Newsletter-cum-magazine of Oasis Movement YEAR 2 I ISSUE 24 I Dec 1, 2008




...ALIVE invites your opinions

The final touches were being given to this issue of …Alive, when the news of ‘Mumbai under siege’ started pouring in. As the bytes on television channels rolled out heart wrenching scenes of complete mayhem and terror in the financial capital of India, the country was left watching it helplessly : Scores of unsuspecting civilians running berserk, targeted by a group of young armed men who burst grenades and opened fire on the busy streets & a popular restaurant of the city.. Followed by two of the iconic luxury hotels, the Taj and the Oberoi-Trident falling to a situation of hostage crisis...It took more than 3 days for the best of the country’s security personnel and commandos to bail us out of this horrifying tragedy!

Around 180 lives lost including top police officials and commandos, half a thousand injured humans, property worth crores damaged, and a week later, the country is still speechless and numbed - did this happen right in Mumbai?? Did this actually happen to us?

What went wrong? Who did the wrong? How did terrorists do it? What should be done now? Who should do it now? What can we do? And so on. There are a hundred unanswered questions in every mind and heart as the nation reels back from the shock and pain of this entire episode.

And there are hundreds of legitimate feelings and mixed view points that also reflect the angry grief of citizens, “Terrorism is the result of laxity of our government; we need to use Tit for Tat formula; if the police is not safe, how can we feel safe; Democracy can never solve this problem, hand over the country to the army; See what’s happening to Kashmir so far and now it’s Mumbai-just because we allowed it; It’s time for citizens to get together and act, rather than expect solutions from government; Lets talk of actions now, and not plans; enough is enough….

Good enough. However pessimistic or unrealistic they may seem, however blatant or prejudiced they occur, however revolutionary or confused they are – this is atleast some brewing and definitely thought provoking! Good enough, once again. That questions are raised and their solutions sought. That concerns are expressed and expectations are being clarified. That sensitivity is finally stirring and collective consciousness is being aroused. That we are coming out of our “I’s” and connecting to the “Our’s”.

Thank God, this is a beginning, I tell myself as I recollect what a beloved senior human rights activist at Ahmedabad once guarded me against. This

was in 1999, about a decade back. Well known for fighting cases with the State, be it for the illiterate, powerless migrants or be it for social activists who were barred from entering the state just because they dared to voice opinion against the government’s policies, it had always been a lone-battle for him. Call it state-terrorism in our democracy! ‘Passivity of socially-conscious citizens is what will harm the nation in the coming times’, he noted, while quoting a famous line by Martin Niemoller (an early Nazi supporter who was later imprisoned for opposing the same Hitler regime):


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - And there was no one left to speak for me!

I shudder if, I and we, as citizens, would ever need to face this tomorrow–



First they came for the Kashimiris, then the Naxalites, then the Americans, then the Muslims, then the ‘pseudo-seculars’ & the activists, then the Biharis, then Ahmedabad, then Bangalore, then Mumbai… and I did not speak out nor did I act - Because I was not one of them.

And then one day, they came for me – but there was no one left to speak for me! Nor save me.

Can we afford to be onlookers anymore?

If no, what do we do now?!

- Sheeba


Are you ready to act your plans? Then join this debate… WHAT NOW?

With the purpose to mobilise public opinion, connect diverse perceptions and build a larger perspective, and invite a proactive platform of active citizens who are ready to act their plans...Alive is initiating a public debate in its monthly magazine on the burning issues afflicting the country beginning from our next issue dated January 1st 2009.

We earnestly invite each of you to send in your valued viewpoints on the most crucial subject surfacing in our hearts today – “What do we do now as citizens and a country to respond to the crises of terrorism – what actions next.” Your opinions will be printed in the next issue.

Pl ensure to reach us your opinions on oasis.alive@yahoo. before 15th December 2008.

There is a terrorist in every home!

This was what a leading educationist from Gujarat and an ex-IIM Director had to say. Can we see them? Are we making one? How?

Face this. Every family in itself is an epitome of power and authority. When power suffocates the autonomy of its citizens, when authority crushes their freedom, when the ruler terrorises and victimises the dependents..the victims of these acts are the ones who go on to become the tormentors in the future...then the 'terrorized' becomes the 'terrorist'.

Lets read on to this thought provoking aspect to understanding terrorism in a different light…

The foundation of family

The foundation of any good relationship is care, commitment and communication. And when even one of these three essential ingredients is missing, discontentment creeps into the relationship. If not remedied in time, this could lead to alienation and a complete breakdown in relations.

The children of self-centred and psychologically immature parents who do not make the welfare of the children their number one priority, feel like emotional orphans, and when they cannot find emotional fulfilment at home, they start looking for it elsewhere.

State and terrorism

Come election time and all political candidates promise to commit themselves to care and always keep the communication lines open between themselves and the common man. They commit to address the grievances of the constituency, the state, the nation, and the world. Such promises are doled out freely with not much thought given to keeping

them, but when they are broken and when the trusting voter/citizen feels betrayed, the price to be paid for such betrayal is unimaginable.

Years and years of broken promises and betrayed trust lead to a simmering discontentment amongst the people. When people are dissatisfied with the elected government, they first try communicating through petitions. If the grievances raised are not addressed, then the next step is protests, strikes and bandhs. If all civilised methods of resistance fail, then threats are issued, and the last resort is brutal force in the form of "terrorism".

People look upon the elected leaders/ governments as those who have promised to undertake the task of nurturing the welfare of the people, just like parents who are supposed to see to the welfare of the children in a family. Central and state governments thus play the role of parents in the family.

