Once Again Mumbai

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The tragedy of terrorist attacks in India is that you can take a blog-post from three years ago, make a small change here and one change there, and it would seem like I just wrote it. Fresh and hot. That’s the thing. Nothing changes. Not a bit. The same bomb blasts, the same canned responses, the same floundering in the dark, the same impotent social media rage, the same sense of headless chicken-ness.

I saw one person splutter angrily on TV ” There was no police here before the blast. No security.”

Security? Hmm.

Well in February I went to Gateway of India. Post 26/11 and to borrow a Shastrism “after the horse has bolted”,  there was security there. A lot of it. Limited access. People in wardi. Metal detector. Only bug in the program—–people could walk around the metal-detector, without standing underneath it, and no one around seemed to be mildly concerned at this small fly in the security ointment.

Security? Hmm.

Could better “security”, of the kind alluded to by the angry bystander, prevent such incidents? No. It is just not feasible to have eyes everywhere in the country, even if we consent to a Orwellian police state, eyes strong enough to detect every rigged umbrella or booby-trapped suitcase. Though of course one would like the administration to try a bit harder in gathering intelligence. Not that they can get it right every time but at least can we expect them to work as sincerely as they do while discharging their most important function—make sure there are no parties after twelve and girls and boys are not dancing “indecently”.

It is not so much what happens before but what happens post-blast, each and every time, that gets my goat. After 26/11 we were told that emergency response teams would be ready to roll at a moment’s notice. I presumed they meant ambulance. I presumed they meant trained personnel providing critical care immediately, the kind that can save lives. What we saw instead were injured people, festering in blood and tears  thrown together like dying chickens in the back of a truck. Surely, with all that India-shining and everything, we can expect to have a decent emergency response system in place for Mumbai, the highest priority target for our enemies, if not for the entire country? It’s not as if premium emergency services are not available. If one of our politicians gets so much as a hangnail, ambulances rush in, red lights flash and the Red Sea parts. But people, common people, well that’s another thing.

There is more. After 26/11 we were also told that the press would be kept away from the scenes of terrorist incidents. What did we find this time? The same old vultures swooping down. Mind you I do not blame them. They are out to make money errr sorry inform the public. The responsibility to cordon off blast sites lies with the police and the police’s alone. And why is this so critical?

Two reasons.

The main aim of terrorists, as their name helpfully suggests, is to create terror. And nothing serves that aim better than the Blair-Witch-Project style shaky images of bloodied bodies and weeping innocents that are being beamed to every home, accompanied as they are by the hyperventilating “on-the-ground-breaking-news” voice that exists to prevent us from flipping channels.

The second reason why a large perimeter needs to be enforced is that pressmen and the assembled tamasha-watchers contaminate the crime scene. This happens always and every time comes to bite the justice system in the bum. Suspects walk free because of lack of physical evidence, providing the opportunity for the Arundhati-Setalvad dementors to fly in and scream “minority victimization” and, of course, for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to say it is an RSS conspiracy (it may be argued he will do it regardless of what happens).

One would also have expected that after so many feet-in-the-mouths before, there would be just one official spokesman for the administration. Nope. The whole apparatus, on crisis night, was leaking like a sieve with one talking head finding the hand of Indian Mujahideen and the other saying everything is pre-mature. And why is this multi-speak bad, more specially the pinning of blame on Indian Mujahideen? Because within two hours of the blast, one cannot say, with any certainty, who has done the deed. So taking names so soon just gives ammo to our detractors in pushing forward the hypothesis that it is the Indian government/Hindu-Zionists/RSS which did this to tarnish Pakistan/Muslims.

And finally, yet once again, when the nation bled, we found out we had no Prime Minister. No one expects the PM to come and give a Sunny Deolian “Kasam Ganga Maiyya ki ,ghar mein ghuskar maroonga” shout-out but is it too much to expect a bit of inspiration in a dark hour, something even George W could provide after 9/11? Some may say silence is MMS’s style (like it was for Charlie Chaplin even after the technology of sound came into being) and should not be taken for inaction (ahem ahem) but surely there must have been reasons why when their nations were attacked, two of the greatest leaders of the last century, Roosevelt and Churchill did not take such a “awaaz neeche” stance.

If there was any silver lining, it was to see how ordinary people came together on Twitter—-doctors volunteered services, houses were opened for strangers, and those stranded were picked up. It was inspiring and a reminder that on the darkest of nights, the light inside us burns the brightest.

But this realization, in itself, is small solace. Very small solace.

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82 thoughts on “Once Again Mumbai

  1. The security and metal detectors are the same everywhere. In malls and other public places. And its better if our PM doesnt speak actually. Last time, after 26/11, he gave this lacklustre speech like he was scared to death himself. So better for him to keep mum.

    Its sad this happens again and again and we find ourselves helpless repeatedly. I love Bombay and I don’t want to see the city like this. If not for Twitter, I dont know what we would do. I was stuck in a train and was hopeful of making it home safely only because of the tweets people were sending me. You rightly put it as “on the darkest of nights, the light inside us burns the brightest.”

    Thank you for this post.

