Arindam Chaudhuri
[December, 2008]

Just as I was about to write this editorial, in the Times Now channel, a young man among those thousands who had gathered this evening near the Gateway Of India, said in the most unabashed manner, which typically reflected the mood of India now. He said in clear terms that he simply doesn’t understand what Manmohan Singh speaks and that he would rather prefer to die fighting a war than to die while dining in a hotel with his family. Just beside him was a placard in which was written, "A nation of lions led by donkeys". The person stated that as a layman, he knew that there are terrorist camps in PoK, but couldn’t fathom why the Government of India was not doing anything about the issue, instead of begging to Pakistan. The man continued that a country like Bangladesh, which got its independence from India, is now becoming the biggest nemesis of India, sending Huji terrorists across the border every other day for terror attacks in Assam and West Bengal. What that young man was stating clearly indicated the present sentiments of India, which is laden with betrayal and anger. And why should it not be? For long, the self serving and spineless political class of this country has remained silent, presuming that aft er every terror attack, with time, the timid people of this country would soon forget about the same. And it is this presumption of indifferent, visionless, selfish and self-serving political leadership of this country that made them such a disgusting proposition. No doubt, the people of this country have seen enough. And with Mumbai, each and every citizen of this country feels even more cheated and betrayed. Betrayal to such an extent that in this ghastly attack, other than the invaluable lives of innocent citizens, the nation has also lost the lives of three of its brightest and most respected police officers, along with 11 others. Anger is evident, for these police officers – namely Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar – died in spite of wearing bullet-proof jackets, indicating the extent of corruption involved in the procurement of the bullet-proof jackets, and their quality, which could not even withstand bullets from a rifle!! What else does one expect from the crass political and administrative class, which has made money from fodder to coffins and from guns to bullet proof jackets!!!

In fact, reasons for anger and anguish are multifold and pertinent, and should never die down. Perhaps in no other country can the police constable of a financial capital be forced to fight with 0.303 vintage rifles from World War-II against highly trained terrorists armed with the most sophisticated AK-47 rifles. Perhaps in no other country would it take nine hours for its elite special forces to arrive for rescue operations... allowing people to die, just in the meanwhile. And all these happen because in this very country, in the name of police modernisation, state governments have looted the exchequer to buy expensive cars for charge-sheeted ministers and bureaucrats; and for some worthless and criminal Chief Ministers, who can move around with near 300-plus security personnel and convoys of scores of cars, while the citizens of India remain virtually unprotected.

No way should this anguish subside by the words emanating from the government now. Opportunistic and power hungry people who have always played the divisive games of caste, religion, populism and regionalism, are simply acting because the government itself is at stake and chances are high, that if the media and people at large reduce their pressure, the very same self-serving political class would simply allow things to mellow down and look the other way, for none of those at the helm of affairs have either the intent, courage or conviction to take the perpetrators by their horns. Our politicians have proved themselves enough. What more! As a gesture of mere tokenism, a few ministers have been asked to resign from their posts, rather than being arrested and put behind bars for miserably failing in their duties.

While I write this, I feel fortunate to be alive, for I was supposed to take a seminar on behalf of Planman Media on the fateful day of November 26, 2008. I still shiver when I recall that the venue was booked at The Oberoi Towers, topmost floor. It was on account of our CEO, Abhimanyu Ghosh, who requested me to cancel and postpone the seminar to some other later date, so that we all could celebrate his son Krishna’s (divine intervention I guess!) first birthday together on November 27, 2008 in Delhi. Today, me and my Planman Media team (who were supposed to be there on that day), looking back, feel thankful to Destiny for saving us. But unfortunately, the others present there were not so fortunate enough.

And that is the shocking reality today, that the citizens of this country are safe only by divine intervention and not by the existing shameless, blood sucking vampires in the form of our political class.
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