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'Pakistan is failing because of Islamic terrorism'

Arthur J Pais in New York | November 29, 2008

"Pakistan is a fast, failing State not because of Western powers or India," New Age guru Dr Deepak Chopra said. "It is failing because of Islamic terrorism. And now the two countries (India, Pakistan) have a great opportunity to fight a common cancer."

There is an urgent role for everyone -- from the Americans to the Saudis to the Pakistanis to the Indians in combating global Islamic terrorism, he said. But it cannot be done by waging wars against a few countries. In an interview with rediff.com he spoke about the special responsibility moderate Muslims have in India and in other countries in fighting terrorism.

"It is not enough to find out who the terrorists are," he said "We should ask everyone -- including Pakistan in particular -- what they are doing against the terrorists in their own country."

"America should ask its ally the Saudis where the petro-dollars are going," he said, adding that some of the dollars are going to the militants in Pakistan. "Because of oil, America has been turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia," he added.

The American arms industry, which is selling "the arms to any side that has money," has to do a lot of thinking too, he said.

"It is time once again to look at the greed that rules our lives," he continued, "and study the threat of worldwide terrorism in the context of our (American) dependence on foreign oil."

Moderate Muslims have a larger part to play in the fight against terrorism than just declaring that they were condemning it.

"They should actively participate in the efforts to weed out this problem," he asserted.

India and Pakistan, he felt, now have a golden opportunity to jointly fight the evil of terrorism.

"We need creative solutions to the problems of global terrorism, We must learn to think outside the box," he added. "It is one thing to disable the terrorists but quite another thing to fight it on a longer basis."

Dr Chopra, who has been watching the Mumbai attacks on television, says he never doubted that the Indian commandos would overpower and disable the terrorists. What concerns him most is the possibility of a retaliatory attack against Muslims in any part of India. Even the finger pointing to Pakistan can be counterproductive, he feels, adding that terrorism is a cancer that is attacking both countries.

"Side by side," he continued, "India has to think very fast not allowing the kind of genocide that took place in Gujarat a few years ago."

Dr Chopra, who has just been interviewed by CNN and other media agencies over the Mumbai attacks, said, "it is a normal reaction to blame an entire community when someone from a particular community indulges in killings and terrorism."

"It has happened in the past in India," he said. "Innocent Muslims have been massacred and people have taken the law into their own hands. One of the biggest challenges now for the Indian government and people at large is to protect the minorities."

"The moderates tend to become radical when they are labeled as a whole as anti-Indian or friends of terrorists," he continued. "And we don't want that to happen to Indian Muslims anymore," he asserted.

"Instead of reacting with rage at any community," Dr Chopra said, "Indians can look at the events in a holistic way, with calmness, serenity and creatively, and see how we can overcome the misapprehensions between Hindus and Muslims."

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