceremoniously, pretending to send down cool gushes of air though the only thing it produced was a deafening clutter. But tonight that clutter failed to reach his ears, rather mind, as it was already preoccupied with the words he had heard last evening.

We have kept quiet for so long that they think we will take all their rubbish without uttering a word. When I see a young baby at the circumcision ceremony, I feel ashamed of myself. How is this personal hygiene of any use to him when the whole environment around him is so unclean? What future are we giving him? 

We, cowards who have born each insult and each wound inflicted upon us like good for nothing bastards. We have to give our children a future where they are not afraid of the tyrants. We have to make them proud of us. If in children we see the Almighty; then for these children, in His name, we need Jihad.

That last word that Maulvi Sahab had said so forcefully in that small dingy room kept echoing in his mind since then. Three men were assembled there as Maulvi gave them further instructions.

Just as his eyes closed and he felt his mind getting a bit lighter, the alarm rang. He got up in a flash. But realising that he is too tired because of a sleepless night, he reclined back against the wall which felt moist due to the constant seepage.

He was half awake and half asleep when he heard the cantor calling through the loudspeaker of the nearby mosque – “Allah hu Akbar.....

“Shit,” he said and sprung up instantaneously. There was no time to take a bath, so he quickly washed his hands, mouth, nose, arms, face, ears, forehead, hair and feet, thrice in the prescribed order and jumped onto the mat, facing west. While he performed the holy ritual, he remembered how his Abbu used to say that namaz should be rendered in a clean environment. Standing in this dilapidated room, he asked Allah for forgiveness.

*

We are still awaiting justice in Gujarat while their Chief Minister, the man behind all this, is winning elections and making merry. One year ago, our brothers from Pakistan took upon themselves to avenge the insult we have been facing all these years. We have to show that even we can stand up against the injustice and oppression inflicted upon us. 

We have planned this meticulously and finally it is the time to execute it. This will be our first anniversary gift for our enemies. Let them see that for each mujahedeen we lose in this war, ten more will take birth to avenge his death.

It had been one year since the dreaded terrorist attack in Mumbai. He remembered what hue and cry it had created. No one cared when countless Indians died here and there but this time those who died were either special Indians or firangis. Even the Union Home Minister who had successfully clung to his chair despite the number of bomb blasts that had occurred last year across the length and the breadth of the country, had to finally yield. Such was the power of these special Indians and their firangi guests.

Maulvi had chosen this day to execute a sinister plot. Now, even he had a role to play.

“Should I? Shouldn’t I?” the ambivalence was killing him.

As his table clock ticked its way towards the destined time, he remembered the words of his Abbu, ‘Jihad is a struggle to improve one's self and society. It is as much about fighting injustice and oppression as about spreading or defending Islam.

He knew he had to do it.

**

Nov 26, 2009 – 0700 hours

Time was running out, so he decided not to prepare the breakfast and instead, grab a vada pav on his way. As he moved down the rickety staircase of his chawl, he saw some children idling around. ‘They should be getting ready for their school at this hour,’ he thought. But then reminded himself sceptically, ‘What talim could those four walls of a sarkari school provide them, without any teacher!’

He continued moving along the dirty lanes, cautious not to step onto any heap of garbage. As he reached the barricades, he looked back at his abode; a ghetto was what people called it. Located on the suburbs of the city, this was one place where most of the people like him landed up after leaving their hometowns. He had come from the Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, made infamous in the recent past by the arrests, encounters and killings of many alleged mujahedeen who hailed from there.

Today the barricades were not blocking the way as was the usual case. In any other housing society of the city, a beautiful arch would have adorned the entrance but here the local police had been kind enough to save the money of the dwellers by putting up barricades and a police post instead. It wasn’t clear whether these protected the homogeneous insiders against any violent excursions of the outsiders or to keep a tap on the movement of the insiders themselves.

In financial terms, he could have managed a better accommodation at a better place but in this city, there were also some other unspoken yet clearly audible factors which decided who could live where.

We are made to live like dogs on our own land. The glorious days of Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire are gone. These infidels think that they can stomp us at their will. They have the support of our own disoriented brothers like the DGP of Maharashtra Police, who wag their tails in front of them. 

It’s the time to make them aware that the dogs also bite. With the blessings of the Almighty behind us, tomorrow is the day when we will finally initiate our jihad.

