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Mumbai: What Now?

November 28th, 2008 · 27 Comments

I spent Thursday at home watching the events unfolding on TV. Even now on Friday morning, security operations are still continuing at the two hotels (Taj and Trident-Oberoi), and Nariman House. The scale and audacity of the terrorism which has taken place is  slowly beginning to unfold. Few of us would have seen anything like this before in our life. A friend came by home yesterday — he was at the Trident when the firing started on Wednesday night, and was lucky to escape unhurt.

Everyone wants answers: Who are these terrorists?  How did they execute such an intricate plan? Did they have help from within? How come Indian intelligence had no clue about all this? 2008 has seen more than its fair share of attacks in different cities in India. There is a frustration setting in people that our political leadership has been extremely weak in dealing with the situation. A number of Mumbaikars spoke out on TV with a common refrain:”Enough is enough.”

Today, we will go back to work.  But this time around, we just cannot forget and move on.Ensuring safety for its citizens (and not just for themselves) is the government’s top priority. National security is now India’s #1 challenge. Over the past 4 years, India has lost more citizens to terrorism than any other country except Iraq. Even as we can blame “forces across the border”, we need to do a lot of introspection — what can each of us do to ensure a safe and secure future. We cannot live in a permanent state of fear and uncertainty. Suddenly, one gets a sense of what it must be to have lived in Beirut a couple decades ago or Baghdad until recently. This is not the Mumbai I grew up in and spent most of the first four decades of my life.

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27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nadeem // Nov 28, 2008 at 9:50 am

    It’s true that we are fast becoming de-sensitised to the nightmare that’s upon us. Even the news anchors and their studio guests are sounding repetitive with their run-off-the-mill comments and analysis. While it’s easy to blame the police, the buck ultimately stops at the government. These people are elected and get paid to ensure safety and integrity of the country but don’t seem to have the will or the ideas to do anything about this problem. The intelligence agencies are caught napping until something happens and then start yapping the minute after! Maybe it’s time to think about a pan-India agency along the lines of FBI to coordinate intelligence gathering and anti-terrorist operations.

  • 2 Gaurav // Nov 28, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I think as frustrated citizens the time is now to strike the hammer when the iron is hot. The question to ask is what can we do? I think one thing we can do is hold the government accountable. Which we don’t do enough of. We need to get together and protest and ensure that Shivraj Patil goes ASAP. We need to ask each and every MP to publish a weekly report to tell us what they did that week to improve the security of the country. Unless we (citizens) do something, nothing is going to happen.

  • 3 Naveen Bachwani // Nov 28, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    You’re right, Rajesh. All of us want answers. But, accountability is hard to come by in this country…

    Here’s my take on the event:
    http://naveenbachwani.wordpress.com/2008/11/28/collateral-damage/

  • 4 Satyam Bachani // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I’m Angry!, this is not how a democratic city functions. This time they gone too far until now you planted bombs and triggered them remotely but now you have the audacity to come to my house take me hostage and toy with my city.

    Our PM wants to discuss the attack with the ISI chief!! WHY?!?!? We have one of the LARGEST army in the world and behave like cowherds. Yes we do I dont this is the time to say that this will pass and we will unite and move ahead. Now is the time for action.

    It took 20-25 LET guys to get our city dysfunctional what will happen if a 100 of them are here next I will see a Green flag on our Vidhan Sabha! I’ve lost faith in my leadership I don’t think they have the ability to protect our city, morally they should resign.

    I have high regard for our PM as a person but as a PM hes a DUMMY. I as a Indian am humiliated today, no one comes to my house ruins me and walks away. There has to collateral damage fight FAIR give the Army 24 Hours and let the best man win.

    Whats the point of me paying taxes to my government when I cant be safe in my own city, Mr. Deshmukh is the nitwit of the HIGHEST order and our R.R. Patil is concerned with Dance Bars being shut I don’t know what was the last good thing these 2 stars did for my city.

    If you don’t draw blood now you then would be the biggest fiasco of the century in our country. I don’t want to sound want to sound irrational I understand the implications of WAR but this time WE HAVE TO DRAW BLOOD.

