Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blasts and echoes

I'm impressed with people who were able to blog effectively about the terrorist attacks in Bombay as early as midnight on December 26 (two hours after the start of the attacks). For me, living just off the edge of Colaba causeway and within hearing distance of grenade explosions at the Taj and Oberoi hotels, it's been a numbing experience where I could not find a voice. My usual tone, of flippance mixed with irony, just doesn't sound right at a time like this. Nor can one resort to other "easy" emotions like cynicism.

By now I'm speaking again, and I want to say that the response of the city has been fantastically positive. The police and armed forces have been immensely brave, though the lack of preparedness of the former has been something between pathetic and tragic. Pathetic is the state of the under-trained and under-equipped cops who are quaking with fear but bravely standing where they are told to stand. Tragic is (was) the state of the senior cops who rushed into battle perhaps underestimating its seriousness and paid with their lives.

The news media has teetered between moderately careful and responsible reporting (NDTV, Times Now) and plain dishonest sensationalism (Headlines Today, India TV). Headlines Today should earn everyone's undying contempt for stringing together video images of the Taj hotel burning, adding canned machine-gun fire and music (MUSIC!!!) and making a kind of "catchy theme" out of the result. Shame shame.

As for the citizenry, their resolve for the city to rise from the ashes has never been stronger. SMS messages received by TV networks stress the importance of national unity and professionalism in dealing with the new challenges. Divisive politicians, are you listening? Apparently not. Here is what L.K. Advani had to say on TV today: "Both the central government and the state government have a lot to answer for, but today's not the day for me to dwell on that." He dwelt on it though, didn't he. Who was Home Minister when terrorists identical to these infiltrated Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001? My contempt for this person and his perenially divisive behaviour - and hypocrisy - knows no bounds.


B. SUNDER said...

Dear Sir,
I appreciate your time and patience along with the consciousness to update the blog, but I would like to point out that IT IS THIS RESILIENCE that HAS MADE OUR POLITICIANS LETHARGIC & as far as TERRORISTS are concerned they care less about this spirit.

Since 1993, we Mumbaikars have only been resilient and accepting of these situations. This has also made us sitting ducks for these irrational human beings calling themselves messengers of god and all sorts of pious terms. Look at US & UK, one heaviest attack on their soil and period, the people have forced the administrators to sit up and take a serious look. One attack during the World War and US along with entering in eventually developed the skill sets, technology and forces to tackle such situations. Why? It is not resilience it is the FEAR. & they have used their fear for their advantage. Whether it is terror acts or enemy nation targeting us, even the military personnel are taught that "you better be afraid of loosing your life else you will neither protect yourself nor will you attack your opponent"! Resilience and spirits are good for the first time not every time. The most important thing to emphasize is Mumbaikars should realize there has been so many attacks on this piece of land and on their lives and this sort of carefree attitude is taking them no where. If Mumbaikars are interested in getting into such good books by sacrificing more lives then they better be prepared for such events everyday.

I spoke to my friend who was so ignorant of this fact that she made a remark that we should get used to 2 hour curfew regularly since that is how we need to accept our life here. This is Mumbai! This is Mumbaikar! Proud of being ignorant on big issues but very, very keen on boarding that Animal-Wagon style Local Train and loosing temper when some one touches him in that local compartment protecting his so called ancestral "personal-space". I am also a Mumbaikar! I am not proud of it any more. Is life so difficult here in terms of making money with million opportunity springing everyday that Mumbaikar has to cling to his only option of the work-money-lifestyle-survival etc that he is really not caring about his life? How silly is this? We care about survival but not about our life.

The result of all this has only three things :

1) Terrorists have formed more organizations and more recruitment over there.
2) Media, which until today had a job such as showing silly footage like "Child falling in a Well and Army rescuing it"; has now things to show to increase TRP. Channels such as IndiaTV, Aaj Tak are claiming the first one to show them. On top of that silly commentators making a farce of everything they come across, showing no sense of responsibility in communication(as if they are untrained journalist and hired from some Rural Nautanki).
3)Politicians were lethargic anyway, but don't even know what to do. Where is our dear Raj & Bal Thackerey? Where are the Sainiks? Where are the Congress & NCP guys? Do they have the balls to storm inside these places where Terrorists are holed up or they can only shout slogans & hit innocent Taxi Men? Are they really 'MARD' or...?

Dear Sir, I am sorry, but there is no need to feel proud of resilient and bouncing back for work next day morning. Let us be human enough now! Let us have some emotions even if some one our own is not hurt. Else such attacks will take a face with Terrorists entering not only with Guns and Grenades or drop bombs in Dust Bins and Local Trains but with Tankers, Air Crafts and even Weapons of Mass Destruction.

We have to loose our cool and force the Politicians, Ministers and Officers of higher cadre to build systems, agencies and people with character who can avoid these situation very, very prior.

An ancient Chinese saying says, 'Every War Is Won Even Before It Is Fought' & this can happen only if we have better spy agents and equipments and also people at the top who can talk actions on that.

Anant said...

And where was Advanji at the time of Kandahar hijacking?

J Verma said...

Dear Sir,
I was actually waiting for you views on this horrible incident.Isn't it a result of total security failure and lethargicity on the part of the govt. This is an attack on the INTEGRITY of India, and it poses a question -- Are we resilient by force or by choice ? This time we have to answer...

Anant said...

Presumably J Verma wants a reply from the owner of this blog, perhaps other readers can also hazard a reply.

Now, why should a senseless attack by a dozen (albeit highly trained, lethal) criminals, because that is what they are constitute an attack on the integrity of a whole nation of 1.1 billion? I agree that an attack on one is an attack on all. The important thing is to stay calm and treat this as a criminal act or acts which is what they are, and let the law take its course. Let there be a full fledged investigation, let the master minds be brought to justice no matter how important or highly connected they may be and irrespective of who their pay masters are. If this can be done, it would be the way in which the putative loss of integrity could be restored.

This resilience you talk about: what else can be done? While the law takes its course, life has to go on. In any event, what do you think we should do. Why not you answer?

By the way, this has nothing to do with India: all our neighbours are victims of terrorism, countries big and small are. They do not consider such acts as attacks on their integrity.