Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Jumpstart

How do you jumpstart a blog that has been dead for almost 3 years. But there are times in life when you need to just shrug off and start doing what you want to without thinking for an explanation of past. In that sense, I think, India stands at the same juncture at this time.

Beyond the sadness, anger and frustration I have felt as an ex-mumbaikar (it being one of my favorite cities), Indian and human; it has been painful to see some of my close relatives feeling threatened for themselves and their kids lives.

At this point terrorists have explored various methods to terrorize Indians. They started with large bombs that created significant stir but not enough terror. This was probably because these were few and far in between due to amount of logistics and money involved. They then tried to attack the metropolitan cities with such big bangs but due to the nature of attacks it affected the class of people that did not have the luxury to feel terrified. In past one to two years, there has been significant attempt to develop the strategy of using small low intensity attacks in crowded areas of tier I and II cities. But I think beyond the simple element of surprise, increase in civil vigilance resulting from such an attack could make carrying out such attack significantly tougher going forward. This time (Nov 26th, 2008), it seems, there was an attempt to attack the strata of society that has felt somewhat safer so far. Even though attack tried to cover the entire cross-section of the society in Mumbai, due to the way it played out, coverage in media has become somewhat limited to the various hotels that were under seige.

Some of this reminds me of the way things took to worst in 80s between separatists in Punjab and India. The capital of New Delhi was converted into a big battleground with small intensity blasts in public places. I still remember public service ads telling people to stay away from unclaimed/stray goods. This whole thing reached a turning point when the PM Indira Gandhi was gunned down by her own security guards. This incident put the Indian govt on offensive like never before and resulted in significant clampdown on the separatists.

I sincerely hope that our government and we as citizens treat the Mumbai attack at that level and make a significant attempt to raise the bar before the next set of attacks. I am sure in next few days the media will be filled with concerned people who would be sharing thoughts and ideas on how to make things better. But the real challenge, as always, will be to go to next level and attempt to continue to convert the thoughts and ideas into actions. In that sense, this act of terrorism seems to have happened at a time when the govt is under significant pressure due to the elections. In addition to that, there seems to have been an attempt by the influential people (with the help from media) in various verticals to push for reforms at various levels to ensure that such a thing does not happen going forward.

Only the time will tell whether this day would be just another day in the the list of days on which terrorists won or a day on which India resolved to never let others take the Indian concept of "chalta hai" attitude for granted.

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