December 02, 2008

Five

Five stray questions, post attacks in Bombay.

***

About 200 killed, a city brought to a standstill for 60 hours, hotels set on fire.

Days later, two Patils have resigned and, we hear, a Deskhmukh is on his way too. All as it should be. These men were responsible for security and law and order, and failed that responsibility. They deserve to be removed from their jobs.

In 2002, over a thousand were killed across Gujarat, a train set on fire, a state brought to a standstill for weeks.

Not one person resigned over that massive breakdown of law and order, of people's security. Far from it. A Modi actually ran for election, and won, claiming exactly the opposite of what his state had seen: that he had fought terrorism. It's a claim he repeats to this day.

What do you think the difference is, between Patils out of their jobs, and a Modi still in his?

***

In those early frantic hours, with all the news about CST and Cafe Leopold and the two hotels, we also heard about some others. There was a blast in Vile Parle, with pictures on TV and the papers. Two on Nepean Sea Road. Others in Mazagaon and Borivali.

Unless I missed something, I never heard anything more about these. What were they and were they also caused by the terrorists, and if so how?

***

On Monday evening at the Gateway plaza, the anger was palpable. Wandering around, I found at least 4 or 5 different tight clumps of people, hotly discussing various aspects of what happened. It surprised me, but really should not have, that most of the anger seemed directed at our politicians and their ways.

One burly young man with green eyes was so angry I thought he'd pop the buttons on his tight shirt. Shaking a finger above his head, he shouted: "Take away the security of those politicians! Let's see what they do then! It's we who need security, not them!"

It's an interesting thought. What if we took away the security that the Deshmukhs and Modis and Singhs and Thackerays and Advanis and Mulayams and Patils move around under? How would their behaviour and eloquence and job performance change?

***

Can a great tragedy like this get us to see how foolish are the trivialities that we let ourselves get preoccupied with?

I mean renaming things. I mean kicking out the north Indian. I mean the insistence on one language in Government communications. I mean plenty more.

Did any of these things keep us secure last week?

***

Plenty of bloggers, in India and around the world, have contempt for what's called MSM, the mainstream media, and often with reason.

Yet I would genuinely like to know: during this crisis, how many who blogged about it got their knowledge about the scene not from the mainstream media, but from going out on the streets, speaking to folks, finding out for themselves?

If you were such a blogger and you're reading this, please leave me a note. I would like to read what you wrote, if I haven't already.

36 comments:

Daniel said...

Hi Dilip,

With a little relevance to the third point, I'd just like to say that I've listed down a few points on my blog that I hope will channel some of that discontentment and agression in a more useful direction.

They mainly consist of using the media as a tool to have our frustration reach those elected, like writing lots of letters to as many people in power as we can reach, telling them about our thoughts and problems. It may sound a bit idealistic, but that's all I can do for now.

What do you think about letter writing? Do you have any better suggestions?

Matunga ka Lukka said...

Hi Dilip,

Regd. point 1. The sad and dangerous fallout from this tragedy is that people seem to think that Narendra Modi should become PM. This is said with the usual caveat that anecdote != data.

Krishnan

Amit said...

I will stick with your last question..

Irresponsible as it may be, 99% twitter feeds were generated from news channels' broadcast. Vinu's initial flickr photostream aside, there wasnt any originality in coverage. Nor in analysis.

And I hate media for being irresponsible. But I dont have a replacement yet. Lets live with it for the time being!

Anonymous said...

How do you manage to pull Gujarat into everything?

It is like Rudi Gulliani wanting to link Bristol Palin's pregnancy with 9/11.

Why don't you instead talk about the tough stance India should take against our neighbors breeding terrorists.

Nilu said...

Modi killed Moslems. If he had killed all of them, they would not have struck.

Destination Infinity said...

I think media is the only medium which is demanding justice in a telling way. Politicians are afraid of that medium. So, I think we need to demand even more, through this medium, atleast for now.

Destination Infinity

Anonymous said...

"Did any of these things keep us secure last week?"

Changing names is trivial, agreed. I don't agree with the triviality other 2 issues you mean.

These are altogether different problems we have to access and have nothing to do with making ourselves more secure. I don't think this incident makes them irrelevant or trivial. These can take a backseat until we fix security issues but I wouldn't advocate uncontrolled immigration.

We should call for stronger intelligence bureau and responsible politicians.



K

asuph said...

very pertinent questions dilip. that's what i have always admired about your writing. you're not always insisting that these are the answers. you always ask the questions. and even those who label you and shrug, must somewhere think about them. find their own answers. be uncomfortable with them, and keep searching.

how can gujrat be cut off from this? is some people's rage more understandable just because they're in large numbers?

regards,
asuph

Blueshift said...