**

Nov 26, 2009 – 0900 hours

Immersed in his thoughts and the words of the cleric, he didn’t realise, when the local train reached  the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, one of the busiest station of Mumbai as well as India. He hardly had 30 seconds to unboard the train. Somehow, struggling his way through the microcosm of humanity, he just managed to jump off, as the train trudged further. ‘How can I behave so irresponsibly at such a time,’ he cursed himself.

As he stepped on to the platform, the images from the past year flashed in front his eyes. It had been one of the eight places that came under attack that night. Around 50 of the total 170 casualties or so were reported from here. But no one cared to give airtime to the Indians who died here except flashing the shots of Ajmal Kasab and his accomplice entering it.

They were busier reporting about Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House where the special Indians and firangis resided. He remembered the blood spilled floor of the passenger hall, images of which were made available by a local lensman who hid himself in a stationary train compartment.

‘Soon there will be similar blood and silence of death not far away from here if everything goes according to the plans of Maulvi Sahab,’ he thought.

*

He left the station hurriedly for his destination, about 2 kilometres away. He headed south, swiftly along the Dadabhai Naoroji Road and then got off it, moving along variously named streets and margs until he reached the Shahid Bhagat Singh Road. ‘Next, will you even start naming public toilets when nothing else is left to commemorate your leaders,’ he sighed.

He had just started tiring a bit due to the sleepless night, empty stomach and a brisk walk to top it all, when he saw a sprawling building on his left. It was one of the surviving remnants of the British Raj, like many other buildings and edifices around here including CST which he had left just twenty minutes ago. That station used to be Victoria Terminus until 1996 when some Hindu zealots forced a name change. ‘The bloody name game,’ he cursed.

Now he faced this heritage building, a beautiful specimen of the Indian Gothic style of Architecture, looking at the beautiful sculpture of Neptune that adorned the pediment at its top. The blue basalt used in the facing with differently coloured natural stones detailing it, imparted an incredible polychromatic effect.

This building, originally conceived to commemorate the visit of Duke of Edinburgh in 1870 was finally inaugurated six years hence as the residence for Royal Alfred Sailors. Later in 1928, it was acquired by the British Government and became the seat of the Bombay Legislative Council in late 1930’s. However, since quarter of a decade, it was housing something else after the Legislative Assembly moved to the new Council Hall in 1982.

He stood there acknowledging its beauty as he had done every time, he passed by. But today, he was not just going to pass by but enter this building. Finally, the time had come. So with thumping heart, he took some indecisive steps towards the entrance of Maharashtra State Police Headquarters.

**

Nov 26, 2009 – 1600 hours

There was hustle and bustle in the hall as the media persons tried to grab a strategic position. The conference table lying on the raised platform was being decorated with colourful mikes from all the possible English, Hindi and other regional news channels. Even some foreign correspondents were present. After all, this was the first media briefing since the major event that had happened earlier in the day.

As all seemed set, the Police Commissioner stepped in amongst flashing cameras and the buzzing noise of the media persons. It had been a busy day for him but he looked as fresh as ever. He was one man who never allowed the city and its (mis) happenings take a toll on him. As he sat on the central chair of the conference table with his subordinates flanking him on the sides, he motioned everyone to maintain silence.

“In the morning as I reached my office in Dadar West, I got a call from the Maharashtra State Police Headquarters. I urgently rushed there. A person had arrived, claiming to have information about a planned bomb blast to take place at Regal Cinema nearby, later in the day. Upon arriving, I took the charge. He claimed that he had heard a cleric having the final discussions with some men in one of the kholis of his chawl.

“We moved swiftly on the basis of the lead given by him and within a couple of hours had arrested all of them without spilling any blood in the process. Luckily for us, they were amateurish in their approach, not having any links with the organised terrorist groups as per our initial investigations. Nonetheless, if they had succeeded in their plans, it could have led to major loss of life and property.”

“Where is this informer?” demanded the reporters in a cacophonic chorus.

“He is with us right now.” and with that Police Commissioner gestured towards a subordinate standing at the back entrance of the hall. Soon a man with his face clad in a black mask entered the hall. He looked around and took some wavering steps towards the vacant seat of the conference table.

He had just moved some paces when the hall got filled with reverberations of hundreds of hands clapping together, hailing the hero who had just arrived. His remaining steps were beaming with confidence.

“What gave you the courage to do this?” asked the Reuters correspondent, as he took his chair.

He paused and looked around nervously through the small parting in his mask. He suddenly felt the comforting hand of the Police Commissioner on his left arm and then a pat on his back.

“Well, when the bullets flow out of a terrorist’s barrel or splinters blast off from the bomb, they don’t know whether they’ll be piercing a Hindu’s or a Muslim’s flesh. The blood that flows is that of a human being and with each such wound inflicted, my country cries further.