    Best Regards,

    Satyam Bachani.

  • 5 Anonymous // Nov 28, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Do not worry. Nobody is going to do anything. Whom will you call up?

    Congress: We have seen them for years. They have ruled this country the longest and failed us miserably.

    BJP: We are famous for short lived memory. BJP was the one where a cabinet rank minister flew to Afganistan in exchange for terrorists. No civilized society will do that. And their leadership is unchanged.

    Rest – TDP, BJD, JD, (AI)DMK, TC, MNS etc are hell bent in dividing the country based on language.

    It is not the failure of leadership. It is the failure of us as people and as a nation. We are too selfish, too narrow minded based on region/language/religion/caste and have been fed up these leaders.

    What we need is new generation of leaders – agenda = development, progress, unity as a nation. But that light at the end of tunnel is not visible yet.

    We do not have a single leader in India who can champion that cause.

  • 6 Satyam Bachani // Nov 28, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    The solution is escalate it to the ARMY screw the political protocol, let them take control and they will give us our PRIDE back!

  • 7 Satyam Bachani // Nov 28, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    “US intelligence expert says Patil is incompetent”

    http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/nov/28mumterror-shivraj-patil-is-incompetent.htm

    Mrs Gandhi and Mr. Singh please have some courage and do the RIGHT thing otherwise LEAVE office and let our country enter a STATE of EMERGENCY.

  • 8 Deepak // Nov 28, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Now after terrorist flushed out, media will start talking of the spirit of the mumbai. These shameless reporters and politicians had not lost their near and dear ones, otherwise, ask them, who lost their family members in these type of cold blooded terrorist attacks

  • 9 Raj // Nov 28, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    This home minister is talking that terrorist- bhai bhai ko ladana chahte hain, hum unko kamyab nahin hone denge. People are dying all over the country in terrorist attacks and instead of killing these terrorist what nonsense he is talking about.

  • 10 Vishal Singh // Nov 28, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    It is time for action. It is indeed an inflection point. It is time that we do not expect from the government but become the government. The only way the country will change when the political space is occupied by people like us. This may look all far fetched but this is the only solution. Illiterate, spineless politicians of any political party will never deliver. Ladies and Gentlemen the country needs us. Let us all rise up to the occasion.

  • 11 Shafique Ansari // Nov 28, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Yes.. Vishal is absolutely right, we have to bring the change, we need to get these politicians out immediately. Our country cannot afford more off these illeterate, corrupted and power hungry politicians. Let us form a forum of intellectuals in our city and frame guidelines to become MLA/MP and ask the people to vote them as they may be anyone who is screened, and is efficient, knowledgeable, competent to run the country not as current politicians. For this we need to have new political front as currently no political party will listen our diktat as it will affect their ranks, we need complete new outfit. Let us stop blaming the current politician as we all know they are incompetent. Let us have best brains in common people to run this country. RISE INDIA RISE. Let us come together and fight all evils.

  • 12 Siddharth Chawla // Nov 29, 2008 at 12:12 am

    It is indeed sad to see the events unfold in last few days. And comparing it with what has happened in US since 9/11 I feel as if we in India are running out of answers.

    Because of 9/11 US has gone to two wars and failed at both. During the same time Bush has asked people to spend more money to keep economy moving while supplying cheap capital which in turn has led to massive real estate bubble. Bursting of this bubble is leading to financial crisis, end of which will not occur without creating a huge debt for the country. In the same time massive amounts have been allocated to improve national security. What I see is that 9/11 event has caused US to miss allocate the resources which it had and several future generations will have to bear this burden. This potentially is the turning point for US dominance.

    Now we in India cannot avoid taking several steps to improve our national security. This will lead to large increase in our budget allocations for security and hence reduction in capital allocated to other developmental programs which India desperately needs to continue growing. Our resources in India are much limited anyways compared to US. Because of ongoing financial crisis FIIs are running away from making investments in India. And such kind of terrorist activities reinforces uncertainty of investments in India. All these factors potentially can lead to situation of slowing growth of India.

    With no leader in sight this can quickly get worse because of increase in conflicts within the country, wrong allocation of resources and slowing economy worldwide.

