Ajmal Amir Kasab
the lone surviving terrorist, who gunned down hundreds on 26/11, has finally been awarded the death sentence
by special judge Tahiliani in Mumbai today.
No Indian can ever forget or forgive the day when terror struck Mumbai in its darkest form, when the nation at large was held to ransom by a bunch of murderers from across the border.
Kasab who was unlucky enough to have survived the counter-attack, was found guilty of almost all the 86 charges including mass murders and waging war on India. The CCTV footages showed a laughing Kasab as he mercilessly gunned down innocent people - a gesture that indicated the thrill that he experienced while he killed.
Even as the entire nation applauds the verdict, it may be worthwhile to take a curious trip through the maze of a mass murderer's mind to understand the enigma that is a terrorist. For, what would prompt a young man to take to bloodshed and violence ? What would motivate him to embrace death with open arms at so young an age?
The answers are evasive but that should not deter us from attempting to find out…
Poverty begets Terror
Early victimization is one of the main reason that leads to the birth of a terrorist.
It is not easy to assimilate the truth that Kasab who made such a spine-chilling impact was only a school drop-out from a remote village in Fridkot, Pakistan, who later worked as a casual laborer.
He was constantly at logger heads with his father which prompted him to leave home and join one of the LeT training camps in the mountainous terrains of Pakistan. If reports are to be believed his Dad is believed to have tricked him into joining the camps.
The likes of Kasab do not necessarily join the training camps for religious loyalty as we are often conditioned to think. Instead they get tricked into the 'trade' by the lucrative trappings that are promised to them and to escape their dismal domestic settings.
There are reports that Kasab's parents were offered 1.5 lakhs as solacium.
Therefore the recruitment of these terrorists is more in the line of young muslim girls from Hyderabad and Calicut being married off to rich but middle- aged Arabs.
But this thumb rule does not apply to educated and suave terror merchants like the Times Square bomber Shehzad who belonged to an influential family in Pakistan. He probably became a bomber for reasons that were different from those of Kasab's.
Very often young boys are initiated into terror by a family member or a friend (peer pressure). It is very common to see young terror recruits who are in the age group between 10-16 years as it is easy to manipulate them when they are in their formative years, also referred to as eye- for -an -eye stage.
During this phase, moral judgment begins to take shape in these young minds and it is easy for them to get enslaved in a web of righteous indignation and self-justification and this eventually propels them forward.
Terrorists are a brain-washed lot with limited capacity to think for themselves according to Rona Fields who has extensively studied terrorists across the globe, ranging from Europe, Africa and west Asia, to SE Asia.
Fields also points out that these men do not have any gray zones when it comes to right and wrong--to them everything is black or white!! They believe that violence is a tool to bring about desired changes, especially in the absence of political power.
They develop a sense of security and significance as members of a group and are thrilled to bits when faced with risks. It is characteristic of them to feel cohesive when faced with threat.
Most of these terrorists are men who suffer from low self esteem and are therefore attracted to charismatic leaders and organizations. Any wonder that the Big O continues to be a heavy weight despite his frail being and failing health?
Sociopath 'whackos' or Sane Men?
There is a common trend to label these men of terror as 'crazy' or assign them the tag of 'sociopath'. Unlike whackos they are sane, organized and rational with clear- cut targets and spend a great deal of time working towards their goal.
Most terrorists do not share personality traits with the insane.
Some terrorists are understood to have a criminal mentality. Some even have a criminal past.
Prize of Terror
All terrorists are blinded by their religious belief that God would forgive their sins and that of their family and that they would be amply rewarded for punishing the 'infidels'.
They are even brain-washed into believing that a heavenly paradise is awaiting them in the event of their 'martyrdom'.
On earth, meanwhile, the 'martyrs' are glorified and honored and their families suitably compensated, as mentioned earlier.
Return to Life
Many terrorists across the globe are becoming increasingly disillusioned with their 'life of horror' and are seeking to return to normal life. This is an encouraging trend and help must be rendered to rehabilitate these misguided young men and women.
Even as India sends a strong warning to Pakistan in the form of Kasab's death sentence let us fervently hope that the youth across the globe do not fall prey to fundamentalist or religious fanatics and instead receive guidance from moderate sources.
Let the grievances of the world's oppressed be addressed so that no young person is forced to take to terrorism to make his voice (or that of his community) be heard.
Peace and communal harmony are precious commodities that ensure our existence. Let us sincerely strive to promote them!
Dr. Reeja Tharu/L