“My Abbu used to say that Jihad is a struggle to improve one’s self and society. Today, our society is rotting due to this unwanted hatred and we are losing our self to an unholy war. It’s time we wake up and realise that an eye for an eye is not the solution. We all are in this together and have to sit down to sort out any differences which exist. What I did today was what any responsible citizen would have done.”

As he stood up and got ready to leave securely as motioned by the Police Commissioner, he added calmly looking around at the gaping media persons, “For my Allah and for my Country, this is my Jihad.”

***

Note:
  • The definition of Jihad (as given by the protagonist's father) is a non-verbatim adaptation of the definition given by the scholar John Esposito.
  • Pro Deo et Patria is the Latin phrase translated to ‘For God and Country’ in English. It is the motto of my beloved school – St. John’s High, an Irish Christian Missionary school.

Disclaimer:
This work of fiction is not intended to malign any individual or community. The readers are requested to extract the positive message out of it rather than searching for any negativity within the words and expressions used.

Image Courtesy:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Coming Up Next!



"We have kept quiet for so long that they think we will take all their rubbish without uttering a word... One year ago, our brothers from Pakistan took upon themselves to avenge the insult we have been facing all these years. We have to show that even we can stand up against the injustice and oppression inflicted upon us... This will be our first anniversary gift to our enemies... With the blessings of the Almighty behind us, November 26 is the day when we will finally initiate our jihad."


Come this November 26, Will Mumbai bleed again?

Stay tuned to find it out as the mystery unfolds here!



Disclaimer:
I am an innocent blogger with no connection whatsoever with any terrorist organisation or fundamentalist group, other than the fact that I voted for a BJP candidate in the last General Elections. I sinned, I know!

The above passage is a part of an upcoming post. So in case you are from any Indian intelligence services who happened to hop onto my blog due to some freaky keyword matches (I doubt RAW, NIA or IB are that advanced), then please do not get alarmed and go back to your slumber.

And in case, you happen to be from the FBI (I don’t mind fantasising about my blog’s popularity across the Oceans), then say my hello to Mr. President and tell him not to worry and live in peace (pun intended).

And in case, you are from the ISI, then please don’t start salivating. I am a proud Indian and as I said, I am just a blogger whose latest obsession happens to be storytelling and hence I won’t become one of your stooges. (Just kidding fellas, if there’s any nice proposal for a prospective franchisee in and around the Chandigarh tricity area, contact me at ISI_is_behind_all_the_terrorist_attacks_in_India@TalliHoGaye.pk)


A Sensible Disclaimer:
Usage of certain potentially controversial words in this post are not intended to malign any individual or community. That is the last thing, you should expect on this blog.

By adding humour with the gory pictures of the Mumbai Siege, last year, I by no means intend to show disrespect to the departed souls and their grieving families. We all are grieving with them!

For my readers:
It was the Mumbai Siege that inspired me to return to blogging last year and since then I've become a regular. There were two immediate posts, I published then on this incident. I’ll appreciate if you can take out some time to read them.

Well friends, I know I am just over-hyping my upcoming post by this publicity stunt. But then, these days competition is so high that one has to use such strategic (read, stupid) ploys.
Ok, just cut the crap. I just intended to boost my ever falling posting rate. Period.

P.S.
Technically, after writing 'Period', I must bring this post to an end. But who cares! Well, there is a reason behind my dwindling posting rate, rather two. First, as you all know I had my exams which finally ended on Nov 3. Second, is my job. Yup, I joined the faculty of a MBA coaching institute and have to burn my arse, sitting there 8.5 hours daily. So please bear with me.
Yeah, yeah, I know you all are snickering right now as nothing's as relaxing as a blogger buddy on a break!

Errata
Please excuse the grammatical mistake in the picture caption. It should read 'A Year since Mumbai bled!' rather than 'An Year..'. I am too lazy to edit the image. Period!

Image Courtesy:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

If I were a baby again



This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 4; the fourth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Yesterday, we had a great time. Some students from a nearby college came to our place with lots of sweets and goodies. They played with us, sang with us, danced with us and for those few moments, lost in this invisible force of communion, we all forgot our realities and got lifted to some other world.

They also made us write an essay on a very peculiar topic – ‘If I were a baby again’. Well, we had half an hour at our disposal and I thought and thought while others scribbled through their sheet of paper. Then finally with time running out, I gave words to that one thought that has lingered in my mind since the time I’ve started realising my existence in this vast ocean of humanity.

