Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mumbai blasts

Near simultaneous terrorist attacks at 7 places, across 25 km, from north to south of Mumbai, some three hours ago... This brings back memories of January 1993 explosions in Mumbai post-Babri Masjid demolitions.

The Parliament attack on Dec 13, 2001 was thought of as the worst terrorist attack in India. I think today's overtakes that in terms of extent, casualty; and the planning and coordination by the perpetrators.

Who could have undertaken this savagery? Without batting an eyelid, we all would point the finger across the border – the terrorists who have made Pakistan their base. Pakistan's condemnation is already in. The Pak government has said that terrorism is the bane of our times. The 9/11 made Gen Pervez Musharraf switch sides; but there is hardly anything on the ground to show that he has choked the lifeline of terrorists who are based there.

We are all so vulnerable. Terrorism is a virus for which no one has found a cure. Not even America's awesome military power has been able to stamp it out for ever. We don't need intelligence inputs to know that terrorist attacks could be coming. As Margaret Thatcher said after the Hilton hotel attack, "We need to be lucky always, a terrorist needs be lucky only once."

Home minister Shivraj Patil says there were intelligence tipoffs. May be someone up there took those hints lightly and just slept over vital clues. If that was the case, the blame should be fixed. There is a limit to which we can blame Pakistan. We need to protect ourselves. Our intelligence gathering and security apparatus are most often found wanting, to say the least.

At an individual level, we can only get philosophical and spiritual on such occasions. All one can do is to try and get back on our feet as quickly as possible and get on with our daily lives. There is nothing to gain by fretting and fuming over things over which we have little control. What we can actually do is to find a way forward, because we have to move forward.

It's not the first time Mumbai has been devastated, either by man-made disaster or natural. Every time, the city has shown its resilience. This time too Mumbai will overcome the tragedy. Let everyone out there in Mumbai know that the whole of India is with them.


  1. We have a lot to learn from the Mumbaikars... that helping each other in times of tragedy is the most human act of all. Mumbai is a city with a heart. The Mumbaikars have proved that.

  2. Silverine,
    A little ironic that it was only a few weeks back Reader's Digest conducted a worldwide survey which showed that Mumbai was among the rudest cities in the world.

    But I guess there is a difference between the way we react at normal times and at moments of crises.

  3. Pradeep,

    I have been to Mumbai several times and I find the Mumbaikars a very helpful and friendly lot. Just because they don't display the 'western' concept of courtesy, does not mean they are rude. When I read the article, I was angered at the generalisation.

  4. I love Mumbai, and am saddened by the latest atrocity. Pakistan retains the terrorist option to use against India, we all know that. Even within Pakistan it is honestly admitted at times. Whether or not Pakistani elements were involved in this attack, it is time the international community got serious about Pakistan's jihadi groups. And while they are at it, perhaps Pakistan can finally be persuaded to hand over Dawood Ibrahim, mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

  5. Silverine,
    Yes, there has been quite a bit of generalisation.

    Of course, we have little evidence; nevertheless, at least a remote link to Pak can't be discounted. It's very unfortunate, that we have such a neighbourhood. Force won't work. As you say, Pak can only be tactfully persuaded into the right track.

  6. While the rest of the world busies itself pointing fingers left, right and centre, a few harried souls wander around forced to leave for no fault of theirs.

    Death sure is nearer than one thinks, huh?


  7. Velu: Yes, the innocent people bear all the brunt. Did you see how protected are our politicians, whose only qualification are the votes mostly ill-informed people have cast?