Ms. Chaudhry is spot on regarding the grieving process. The Mumbai massacre obviously has multidimensional aspects. Traditional "divide and rule" followers exist among the public as well as political parties. Religion is often employed as a divisor, as an emotional weapon. To say that "terrorists have no religion" is an obvious lie.
Over the years Afghanistan and Pakistan have been "homes" to most terrorists and both have got billions of dollars in US aid to fight terrorism. What a naïve concept--especially in countries where corruption is the way of life. It is simply dishing out money to the terrorists. Unlike in the US, where a governor is arrested for selling Senator Obama's seat, votes are purchased by the politicians and their parties in these countries. Even during the rescue operations at the Taj Hotel a TV showed a rescuer pulling out jewelry from a woman who had faked death by a terrorist's bullet! Grief is only for the family and friends--what a reality the terrorists have exposed!
Beyond grief and loss of life, the Mumbai massacre has finally awakened the Indian electorate to question the politicians and tagged them as "employees of the people" and not as "almighty" as they have behaved over the last sixty years. Family clans have monopolized both federal and state politics in a country divided on a linguistic basis for political purposes since the late fifties. Democracy in India has survived all this so far, but Obama-style "change" has never been sought. The terrorist bullets have finally penetrated the hearts of the Indian people. It is not religion that is dividing the people, it's the greed of the politicians. People want change from old to young leaders.
What I have written so far is a preamble to highlight the source of the evil. In the following I propose a potential solution to strengthen democracy in India.
The goal is to empower the Election Commission to screen individual candidates for their background, vision, leadership and communication skills. The commission could have an impartial selection committee of three supreme court judges. If democracy is to survive, the candidates must meet the minimum standards of a representative parliamentarian. The dignity of the "vote" must not be compromised. Also the candidate must declare own and their families' assets and vested interests. Likewise, government transparency must be made mandatory and subjedted to frequent auditing.
Terrorists are like mafia--they know which palm is to be greased and when. The Mumbai attack is a somber reminder of who we have been (unconcerned) and challenges us to become what we should be (ready and willing to express).
Ideally, one would want to see India as a united nation reconfigured as East, West, North, South India as it was in the Raj days. This will wipe out the absurdity of using the word "minority" to refer to people with different faiths, languages etc. in a secular state.
Mumbai, Maharashatra, India
Dec 10 2008 - 8:06pm