Thursday, November 26, 2009

One year on..

Today marks the 1st anniversary of the most blatant terrorist attack on Indian soil. The images from that horrific day are still fresh in our minds, although I doubt if the sense of outrage and activism that we all felt in the immediate aftermath of the Bombay attacks is still as intense as it was then.

Its been an eventful year for the nation in general and Bombay in particular. We've had a national election and an assembly election in Maharashtra. It was an opportunity for the Mumbaiites to make a statement. And yet despite all the campaigns inviting people to exercise their franchise the elections saw some of the lowest voter turnout in the country. The trial for the lone surviving terrorist is still going on, somewhat of the megaserials we have to suffer on TV. The police force in Mumbai have done themselves no good with the airing of dirty laundry in public that has been going on recently. Across the border in Pakistan, the charade of an investigation and trial keeps our media and analysts endlessly occupied without any real change in our neighbour’s attitude towards terrorism in general and us in particular. And to add insult to injury to our poor brethren in Mumbai, the hooligans of the Shiv Sena and MNS have started to flex their muscles again after a brief period of silence following the tragic events last year.

So what has the last year taught us? The fact that we’ve not had any other attacks in the last year isn’t really because we’ve corrected all the flaws in our security system. The disarray in the Mumbai Police, the first barrier in our security setup, is self-evident in all the in-fighting that goes on in the department. The Quick Response Team(QRT), which is meant to be the city’s answer to a slothful police force, has been abandoned even before it could gain a foothold in the security setup. The political players have done nothing more play the usual game of blaming everyone else. And the media is using the occasion of the anniversary to run up ratings and indulge in superficial schemes like NDTV’s Human Chain, which at the time of writing this post has managed only an abysmal 6115 participants. Even corporate India is using this anniversary to run up some profits like Idea Mobile’s, vulgarly opportunistic Talk For India campaign. And the common man, who was hit the most by the attacks last year, has gone back to doing what we as a people do best; accept it as fate and move on with our lives.

Some of India’s best laid down their lives on that fated day. Most of what has happened since is a great disservice to their sacrifice and memory. And that’s a bigger tragedy than the actual attacks of 26/11.

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