Monday, December 22, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attacks: What next will be most effective as a deterrant?

Expressions of sympathy, hanging of lists of names of victims, lighting candles, going on peace marches with placards in hand ... all these are activities to foster unity amongst the members of a fractured community that is a microcosm of India. Mumbai has suffered at the hands of terrorists repeatedly, with the 1993 blasts, the 2006 train blasts and the current terror attacks at the top of a huge list. Each time, Mumbai's denizens have gone back to their routines pretty fast ... and each time, they have faced terror again, after a hiatus of months.

In such a climate, it becomes imperative to ask what we can do to prevent such an occurrence for ever? Look at the U.S. of A and the United Kingdom; they were both brutalised with the twin tower tragedy in the former and the train attacks in the latter: yet, they both have never had a further attack on their soil. Why do you think this happened?

I think the sole reason was their serious attitude and actionable activities.

Somehow, Indians lack that ability to coalesce with each other and think like a breathing, thriving, multi-brain organism.Our responses have wither been driven by rampant political drama (such as the resignations of various central and state ministers) or acts of tokenism (such as the ones I listed earlier)). The real truth is that even if there had been cohesion between people, there would have been no forward-looking dynamic action; just the acts of individuals, groups of individuals and the NGO's.

That, my friends, is the reason why I have so much anger and passion burning inside me. I participated in all the tokenist activities, but I feel as though I could have done more, much more.

How about joining self-defence classes? Joining an NGO? Giving some cash or material to recognised charities? Booking a table at one of the 5-star hotels -Taj or Trident? Visiting some of the victims' families and imparting some courage and forebearance? Filing PIL's in courts against inactive politicians and overzealous security setups? I am sure readers will think of many other things besides what I have listed.

If you do even one small thing, but do it with heart and with full feeling, it will not have been a waste.

In the end, we have to all look inside our own selves and determine what distance we are willing to travel to make that crucial difference in the lives of others, and ultimately, in ours too. Redemption of our souls will only occur when we are satisfied with what we have done. Empty actions - that is actions devoid of inner feeling - will be useless.

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