Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | November 27, 2008

Where is India?

Am I scared, when I see news of terrorism, right now affecting many? Yes I am.

Am I angry, when I see innocent people dying for no fault in unnecessary human massacre? Yes I am.

Do I have any opinion, on how this should have been dealt? No I don’t.

Should Government negotiate with terrorists? I don’t know what to say.

Don’t we have any right to security in the world? Of course we have.

I argued in my last post that perhaps too much focus on defense caused financial downturn, do I still say that? I think I become immature while commenting on such things.

Where is my colorful, diverse, beautiful country.



  1. Things are bound to get worse before they get better (all over the world, and particularly in India), Tanmoy, because:

    1. In countries like India, there are now simply too many people around, and not enough of the most basic resources – land, water, fuel – to meet everyone’s basic needs, unless people are willing to accept equality at a very modest level (which, to the entire upper and middle class, is unthinkable!), so violent usurpation is becoming more and more the only option open to desperate people,
    2. The sense of victimhood – justified or otherwise – among too many minority groups everywhere, Tibetans, Nepalis, Santhals, Kashmiris, Chechnyans, Palestinians, is now too widespread, and so is the readiness to take up violent means for the expected redressal of grievances.
    3. All such minority groups are becoming more and more convinced that no state has the moral conviction to hit back in a massive way (the way a Hitler or Stalin or Mao would have done – kill a thousand terrorists every week), so they can do a great deal of sporadic damage without having to pay too heavy a price for it.
    4. In India, the state (including the police and intelligence agencies) are permanently ill-prepared to handle the problem – and that is because their bosses the politicians, as I said, lack the will to take lasting and decisive steps, and that in turn is due to the fact that the politicians understand that there is no overwhelming public demand that steps be taken: as a society we really don’t care how many people are being killed or maimed by terrorists, as long it is somebody else – and when some family member dies, we weep and curse for a few days or weeks and then forget about it: none of us cares to fight long enough or hard enough to make it a major public issue (I have in mind the American woman who went around collecting a million signatures to submit to the senate so that they could make tougher laws against drunken driving after her own child was run over. We Indians claim a great deal about how much we love our families, but the truth is that we are far too timid, lazy and callous to care long and deeply about anybody, including families!)
    5. The rich and the powerful are rarely seriously affected. How many tycoons’ daughters are kidnapped by terrorists, and how many ministers or even DGPs killed? It’s always the aamjanta in marketplaces and railway stations who fall victims, or at most a few miserable police constables or village-level netas. Who cares?
    6. One last point: my experience of India is that for all our pretensions, we are a senselessly violent country; we basically love cruelty and slaughter. A lot of people, from Tagore to R.K. Narayan to V.S. Naipaul to Geoffrey Moorhouse have made the same observation. Think about it.

  2. The most important point has been made by Sir and that is that an overwhelming majority of Indians do not care the least to unite and fight terror. All that matters to almost every Indian is his own individual interests and it does not matter to him if someone is a victim until of course he is somehow closely related to him. A Punjabi does not give a damn to what happens at Bengal. A Keralite would hardly care if thousands in Bihar lack any kind of access to education. And a Bengali is not concerned of anything in the world until it is directly related to himself or his family. It is THIS mean tribal sentiment that is the greatest weakness of our country. And being concerned does not just mean sitting on the sofa and abominating terrorists. Being concerned means building communities, groups, and finally expanding them to powerful institutions in order to fight terror.

    And the worst effect of this is that our politicians are exact replicas of our mindsets. Every government that has come into power have failed to protect India from such attacks. Mumbai has been attacked three times in the past eight years. Why? Why are our intelligence and the government in power so weak? The present government has repeatedly failed to protect the public from such terror attacks. And that does not alter the fact that even if BJP comes to power it will not be able to stop this. All our politicians are concerned is petty political issues that serve their own interests. Raj Thackeray can not bear the fact that Biharis are taking all the jobs in Mumbai and leaving the Mumbai’s youth unemployed. But where is his LOVE and CARE for Mumbai in THESE times?

    Our country seriously lacks leaders. And until we – the common men – decide to take strong steps to modify the Indian mindset, nothing is going to happen. But we are so headstrong in our selfish motives that we would NOT change if a few of our cities are not eradicated from the face of this earth by a few nuclear explosions. When terror strikes take place we panic, curse terrorists, wow on the concept of anti-terrorism, and shout our lungs out by screaming “Vande Mataram”. But when every thing is over, we forget all that had happened, and go back to our daily self-centred activities. And look at the unity we have in cricket and Bollywood. Such disgusting sloth!

