The Lonely Planet says, “India will sideswipe you with its size, clamour and diversity”. Absolutely true! India is a land of stunning contrasts, many moods & diverse cultures. This blog is an attempt to capture India in all its varied hues. It will have a bit of everything: interesting anecdotes from history, political & social slugfests, perennially underperforming sportspersons, good food & hopefully a travelogue. Hop on & I promise you an interesting ride.
26/11 once again!!! The date evokes so much emotion that is hard to separate them and talk about them in a logical sense. First up my homage to the victims of the attack in Mumbai on 26/11.
I was holidaying in Hyderabad when the attacks happened and as a consequence did not get to know of it immediately. But I did soon enough. I saw enough and more of the attack, the rescue, our brave commandos and unfortunately our shrill & pain in the ass TV presenters on location. I don’t want to say more as I do not want to get into any litigation….. kehte hain akalmand ko ishara kaafi hai…..
Then the final shots were fired and there was collective euphoria and then soon enough collective anger.
The moralistic middle-class and the blaze upper class both got together to berate a whole range of people/institutions from the effete government to sleazy politicians to the main stream media to an extent and finally Pakistan. Funnily no one thought of blaming ourselves. We the people. Oh no. How could we be the ones to be blamed. After all we were the victims. Victims of an attack on our Taj.
And then started the candle light vigils and rallies. Even at that time when the entire atmosphere was charged and all Indians (well almost all) were wearing their patriotism on their sleeve I had nothing but contempt for this action. I mean what is this gonna achieve? (I also noticed and commented that there seemed to be more commemorative events/candle light vigils at the Taj and the Oberoi as opposed to the CST where the attack was worse. I remember even mentioning this to my students – in class – and splitting the class right down the middle. Some felt that I was right the others that I should not be seeing things from such a narrow prism. Anyway I digress… coming back to the point.)
So there were these rallies and these righteous affirmation of “enough is enough“ and Facebook Groups and Orkut Communities and then the Home Minister was removed and PC was in the saddle and then the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh was removed and then a day or so later R.R. Patil was removed. There was euphoria. The middle-class had changed the dynamics of power. So Orkut and Facebook and bundles of candles really had the power to change things.
Really? Look around and let me know what exactly has changed? I do not see too many changes. The Facebook groups have not had any updates in ages. (Though I have not checked today) The muddle-class … oops the middle class warriors have gone back to their desk jobs/appearing for GMAT/GRE/CAT etc the politicians have gone back to their work and some in the case of RR Patil have come back.
We continue to be as apathetic as before. If any terror strike were to happen today I fear that the same things would get re-enacted. I hope I have got it wrong but I have a dirty feeling that I am not. It is so frustrating. What can I do to channelise this anger in a meaningful way? Rather than in some PR seeking manner that will get me acres of coverage but not get anything concrete done on the ground. Why is there this ennui about the coverage of the events of 26/11? Why am I still sitting on my bony ass and not doing a shit for my city for my country? And worst of all, the question that I dread answering: Were the inspired idiots of the candle light fame better than me. They at least got out of the house and held a candle. Doesn’t matter that the terrorists might have been laughing at the same. But at least they did something. Is that better than sitting around moping and wondering what could be done even a year after that carnage?
Questions and more questions. And I don’t pretend to have the answers. Would be glad if I could get some of them…