Saturday, December 27, 2008

Indian need to do- not to talk.Let's start

Let us end the sham. Let us stop pretending that the problem lies some where across the border in a Pakistani madrassa, or even in a training camp in that pathetic rump of Kashmir that was carved out by the unforgiving scythe of hate and envy.

Let us stop hiding behind the starchy flaps of axed Home Minister Shivraj Patil's bespoke suits or the condescending sneer of an insecure Maharashtra Chief minister. Let us not allow our anger to cloud our judgment leaving us to pointlessly rail against politicians. And for God's sake let us not waste time wallowing in self-pity cursing our collective misfortune for being saddled with a bunch of callow politicians that we ourselves - the Lord alone knows in what moment of insanity - put into office.

In any case, as much as the desire overwhelms we cannot completely do away with politicians and the government. That is the road to anarchy and if not anarchy then most certainly authoritarianism as precedence has shown. In 1975, the Emergency in India almost eroded the legitimacy of the nation's institutions and it took a return to electoral democracy to punish those who had set India down the road to ruin.

Instead after this latest wave of terror attacks let us act constructively. Let us act first by recognising we have only ourselves to blame for the massive hole we have dug for ourselves.

Our enemies are only hiding in the gaps, the fault lines that we ourselves have etched across the map of India.

From the day we won our Independence we have worked harder than any insurgent to court the sinister heralds of bigotry, prejudice and fundamentalism. Think back to the times we shrank the blurred the line separating Church and State. Think back to the times when we pitted Indian against Indian on the basis of his caste. Think back to the times when we turned a blind eye to politicians as they subverted the instruments of the state just because it suited us.

In fact by acquiescing in these omissions and commissions we only served to sow the wind to reap the whirlwind of national degeneration. This must stop.

Second, let us act by becoming the change we want to be.

The attacks in Mumbai are not Mumbai's problem alone. Yet from the response to them it would appear so. There's been not one protest march, candle light vigil or meeting organised in any other town or city to protest the strike. In fact even when there were attacks in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Varanasi, Jaipur not one individual across the length and breadth of the country raised a voice or marched in sympathy. We must ask ourselves why? If we show no urgency, if we show no empathy then why expect the political class to show us any.

Had we done so earlier who knows we may have even succeeded in engendering a culture of transparency and accountability all those years ago. Heads might have rolled earlier and the message would have gone out to all those in positions of authority that India will not tolerate anyone who compromises its security.

The Mumbai terror attacks are a point of inflection. Act now. Brook no excuses. This is our time to seek answers. But we must ask the right questions

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