Osama bin Laden is no jihadi hero | columns | Hindustan Times
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Osama bin Laden is no jihadi hero

The killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad Cantonment did not bring a single tear in my eyes. In the last nine years, his al-Qaeda wreaked havoc in many countries including America, England, Spain, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Indonesia. Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: May 15, 2011 01:58 IST

The killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad Cantonment did not bring a single tear in my eyes. In the last nine years, his al Qaeda wreaked havoc in many countries including America, England, Spain, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Indonesia. Their pretext was they were serving Islam; instead they brought Islam into ill-repute and did it grave disservice.

The way his American killers went about their job in tracking him down in a palatial house in Abbottabad Cantonment, killing him and dumping his body in the sea so that his grave would not become a place of pilgrimage for the admirers, speaks well for his killers. I refuse to believe that the Pakistan military chief did not know his living in the Cantonment. Pakistan also wanted Osama dead but was not willing to do the killing itself. Instead it willingly compromised its sovereignty by allowing a foreign government to do the dirty job on its soil. It is because of the aid Pakistan gets from the United States. It can ill-afford to upset its chief patron.

What bothers me most is how Muslims the world over will take Osama's killing in an Islamic state. He had acquired the status of a Jihadi hero and now dead that of a martyr who laid down his life for the cause of Islam. I fear that Muslim religious institutions like Dar-ul Vloom and Al Azhar will accord him the status of a martyr; following that so will the Muslim masses. That will be a sad day.

Mourning Sai's departure
Shri Satya Sai Baba's death has been widely mourned. He had a larger following than any other godman or godwoman. He was a good man who built schools, colleges, hospitals, canals and much else. But he was a human being with human frailties. To gain acceptance he resorted to magician's tricks like producing ash (vibhooti) by rubbing his fingers, materialising items like watches, as if out of the air. He was not bhagwan (god). Like other human beings, he aged, fell ill and died. He was not immortal as god is believed to be.

I'm bewildered by the hysteria created by his admirers on his demise. Politicians of different parties - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, LK Advani - all showed up at Puttaparthi. Many newspapers had full page pictures of his describing him as bhagwan (god). Nobody knows what god looks like. Many even question his very existence. No Semitic religion like Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe in a human god. Islam justifies the killing of anyone who claims to be one. Buddhism recognises Dalai Lama as god's representative. Sikhism recognised Sants and saintly men but denounced anyone who claimed to be god or the re-incarnation of any of their ten Gurus. Hinduism is unique in believing in the existence of god in human form. What happens when the human god dies is not known to anybody.

A Standpoint

As a tipping point
The three-year glitch
Replaces the seven-year itch.
In the fast paced 21st century
Endless squabbles over nothings,
Perennial stinginess, weight-gain,
Incessant disturbing snoring,
Are a few of the passion killers.
A recent survey of adults
In steady relationships
Highlights the 36-month marker
When ties of kinship
Reach the zenith of stress levels.
All this points to a new trend -
Heading off to solo holidays.
Within a run-down relationship
An individual gaze into space is presently the touchstone

(Courtesy: RP Chaddah, Chandigarh)

Several times 11
In 2011 we're going to experience four unusual dates, 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11 and 11/11/11 and that's not all. Take the last two digits of the year in which you were born, now add the age you will be this year, and the result will be 111 for everyone ! This is also the year of money...

Also, this October will have 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays and 5 Saturdays. This happens only every 823 years.

(Contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)

The views expressed by the author are personal.