By Chet Yarbrough
The Association of Small Bombs
By: Karan Mahajan
Narrated by: Neil Shah
Karan Mahajan (Indian American novelist.)
“The Association of Small Bombs” ticks slowly but makes a loud noise as its message becomes clear. Karan Mahajan explains something about India that is only marginally understood by most Americans. It is no surprise that terrorism comes from racial, religious, and ethnic difference, magnified by inequality. What is a surprise is India’s terrorist acts are local events, poorly prosecuted and soon forgotten by those not directly involved.
Mahajan’s story is about perpetrators of terrorism, who they are, where they come from, why, and how they become terrorists. The President of India is Hindu. An estimated 80 percent of India is Hindu with 13% Islamic, 2.3% Christian and other religions at less than 2% each.
(Mahatma) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948, Lawyer, Leader of India’s independence from British Rule.)
As most know, during the time of Mahatma Gandhi, there was a concerted effort to secularize India and keep two predominate religions in India, Hindu, and Islam. Gandhi fails and Pakistan becomes a separate Islamic state in 1947.
Modi, the current President of India, is said to believe–India’s Muslims must prove their Indianness to be citizens of the country.
Modi effectively dismantles Gandhi’s effort to secularize India. Like the stain of slavery in America, Modi pollutes India’s secularization at the expense of a restive Muslim population.
Mahajan’s story begins with a terrorist bomb explosion. The bomb is set by a Muslim terrorist that kills two Muslim boys and wounds a third.
The irony is that Muslims are killing Muslims to undermine a government that already discriminates against Muslims. “The Association of Small Bombs” is meant to destabilize the government regardless of who is being killed.
Mahajan explains how injustice is compounded by an inept prosecution system, biased against Muslims who are often victims of the bombings. India’ residents, whether Muslim or Hindu, are victimized in two ways. One, actual perpetrators are rarely caught, and two, victims are rarely compensated for their loss.
Mahajan illustrates how inequality is an equal opportunity victimizer in India. The wider point of Mahajan’s story is that denial of equal opportunity for all races, religions, and ethnicities in any nation-state is a crime against humanity.