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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    December 30, 2005

    Terror moves south

    For much of India's history, I reckon that the south has rarely been touched by invasions, violence etc. either because it was too difficult to access or because the people didn't respond positively. While there're certainly chronicled instances of the freedom struggle being marshalled admirably in south India, there're very few names which come to mind: Tipu Sultan, C Rajagopalachari, Subramanya Bharathi and perhaps Sarojini Naidu, VO Chidambaram Pillai among them. I can't think of others, can you?

    South India also remained largely untouched by foreign invasions, most of the marauders focussed on looting and/or capturing and settling down in north India, as exemplified by Alexander, Mahmud of Gazni and Babar. Despite the possibility of invasions via sea, I can't think of any that happened. This could very likely have been because south India's kings had extended into South-East Asia and Sri Lanka had embraced Buddhism thanks to Ashoka.

    The problem of terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir (late 1980s to present) and Punjab (late 1970s to the early 1990s) also did not affect southern India. But Tamil Nadu was affected by the LTTE's presence, especially since the governments were more than happy to lend tacit support to the terrorist organization. Rajiv Gandhi's gruesome assassination in 1991 and the Coimbatore blasts in 1998 came as a real shock. After all, terrorism had always been an alien concept down south.

    All that has changed now. Bangalore seems to be target #1 as far as terrorists are concerned. A few months ago, there were reports that several industrial, educational and technological establishments in the city would be targetted by terrorists. There were bomb hoaxes at various offices of Wipro, Infosys etc. After the carnage at the IISc two days ago, Bangalore went on high alert, even as the police and the administration tried their level best to blame the constellations for the mess.

    Today, I saw the increased security while going for my classes at IIM-B. There was checking of every car that went in. Interestingly though, they let me go when I was on my two-wheeler. On the way back, I saw a lot of folks standing outside the software technology park at the beginning of the inner/intermediate ring road. My first thought was that there was some movie shooting on. My second thought was that it was some terrorism preparedness drill. I inquired with a chap standing on the roadside and he told me that there had been a bomb threat.

    There're now fresh threats against New Year celebrations and the Chief Minister's residence. There is just one direct implication. We will continue to see threats of this nature, resulting in ever-growing paranoia, much as what Londoners would have gone through earlier this year.

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