Sunday, November 30, 2008

"They" are responsible

Who are they? Why do they do it? How can we counter it? Who is responsible? Umpteen such questions come up in our minds each time the perpetrators of terror strike. Their attacks seem to take up ever more brazen and unprecedented forms every single time. The latest one at Mumbai has shaken up the people of the entire nation, even the world. We shout in anger. We whine in disgust. We live in insecurity. We blame the government. We castigate the politicians.

Much of what we say is right. But then, in the name of resilience, we get back to living life the way we used to. Nothing changes. We wait for the next instance of terror, which does not take much more than a few months now, to revert back to the same sequence of responses. We only passively respond to events as and when they happen. We are reactive. We are not proactive. But then one might ask "What can I do about it?". Therein lies the problem. Everybody seems to place a self-defined and insurmountable limit on the impact that one, as an individual, can have. Yes. We under-estimate ourselves. We are diffident by nature. We always think "they" are the ones who should take action. We can come up with a long list of do's and dont's for our politicians, government officials, armed forces and many others. Where is the corresponding set of prescriptions for the self? Ask yourself.

Do you even exercise one of your very fundamental rights and duties as a citizen of this country - the right to vote? It is an astonishing fact that the vast majority of the educated class in the world's largest democracy does not vote. They do not try and have an influence on the process of electing the government. I'm glad if you do not happen to be one of them. Do you stay alert about your surroundings? Do you report about any suspicious objects or persons to the police? In fact, do you even know the contact number for your nearest police station or hospital? We think we shouldn't get ourselves tangled with such things. We maintain a "safe" distance. Are you willing to pay the extra price of inconvenience for the sake of security checks? We say "Come on, I'm a respectable citizen. You shouldn't be checking my baggage or my car". Do you write to the authorities apprising them about your grievances? We dont make our opinions heard at the right forums.

Depending on who we are, there are several different ways in which we could spring to action in various walks of our daily life. But we choose to stay laid back. We have our own lives to live, families to take care of, and businesses to mind. So, we hope "they" will do something. Sadly, "they" are from among us and much like us.


  1. I agree! well written...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. "They" wont dare to enter tamil nadu atleast... Cos ter "He" the terror awaits!! :)

  4. @ harish
    Do you mean to say that the police in Tamil Nadu is very well equipped to handle terrorism? I hope that is true.

  5. Ramrajvi's comment received via email:

    Well articulated blog. But after giving much thought to it, I personally think that it is not as simple (Its much like "murgi pehle ayi ya anda?"). Not that i dont agree with you, and i believe citizens should surely take it upon themselves to religiously do all the things that you've mentioned and many others that you've not ; but look at the bigger picture. Dont you think that the leadership (or the lack of it) is a even greater challenge? I mean JFK said "Ask what you can do for your country and not what your country can do for you". Now tell me which Indian political leader will dare to say it? All the things that you've mentioned (that are required of us to do) have to be inbuilt in our national conscience and life. These are very basic things. But then why many amongst us feel "sala ek baar military rule laga do. sab theek ho jayega". Now why do want military to discipline you? This is the worst possible and unfortunate use of our nation's forces. So who will impart these basic values amonsgts us? Who will tell us "You want security? OK. Vote for me. I will give you security. But you'll have to got thru rigorous check at the railway station. For that you'll be required to arrive 1.5 hours before you trains departure". Who will say "You will be supposed to carry your ID proof / Vehicle registration document wherever you go or else i'll put you behind bars"

    I know now you will say that only that leader will afford to say/do this who will be harbouring no political ambition beyond 1 term in office (A captain is as good as his team).

    But this is the need of the hour. We need to be diciplined and we need that kind of a leader. No matter how unpopular it might be, people (doesnt matter if they are few in number) will be able to appreciate it, only if they see it happen to them. I know people still rever those days of emergency when trains ran on time.

    Where is such a leader???????????????

  6. @ Ramrajvi

    Thanks for the detailed response. Obviously you've thought deeply about the issue, as many of us have, in the last few days. As you pointed out, there are several different perspectives of looking at it. There is no single solution that would work. It has to be a concerted effort of the entire populace, everybody in their own small or big way has to contribute. I hope this is the watershed event that causes that revolution in the people's consciousness. Yes, we need and we deserve better leaders. And those leaders have to come from among us because we've seen that the present ones are no good.

