Deepak Chopra’s Plainspeak on Mumbai Attacks

It was pleasantly surprising to hear Deepak Chopra do some plain speak in context of the Mumbai attacks. It was surprising not only because till now I’ve had a somewhat cynical view of the person as yet one more peddler of Eastern mysticism to the West but also because it was right there on CNN. I don’t think he’s going to be back at CNN for a long time, at least not to speak on a topic like this.

What we have seen in Mumbai has been brewing for a long time, and the war on terrorism and the attack on Iraq compounded the situation. What we call “collateral damage” and going after the wrong people actually turns moderates into extremists, and that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay. Now the worst thing that could happen is there’s a backlash on the Muslims from the fundamental Hindus in India, which then will perpetuate the problem. Inflammation will create more inflammation.

Ultimately the message is always toward Washington because it’s also the perception that Washington, in their way, directly or indirectly funds both sides of the war on terror. They fund our side, then our petrol dollars going to Saudi Arabia through Pakistan and ultimately these terrorist groups, which are very organized. You know Jonathan, it takes a lot of money to do this. It takes a lot of organization to do this. Where’s the money coming from, you know? The money is coming from the vested interests. I’m not talking about conspiracy theories, but what happens is, our policies, our foreign policies, actually perpetuate this problem. Because, you know, 25% of the world’s population is Muslim and they’re the fastest growing segment of the population of the world. The more we alienate the Muslim population, the more the moderates are likely to become extremists.

Read the text of the interview.

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13 thoughts on “Deepak Chopra’s Plainspeak on Mumbai Attacks

  1. Ted

    Mr. Chopra shows himself to be as expert a salesman of political pap as of religious nonsense.
    There’s obviusly little justification for the kind of slapdash policies that Washington has been pursuing since 9/11, and the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake. But remember, it is the Muslim extremists and their idiotic ideology who are to blame for this situation. Never forget w ho started this and who have been the most egregious perpetrators of terror on mankind for at least the last two decades.
    I don’t know what Chopra really means when he calls for changing US policies, but appeasing these madmen makes no more sense than appeasing Hitler did.
    What is happening here is really nothing more than religious extremism disguised as some kind of political reaction to the poor, downtrodden Muslims of the world. Never forget for one moment that the major part of Muslim suffering comes at the hands of their own people. If the US and Israel were to disappear tomorrow, there would be little real change.
    Furthermore, if those who are responsible for all of this horror ever really came to power, their people would be in even worse shape.
    Deepak Chopra, just another voice blaming the victims.

  2. >Never forget w ho started this

    At least in Afghanistan/Pakistan, the mujaheddin was carefully nurtured and supported by the US to counter the godless Soviets in the late 1970s/1980s. The chickens have merely come home to roost. Similarly, India too cannot be absolved for keeping half-a-million strong army for last nearly two decades in Kashmir and oppressing the ordinary Kashmiri to a breaking point as evidenced in recent non- violent protests.

    As Dostoevsky remarked somewhere, we are all responsible for everything in the world.

  3. When I saw DC name I cringed… he took the multicolored reader-lens off , dropped the New-Agey hoohey and had something direct and honest to say– bravo!

    Thanks for this post B-RW.

    -*t

  4. we have to go a little back further to the establishment of the israeli state amidst the palestinians after the world war. it was a blatant act of neo-imperialism. thereafter the usa and its nato allies have continually played a dirty game in west asia which has given rise to the kind of terrorism that has now become very sophisticated.

  5. As one reads the history of Kashmir, the history of what has happened in Afghanistan and the whole region and analyzes things in an unprejudiced fashion, one does tend towards the opinion of what Deepak Chopra says. And Rahul’s comment above is precise. The sophisticated terrorism is a creation of the NATO allies. But after reading the manifesto of organizations like the LeT , I wonder if solving the Kashmir issue will be solution enough.

  6. There is some truth in what Chopra says. It’s not the whole story.

    Islamism is reactionary, and the enemy of progressive people everywhere.

    There are two pillars of reaction: capitalism and Islamism.

    The war on terror isn’t against Islamism, only its spread. The Islamists only want their piece of imperialism’s pie.

    Regards my friends.

  7. “Behind this terrorist attack there are ‘Green Flag’ special operations forces, which were created by the Americans in Pakistan, just an year before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in the initial period were under full US control,” stressed Klyukin, a veteran of the special “Vympel” commando group of the former Soviet KGB.

    news report

  8. Perhaps we are giving too much credit to assume that humans are rational thinking creatures. A vast majority are not. There are a randomly large number of individuals who get a perverse pleasure by murdering others. And religion forms a most potent weapon for them to justify the killing of others. Similarly retributive justice forms the core principle of any terrorist, be it of the hindu, muslim, ideological or state terrorism.

    However, in trying to link the isolated cases of violence, we are treating the terrorist as a rational thinking creature. He is not. If it were not the Gujarat riots, the terrorist will kill us for publishing cartoons or writing books, or painting pictures.

    India is doing a terrible job by suppressing the people of Kashmir. However a man killing 193 people at random is not going to raise that awareness in me. Kashmiris should get their right to self determination not because I, as a citizen of India, will otherwise not be safe in markets or trains of India. They should get it because that is the right thing to do.

    Islam is systemically being abused, raped, disfigured, not by the imperialist forces. But by much of the arab world, where religion, law and racist identity have created a dangerous mix.

  9. Anoop, you make three points:
    1. Attacks like the one in Mumbai are not rational
    2. Religion provides an ideological bedrock for such actions
    3. Religion (in this case, Islam) itself is being contorted to justify these attacks/actions

    If my understanding of your arguments is correct, I agree only on (2). In this context, I may point to Marx’s famous quote on religion as an opiate of the masses:

    Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.

    As an opiate, it also brings a sense of community- a social consciousness to its adherents.

    See also this article that delves on why religion (Islam in mid- east but also Christianity in the US) plays the role it does and why one needs to be more understanding on why religion is a source of hope for many, even if in a contorted manner.

  10. Pingback: Mumbai Terror Aftermath Opinions « /home/jasdeep

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