DHARMA, MYTH AND OSAMA - WHAT NEXT FOR INDIA AND PAKISTAN In the Hindu epic Ramayana, the vanara Bali was famous for the boon that he had received, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Bali, thereby making Bali invulnerable to any enemy. Sugriva sought the help of Lord Rama from Bali as Bali had chased Sugriva out of his kingdom and also claimed Sugriva’s main wife, Ruma. Lord Rama needed Sugriva’s alliance in search of his wife Sita – kidnapped by the rakshasa king Ravana. Lord Rama came to the rescue of Sugriva and shot the arrow from behind to kill Bali. Karna was one of the greatest warriors whose martial exploits are recorded in the Mahabharata. Karna cut the string of Arjuna’s bow many times. But at each instant, he found Arjuna able to tie back the bowstring in the twinkling of an eye. The duel was evenly fought for a long while. Karna was suddenly hampered in the ensuing battle as his chariot wheel sank into the ground in loose. Descending from his chariot to remove the wheel, Karna requested Arjuna to wait, as the etiquette of battle allowed; but Lord Krishna told Arjuna that it was not adharma to kill a man who had supported evil all his life, and urged Arjuna to kill Karna while he could. Arjuna complied and Karna was killed. Coming to the Kaliyuga, the United States of America sent about two-dozen troops in helicopters into Pakistani airspace and attacked a house in a civilian neighborhood without the permission of the Pakistani Government as Osama Bin Laden, the most dreaded terrorist was hiding over there. Pakistani national security, one of the most crucial attributes of both political independence and territorial integrity, was violated. Now, compared to Bali and Karna, Osama was certainly the most evil. In that perspective, the US Action can certainly not held as adharma as it killed a man who had supported evil all his life. Thankfully, in the days of the Mahabharata and Ramayana, there were no Binayak Sens, Arundhati Roys and the self serving human rights activists who shut their eyes when terrorists kill innocent people. I have drawn all these versions from reported incidents from written sources. What happened actually at the specific instance can be a figment of anyone’s imagination and can lead to endless speculation. So, even if believing that the US indeed killed Osama and he deserved to be killed, the repercussions of Osama’s killing can never be predicted. The complexities in this case is that the whole world knows that it was the US which created Bin Laden and made him a monster against the communist forces of Russia, but later found to their misery that Bin Laden posed greater threats to their own nation which was stamped by the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on 9/11. It was the same US which created Saddam Hussein for their own ends and finished him off when they felt threatened by him. In that respect, the US is taking the mantle of the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer in this Kaliyuga, a modern version of Lord Shiva, but with dubious credentials and misplaced priorities. Only History will tell whether the US stands for all evil or good. But India must not fall into the trap of the US or act, completely in awe of what the US stands for. I even read various opinions that we should also do to Dawood what the US did to Osama by launching a covert and sudden attack inside the Pakistani territory where Dawood lives. This wishful thinking is easier said than done. People easily forget that Pakistan is India’s immediate neighbor and poses greater dangers for India than for the USA. Gloating over the insecurities of Pakistan is not going to help us in any way, as a weak Pakistan is never in India’s interest. God knows, what will happen if Pakistan’s nuclear apparatus falls into wrong hands and the civilians of India will be exposed to far greater disaster. It is surprising that India spoke out its stand clearly before the 1990s against the US in the issues relating to Palestine or other matters, even when economically, India was in a sticky wicket. India also made its voice felt through the Non-Aligned movement. After the 1990s, India is toeing more and more into the American line of thinking. The US is certainly no saint and has propelled oppressive regimes for its own benefits. This fuels the anger in the non-developed Muslim world in and around the Middle-East and the Muslim youth have misdirected their energies towards terrorism. Terrorist agencies all around the world take advantage of this suppressed anger and generate funds for their evil network. It is not as simple as “Us vs. Them” as the US suggests to the world. India should have a coherent foreign policy and its best interests lay in strengthening ties with Pakistan while keeping its defence strong as ever. Before engaging into the foolish threat of a misadventure into the Pakistani territory, why not spare an honest thought into strengthening our Army, Navy and Airforce, reform the Police system and ensure that every pillar of security speaks in one voice. It’s better to set our own house in order while keeping a watchful eye on any malicious activity from outside the border. The mushrooming of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Nepal into the slums in Mumbai is a perfect example about why we are not so serious about internal security but indulge in needless rhetoric against Pakistan, which can lead us to nowhere. The hanging of Geelani or Kasab is not going to solve India’s problems vis-à-vis Pakistan. The utility of the above terrorists is far from over and empty rhetoric regarding their hanging is motivated by political considerations. Isn’t it more important to plug the loopholes rather than target those who are already sitting ducks. Wonder how Kasab and his men entered India through the seas? Wonder how those terrorists entered the premises near the Parliament? Has the Indian political establishment really got wiser after such incidents and taken any steps for our internal security so that such mishaps never take place again? Sadly, our internal security does not exude confidence and we feel vulnerable to more attacks from the foreign attacks. India needs to keep asking tough questions to Pakistan but not stop engaging with them and at the same time we need to be professional vis-à-vis our security apparatus. We need to understand that the US is in a far more comfortable position as they do not share their boundaries with Pakistan. Yet the citizens of the US are paranoid. Whatever its pitfalls, our system of governance at least assures us that we are not made the laughing stock like those in Pakistan. More Pakistanis get killed in terrorist attacks, but they have nothing to vent their anger. Atleast Indians can console themselves that we console ourselves by directing our ire at Pakistan. But, the people in Pakistan feel helpless as they are trapped by the corrupt government, a selfish military establishment, the intrusion of the American forces who do them no good and the indoctrination of their future generations by vindictive forces like the Taliban. Gloating over their apathy is certainly not going to solve India’s problems either.