  2. What about the silence of the loitering ‘yuvraaj’ who supposedly had arhar-dal & roti at a farmer’s house? Probably busy analyzing the threat of ‘radical Hindu groups’

    You summed up the entire thing nicely. Very Good post…

  3. Mainstream media in India is a farce. Its search for the constant hit of breaking news has reduced it to a tool for terrorists (as you put very well), politicians and celebrities.

    Twitter, Google Docs (I was hoping you would mention the spreadsheet), text messages and Facebook were, by far, more effective than TV channels and politicians yesterday. This remarkable demonstration of grassroots communications and organization gives me great hope for the future, despite our miserable politicians. Attacks like this will, unfortunately, continue because the Indian government and media have proven time and time again that they are soft and sensationalist respectively. The strength demonstrated by the people, however, convinces me that this will eventually be corrected (hopefully in our lifetime) and that should be a big source of solace for everyone.

  4. Good stuff. Only couldn’t agree to just one small thing. “even” George W? EVEN? George W was a great leader…howsoever misguided or misinformed he was…he was one epic bad ass fighting Texan who stood for his country at the hour of need…His Bull horn speech was one of the defining moment of this century.

    MMS can not even be compared to the crap of the great man.

  5. well it might be a propaganda, but almost every news channel was praising the admin for much better response time. as compared to earlier instances. I would like (hope?) to think it is true.

    As for the news channels, well what can i say. The best bit was when a news reporter cribbed on national television about how a certain police authority refused to ‘talk to him’ and ‘give any information’. This was after 45-50 minutes of the blast, at one of the blast sights. I think that police guy deserves a medal. I know the reporter’s pay depended on this coverage, but for god’s sake the police were trying to save some lives.

    And i am sick of feeling proud of our so called resilience and spirit. Feels like a third rate cricket team that is applauded for just avoiding a follow-on.

    I know this is might sound myopic and immature but all i can think of right now is the other ‘r’ word; Revenge.

    I also felt the public outrage on national television was much more pronounced this time. May be we will have a real ‘A Wednesday’ soon.

  6. America can’t be expected to solve our problems,but it can strip people to frisk at airports and give them an exasperating time-all in the name of security.India continues to plod on the mire of corruption,scams,an in absentia PM,and that turd breathing kasab.
    bludgeoned by blasts,even if Mumbai’s population density is to blame there is no solution expect numerology maybe.
    and where is this damn shiv sena now?

  7. These ‘events’ in our country are atrocious and need to be curbed. Some people of message boards across the internet called NRIs selfish for the very reason that we just comment but do not really do anything at the grass root level. You can call it being selfish and I will call it being helpless! If being far away and commenting is such a taboo, I would really like to ask people in the right places (read: government) as to what are they doing to make things right! And who better to know the situation first hand than the people who live there. Every 3 months we hold rallies and there is a huge uproar. And within a week, no one cares about it. People would be more worried then about Aishwarya Rai’s impending parenthood then the blasts! That is how the typical common life of us Indians has become. We do not put any value of a human life and a living example of that are people like Kasab and Afzal Guru who are still in our Jails since so many years! We, as Indians, need a reality check and should stop being hypocrites for once and think about the failings of our country and how can we make it better rather than being proud about small things. Time to improve the holistic picture. And again! This is not directed toward any individual. I am as much responsible for this as you are and the person sitting next to you is!

  8. Hi arnab ,

    I couldn’t disagree as always to what all you have written but i am just curious about what happens next . I mean all these blasts impact our lives for a day or a week or for some may be even a month but after that its gone . You know its quite similar to that trending topic on twitter . It comes it trends and it goes . Only people who loose their loved ones are affected . Every one takes a go at Everyone and of course Ministers and media persons are the center of attraction . Intellects will now come up with policies , Journalist and authors will now come up with blogs and like wise . How ever we as a country will always forget . Its sad that after 26/11 the Mumbai that was apparently thought to be made a iron castle has been breached again .I wish some one could really answer as to what happens next . Pardon me for being cynical but our tolerance and helplessness is definitely dragging us down and will keep on doing so .

  9. It’s all an RSS plot. Indian Muslims love india are wholly integrated into the system , and are blamed as terrorist bombers by Hindu nazis for every little fart they emit. Pakistan is the most progressive , peace loving nation in the world and looks upon India with brotherly love . It is the fault of us Indians( Hindus) that we are such assholes as to doubt our muslim brothers across and within the border! Long live MMS, Long Live Rahul , Long Live our ITALIAN MISTRESS.

  10. Pingback: Mumbai. 13 July, 2011. | Daily World Watch

  11. GB,

    One correction. The Sunny Deol dislogue was “Kasam Ganga Maiyya ki…” not “Durga maiyya ki…”.

    Also, what about the Rahul ther prince getting silent whenever something serious happens across the nation ???

  12. Already, on some Indian muslim sites like twocircles.net, they are declaring that the evil hindutwa groups did the blasts – just to bring a bad name to good innocent muslims of India. Bet the urdu media is pretty much doing the same thing. How long before Diggy Singh came on TV and announced that RSS did it ?

