The motive for terrorism in Tamil Nadu may stem from ethnic violence in Sri Lanka, a foreign country where Tamils are the minority and where Rajiv Gandhi sent Indian troops. It is not the basis of violence in Kashmir, where many seek independence; in Punjab, where Sikhs seek autonomy; or across the northern Hindi Belt, where parties are at each other's throats and tensions are fierce among Hindu castes and with Moslems.
The bomb at Sriperumpudur in Tamil Nadu killed more than Rajiv Gandhi, aged 46, grandson of the nation's founder, son of its powerful leader, English-educated airline pilot with an Italian wife, the non-political son, accidental man of destiny, former prime minister and potential savior of the nation. This bomb may have killed India.
Not India the eternal, cradle of civilizations, mother of religions, subcontinent of peoples and cultures. That India endures. But this terrible bomb may have shattered what was left of India the 44-year-old modern state, world's largest democracy, secular and pluralist. Many already thought that India was succumbing to poverty and population explosion, to corruption and cynicism, to religious extremism and social hatreds.