Mumbai 26/11: The way ahead

[This is the third post in a series on Mumbai 26/11]

With the dust settling on Mumbai, it is now time for the UPA Government to swing into action mode and give a fitting response to cross-border organizations and well-networked terror outfits. Let it be known that India WILL BEAR NO MORE, and this would certainly galvanize the widely angered civilian society in the country. All-party meetings need to be converted into confidence and unity boosters and plans need to be made firmly with critical analysis and affirmative promises of action.

End political bickering and mindless analysis
When analysis and debates begin to seem meaningless in a democratic system such as ours, then it is vital for the country to realize the gravity of the situation on hand. Every situation in a democracy is wisely resolved through debate but there are times when a feeling of no-debate-please comes in and this time is one of those.

This has been the gut feeling over the past few days of outrageous national torture. Political mind games must, absolutely must, come to an end. Elections are no longer a priority in partisan sense and such a scenario is a litmus test for any politician. It is one that ultimately proves whether a politician is just a vote-hungry insensitive monster or a dedicated servant to the country.

In such times, it was hence utterly nonsensical of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to indulge in blame games as early as just two days into the terror attack. Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari responded with as much ignominy as Modi. Shut up, for once.

A case for military action
An all-out formula to eradicate terrorism from our diseased neighborhood would definitely be to engage in incisively planned military action. But it is not easy, keeping in mind the stockpile of nuclear weapons on the subcontinent. A direct attack on Pakistan can have severe repercussions, but it would be wise for India to become opportunistic of the situation as the US and other Western powers have offered complete help and have said that they stand by India in the wake of the attacks. Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor recently claimed that at least 40 terrorist camps are in operation across the LOC, which is mind-boggling considering that Pakistan is now in the post-Musharraf era. However, it also proves that the Army and the ISI still play a vital role in Pakistan’s corridors of power. And these suspect institutions have always been confirmed patrons of Jehadi groups in Pakistan. Hence, the first measure would be a comprehensive elimination of these camps from their root.

India even has the upper hand when it comes to ceasefire violations. Ironically Pakistan has indulged in cross-border firing specifically since the last two days, breaking the 2004 armistice agreement for an umpteenth time over the last few months. India has never responded strongly, nor have we taken up the case internationally. Military action must at least be responded to, dear leaders. What say, Prime Minister? It’s high time we also learn that breaking the code of history is now more pressing than it has ever been before and our illustrious honour of never having opened attack on another country is proving to be a weigh down rather than a source of motivation.

Broadcast terror evidences
Here’s a poser – What is more routine than India suffering a terror attack? Answer to the poser -> India graciously offering the evidence like a birthday bouquet to the neighbor, who is palpably callous in handling it. Next morning, the evidence vanishes and life resumes. We have been birdbrains when it comes to presenting evidence to alleged conspirators of large-scale attacks.

It would hence be wise to broadcast essential evidence across the world and hence prove the involvement of the ISI in these attacks. Broadcasting evidence would mean open humiliation of those involved and could even provoke them as the exposure of truth generally does to us humans.

The PM’s decision to summon the ISI chief to India is hence open for debate. The fact that Pakistan had first agreed and have now disagreed seems to raise suspicions as Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Gillani had first taken the decision to send him but then there was a pullback, which is sinister as it was certainly called by a much more powerful influence in Pakistan’s rickety democratic setup. And this could most certainly be the ISI or the Army.

Finish terrorists on hand
It is certain now that the laws need to be strengthened and an un-politicized central agency to specifically handle terror and only terror is needed. It is even urgent to take action against convicted terrorists in Indian jails by engaging fast track courts to deliver verdicts.

Remember that one of the fidayeen involved in Mumbai openly shouted that they want all arrested terrorists to be released. This should serve as a warning. This gives terrorist groups yet another purpose to engage in such atrocious acts of violence. If India deals quickly with all terrorists captured, then such a problem will become non-existent and would also be a major blow to cross-border organizations.

The time is ripe for our political class to set aside their personal differences and reignite our disturbed lives. The time is ripe for our leaders to show us that they do have the will to rise above partisan interests and electoral temptations and work towards chasing terrorism to its core and uprooting it from this part of the world. This is the time that we should also realize that cross-border terrorism must figure at the top of India’s priority list as it is a global phenomenon that could bring our superpower-potential crashing down to earth. This is the time. This is the NOW.

