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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai Nightmare : India's 9/11

Posted by: danish Ahmed 11:57 PM

Let me be honest, i am at loss of words in response to the latest terror attacks in Mumbai. It has been dubbed as India's 9/11 and for once i am willing to accept the cliché. For the first time i understand how an average American would have felt on that Tuesday in 2001. In my earlier posts, i have tried to present my opinion in a dispassionate and unbiased manner, but this post is different, this one is personal, unfiltered thoughts of an average Indian that i am. As a blogger and an information junky i may have taken this a bit more personally than others but I’m sure every Indian, irrespective of all affiliations and allegiances, has, in at least some degree been hurt by this horrific act. Terror attacks in India are not new but the manner and magnitude of this attack is unprecedented. A handful of terrorists with meticulous planning and diabolic designs turned Mumbai into an urban battle-field and sent shockwaves throughout India and the world.
If an act of terrorism is carried out to inflict psychological damage, the live coverage of the entire episode by the visual media completed it. "Media is the right arm of anarchy", Dan Brown wrote and sadly enough the greater damage that the perpetrators inflicted, was through the media only. Well, i do not blame the media at all; it was doing what it is supposed to do as am i doing right now. (Some Hindi channels do not qualify as news channels) The unfortunate part is that sociopaths have always used the strength of the civil society against the society itself (similar to Japanese martial art aikido ,but far too evil). In this instance as well as in the previous ones, the terrorists have exploited our democratic principles, civil rights and the free press to attack us.

There is nothing chivalrous or brave or clever about it, it cannot be graded within civilized world's percepts of good and bad, it is pure evil, manifesting itself in creatures bereft of every human trait. Civilized society is based upon the assumption that people desire to live in peace and prosperity and are willing to abide by the rules for mutual benefit. Some people might transgress for selfish reasons or may want to change the system but they will not go to the extreme which threatens the very existence of the society. This self-restraint may arise out of "goodness of heart" in few cases but in the majority of cases, it is out of the instinct of self-preservation. Power, wealth, success and everything that a civilized person (however wicked) aspires for, loses meaning without society. Hence, when anarchists like these terrorists subvert our civility and use them against us they descend into the lowest level of human consciousness. In contrast, heroes like Hemant Karkare, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan,Vijay Salaskar, DCP Kamte and all the martyrs who gave up their lives trying to protect the lives of innocent people displayed the highest form of valor and bravery.

India has never reacted to terror attacks with the same sort of disdain for liberty and civil rights that some other nations have and a lot of people tend to take it as its weakness. What is more painful is the fact that many Indians too hold a similar view. What they forget is that being the land of Buddha, Mahavira, Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, the doctrine of "non-violence as dharma" is so deeply ingrained in our ethos that "an eye for an eye" sort of attitude simply does not gel with rest of our value system. However, the doctrine of non-violence as propagated by Gandhi does not represent, as some people believe, cowardice or submission to force, rather it stands for fierce opposition to tyranny and injustice but without using violence. It is the noblest form of warfare but warfare nonetheless. Gandhi himself has said that if a person is incapable of fighting tyranny with non-violence, he would have them use violence rather than suffer injustice. A similar situation is emerging now and the people of India, the victims of this dastardly act, are hurt and angry at the audacity of the perpetrators and need assurances that our civility and sense of justice should not prove detrimental to our security.

The battle in Mumbai is over but the war has just begun a war which has many fronts and a war in which it is the citizens who will take the lead. The first step, which has already begun is to send the message to all politicians that they stop petty politics and work towards the security and betterment of the nation. When Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s father was showing Kerala CM the way out, he was acting out the sentiment which finds resonance in almost all Indians, that, politicians are not interested in our personal griefs or national security. It is really alarming that a Leftist like Achuthanand and a Rightist like BJP VP, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, have both, on the same day, criticized civil society’s attempt to stop the issue from getting politicized. Their disappointment at being denied the golden opportunity to extract political mileage is understandable but what politicians of all hues need to understand is that one can’t fool all the people, all the time. This time things have gone beyond imagination and all political parties should sit down together and work out a strategy to bring the guilty to book and prevent similar attacks in future. Lets not forget that Hemant Karkare's wife in returning the Rs 1 crore "compensation" to Modi has set the highest moral standard that every Indian should at least try to live up to.

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