Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mumbai Terror - A Week After

Am still shell shocked - for even a knee jerk reaction in the blog sphere. I open the net only to check mail. For most of those sixty hours, sat in my cane chair stunned, watching the battle between my country and terror.

Today my son called me to ask why I did not post a blog on the terror attack. Another blog visitor asked me about my ‘deafening silence’. That’s when I realized my views too matter- at least to a couple of people.

And so I post a blog, tho ill prepared for the exercise.

Every terror attack sends a chill down my spine – and with passing years it gets chillier and chillier. But when terror strikes familiar places it freezes you. Leopold was our favourite haunt. After bargaining on the roadside for trinkets for my daughter or popping in at some of the many exciting places in Colaba, I am joined by my husband whose office is in the parallel street and we have a quick bite at Leopold. This used to be a routine while we were in Mumbai.

My niece once took me to the Taj beauty saloon for a hair cut. I have had a dinner there once – a dinner sponsored online by my NRI daughter.

I went into Oberoi restaurant once to find out if a cup of coffee tastes different when you pay Rs.150/ for it; have been to its lobby a few times to meet someone or other.

Trivial things to talk about in the face of the terrible human tragedy. I wondered why I, like many, speak of places and structures when human beings were brutally mowed down. Looking into myself, I realized that this is the way I shield myself from the impact of the terrible truth – the vulnerability of human lives, the targeting of human lives to make a statement; the blinding hatred to which I too could have been a victim had I been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes. It’s easier to cry for CST and the Taj and Oberoi. It hurts less. Much less.

There is anger in the real and virtual world. Two types of anger. One good and one bad.

The good anger is what made a Patil’s and Deshmukh’s heads roll; it made Karkare’s wife reject Gujarat Chief Minister’s compensation of crores. It made Unnikrishnan’s father burst out at Kerala Chief Minister. It made Arnab of Times Now think aloud about the inappropriateness of politicians visiting the terror site while the encounter was on. It made me send text messages to NDTV and Headlines Today to the effect that as a citizen, tax payer and voter, I plead with the politicians to keep away from the scene of encounter, refrain from blame game and divisive politics.

This collective anger against the utter failure in governance is positive energy. It should be sustained. It should not be allowed to die. It will make the politicians accountable. This positive energy now pervades the atmosphere in big cities and in the blogshere. What can we do to keep it going? If we the people of India don’t act now, Mumbai will bounce back, we will go back to our daily chores till - - - - God Forbid!

The second anger. Anger against Pakistan. WE are furious. We want to attack Pakistan. In the discussion held outside Taj by Barkha Dutt after the terror strike, Simi Garewal was fuming. She wanted India to deal with Pakistan appropriately. I beg to differ. I feel we have to accept the hand of friendship extended by Pakistan. The statements made by Pakistan Foreign Minister who was in India at the time of the terror attacks can be taken at face value as they were spontaneous, and therefore honest. We are all victims of the same terror, he said. Let’s join hands and fight this together. To which Headlines Today‘s anchor’s remark was ‘let him walk the talk by destroying the terror camps in POK’. If it is as simple as that, won’t Pakistan do it? On account of political compulsions, our government began a blame game to which Pakistan promptly responded in a similar manner. Indo-Pak relationship is back to square one. Will/should India attack terror camps in POK? Will that solve this problem as many seem to think? Is a clash of two nuclear powers the only way out? I don’t know. But one thing I know. I don’t want to get annihilated in the process of teaching Pakistan a lesson. I want to live. I want India to live.

In the meanwhile, divisive elements have begun their mission. That’s for my next post.


  1. Brilliant. And that's my take too.
    I am worried by all this talk of attacking Pakistan, like we know exactly where they are waiting to be attacked by us like sitting ducks.
    I think Pakistan is a also a victim of the Frankenstein it has created,
    I am amazed at how we forget we are both Nuclear powers now.
    It's great to hear a sane voice.

  2. Teacher; my doubt is this.
    Pakistan has been showing support for more than 30 years now.
    The bus service between India and Pakistan started and then Kargil happened.
    Improving relationships and then Kabul embassy.
    Show of support from Zardari and then Mumbai.

    How long can we expect to cooperate with the spineless state machinery of Pakistan.

    "Let’s join hands and fight this together."
    How will we do that??
    I was thinking why can't the Indian army and the Pakistan army join together and take out these terrorists as they are a threat to the civilians of both countries. But then their leaders do not have the power to control the ISI/Pak army whose mission is to get Kashmir at all costs. And the ISI/Pak army will continue to support the jehadis as they are a great force equalizer against a much stronger/larger Indian military. Their leaders can speak all they want but the truth is they can never try these terrorists in their own courts. They will never be punished in Pakistan.
    I feel their claims of support is a total farce. Even if its true it doesn't have much worth.