  13. Agree completely. I’d watched an interview with the CM at the start of the year and he made promise after promise and guarantee after guarantee that Mumbai was different now and that there had been lessons learnt after 26/11. It is just so sad to see it was all a lie.
    If nothing, today’s attacks have taught us that nothing has changed. The cycle will continue and each time we just have to hope we’re not among the victims.

  14. I don’t know how effective social media will be in effecting large-scale change, but the way Twitter responded yesterday was moving to watch. And reading posts such as these gives hope at least.
    Well done Arnab-da. I don’t know if it was difficult or cathartic to write this so soon after, but we needed to read this.

  15. I felt the same on reading your posts on 26/11,other terror incidents across cities (and Dantewada). Wondering if anything changed since then? Some of us would agree that hearing (and forgetting) about such incidents have become a part of our collective conscience. Unfortunately this is how it is. Such incidents repeatedly remind us about how vulnerable we as a society have become. No easy answer of what could be done and who would do it but the hard truth is the country would keep on bleeding if rigourous measures are not taken to promote inclusive development across all sectors (including strengthening internal and external security apparatus). Like it has happened in the past, a few lives would be changed forever but for most of the people this would just be another date with a sad story. This is the price we pay to live.

  16. Good analysis indeed. But I don’t understand why you put “even” before George W Bush. Bush is perhaps the Leader who had the biggest influence on shaping early 21st century and probably all of it as well. If someone wants to know what leadership sounds like he should listen to Bush’s Ground Zero Speech to his nation. And he did more to improve US India relations than arguably any previous President.

    Anyways, our problem is that India is too much about blowing hot air and too little about REAL action which countries like US and Israel take. It has something to do with the over dominance of “liberalism” in our national discourse. Whenever there’s a terror attack, we try to hush up the real questions like involvement or why intelligence failed. We blow too much hot air about “Mumbai Spirit”, why not to blame Govt or question External involvement (which would be construed as “spreading hatred” against our “wonderful neighbour”), waste too much time lighting candles, our news channels fight amongst themselves to scoop “[Insert Channel] Exclusive !!!” and after arrests are made Teesta Setalvad and her gang scream minority victimization and people on Twitter wait for ReTweets. And all this while the Govt remains invisible and terrorists plan their next.

    The situation is different here in Gujarat, which under the inspirational leadership of Narendra Modi has hugely been successful in crushing terrorism and this is probably the only place in India where terrorists get killed while they’re still planning. But Modi is the most lampooned man in India’s “liberal” circles for taking on the Jihadi menace with an Iron fist. So we need to be prepared for far more terrorist attacks in the near future when Rahul Gandhi/NAC fully takes over in 2014. But then again, what can be expected in a nation which throws out a Leader of Vajpayee’s callibre for someone like Manmohan Singh?

  17. Arnab, i will just say one thing.
    Those who are weak, those who can not fight for any injustice done to them ( & those = me & any common man here), well, they are bound to die anyway.

    & For all my dear friends who believe Twitter, Facebook is the “coolest” place to fight terror,please stop this drama of being “oncerned citizens”, “aware proud Indian” & all that rhetoric crap. Just F**k off!!

    Problem is not blast. Problem is not 21 deaths. Problem is apathy. Dark, unending apathy.

    Long Live Spirit of Mumbai!!

  18. Feelings of a common man well articulated.
    Don’t know what the government is waiting for to build an emergency response system, may be the day when the parliament is going to blown up (I seriously doubt that also). Perhaps now with this increased frequency of terror attacks, government feels that citizens are so used them. So why waste money on developing such system, instead take the money home. The problem is the no one wants to think about the common man. Media just wants the breaking news and common people will not give them that. Wonder where these sophisticated and so called activist Journos go during this time. Here is one government that is actively involved in supporting the terrorist group and do not mind even making their country economically weak for what they believe is rightfully theirs. And there lie another country which being so influential as to make the president of a powerful nation ask for assistance, being just struck with a list of most wanted people. Wonder whom are we trying to fool?

  19. very well written…..

    Patience and the so called “Aman ki Asha” attitude is responsible for all this.I am sure the expense of maintaining/keeping Kasab was much more than the total money spent by govt. on treating and compensating the victims.Even if a little portion of the money was spent on intelligence gathering, security and emergency services, things could have been much better. I think protecting 100 lives is much more humanitarian,if it can be done by hanging some captured terrorist. TERRORISTS UNDERSTAND ONLY TERROR…and its high time India should set some examples to show them some terror. These incidents would not happen so often if these terrorists are themselves scared of serious punishment (which does not include a five-star accommodation in a jail).

  20. Terror attacks,runaway inflation and corruption scams – the current government has failed miserably on all 3 key counts of homeland security, economy management and ethical governance! (And I am not even a BJP spokesman!!)

    In the meanwhile, Mumbai has been reduced to a 2-bit ‘lady of the night’.. Anyone can #&*$ with it as they please! Disgusting!

  21. every day evening i get stuck in traffic jam in dadar.. probably 10 mins away from where blasts happened.. becos of nakabandi.. if they are unable to catch any explosives or terrorists.. wonder what the Mumbai cops are catching? all they have standing is helmet less bikers and outstation tourist cars who are soft targets to meet daily quotas…

  22. The Prime Minister is so conspicuous by his absence every single time is that it is hard to even remember he is even there. He has disappointed his people so many times now that it is unbearable. But that is what happens when you reach a place solely by standing on other’s shoulders. MMS, apparently, “requests” Rahul Gandhi to take a place in Cabinet which the prince declines.
    I am so deeply demoralized by this that I dreamt once that I was speaking with Manmohan Singh and giving him a pep talk to come out and speak, that it was his duty and would encourage the citizens, that he should not be so afraid of Gandhis. haha! I wish I could actually do that.

  23. A well meaning but helpless rage. It is virtually impossible to prevent further terrorist attacks by policing or intelligence…. the writing on the wall is very clear. Go after the source of the terrorism as US did if we have the balls for it or else bear it stoically. No wonder balanced liberally minded indians have also started looking upto Narendra Modi as a saviour. If we can afford minority bleeding hearts like Rahul and Digvijay Singh, why not Modi what more harm he can cause to this country!

  24. Any Indian govt will not act till the time a leader from ruling party is injured or killed in these terror attacks. Govt does not care if a common man is bledding or killed due to this bomb blast.
    We our self like to call as a Super power but we are loosing lives in every possible way. In India we have n number of ways of dying..such as due to train accidents, road accidents, floods, air accidents and then terror attacks. So only if you very lucky and you are blessed then only you can survive in India.
    Some non-Indians who are unlucky, they are pulled in India for some reason and then they get killed in India either in train mishap, air mishap, bus mishap or terror attacks.
    Only one thing can save you in India, do not be at wrong place at a wrong time!

  25. With NIA in the picture, investigation would probably throw up only names ending with “Joshi”, “Sharma”, “Anand” etc. Rahul Gandhi and Chidambaram would then make their customary speeches on alternate “terrorists”.

  26. I think India economically cannot afford a war, and i think we are not capable of doing a US/Israel style operation of going after the source.
    That, however does not take away the option of improving emergency response systems, and a good intelligence in place which i presume will cost less..
    But personally i would like to nuke the shit out of the training camps!! damn!

  27. well written… hard hitting..
    we are a democracy.. so the fact is we get the government we deserve.

    @Sumantra
    agree with you, mate. People keep taking cheap digs at bush. But if we keep our prejudices aside for a moment, the reality is there’s not been any attack by the followers of religion-of-peace on US soil after 9/11. I would trade our incompetent PM with bush any day.

  28. so if “ordinary” people can come together in times of crisis, how come the same when they work for a news channel or feel “impotent” social media rage or become politicians are suddenly the bad guys?

    if one feels anger at the system, we ought to recognize we are part of the system. we put the politicians in power, we are the reason why one has to suffer Barkha Dutt; we are the reason why the post-emergency response is awful. If Manmohan Singh is an impotent nothing, well, we voted him as Prime Minister – okay, in reality, we vote for parties but still, the argument holds.

    laying blame is always easy, and many times justified, but it isn’t – to me – a very productive way forward.

  29. Well-written. But while Twitter and google docs stories are heartwarming, I would want to know how effective it was. If only to show us if any of us commenting here can even make a difference.

  30. I agree with two of your points completely. MMS’s silence is a little disconcerting and that we can never boast of being on the road to development if we don’t have kick-ass emergency response facilities. Our intelligence gathering measures are probably bad, but the pseudo-secular party in power would probably not have pursued good leads anyway. I don’t see a solution to this in the near future. Unless we get someone like Modi to come into national power, I submit our responses to such situations (and there’ll probably be more) will be anemic.

  31. I hope GB won’t censor me this time, as I would like to bring up a point about Indian insanity.

    Gokul wrote: “personally i would like to nuke the shit out of the training camps.”

    Which training camps? The Second stage of such training camps (where training in weapons and explosives is provided) is meaningless without the First stage.

    The First stage of such training camps is in India where the Jihadis theologically indoctrinate the attendees incessantly with hatred for India and for Indians, and they become willing Jihadis for the Ghazwa-e-Hind. And in case, you did not know – the elected Governments of India, West Bengal and other Indian states fund tens of thousands of these training camps (better known as Madrasas) with your (tax-payer) money.

    If you don’t believe me, you can watch the eye-opening video-documentary “Bangla Crescent” by dynamic film maker Mayank Jain on YouTube. Here’s a relevant excerpt from this video-documentary:

    Standing on the Indian side of Jessore Road, Mayank Jain interviewed 6 – 8 year old boys at Madrasa Zulfikar Ali Siddiqiya, where all teaching is in Arabic, not Bengali. Asked to define a kafir, young Mohammad Sheikh Shahin parroted: “jo Allah ki baat nahin sunta, Nabi ke adesh ke mutabik nahin chalta.shaitan ki baat suntan hai” (One who does not listen to Allah, does not live according to the dictates of the Prophet, listens to Satan). Asked if he knew the meaning of jihad, the young talib (student) said, “it means war”(yudh), it is “Kafir ke saath Nabi ji ke Musalmanon ki ladai.” Quite explicit.

    If there are any doubts about the uniformity of madrasa teaching, one has only to walk into the Madrasa Faizul Ulum Hathishala in Laxmi Nagar, near Delhi Police headquarters. Here Maulana Rehan Ahmad explains: “Khuda himself has determined the punishment (sazaa) of the Kafir. It is to reside forever in hell (jahannum), burn in fire. there are all kinds of horrors there.” He explains that jihad is waged on non-Muslims after “he is invited to join the faith (din ki dawat), asked to place his faith on Allah, when he does not do so, then at that moment the hukm for jihad is given.”

    (Source: “India’s Cancer Wards”, The Pioneer, August 9, 2005)

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. In this case, it means funding Madrasas and expecting India to be peaceful. Go figure !

  32. I like the comment about the metal detector. What’s more interesting is the metal detectors (and so-called-security) at shopping malls in Mumbai.

    Typical scenario: A wooden rectangle saying walk and stop (generally defunct) – I don’t think there’s any wiring within that . You walk past that, a security guard moves a metal detector around a random part of your body. Now, whether that metal detector is working or not is another question, but what the security guard does after that is what is most shocking. He moves the detector, it beeps couple of times, and he allows me to go. Simply meaning ” oh, ok, you have a bomb in your wallet, and a revolver in your other pocket, cool, go ahead :)”

    Since ladies are to be checked by woman guards only, and women are more trustworthy, half of the day, that part will be left alone. So just put something in a woman’s purse and get inside . It’s OK. Our culture is to trust women 🙂

    I do understand that a tough cover of security will make things really slow, but then why have such a security cover which is so obviously not serving its purpose. As you had mentioned in a blog earlier “and most importantly bolstered by an unprecedented level of confidence in their ability to be successful.

    The sheer scale and brazennes is one more testament to the damning failure of the government security apparatus, not that needed to be established again after the last twenty such acts of urban violence.”

    And finally, blaming politicians is fine, but public memory is equally short in India. How many people know that R R Patil who said the “Bade Bade Deshon” dialogue on 26/11 ,and resigned soon after, was silently put to the same position soon after.

    The worst part, compare MMS’s post 26/11 speech to Bush’s post 9/11 speech.
    Almost 3 years down, its interesting to observe that the speeches were also symbolic of the actions the 2 leaders would take .

  33. “Yuvi” did not deliver any speech because it was not necessary at that time. He will, of course, convey the message of “RSS conspiracy” when he will meet the American bureaucrats. But the fact is majority of the Indian muslims have actually been integrated into our society and they are also the victims of terrorism. So are many ordinary pakistanis. In fact, there are strong opinions coming out from pakistani civil society (e.g., Pervez Hoodbhoy, Najam Sethi, Hasan Nissar, Ashgar Khan etc.) against this anti-India sentiment and against the “Jihad” in Kashmir. So, I feel, no one of us should target Pakistan or Indian Muslims. Rather, we should target at and take strong actions against Pakistani establishment, religious fundamentalist groups (like Jamat-Ud-Dawa, I don’t know if they really exist in this name or they have already changed their name) and their Indian counterparts (like Simi…and so on). Finally, I would like to hear what the garden variety intellectuals and activists (Arundhati Roy etc.) want to speak on this issue….I hope, this will be a matter of concern for them.

  34. @ I hate hypocrites

    The Pakistanis you mentioned (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Hasan Nissar etc) are ex-Muslims who are openly challenging Islam but are carefully doing so, so that they are not targeted as Murtads. This is the opinion of one source who is close to them.

  35. things will get right …it might take few years….but they will be set right….US and UK have had their share of problems and they came over it…so if we are capable we will survive, else perish

  36. Please watch this clip from the mesmerizing Ronald Raegan speech, at Republican nominee Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. He talks in the context of communism/socialism, but his words ring so true even today in the backdrop of terrorism/LWE. I hope that the right-conservative philosophy in India is able to be articulated in this manner someday. I am so disillusioned with how liberalism is practiced in India and I am certain it will serve the death-knell for our country.

    This is a short clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur9RU of which the transcript is given below:

    (For the complete 30 minutes speech, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBswFfh6AY)

    “Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy “accommodation.” And they say if we’ll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he’ll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple
    answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer — not an easy answer — but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.

    We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, “Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we’re willing to make a deal with your slave masters.” Alexander Hamilton said, “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.” Now let’s set the record straight. There’s no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there’s only one guaranteed way you can have peace — and you can have it in the next second — surrender.

    Admittedly, there’s a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face — that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to ccommodate,
    continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand — the ultimatum. And what then — when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we’re retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he’s heard voices pleading for “peace at any price” or “better Red than dead,” or as one commentator put it, he’d rather “live on his knees than die on his feet.” And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don’t speak for the rest of us.

    You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under
    the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it’s a simple answer after all.
    You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, “There is a price we will not pay.” “There is a point beyond which they must not advance.” And this — this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater’s “peace through strength.” Winston Churchill said, “The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits — not animals.” And he said, “There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.”

  37. The more I see the ongoing terror strikes, the more I believe that it has to be nipped in the bud. The reason why NY/US didn’t have a single successful strike was not only due to luck, but also the strong intelligence system as well. Osama wasn’t finally killed by waging a trillion dollar war, but more by the intelligence system. We need to pump in the rupees to have a smart and adept security agency which has the sole purpose of interior intelligence (better than NIA). I am sure it wont cost more than the business affected due to the potential terror strikes.