There is absolutely no difference at the root of hatred that resulted in these 2 acts, but there is slight difference this time there were multinational blond haired people who are dead which resulted in world wide media attention and the result of which you see as job loss, i bet you if there were no blond haired people this incident would have been coverd up as just a chota insident in big city and hota hai bade shehar me. I think some politicians tried this trick but massive media attention world wide is too much.

One burly young man with green eyes must realise that safety for him and his family does not come from huge guns and armour but from peace, which our political leaders missed to propagate and are bent on propagating hatred and searching for myth called peace.

Surya

Rahul Siddharthan said...

You obviously have developed a thick skin: you know what the reaction will be if you mention Modi.

Gujarat. Gujarat. Gujarat. The 2002 genocide is the root cause of our current insecurity. The people responsible for earlier terrorist attacks this year were Indian Muslims. The Bombay attacks almost certainly had support from local modules. There were no Indian Muslim terrorists until Gujarat happened.

Regarding the other reported blasts (Vile Parle, etc), I wonder too. Coincidence? Prabhu Chawla claimed that the Vile Parle taxi was carrying terrorists and was meant to explode at the airport, only the driver missed the turn and got stuck at a light; but this doesn't square with other reports that say the sole passenger was a Hindu lawyer.

Sriram said...

I am Sriram.

Anonymous said...

I think we are making a mistake on priorities by focussing on the likes of Modis and Thackerays presently. These elements can be defeated democratcially during peacetime...but LeT, JeM et all cannot be done away with peacefully.

The priority now is to build up allies and sound a death knell to the extremist forces in Pakistan and then fight our internal battles.


We shouldn't make the same mistake that Let et al are doing i.e opening too many fronts at the same time

Anonymous said...

Yes focus should be on fighting and restricting the breeding of terrorists in neighboring Pakistan.

People say the discontent is due to 40% Muslims being under poverty line. If I remember correctly we were under Muslim rulers for about 400 years. What happened, did the rulers not help fellow muslims to prosper?

If they had chosen education over religion orthodoxy they would have prospered.

Anonymous said...

Thank god hindus don't have a good memory or hold grudges long enough.

Had they held grudges, we would only see hindu terrorists.

20 lakh women raped during Bangladesh war, 50,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits (refugees in their own country), killings during partition, genocides and destruction during Mogul empires.

How far should one go for a grudge to be valid?

Please don't justify any grudges.

Expected better from you Dilip in this time of trouble and helplessness.

Tom said...

How can we compare Lashkar-trained Pakistanis killing our fellow Indians & we forgetting our culture of unity in diversity and killing each other?

I think the former will be easier to combat because at least, in this case, we know whom to blame and whom to stop.

asuph said...

anon,

stop reading between the lines -- to the extent that you read your own mind.

and read the lines!

cheers,
asuph

Pankaj said...

There is some information on the other bomb blasts in Vile parle etc., in this news report on the information gathered from the captured person:

http://www.hindu.com/2008/12/02/stories/2008120257410100.htm

MSM again!

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thank you all.

Daniel, certainly letter writing is a good idea. I would suggest a sustained campaign of letter writing on all kinds of issues.

These elements can be defeated democratcially during peacetime.

When have they ever been "defeated democratically during peacetime"? When has there been any effort to do so? When has there been even a consensus that we should do so?

Anonymous said...

Dilip,

Their only reason'd'etre is that Pakistan is bleeding India and we're not able to do anything.

Given how Pak is behaving presently even I'm tempted to buy their line.

That's why I'm saying that we should deal with Pak first and then go after these guys in whatever manner.

If we don't prioritise properly then there is a danger that we'll end up with Taliban rule or even a division of India along religious lines. I don't think that sounds too good...does it?... I cannot and will not live under a Taliban regime...will you?

Anonymous said...

.....PSUEDO SECULARISM IS DEAD...IF THEY WANT TO PSEUDO SECULARISTS CAN JOIN TALIBAN, LeT, JeM

Anonymous said...

I think the only genuine secularists in this world are the French...rest of the 'secularists' are all pseudo..

And speak of secularism in Saudi, Iran, Iraq, Pak, Afghan, Egypt,Sudan..I'll get it left,right and centre

Mumbai Travel Guide said...

Dear Dilip its really nice to have read your blog which really displays Passion / Emotion with related to those who got hurt / died in the mumbai terror attacks .. I would like to invite you on my group ' Yes We can on Facebook'

Aditya said...

Last month there was a landmine blast in WB. Paswan was saved. Soon he was on TV, quite terrified, in shock. Anyway, he made it clear that the first thing for him to do is to urge the center to upgrade his security. In fact he was angry because he always believed that his life was in danger and despite that, he had been denied a certain class of protection that was rightfully his. More here. The point is, everything is fine and "chalta hai" until it hits you. This was his reaction after he had some sort of security.

