I will not forget this time

By Sudeshna Guha Roy | Updated: Dec 01, 2008, 21:17 PM IST

It was 26th November - my birthday. Like any birthday girl, I was partying hard. After spending a jolly good time with my friends, I returned home at around 9:30 pm. Before hitting the sack, I decided to switch on the television and see how the rest of the world was celebrating my special day. <br/><br/>It was my worst nightmare- Mumbai was burning...<br/><br/>Some young men were on a shooting and bombing spree and were killing anybody and everybody who came in their way. A group of 10 terrorists, fully equipped with guns and grenade bombs, sailed their way to our financial capital, killed as many people as they could, and left us a tale of horror like never heard before. It didn’t end there- for 3 days entire India stood shocked.<br/><br/>It was not just Mumbai that was targeted. It was a challenge to our national security system and our national pride. It seemed as if the terrorists were pointing a gun straight to our motherland’s chest and saying, “We are going to kill your children, do whatever you can”.<br/><br/>Though our NSG commandoes (our real heroes I would say) fought till their last breath, the damage which the enemy wanted to wreck was already done… the harm was already caused… and the blood had already been shed…<br/><br/>Many hostages survived the ordeal at the expense of many losing there lives, including some devoted officers. My salute to the Mumbai martyrs: ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar and NSG Major Unnikrishanan. <br/><br/>But we are fine… We are hurt, no doubt. But the wounds will heal soon. We cannot do anything, can we? At the most we can go to the India Gate or the Gateway of India and light some candles to “express our condolences”. Or else, we can observe “just a minute’s silence” to show that we are in grief… Better still… let the government announce a national holiday or dry day on an account of the huge loss that the country faced and give the affected families some money as compensation … We need to move on… Life goes on… That’s the Spirit of India…<br/><br/>Huh… If this is the spirit of India, then sorry people… this time I am not party to it… This time, I do not want our wounds to heal naturally. This time, I do not want the tears to stop. This time, I do not want to give a word of comfort to a friend whose brother had gone to the Taj for dinner and never came back. Not anymore.<br/><br/>Instead, I want to ask myself and every Indian- who gave those men the right to enter our country and kill our people? Why does anybody else have the right to take away something which they haven’t given to us? How could it be allowed? <br/><br/>Whenever attacks like these happen, we, the people of India, shed some tears, light some candles and move ahead. We do not want to sit back, think and do something about it. The reason is we do not want to get involved in “nasty” affairs. We love to walk on a bed of roses and avoid thorns. Blaming everything on the government has become a habit- and an escape route for most.<br/><br/>And so, when we pretend to “move on”, we want to run away from the fact that something disastrous has happened. We all are just too tired to find a solution to everything. Probably because people like you and me have still not been kicked by the ugly demon of terror.<br/><br/>But why do we forget, that if we have escaped the terrible clutches of terror today, we might not be so lucky tomorrow? It is easy for the rest of the world to move on because they haven’t lost somebody close to them to the will of these terrorists. But haven’t all of us lost something in these dastardly attacks?<br/><br/>You may now ask me, what do we do now? We can’t stop going to our jobs. We can’t stop going out. If we stop moving around, then terror will win over us. The ministers of our country motivate us to be strong so as to DEFEAT terrorism.<br/><br/>But then, to defeat terrorism Mr. Minister, you need to make sure that next time Mumbai 26/11 or Delhi 13/09 does not occur. Look at the United States of America… did they ever witness another 9/11?<br/><br/>Our intelligence department failed to sniff the danger. After the terror struck, our ministers failed to react on time. It is understood that the Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was in Kerela then, apparently took 90 minutes to understand the magnitude of the event. After the honourable CM finally understood what actually is going on, he asked the Centre for 200 NSG commandoes.<br/><br/>“But it is the government’s fault, isn’t it?” you may ask. Yes I know, it’s the government’s fault and the people who are running the government are a bunch of lacklustre robotic babus.<br/><br/>But I guess the government is faulty because we the citizens of India choose to ignore the loopholes. We would rather party and enjoy the election holiday than stand in a queue to cast our vote. <br/> <br/>When such a calamity occurs, the least we do is get agitated and hold rallies in front of the government offices or landmarks to express our anger and our protest, and that also for just a few days. As and when the time passes, even we turn into robots and go on with our ever so passive lives.<br/><br/>How many of us have bothered to trace the follow-up action in the Jaipur blasts case, or the Delhi blasts case…Our bad memory is our enemy. We forgot about the kidney scam. We forgot about the Nithari case. We forgot about Aarushi’s murder. The reason is we want to “move on” and are fed with new news stories every day.<br/><br/>Our protests, our voices die after sometime. The protests would last only if we are affected directly. Like in the Priyadarshini Mattoo and Jessica Lall murder cases. The family continued to fight, and so we have justice delivered. Death due to blasts and terror attacks are no different. It is the government’s responsibility to find the murderers who actually have the guts to murder hundreds of people in a go.<br/><br/>Primarily, we are never really sure of the authenticity of the claims made by the Indian police. Secondly, even if the claims are authentic, we don’t care to find out if the accused has been punished sufficiently or not.<br/><br/>My appeal to all the Indians this time is let us not just “move on”. Let the pain remain. Let us not forget. Let us send a message to the government that we do remember everything and that we want an answer to everything. Let us use our right to information. Let us show the true <b>Spirit of India</b> and not the often misinterpreted “resilient” spirit of India.