Just a few days ago it was 26/11, a black day in Indian history. A day we will and can never forget. A day on which we think of all the innocent people who lost their lives, our heroes of the police and army force and the question why. Why did this happen?
A friend of mine had asked me to go and see a movie with her. I agreed to see Kurbaan, though I had seen it before, because a second viewing might offer me something new. While I was in the theatre, it hit me. I was watching Kurbaan on 26/11. I have never been good with dates, but sitting there and listening to the word “terrorists” coming out of Vivek’s mouth made me think more about what happened on 26/11. I started to listen more carefully to his words in easily one of the most effective scenes of the movie.
Islam and the Modern World
The scene I am talking about is the one where Vivek takes part in a lecture about Islam and the Modern World. Saif starts out with the word Jihad. This word is mentioned in the Koran only 41 times. And words such as mercy and peace are mentioned over 355 times. (I don’t remember the correct numbers here, as I am not good with them it’s also about 2:30 am right now.) Where was I? Yes, so concluding that Islam is indeed a religion that teaches peace. A girl asks Saif why there are so many wars in the Middle-East then; Iraq and Iran, the wars in Gaza, why? That is all because of Islamic terrorism. Saif looks at her and rightfully tells her: it depends on what your definition of terrorism is.
The Definition of Terrorism
Suddenly I was wondering the same thing. News channels, newspapers – everyone uses the word terrorism quite often, but what exactly is the definition? I decided to look it up. An online dictionary gave me three definitions: ‘the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes’, ‘the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization’, ‘a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government';. I think the first definition is the one that is used the most to define terrorism. But Vivek also comes with an explanation. He says effectively that if you take a good look at history then the actual terrorists are the white superpowers.
I started to think… for years the white superpowers have indeed invaded several countries for their own well-being. Britain ruled over India, France over several countries in Africa and so on. There was indeed truth in Vivek’s words. The girl then asks him to explain 9/11. Vivek wants to know how many people died on 9/11. She says approximately 3000. Then comes the question of how many people died in the attacks on Afghanistan. The girl didn’t have an answer to that. Vivek answered with: 15,000 and counting and in Iraq more than half a million people died. A male character says that was because of the Taliban. The discussion gets exciting. “But did you know that the Taliban was an invention of the CIA?”, says Vivek. The guy, still not convinced, says they were still harboring terrorists.
So did he mean to say that it is justified that thousands of innocent people need to die to catch a few terrorists? Vivek continues about Iraq and the search for nuclear weapons. “When America didn’t find them and killed so many people in the process, they just said sorry.” Apparently it doesn’t get fixed with “we are sorry”. To add to that, “you cannot attack a country and not expect a backlash.” In a way that is true. Look at it this way – if someone attacks your family, I don’t think you will stay seated. You will hit back. I guess this logic also applies to countries. Action leads to reaction. The girl gets sick of the discussion and says “If you Muslims think like that, then why don’t you leave our country?” The most effective line comes from Vivek now: “We will, as soon as you leave ours.”
I really have to applaud the dialogue writer(s) of Kurbaan who did a brilliant job. They bring up so many points for us to think about. Credit also goes to Vivek Oberoi for giving it the emotional load it needed. The film is worth seeing again, just for this scene and the impact these strong words have.
Seeing Kurbaan made me even more aware of the pain caused by the impact of 26/11. Kurbaan doesn’t give an answer to any of it nor does it justify terrorism, but it gives you an insight on feelings from both sides. Hindus believe, this is the age of Kalyug and bad things will be more visible than all the good in the world.
I think I’ve written enough now and it’s time for bed. But I just remembered a line from the movie New York that even though America treats you like a terrorist, it doesn’t give you the right to become one. I think that is a nice way to end this piece.
It is the time to spread love and make sure we never have to see a 26/11 again.