Sunday, 30 November 2008

What good can possibly come out of what happened at Mumbai?

Don’t beat me up for asking such a question.
We claim that unity in diversity is our specialty. Up until today, I saw many examples of diversity, but few of unity.
What this attack in Mumbai has done though, is to bring unity in adversity, as the people of Chennai are calling it. It is grief that united.
Did you see how local Mumbaikars, cheered with every truckload of army men that came in? Every time they shouted ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai,’ I got goose bumps. India has never been an aggressor. We have been at war only a few times in the last 60 years: The ones with Pakistan in ’65 and ’71 and then Kargil. This is why we have never given a thought to our troops. Thousands of young men and women sign themselves up to the army, in times of peace, with no guarantee that the future will remain the same, prepared for any circumstance.
Unlike the USA where their troops are in much use every day all over the world, India never got to see action out of hers. In the US not supporting their troops is considered an offence. Not legally. But the troops go into war confident that they have their whole country behind them and their country is grateful to them.
But today, these men and women who we never regarded, today we learnt how indispensible they are. We suddenly became aware of their presence.
It took terrorists to make us aware.
In times of peace, when a pacifist preaches his message, no one wants to hear it. Today, when one gets up onto his soapbox to preach peace, he has an audience. The audience knows that he either accepts to follow the path of peace and still maintain some hope for tomorrow. Or he accepts that violence is the order of the day and nothing can change it. And I think more of us want to see the victory of peace today than ever before.
What this attack in Mumbai has done is that it has brought the urgency of seeing the success of peace to the top of everybody’s mind and wish list. There is nothing more anybody wants.
It took violence to make us aware of peace.
Initially, the fear was that communal riots would break out.
It did not happen. At least not so far.
This time, those who dare make discriminatory comments are being hounded down.
Instead, all anger is being channelized towards a new target. I never thought this would happen, but it has. We have taken our politicians to task. This is how, this times attack, was different.
Politicians usually manipulate every situation to their convenience.
This time we didn’t allow it.
Scour the internet. Remember I said that’s where the youth of India lives? Every young person is suddenly demanding answers out of them. They are not all sitting back and complaining.
Suddenly every young person is aware of their rights. Their right to information.
Every young person today is resolving to go and vote at the next elections.
Suddenly every young person is aware of their duty. Their duty to vote.
NOW we have finally agreed, that ‘Enough is Enough.’
It took terrorists to make this happen.
Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar and all the other police and army personnel who died fighting for our security.
It appears to me, that India would not have been so shaken up if their deaths hadn’t happen. This reminds me of the movie Rang De Basanti. Talking about the movie later with a friend, I complained that the ending should have been happier. He said, “It just wouldn’t have been as good if they hadn’t all died in the end.”
So thick headed India required 102 deaths, along with 12 police and army men and 300 injured, to actually feel and be affected.
Why did it take an attack in our own country to get united? We see terrorism all over the world. But we had to wait for this to happen, to be affected?
If we continue on this path of reconstruction, those 102 deaths would not have been in vain. Or else, they will remain as wasted unfulfilled lives. They will remain statistics. And their blood, and the blood of more to come, will be on our hands.
I don’t think those 40 men anticipated that they would actually stir up the people like this. They dug their own graves. 1.13 billion people(according to the latest estimate made, in March this year) and more, are waiting to throw mud on it.
As one man said on NDTV, “The fire is not on in the burning buildings, and the many funeral pyres being lit. Now it is on in our hearts.”
Ask me again, what good could possibly come out of what happened in Mumbai.


Anonymous said...

hey..luv the way u frame ur thoughts! =]

there is gonna be a huge change in the way people think..n act...
maybe leading to a greater change in the way the country's rule..

but did we have to wait soo long for these reactions to come about?
this isnt the first time india or even mumbai has faced terror attacks..we've been in the sphere of it forever!

but its never too late...and the 'good' of it slowly unfolding...
i hope..

the resignation of the home minister could be termed as a beginning!

Rahul said...

How about the thought - Whatever has to happen, will happen - ?
In that case, is there really any point in trying?

pssssttt - no need to post this - just wanted to ask you this.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this is not the first time, India has been attacked and will not be the last time. Every day, 1.1 BILLION people walk around in India, mostly ignorant of the politics and yet complain of corrupt politicians.

