Monday, July 20, 2009

Ajmal a Victim of Pak's Terror Industry, Pak's Contempt for Social Justice

Today's stunning courtroom confession by the young Pakistani, Mohammad Ajmal Amir, the killer of many innocents in Mumbai on 26/11, sheds light on some inconvenient truths. Let us reflect on these truths -- or run the risk of being murderers seeking an empty revenge.

First, Ajmal is a victim of the Govt. of Pakistan. Ajmal is specifically a victim of Pak's decades-long Terror industry. Ajmal Amir's entire life is constructed through poverty, chronic lack of educational and employment opportunity and instead he had full opportunity to gain access to the apparatus of terror of the nation-state of Pakistan. Ajmal's confession should be read side by side with President Zardari's equally stunning and courageous (even if politically motivated) public admission last week that earlier governments of Pakistan had adopted and implemented terror as state policy for short term gains. Instead of giving Pakistanis social justice, their government gave them terror. Terror instead of rotis, terror instead of textbooks, terror instead of a job interview, terror instead of polio vaccine.

Q. Can We, the People of India , separate this young man's ghastly deeds from the context of Terror,that created him?

Let s/he who can answer YES, cast the first stone against Ajmal Amir. Let s/he who can answer YES, say Ajmal Amir would have been murderous, if all his life he had been a beneficiary of, and contributor to, SOCIAL JUSTICE, instead of being reduced in Pakistan to a lifelong human rights Havenot.

Finally, can the Govt. of India claim that it has dispensed Social Justice to its own long suffering millions upon millions of citizens? A nation-state that spends less than 2% of its GDP on social justice endeavors cannot make that claim. Our country has many thousands who are labeled Naxals, Maoists, separatists, etc. whose alleged crimes against the state are rooted in deprivation, hunger, poverty and permanent lack of opportunity.

Can long term injustice make a citizen a killer? Yes it can. We have many Ajmals in our midst, to a lesser or greater degree. Our elected representatives ignore them at our peril. Our democracy is utterly dependent on planning and implementing Social Justice for the most vulnerable, Social Justice for the greater Collective Good (GCG) Only then in India would We the People have traveled that arduous yet rewarding road to becoming an Ethical democracy. We can learn from the sobering example of Ajmal Amir, a young man without hope, a victim of the state.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice