Today I sit here with tears in my eyes. I always knew that people have very short memories, but today it has hit home how self centred we Indians are. We move on from our pasts so quickly and the things we once held dear.
Today, except for a few people ,in case no one remembered is the anniversary of 26/11 attacks. The attacks which shook Mumbai, which dug into the very roots of the temple of Mammon and made us realize how mortal we are.
As a contrast, I remember the day the twin towers was attacked. I was in my office when my partner called saying switch on the TV and I saw the second plane ram into the tower and the sight of American edifice crumble before my eyes.
What did America do,it did what it does best, it packaged the attack and made sure we never forgot it.
Documentary and movies were made and aired continuously from all aspects and angles. These horrific visuals are still aired on the anniversary date lest we forget. Ceremonies and events mark the day that America stood still.
The Americans put up massive edifices larger than before in a middle finger salute to the terrorists.
They went in and wiped out the people behind the attacks even if it took years and massive blows to the cause of diplomacy to do it.
The Americans tightened security to a level where you have to now strip down to almost your Calvin Kliens before you can enter America. 1% of the terrorists will still get through as RG says , but they have made it so difficult to attack them that softer targets make sense.
Now lets look at our response to the attack on something we held do dear, the very essence of Mumbai:
I would describe it in one word, NOTHING
Lets understand our main glaring points of failure, from which we should have learnt a lesson but never did:
1) The Black Cats could not arrive since there was no Hercules aircraft available.
2) The building plans of the Taj Mahal Hotel were not available on ready call by the BMC (click here for details)
3) The terrorists entered via sea in an unpatrolled area.
4) The bulletproof vests which the police had were inadequate, (click here for details)
There are loads more, but lets tackle just these.
Today 5 years on :
- The elite force setup as a fast response anti terrorist measure doesn't have adequate arms. (click here for details)
- The BMC is still searching for a whole load of “missing” files.(click here for details)
- The only 2 out of 7 patrol boats are working.(click here for details)
- bullet proof vests still under an indeterminate future.(click here for details)
Post 26/11, on Dec 3 2008, I saw a swelling of grief in Mumbai-ites eyes. A spontaneous response to the thing we held so dear and my hopes were raised. (click here for details)
5 Years down the line what happens, we go back to our 5 page news cover of Tarun Tejpal and his antics. Politicians go garland the statue of Constable Omble in an almost negligible ceremony. Our politicians go on mouthing platitudes about how we will settle the issue with our neighbours. The only thing we have seen as a positive step is the alleged hanging of Kasab.
I was talking to some of my friends yesterday and they pointed out a very valid point, they said this lax attitude is due to the fact our overwhelming availability of human resources. Some may even call it one of our largest export. Population is in plenty and where there is plenty, the value goes down. Therefore the commodity becomes expendable in the balance of the cost protecting your resource.
This is why one politician can call this kind of attack a “chota mota haadsa” and another say we can only stop 99% of the terrorists and 1% will get through and still remain in power.
Elections are next year. Let us show the politician that we value our safety, we will not be just a commodity. We will claim our right to live.
Today, friends let us claim back our city, today let us claim back our safety, today let us claim back our sleep.
JAI HIND !