Oh! In the zeal to draw the premises for telling you that I won the first prize in this competition, I just forgot to introduce myself.

Hi, I am Kabir. As the great saint from whom I borrow my name, I have no religion. Well, how can I have one when I don’t even know who my parents are. I live in an orphanage with dozens of children just like me. We are one large family having no consanguineal bond joining us. The only bond that joins us is of similar circumstances and fate.

I am 11 years old, sort of the mean age between the new borns who join us every six months or so and the 20 to 21 years old bhaiyas and didis who leave this sanctuary to perch into the real world. But teacher ma often says that I am too mature and my brain too sharp for my age. That’s how I got my name when I was 5.

Well, if God takes away something, he is kind enough to compensate it in one form or the other, I’ve heard. I am lame; I mean crippled. Oh sorry, I am being politically incorrect, right! Thank God I got a sanctuary in this orphanage or out in the streets, people would have indeed called me a lame in the best condescending manner possible. Well, with time my ailment has got transformed from being a physical handicap to a physical disability to a physical challenge and lately I have heard people like me being addressed as differently-abled.

Whatever you call me, my fate remains the same.

Just like the group of students who visited us yesterday to celebrate the upcoming Children’s Day, there are many people who drop by to spend time with us. At times, it feels nice but then it turns too monotonous, especially around the festive seasons when just every second person in the town wants to get rid of his or her sins by doing some community service. What better way than spending some time with the unfortunate kids living in the orphanage around the corner.

So in comes one group of visitors after the other. The ones we detest the most are the Mantriji kinds who visited us during Diwali. I don’t even remember if he held any toddler or talked to us unless there was a photographer from the local newspaper around.

Even when the students from nearby colleges come, there are always those aloof kinds within them who prefer to remain on the periphery. I recently learnt that these poor chaps have to visit us to get some extra-curricular certificates that act as brownie points for their further admissions. Well, it’s good if we can be of any help to such thankless lot.

Sometimes, it feels as if we are the exhibits at a museum or even worse, inmates of a zoo. While in a museum people gasp in wonder and appreciate the exhibits, the zoo inmates often get mocked at. We lie somewhere in between.

Well, there are also some very kind visitors like Toffee wale Babaji who always treats us with nice candies on weekends, Doctor Uncle who never misses his monthly visit for our free health checkup including medicines and treatments and then these college students who came yesterday and made us feel like their younger siblings.

World is full of such duality, the good and the bad but I feel the whole mankind lies somewhere in between.

We all share the similar joys and apprehensions here. We are a one big family as I said but sometimes we long for our own little family where we might be the focal point of everyone's attention. Some are lucky enough to realise this wish as there are many childless parents who are not averse to adopt a child of an unknown lineage.

However, I recently read about test tube babies on the internet. Well, a local socialite was kind enough to donate two computers with internet connection amidst flashing camera lights the other day. I realise biological science and its advancements are being unfair to us. Why play with God's power to create a new life when there are so many of us, living in these overcrowded sanctuaries longing for a new life ourselves.

Whenever, there’s some prospective adopter around, we try to behave our best, hoping to be the lucky one; though we won't ever admit it. Frankly, we all live in a dilemma.

Will we ever be happy after leaving all our brothers and sisters?

For that matter, are we really happy here?

There are some who just try too hard, transforming from their naughty self to diabetes-inducing sweet innocence. We call them seducers. I doubt if other than a handful of us, any kid knows its actual meaning. But none of us ever miss a chance to use it to abuse each other after yet another failed attempt at seduction. I believe some bhaiya invented this abuse long ago and it just kept passing on since then.

Well, even I used to try my luck earlier but soon realised, no one wants to adopt a liability.

Oh! See, how I started babbling once again. Enough about me and my life!

You must be wondering, what did I write in that essay that bagged me the first prize, right? Well, I am surprised I won it at the first place as I thought I stood no chance. While others wrote long fairy tale like passages, I just wrote a single line; as I told you earlier, giving words to the thought which has and will linger in my mind always.

If I were a baby again, I wish my parents won’t abandon me this time!

Image Courtesy:
http://www.thecolor.com (edited)


The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Click here to promote it @ Indivine!

Do not miss my latest movie review and recommendation We Are Marshall on The recent Movie I Liked upon Reflecting widget of the adjoining sidebar.

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Creative Commons License
Reflections of an Empathic Libertarian by Vipul Grover is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at vipulgrover.blogspot.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at vipul.grover@gmail.com.