    I wish I could post an answer but the path seems to be a dark tunnel without sight of light.

    Siddharth

  • 13 Satyam Bachani // Nov 29, 2008 at 9:34 am

    It doesn’t matter if it drives up the deficit of our country to oblivion, yes the world has slowed down its going to be bad for our economy in the short/near term BUT here your fighting someone who are already bankrupt supplies are short CANT be a long drawn attack. Few years back when chatting with a Army general on this subject his answer was 12 Hours and its ALL OVER.

    We all want peace but it comes at a price if you sit here and do nothing I can guarantee you its maybe another year away until we see something worse, its a matter of pride.

    The Pakistanis say that they are not involved but people from around in the country who they have no control over have done it. If you are a incompetent/ignorant government and I’m baring the brunt of it then let me come there and show you how to take care of your HOUSE.

    We need to remember Lal Bahadur Shastri, NOT Mahatma Gandhi! at this time.

  • 14 Vishal Singh // Nov 29, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Expanding on my previous post I think there is a need for highly credible people to come in political space. They also need to come not through our regular parties. There are many credible smart people who would want to influence Indian political system but will not do so because of the complete collapse in the working style of political parties. The pendulum of inefficiencies of political parties shifts from each another. A congress will go and a BJP will come and the nation keeps on deteriorating at the same pace.
    As I said before regular Indian political parties have become morally bankrupt and expecting anything from them is like expecting a drug addict to come and treat people on how to keep away from drugs. There needs to be a new political party.

  • 15 Ravishankar // Nov 29, 2008 at 11:59 am

    In these trying and insecure times, it’s appalling to see
    1. Ministers hiding behind security.
    2. Playing the media for votes.

    Can we influence the change. Will we find our Obama in these times.

  • 16 Parag M // Nov 29, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Stop Voting !

    Spread this word across 5 other people.

    Believe me this will have very strong effect in long term

  • 17 Vishal Singh // Nov 29, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Become a politician or make one whom who you think can deliver and then vote!
    Voting or not voting to fools does not make an iota of an difference to our current system.

  • 18 Satyam Bachani // Nov 29, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Not voting is not something new I guess that’s archived without much effort 🙂 I think at the end of the day in a democratic country a Government is a quintessential requirement 🙂 I hope the Congress and the BJP are haunted for a long time to come I’m going to make sure if I were to ever meet a bureaucrat or a politician or when I talk to people who know them, I would surely give them a piece of my mind.

    The problem is the average politician has not been humiliated on a wide scale on events like this but this time I like the fighting spirit of fairly important individuals going live and hitting them hard with words. As long as one continuously keeps throwing things at them it will only make them smarter and accountable which is good for the system or otherwise HOPEFULLY my CM’s would just walk away in SHAME (doubtful) But hope sustains life 😀

    Please DON’T forget what has happened if everyday in the near future we give only half-hours thought to this everyday trust me change would be invertible.

  • 19 Siddharth Chawla // Nov 30, 2008 at 3:47 am

    We are having a crisis of leadership. We cannot name a decent person whom we can vote for and hope for betterment of our systems.

    Our PM although an educated man is not able to win with majority which is required to make desired changes. Modi evokes fear in the hearts of muslims living in India. Even if Congress goes away, BJP leadership will end up further polarizing the country . People like Bal Thackrey take a back seat with age and we get new Raj Thackrey for confusing newer generation.

    IAS training has become a breeding ground of bureaucrats who are motivated by job security and other incentives which come along with their job.

    There is no incentive for any young, dynamic, honest and intelligent person to even think of participating in politics unless they have accepted professional suicide and a tough life for themselves and their loved ones.

    Our political system offers no incentive to act righteously.

    When we celebrate Obama’s win in US we have to understand that the political system in US is fertile enough which allows a person like Obama to desire to lead the country.

    Is there anyway to evoke that desire in our younger generation in India?

    Is there a way to make them believe that righteousness will help them lead much better life even though the playground offered to them is largely evil?

    Siddharth Chawla

  • 20 Parag M // Nov 30, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I understand and fully accept the negativity of my view from your perspective…!