  38. Thanks for this post.
    All said and done, I think comparisons to the United States’ war on terror are not really fair. India has been fighting homegrown terror and terrorism aided and abetted by our neighbor, Pakistan for a few decades now. Added to that is the increased stress on our police force due to accelerating crime, Naxalites and the rampant corruption in our system.
    Having multiple surveillance cameras can help in identifying suspects and even preventing incidents in some cases but it will not be sufficient. Just look at our overflowing trains, buses, ‘chowks’ and bazaars. The probability that some crude bomb is planted in some garbage dump in a street corner is frighteningly high. The terrorists don’t even need dedicated suicide bombers to kill a few dozen people under such circumstances.

    As some of your readers and our own politicians have pointed out, better intelligence is imperative. However, India will need to fight extremist ideology in the realm of ideas even more than the West.

    Absolute security is impossible even in the US where immigration is tightly controlled and monitored, the FBI and CIA are watching over like hawks and religious clashes are virtually non-existent on home soil. The geographical location of the US far away from strife-torn countries in the Middle East and Asia make it luckier, too.

    I came across this piece: http://news.oneindia.in/2011/07/10/maha-govt-top-bollywood-stars-to-lose-special-security-aid0156.html

    What can I say? Our police force still roams around with ‘lathis’ whereas our movie stars get security paid for by none other than the Indian taxpayer. A doctor who saves lives or a professor who shapes minds is probably less valuable than a film star who can afford to not travel by public transport vehicles and hire his/her own security.

  39. @ Bengal Voice, I have gone through many of their articles and have watched many discussions on different paki channels. I never had this feeling that they were challenging Islam. On the other hand, I found they were criticizing certain aspects of Islam keeping themselves within the moderate and acceptable Islamic faith. For example, If today you stand against the brutal caste system practised in UP or MP , that won’t mean that you are about to leave Hinduism or for that matter you do not have any faith on Hinduism. In a modern global society, every religion should mould itself so as not to become irrelevant. They have only suggested that and most importantly they told pakis to do a self introspection. They might be heard and followed only by a minuscle population in pakistan. But, I think, we should not act in such a way so that they become irrelevant in Pakistan. That does not mean that we should act like our prime minister. We should create pressure so that the attackers can be punished. If possible, we can pressurize pakistan to form a joint peace keeping force which can act jointly against the terrorists in POK, in pakistan and in India. But change can only happen if pakistan has a stable democracy. Also, we can not gain anything by attacking pakistan now. They are already in a mess. Islamic fundamentalists and paranoids, like ZAID HAMID, are trying to convince them that they are at threat from India and America and Israel (I don’t know why?). If we attack them, their (ZAID HAMID and co.) position will only be strengthened. People will start to support these fundamentalists more making the secular people irrelevant. The government may also fall with another Marshal Law. Of course, we cannot occupy pakistan because of three reasons,

    1) it does not have enough resource which can attract us
    2) international pressure
    3) after we occupy pakistan, there will be violent movement against us. We don’t want to hinder our economic growth by engaging 60% of our budget into slef defence. Do we?
    So, the best we can do is what we have done in Bangladesh. Let their people feel that they are deprived of their basic rights and Islamic fundamentalists cannot provide them with “roti, kapra, makaan”. That will inevitably make these secular activists more relevant to paki politics. For the time being, pressurize pakistan more so that we can form a joint peace keeping force to eradicate these rogue elements. Don’t even think of getting involved into another war. That won’t help now. May be, one day some secular “muktibahini” will start violent agitation in pakistan with people’s support. That would be the best time to send your army. Not now.

  40. Very well articulated, especially the fact that nothing has changed. What’s more frustrating is that it’s not in the common man’s capacity to bring that change. Sigh!

  41. Good post GB

    But I don’t know why you would praise Twitter et al and berate mainstream media. Each is as impotent and useless as the other

    And why blame the govt – we the people of Maharashtra have again voted Cong / NCP to power despite the events on 26/11/08. Not that the opposition would have necessarily done better, but atleast voting RR Patil and company out would have sent a strong message that we have had enough of terrorism. Now the govt knows for sure how indifferent and short-memoried the public is

    I agree with the comparison to George W. The man was a monster and his actions killed more innocents than terrorists could ever do. Yet, he did a great job of showing resolve and courage to fight. On the domestic front, he did follow it up with action to beef up security; and the US has till date not faced a major attack after 11/09/01

    Good point about the metal detectors. Airport security is similar – everyone is more worried about stamping the boarding pass / hand luggage (or cross checking the stamp), than about ensuring nothing explosive gets through. Incidentally, India is the only country I saw where the pass is stamped – all others simply make sure explosives or weapons dont get through in the first place. The same guy who checks stamps could much rather do a full check of randomly chosen passengers. Because, if you have managed to bring say a knife through security, the checking of the stamp is anyway useless. Also, old discarded stamps are found aplenty around airport – doesnt take too long to fix one of those to your bag

