I feel ashamed, humiliated and helpless. What has unfolded in Mumbai in the last couple of days has left me wondering if the reason why I happen to be alive is something as fickle as my own callous fate… That if all that happened in the last three days in Mumbai repeats itself in some other part of the country, it would find us just about as vulnerable and unprepared as we have proven ourselves to be. That we would lose out more Karkares, Salaskars, UnniKrishnans, glued helplessly to our television sets, or worse, hoping for a rescue in the midst of capricious bullets and grenades.
It’s a national shame to let a conspiracy of this magnitude realize and grip the very soul of our country. I’ve been hearing about martyrdom stories for the last three days. It’s unfortunate that the best of our men lost their lives fighting not on a hostile border, but in the womb of the nation, combating infiltrators in hotels and houses. What makes it worse is the fact that all this madness could have been avoided, had we learnt from the innumerable incidents that preceded this one. But for that to happen, we needed to look beyond our religious divides, beyond our state divides, beyond our caste divides, in short, beyond our inane trivial-mindedness. But, it seems like pettiness is so much a part of our being, that it takes the iconic Taj burning to make us all shut up and take notice of how we are betraying our motherland with all this meaningless bickering.
I have been following the news very closely. But, with all due respect, I haven’t yet seen, read or heard the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. I flip the newspaper page when all it has to offer is some politician’s comments on the happenings in Mumbai. I change the channel when a news channel talks about some politician or the other addressing the media. In my own skewed sense of understanding, I find our so called leaders worse perpetrators of terror than those who terrorized the nation for the last 60 or so hours.
More than the casualty rate, it’s the emotional impact that makes this attack unprecedented. A lot is being said in various forums, and a lot of furious voices are raising questions, demanding immediate answers and changes. What remains to be seen is whether the lessons learnt by this mis-happening lead to unprecedented measures too. What remains to be seen is how long the memory of the shock and trauma every Indian experienced in the last 60 hours, keeps him from focusing on the pettiness that surrounds him.