It has never been so evident Dilip, this great divide between the neta and the public. And yet the politicians have failed to get the cue.

Blueshift said...

I think India must have attacked at least 2 or 3 spots from where these terrorists started, to send same message to terrorists, it should not have waited so long to take action. These attacks should have been swift and jets should have come back within 2-3 hours after hitting terrorist hideouts in PAK, I am sure Pak would have tried to come back heavily but India would have had US and the whole world backing which would have neutralised Pak attemts to reply back.
I dont know what think tanks in India doing except for blame game and ignoring.
Do we really have such capability is most important question?
Terrorists were able to send their message to India but India did not respond , it just took in the dictats of these terrorists.

Now If any political leader tries to blame Indian muslims for these attacks they MUST be lynched.

Surya

Rahul Siddharthan said...

It seems "terrorist hideouts" are displayed on Google Maps with latitude and longitude, and one only requires a GPS-equipped guided missile to do the needful.

It's worked well for the US in Afghanistan... hasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Our Maosist friends have sent a message of support as per Timesofindia. It is very heartening. After all they are ours.

Will the pseudo secular fifth columnists come on board?

Anonymous said...

Pakis think China will save their skin.....they will be wrong...China is still a rising power not an established power. They know that India will not capitulate to the West so long as India is assured of her security...and they don't want American feet in India. China is also scared of Qaida problem especially in Xinqjiang.

China will make noises but just noises.

By siding with Qaida, ISI has made Pak to loose all their friends. What muppets?...Pakistan people are going pay a terrible price..and rightly so...because after all their leaders acted in their name and the Pakistani people allowed them to be reckless.


There is a lesson here for us to take. Excercise your democratic right and keep your leaders in check.

Anonymous said...

....and Saudis won't come to the aid of Pakis because they always classify South Asians muslims as 'converts' and unworthy due to a certain demeneaour

Aditya said...

There are some talks about India going out and hitting the terrorist breeding grounds as a retaliatory action. This was, afterall, an extreme act of terrorism.

Its too late for an action like that. Much of what will happen from here will be pure rhetoric.

Remember Kargil. It was when Pakistan was on a military offensive and yet Indian Air Force pilots were specifically told NOT to cross the border or the LoC, under any circumstances. In fact it was what eventually curtailed the IAF fighter pilots; it was frustrating for them, to put it mildly. If one goes by the standards set then, I do not see any sort of military action. If there is any, it would mean there has been a radical change.

Is it the "peace loving" nature of the Indian establishment or is it their lack of ability to take a strong stance
in situations like these, I wonder.

Blueshift said...

"It seems "terrorist hideouts" are displayed on Google Maps"

For a would be "super" power like India or a "regional" power like India there may be some information on this.

its too late now to think of an action, i am not sure if India is having capability to execute such a swift, shot, stealth attack safely and return, and the command/intelligence structure in order to execute it timely and swiftly.

In these times of "messages" India must think on these lines.

Peace loving must not become death loving.

But then all Citizens of this country must be valued and the country must not simply go into its own way of forgetting everything, there must be such a kind of structure being erected in order that nobody forgets this attack and the people who died and sacrificed their lives.

Once that is done Modi must be put behind bars.

Surya

Surya said...

Dear DSOuza,
Where did you come with the figure of 2000 for Gujarat riots? Repeated False = Fact?
By the your chronology of events if off, first the train was burnt then the riots.

Surya said...

Christian Terrorism in NorthEast any one resigned?
Lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits killed or became refugees in own mother land, Who resigned?
For your own agend you do not rake up this.
Wished you were raised in Saudi..

Anonymous said...

asuph,

Why don't you give your pea sized brain a bit rest.

Gujrat isn't the only cause to rally behind. If Dilip is interested in injustice, ask him to write about the kashmiri pandits being thrown out of their own lands to become refugees (still).

If you think rape of 20000 women during bangladesh war isn't a big enough injustice then do us a favor and keep your thoughts to yourself.

cheers

Dilip D'Souza said...

Pakistan is bleeding India and we're not able to do anything.

Let's be clear: some Pakistanis bled India last week. At least we went after them as it should have happened.

Let's also be clear: plenty of Indians have bled India, to the count of thousands, and we're not able to do anything about that. Why?

My feeling: because we swallow their line about how they should be defeated "democratically during peacetime".

Anonymous said...

Dilip D'Souza,

Let's go back a bit in time. Goan Inquisition, thousands raped,plundered and murdered...could be anybodys ancestors...how to do we get justice..no memorials..no stones nothing....'conveniently' forgotten

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