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Don't Cry For Me...

More than a 100 human beings who started their day on the 26th November 2008, like you and I have today, did not live to see the dawn of 27th November 2008…

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Nameless, faceless away from the glare of the media these are mere statistics that keeps popping on the TV screens and front pages of the newspapers for most of the world; but to the families and friends for whom these were men women and children made of flesh and blood, my heart goes out to them …

This will be forgotten, these people will go down the history sheets as also lived most probably without ever being mentioned in the end credits but then these people amongst whom you and I are not included as of today (not because of us being any special, but because we were not at the wrong place at the right time) are screaming examples of our ineptitude … our callousness and complete lack of self respect

It’s not just the nameless and faceless; we are a nation that does not keep even our heroes in our memory for long …. Several hundreds who lived and breathed last for us no longer in our thoughts or prayers …. We have sporting heroes dying poverty or ending their lives in the most gruesome manner for the want of dignity, military heroes’ families languishing in obscurity … All this while politicians who loot us in daylight passing on their legacy to their kith and kin!

They will be out sooner rather than later extolling the undying “Spirit of Mumbai” and eulogizing the “Resilience of Mumbaiker” … exploiting our own uncanny ability to see ourselves as a Nation or a Culture that is unbreakable … we are a Nation that so blindly believes that we are larger than life … that we are above judgement and as a Culture that has contributed so much to the World, we are superior to everyone else … the sad fact is that Mumbai wakes up after every tragedy and limps back to normalcy, not out of any super human quality but out of sheer necessity … Majority of Mumbai is made up of migrant people who cannot afford to miss one day’s wages or the average middle class worker who dreads a leave on “loss of pay”

To use this desperation to as a fa├žade for inefficiency and an empty rhetoric to cover up the lack of preparedness has to be stopped … those in power both at the state and the center, presently and in the past have to own up… the people who have systemically eroded the functioning of our police force and military units have to be made accountable … people who shamelessly surface every time after the damage has been done and point fingers at each other have to be banished to forced political retirement

It is easy and very fashionable to accuse Pakistan and claim that the people behind this attack were originally from there, but I personally have been hearing these accusations from the time that I have been able to understand news… has anything changed? Have we been able to protect our countrymen because we have identified the so called source of terror? If not what are these statements intended for?

Indians and Pakistanis have for decades lived in unity in many foreign territories like the Middle East and the UK … I can not for nuts understand why we cannot live like that in our own countries …. The political clan once again uses the so called historical hate factor created amongst these two Nations carved out so cruelly to again camouflage their failings, the Brits introduced us to the concept of divide and rule, we have perfected it … As an Indian I grew up with such prejudiced views about my neighbouring countrymen and that I was shocked to learn that they were so much like us in most aspects and not as barbaric as I was led to believe…

Moreover, let us set our priorities right, put our house in order and set the right infrastructure in place to counter terrorism than keep adopting a finger pointing technique every time something goes wrong … All that happens after a tragedy like this is condolences, empty rhetoric about “zero tolerance” and declaration of ex-gratia payments to the dead and the injured from whomsoever’s relief funds

The 5 lacs that has been announced as the relief that will be given to kin of the each of the dead is welcome but then this huge sum of over five crores could have been better spent on improving the plight of our police force or maybe even our intelligence system… we would not do that for that does not account for a populist measure … in fact though we will keep using the choicest of words to praise our forces we will cringe and whine to hike their salaries or provide them with sophisticated equipments.

I wish we have a leader with vision and the will to lead us during these troubled times. I do not mid going through a period of emergency if that promises a safer society for the future generations… I wish we have the strength to accept our failings and take help from who ever is capable to help us deal with this situation rather than talk about Indian Pride and keep letting Indians die

What use is pride when it cannot save your fellow countrymen? What is use is the economic growth in percentages when people end up being mere statistics? What is the use of controlling inflation and bringing down the value of essential products when human life has no value? A state that cannot protect its people is no state at all, no matter what its lineage is …

What saddens me the most is that my own helplessness in dealing with what is happening around me… for all that I have written I am no different when it comes to my forgetfulness, in my lack of gratitude and resolve … I will forget this, I will forget Mr. Karkare, Mr. Salaskar and Mr. Kamte, like I have forgotten Mr. M.C. Sharma… I will forget the final “score” that the terrorists notched up, I will be soothed by the high decibel debates that will rage on live television for the next few days, until another juicy news “story” slowly takes control of Prime Time TRPs … and next time there is elections I will either treat it as a wasteful exercise that’s below my dignity to be a part of or instead of casting my vote go ahead and vote my caste

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