    And the worst thing about India is that whatever happens, the blame is always on Pakistan. It is true that whatever attacks take place, all evidences lead to the involvement of Pakistan. Both the Indian Intelligence and American Intelligence said that Pakistan was behind the blast at the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Barack Obama has said that the Pakistan-Afghanistan belt is the seat of terrorism. Evidences suggest that these terrorists presently terrorising Mumbai had come into the city by a boat from a mother ship which is Pakistani. Their SIM Cards are Pakistani. They talk like Pakistanis. But all of these are allegations that have not been proved concretely. Just because there was a Saudi Arabian among the terrorists who crashed planes on the Twin Towers, it does not mean that Saudi Arabia was behind it. Just because there was a Jamaican behind the London blasts, it does not mean that Jamaica was behind it. So it is not right, as well as vey risky, to always pin point at Pakistan. Pakistan is itself suffering from much internal turbulence. In tribal regions of Pakistan, the disturbances have gone up to such a level that certain tribal regions have gone out of the control of the Pakistani government. And it is feared that it is in those regions that terrorists are breeding. Now that does not mean that the Pakistani government is to be blamed for it. What is essential right now is that India and Pakistan has to STOP behaving like kids and focus on mutual cooperation for resolving these things. But every time there is an attack, the Indian government points its fingers at Pakistan. But then they step back for God-knows-what political reasons. This is NOT going to help.

    Another important thing that we and our government MUST understand is that it is not impossible for a cost guard to have been bribed by the terrorists for getting an easy entry inside Bombay. In a state of such an emergency we suddenly realise the importance of the profession of a fire fighter, of a policeman, and of a coast guard. And these are some of the lowest paid professions of this country. So why will not a poor Cost Guard take bribe of a few lakh Rupees? Will we gain anything by blaming him and sending him to the prison? It is time to take things seriously until we are able to hunt down the dens of these terrorists and eradicate them. If things go back to normal even after this incident at Mumbai is over, I fear nothing is going to happen and things will go out of control. By that time, it will be too late. Thousands will die every year and millions will be threatened.

  3. While it might not eradicate terrorism completely, educating the masses (their being uneducated is the root cause of almost all social problems from every conceivable point of view) should go a long way in discouraging such acts. And each one of us can do our bit towards this (politicians and those in power positions of course will not encourage this because it is against their will). So the onus is on you!

  4. Time for some hard reality check,thats the least i can say.Call for an emergency indefinitely is the only strict course of action that comes to my mind at this point of time.My father tells me how people were made to follow strict rules and regulations during the emergency period in 1975.I think something like that should come into place now putting some conscience back into people’s mind so that they take don’t take things for granted and have some discipline and order enforced in their own life so that they start caring about things happening around them which they haven’t till now.But only if our mean politicians make it happen putting at stake their own comfort.Fancy thinking,i know.

  5. To be precise, my country has gone to the dogs, specially the ones who rule it. We won’t progress, we have a can of worms in the root itself, and digging out the plant as remedy, is not possible, since the plant has already grown for almost 63 long long years!
    I apologise if I have hurt the sentiments of any.

    Manoshij Banerjee

  6. Point number 6 on suvro sir’s comment was actually very hard to believe, given that we are the people who made gandhi’s movement a mass movement, But unfortunately, it is so true.


  7. I agree totally with Arnab that we REALLY need another declaration of ‘Emergency’ by the government. Those two years of emergency in the 70s were two best years in the post-independence era. Prosperity of our economy was at its pinnacle in those times. That is what I have come to know by reading on it. But I believe Suvro Sir will be able to give a detailed analysis on whether it is necessary to have another Emergency. It only those who had witnessed that period can give a proper analysis of the necessity of an Emergency.

  8. Another emergency will be a nightmare – unless we have someone like Abraham Lincoln, Subhas Bose or Lee Kuan Yew at the helm. Can we see likely candidates?

  9. Theoretically though an emergency may be useful but I don’t think that shall be feasible. However, as Israeli government pointed out Indian Authorities misread the situation as with India it takes lot of bureaucratic hurdles to take decision and that is why commandos where brought in so late, and so many cops died too.

    I think the nation needs to move beyond soft laws. Anyone in guise of democratic authority spreading any form of terror should be punished. Politicians should be accountable and they commandos should be put to better use than providing Z-category security to anyone who gets into politics.

    I don’t know whether that shall happen ever in India.

    Unless as a nation we give it back (like Gita says perhaps), I don’t think we can solve this issue.

    I am tired of old politicians speaking on the television. I feel unsafe and demotivated while I hear them.

    I suggest do watch the movie – A Wednesday – which I coincidentally watched yesterday and thought is it the eventuality.

    I think this is the only sensible movies that has come on the issue from India. You can access the movie from searching the site and watch it online.

    I did not even know this movie exists but suddenly came across it and I must say, I was spellbound to some extent.

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