    But do you think your words & blogging is really going to hard hurt our politicians?

    and I bet no gov party can eliminate terrorism out of India.. as these roots goes back in history where USA had has in business of arm selling & making money out of. These arms have actually being hand exchanged to TerrOrz

    These terrorist organizations probably have strong roots in Pakistan/Afghanistan. Our puppet PM want to have diplomatic talk with Pak which itself is pretty much frightened.

    Gov is keen on vote banks so they have to show something cooking about ‘national security’ though they know they can’t do anything..as long as they are in safe z-security cover.

    We all talk about uniting & fighting against terror. Tell me what is the practical way to unite & fight against terrorism? I bet you can’t.

    We vote hence these politicians rule and not people. By not voting these a***, you are going to create another opportunity..Not sure but certainly ! Save your time.

    -Best

  • 21 Vishal Singh // Nov 30, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Dear All – I plan to file a PIL asking why there should not be a provision to recall our representatives in parliament and assembly.
    Your views on this matter would be helpful.
    You can mail me at singh.vishu@gmail.com

    Rajesh- I ask for your approval to put this post in your blog.

    Thanks
    Vishal

  • 22 Satyam Bachani // Nov 30, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Finally my HM has resigned, I want to send The Peter Principle so the poor sod could better understand the term incompetence. Mr. Patil I hope to never see you again on our political platform.

    Satyam.

  • 23 vandana // Dec 1, 2008 at 11:40 am

    for those who read this mail:
    My concern is does India and Pakistan need Obama to ‘sort’ things out? Can we not hash out our own issues without America poking their nose? It looks like they are waitng to say that we are incompetent to handle our own affairs. So typical. India is the doorway to the East. Maybe she should wash her step this time – bigger bombs might explode. The target bombing started in 2001 and have had a sytematic recurrence. Havent we noticed? News has it that all BPOs or putsourcing is going to reduce considerably- dont we need to sit up and think?
    Alot of diplomaitc sponging and appeasing was done to cool off steaming and angry New
    Delhi by American diplomacy.
    v

  • 24 Reynold // Dec 2, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    How to Beat The Indian Politician
    Section 49-O of the Constitution:
    (A Repetition worth a read)
    Did you know that there is a system in our Constitution, as per the 1969 Act, in Section “49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey to the presiding election officer that he doesn’t want to vote anyone!
    Yes such a feature is available, but obviously our seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called “49-O”.
    Why should you go and say “I VOTE FOR NOBODY”… because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way of our whole political system… it is seemingly surprising why the Election Commission has not revealed such a feature to the public….
    Please spread this news to as many as you know… Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India… show your power, expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting… so don’t miss your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this info on…
    “Please forward this mail to as many as possible, so that we, the people of India , can really use this power to save our nation”. Use your voting right for a better INDIA

  • 25 Parag M // Dec 2, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Thanks Reynold for valuable information..

  • 26 .......... // Sep 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Many flock Bhavkaleshwar temple to wish Thane Guardian minister Ganesh Naik
    There is a reason why is considered to be the tallest of leaders in the region. This week when Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik celebrated his birthday, from the young to the old, to the handicap and even the third gender made a beeline to Bhavkaleshwar Temple to greet the undisputed secular leader on his birthday. We decided to select the moments of moments from the celebrations as our wrap up report for this weekend. Thank you so much for staying with us.
    They flocked to Bhavkaleswar temple since morning to wish their leader “Happy Birthday” and as the day moved into noon and noon into evening, most of the time Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik could not budge even a bit as well wishers and followers surrounded him one after the other to meet and greet the leader on his birthday. Some brought flowers, some unique gifts, some shook hands while some hugged Ganesh Naik overwhelmed to meet the leader on his birthday.
    http://www.ganeshnaik.com/
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ganesh_Naik
    http://navimumbai-ganeshjinaik.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html

  • 27 Blog Past: Mumbai 26/11 // Nov 28, 2010 at 5:00 am

    […] is what I wrote two years ago just after the events of 26/11: Today, we will go back to work.  But this time around, we just […]

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