Thursday, November 26, 2009

The only option is to change sides …

Disclaimer: This is not yet another piece on the 26/11. The main catalyst in pushing me to pen down my thoughts are news channels displaying the vicarious pleasure of reliving the dead and the unending documentaries on Mumbai terror attacks

I tuned on to Times Now on 25th nov 2009 evening and it along with all other news channels were flooded with there own versions of a years experience of Mumbai terror attacks. Since then I have come across various news pieces, written comments and documentaries using striking images & videos of the 26/11 attack skillfully woven in a story thread with a background voice trying to drive home the point of how vulnerable we were on that doomed day and contesting if anything has changed between then and now. “ The story of Nariman House” they call it. Followed by more short documentaries about the CST, Taj and the Oberoi Trident attacks. The context, story and narration amongst all is more often than not gripping and you can't help watching the whole story.
It instantly brings back the memories that fateful night on 26th nov 2008 when the average common man - used to the steroid of regular saas-bahu sagas courtesy Ekta, Rahul Mahajans torturous laughter on Big Boss 2, some season of Indian Idol (i’ve lost count), the titillating sexapades of SplitzVilla and Indian cricket teams back to back one day wins against a depleted English side) - was returning home from their days work for a daily doze of trivia on the idiot box. Least had they expected that what would unveil on their TC sets that night would redefine the breaking news they were used to seeing and bring the terror right to their doorsteps. And for more than 2 days from thereon, people across the globe witnessed gun shots, grenade blasts, fires, deaths and survivors.

Today we claim that 26'/11 was not just another tragedy, it was a CHANGE. It redefined and changed the terror coverage from a post carnage reporting to live feeds, changed the definition of breaking news from trivia to topics that mattered, changed the potent threat from cross border terrorism that was restricted to places away from home to ghastly act of unprovoked & unwarranted violence right in your face, changed the face of terror from an unknown turban veiling bearded man to a clean shaven causally dressed boy next door , changed how people were made accountable for loss from passing the buck to action and changed how common man voiced his opinion. 

Well … The above is a perception and in-fact the desired or logical change that should have been an outcome of such an brazen challenge to our existence.

The million dollar question is whether that change ever happened and if it did, did it stay !

A year later we browse through the net, shuffle though news paper pages and navigate through the numerous news channels and we are forced to think at least once, that has there really been a change after what was arguably the biggest attack on our democracy and sense of feeling protected in our homes? Was all or any of the feeling of change and leanings derived post 26/11 real? Is anyone who is responsible or who should be responsible really bothered? And more than anything else have we changed? 

Well i gave it a thought. And from various things that I noticed I personally am little confused on whether even a fraction of all the talks of patriotism, call for accountability, demand for revolutionizing changes in defense & security were anything other than chatter anger and pseudo sense of contribution.

Look around and this is what you’ll see. People who were made to vacate their office have been brought back in to office when it suited the people in power. The hordes of candle lighting Mumbaikars did not even turn to vote to voice then opinion in the very next election that happened the attacks. The MNS with its hate politics acted in ensuring weakening Sena and BJP to congress’s advantage and is still going on with its dividing ways without any check. 17 years and 8 crore rupees Mr.Liberahan took to tell us what India already knew. And instead of questioning why those guilty of millions of deaths that resulted of what happened in Ayodha have not been punished, all the politicians are debating is why and who leaked the report. Elected members of Indian democracy in Lok Sabha are shamelessly chanting Jai Shree Raam and shouting Allah ho akbar instead of taking us ahead of competing nations in global economy and world political environment. Take any state, any political party, the administration or even the Judiciary, all around you will see inefficiency and corruption. The fact that even after all this we are still a reasonable voice in the global front tell us that the condition may not be bad enough to summarize that we all are alive only for the fact that we are not dead yet, but we must also realize that the scene is not all’s well as well.

Let me go back to the shows that I saw and that prompted me to pen down this piece. The show and various show like that stressed on one question – “ As a citizen of this country, as a common man you were angry on 26/11 2008. One year post the incident - Are you still angry??? ”

Well if you ask me - the average citizen, the common man I believe is too busy to be angry. 

We all I would say are too busy to do anything about the fact that the potential threat to our lives & freedom is still at large and still very real. We are by now used to talking big and then disappear. Little are we concerned to check if anything has been done to amend the flaws which make us weak and vulnerable to the evil intentions outside the borders ( and even inside) waiting to pin us down. Actually if you ask me we don't have an option. The daily battle for earning a suitable livelihood to support the lifestyle we want for us and our loved ones, leaves but no time for caring for our own safety. The country is way back in priority in the long list of our daily needs. The needs depending on individual may vary from the struggle to earn a few rupees to ensure just one meal in a day for hungry mouths that look at him to buying a villa to ensure a hearty vacation once in a year for protected souls looking at him for ensuring their comfort. The bottom line is that a common man does not have time to care if the relevant authorities that he is paying his hard earned money as taxes, are doing their work to ensure that he would live to reap its benefit.

The bitter truth of life is that those sitting at those positions of relevance and those who are and who wish to run the country are aware of this fact that a common man does not have time for even himself, leave alone the time to vent the anger at them and ensuring their accountability on a continuous basis. In fact this is the truth from where they and the ones who attack and kill us time & again derive the strength from. There is a fine line that divides those who suffer and those who take advantage of their indifference to themselves.

An even uglier truth of life is that there is no reason why the situation should ever change. We on the darker side of that fine line would continue to suffer, fight and die and those sitting on the other side would continue to thrive at our cost.

I guess the way out and possibly the only way out is ….. that we change sides.


Athma said...
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R Athmanathan said...

I cant agree more on this and takes me back to the numerous discussions we have had on the life of an 'Aam aadmi' in Mumbai.
The liberhan commission is really apt example of how things are in this country. Until the time we have responsible people elected by us (if they ever do stand in the election), it is 'business as usual'...

However, i would never agree with changing sides and would rather continue to do my bit by voting every time. And if all of us do even this bit sincerely, i think we have a better and safer future.

A thought provoking piece... Way to go !!!