Been there, seen that & bought the bloody shirt


E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Taat, tedaat, taat….

It takes three loud sounds to start the train of events so well known to everyone by now.

First, a flashing ticker breaking the news on TV screens. Then the images of blood splattered torsos, and broken arms and legs lying all around. Eyewitnesses jostling for space as they narrate the events. TV reporters screaming their reports; sumg Twitterers suddenly sounding a little less self-important.

It takes little to realise that urbs prima in Indus—the most priced piece of land in India, as the plaque calls Bombay at the Gateway of India—has been hit again.

Yet again.

And again.

Now starts the replay of a much-watched and scratched video disc.

Wailing ambulances finding it difficult to make their way into the crowded gullies; photographers blithely taking pictures as lives ebb away; police desperately looking for clues and hints in tiffin carriers, cycles, trains and even umbrellas; intelligence “experts” giving rumours on possible casues the required oxygen.

Soon, in Delhi, the Prime Minister breaks his silence to thunderously warn terrorists that India will not tolerate such dastardly acts; the UPA chairperson asks people to maintain peace and harmony; and assorted celebrities asking Bombay to shrug off the latest calamity off and get back to life once the next local train comes.

Very soon, the words “Spirit of Mumbai” will slip out of some Page 3 tongue.

Hyper-nationalists on wi-fi swing in to point out how tiny Israel chases its pursuers and smokes them out. President Barack Obama, whose troops chased and hunted down Osama bin Laden in a foreign country advises restraint even as the New York Times commends India for its maturity.

Two days gone, sketches of the suspects are drawn on the basis of eyewitness accounts.

An intelligence establishment which didn’t have a clue about what was coming now suddenly knows every little detail of how the LeT or IM planned the latest blood bath. Helpful journalists on the payroll push out the story without batting an eyelid and even appear on television to belt out their number.

“Hindu fundamentalists,” says the Congress party’s Idiot-in-Chief in response with an eye on the ballot box.

With the heat on, some mandatory arrests are made; more are promised. And when the charge sheets are about to be filed comes the news that our new best friend and well-wisher across the seas knew about the attack all the time.  “Betrayal” is the new cry of the media and opposition.

A few months later comes a WikiLeak cable on how our new best friend and well-wisher knew all along as to what was happening; that it even had a copy of the blueprint but, strangely, was not sure when to give the information or to whom, but had ‘generally’ warned India about the impending catastrophe.

More breast beating.

The security experts go ballistic about how our forces are poorly manned and equipped. This is assuaged by the announcement of some gigantic plans for new offices, new security cameras, new interceptors, new this, new that, not too many of which will see the light of day.

God’s Own Party conveniently forgets that it was its foolish and hasty action in pulling down an old and decrepit mosque that singularly changed the communal atmosphere in Bombay and indeed across India forever, and that the nation continues to pay a price for fit every few weeks and months somewhere.

Finally, the police file the case, the hearings begin and the public prosecutor proves the State’s case beyond doubt. The guilty are named and shamed. The people in general and the victims’ families in particular feel vindicated that justice has been done.

But is it?

After the verdict comes the competitive politics. If we hang the guilty, what are our chances in the next election? If they don’t hang the guilty, what are our chances? And so the guilty sit on the long bench of those seeking a presidential pardon?

United States had only one incident of terror attack and they called it 9/11.

We copied even the way they write a date and called it 26/ 11.

There is now a long and list of months and years of terror attacks to be remembered; 13/7 is only the latest. Which ones shall we remember which ones shall we let pass, before another one is added to it?

Photograph: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

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14 Responses to “Been there, seen that & bought the bloody shirt”

  1. Suresh Krishna Says:

    Mr Rahul Gandhi says, it is difficult to stop each and every terrorist attack. Look at USA, only 9/11 is there..With our present way of functioning, we will have all days from 1/1 to 31/12.

  2. babuds Says:

    Spirit of Mumbai – Spit on it! Why are Shiv Sainiks so afraid of terrorists? They do not even dare to announce a day of bundh against terrorism, but are ever ready to bash up Biharis.

    Terrorism flourishes in Mumbai not in New York. Why? – Because NY is not ruled by Congis.

    What stops Kasab from being hanged? – The Cong Idiot-in-Chief says ‘Law (being an ass) is taking its own course (beween janpath and rashtrpath)”

    Our new best friends say we are matured – What they mean is we are toothless and spineless old bags.

    Intelligence report – As good as any ‘it may or may not’ type weather report

    Compensation to Victims – a la carte. (according to rate card)

    What does the Home ministry do after each terror attack? – Doubles the number of gunmen to MLAs, MPs and Ministers.

    What protection general public has? – Ram Bharose, Insha allah!

    Where does God’ own party belong? – Ram ko pyare

    Where do Mumbai stand? – behind Kabul and Karachi but will catch up.

  3. Nani Says:

    What else can one expect with the most inept government in Delhi..MMS will do everything in future to prevent such attacks in future. Right now will continue to talk to Pak of CBM because Obama says so.

  4. twistleton Says:

    Well, no need to make a Greek tragedy out of it. As bad as those photographers. Poetry and photography fall short of grief sometimes.

    The ‘who’ and ‘how’ surmises are easy. The ‘why’ leaves us stymied. Why this way? Why Mumbai? Why common people? If it is senseless sadism then why are people being senselessly sadistic? But the ‘why’ is lost in the general melee of ‘what next’. So, ‘what next’ is only going to be a shot in the dark, isn’t it?

