While reading out the stories from Mahabharata to my son, I came across the story of Goddess Chamundi. The demon called ‘Raktabeeja’ fought with Goddess Chandika and Goddess Bhagwati.Raktabeeja was blessed with a boon that for every drop of his blood that touched the ground, it would create another form of his. So, in a short time, there were thousands of Raktabeejas fighting in the battlefield.

When I juxtapose this in the context of today’s terrorism, I see thousands of Raktabeejas. Killing one Osama bin Laden might very well sprout thousands more of fanatics. On a different note, there was a recent episode where a terrorist’s brother died during police interrogation. Being a terrorist’s brother didn’t make him a terrorist too and he too was innocent till proven guilty. When I looked at the picture of his young grieving son, I wondered how long it would be before he turned against the establishment.
Both are different incidents with basic ideological differences, but have the potential to give rise to the same consequences.

Unfortunately, there is probably not a single panacea to cure all the maladies. As some of the leading psychologists of the world propound, that terrorism could emanate from a variety of causal factors including cultural / religious leanings, feeling of persecution, low self esteem,social ostracization, personality disorders, an immature thinking or moral reasoning, exposure to violence,following role models, group dynamics which dictate sense of identities, results of frustration, retaliation against harm done to self or family,economic or political ambitions. All in all,  complex set of behavioral,social, religious,political environments intermingle to create the mind of a terrorist.

To think that the problem, which has existed since man himself, could be rooted out would be naive and over simplistic. But attempts could definitely be made to remove some of the causal factors. Sheer force, as has been evinced time and again, has been largely ineffective.’De-martyrization’, if such a thing could be achieved can definitely help. Media could play a powerful role in portraying the terrorists in a light that ensures de-martyrization. Capturing over killing has its merits and demerits. Terror attacks attract a lot of publicity and the outfits thrive on the publicity and feed on the fear they generate. Curbing publicity and minimizing impact to normal lives of citizens. Maintaining sanity checks on military / police retaliation. Counseling the family members of the victims of either terrorism or counter-terrorism.

How can the world , like Goddess Chamundi , let not a single drop of blood touch the ground ?

2 thoughts on “Raktabeeja

  1. Hardliners always bay for blood for retaliation but as you rightly say, it may not be the best answer.

    If terrorists kill innocents for terror at least lawmakers should not kill innocents in search of terrorists. May be I can say this because I have not lost anyone in a terror attack ..

  2. I agree, its like in the movie Munich when the principal character says that all the Arab Terrorists killed by the Mossad have been replaced by even more hardliners. Its a vicious cycle. I think it is economic backwardness that drives people to such lengths. You and me cant even think of this as we have our jobs and families etc and are generally well off. Most recruits for such activities come from areas that are desperately poor and have very little education. Till such a thing happens there will be a continuous supply of manpower.

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