Friday, December 12, 2008

That Wednesday Night

One of the most dastardly acts of terrorism happened and it was all very surreal in a way. I think I was angry, anguished, sad, helpless and numbed by all that happened in those 60 hours.

Even as if was glued on to three different websites in office trying to figure what was happening, I was thinking of what would be the reaction to this and what should be a reaction to this. While a lot of groups have been formed on facebook/orkut and some candle-light vigils have been kept, little has happened otherwise.

That night has shattered the small cocoons that we hid ourselves in. The secure(?) apartments, the mall, the hotel or the restaurant everything seems a immensely vulnerable now. The normal Indian feels a little unsafe on the road, in the mall, in a movie theater or even while hailing a cab on the road. I think we will get over with this mass trauma(?) in some time. Don't think we have an option with this one.

Of course, we hear and make statements like 'the spirit of India is stronger that the resolve of the Terrorists.' We want action against Pakistan or against the Terror elements based out of the territories of the neighbour. We want the Indian government to beef-up the internal and the external security. We want the people responsible for this punished. We want a lot to happen!

But what can we 'make' happen? Or are we too overwhelmed to think on those lines. From my understanding of the entire episode, this was such a long and harrowing experience because of the unpreparedness, lack of resources and delay in response. I am unable to think of more than a few things to respond to this.
  • Avoid being swayed away by fanatics
  • Donate to the various trusts collecting funds for the victims
  • Be a little vigilant and co-operate with the security people
  • Mock drills in residential, commercial and industrial areas to prepare people to respond to such exigencies
  • File regular RTIs with the government bodies (police, fire brigade etc) and make them work in return for our taxes. Guess, the army and the intelligence would be above the purview of the RTI act anyway

I know that the list may come across as inadequate. But still would be more constructive than forgetting the entire episode with a wave of mass amnesia!

I am hoping that we do not become paranoid as the US became after 9/11. I hope that our social fabric retains whatever little tolerance it still has. I hope that we do not view every Muslim with suspicion. I hope we do not elect the next government to govern ourselves for the wrong reasons and loud anti-terror rhetoric. I hope we do not lose our patience with anyone who tries to use the restraint word. I hope we avoid the lure of the jingoistic baiting by the media and the polity. I hope that we would be able to remain hopeful through this!

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