The consequences

Juvenile delinquency is the direct result of a dysfunctional family and association with terrorist outfits and anti-social groups with separatist tendencies. It is nothing but a desperate and misguided attempt by the discontented children of our society, at creating a world, a family for themselves.

Similarly, when people do not feel nourished and cared for in their own motherland, in their own world, and when communication, protests and threats do not seem to work, then separatist and rebellious tendencies start developing. They then start seeking a homeland, the right of self-determination and start living by their own rules.

Terrorism does not come from nowhere. It has a deep root and stems from extreme frustration and anguish.

When the children of our world feel abandoned by our leaders and moral keepers of our world; when they find that there is no forum to air their grievances; when their petitions are repeatedly dismissed and promises repeatedly broken; then there arises in them the deepest form of hopelessness and powerlessness. Such people are not only willing, but eager to undertake suicide missions, and they play right into the hands of the evil ambitious leaders who can then drive them to do anything.

Terrorism is the wickedness of humiliated people and this menace cannot be eradicated unless the reasons that create terrorism are not addressed.

The way to healing

Having said this, just to clarify that this is in no way a justification for the terrorism and anti-social activities happening along border states in India, or anywhere else in the world. But, it is in fact an attempt at understanding the entire dynamics behind such activities. It is an attempt at getting to the root of the problem.

It is therefore, futile to condemn the power-hungry sharks who feed on the discontented children. It is even more futile to punish the misguided youth. These discontented, angry and misguided children need to be allowed to express themselves verbally, and give catharsis to their anger. They need to be understood and their grievances addressed, and they need to be taken back into the family fold.

Terrorism is a scourge that must be removed, but only through suitable diplomatic and political moves. What is truly required for genuine healing is for the entire family to get involved in therapy, and to form a community based on the equal worth of all.

- Minnu Bhonsle

Remember that children learn from watching their parents and teachers. They are very interested in how you respond to events. They learn from listening to your conversations with other adults. Avoid stereotyping groups of people by race, nationality, or religion. Use the opportunity to teach tolerance and explain prejudice.

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Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness. More darkness will make darkness thicker. Only light can dissipate darkness. Violence and hatred cannot be removed with violence and hatred. Rather, this will make violence and hatred grow a thousand fold. Only understanding and compassion can dissolve violence and hatred.

Hatred, and violence are in the hearts of human beings. A terrorist is a human being with hatred, revenge, violence and misunderstanding in his or her heart. Acting without understanding, acting out of hatred, violence and fear, only helps sow more terror, bringing terror to the homes of others and ultimately bringing terror back to the homes of the attacker.

-Thich Nhat Hahn

Relationships — of all kinds — are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but mostly it will be spilled.

Marriage too, is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.

Prevent anger from becoming a collective energy. The only antidote for anger and violence is compassion. Terrorists are also victims, who create other victims of misunderstanding.

  Editor's Note

The attack on Mumbai’s peace and safety brought not only shock but a tremendous wave of anger and retaliation throughout the entire country. Television channels and print media flashed the emotions that citizens reflected right from the minute the terror attack took its toll on the city. Panelists, common citizen, politicians, celebrities, victims… all brought forth their anger that stemmed from the tremendous sense of insecurity, and loss that each faced. “Let heads roll, punish the terrorists, take swift actions, bring Pakistan to books, retaliate with the strictest actions against every traitor, enough is enough…….” Yes all are angry, the rage obvious. As in all, I could see the frustration lurking inside me that wanted relief – immediate and speedy. All of us want solutions and actions now- something that heals our pain soon -the pain of the loss of our loved and known ones.

“We have a tendency to punish whoever has dared to make us suffer. We seek relief by making the other person suffer”, said Thich Nhat Hahn and I experienced how right he said so. Anger, justified! Solutions, yes! Actions, of course! But with all this anger and the feeling to retaliate strongly – am I not becoming a perpetrator of violence myself? Is this terrorism making me a terrorist today?

Terrorism leads to yet another terrorism by those who are victims. Are we being led into this vicious cycle? Or is it possible to break this circle of frustration and hopelessness? Is there a way to do it? Can we change the situation?

As way of extending our sincere-most condolences and prayers for every family that has suffered in the Mumbai attack, …Alive requests active participation from our sensitive readers to join this platform by sending in your viewpoints to us by Dec 15th.


- Sheeba


When men are inhuman, take care not to feel towards them as they do towards each other.

- Marcus Aurelius


  Nuances of Terrorism

There is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. The concept of terrorism is itself controversial because it is often used by states to delegitimize political opponents, and thus legitimize the state's own use of terror against those opponents.

There are several International conventions on terrorism with somewhat different definitions. The United Nations sees this lack of agreement as a serious problem.

Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience beyond the immediate victim. The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose. The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not in the act itself, but in the public’s or government’s reaction to the act.

Terrorism itself is a symptom of a highly controlled mass media, which does not otherwise give voice to alternative viewpoints. Controlled media is responsible for terrorism, because "you cannot get your information across any other way" - Paul Watson


One man's terrorist

can be another man's

freedom fighter.


Some groups, when involved in a "liberation" struggle, have been called terrorists by the Western governments or media. Later, these same persons, as leaders of the liberated nations and respectable governments, are called statesmen by similar organizations. Two examples of this phenomenon are the Nobel Peace Prize laureates Menachem Begin and Nelson Mandela.


Said Derrick Jensen once, “Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the obsession of the victims.”


  Alive Archives


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Team Alive

  Poonam Golani

  Kshama Kataria

  Sheeba Nair

  Ami Nanavati

  Umesh Patel

  Jwalant Bhatt

  Jolly Madhra

  Sanjiv Shah

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