I wondered what to write on 26/11 which wasn’t previously written. Then something struck me. I had gone out for tea to take a break from my work and there I heard two factory workers discussing 26/11, and I would like to narrate the story which one of them told the other which had a deep parallel meaning that can be applied to our attitude.

Once upon a time in a kingdom near Magadh was a king who was very cruel and he would kill anyone who dare go against his royal decrees. The king’s son was to get married and on the occasion of this auspicious announcement the king called the most famous dance troupe from Mewar.

All the villagers from all over the kingdom were invited to watch the dance, the shamiana was decorated beautifully by the karigars from all over the kingdom. The courtiers meticulously prepared the city for the day of the event and the entire city was joyous and excited to watch the dance.

On the day of the dance, the palace was illuminated with strings of diyas, the fireworks lit up the starry sky and the people squatted on the darris early in the evening. The courtiers had assembled in the overhead boxes, the royal ladies had already made themselves comfortable near the palace jharokhas. The king and his son came out for a second from their royal boxes to wave to the crowd, which burst into applause. The crowd sat for more than three hours and each one of them was waiting for the dance with eager eyes. The courtiers kept twirling the wine in their glasses and smoking theirs hookahs from the royal boxes. The king kept patting his son’s back for finally becoming a man. The royal ladies kept on admiring the fineries they wore and finally after three hours all of them dispersed.

The minister of defense remarked to the minister of finance, “I could not see the dance, maybe I had too much wine “, the minister of finance replied, “I also could not see the dance, but the wine you are right was very fine”.

The villagers asked each other “Bhaiya! Naach dekha kya? Hame nazar nahi aya, agli baar agey baithna padega”.

The truth was that the troupe never arrived, they were stuck outside the walls of the city. They all knew that something was wrong on the stage and yet kept their silence. No one wanted to be called an idiot for not being able to see the dance, what if only I feel there is something wrong?

This is the truth about democracy, we all know something is going wrong up on the stage of country and yet we choose to remain silence. We have remained silent when Delhi got bombed, we remained silent when Jaipur was bombed, we remained silent when Ajmal Kasab and his colleagues shot our friends partying in the Taj, the Leopold Café and the Trident.

We watched them firing with AK-47s on Mumbai Police and applauded them for their bravery. We now mourn this as a tragedy as India’s 9/11 as a turning point in India’s modern history. But, is it really? Even today another such attack can happen in any city and at any given point in time. You can walk into those new big swanky malls in Saket with bags full of RDX in your cars, all you need is money to buy a Honda City or a even more swankier car. New Delhi Railway Station can be blown away train by train, platform by platform, because three policemen who almost half interestedly ask you to let them frisk their bags and if you refuse they let you go away.

We all know things are going wrong and we let them go like that, hoping that the terrorists don’t strike us again. Why won’t they? They declared war on us, they declared war on 100 crore plus army of Indians, they are probably some four or five lakh jehadis. In war, Sun Tzu says there are only two choices either you attack or get attacked, the choice is up to you. Truly, it’s our choice, either we fight them with everything we have or let them attack us with everything they have.

But, you probably won’t do anything except talk for India, or go for a stupid candle light march and show you “solidarity” or if you are too busy for that you will indulge yourself in the hours of news television special reports on 26/11. Kudos to you all lets buy more candles, because even at this time LeT and Al Qaeda are preparing for another attack and the news channels are preparing for another special report which will earn them crores in advertisement revenues.

So should we talk for India? Or should we actually do something which gives us an upper hand in this war? The choice is yours.

Ishaan Bhardwaj

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