We say “Enough is Enough” …
Indian Republic seems to be united at these crucial moments after 26/11. I have never seen a more severe public outcry against terror and terrorists (some Indians choose to call them terrorists and not militants deliberately). My 7 year old cousin called me up from home and said, “listen, I had plans to go to meet you in Mumbai during these winter vacations, but am not coming any more. You see there is so much of Diwali going at every moment in Mumbai, it’s tough. Can’t you see Steel George Jack, Black beauty, General, Hunter wala all roaming around Mumbai.” I asked him who these people are? these are the names of the terrorists who attacked us, he said nonchalantly. I was shocked and surprised, asked him: “but these are not the names of the terrorists. What makes you think that they are terrorists’ names?” He replied: “boku (stupid)! They are terrorists you don’t know them…everyday I see them in cartoon network. The people who had grenades, bombs and guns in Mumbai are also the same Steel George [et al] and they are still alive. I will not come to Mumbai until Das, Eon kid, Master Liv, Shadow, Captain Magna have not finished them off completely. You know even aeroplane is unsafe now.” Understandably, the second set of names are given to our NSGs and MARCOS. Clearly, the little child has followed the entire operations televised. It has left a very strong impression on his mind and he keeps bugging his parents to call me up and get the latest update. His imagination makes him believe that since all this is happening in Mumbai and I am in Mumbai, I must be the Live witness of the tragedy. When the operations were actually on in full swing, one day he called me up and asked: “do you think you are safe in your hostel?” I didn’t know what to reply and just said: “ye probably, since we have watchman uncle waiting with a large gun at the ground floor.” He was not at all convinced and said: “what watchman uncle will do? they have grenades and they can beat watchman uncle into pulp (chutney is the word he used) and can come into your rooms with AK-47. What will you do then?”
Such is a little child’s memory and the strong impression that the terror attacks have left on his mind. He will remember it for a very long time, but adults suffer from a kind of mass amnesia. Or perhaps our sensitivity level is less than that of a child. We love to forget. The comments that have come to the last posts relate to this theme of “forgetting and forgiving” and the comments aptly point that should we forgive or forget? We say we might forgive but not forget, but actually the fact is that we forget so we forgive. Kargil had left us wounded, angry and painful — but we have forgiven and forgotten. Perhaps, because the war was not between common everyday life leading people. We have started and restarted “samjhauta” every time, and what is the return? 26/11? Now the war has come to our streets and our homes — and when our streets are burning we can neither forgive nor forget. 26/11 has humiliated and insulted us — “hum yeh zalil maut nahin marenge” — we refuse to die this humiliating, soul-killing death, do what you may.
Interestingly, we tend to forget previous attacks so easily in the wake of any new attack. New Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bangalaore, it has been happening and re-happening, yet we forget. There was nothing new in Mumbai except the tactics of the terrorists. We forget M.C.Sharma who too was a martyr — he was the first one to die in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Delhi. Therefore, he is so easily forgettable and in the words of some of our own people “forgivable” too (remember he was allgedly violating human rights?).
Yesterday, there was a news in CNN-IBN that a young Jawan was lynched and killed by an angry mob near Bhubaneswar, Odisha, in a train bound from Howrah to Chennai (Koramandal Express), just because he did not allow certain people traveling without tickets into the reserved compartment of the train. People pelted stones at him and beat him to death. This is the respect we show — this is the discipline we follow and rigour that we have as common human beings. What use is the candle light vigil and tribute to the armed forces if we have this kind of an attitude, where we lynch some and make some others our martyrs? Everything is chalta hai and not-my-business for the common Indian. If we say that politicians are corrupt, media is cheap, then who is to be blamed for? We elect the politicians, and we choose the leaders and then forget everything — leave things at their hands, and wait for some supernatural forces to protect us. If you ask Who is accountable? one answer to it is, that we are ourselves first accountable — because a democracy doesn’t need only voters it needs active participants in the governance system. We forget the moment we vote (many of us don’t even vote in the pretext of whom does one vote?) . Then, we wait for terror groups to come and bomb us or take us as hostages, and shriek who will protect us? No one truly, unless we ourselves do.
We have been shouting slogans against the political system — but we are responsible to make that system corrupt. If you see some of the videos of Pak News channels on You Tube, gosh! they are capable of making a falsehood into a complete, palpable, ready-to-dish reality. Hats off to them for propagandist writing — some pathetic hypotheses given colours of truths. Whereas, we are even incapable of handling the reality that are in front of our eyes and projecting it rightly to the world. What to do? We live in the practical possibility of a postmodern world where every individual formulates their own theories to avoid responsibility.
26/11 has made us forget many things. We forget the fire that was shimmering in Mumbai with MNS activists (lumpen elements) fencing off Mumbai from the rest of India. Some of the famous personalities had come out at the time with inflammatory statements about non-Marathis to be not allowed in this state. Rampaging, killing, beating people on the streets — how are you different from the terrorists? These activists (as they are called) also are among the common human beings, waiting for the next chance when 26/11 is forgotten and election season is close. So how does the junta distinguish them from terrorists? If anyone who harms national property, human lives are terrorists, then these are the first people who should be caught. They have killed and they have destroyed national property (railways).
One 9/11 was enough to keep an entire United States on its toes. There have been no attacks since then, even if it meant curbing individual rights. But, I wonder how many 26/11s more are needed to wake us from our slumber? Amnesia is good to a certain degree, but if we don’t learn lessons from these tragedies — then they will become more and more frequent.
Mee Mumbai Boltoae — Doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to be a Mumbaikar, who cries. At present, the entire India and the world is mourning for Mumbai. I wonder how long is so long for India and it’s common people to wake up from the public amnesia?