Best way to remember 26/11
The best way to honour the brave security men who laid down their lives is NOT to merely remember their sacrifice. The nation should take a pledge to make their sacrifice worthwhile.
Remembrance is FREE, change takes EFFORT.
This brings us to the two most inane talking points on TV channels.
- What has changed since 26/11 ?
- Why is there no private + public partnership to tackle terrorism ?
These two points were repeated ad-nauseum by all TV hosts, especially Rajdeep Sardesai. Lets start with the ‘private/public’ partnership issue. This is a silly extension of the private – public partnership concept in infrastructure projects which was mostly due to capital investment requirements. Mr P Chidambaram rightly popped this balloon within two seconds in an interview to the CNN-IBN editor. In the follow up, the issue immediately deflated to a pathetic matter of citizens approaching the police for help. The only way I see private involvement in national security issues is for citizens to bear arms. I am not saying that is good or bad, but thats it, everything else related to security is public.
Dwell on this for a minute and you will find this reveals a deeper fissure in Indian society. In a normal democracy, you would expect that since the private elects the public, we would not have to get all worked up over a partnership. In other words, the private public partnership already exists, it is called democracy. The middle class is confused, or rather the free agent middle class is a confused lot. They realize their pet big ticket issues like terrorism or even back breaking price rise or rapidly diminishing living standards are not electoral issues. So what is ? Large swathes of people trapped by a system that holds them hostage to group incentives. No group will defect from this system – not because we are evil or like to leech. It is a simple matter of the price to pay for defection. We support group incentives but only under the control of evidence not under the control of life stories of individuals.
The media is unable to articulate the above. The fervent appeal for a private public partnership is a way of beseeching the public people (elected largely to validate the incentives ecosystem) to include the private people in the game. Even though they have been given a chance to vote on the issue and the verdict is out for all to see.
Long time readers of this blog may sigh, ‘Here he goes again’. I can understand the fatigue of despair and the non stop pessimism. The unfortunate fact is, you cant have any of the benefits of democracy unless you honor all of its pre-requisites.
The next issue is : What has changed since 26/11 ?
What the TV channels really mean by change is material change. New guns, new vehicles, new groups of commandos. All this is welcome but nowhere near the type of change required to make the sacrifices of our security forces worthwhile. All forces not just those involved in the 26/11 operation.
The biggest change will be to compromise the existing political ecosystem and put big ticket issues like this on the voting block. That is only possible if enough people are moved into free agent hood. More free agents also means more social justice, even under the quota system. The trillion rupee difference is a system based on evidence (data) will replace the whim of individuals.
Will it make a difference if more South Mumbai voters turned up to vote ?
I am afraid it would make little impact. There is no evidence to suggest that rich people automatically mean free agents who would always vote on big ticket issues. Maybe the same winners would be voted in with a higher absolute number of votes.
While we are on the subject of election mechanics, the way we handle electoral rolls need to be changed. For example, almost no hostel student was able to vote simply because they were away. At least in the general elections, people should be allowed to vote from any booth for their constituency. People who stay put in their home constituency are more likely to develop a liking for the stationary bandit or be involved as a beneficiary of this or that scam.
To conclude :
Here is to all the brave men who laid down their lives fighting the frenzied terrorist bastards. The victims had no option, you guys did.
Let us take a pledge to support any policy that will contribute towards putting such big ticket items on the voting block. That is the kind of change we want, the kind that is good enough to honour the dead.