    Jai Hind

  7. Avinash Sahoo's comment received via email:

    Dear Lalit,

    I am not able to post in your blog page.Hence I am 'posting' my views here itself.
    1) We are responsible. Because of laziness and ignorance towards duty of citizenship, we don't vote and in effect bring lazy people to power.
    2) Rich and (not or) corrupt people are responsible as they vote those who will bring profit to them, without thinking of state's and/or nation's interests.
    3) All those are responsible who don't have control over their senses.They harm ,exploit
    commit atrocities on helpless people.This action leads to reaction in terms of terrorism.
    4) Since action precedes reaction, there is no point in holding terrorists responsible. Each is getting the reaction of his/her action. So steps like having tight security, having strict laws, remaining alert can act only as temporary balm . We should ensure that no body is harmed, discriminated against so that no human mind from now on will try to seek revenge. This way, future 'flux' of terrorism can be eliminated. For present 'flux' of terrorism, temporary balm may be a quick-fix solution.


  8. @ Avinash

    Insightful remarks, Avinash. I particularly agree with the fourth point as it adds a new dimension to the whole argument. We need to get to the root of the issue, that of why people take to terrorism. We need to nip it at the bud. Trying to protect ourselves after the monster as grown fully is only, as Avinash said, a quick-fix solution.

  9. Its a very well written thought provoking article,My dear son I feel that...
    -Firstly All the concerned forces and countries shd come together and take drastic steps like destroying all the terrorists training camps!
    -Secondly while it is still a burning issue ,there shd be a psychological warfare, a propoganda among people to make them realise that violence and terrorism can only boomerang on them again
    Thirdly Moral Science in schools and colleges shd be taken seriously to catch them young and instill with human values and sense of duty,in short a strong conscience which is in very much shortage in today's world
    Fourthly and most important everyone not only start identifying the right people to be elected as leaders one among us shd find the guts to join our country's ruling governance .I know its one of the hardest professions!But seeing the supine governance dont u think its high time young gutsy morally sound persons shd be at helm!
    I wish with my whole heart that I could do something.After all I am a very much ordinary housewife!
    Before I sign off I am proud to say selflessness in our country in our societystill exists as displayed by police,jawans and also ordinary human folks!!!!It reinforces our flagellating confidence in humanity!
    Hoping and you and your ilk will bring a glimmer of hope among all the people!

  10. Very well said Lalit. Keep writing. Just for your information there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section ' 49-O' that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn't want to vote anyone!

    Yes !!!!!!!!!!!! !! such a feature is available, but obviously these leaders have never disclosed it. This is called 49-O in Constitution of India

    Why should you go and say ' I VOTE NOBODY'
    ... because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received '49-O' votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled.
    Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them.

    This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election.
    This would change the way of our whole political system.... it is seemingly surprising why the Election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public....

    A wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India ....
    Showing your power by expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting... so don't miss your chance.

    So either vote, or vote 'not to vote (vote 49-O)'
    Use your voting right for a better INDIA.

    Above is an extract from a forward I received which is going around.

    Thanks to your mom Jyoti, who is very proud of you. In fact she told us about this post. We are proud that you are the son of a Malakapram KVian.

    Keep it up!

  11. @ Mama

    Thanks a ton for those thoughtful remarks :-)
    To have the honour of my mom commenting on my blog post - well I think I should be one of the elite few!

    @ Pankaj
    Thank you for your kind words and for the information regarding section '49-O'.

  12. 49-0 isn't very likely to succeed in a country where sentiments and not accountability more often than not decide who the vote is cast in favor of.
    Of course, it's only appropriate for all to know about the existence of such a statute.
    And I completely agree with whatever it is that has been written in the post. I've been guilty of some of the things mentioned therein. I hope not to repeat them. And this is one thing that I can do to make our country a safe place.
    Well written.

  13. Nice post! The main problem is that, people are not ONE. Most of the people choose to divide themselves in to groups...instead of just being Indian and fighting to make it better.