Monday, November 16, 2009

Terror In Mumbai

Watching Dan Reed's documentary Terror In Mumbai is a deeply disturbing experience for anyone who has a home in India. The unique "360 degree" view of terrorism that this movie affords is very instructive for global audiences - both who have encountered similar attacks in their own countries and those who have been spared thus far. Unless people and governments understand the terrorist psyche, they would never be able to put up a credible defense against it.

As an Indian, what I found most horrifying was the absolute dysfunctionality of the Mumbai police and the government apparatus as a whole. To the rest of India (of which I am a part), Mumbai epitomizes what is best about the country. We have been led to believe that this city and its denizens are a completely different breed - unlike anything you have seen in the rest of the country, that they have a system that actually works, when put to the test they are able to rise to the occasion. In many ways, Mumbai is what the rest of India aspires to be.

It is therefore, impossible to describe the sense of disbelief I experienced watching ten men hold all of Mumbai hostage, the police force running away from where innocents were being slaughtered instead of protecting them, their antiquated firearms and their obvious lack of preparedness, fitness or training for the task at hand. If this is the state of affairs in Mumbai, you don't even want to imagine how such an attack might have played out any other city in India and that is a chilling realization for Indians both home and abroad.

The leader of this attack lets us know that the events on November 26th 2008 in Mumbai are a trailer to the real movie. If the Indian government is not able to up its game very, very significantly, not a lot of Indians may be around to watch the movie if and when that happens. This is the country we call home - logically, emotionally or both. What Reed shows us happening in that "home" in a time of crisis, flies completely in the face its definition - : a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment.

This movie is reminder of the absolute vulnerability of the average person who is not able to count on anything beyond their own wits, the help of their loved ones and kindness of strangers when they become victims of a terrorist attack. That the people of Mumbai have bounced and go about their lives as if it were business as usual is a testament to their indomitable spirit. The rest of us Indians have the choice of living in fear every day (which is probably the logical thing to do) or do what the Mumbaikars have done and hope we are not put to such a test in our own backyard and fare even worse than Mumbai did.


Rajesh Kanuri @ TechCats said...

I really appreciate mumbaikars for their spirit...

Anonymous said...

pls tell where did u watch it ,,m not able to see link,we dont have hbo in our city


This is the pearl harbour of India. Strike them where they believe their strength lies.
I have come to believe terrorists are like viruses. The more the immunity you build, they develop counter immunity and find ingenious ways to hit you.
If you come to think about it there is no such thing as 100% safety.
Our objective of minimum friendly casualties often cost us time and honour. This happened in Kandahar and now in Mumbai.
I remember Russia just gassed a whole auditorium of women and children along with terrorists in a similar episode a few years back.
I dont believe we should do that.