  42. Five points perfectly captured our national response

    – Rahul Gandhi claiming 1% of terrorism cannot be stopped. Fair enough, why exactly did he have people with bomb detectors checking cow dung cakes during his padayatra.
    – Our home minister claiming we had no clue, no intelligence, but we will respond. With more soft pedalling rhetoric
    – A TV reporter was waving at the assembled policemen to move aside while he captured shots of the investigation team going over the evidence and the cops complied, one actually even waved at the camera
    – Deafening silence from the anti-Valentine day, anti-outsider, anti-everything Marathi Manush champions.
    – A bystander simply saying, in all these blasts not one politician has been injured/killed

  43. The Congress government cares for only won thing and that is power. And in its quest for petty vote-bank politics it has in turn turned India into a spineless cry-baby. Therefore, like a true Gandhian, every time a bomb explodes in India (and more often than not in Bombay), the government condemns the activities and consoles the victims, and gets prepared to be hit and massacred and brutalized again.

    There’s one adage that, “If you want peace, prepare for war”, and that’s exactly what India needs to do if it wants to deter terrorist activities on Indian soil. The government, in order to be politically correct, keep saying that “don’t equate religion with terrorism”. Even though ideally that’s true, Islamic Terrorism is an undeniable fact. And leave alone Pakistan, even India has number of terrorist groups (like IM and the likes) and terrorist breeding grounds (like the Madrasas where clerics brain-wash young kids’ minds). Religious groups like Hurriyat have the audacity to make anti-India slogans in India, and still the Indian government does nothing about it.

    I know Congress heavily relies on the Muslim vote-bank for its success, but unless it does the difficult but necessary things, these acts of terrorism won’t stop. Further, to even have the thought that if they act against them they would alienate Muslim voters is in itself a disgusting thing, because that doesn’t show their callousness, it also shows that they believe that ordinary Muslim civilians sympathize with such people or groups – which is an utterly despicable thought to possess.

    For once, India should learn from Israel in developing fierce pride for one’s country, and on how to protect itself. Israel gets a lot of flak from so-called intellectuals as regards to its foreign policy. But at the end of the day all that matters is that, despite being such a small country and despite being surrounded by countries that are so hostile to its very existence, Israel is not just managed to survive, it is even managed to reasonably ensure that its land and people are safe and secure. I know India would rather align itself with Iran and the Arabs, because aligning itself with Israel might again mean loss of votes, but for once Congress should stop thinking about petty politics and start loving the country.

  44. @Subhajit Lahiri

    “but for once Congress should stop thinking about petty politics and start loving the country”

    The effort should be to REMOVE Congress and not REFORM it.

  45. It is a pity, we dont have even ONE leader out of a billion who we can say would make a great PM…. (Please dont say NM… He will never be allowed to be a contender)

  46. we are all filled with sadness and rage..
    some people in comments section supporting Modi to kick terrorism dont have holistic idea of him. He is the unique once in a generation leader. surely more intelligent than whole central government combined. it would be as big event as republic day or independence day when comes into power at center!!

  47. Disclaimer: I do not want to undermine the threat of terrorism or the people who lost their lives to the terrorist attacks…… I’m enraged, hopeless (and still hoping against hope) that some day my city will be free of terror attacks.

    However, the troubling part for me is – There are far more pressing issues in Mumbai – health care, poverty, slums etc. With malaria alone over 800 people (official govt figure) die in Mumbai every year. Why the people are not bothered about it. In last 5 months alone over 500 farmer died/ suicided in Bundelkhand. and no one care about it…

    GB – What do you think makes death by terrorist attack more sensational than say a death by rail accident. More number of people die every year because of rail accidents than all terrorist attacks put together.

  48. Good point Nitin…

    It is like… “humaari khud ki laparvaahi se log marein to chalta hai… Tum log aake nahi maarna”

  49. Agree with Sumantra. I’d prefer George W Bush as head of state over any [edited]congress leader.
    Lots of criticism hailed towards the police. Well guess what , the maharashtra police (like any other police in india) is under-trained, over worked, ill-equipped and frankly just don’t have the resources to deal with such situations even after so many terrorist attacks. So you can’t really blame them for not being able to handle the aftermath in as much a disciplined manner as scotland yard or nypd.
    Intelligence failure though is truly glaring and someone has to be held accountable, and followed up with better/strong/swifter intelligence gathering.
    The govt. is pumping huge money in mumbai to make it a (supposedly) world-class metropolis, motivation ofcourse being to make tons of money. But all the money is for building roads and offices. Nowhere can you see security being on the list, let alone a priority.
    Mumbai shouldn’t be resilient or accepting as you put it, and get back to work. Instead mumbai should STOP work. Let the govt. know they can’t ignore the common man’s security and get away with it.

  50. Well written article.
    I still don’t understand the “not an intelligence failure stand” taken by the Govt. Reminds me of “question outside the syllabus” debates we had in school after bad exams..

  51. @Nitin:

    Because one is premeditated murder and the other is not.
    You may argue that negligence of railway safety is tantamount to murder, but it is quite a stretch to imagine that the self-serving railway minister’s primary objective was to kill people at random and terrorize a population so as to make a political point.

    At an emotional level, a life lost is a life lost, but to my mind drawing moral equivalence between the two is incorrect.