    And we are left throwing up our hands and blaming government. Like that will make a difference. As you say, been there, done that.

  5. Sapna Says:

    so true…

    Btw you forgot candle marches and peace protest and a shamefully low voter turnout in the next elections…

  6. mounaprasad Says:

    As long as Maharashtra does not throw out Congress in the next election and bring in a more responsible government to take care of the security of the state, this will continue. And added to that the GOI treats terrorism as a law and order problem and lacks a policy on anti-terrorism, which emboldens the terrorists to think that there is no consequence for their dastardly actions. Ask Kasab and Afzal Guru about this? We can outsource our intelligence collection to US/Israel and disband, IB,RAW, NIA etc and save a lot of money and be safe.

  7. the colonel Says:

    and us???????????????


    it took me 16 hours to know about my children.

    how do i grieve for the boy who lost his brother. and why him mister chaddi?

    and his relatives soaked in the rain carrying his body?? mr papu

    something is going to give way very very very soon.

  8. the colonel Says:

    and in my email:

    Here’s the statement issued by Prime Minister Dr Singh after Mumbai Blasts:

    “I strongly condemn the bomb blasts in Mumbai this evening. I have asked the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to do whatever is possible to provide relief to the injured and to the families of the deceased citizens. I have also asked Union Home Minister, Shri P Chidambaram to provide all possible expert assistance to the state government. I appeal to people of Mumbai to remain calm and show a united face.”

    Here is the part of the statement issued by President Bush after New York attack

    “These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.
    The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”

  9. Faldo Says:

    All this breast beating or Greek tragedy (as twistleton puts it) is fine but notice how all the messages, criticism and anger after the attacks are directed at everyone else except the perpetrators. That in my opinion summarizes the difference between New York and Mumbai.

  10. sisya Says:

    >>”Spirit of Mumbai – Spit on it! Why are Shiv Sainiks so afraid of terrorists? They do not even dare to announce a day of bundh against terrorism, but are ever ready to bash up Biharis.”

    And you will be the first one to disapprove of any bundh that they call for. And in any case, I’d rather they deal with the bigger problems like Biharis than relatively smaller problems like terrorism. A Kasab shooting people is a once-in-a-few-months thing.. but good-for-nothing Bihari/UP goons extorting money in Pune with country-made revolvers is an everyday thing.

  11. kingkhan Says:

    I grieve for the people who lost their relatives in the bomb blast. i want the perpetrators to be brought to justice. I want our intelligence to be more pro-active.

    But I am an Indian muslim, I am afraid that because of these blasts my community is not looked at with suspicion. I am afraid my people will become more and more side-lined, afraid to come in the main stream. I am afraid Israel will love this situation. It will want to make in-roads now if it hasnt already. I am afraid the opposition instead of being constructive will look at scoring brownie points.

    I want the terrorists to be caught immediately. I want the muslims of India to live in the main stream peacefully and with dignity. I want the muslim children to be educated, to have opportunities.

    I want India to be the next USA.

    I have left myself very open for harsh criticism. But all i want to convey is that i am as pained and as hurt as any Indian. But the irony is I have to display my anger and anguish.

  12. G Says:

    Mate, why are you bringing in Israel into this mess..aren’t enough parties contributing to this already?
    Also, just for my info, why do you think they would want to have any say in this?

  13. dmanair Says:

    @kingkhan you speak exactly like the other self-style kingkhan!

  14. Jagadish Says:

    Since we’re comparing the US and India, terrorists obviously see India as a weakling, a soft target that can be hit without repercussions because our dear leaders will just keep appealing for peace and do squat, zilch, nada, nothing to address the root cause, specially with a lame-duck leader like Manmohan Singh who can’t even control his own ministers or tackle the huge scams happening under his very nose.

    Some countries just have the self respect to take on tough adversaries even if it means making some enemies. We just want to appear ‘nice’ to all around us instead of making hard decisions and taking practical action to secure the future of this land as one nation.

    The aftermath of Sep.11 is that no terrorist group is going to feel safe, whether in Af-Pak or in the US or elsewhere because the US military have shown they can and will use their intelligence and weaponry to come after the bad guys and blow them up, like they got Osama. I can bet India will never, ever have the guts to even attempt something like that, not in a millennium.

    Take another closer neighbour Singapore. They were weak after independence in 1965, they had almost no resources, they had a huge debt, a flourishing drugs trade, no real army, and no cash. Yet, they worked hard, made tough decisions and shaped up. They called in the Israeli armed forces to train the Singapore armed forces for many years in the 1970’s. Today, the SAF enjoys a position of strength, they are friends with powerful allies who can help (the US, UK, Taiwan, Australia, etc), have their belligerent neighbours Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam in check, and keep making sensible and practical choices to secure the future of their nation.

    Increasing defense expenditure like we are doing in India will not help by itself, unless driven by excellent intelligence, accountability and sensible long term decision making. Even that won’t help in today’s political environment when our country is torn asunder by petty politicking and squabbling between corrupt babus and netas.

    Look at China. They may not have a democracy but they have the ability to make long term commitments and see them through to completion. This is the reason they are one of the most powerful armed forces in the world today, even the US and its allies will not want a confrontation with them.

    I guess what I’m saying in short is that we’re going to keep seeing 26/11 type events more often, and there is no end in sight with the current abysmally corrupted political system in this nation.

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