Posts Tagged ‘Mumbai terror attacks India’

Its quiet an irony, 15 years ago I spent a whole evening with a bunch of friends and acquaintances, kickoff a drink at Leopold, movie at Regal, dinner and drinking at the Taj and chat in Marine drive till the am, followed by breakfast at the Oberois. We were a bunch of management trainees from a bunch of cos, who spent a good portion of our months salary that night. I do not really remember each of the participants, in fact I almost forgot about that evening (I shouldn’t since I was the designated driver and did not consume alcohol that day..or ever) till one of the partners in crime brought this up to me on facebook. What an evening, I wish the generation next has the same opportunity to have so much fun and go broke by the send week of the month. Hey you were a mgt trainee, its all ok. There are a good bunch of stories from that evening, two of the participants who are now married laid the foundation stone (literally) of their current marital bliss that evening, or so we are led to believe. 

In any case, half a billion opinions have been written on why, why not, what do do next

  • Some hard core right wing conservative who want to get the “Muslims” who are not with “US” to go Pakistan
  • Some pessimists who think this whole thing is a lost cause
  • Some armchair generals who believe pakistan “should be taught a lesson”
  • Some lampost intellectuals who try to link the whole chalta hai and jugad attitude of India to this mess
  • Some frustrated rebel rousers that do the predictable politician bashing (Shoba De included)
  • Some confused flag wavers whose minds are thinking patriotism, body is saying nationalism
  • Some insensitive southy prick that says – why don’t we give up Kashmir in exchange for eternal peace
  • Some too numb to know what to think

Most of these opinions depend to a certain extent on who they come from:

  • wannabe mumbaikars (I probably fall under this category) , I believe to be a “true” mumbaikar you should have spend at least a decade, there, sounds like New Yorker to me..whatever,
  • fake mumbaikarsfolks from other parts who have haven’t made up their mind to live here, but are mumbaikars depending on the topic, and a whole lot of
  • true blue mumbaikars..who I salute. For all the economic awakening, Mumbai is still India ONLY city and
  • vicarious mumbaikars, rest of the country, world, who think they know and understand Mumbaikars.

Well none of these opinions come close to what i value as an opinion on this issue. Only MJ Akbars http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/dec/02mumterror-pakistan-will-have-to-pay-a-heavy-price.htm came somewhat close, but even he gradually shifts to the right lane. So hey, I decided to join the melee and put my point out there.

Firstly, the islamic angle to the whole thing is undeniable. I also do not quiet believe that delinking Hindu-Indian-Muslim relationship from that of Pakistan supporting such acts is silly. They are all sides of the same prism.

Secondly, the fact that there is enormous strategic thinking that went into this act of terror is quiet evident. Look at the activities that followed, Condi Rice, Patreus, John McCain come calling (dint happen since Kargil), politicians heads rolled ala Patil, for minimal cost (probably 10 Lakhs all put together) they inflicted billions of rupees of damage, Pak was wondering shifting 100K soldiers from the western front, new ATS department etc…

Lastly, the fact that this could not have been done with local help is to me fairly clear. I am no anti-terrorism expert but unless you are james bond, there is no way you can get into Taj Mahal Hotel without local help.

Lets look at the stakeholders and who lost and gained

  • Pakistan state : Already maligned as the Varsity of the Jihad for Asia if not the world, has little to gain politically, economically, strategically or financially. Sure it sends a message that we have a soft underbelly that they can strike at a time and place of their choosing, But we already know that. 100% security is a myth.
  • Mumbai Underworld : have little to gain form this, they cannot afford to face public wrath and increased police pressure.
  • Indian Muslims : out of the 150 million muslims 99.999 % do not benefit.
  • 0.00001% of the disenfranchised muslim : retribution , payback and a demand for percieved respect.
  • BJP / Right wing : Win the next election on the basis of security?? Even they are not that cheap.
  • Terrorist in NWFP, have a huge amount to gain, their on reprieve is to get Pak to take its forces off of the western front.
  • NSA / Raw : Sure they have lots to gain, increased funding, increased personnel, authority etc… But they are not sophisticated western three letter agencies to pull this off (This is a possibility if you listen to the analyst on Pak TV)
  • LeT : Yeah, shows their might, but its completely against their cause and may loose support from their loyal support base

It is clear that the 0.000001% of the muslim population and the terrorists in NWFP are clearly to gain from this whole thing. I can only ask you to imagine if the minuscule India muslims start increasing in number what the result would be….. There was NO India muslim related violence till Babri Masjid. I mean, look at the hindi movies, till the 80’s these guys were paan chewing, red haired, sher-shayari loving, qawali listening, namaazing dudes.

There is little that India can do about the NWFP. All we can do is to take care of the muslims in India and try to diminish the lost section of the Muslim society. This is certainly less expensive, and less complicated than some of the other social engineering experiments I have been reading in the perss from so called “experts”.

Lets look at some well kown issues / facts about the Indian muslims: Majority of them live in poverty, have little education and are the fastest breeders. The fastest breeders actually being a result of the first two. If you are poor, your odds of getting taken care in old age greatly increases if you have 10 kids and hope one of them makes it in life. 

India is a land of immense unpredictability, a small minority of Muslims feel that same is the case with their civil rights, social liberties and justice. Take Godhra for example, the man with his hand folded pleading for his life, on the cover of every magazine across the country sending one message “When the rubber hits the road, the state, the mosque, the community, the security apparatus…nothing will protect them” and there stems the real issue. For this section there is every reason to turn this belief into the truth, Babri Masjid happened, Mumbai Riots happened, Godhra happened, along with a plethora of incidents that just cannot be swiped off as “exceptions”. For this section of the populace the man with the golden gun is indeed the never wavering saviour or a perpetual succour.

A long systemic cleansing of this feeling is the only true liberation that can make our Intelligence agencies intelligent, our security apparatus more secure and out politicians irrelevant. How can this be done?

  • Continual appeasement and over the top embrace of the marginalized muslims. Yes, I said it. It is time to go out of the way to ensure that every muslim feel safe, secure and Equal. Job quotas for Muslim, federal and state loan for muslim small businesses, education funds, education systems, the works. Remember poor muslims are in real danger of becoming today’s schedule casts.
  • Unified civil code, Most reports indicate that even Muslims want this. Ask the muslim women who have been divorced, they will tell you.
  • Encourage cross-religious marriage: The govt. should offer three years of no tax, marriage allowance etc…to promote such marriages.  There is no integration like marital integration. (for a similar case study refer to the Sikhs that migrated to California in the late 1800s, Chinese rail road workers in early 1900s and current african and Hmong immigrants to the United States. Also according to the latest census Muslims have a better female to male ratio compared to the national average. SOme cross pollination could help.
  • Form a joint task force with Pakistan to eradicate terrorism: Come on,  they got their Marriot blown up. Do you think they have any control on who operates on their land and who does’nt?

and someone please tell Advani to apologize for the Babri Masjid that started this whole nightmare.

Healing is a tough process. My friends had close calls when this happened, a friend of my wife died. It takes time to heal, this time it may not completely heal at all. Calling Mumbai a resilient city that will march on is like  saying that a hurt Whale continues to swim close the shore in the pacific…neither has a choice…that’s why. With 20 million people looking to make ends meet, pay rent, mortgage, credit card bills, food and an occasional movie, there is no time to stop and cry. Shit happens…move on.



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