I was not around in the times of the Ramayana when Ravana was killed. It was a great killing, I read. On the side of Kishkindhya, Ayodhya, Panchavati there were ecstatic celebrations, on the side of Lanka there was mourning and loss. It was a killing that was to hitherto divide humanity permanently into naras and rakshasas. But I am here to witness the killing of Osama bin Laden, a great killing, a grand killing that ever has been, an epic written all over again, and a feat that will be made into legends and ballads and tales those will be sung by modern day minstrels, written about by muses, ruminated and reinterpreted by philosophers. It will also permanently divide the world into two kinds of persons, the humans and the terrorists. For long, like our theories of Aryans whether they were a distinct race or merely a linguistic group will now move around the grand puzzle of civilizations, whether Muslims are terrorists.
Obama the killer is black and Muslim, both coordinates that have been ever so difficult to surmount in America; he has got past them but like our own Sita he has to pass through fire again and again. This time, he was to get Osama. He had to, more so because he is a Muslim, he must never been seen to shield his ilk. Such extrapolations are ridiculous, tomorrow one may say that I am a Hindutvawadi because I am born a Hindu. But for Muslims, it is so. Unlike a Hindu, Muslims have never emerged as a social force reforming their religion. We have reformed ours. When the Renascent bhadraloks cried that widows should remarry, the echoes were sounded across the length and breadth of the country, reaching sundry printing presses and touching the hearts of so many. Islam have never been revised and reworked. What is worse is that any attempt at humanizing that religion has divided the Muslim community, the progressive forces termed as the elite, and the masses clung on to fundamentalism. It is as though that clinging on to the practices of Islam conservatively helps gather social capital for the less privileged. One must study civilizations closely to understand why this is so. But things have become so effete that a Muslim in our midst must prove his social class and therefore his social worthiness for us by killing eagerly men who happen to also believe in the same religion.
Obama and Osama were never the same; but the killing brings them together in a strange and unexpected way. Obama had to prove that he was an American and not a Muslim by killing Osama; Obama proved that he was indeed a Muslim by being able to find Osama because we know that loha loha ko kaata hai. Obama sunk Osama into the sea, only a Muslim knows what such unsung burial does to his fellowmen who lives his life around the motif of a jihadi or a khadim. Obama by finding, killing and disposing Osama has proved his own closeness to Islam and its beliefs and also revealed his familiarity about the hideouts of Islamic terrorists. Obama has sought out his Vibhishan’s in Pakistan; in all probability gives out that sinking feeling to his fellow black Americans whether he has not used the same tricks to trade the privileges of his own community and gain in legitimacy in an America that has more or less always been aligned in favour of the whites. Osama’s terrorism shows the effeteness of Islam to deliver anything to the world anymore; Obama’s venture shows that for a Muslim and a black to prove himself must sacrifice his own brothers. Hai Hussain ! Hai Hassan !
I think that Osama’s killing should be mourned like Muharram. If we mourn his death, mourn the death that he caused to so many innocent ones who were nowhere in the game, mourn the death that he caused to the nobility of his Prophet and the grandeur of his Faith, only then we will release the way that Obama represents, the path of having to kill one’s own tribe in order to win favours from the ones in power. This will be then the beginning of a new era, like the Muharram, punishing oneself to evolve, suffering for both the victim and the offender, recognizing that they were together in a crime and that only suffering can unite and yet release them together.