The anger and outrage is everywhere, still palpable. Over two weeks since terrorists killed about 175 innocents in Bombay, we've seen people driving across the country to meet the Prime Minister with their demands. People holding accusatory placards up at large public demonstrations. At a gathering I attended last week, the speakers had all manner of abuse for our leaders.
And the leaders? There was a session in Parliament last week, where leaders of every stripe unitedly condemned the attack on Bombay. Here's some of what three men there said:
Rahul Gandhi said that the perpetrators "should understand very clearly ... not only do we hold lives of our people highly, but there is also a cost to killing innocent Indians." He also said that India will not simply tolerate people coming into her cities and killing ordinary Indians. (this report). "We have to change how we view the lives of individual Indians," he said, "and we have to decide that not a single life will go in vain." (this report).
LK Advani said the attack in Mumbai was an attack on the "civilisational ethos of India". "Even if there are some differences among political parties, the resolution by Parliament is meant to convey to the world we are united on the fight against terrorism." (this report).
P Chidambaram put it this way: "We have acted with restraint but we will take all action to protect our citizens." (this report).
All just right, as far as I'm concerned. After all, I'm angry over the attacks too, and these statements reflect my sentiments pretty accurately.
Yet I read them, I feel the anger, and I cannot help wondering. Why do so many great Indian crimes not attract language like this?
I mean, take the killings of 3000 innocent Indians in Delhi in November 1984. Have we had a Parliament session to unitedly condemn that tragic outrage? Had we said about that atrocity that "we will take all action to protect our citizens"? Or that it is an attack on our "civilisational ethos"? Or that those perpetrators must learn about the "cost" of "killing innocent Indians"? Did that massacre prompt calls to "change how we view the lives of individual Indians"? Did ordinary Indians get killed then, and if so, did their lives go in vain?
Or take the killings of innocent Indians in Bombay in 1992-93, or in Gujarat in 2002. Ask the same questions about them that are in the previous paragraph.
Why have Rahul Gandhi, LK Advani and P Chidambaram never come together to unitedly say of those terror attacks what they did in the Lok Sabha last week? Why the lack of a united Indian anger about those atrocities? Why are you, reading this, not angry about them as you are about what happened three weeks ago?
In all honesty and sincerity I would like answers. If you're willing to attempt some, I'm all ears.