Skip to main content

9/11 and more! Many lessons to be learnt from today’s situation, as also from 2001, 1906 and 1893, to reflect, pray and act

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
It is 9/11 today! Grim news continues to come in about ‘Hurricane Irma’, as the catastrophic storm leaves behind it a trail of devastation and even death. Millions all over Florida in the US are badly affected. Our hearts, prayers and solidarity are with all of them and with those who have been affected these past days in the Caribbean, in Cuba, by the earthquake in Mexico, by the terrible floods in several parts of India and the victims of all calamities everywhere. The fury that so many are experiencing today is not merely the ‘wrath of nature’ but has much to do with our lack of sensitivity and care of Mother Earth: our common home!
It is 9/11 today! Perhaps, there is no other day in recent memory, that has been so over-defined, by a date. The very mention of it evokes all kinds of emotions, from undiluted hatred to a feeling of utter helplessness, in the face of rabid terror; from inconsolable grief at the loss of a loved one to heated debates on imponderables. Yes, ‘nine eleven 2001’, will forever be etched in human memory, even as the picture of clouds of fire spewing from the Twin Towers in New York, involuntarily take a prime- time seat in our sub-consciousness.
It is 9/11 today! As we revisit the year 1906, we are made aware that it saw the unfolding of another historic event! In a mass meeting in Johannesburg South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi kick-started his non-violent resistance campaign ‘Satyagraha’, the relentless pursuit of truth and justice. More than three thousand Indians (both Hindus and Muslims) and others, gathered to support this very significant dimension of civil obedience. ‘Satyagraha’ would ultimately become with ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence) Gandhi’s twin-doctrine in belief and practise. He used it effectively in his struggle against British colonial rule in India. Over the years, several Civil Rights Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela have espoused Gandhi’s twin doctrine.
It is 9/11 today! In Chicago in 1893, exactly 125 years ago, at the very first World Parliament of Religions, Swami Vivekananda gave an impassioned speech, to end sectarianism, bigotry, fanaticism and violence from this earth by fostering the values enshrined in every religion. He emphatically said, “I fervently hope that the bell which tolled this morning in honour of this convention, may be the
death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons, wending their way to the same goal”.
It is 9/11 today! Many unanswered questions and serious issues emerge, that we need to come to grips with! Among them: are nations serious in implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which is meant to mitigate global warming? Do we have the political will to address homegrown terror, supported by Governments of the day, in several countries across the globe? Do we have the courage to address bigotry and violence and deal systemically with the dastardly murders of Gauri Lankesh, Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi and other journalists, human rights defenders, RTI activists, intellectual and others who have dared to take on the fascist forces in India? Can we, like Mahatma Gandhi objectively and strongly expose the lies, half-truths, myths, ‘fekuisms’ and false promises that we are ‘pulverised’ with day-in and day out?
It is 9/11 today! Many lessons to be learnt of today’s situation and from 2001, 1906 and 1893! Much to reflect upon; lots more to pray about; but above all, greater determination to act now – before the reality starts becoming even worse!
---
*Indian human rights activist, currently based in Beirut

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.