December 31, 2008
December 26, 2008
Of course there was the added joy of Vijender Kumar and Sushil Kumar, our boxers from Bhiwani, picking up India's first boxing medals at the Olympics. It was equally heart-warming to see Vishwanathan Anand emerge stronger and claim the undisputed World Championship in chess.
The global financial meltdown which has already caused tremendous hardship to many by erosion in net worth and loss of jobs and employment would be the catastrophe of the century. It is variously estimated to be graver and more severe than the great depression of 1930s. Many iconic centuries old financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Citigroup, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae just wilted in the aftershocks of this grave crisis. Analysts anticipate this crisis to last over 3-5 years in the west. However China and India appear to be somewhat better-placed to cope, considering their large populations and growing, domestic consumption-driven economies.
So I feel 2008 would go down as a highly forgettable year in our collective memory. A year which need not have been.
December 25, 2008
The Pakistani media is largely irrelevant in the current scenario since we can not be sure of its objectivity. The establishment has reduced the once independent media to a mere propaganda arm of the state apparatus. Some good stories do emerge from time to time that provide a ray of hope like the story on the surviving terrorist's home, family and village elders etc and the Nawaz Sharif interview where he accepted that the surviving terrorist, Ajmal Kasav was a Pakistani national and his family was in isolation and their village cordoned off and out of bounds of world media.
One has just to see the glaring anomalies in the state's positions which have shifted faster than sand dunes in a desert storm. Any self-respecting and truly patriotic Pakistani must be hanging his head in shame at the brazenness of the Pakistani establishment.
One day the Pakistan government wants evidence of Pakistani nationals' involvement from India. The evidence that results in the JuD being branded a terrorist organisation by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and banned worldwide also forces Pakistan government to claim arrest of the JuD leader, sealing of their offices and freezing of their bank accounts. But to them that is still not evidence enough.
When Ajmal's father acknowledges to the media that Ajmal is indeed his son even that is not evidence enough. Zardari and Gilani and their assorted lackeys go to extremely untenable positions saying one thing one day and contradicting themselves, and many times other spokesmen, the next day.
No sensible observer of world events has any doubt whatsoever that the ISI is deeply involved in the affairs of LeT / JuD and its personnel are manning these organisations to wage a low cost war on India while the Pakistan government continues to hide behind the fig leag of non-state actors may be involved.
I think the time has come to call Pakistan's bluff. If India does not act decisively now this menace would not die. The Indian politician must stop playing the Muslim card. I sincerely hope the likes of A.R.Antulay get a well deserved kick on the back. Such guys need to understand that this is the time to play the India card.
Uncle Sam needs to ensure that denial does not become an instrument of foreign policy of the Pakistan state. If that happens, then the government of Pakistan would be responsible for the ensuing destruction and for denying its citizens the right to life and liberty since they would be pitted against the might of the civilized forces of the world who at this juncture seem well and truly behind India.
December 8, 2008
- That ten terrorists arrived unhindered and managed to land at the Gateway of India shows without any doubt that somewhere someone who was supposed to guard our shores goofed up. We need to identify and hold accountable the people concerned and if there is an iota of doubt about their motives they should be penalized.
- The Taj & Oberoi Trident staff have shown remarkable courage in extremely trying times. We must appreciate that they were not trained to handle this kind of a situation and hence must be recognized and suitably rewarded.
- This attack and its aftermath have shown to us the true character of our politicians. Some of the placards which one has seen at various rallies in Mumbai and around the country show the utter contempt that a vast majority of the Indian people have for this class. It should goad the political parties to introspect. They must try to make amends in the general elections that are fast approaching by fielding men of a nationalistic fibre who would rise above partisan politics in times of national crisis and refrain from politiking in calamities.
- Some renowned columnists have written about their childhood memories of the grandeur of The Taj. Many have gone to great lengths bragging about how they discovered the joys of 'The Wasabi', 'The Tiffin', 'The Ocean Bar', 'The Zodiac Grill' and so on. One columnist went on to write about an unsubstantiated story of a waiter offering the appropriate wine glasses to a white guest who when hostage inside the hotel whisked away some rare wine for consumption when the hotel was burning. Can one say anything to these trivia mongers disguised as celebrity columnists who I guess are just trying to earn some brownie points with the owners of the two hotels so that they can wrangle some invites when these hotels re-open. All of this so that these celebrity trivial writers can get sloshed on some expensive and prized spirits and wines for free.
