Asuras of Today


I was watching the Sidney Sheldon-like Rupert Murdoch drama unfolding on BBC. That was when the marquee crawled by, informing me about the Mumbai blasts. Shocked, I switched over to an Indian news channel. The same old scenes greeted the viewer – chaos, stunned people milling around, news anchors catching hold of anyone who can give a version, injured being physically lifted and taken away, policemen trying their best to control the crowds.

I was waiting with bated breath to see the statements from our leaders. Will the statements finally reflect justifiable anger and instil trust in the people; that the government will move swiftly, effectively, ruthlessly this time? I was hoping for too much. When the statement came, it merely said, ‘Strongly condemn the blasts’; followed by ‘Urging people of Mumbai to show unity’ and many other clich├ęs. I think these statements are in large files that are marked ‘Post-attack statements’. So each time there is an attack, the same statements are released.

Dealing with terrorism is a sustained action. A lot of it has to be proactive, more than reactive. It is expensive, time consuming and requires tight co-ordination of all intelligence agencies. But going by India’s response in the past, the famed Indian restraint looks more and more like twiddling thumbs, rather than a strategy. I know it is unfair to comment this way. I am sure a team is working tirelessly to gather intelligence and put together a plan of action. And I am also 100% sure that their hands are tied because of political feet-shuffling.

Indeed, patience is a virtue. But patience is often misconstrued as a sign of weakness. When does patience become a virtue? In the art of war – patience is a strategy. A strategy where you show utmost restraint; but strike decisively at a moment when the enemy least expects. In our case, unfortunately, patience has indeed become a weakness. So far, our only response to terrorist attacks has been restricted to finger-pointing and little else. It won’t be any different this time around. In a few days, we will be engulfed by another scam, or another Bollywood item number with foul lyrics will occupy headlines, or another XYZ will sit down for a fast – and life will go on.

In our Hindu mythology, the Asuras of yore were the ‘terrorists’. Whenever an asura went berserk, terrorising Bhooloka and Indraloka – people would run to Shiva or Vishnu asking for help and protection. This would often lead to an ‘Avtaara’ – where Vishnu would be born on earth, grow up AND THEN fight the demon. But in some cases where an immediate action was required, the process was cut short, and the Asura would be felled by a divine feminine form - be it Mohini, Durga or Kali.

When I see the cancer of terrorism in our world, there is always one Asura who comes to mind – Raktabeejasura. No one could kill this Asura. Every drop of his blood hitting the ground would act like a ‘seed’ or a ‘beeja’ – and a clone of the Asura would spring into life. Thus it was impossible to eliminate him. If one slayed him with a weapon – blood would gush out and it would result in a million clones of the Asura. He used this as a tactic in the battlefield. He was invincible, or so he thought, till Mother Kali stepped her Roudra Avataara.

Imagine a battlefield where a million clones of this Asura are viciously attacking everything in sight. Suddenly, over the horizon, the ferocious face of Kali appears – like the massive disc of a setting sun. Her skin is the colour of a twilight sky, Her eyes are blazing with fury, Her tresses are streaming wildly like violent storm clouds. She then opens Her mouth wide. Her bloodshot tongue rolls out to cover the entire battlefield, lapping up the foul Asura’s blood before it touches the ground. Her gigantic cavernous mouth swallows the million forms of the Asura – who look like ants in front of Her. Finally, when there is no more blood in his weakened body, he is slain.

Today, every country’s fight against terrorism is like fighting against the clones of the Asura. For every terrorist that is felled, however ‘powerful’ he might be; hundreds others are getting their hate-training and are gearing up for more attacks. Perhaps today we need a Divine Shakti again – a fearsome force that can annihilate the root of the problem once and for all.

To all my fellow beings who have suffered directly or indirectly by such asuras; I leave you with my humble prayers –

Om Kreem Kalyai Namah

Om Hreem Shreem Kreem Parameshvari Kalike Svaaha

Om Kali Kali Mahakali Kalike Papaharini Dharmarthamokshade Devi Narayani Namostuthe.

© Sumana Khan - 2011


  1. I thought you would say the politicians are the asuras. By the way, I find this terorist attack uncanny. Just a week back, I casually mentioned that things are getting things are getting out of hand for the government on the corruption issue. Soon there will be a terrorist attack to bail them out and then they will say let us leave aside petty issues like corruption and unite in national interest against Pakistan. And Anna Hazare and the ilk will be considered un patriotic if they open their mouth against our own people, our dear politicians at a time when we are beseiged by enemies.

  2. @Anjali - You set the ball rolling :)

  3. @TF - Politicians are local asuras. And like you, many have opined similarly.


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