Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't Bounce Back to Normalcy Please

In the Army, after every battle or even after simulation of a battle situation, a session is held that is called "Lessons Learnt". The aim of the exercise is to do an introspection on the operation and bring out the weaknesses that led to the situation and also to correct the mistakes done during the operation itself. Our country has come out victorious out of a battle today. Before slipping into congratulatory mood for too long, we have to get into the "Lessons Learnt" mode first. Let me enumerate a few of the lessons which i think have come out of this exercise which has certainly given us a bloody nose..

1. Instead of pointing at the foreign hand, every time we are hit by the terrorist, we should concentrate on strengthening our security mechanism. The nature has given defence system to every object. An insect has its sting which it activates when in danger. The beautiful rose has thorns. Even birds are careful enough and look around ten times for any danger before approaching a food item that has been laid out for them to eat. As far as the human being is concerned, his security system goes right back to the stone or the cave age. He, in addition to sculpting arms and weapons for his safety, would invariably keep a big boulder on the door of the cave to prevent any wild animal from entering and eating up his family. While we can't kill all the man eater, dangerous wild animals, we can certainly strive to make our cave safe.

2.We have our intelligence agencies, our boarder security, our coastal security and other para military forces who are responsible for keeping an eye on our land and maritime boarders in the peace time. Smugglers cross the boarders and coasts of our country freely, carrying drugs and other contra bands, after bribing the corrupt officials of the forces which are meant to keep a check on them. So if contra bands can be smuggled , then why not arms and explosives.

2. Further, our police and security system is badly subservient to the VIP culture that we have in our country. The flaunting of beacon lights on the cars and the company of a group of security or protocol personnel walking behind, has become status symbol rather than necessity for our so called VIPs.

3. More than half the strength of the police force of a city is busy looking after the security of the VIPs instead of taking care of the same for the common citizen. The other half who are actually responsible for the security of the citizens is either armed with docile lathis or the vintage .303 bolt action rifles which will take as much time to load and fire one round as the emptying of one full magazine by the bullet spraying machine guns of the terrorists.

4. At the five star hotel gate, a guest will feel insulted if the tall liveried durwan with turban and moustaches does not salute him/her and more so if a security fellow asks for searching the body and the baggage of the guest.

5. At the air ports the VIPs throw tantrums if subjected to security checks.

6. Even a common citizen cares a hoot if he/she notices an unattended object or a suspicious person loitering around.

7. Whenever a security gadget is installed at an office or a public place, the first reaction of the common man is how to by pass the same.

8. Mobile SIM cards are distributed by the service providers without much verification of antecedents of the customer which are most of the time used for nefarious activities.

9. The land lords don't bother to verify the correct particulars of the tenants. Same goes when contract employees are recruited by companies without getting any police verification done for them.

10. Our vote and note hungry politicians are busy washing their dirty linen in public instead of concentrating on the real issues staring in face of the country's security.

11. We have been in the grip of terrorism since last thirty years or so, if we leave the nexalite and other insurgencies aside. The back bone of any security system is prompt communication, lightening mobility and right type of weapons and equipment to deal with the situation. While the NSG commandos were quick enough to pounce on the targets, it is sad that it took them ten hours to reach the trouble spot because they were stationed at Delhi. Placing of crack commandos at every metro and other big cities should be the first priority. And please don't ask where is the money. As per the Swiss Bank reports, Indians are heading the list of depositors with them and i don't need to elaborate that which category of 'Indians' maintain their accounts in the Swiss Bank. And then instead of doling out the financial awards to the widows and orphans after every such incident by the government, the same money can be spent on strengthening the security system which will prevent them from becoming orphans and widows in the first place.

12 Every time the terrorists come and blast away our behinds, we cry in pain for sometime, massage our backs and get back to work as usual. We try to compare ourselves with the USA and other developed countries. They value their precious lives. And that is the very reason that after 9/11 in the US and 7/7 in the UK, not a single terrorist incident has taken place there. It is high time that we also start valuing the lives of our countrymen.

13. I will hate to read the headlines in the papers tomorrow that Mumbai bounces back to normalcy. Normalcy in our country will mean all that I have mentioned above. We have to deal with times abnormally. Our country is on the path of sustained economic progress which is not liked by every one around us in the world.

Pakistan, a cry baby in our neighbourhood who has not been satisfied with what he got in the partition of the house sixty years ago, keeps trying different stunts to trouble us. He got hard slaps from us thrice and was also cut to size once, but unfortunately, he has the support of the big wigs of the world. Though, of late 'Uncle Sam' and his other godfathers have started to realise that he was plucking the hair from their beards only while they nurtured him in their laps. As a result they hit him on his knuckles once in a while but that is not sufficient. He may turn into a Frankenstein monster for them all one day.
But let us not waste time on fretting and fuming over that too much. Please, please tread cautiously. Get back to work but don't be in a hurry to bounce back to normalcy -- the normalcy that i have explained above.


