With lots of celebrated column writers/reporters and the 'learned blah blah' emanating from them on the recent "Mumbai Siege" , my opinion does not matter. Still, I can use the current celebrity overcast sky to, add a few drops from my side too - unnoticed.
First and formost, lets get a clear picture of ouselves. We are Indians. We were sitting ducks. We are and we will be. Having got our basics right, let us not be in a hurry to put things right.
Nothing is going to change.
Our endeavour hence shall be to take a stroll along the "Mumbai Siege" , making some unhurried and leisurely observations, here and there, and to enjoy ourselves while we happen to be still alive.
Any well trained soldier/personnel ( eg:NSG Commandos) can do the things that the terrorists did. Infact You and I can do it with the right kind of engineering of our psyches (to turn us into psychos), the physique anyhow may not matter as we will be heavily armed and also since we will be dying eventually. Stealth, political /logistic backing, wickedness, irresponsibility, a head strong ideology (right or wrong) and a long list of the so called "bad things" in this world shall add to the armoury. With the "nothing to lose" and "aggrieved" feelings to boot, the modern terrorist is made . They had all these and more.
"Yes in a way".
(Iam not in that band wagon who celebrate Chatrapathi Sivaji's violence and denounce that of the others. I also dont fall into that group which sings praises of Gandhiji's non-violence while wanting to attack Pakistan, though the second one rather appeals to me much. To sum it up, I dont know which group I fall into.)
Anyway, Yes they were brave - in a way. Brave in a blind way rather.
But they never wanted to opt(did they have an option?) out of the mission for all the biriyanis they might have been able eat if otherwise. The food, foreigners and freedom at the Leoplod cafe never swayed them. They never wanted to spent their time with their near and dear ones (may be they lost them) They never hesitated to give up their lives even after experiencing the 'goodie goodies' of our society. They were already free of the pleasures of life.
Their holding out to 200 or more NSG commandos for around 60 hours must certainly have given atleast some of us a feeling of awe. They also had the 'first mover' advantage and got the 'early bird prize' of taking many lives while giving up their own. They sacrificed their lives for a cause, though may be a wrong one.
I particulary like the 'sacrifice and freedom' part of their story. They were free men even before their death. Also, most importantly I appreciate all these because I was never a victim. (why "victim" only? - because, I could never have been a "hostage" as Taj and Trident are too far away from my society permitted style of living. Not that I will not go there if permitted and at CST all of them died ). My being far removed from being a hostage or a victim, allows me to take conceptual (arm chair philosophy) positions on the terrorist episode, the intellectaul that Iam.
We the Indians
We blundered as usual. But the blunder has not just burnt our asses but pierced our hearts. When the hundreds kept on being gunned down every now and then, it was just news for us about Kashmir. We along with our politicians washed our hands off by habitually condemning such incidents and then moving on to the latest test match scores. The local trains were waiting for us to take us to work and our family was there to recieve us back at home.
Bullets and death matter now afterall we may not reach our local trains at all in the evening. We may not be safe inside a posh south mumbai restaurant too. It matters now. Demonstrations and candle lights apart , we are truly 'shaken'(with a capital 'S').
What we could not achieve by way of countless dharnas, strikes or the different types of bandhs has been achieved. The entire administration is shaken up in a span of a few hours. We gained a lot but at an inconsolable loss.
Life can be quite deceiving. "200 gunned down in Rampur, UP" would have got less attention than "25 year old raped 5 times". But Taj, Oberoi (may not be CST) and the direct telecast kept our pulses racing. Why go for 20-20? The celebrated reporters working without sleep, probably were getting turned on secretly by the gory details of the unfolding story. Their husky - loud voices meant nothing else.
Two home ministers and a chief minister steps down. A few other ministers and dignitaries are in big time trouble. What with a few ministers resigning after every blast, you and I may get a chance - if we survive till then that is. But every place is not Mumbai. Not every man goes to the Taj.
Iam not grudging the attention Mumbai is getting. But I use it to emphasise the fact that we ignore a danger until it is right beside us. Had we taken an aggressive posture when J&K was attacked, the cancer would never have spread to Rajasthan and Bangalore. If we countered atleast then, the Taj and the Oberoi would still be standing in all their glory. All the good men,dead now, could still have been enjoying their life. We murdered all of them, right from Kashmir to Mumbai.
I strongly still believe that we may not attack Pakistan in any manner i.e until they declare war officially and hence we have no other go. But lets examine the so called options.
Option1) We attack them now. Officially war. We lose a lot and they lose less as they are less developed. Nifty will go to 1000 levels. Economy plunges. Chidambaram may leave home ministry and come back to economics. Thats good or bad for the Nifty? I dont know. A lot many people / soldiers will die than when anti terrorist measures are initiated. Civilian Zardari may be eliminated and Zia type general may take over - bad for us. Also half way through, the war may have to be called off due to pressures and we may be left with several unfinished agenda. A lot of POK like problems and a seething- revenge seeking neighbour with an army dictator at the helm may be the result.
Option 2) We learn from the attacks, stregthen our defences. Keep growing economically. But how far can we protect when some one is bent upon destroying us and sends trained suicidal teams to ruin everything in sight? We keep trying no matter what happens.
Option 3) We not only strengthen our defences but keep needling Pakistan by covert operations to wipe out terrorist camps inside pakistan, strike at Dawood inside Pakistan, carry out other strikes on random targets deep inside Pakistan naming them as terrorist hide outs, start occassional border skirmishes to draw the pakistan army from the western front ot their eastern front thus allowing Taliban to infiltrate into pakistan and thus heightening chaos and ruining their country. The ways are many. We too give them economic losses and most importatly head aches.No full fledged war.Use international clout to avoid it. Our economic losses are limited, we keep progressing on the economic front. Human losses are limited.
Actively train willing Indian terrorists/ er.. volunteers rather, to go head hunting among Pakistani citizens - develop a sort of Indian fidayeen (at the expense of global opinion, but then we have to educate the globe). See, needling is very important as they should also wish for peace. Only then peace can occur. Now its only we who want peace.
Are there any more oprtions? I dont know. May be we could talk to South Korea who will inturn attack Northern Peru, which will lead to Chechen unrest and then the Mongols will march to Pakistan and pulverise them.
Unless it can be managed that way, Iam afraid, we may have to take some harsh measures and do some hard work. If we start now atleast, we may gift ourselves a position of all round victory later on and if not we may ultimately be left fighting a lost war.