Reality Check India

Mayhem in Mumbai, can the Indian state respond ?

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on November 27, 2008

Chattrapati Shivaji Railway terminus in Mumbai (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE, AFP/Getty Images / November 26, 2008)

Chattrapati Shivaji Railway terminus in Mumbai (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE, AFP/Getty Images / November 26, 2008)

As we speak, 101+ people have been killed and 250+ injured in a brazen terrorist attack. This attack is different and marks an escalation from the terrorists’ side. I am tempted to call this a ‘swarm attack’ where a swarm of terrorists are let loose with automatic weapons. Instead of bombs, these agents shoot partly at random and partly at pre-determined targets. After all getting teenage mujahideen is far easier than procuring high grade explosives.

Three things stand out :

1) The swarm suicide attack.

2) The targeting of US and British travellers and its potential impact on Indias image and economy. Already the England cricket team is getting ready to pack its bags.

3) The similarity to the recent blast in Pakistan, where the Marriott was bombed. The targeting of nearby hospitals is eerily similar to the recent Gujarat low intensity blasts.

The actual details of the attacks can be found on any news website worldwide. You can also get a list of helpline numbers here.

What can ‘us‘ the ‘comman man’‘ do besides symphatizing with the victims and feeling outraged ? Is there any ‘us‘ and ‘comman man’  left in this country or are we using these words interchangably with ‘free agents’ ?  Is it possible that ‘us‘ could force mainstream parties to make fighting terrorism a do or die issue. For that to happen, ‘us’ should hold our votes hostage to this big-ticket issue.

What will be the response of the Indian state to this escalation ?

An alternate way to ask the same question is : Given that the Indian state is solely represented by the set of human beings in Parliament. Is there enough concentration of interests in this issue amongst this set of human beings ? By this I do not mean interest like what you and I have in following the news on TV and expressing personal shock. I mean interest in actually expending effort on tackling this big ticket issue even while being acutely aware that it does not guarantee returns at the polling booth. In fact, it could diminish their returns.

Have all big-ticket issues become extra-curricular affairs ? Remember in school, we were allowed to indulge in extra-curricular activities only if it did not impact our studies. There were no points for it.

The UPA government is guilty of policies that make big ticket items like fighting terrorists an extra-curricular activity for those humans who will be in future parliaments.  They will be there primarily to protect a fault line created in society. Ironically, this fault line was created for the only purpose that once created, it needs to be protected. This is not to say these humans will be bad persons. They will weep and be outraged just like the rest of us. But, only the reckless mavericks among them will spend the energy required to tackle it.

There is no use sacking Shivraj Patil. He will just get replaced by another lame duck who, like him will in turn be a failure, like the person who will replace him in due course.

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Around the blogosphere :

The shortest post , Shantanu (already has two posts up)The Acorn (see comments), Sandeep Web, Retributions

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8 Responses

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  1. reason said, on November 27, 2008 at 9:49 am

    we should wait for atleast a week before any sensible comment can be made.

  2. Vinod Sharma said, on November 27, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Reason wants to wait for one more week for a comment? Perhaps by then India’s media in collaboration with their handlers will come up with another disgraceful way of describing this war on India as a secular attack. If it is not ‘Hindu terror; if has to be secular.

  3. reason said, on November 27, 2008 at 10:04 am

    that is exactly the reason i want to wait for a week.

  4. reason said, on November 27, 2008 at 10:11 am

    In India, it would help not to react to anything as a point-in-time event. Now, what can we make of all the confusion surrounding the Malegaon blast investigation?

    Leading upto the elections, what are the chances this event will not be used to create even more confusion?

    whatever we call it, the fact is the Indian State – represented by more than 100 crore people who have no stake in anything – is not interested beyond the next elections.

  5. rrrrcccc said, on November 27, 2008 at 10:31 am

    The media plays a huge part in marshalling those free agents who have no time to scratch the surface of any issue. See – the economic genius Dr Singh is not at fault here, see it is this stupid Shivraj Patil. Why cant he resign ?

    The “Hindu Terror” campaign of the media has had an unfortunate but predictable effect. Various anchors almost said the following, now that you seem to have the terrorist gene too (surprise) – why dont you have a go at the jihadis, while we standby and report the news.

    This is just another example of a deliberately created fault line.

  6. reason said, on November 27, 2008 at 11:55 am

    we just had a normal election in Madhya pradesh – booth capturing, damaging EVMs, armed groups attacking voters, armed groups attacking candidates, BJP and congress fights, liquor..

    see? the power of indian democracy? now would we really care if this largely ceremonial right to stand in a queue and press a button every few years is taken away?

    in india, it does not pay to get worked up over TV news.

  7. B Shantanu said, on November 27, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    @ reason: in India, it does not pay to get worked up over TV news .

    Indeed…Let us all celebrate the “Spirit of Mumabi” instead.

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2006/07/29/the-nonsense-about-the-spirit-of-mumbai/

  8. Trailblazer said, on November 28, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    […]In the wake of the impudent run of terror attacks across South Mumbai, I believe there are certain eye openers in the context of the unity of the country when an attack of such proportion takes place[…]


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