THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 30 November 2018 (Terror in the age of freedom)

Terror in the age of freedom

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: Linkages between development and spread of extremism.


  •  A night before Ramzan in 2017, as part of the celebrations, children in the suburbs of Jakarta were marching with torches.
  •  The children were chanting: “Kill Ahok! Kill Ahok!” [Ahok was the nickname of Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, the Jakarta governor].
  •  Basuki’s family had Chinese and Christian connections.
  •  When he sought a second term, his opponents attacked him on racial grounds and launched a communal campaign against him. Not only did he lose the election, he was also sent to prison on charges of blasphemy. The children were celebrating the coming of the holy month by shouting death threats against him!
  •  Violence in the name of God is surely not new. But in this case, the mob included commoners and children.

Challenges of Indonesia

  •  Indonesia may seek to present itself as a friendly and tolerant country, but it has had its share of religious extremism.
  •  Borobudur, a 19th-century Buddhist temple, was bombed by a group of jihadis in 1985. In 2000, Christmas celebrations ended with the bombing of churches in several cities. One year, one month, and one day after 9/11, a group of terrorists killed more than 200 people in Kuta, Bali, a predominantly Hindu province.
  •  The attacks on non-Muslims are carried out in the name of Allah, but in many circumstances the victims are Muslims.
  •  Terrorism existed, but it was a faraway, unpredictable event.But for most people, terrorism was nothing but another piece of news.
  •  They argued briefly to the extent that, eventually, it felt like an event that happened in India, Palestine or Germany.
  •  Terrorism may never succeed in overthrowing the government, or in controlling large territories. But one thing has become very clear: The terrorists have managed to implant the idea of violence and hatred in everyone.
  •  Embracing the idea of violence and hatred does not make a person a terrorist or perpetrator of violence. But continuous expressions of hostility and contempt would have created something worse than terrorism itself.

Why is there so much bloodshed in the name of God?

  •  In Indonesia, Muslims are arguably the main actors.
  •  In other places, terrorism could involve people who follow other religions.
  •  In every corner of the world, “us” versus “them” has became the discourse at the grass roots as well.
  •  The idea of religion as a peaceful path has been shattered.
  •  The idea that humanism will promote equality and union also lies in ruins.
  •  We are at a crossroads, where broader human values are being replaced by exclusive group values.
  •  Justice, equality, fairness, and peace only apply to groups. It is only about “us”, and never concerns “others”.

This is a paradox

  •  Modern technology has been accelerating rapidly but it has not made people citizens of the world.
  •  Instead, people tend to fortify themselves in a group that distinguishes itself from another.
  •  In Indonesia, freedom arrived with the fall of the Suharto dictatorship democracy Freedom of the press and free speech achievements in the economic, political and cultural spheres.
  •  At the same time, in the name of freedom and democracy, radical ideas such as enforcement of the Islamic law in daily life and the establishment of an Islamic State, are being talked about.
  •  These radicals do not recognise that their ideas are anti-democratic and do not value freedom.
  •  In some areas, Islamic law eventually became the official law, as in the province of Aceh, where caning as a punishment has been reinstated.

Way forward

  •  For some people, the opening up led to a flood of aspirations. For many others, it meant a threat.
  •  It could lead to new knowledge, wisdom, prosperity, power, and even the making of new civilisations.
  •  It could also mean new disease, tyranny and war. The internet and digital revolution could lead to contradictory outcomes.
  •  It could trigger aspirations in one set of people, whereas a larger number of people could feel threatened.
  •  Those who feel threatened could act in self-defence.
  •  This is when the “us” versus “them” discourse and the struggle in the name of God become one and the same.
  •  The world, of course, will continue to move forward. Either we resist or humanity will crumble.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) The ratio of total additional planned savings in an economy to the total additional income of the economy is known as:
(a) Marginal propensity to consume (MPC)
(b) Savings rate
(c) Marginal propensity to save (MPS)
(d) Consumption rate

Answer: C

Mains Questions:
Q.1) “Terrorism is emerging as a competitive industry over the last few decades.” Analyze the above statement.