Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Showing Solidarity with 26/11

[update: Image now based on official Indian Flag Pantone colors]

A year has passed since the terrible events of 26/11/2008, when Mumbai was attacked by terrorists, and a billion people held hostage next to their TV sets for days.

And I still ask myself this question:

"What did _I_ do in this past year to help prevent the recurrence of such tragedies?"

Sadly, I don't have a satisfactory answer. Will need to introspect more.

and of course, there is the corollary:

"What will I do in the _next year_ towards that goal?"

While I seek answers to the questions above, here is what I have done for today. I have updated my profile pictures everywhere to the image below (thanks a lot to Raj for making the image)

So go ahead, feel free to right click -> save as, and use as your own profile pic.

/not sure what else to say.


  1. Some very valid points in this article:

    Let me know what you think.

  2. Varun: Thanks for the pointer. The article indeed raises some valid points. Here is my take.

    - 9/11 was America's first huge terror attack, not same for India
    - The fervor that followed in the US also had several terrible consequences
    - Indians have reacted differently
    - The current situation is no better, and the blame lies both with politicians and apathetic people
    - Candle-light vigils are useless, since they are not usually accompanied by a post-event action plan, and hence don't give results.
    - Staying 'angry' or 'sad' won't help.

    - "why the exhortations to 'never forget'?".
    All I can say to the author is "because if you forget the lessons history teaches you, it will bite you in the ass again, you fucking moron!"

    Sorry for being colorful here Varun, but I despise the tone of this article, which clubs together _all_ reactions to the tragedy, from the reactionary and fleeting to the well-thought and long-term, into one. Even the last line "it affected[and affects] us differently. Can we not leave it at that?" seems to me like an excuse for inaction.

    You, of all people, know that my call to "never forget" was not a blind aping of the media-frenzy which was copying the US. It was accompanied by an intensely-thought plan. To see him paint all reactions with such a wide brush pains me.

    In fact, I am not asking _him_ to not forget, but _I_ will not forget, and I definitely feel that till now, the reason we have had attacks after attacks, is because we keep forgetting!

    Your house gets broken into because you had no lock, you don't forget! You go do something about it. Buy a bigger lock. Figure out why people are thieves. Something. 'Coz if you do nothing, sooner or later you _will_ get robbed again. That is the cost one pays for forgetting.

    So all I can say is, I agree with 99% of the article, but his attempt to sneak in the remaining 1% fills me with nothing short of seething anger.

    See, I am angry. _I_ have not forgotten. And I have a sad feeling that if we stay like this, soon we will have a new incident to "remember".


  3. The point is, you have not forgotten, along with you about 99 crore people also have not forgotten. so what?

    i got some email about some candle light march in banglore 2 weeks back, my only question to that guy was. So what? You are not achieving anything by burning candles, all you are doing is increasing green house gases and practically nothing else.

    Although US says sorry for opening gautemala prison bay and likewise torture facilities, it will also someday say that war on afghan was a bad decision. But someday if US again has such a situation, it will again do the same thing, no matter what!!

    Its all a game of balls. Bush was born with strong enough balls to take revenge with the people who hurt his country and its people. Sadly no one made Narendra modi the prime minister in India.

    All we have the guts to do, is light some candles, sit on the river banks and make strategic poses so that the tv and newspapers covering the candle light protest gets a close pic and we can ask all out chunnu munnu mausa mausi and everyone we know to see us on TeeeVeee

  4. Khanna,
    There is a large middle ground between lighting candles for photo ops and declaring war.

    One such attempt is

    And you also got an email some days ago asking for your ideas on what we all can do. How about responding to that with a clear note on what YOU will do?


  5. @ Abhishek bhaiya,

    All such things (lightening candles etc.) are not useless bhaiya. Let me give you an example: We all know about tragic murder of our alumnus Mr. M. K. Gupta. We all felt bad and were angry but there is our alumnus, Vish 79 batch, who is in my gtalk list. He has been keeping a status till now of a link pointing to the online petition started after that murder. When I see it every once in a while, it reminds me of the tragedy and stir me. Although I can't do much to bring justice to Gupta sir's family but it inspire me to fight against injustice.

    Regarding difference in behavior of US and India:
    We must realize that condition in both US and India are different. People in US are leaving a quality life but in India people are fighting with each other for basic amenities. You can't expect people, who can't make their living to show their patriotism or fight back and neither can our government as they are ruling a developing country facing so many problems. War won't help our country and we, citizens, will curse our government later, just like people in US are doing. Its not about balls, its about being practical and realistic. So, we can't just can't compare the reaction of Indians and Americans.

    So, we first need to make a strong nation by learning the lessons from past tragedies and how can these be avoided, how each and every single can help. We are living in an environment where we struggle for basic facilities and are ought to FORGET but such efforts (lightening candles or will keep on reminding us!

  6. All: I was pointed yesterday to this very well-written article on this topic.

    Varun: I feel this does a MUCH better job in explaining why India's reaction has not been similar to US's as compared to the IE one.

    Khanna: It also does a nice job of explaining why our situation is different from Israel's, and how exactly the admin. in Pakistan is dragging its feet.

    Devender: You will find it interesting. The reasons are similar to the ones you presented.

  7. Anonymous7:02 AM


  8. Thanks very much for this link Amit.

    All: If you have trouble clicking that link, try this

  9. @Animesh

    Just saw that the discussion has gone forward.

    I think you won't be able to gauge the context of that article i posted, and my bad that i should've given some. The media frenzy as we approached 26/11/09 was much above cacophony. It was madness of a level we have NEVER seen earlier. I won't be wrong if I say that TV News channels were at a higher pitch than 26/11/08's.

    There was so much 'never forget' happening that I can very well empathise with the tone of the article.

    That said, i don't think the article at any point advocates 'inaction' or ridicules genuine actions. In fact, i think the article only ridicules inaction, and at the same time tries to put things in perspective. It's more like 'We deserve this' tone for me, and if it angers some people than that's even better. No?

    Will read the other links posted and comment, if anything new.

  10. Varun: When you give me the context, it makes more sense. However, I expect a well-written piece in the IE to properly introduce the premise, and stress it strongly enough. The article, while standing up for individuals who want to forget, and making a valid case against the TV channels who want to "not forget" for commercial and TRP reasosn, completely forgets the individuals who have chosen to not forget, and indeed have tried to do stuff about which they care. In the absence of that missing piece, the article surely looks like making a case for apathy.

    That is why I LOVED the NYTimes post and the link to Prem P's blog posted by Amit (Varma?!!). In my opinion, they do a much better job than the IE piece. I hope you are soon able to take time out to read them.

    Also, another gem on this topic is by Jug Suraiya: We never forgive, but we always forget. And he makes the same case as I do, that if we forget, we will have to endure the same horrors again.