Mampi said...

If it is normalcy travelling from in front of these unfortunate targets, life will be normal; if it is normalcy going back to wrk, life will be normal; but what is normalcy to the martyred security personnel's families; what is normalcy to the man who lost his family in the holocaust; and what is normalcy to the child who got orphaned?
Resilience? Bah!

Indian Home Maker said...

Brilliant list! This is extremely important. A 'Lessons Learnt' session is what we really, really need. I am still feeling slightly lost, too must has happened, too much is still happening, normalcy is so far away ... two young NSG brave hearts dead, ATS Chief Karkare's wife - widow - refused Modi's offer of one crore rupees ... I hadn't even got over the fact that these brave men had been killed. Maybe this 'lessons learnt' thought will wake me up.

J P Joshi said...

Balvinder: Agree with you on all the points that you have mentioned.

I am still too shell shocked by the audacity of the terrorists. This kind of an operation cannot be undertaken without military training of the terrorists somewhere and local support in Mumbai. I am also too overwhelmed by the images of the helicopter hovering over Nariman house and troops slithering down in the face of harm, with wires flying all around; by NSG commandos forcing their way into harm; by the sacrifice of the ATS chief, the commandoes, the Mumbai police. I have never felt so helpless in life just watching some terrorists hold an entire city and nation to ransom. Something in me tells me that this is the turning point that i have waited for. I do hope my countrymen think the same way and vote intelligently. We can no longer have local issues overshadowing national priorities. Terrorism should be our number 1 priority otherwise our long term aim of 'garibi hatao' through economic progress would be thwarted.

Usha Pisharody said...

Pertinently presented. This is the cool, calm, and alert way one must get back to work. Don't waste more time, getting "normal".

Resilience is another word, that is being bandied around. "The spirit of Mumbai" having bounced back, has repeatedly been witness to the same kind of incident again. We need to stop that, not just Mumbai. But all of us, who are with the people who have given up so much, to have that freedom to "be normal" again.

Thank you. If I may, I would like to take this list to my class, as food for thought. I hope that it will catch the idealist in them, while it still is fresh, and help that to grow from there.

Stand Up India said...

Sir, I read your post and i agree with you on each and every word you said. We are all right now thinking on the same lines. I think a question right in everyone's mind is "What can I do?" I started a blog for this sole purpose and would be very glad if you pay a visit and give me comments. It like a small mission that I have started and I intend to take it to every Indian possible. I know I am using big words, but "boond boond se sagar banta hai"

Miss Stymie said...

After reading your post, I am reminded of this saying "First cleanup your home before trying to clean up the surroundings". People are in such a hurry to return to normalcy without actually understanding the essence of word "NORMAL". I hope people read your post to get enlightened about what normal actually means.

How do we know said...

akhbaaron ko hi jaldi hoti hai... crisis ki bhi aur normalcy ki bhi.
its like, they cut you up without waiting for anaesthesia and then send u home without waiting for even 24 hours after the surgery. Poosa shehar kat gaya is ka khyal nahi hai kisi ko.

Ashwani Saini said...

The audacity of the recent terror attacks on Mumbai has set a new benchmark in lauching terror for which our system is woefully unprepared.At the same time these attacks have also awakened the collective conciousness of people of our country.
The entire security,police and intelligence system needs a recast and not a mere facelift.
At our level as citizens of the country, we need to make our government/elected representatives answerable for their acts of omissions and commissions in the last few decades. We have to keep the pressure alive on our elected representatives for concrete steps in this direction.

Anonymous said...

this woman has no intentions of bouncing back!

Renu said...

A very brilliant to do list, but who is listening? Its time the public becomes alert and we weed out the terrorists among us...because an attack at this level is not possible without the help of insiders and its our duty to find them and unmask them.

Reflections said...

Read every line with great interest. Hopefully People esp. the security forces of our country will be doubly alert now.
Point 3 has to be given special attention.

A very relevant post!!!!! Thank U!!!

PARRY said...

Yes the lessons you listed are very practical in nature and can be executed if acted upon properly. But what I think we lack is the WILL and DESIRE of proper execution. Until and unless the effort comes from inside us no revolution can take place. What we need is nothing short of a kind of revolution by the supposedly people's power of a 'aam aadmi'

Anonymous said...

Came across your blog from IHM's and am glad I did. A hard-hitting thought-provoking post here. Keep writing!