INDIA under seige: An overview!

Posted: November 29, 2008 in Uncategorized



The last three days have been one of the most heart-wrenching and numbing experiences of my life. I could barely do anything except watch news unfold on TV, join a couple of internet groups meant to mobilize public opinion and call up friends and enquire about their safety. The only other instance of such a prolonged national gloom that I can recall, was the Kandahar plane hijack episode of 1999. The magnitude this time though was larger. Moreover, this happened in the heart of Bombay.


Today, the NSG operation has finally ended. Our war against terrorism, sadly, hasn’t begun yet.


Before I come to that, let me offer my heart felt condolences to the families of Hemant Kirkire, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte. I wish to pay my tribute to all the other people to laid down their lives, trying to save others and to those who suffered bullets for no reason. Had it not been for the effort of some of the martyrs, the casualty today would have been much bigger.


Mr. Kirkire’s death was the most disturbing. It made me think of the thanklessness and ingratitude that actually adorns the lives of our brave protectors. Just two months ago, Mr. Kirkire was in the firing line for being harsh on Muslims. Just two weeks ago, Hindu groups were ridiculing him for making the sadhvi a scapegoat. His martyrdom should be his answer to all the criticism leveled against him.


Now for some hard facts: Let us get this clear right at the start- empty rhetoric doesn’t get us anywhere. But point is, are we capable of anything beyond that?


This is not the first time that the country is seething in collective fury. We’ve seen this before on 11 July, 2006. We saw it barely two and a half months ago on 13th September 2006, when there were serial blasts in Delhi. But barely a week after the occurrence, all our anger evaporates. We are pretty much engrossed in our mundane existences to bother about issues beyond us.


This attack has exposed several failings on our part: our police and intelligence are terribly understaffed; their modus operandi and equipments are primitive compared with those used by the enemy; there is minimal co-ordination between the center and states, more-so in cases where the Central government and State government are not run by the same party. What is even more unfathomable is the amateurish approach of the Union Government and the gross abdication of responsibility by the Union Home Ministry. How many times have we heard the Home Minister say: we had intelligence inputs, which we had forwarded to the state?   The state home ministry is known to respond in predictable fashion: we had general information, no specific information.  


Can a country as progressive as ours be run by politicians whose naiveté would put schoolboys to shame? Even the student councilors and group heads in schools show more enterprise and responsibility.


There is a collective indignation that the country is feeling today. Our PM has summoned the ISI chief to Indiato share information on the blast: can there be a bigger hogwash? To what extent will our government go to hide its incompetence at fighting terror. Let me state here, in no unspecific terms that this attack was impossible without some amount of local support, albeit logistical in nature. After all, two cabs were blown apart in places far away from where the shooting was taking place. Before summoning the ISI chief, we’d do well to bring in fresh laws to deal with crimes of this magnitude. We need special fast track courts to deal with such cases. We need extraordinary and barbaric laws for extraordinary crimes like these. And to all those who would condemn me for this statement, let me tell them to stop living in denial. We are a country under siege. We’ve been under siege for decades, thanks to a convoluted interpretation of ‘tolerance’.


 A noted film-maker was reported to have said yesterday- India is paying the price for being a war ally of the US. There can’t be a statement more puerile than that. This attack has set a dangerous precedent. Tomorrow, God Forbid, terrorists may zero in on a building that houses Indians in some other part of the world, just like they zeroed in on the Nariman House this time round. The last thing that we can do in this fight against terror is duck for cover and get defensive. In fact, if this attack cannot substantiate the need for collaboration between India, US, UK and Israel to wipe out the menace of terror, nothing else can. So far as the Indian scene is concerned, all it needs is political will power and integrity and our erudite PM would do well by starting off the exercise by removing a grossly incompetent dummy from the office of Home Minister.


What I’ve written is a cathartic outpour. For the last three days I’ve suffered for want of options to deal with a situation like this. One common campaign doing the rounds is- “Exercise your power of vote to elect the right leaders”. My point is, in the huge firmament of Indian politics, I can’t see anybody inspiring confidence. This is where we need to contemplate a step further. Instead of confining ourselves to pouring ourselves out on the internet and some meetings that are extremely sequestered, those of us who can afford it(mentally and intellectually, more than financially) need to contemplate a career in politics. Sure, it will be an extremely long drawn process, but a definite start has to be made somewhere. After all, it was the Mahatma who had once advocated, “Be the change you want to see around you.”


Jai Hind!

  1. Animesh says:

    From last three days I am feeling the pinch, a sudden emotion breakdown has caused me to think that are we on the right path?The youth should rise to the occasion. These martyr should arose a feeling of patriotism in everyone of us. Its now the time that everyone of us should think, and make contribution in nation’s security system. The only way to prevent such dastardly act is to be rebellious. The youth is running after money, sex, drugs. Their idiosyncracy have died because of the commercialisation. Everyone wants to have a luxurious life, all are avaricious but no one even dare to think about the nation’s security.
    But the main issue which I would like to adreess to my country mates is…
    Are you safe even in your home?
    The generation should awaken now and attend to our nations call….

  2. 22yardstuhin says:

    thanks Animesh.

    I’m posting here a note mailed to me by a senior journalist and friend, Thomas Abraham-

    Due respects Tuhin… In many ways you have articulated much of what I was thinking and feeling… Incidentally I was in Sharjah, when the Kandahar hijack took place. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness and rage when I, as a member of the Gulf Today team at Sharjah airport, could do nothing but watch as the terrorists threw a body of someone who had resisted out of the aircraft and flew off into the night towards Afghanistan. The plane came for refuelling into Sharjah.

    It’s the same rage that I am feeling now. What this government should do is immediately declare a national emergency and cut off all links with Pakistan and expel the ambassador.

    Because the fact is that while the ‘official’ Pakistani state apparatus might not have been involved, the ‘unofficial’ state apparatus, which is the ISI and the sundry terror outfits it has control over, and which seem to have more tangible executive power than the Pak government, obviously planned, financed and directed this atrocity on our nation, our state, our city and our people.

    There should be an economic, political and social severence of links with Pakistan, not because its people hate us, but because the levers of power in what is today effectively a failed state not far removed from Afghanistan, has no other interest than exporting the chaos existing there into India.

    In this I see a parallel to what is going on in Sri Lanka. The government there ruled out negotiating with the LTTE since many years of trying had lead nowhere. Today, Prabhakaran is losing tracts of land he has controlled for years almost on a daily basis.

    Am I advocating war with Pakistan? No! But if it is clear that you and your neighbour cannot have any worthwhile contact then you should reciprocate in the same vein rather than live on false hope. The neighbour’s kids might be different but it’s the neighbour who decides things so till the kids grow up or a more friendly neighbour comes to occupy the house it’s better to have no contacts with the neighbouring house.

    All this is of course impossible if we don’t get our act together and begin cleaning up our own house as well…

    So this rant of mine will have served no practical purpose other than to get some angst off my chest…

    Even in such depressing times, we can but live on hope… and of course refuse to allow worthless people (whether our own countrymen or outsiders) decide how we think and feel…

    Jai Hind

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