By Isheeta Sanghi
There isn’t one emotion that I am feeling that’s significantly more overbearing the others. I feel hurt, angered, sad, disappointed, and awestruck. What happened last week in the financial capital of India was horrific.
As the events unfolded all the news channels sparked debates, calling in significant Mumbaikers to come and speak on behalf of the city. Everyone was outraged. And why shouldn’t they be? These attacks took place in such significant places; such prominent symbols of Mumbai were attacked.
Of course the finger is always pointed to a particular sect and a particular country even before hard evidence is available. Then the finger pointed towards certain members of the government. The inexcusable remark made by Maharashtra’s RR Patil ‘Such things happen in big cities like Mumbai’ only made people’s anger and resentment grow deeper for the ever corrupting government.
Then you have Vilasrao Deshmukh bringing his Bollywood star son and notorious filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma to the scene of the siege- and people’s anger grew even more. His defense is that Ritesh is his son- it’s the famous line that all politicians use and why the Indian government is so corrupt. Civilians were not allowed in the hotel and Ritesh and RGV are civilians- they are not above the law of the land.
The home minister very conveniently retired upon the news of this attack- he enjoyed the benefits of being a Minister, of having high security and all. When it came down to doing his job which is ensuring the safety of a population of over 1.5 billion people, he failed, he failed miserably. This is not the first attack to happen in India. We’ve been targeted many times before, 1993 the Mumbai blasts that claimed the lives of so many. In 2008 itself we had blasts in Bangalore, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Malegaon. It’s no secret that these were all overlooked- probably because they happened in ‘less significant’ areas. The burning of the hotel by the bay, where the most prominent dignitaries, politicians, actors and socialites all convene hits closer to home for most.
How was it that these terrorists came in on little boats? How could the Indian coast guard not have seen these men carrying so much ammunition, grenades, RDX and guns on a small little boat? Needless to say it’s time for change. It’s time to clean up the political structure that has for too long now reeked of corruption- all the way from the top down. Prominent players must step down in order for a more useful system to be put in place. It is not only Mumbai that has been attacked- it is India. It is not only Mumbai that is bleeding- it is India that has those very same wounds.
It’s very easy to say change, change, change but in the end action must take place. I think it’s a very good sign that certain politicians have stepped down, I think it’s a very good sign that we’re still talking about this days after the attack, I think it’s (sadly) a very good sign that celebrities are taking part in discussions. This is the world we live in- where if Amitabh Bachchan has a gun, everyone will want a gun. If John Abraham says smoking is bad, people might just stop smoking. Sadly, this is what it takes for us to get the message. And if in the end this is what it takes to secure the nation’s boarders- air, land- and sea, then so be it.
Isheeta Sanghi moved back from San Diego to New Delhi recently.