Friday, November 28, 2008

#Mumbai: Some Thoughts

Yes, you all know how the last 50+ hours were, and that stuff is still going on.

I am still under shock, and therefore might be incoherent, not unlike Grover.

However, here is something I will say, for now [a comment I wrote here]. More later.


I do believe that with this mass-murder, the terrorists have crossed a line:
1. This was televised live for a looong time. Enough to make all Indians feel the pinch.
2. A wide range of people were killed, from the Greek shipping mogul to the poor laborer who had missed his train at VT. I myself am only 2 hops away from someone who died. Again, something to make all Indians feel the pinch.
3. The attacked Americans, Britons, and Israelis: wrong move. I sincerely hope this leads to a)pressure from these countries on Pakistan to hand over those responsible [and perhaps support to India if we choose hot pursuit], and more importantly, b)cooperation in forensic investigation with the overworked and underpaid Indian police so they do not end up with the usually shoddy job that they do after each attack and then try to cover up their mistakes with fake encounters etc.

I like the 2 year mandatory military training idea. In fact, I would like it better if the [increased in strength] army was then responsible for running schools and other social projects where they were posted. A roundabout way to get “teach for america” running in India, but just might work.

Of course, our collective reactions over the next few weeks will determine whether we have learnt our lessons and will start demanding performance from our politicians, or keep up with our usual chalta-hai attitude and deserve another attack.

Yes, I said ‘deserve’. I am mad, at us :-| .


So, what is the silver lining? I believe that this is the right opportunity for a leader to rise (not a shackled one, not one with blood on his record, not the usual populist ones).

Lesson to learn: do NOT trust politicians, not in their current forms. Demand concrete plans for them. Not vague statements ["we will take care of it"], and not knee-jerk ill-thought grandstanding ["we will bring back POTA/TADA and kill all terrorists"].

Demand them to tell us what specifically they will do, and how exactly it is different from the state of the art.

Hoping that this shocking incident jolts us public to start behaving like reviewers of top journals,



  1. Well, this one was pointed out by greatbong (

    “The wicked designs of terrorists will be thwarted boldly and their attempts will be foiled,” Shivraj Patil told reporters at the Sawai Man Singh hospital in Jaipur.

    This is in May. And of course, I am sure they'll do the same this time too.

    It's time for some good strong willed men to take up politics. Mr Pathak, are you listening ?

  2. It's sad that our world has come to a place were we only learn our lesson after a terrorist attack has occured..... and I'm not sure that is even the case.... look at the US and 9/11 -> Irak ?

    I'm sorry for what your country has been suffering in the past few days (in addition to what it suffers every day).... I have lately been reading some very very worrying news about the drug war going on and how it's growing more dangerous and randomly violent by the minute in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico and it seems both our countries are bleeding right now.... :(


  3. @Fned: Indeed, it is very sad, and the country should come together much like after 9/11. And yes, I surely hope that this unity is not misused, as it was for the PATRIOT act and the Iraq war. And yes, the drug war stories scare me too :-|.

    @Harshit: You mean Dr. Pathak, I presume ;). Indeed, the thought is tempting, but my feasibility analysis so far returns an error. Thanks for the faith in me.

    How about T.N.Seshan?