This is India. Ab, yahaan sab NAHI chalega.

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Mumbai 26/11: The least WE can do

[This is the second post in a series on Mumbai 26/11]

With the siege on Mumbai finally coming to an end after over 60 hours of constant conflict, telecasted live much to the glee of a melodramatic media that has gained immensely (in terms of money and TRPs, of course) from this attack. Oh, how they would be discussing Operation Successful-Live-Reporting of the Mumbai attacks and giving each other high-fives. CNN-IBN audaciously challenged people trying to maintain calm and vigil and attempting to drive the media away, by stating that power in the Oberoi had been cut off and hence there was no reason “not to report live”.

Enough has been said. Too much time has been wasted over petty and utterly pointless debates. Too much energy and blood has been lost in our much-maligned attempts to fight terror. We, as the people, need to step up and start making a difference. The Next Tryst with a New Destiny is upon us and if we fail to stand up and learn from history, we can never forgive ourselves or the country. As individuals, there is a lot than can be done. You do not necessarily have to be a power broker to make a difference.

End the cynicism
As Indian citizens it is our prime and foremost duty to end a cynical outlook of everything that has unfolded around us. Stop enforcing pessimistic views around you. End the “Government bekaar hai”s and “India kuch nahi kar sakti”s. Take a serious stance, be calm and spread word about the heroic acts of the bravest of us, like ATS chief Hemant Karkare and Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. Take pride in their deeds as we hardly acknowledge or credit the true heroes of our everyday lives.

Do away with “My two minutes of fame”
As responsible citizens, it is now a matter of exigency that we at least maintain silence if we can’t laud the efforts of the NSG and the Army and even the Police. Stop seeking “two minutes of fame” with churlish comments about terror in India, stop giving heed to a so-called “funny side” of this entire ordeal as most will be tempted to get back to our national pastime – ridicule authorities, the Government, politicians and everyone else from a position of no self-sacrifice. It is not a joke. It never was. If you are yet tempted to deride someone, please openly scoff at Raj Thackeray and his bunch of MNS cowards. Like chickens, they hid away in their comfortable complexes and showed their true colours to the nation in times of dire need.

Pledge to Vote
It has become more imperative than ever to realize that voting makes a difference. An individual makes a difference. YOU can bring about change. Take a pledge to vote in the Assembly polls next year and play your role in making this democracy more accountable and rewarding to its people. There are sites to help you with this, the most remarkable being the Jaagore campaign. It is time the change in us awakes and comes out in the open. Make a difference – Vote.

These are some of the things an ordinary Indian can do best. And they take up no time or energy of ours. And even if we have excuses to offer, we know deep inside that we have enough time and vigor to devote at least some part of our lives in honour of those dead protecting the country. If we choose to remain as sleepy and dull as we have been since the terror trail began almost two decades ago, we will never do justice to ourselves or our fellow Indians.

They say it’s wise to return to normalcy. If being normal means being part of a soft democracy, if being normal means coming to terms with Mumbai 26/11 as soon as possible, if being normal means returning to focus on everyday work as if nothing ever happened, if being normal means being silent and ignorant, then it’s time we forget about “being normal”.

Wake up. It’s now or never.

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Mumbai 26/11: Eye-openers

[This is the first in a series of posts on Mumbai 26/11]

In the wake of the impudent run of terror attacks across South Mumbai, I believe there are certain eye openers in the context of the unity of the country when an attack of such proportion takes place. The intensity of the attacks has been unprecedented and the sheer outrage within cannot be expressed by oft-repeated rhetoric but only firm and affirmative action.

Friendship with Pakistan is a myth
First of all, yes this point is open for debate. But before you are tempted to engage in the classic version of a democractic debate that won’t help in the current scenario, please realize that Jehad exists and it is being waged against India in full flow, by brainwashed youth of radical Islamist organizations in Afghanistan and Pakistan with an unforeseen determination and so-called religious pride. It is scathingly launched from the mainland of our neighbours time and again, spewn with jealousy and stitched with ammunition directly obtained from the founding fathers of cross-border terrorism worldwide, namely the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

No terrorist possesses weapons like AK-47s and MP-6 guns, unless aided by more powerful organizations. We have perenially been sceptical about the Pakistani Army, the ISI and their unstable democracy and they, all along, have been perenially envious and resentful about a flourishing, growing India. The ice has broken and maybe Shah Rukh Khan would still prefer shaking a leg with Pakistani actors on bilateral entertainment shows or the media would want to “not bring Pakistan into this so early” or Asif Ali Zardari would want to claim that “Pakistanis have a little bit of India in their hearts”, but a resolute comprehension is a must and a willful, power-packed reply a necessity.

