Call it “Indian resilience in the face of terror” or the “manifestation of the spirit of city X” (X= city hit by terror). Or more precisely call it our ability to not really care for anything as long as it does not directly affect us or our loved ones. Call it what you will but what never ceases to amaze me and many others is how the terror unleashed by periodic bomb blasts, that take place every few months with ominous regularity, is totally obliterated from the public consciousness in a few days.
In that after the standard bromides of shock and condemnation are dispensed with, everything goes back to normal.
There is never a sustained public pressure on the political parties to come up with a policy on terrorism, in the way for instance that different interest groups lobby for reservations. It is as if that people are so busy in appropriating a share of the government pie for their own community (caste, profession, state) that they forget that in order to take advantage of acquiring, for instance an OBC status or a few more districts from a neighboring state for their own, they have to first stay alive.
This time however the cookie has crumbled differently. The difference between successive bomb blasts in different cities is now not being measured in months or years but in hours. The comforting window of amnesia, at least for a few days, has been taken away. Cars full of explosives are discovered in Surat. A plot to bomb cities in Tamil Nadu on August 15th has been foiled. As nightshows and shopping malls are closed down in Madhya Pradesh, the true impact of the strong Jihadi terror base is being felt—its power to strike anywhere and anyone.
Of course, as we all know, even after this nightmarish week, there will bring no long-term change. Political discourse will still take place on the standard lines: one party will ask for reinstatement of POTA/POTO and different variations of anti-terror laws as a single-point solution to all problems, another party will pander for votes by “addressing the root causes of terrorism” which in the Indian context is an euphemism for the worst kind of appeasement.
Noone will talk about treating terrorism as a “law and order” problem and champion, as a cause with the same passion that “packages for states” are demanded, the creation of a national agency for terror with branches in all state capitals.
An agency that comprises of well-paid, well-trained personnel with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, backed by appropriate legislation that allows them to go about their job without interference from the local powers-that-are.
An agency whose employees would have a simple job description– fight terror. And not for instance to provide Z category security to politicians and sportsmen, to escort the minister’s daughter to her drawing class or to cut vegetables for the DIG’s weekend party.
But we all know that something like this is not going to happen. There will just not be any sustained pressure from the citizens of the country to make such an agency a reality. Far less to make national security the number one hot-button issue in the coming elections.
If there is anything greater than the tragedy of losing so many innocents to the shrapnel of Jihadis, it is this.
[Again please keep discussion civil. Discuss politics and not the done-to-death religious angles please. Moderation will be done otherwise. With regret]