- That we lost our top cops just as the battle of Mumbai started shows we need to ask serious questions about hierarchy and line of command in our armed forces. It is akin to losing the army chief in the first half hour of a war. Why should they have visited the site so soon. That the inferior equipment used by them offered no protection is a national shame. It is a sin that we can not wash away in a million years.
- There are technologies, such as 'Snifex' available, that can detect even a millionth of a gram of almost all known types of explosives. Why were these systems not in place in The Taj & The Oberoi hotels should be investigated? These hotels are known to charge upwards of Rs. 25,000 per room night and over Rs. 2,000 per head for a meal sans liquor. If they can't afford it for their top customers it is unreasonable to expect the Government of India to install it in public places ?
If a serious effort is made to find answers which have so far evaded public eye, I am sure we may be able to prepare better and see terrorism being thwarted in future.
December 2, 2008
Delhi state assembly elections happened in the midst of the Mumbai terror attacks. The jihadi elements who caused so much devastation and death at The Taj Hotel were still engaged in a fierce battle with the NSG Commandos and a fight to the finish was underway when polling started on Saturday 29th Nov 2008 at 8:00 AM.
Delhities were out in large numbers to vote. The voter turnout was over 60% which was almost 6% higher than the last assembly elections.
Coupled with the anti-incumbency mood arising out of the Mumbai terror attacks and the insensitive effort to exploit the death and destruction of Mumbai in the fag end of the Congress media campaign was the huge daily distress caused to hundreds of thousand commuters, by the hare-brained BRT traffic management system. These are sure to lead the Shiela Dixit led Congress government in Delhi out of office. Psephologists predict a keen contest with the BJP but I feel BJP will romp home with some help from the independents.
I hope the expected rout of Congress in Delhi would be a lesson to the likely new BJP led dispensation that you can not afford to ignore the public sentiment.
Let it be known that the people want career politicians and not dynastic politics. We deserve accountability and transparency in public life. We alos need a just and fair civic society that believes in live and let live. Divisive politics must end. We do not want another basket case of a failed state like Pakistan ruled by feudal families who continue with mindsets of the 16th century in the 21st century.
In this information age, we the people of India would not allow that.
December 1, 2008
The memory of the dead is not served well by our politicians. Mouthing platitudinous comments like ‘we have provided incontrovertible evidence of LeT’s involvement to the government of Pakistan’ is of little significance. In the past too, India has provided the international community with ample evidence of the involvement of LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the like in similar terror strikes. It is naïve, rather stupid of us to believe that the rogue elements within the fast-Talibanizing society in Pakistan, spearheaded by the demonic ISI will call a halt to their nefarious designs to destabilize India.
It is high time we wake up and smell the coffee. We need to first understand what we are up against before we can declare a war on terror. We are up against a failed state, which under the garb of democracy propagates feudalism, which in the last 60 years of its independence has failed on all parameters of development, which is woefully devoid of industry and economically so weak that it can not even pay for two weeks of its imports and now seeks to confuse its citizens with the ultimate opiate “even India is no better” so that they do not revolt and the ruling elite continues its dynastic rule for generations to come.
It is time we decided enough is enough and gave hot pursuit to the rogues who cause death and destruction in Indian cities including those behind the recent Mumbai attacks. We need to show that the benign sleeping giant has awakened. That India of today is a mighty and self-respecting nation, who refuses to allow the likes of ISI, LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed to kill even one Indian and all efforts of disrupting our lives will be dealt with firmly. They would only understand strong and decisive action, not mild and veiled threats. Only a strong adversary gets respect in present times and we need to show we are strong and capable. If we do not act decisively now we would forever be consigned to living our lives in fear.
The political leadership knows all that needs to be done. Any more advice is meaningless. Any effort by them of obfuscating matters by appointing empowered teams of experts to help in deciding the government’s response will meet with a terrible backlash from Indian society. Rahul Gandhi was spot on when he said he did not want India to be seen as a nation of Wimps.
Sh. Man Mohan Singh should disregard the advice of Sh. Pranab Mukherjee, India’s External Affairs Minister who said a war between two nuclear states can be catastrophic. It just goes to show how out of sync with India of today he is. The youth of India would be willing to die in a do-or-die nuclear war with Pakistan if need be but hate to die meaningless death at the hands of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.
The message of the youth of India is clear. Either carry the battle to Pakistan’s backyard or make way for a leadership that understands the youth of today. The ruling party needs to pick up the signals fast or else the young people of India would speak in a deafening roar at the next elections.