I was in my friends room studying for my end-semester exams in the middle of the night when I heard of some gang war taking place is in Mumbai. Then I heard something about shots being fired in the Leopold Cafe and the Trident. With my father’s office being just next to the Trident, alarm bells started ringing in my head. Only when I confirmed the safety of my parents and close friends did I come to know about the extent of how bad things really where. I couldn’t contact a friend of mine because the mobile phone service seemed to have been jammed but did receive a reply to my message which was this :
“All of us are okay. We had good for a movie near VT station, heard the gunfire and ran home”
This message told me many things, the most blatant of all the absurd normality that the word “gunfire” seems to have in the sentence. I guess I am freaked out even more as all the attacks have taken place in areas where a have lived in the past two years, where my home, my school and friends are. But I guess everyone is agreed on the fact that this is by far the most daring attempts by terrorists on Indian soil.
When the train blasts took place in September last year, the marked difference was that the people responsible wanted to escape. They had a desire to live. That itself can play a huge part in helping the intelligence agencies in foiling many such attempts. But what do you do if they just don’t care what happens to them. I am pretty sure that if I today decide that I don’t want to live and want to take down a lot of people before I go down, I could to a pretty decent job myself. How effective can an intelligence agency actually be in a country as dense, vast and different as India is? I admit I don’t know the kind of technological capabilities they have but I seriously feel it is unrealistic to be expecting much from them.
The point here is not that any one of us could have carried out acts of terrorism easily (though not of this magnitude, of course). The point is that even if we could, we wouldn’t. Because that’s the way our thoughts have been moulded. Talking tough, even acting tough cannot stop terrorism. Only thinking straight can. Even with the Pakistani governments cooperation all that can be done is apprehending those responsible. It will cause no change in the rate at which terrorists are being made out of innocent people. In fact, it may just increase the number. When we talk so much about terrorism in the Kashmir valley, we blatantly ignore the number of outfits that exist in Assam today, primarily because we cannot blame a neighbouring country for it.
And let’s face it; there is no way India can realistically hope to become a developed nation without Pakistan developing alongside. There is just too much history between the two. The more India develops and the more Pakistan faces these problems, the more will be the disparity between the people of the two countries and hence the better the opportunity for jealousy, hatred and terrorism to spawn. I am pretty sure that both the countries would have been playing opposite roles to a great extent of it was Pakistan that was developing the way India is and if it was India which was caught in a myriad of failed dictatorships and corrupt democracies.
I agree that we must be tough in our dialogue with Pakistan and must be firm in our demands and must make sure that the guilty are brought to justice. But I also think that we need to be realistic as to who would actually gain from this whole episode. I does not make any sense for Pakistani forces to be involved in it simply because they have everything to lose from this conquest .However, Pakistani nationals would seem to be the perfect people to brainwash and send to India to carry out these plans if the people behind this atrocious act seek the change in the global attention to the Indo-Pak peace process.
Barak Obama was elected the new president of the USA with propaganda of going and finishing the war on terror where it started, in Afghanistan. He is due to take his seat in the White House early next year. He has repeatedly stated that Pakistan will have to take a strong stance against the war on terror and support USA’s fight against the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Under this pressure, the Pakistani troops participating in the war have been steadily increasing in number over the year. It is interesting that this latest terrorist act comes right after Obama is elected President and right before he assumes office. In the ongoing political turmoil, the USA under Barak Obama will no doubt demand Pakistan to put in more troops to help in the war in Afghanistan to convince the world arena of Pakistan’s stance on the war against terror. If Pakistan does not comply, it would seem to the global community that they are siding with the terrorists or playing a balancing act between the two.
If India does not negotiate with Pakistan in a diplomatic manner, Pakistan will have no choice but to respond in kind. After all, it is a weak democratic government in place there after years of dictatorship. If India makes extraordinary demands out of Pakistan which they do not fulfil, the Indian government will be forced to take action in retaliation to the attacks given the elections next year. In case this happens, the world can say goodbye to cooperation from Pakistan on the war against terrorism, and the war against terrorism cannot be won without Pakistan’s aid. Initially, Pakistan will have to regroup its troops to the Indo-Pak border and sooner or later the USA will have to side with India given the global political pressures.
Once that happens, Pakistan will send all its troops as it sees fit and under the intense global political pressure will seek the support of countries and people who would support Pakistan. And finally, this will lead to cooperation with all those forces that it now stands against.
After saying all this, I surely don’t mean to say that we as citizens do nothing. If there is one thing I found stupid after the train bombings, it was the way the radio stations used to proudly comment on the Mumbaikar attitude of never letting anything affect them and the Mumbai spirit which made them get on the same trains the very next day. How stupid can the guys actually be? It’s not the spirit of Mumbai, its the desperation of the people. They have to earn a living for their families and there is nothing they can do but go on the same trains and risk their lives every day. The people who never travel by those trains and attend high class social functions call it “The Mumbai spirit” over cocktails and drinks. It is nothing but ignorance and desperation. If the terrorists want attention, I think its about time we gave them just that. But not by doing the same things that they do and definitely not by just holding the same peace marches that last for a day and lighting the same candles which last for even lesser, but by taking some concrete steps.
Having studied in a lot of schools all over India including Kendriya Vidyalaya, I have a pretty decent idea of the importance value education is actually given in education. It is not even a course that affects one’s percentage. How can one expect a student to take the subject seriously when it does not even affect his/her percentage? Instead of spending ages discussing the names of various party politicians that should be there in the history books, it is this that is screaming for attention. I do not know what we, as individuals can actually do but recently I heard about something called a professional party. The idea behind it is that it would consist of working educated professionals not part of any of the present political parties who want to get into politics to make a difference and are willing to put in the effort. I think it is an amazing cause, which even if not successful will definitely force other parties to rethink their methods of publicising themselves.
I would really appreciate more ideas on what we could individually contribute to make an impact on our united fight against terror.