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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Terror on Television

There was so much angst, sorrow, disgust to express ….but I had no words.
Stunned, we watched the devastation unfold ‘live’. The sheer audacity, meticulous planning, the cold blooded killings of hundreds of people by young boys just out of their teens, left the whole nation and the world speechless with horror. Who were these people who had no qualms, no conscience and were daring enough to not even bother to hide behind masks we so associate with terrorists and gunmen?

What started as a ‘minor’ attack (or so we thought) took the shape of a bloody battle in the following two days. The common man on his way back home, the urban elite having an evening out, tourists and business travellers, the waiters and staff of cafes and hotels, brave men in uniform, a rabbi and his family from a faraway country….all apparently unconnected till the 26th of November ‘08. But a common destiny brought about their gory end for no fault of theirs.

I salute our men in uniform. Some of our most able, honest and senior officers laid down their lives combating terror. India needed these brave honest men to fight...not only terrorism, but also the rot infested system they were part of and yet had the guts and integrity to fight against, to safeguard the interests of the nation. The NSG , who fought a valiant battle against urban guerilla warfare, despite all odds.
But some questions asked by not only me but every angst-ridden Indian …why couldn’t the Government mobilize their services IMMEDIATELY instead of waiting for 10 hours and hundreds of deaths later? Why aren't our Police armed with sophisticated weapon instead of measly revolvers in these terror infested times?

One more question which has been bothering so many of us? Where is the ‘saviour’ of the Marathi Maanus’? Why haven’t we heard even a single word from this gentleman who created havoc trying to safeguard the interest of 'his' state & its people and tried to divide the nation based on regionalism if not religion? Instead of wasting his force, energy, manpower and abundant political resources on non-issues, why could this gentlemen not fight the menace which has struck his city time and time again.

We are calling the war on Bombay as India’s 9/11. I find it an odd nomenclature. India has been unfortunate enough to be living with terror and terrorist attacks decades before 9/11 was even conceived. And what is more shameful is the fact that despite the ‘experience’, our power hungry politicians are still groping in the dark as to how to go about the process of eliminating these pseudo ‘warriors-with-a-cause’. Our esteemed politicians are perpetually busy, pointing fingers at one another, determining the religion of the terrorist, rather than realizing that these killers have no religion. I wonder how power poisons people to the extent that they also lose their conscience to act with basic honesty and integrity. Human lives cease to have value in the eyes of our politicians as serving their self interest is of highest priority. Can sheer greed for power and position do this to a section of people WE have chosen to represent us and lead us? Is the rot in our whole system so deeply ingrained?
True, terrorist attacks are not directly the result of corruption in politics. But the negligence, indifference, callousness, lack of synchronisation in the intelligence system have aided the strikes not once but every time...and every time they have been successful in their murderous intents, the failure of our system has become glaringly obvious.
Every time urban terror has struck India, there is an initial uproar, fervent superficial security measures, lot of talk and mudslinging between political parties and finally inaction. No steps are taken. No law is enacted. No concrete arrests are made. No kingpin terrorist is ever caught, put behind bars and hanged as he so rightly deserves. Public memory is short lived. Life continues. Other than those, whose lives are shattered by these episodes of mayhem and murder, life goes on for us others, with a nagging fear about the uncertainty of life …we are only armed with a prayer on our lips each time someone steps out of home…

But is this how it ought to be? Is this why we elect these people to their chairs?

Today India is anguished and outraged. But are we doing anything worthwhile or constructive? We, as an united entity, need to channelise this anger, fury and make our chosen leaders realize that they are in the position where the common on the streets cannot and will not be taken for granted. They are accountable for their actions and inaction to us. Just a perfunctory resignation, change of portfolio does not reassure us anymore. We want an end to this prolonged nightmare which has claimed lakhs of lives. We want a normal life. We want our children to step out of home, assured they’ll be back safe and sound. We want them to grow up in a world we can call beautiful, in a nation which is safe and secure with capable, honest leaders at the helm of affairs.

Are these too much to ask for???