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Mumbai attacks have left us hurt and shocked. The common (hu)man in the aftermaths of the attack is vulnerable more than ever and feels helpless to be a witness — to the diplomatic upswings, retaliation, counter-retaliation, that is going on at national and international levels. For the first time,  gaps in the system are gaping open. We realize that we are mere pawns in the entire chessboard of international diplomacy. Sometimes Kasab is accepted as a Pakistani national, sometimes he is said to be a Hindu fundamentalist, some say it is Pakistan and some say it is India, sometimes we claim for restraint and sometimes we call for a war. Some politicians question “Who led Karkare into the wrong gulley?” Many claim an anti terror bill will solve the problem, whereas some Human Rights Organizations say such bills will complicate matters even further. And the common human being?, what do we do? Lost in the mindless games of the politicians and diplomats, terrorists and nationalists, we try to grapple with the “truths” served to us as  four-six-eight-ten- course meals.

Anyway, I was away from the blogosphere for the last two weeks, to take a break from the horror. I wanted to observe silently the process of rebuilding the debris. It was good to see citizens awake and angry, but in control of their grief. People were demonstrating against terror, signature campaigning and grieving collectively. After all this there is one thing that comes to light, there is a sense of awareness in the common human being. It took us 72 hours post 26/11 to start making sense and assessing this monstrous terror strike, its causes and its residue. Life has not been the same post 26/11.

Each one is trying to live differently and think differently. The good part of the entire episode is that a majority of us have a knack to build things constructively even though a few have a fierce sense to be destructive.

To make sense of the huge inflow of responses and information post 26/11, I have tried to polarize some of the events into two: the best and the worst steps taken after the attacks (I could not stop myself from making value judgements). Some of the positive snippets of the “post-terror” outcome (if we can at all call this phase as “post”) happened when:

  1. The media took self-restrictive measures to make it a point not to broadcast all sensitive information when there is a “national tragedy” at hand after severe criticism.

  2. The next significant step was the denial to bury the nine terror-perpetrators in the Muslim burial grounds at Mumbai and any other place in India. A very poignant yet powerful step to prove that terror has no religion and killing innocents can never be acceptable to God, whoever and wherever He is.

  3. The other development was the statement of Hon.Chief Justice of India who said that Kasab “deserves” a proper defence and court hearing for himself. It proves the restraint of a democracy which still abides by the Court of Law and ensures protection and fair treatment even to the worst offenders.

  4. A significant turn-on was the assembly elections. At the time of crisis it proved the power of the average voter. Some of the record turn-out at state constituencies like Jammu and Kashmir (66%), Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Chhatisgarh, etc proved that the “Indian” electorate is now more aware than ever. Neither huge political rallies nor anti-terror speeches, nor inflammatory remarks please the average voter; it is your work that works in the ballot-box.

  5. If one observes the way the kin of the martyrs have behaved, one can start re-believing that heroic is something which can only be felt. Sandeep Unikrishan’s parents visited Kharagvasla (Sandeep’s almamater) to remember their son’s sacrifice for the nation. There have been no public statements from Karkare’s family except a small acknowledgement in a national daily where in their tribute they have thanked the nation to be a part of their grief. There has been no outcry from the families of the constables, commandos and Jawans who died fighting the terrorists and saving us. They are common beings like you and me, yet they are heroic.

But some of the worst outcomes of 26/11 have been at the political and diplomatic circles.

  1. Pakistan has been asking for “proofs” about the citizenship of the terror-perpetrators even after repeated international (including Pakistan media) and Indian proof-giving; even after Kasab’s confessions and his father’s acceptances, the game continues — denial-acceptance-denial.

  2. A.R.Antulay’s statement regarding Karkare’s death blowing it into a full-fledged political game is not only unfortunate but criminal. If you want you can have an independent enquiry into the case in whatever means; there can be a high-level inquiry into all the three deaths. But making it a political cross-fire and public propaganda when the country is in a sensitive position is extremely unfortunate. Our political machinery is unfortunately outdated and self-centered to maturely handle sensitive issues. A statement of this magnitude from the “Minorities” Affairs Minister is demoralizing and destructive in its own sense. Statements, post clarifications, statements …. just complicates and confuses. We are already divided in multiple ways, and we have already have had one partition based on religious differences. The result can be seen by the whole world. Please, do not divide people any further.

There is no point in harping about the fear and other political aspects of the entire episode. There are people who create “political mischief” but it depends on the common human beings to understand and analyze the motive behind these “political mischiefs”. Whatever and wherever it is, Karkare died while fighting from the front – he led the battle and lost his life, unlike these people who sit in air-conditioned rooms cocooned by Z++security and give colour to the deaths of people who were fighting to save us. Karkare ensured the security of his force and the common citizen and in the process laid down his life. He “chose” if you can say to be one of the “First victims” of the attacks on Mumbai and we salute his spirit.

As citizens of the world, we had all collectively tried to make sense of 9/11 though the locale was thousands of miles away from India. The pain reverberated through out the world not just in US. Then too the world picked up threads and tried to make sense of the huge debris. 26/11 cannot be directly compared to 9/11, but loss in any form is a loss. Indians are now trying to build things back from the debris and are trying to make sense of the “new world” from the clouds of fire and gunsmoke.