Another attack. The Taj, the Trident and Colaba under attack. Add to it the blasts and firings at GT, Cama hospitals and the taxi at Vile Parle. Physically, there has been a death count of about 200- police and civilians included, whereas the injured number a mighty 300-plus. Heritage structures mutilated, and property lost along with irreplaceable lives. Here we see the picture of the city of Mumbai broken in its proudest junctures, at a time when it is rising to global scales which no other city in India has achieved, and still staring with wide eyed surprise at the encounter with terror it has faced.
Here we see the picture of a city whose famed ‘spirit’ has evaporate in the dark clouds of terror, discrimination, politics, and blood of the innocent. The first three factors can be termed as evil without batting an eyelid, but the last- it signifies the undue and unfair quota that is included in the foursome of the darkness that envelopes the city at this hour.
The ‘spirit’ of Mumbai, they say, is resilient and can help the citizens overcome any disaster that comes its way. What people overlook is that here, every citizen has no choice, but to put the past behind them. In the rush for basics of food, shelter and education, the Mumbaikar has to, without an option, work like there has been nothing wrong in their life. Mindlessly, machine-like. The city doesn’t bounce back from the shackles; it smudges its past experiences into its history and works for the uncertain future. All this so that if one day any of their loved ones do disappear in flames of terror, they still have the means to continue life- an incomplete, lonely life.
This attack has rendered the spirit of Mumbai helpless, aghast with the feeling that even though they live in a metro that never sleeps, someone has infiltrated what should be the most secure points in the city. It would be a pity, or a blemish on the pride of Mumbaikars, if in three days’ time, life were to resume to normal pace, with reports about the blasts occupying the first page today, the second in three further days, and slip into the oblivion like every other terrorizing attack does. We claim to be a proud country, but we aren’t too sure if what we are proud of still exists.
A reality check would do the country good. Are we proud of our past, our struggle for independence? Well the youngest person to be alive when the country was in foreign clutches would today be 61 years old, a senior citizen past retirement. It’s the past, and as much as the country did show unprecedented valour at that point, let us face the fact that we aren’t living up to the India our forefathers would thought we’d live to value. Are we proud of our culture? Then why is it that today parents resort to slip into the friend’s shoes, that teachers are no longer paid good respect to, and that the original forms of art, science and literature have now vanished? Are we proud of our farmers, our fruitful land? Please explain the resorting of suicides by farmers. Are we proud of the army? Then why are they underpaid? If we have overcome discrimination, why do communities fight to prove themselves backward? What are we oozing patriotism in movies for?
Let us face the truth. We haven’t gained self respect in our independent era. The glory we revel in is brought to us by our forefathers, and we have done nothing to increase it. Success and fame is not something Indians can handle, only because as a country we are used to being slow, bent, and backwards. Hundreds of people lose their lives every year due to some freak mishap which we title ‘terrorism’ and ‘condemned’, and do nothing about. In our history of 10,000 years, India hasn’t invaded a single country. Be it for the sake of egoistic expansion, ruling might, war, revenge. We are too used to bending backwards to make way for others to go ahead. The ahimnsa strategy has showed up as a lame pretext to not bear the load of asserting ourselves and then facing the opposition, like true heroes.
Where does the Saare Jahaan Se Achha brigade lead us now?
People die like mosquitoes in the country every year due to our ‘condemned’ terrorism maladies, yet we plead for peace, and rational thought. Why aren’t we ever on the offensive? Why do we get stomped out? Today we strive to achieve American acceptance, every decision requires the stamp of approval by the US. But why would that happen if our minds are still moulded in the ‘atithi devo bhava’ clamp? Take the example of ‘9/11’ or Daniel Pearl. Two buildings collapsed, one reporter murdered, and the country announces war. No second thoughts, no permissions- only revenge. And whether or not they are successful in their motives is another question. What matters is that no country looks at them without thinking twice. And here we are, asking for negotiations. A thousand lives negotiated. How neat.
Our politically correct attitude makes our disasters come into American perspective- the recent bombings are the ‘9/11 of India’. The statement that rubbishes India’s identity as a nation that is not American. Why isn’t it 26/11? Our heritage monument is hurt, and we say, ‘Just like America?’ It’s sad that India has to live by American standards, and it has begun to believe that we actually are a part of the Superpower and not one ourselves.
I’ve mentioned the system in a collective term, as in ‘we’, ‘our’, ‘us’ etc, because when something goes wrong in the country, and the government is blamed, we forget that it is we who decide who rules. We are as responsible (or irresponsible) for the lack of effective governance.
What I ask for here, is a revamp. A government that is more a company working for collective gains than political.
All I ask for here, is that the sacrifice of those people who died in the attack be avenged, duly, strongly, and in a way the world remembers that India is not one to live with a subdues identity and a bowed head, anymore.