What Next? What Now?

“ Ai dil hai mushkil jeena yahan, ye hai Bombay, ye hai Bombay, ye hai Bombay meri jaan!”When lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote this song, he never would have even dreamt that these lines would be literally applicable to all the citizens of Mumbai (then Bombay) in the most horrific sense.

After surviving communal riots, blasts and now a most unprecedented ‘attack’ on humanity, life in Mumbai sure is uncertain. In fact, life in general is probably the most uncertain thing today. Be it Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkatta or any other city, Indians are vulnerable. I guess vulnerability is also an understatement.,

The entire nation witnessed a massacre with great shock and grief, and has been despising every bit of political muck that accompanied it. It seems now, more than ever, that all the politicians care about is ‘holding power’ and the citizens care for nothing more than a sincere effort by those who rule. The people who should have taken responsibility have shirked from doing so, having come armed with the most preposterous excuses, while some have not even bothered to respond.

‘Political agenda’, and thats that – the sole focus area. As I write this piece, it continuously occurs to me how futile even this criticism has become.

After the carnage, the most important question is — What Now?
The security forces did a brilliant job of handling the scenario (under the given circumstances); though they should have been able to avoid it altogether. A whole new Pandora’s box gets opened, once we begin to question our preparedness. Now leaving aside the ‘not-so-useful’ leaders of the world’s greatest democracy at their own whims and fancies, what should be our next step?

How do we, the citizens, ensure that tomorrow we are not subjected to another ‘26/11’?

Well for starters, it would be worth reminding that even though we are all segregated on a geographic scale, but we still share the same fear, the same rage, the same hope, the same helplessness… In this respect we are still united. The SMSes that have been doing rounds furously in the entire country are a proof to this.

Ideally, what we probably need is a radical step like a Complete Boycott! Yes, boycotting the very functioning of the nation can possibly be the one loud echo (louder than the unheard cries of those who suffer) which we need to stir the indolent power mongers.

What should be done is ensure that we are equipped enough to fight. The only way to make that possible is by making military training compulsory for all those who graduate from school. This way we can at least provide a powerful weapon of self-defence to the youth, which, if required (god forbid) could be put to use.

Another very major requirement is of some drastic reforms in the police force. We need to empower our police to an extent that it can match up to the level of ‘organised terrorism’ that we have to face. We cannot afford to lose precious gems of the force like the way we have in the recent past. It is high time we demand action and make sure that assumes a more consistent form, which does not only happen after some attacks have happened In fact, not only the police, even the defence forces in general need to be given more importance. It is very ironic but the army men in our country are quite underpaid as compared to other public service officers. It might not appear to be such an issue, but it does have a lasting affect. There is a dearth of young blood that wishes to join the forces and one of the major reasons is the remuneration..The security forces need immediate attention and reforms, not just on paper but in reality as well.

It is time to become proactive. We keep repairing the damage, stitching the wounds and trying to heal the wounds. But now we need to secure the vulnerability and make it our strength. We need to wake up and identify what is lacking, then find a solution and implement it. Our silence has been presumed to be our weakness and our patience as our helplessness. But no more. Enough is Enough! And we need to convey that now, before the nation ‘moves on’ and the people adjust.

Let us not forget, we are a nation with great potential and we must not let it go to waste.

We must not succumb to the belief that this is ‘inevitable’. As long as we wish to let it seem inevitable, it will remain so, but the day we decide to finally act, change is what we will see and hopefully for the better.

The worst has happened and we should not wait anymore.

Meghna Baveja

[Image Source: http://a.abcnews.com/images/International/rt_shooting_6_081126_ssh.jpg]