More than it has ever been.

The media is more irresponsible than we can even imagine it to be
Another eye-opener is the role of the media. The same pseudo-secular reporters “terrorizing” people across the country with their spot commentary and “latest updates”. For God’s sake, stop discussing the NSG movements and plans on national television. But this is not all.

Padma Bhushan Rajdeep Sardesai and fellow CNN-IBN newsreader and “analyst” Sagarika Ghose held interviews with BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad and former Armymen on CNN-IBN and started off with “communalizing” terrorism themselves. The irresponsible Ghose, who deserves an outing in a jail for her utterly shameless and senseless questions, was reprimanded by Prasad for initiating a debate such as “What is the BJP’s clear stance?” when Prasad had already made it clear that the BJP will not be critical of the Government. The BJP offered full support, which is a sign of hope for politics, but Ghose and co. were hell bent on provoking Prasad and getting him to speak exactly “what the IBN team wants to hear”.

Barkha Dutt, with the fakeness of a full-blooded hypocrite, interviewed two women, one of whose husbands had yet failed to emerge from the Taj. What I heard next should certainly have infuriated any rational viewer of NDTV yesterday night. “How do you feel?”, “What would you do if your husband fails to make contact?”, “What do you think is going on in his mind when he is out there with the terrorists?” were some stinkers directly from the mouth of a so-called celebrated journalist.

Their coverage of the attacks has been completely self-defeating and highly immoral, if nothing else. They are causing as much damage to us right now, just not in terms of lives. Shameful irreverence from such tardy mediapersons is shocking in such times. They definitely have an agenda of their own, and I can bet my entire fortune on it that the unity of the people or strict action on terrorism is not part of it. They are too happy in their petty world of pointless debates, disuniting and cynical rhetoric and brainless remarks on sensitive issues.

Get off us, you burden of ills.

True heroes will never be acknowledged on a large scale
With the kind of world we live in, where Bollywood celebrities and cricket superstars are revelled and celebrated with felicitations of the highest order, the true heroes are never acknowledged on a larger platform. The deaths of Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte pain a few of us as the rest are hardly aware or do not bother to find out who truly protects them and ensures they sleep in peace.

False heroes become public figures and every word of theirs is blown out of proportion and felicitated in the mass media and by the largely oblivious masses. Where is Raj Thackeray? Isn’t this the same Mumbai? What does the Shiv Sena now have to say about “their” Mumbai being brought to the ground? What about the Marathis killed in the attacks? Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte were all Marathis. If the Thackerays were true pioneers of the Marathi cause, they would at least speak up on their behalf.

Realize, fellow countrymen, that the true heroes do not speak, do not seek fame, do not come out in the open, do not think about themselves one bit before sacrificing their lives in these circumstances.

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26/11/2008


REST IN PEACE.

To the People:
I am speechless. I have a lot to say, yet words will do no justice. In the meantime, let us UNITE. It’s a war. So many people dead. So many more injured. So many heroes sacrificed, including the ATS chief.

To the Media:
Put your conspiracy theories to dust, you wicked manipulators. Shut the hell up and show a heart, a human side of you. If you have any.

To the Government:
Spineless bunch of hard-hearts, realize the seriousness of the situation. It’s a bloody war. A full-scale, full-fledged war in disguise of a proxy war. Only in a war do attackers come well-prepared, from open sides of the territory being defended, with a plan in mind, with a meticulous modus operandi, with intentions to kill and spread havoc of a new kind. Street terror, hotel terror, public places terror, railway terminus terror, restaurant terror. You name it and it happened yesterday. Unite now, ghastly politicians.

To the Terrorists:
Come out and face us, bloody cowards.

Also read:
Vinod Sharma, Indian Home Maker, Shantanu, GreatBong.