Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Nation needs to awaken

How many attacks does it take for a nation to wake up? How many lives of innocent people and brave soldiers need to be sacrificed before we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH? It has been 72 hours since i have been witness to the mostly ghastly act of terror i have ever seen being unleashed on my country. My CITY burned for 60 hours before the last terrorist was neutralized. 10 terrorists yielding AK-47's and hand grenades stomped and pounded on the very heart heart of India. They attacked the Taj Mahal Hotel among other targets, a hotel which was built about a 100 years ago to assert our dignity when JRD TATA was refused entry into the Watson Hotel as it was " whites only". They walked into CST, Oberoi, TAJ, Chabad House and left the very foundations of this country shaking. As a citizen of this country I am forced to ask myself a question now which i never thought i would have to " Am I safe living in this country".

I salute the brave soldiers of our defense forces, who laid down their lives in the line of duty. Their sacrifice is a debt this nation can never repay. The 14 police personnel who laid down their lives trying to fight an enemy much more superior to them in terms of weaponry and ammunition. For 9 hours the policemen were fighting terrorists yielding Ak 47's and semi automatic weapons using a vintage WWII time 303 rifles. The police force didnot have enough bullet proof jackets to engage the enemy. The brave fire fighters who doused the flames had only 2 bullet proof jackets for the whole force. Even the one's which were there were vintage and according to people who have worn them were so heavy that it is difficult to move in them. But who is to blame for all of this? The government yes, definitely. But at some level also us. We are the same people who cry foul when we see increase in the defense spending. How many times we have groaned on being frisked a little extra. We need to immediately have police reforms, give better weapons and Armour to our armed forces. Give them autonomy and not wait for a state order to save the situation. We cannot fight a first world war with third world armory.

Finally our spineless politicians, who just have one objective- to hog enough limelight so that finally they can warm seats in the parliament. Every time something happens our politicians are there to spread their divide and rule agenda. The home minister is more worried about the clothes he wears. Our President goes to Indonesia at the time of national crises. The politicians couldn't even come together in this hour of need. Their hate politics. The same politicians who were accusing the brave police officers of leading a communal probe were announcing 1 crore compensations for their families yesterday. What right did the politicians have to visit the scene of action and actually divert attention from the encounter to their own security? Why did it take 5 hours for the government to call in the NSG? Why were the services of the MARCOS secured so late when they were stationed in Mumbai? Why every time a terrorist attack takes place in the country we hear a sleepy politician declare " We will learn from it ". When the hell will you stop learning and start acting. The operation has hardly gotten under control and we see our politicians politicizing the issue. It was THE SOVEREIGN REPUBLIC OF INDIA that was attacked and not a particular community. Any Indian whether a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian or any other religion suffered in the same way and shared the grief of Mumbai in the same way and ANY Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian who attacked India, helped in attacking India, dividing India on any basis and trying to cause disruption in any way, is an enemy of INDIA and must be dealt in the same way.

I as a Mumbaikar and more importantly as an INDIAN am shocked, angered and not able to comprehend what has happened to this city in 72 hours. We need action and we need it now. The time for hearing soothing words has gone long back. We need to be assured that this was the last terrorist strike on the soil of this country and something like this wont happen again. We need a central intelligence agency which is effective and efficient in gathering and sharing of information. We need politicians who for once transcend the ideological and political boundaries and assure us that in this hour we stand united against the enemy and will in all power fight it and defeat it. We need our security forces to be given their due. We need them to have the weapons which they need to fight the terrorist and just not gallantly put themselves in the line of fire trying to save innocent lives. We need all of these BUT WE NEED ACTION, stupid committees and long reports from which no outcome comes won't satisfy us. If our neighbour still asks for more " hard " evidence even after the obvious evidence of a citizen of its country affiliated to an organization based there is arrested and is confessing freely, then there is no point in expecting them to act. If necessary we need to eliminate the target ourselves as some leading intelligence agencies in the world do.

At this hour, we all need to come together and express our solidarity with Mumbai. We will fight, We will help Mumbai stand on its feet and We will win the War on Terror.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai 26/11

Hope and pray that hostages in Mumbai come out alive and the the people responsible for this ghastly act burn in hell. Shocked, amazed, disbelieved.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Outsider or Native?

Well the past few days we have seen the ugly face of regionalism being played out in front of us in our drawing rooms. A person who was not given his "due" (as according to him) broke away from the place in which he honed his criminal ( i could have said political but i think criminal fits better. )  skills and in his desire to fit into his uncle's shoes repeated what the greying man had done 40 years back. The result for him has been, i feel even better than he expected. Leave apart local media he is seen on national telivision terrorising innocent people giving speeches which violate numerous of Indian laws ( alas only the police of the concerned state cannot find the clauses.)

In all of this it makes me wonder who am i? An outsider or a native? I am domiciled in Mumbai, so you would say i am a Mumbaikar. Well truly speaking even i consider myself so, but here lies the catch i don't know marathi. The only miniscule marathi i know is credited to travelling in BEST bus. Well so what does it make me according to you? Thats not all though my driving licence says i am from mumbai, my passport has a Bangalore ( Bengaluru ) address. My mother's passport has Ludhiana address while my Dad's has Delhi's. My birth certificate says is from Delhi, my Dad's Birth certificate is from Nainital. I am a Punjabi ( that's what my family told me ) but nobody from the family lives in Punjab. I have changed 7 schools and 4 different states. Currently i am interning in Delhi, after studying in goa for 3 years ( would head back there for another 6 months). My ancestors trace their roots to Lahore.

Makes me wonder what would happen to me if our government in its usual schiziophrenia passes a rule saying Maharashtra for Marathi's, Bihar for Bihari's , Bengal for Bengali's ...... and so on ? About Mumbai well the city the politician claims to produce sons of the soil actually didn't have any soil till about four centuries back. Bombay was a collection of 7 islands.  It's wealth has been accounted for by Gujarati and Parsee traders. Before 1960 there was no Maharashtra, the state of Bombay constituted of present day Gujarat and Maharashtra. So Bombay was in itself cosmopolitan right from the start. Even today the "outsiders" greatly outnumer the " son's of the soil" in the city. Finally about the politician himself. He says " whosoever doesnot speak Marathi has no right to live in Maharashtra and should be thrown out." Well I have never seen you speaking in Hindi, the national language of the republic of India,  going by your argument and drawing parallels...... shouldn't you be thrown out of INDIA?

Ps: Here is one thing you cannot change:
I have an election card which says i am entitled to vote in Mumbai, so be assured there is this 1 vote against you.