Politicians are corrupt because we LET them become corrupt. There is no fault in the system as many people claim. The fault lies in the people.

Go to a poor village in India with a sack of rice and you will be able to convince them to vote for you.

Voting is a privilege that is ENJOYED only by the rich. The poor are merely brainwashed when voting.

I would like to suggest a more radical approach that might seem unintelligent right now, perhaps even blasphemous.

A Dictator/ Oligarchy
Yes, I know, that would mean that we are no longer a democracy. But, we need action FAST and a dictator will be able to take those decisions right away without getting tangled up in all the red tape or without having to worry about how every decision will affect his next election. ONCE our country has actually reduced poverty to a very manageable level, we can perhaps re-instate democracy. Democracy is a privilege and (hate me for saying this, but) India has not proven itself worthy of being a democracy so far.

kicking.and.screaming said...

@ Anonymous

Its coincidental, that just before signing in now, i was thinking of just this. An Emergency you say?

My friend.. poverty. you are talking about ridding poverty. The magnitude of such an undertaking is hard to imagine. I want it to happen just as much as you.

I have this analysis of how everything boils down to poverty. Ill put it up sometime.

But dealing with poverty 1st and then sorting out terrorism is going to take forever.

i agree though. India has not proven itself worthy of democracy.

Anonymous said...

how about an army rule?

Nikkipoo said...

Anonymous is right.
Dont you think a dictator is waaay better than all those corrupt politicians together. I think thats what India needs too. A dictator would be able to atleast get rid of the poverty to some extent.

I know this is wierd but I really wish that India would have not been independant. And that Pakistan should not have been seperated.

Coruscating Twinkle said...

We only live to question. And We question back to escape answers.

The pessimist in me says "All the melee will continue being a loud honk for another few days.. after which everything will be made to die down soon.."

The sanguine side says "This is a revolution. We must (and not "will") act (and not "react")!

Oh, and btw, GREAT write!!!

kicking.and.screaming said...

@ Nikipoo...
no no Niki... please consider what youre saying.

Agreed- our democracy hasnt functioned without glitches. But it HAS functioned. 60 years ago when they made us a democracy I would have laughed saying "What do these people know about governance?"
But we proved them wrong. We've never had a military take over, we've maintained our sovereignty.

And this has never happened before.. this taking to task of politicians. Had we not been a democracy it never would have happened in the 1st place.

Dictators are not good men who care for the people's voice and needs. That just defeats the whole purpose of dictatorship. They start of like that I think. But it doesnt end like that.

We have to fight to keep our democracy alive. Not ask for a dictatorship. That thought chills me to the bone.

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Anonymous said...

Up for some fresh perspective?

According the National Crime Records bureau, there were around 700 terrorism related deaths last year.

And 2800 deaths due to lightning. By those odds, the probability of the average Indian being struck by lightning is 4 times more than being killed to a terrorist attack.

So, why is the country in a furore over Mumbai? The answer is that the country is not. People like you and me are. Urban people, especially the middle class and the upper class. Why? The terrorists struck at symbols of affluence. The Taj, the Oberoi.. that is why you blogged. Think about it. Around 100-150 die due to spurious liquor in Tamil Nadu alone every month (Since I've already enumerated upon the abysmal health levels).

No,no, India does not care. The youth may care. Or it may not. What the youth thinks and says is frankly, extremely fickle.

The real people of India, the 72% in rural India, they dont care. Why? they see worse deaths eevryday. If you dont believe me, the next time such a terrorist attack happen (and it will), hop on to a bus and go visit a village outside the influence of you metro. See what they have to say. See if they reiterate this "The fire is not on in the burning buildings, and the many funeral pyres being lit. Now it is on in our hearts" crap.

Another reason you felt so devastated by this attack was because you saw it live for 60 hours on television. Dont even get me started on that.

kicking.and.screaming said...

@ Shogun

Much of this post, has come under scrutiny by myself, off late, even before you read it. I do not believe in a few of these things anymore.

I differ with you. At least on a personal level.

26/11 was traumatic for different reasons. One being, that the affluent, the beautiful, were targetted. Two, because it was the kind of attack that it was. I leave it to you, to decide what my motive was.

While I have no doubt of what you say, I am not sure of what argument you are building here.