The worst-ever terror strike has hit Mumbai; official figures say that the casualty is up to 200 while actual figure could be much higher. On Sunday, I went to Nariman Point where a candle light vigil was being organized to offer condolences to the dead and protest against the government. As the procession started, the people gathered there said that they would be moving to Taj from there. At first, I was surprised to hear that they didn’t have any plans to go to CST, but then I realized that that was because the firing at CST left over 50 “common people” dead (Official figures).
Whatever said and done, there was a difference in the treatment of people rescued from Trident and the other places. While Trident people were taken to Breach Candy Hospital, common people were taken to Government Hospitals. I don’t have any problem with that because had the elite been shifted to government hospitals, it would have created more pressure on the doctors. But the contrast in “services” to the relatives of deceased was something very sad. A friend of mine who was at the hospital where post mortem was being conducted said that, “Humko pata hai saab humne achche kapde nahi pehne hain, angrezi nahi bol rahe hain isiliye hamare ko body nahi de rahe hain.” [We know sir that since we have not worn good clothes and cannot speak English, they are not giving us the body].
The one thing that this terror strike has done that it has shaken the elite class of the city and country to believe that even they are not safe anymore. Elite India has, for the first time, been shaken out of its slumber as terror has attacked what were so far its impenetrable citadels. For the first time, the talk of terror has come out of the dinner tables. A man who was in Oberoi that fateful night was in middle of a conversation with his colleague when all of sudden sound of bullets were heard. His colleague guessed that it might be a terrorist strike but that man could not believe in such thing and said, “These things do not happen here”. Unfortunately that night it did happen. And all of sudden they are feeling vulnerable..
Shobha De in a TV show screamed on top of her voice that enough was enough. But I feel enough had been enough long before this attack on Mumbai. The enough was enough when series of bombs exploded in Ahmedabad, when busy markets in Delhi were blown a day before Diwali, when Jaipur was attacked, when series of blasts left hundreds dead in local trains in 2006. Does anyone remember those series of explosion which rocked Assam barely a couple of months back? The news of those blasts found little mention in our newspapers. Seriously, the enough; was enough long before.
So what is the difference this time?
The difference this time is the target. The target has moved from the rickshaw pullers, the daily wage earners, the commuter on a local train; even the middle class executive to the elitist in the city. Those deaths didn’t matter to most of the politicians, didn’t force the Home Minister to resign, there was no need to step up the security, reforms in Police, special forces, etc, and never grabbed so much attention. The voices of common man were repeatedly ignored and even the people discussing the terror matter on the dinner table and then leaving for dance party didn’t support those voices whole heartedly. But now, they are direct targets and this has forced government to at least show that it is acting this time around.
But you still observe the difference. We are having candle lights procession at Taj and Trident but no one has bothered to go to CST and pay homage to the victims of the same terror attack that has changed the face of Mumbai. It is a bit ironic but I feel much safe now because I am virtually irrelevant in this war. The bloodshed and death of the common man is just a “common phenomenon” which takes place every other day in some part of the country. The new targets are the hypocrites who have felt the pain of common man for the first time and that has made them to throw the toys out of the cot because now their own cot is rattling.
Whatever be the case, the good news is that for the first time we have felt that we need to do something to ensure safety and protect “common citizen”. Probably, we were waiting for something like this to happen before we could show the will to combat the bloody terrorism. I don’t have any problem even if the government is acting under the pressure of elite because for me, my country comes first. Nation is above everything and I am there to support everyone who wants to fight this terror menace. But yes, my heart does weep for all the victims, be it at CST and Wadi Bunder or at Taj and Trident.
[Image Source: http://media.economist.com/images/20081129/4808AS13x.jpg