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.