  52. Whatever happened was very sad.
    but one curious question……..Why don’t high society people ever die in such blasts?
    Not that i want someone’s death but why only common men,women and children die each and everytime?

  53. Not that i want someone’s death but why only common men,women and children die each and everytime?
    Because the Pakistanis are not idiots. The last time politicians were threatened – only threatened, not killed – was during the Parliament attack, and the army was sent to the border for it. If any important politician is killed in a terrorist attack, the Pakistani generals know that it will probably mean war. As for common people, well they are just serfs, the generals know they can get as many killed as they please.

  54. @Bengal Voice: Sir, after Mumbai, people were taken aback to see the beef devouring enemies of the state back in New Delhi again. People had expected a lot from BJP, but were sadly let down. One of the many reasons could be the lack of a “PM face” who would be at least 1/2 of the great Atal_ji. People want to know are actually any kind of preparations going on keeping 2014 in mind? Is the party actually reaching out to people? If the party fails us again, then the game is pretty much over for them.

  55. Great post sirjee… but even more distrubing news that occurs in the the print media after every tragic event is ” mumbai back to normal” etc .. i just wonder do aam admi has a choice ????

  56. “Some say silence is MMS’s style…”–GB

    “Motion pictures need dialogue as much as Beethoven symphonies need lyrics”–Charlie Chaplin.

    In India’s case, sadly, it is quite literally Silence of the Lambs. That of those led to slaughter. Over and over and over and over again.

    Believe me, this is not the last time. Save this post somewhere, Arnab, a few cuts and pastes, and you will be using it again soon enough.

    Sigh.

  57. actually all of us – i mean folks referred to as ‘hindus’ – are being exterminated ….this is a unique and brilliant physical and psychological genocide being carried out here…every day and in every way….no action from our side

    we probarbly deserve it

  58. of course we hindus deserve to get exterminated. if a guy like digvijay singh can come and blame hindus for the terror attacks and other hindus are ok with it, then why does the hindu faith or people deserve to exist? for better or worse, stereotypes have a basis in truth. hindus are widely expected to be spineless cowards meant to serve, and so we are. after 226/11 mumbai reelected ncp/congress. now they have this. they got what they wanted. india reelects conggress each time and elite say secularism is all not effectiveness. so get killed, even in the taj. basically, if you are asking to get killed you will be, so why complain. also hindus are a phenomenally selfish people. they dont care what happens to anyone else bar their own family and caste/kith/kin. till everyone gets hit, they wont change. they’ll only go to temples even while being corrupt, hoard money and think their own personal relationship with power is fine.

    such a civilization does not deserve to exist and the wheels of time, will ensure we are all killed and converted like our forefathers. we deserve it. hopefully i will be dead by then and not see the end result.

  59. btw what did u expect from atal ji in bjp. he was more of a slam on india than bjp. he was pm because indians like a guy like atal. not a hardliner who brooks no nonsense. jn dixit called atal vajpayee the softest minister on pakistan. this was the leader bjp had to placate all those who called it a fascist party. why fascist because it reflects hindu pov. the same hindu pov which incidentally even has muslims in rss or bjp. but even that is not enough. basically hindus themselves in india believe being hindu and having a political identity is something to feel ashamed about. so obviously others who think reverse will take the space. then why complain if they convert, kill or rule hindus. we asked for it, deal with it. anyways, till every hindu family gets hurt nobody will care. everyone is a bania or a brahmin or a kshatriya. plus tthere is region. go to any indian marriage site and see how it works, lol.

  60. sorry for three replies, the browser crashes if i put in more texts. but the attacks occurred in predominantly areas with a lot of gujarati muslims. the media narrative is gujarat = godhra so its a reflection on gujarat riots. but what about those ppl burnt in the train. oh that was ok, they were going for ayodhya so they were activists so its ok. go to any muslim website on net – indian muslims or twocircles and u will see them blaming rss/hindus. they will not accept any blame or introspection for attacks. they say im/simi are a rss “saazish”. this is the result of indian secularims, where u mollycoddle a commuity so much it can come up with the craziest theories. btw, i spent last week with a muslim couple who went to great pains to tell me why jews were disliked in koran because they were first chosen and rejected the status. well to do, well employed and liberal. callex themselves sufi. so this is india today. i think hindus deserve everything they get. they are a bunch of fools and fools get what they deserve. encourage fanaticism, loath ur own culture by being weak policy wise (goung to temples and hoarding wealth is not being religious, its being an easy mark, like our ancestors). we are basically mental slaves, even our ancestors bar a few rare ones were, and hence we will ultimately get killed or made into a minoroty. its just a given. or one day some pakistani will nuke us and kill hundreds of millions because all the dhimmi leaders allowed them to get nukes and di nothething and slept.
    so, please elect congress, make sure u make enuff money this year, and be sure to watch ndtv, debates on secularism and why its good for india and how rss/bjp is secretly behind all this. as hindus, its our duty.

  61. I completely agree with you in that security cannot be omnipresent and its not always possible to predict an attack. The next to best plausible plan of action would be to spruce up the emergency response efforts. It cant be that difficult considering the dough is already present. It might take eons to get the intellingence right in the present political milieu but the response efforts are doable.

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