    But then again, attacking Pakistan seems to be what these terrorists want of India. Whenever the relationship has improved b/e the 2 countries they have come back with bigger and larger attacks. There are theories that if India attacks Pak, Pak will move its 1 lakh soldiers from the western front (where the terrorist camps are concentrated) to the east. That would be convenient for them? Wouldn't it?

    I haven't lost hope though. The coming days will tell us whether we have learned anything or whether this is just another reality show

  3. Good post.Was wondering why you were silent.I am sceptical if the new wave of hatred against politicians will do any good.It was not there against Mody's Gujarat or Naveen Patnaik's Orissa when the minorities where attacked.It was not there when hundreds are killed in the North East every month due to sectarian violence. I will be happy if I was proved wrong.
    In case of Pakistan what we should do is to try to strengthen the liberals and moderates in their fight against extremists. We should not [and I am sure our Political leadership is much wiser than the war mongering media,bloggers and celebrities] do what the terrorists want us to do,ie attack Pakistan terror camps or cut off Indo-Pak dialogue.

  4. Both kind of emotions are very normal reactions of distressed and desperate countrymen channelized into different avenues. The anger towards the politicians was just bound to happen sometime and Mumbai 26/11 just happened to be a spark. The catalysts were already present in our society.

    The reaction towards Pakistan has been an old habit, and pretty reasonable too. No one could argue that Pakistani elements weren't involved in these acts, but a nation cant be held responsible for the action of a few of its sick souls.. The vital Q is if anyone in the Pak higher bureaucracy or executive had any knowledge about these..Then its a different ball game.

    Anyway, there has been a silver lining to this black episode, thats the reaction of aam janta. Lets hope the fire stays burning and our rulers get the lesson that 'we wont always forget'..

  5. I don't think the Pak govt. has control over any of the groups after the 9/11 attacks.

    We should also look into our own actions. The terrorists were looking to attack US and UK nationals. Now the question is "Why don't they do the attacks on US and UK soils?". The reason, is both are far away and heavily protected.

    So they attack countries who seem to be favouring them. When they hear ridiculous statements from the Indian PM telling Bush "The people in India love you", they get incited and moivated to attack such nations.

    The acts were heinous and totally condemnable. We are suffering due to a disorder in the world system. The problem is US being the sole super-power and consuming half of the worlds resources despite having a moderate population. Occupation of Middle East is the biggest issue causing all these bombings. Hope sense finally prevails!

  6. The only solution to this problem is Narendra Modi.

    If he becomes Prime Minister of India, the world geo political paradigm will change forever.

    Modi will destroy Islam, bomb mecca and medina, blame Israel and the west, China will step in to save the middle east and world war 3 begins,

    Modi will sit back and watch fireworks, building the indian economy and long after colonialism and mughal imperalism, will india rise as truly the global powerhouse it once was.

    Modi is larger than life. Modi is an enigma, in the hearts of 900 million people, one leader, one man.

  7. @ annonymous
    i think i know who u r. that unmistakable style and content!
    @ all
    i think karthik said it all in when he wrote:'The acts were heinous and totally condemnable. We are suffering due to a disorder in the world system. The problem is US being the sole super-power and consuming half of the worlds resources despite having a moderate population. Occupation of Middle East is the biggest issue causing all these bombings. Hope sense finally prevails!"
    i agree fully with u that "a nation cant be held responsible for the action of a few of its sick souls"
    @ charakan
    'I am sceptical if the new wave of hatred against politicians will do any good.It was not there against etc etc"
    how do u account for this wave of hatred?
    @ deepak
    yes. Pak situation being as u described - that the govt. is not in control - an invasion from india will create chaos there. Do we want that?
    the subcontinent is in a highly inflammable condition.forces out to correct a skewed world order in their own skewed ways are at lose everywhere.what can we do other than pray?

  8. Hi KPJ :)

    Very interesting, well thought out and well balanced post.

    We have to get rid of the terrorists. If the Pakistan government and army agrees to co-operate and join us in our efforts to destroy these mad men, problem will be solved. But will they agree?

    The only country they are frightened of is the US which has superior striking power and gives
    enormous aid to Pakistan. Since the Americans are very much concerned about terrorists,I hope they will make Pakistan understand the seriousness of the situation and act in the positive direction.

    Have a nice day :)


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