About 10 terrorists occupied the centre stage of our national consciousness challenging us, an entire nation of 1 billion people. They shook us. Especially people in cities are insecure and baying for the blood of those who should have prevented this.
The misguided and indoctrinated youths who took on the might of the Indian State did not come to kill a few hundred people. They came with the target of weakening the spirit of India by accentuating the divides between communities, halting the wheels of progress, fueling the insecurities and fear among the people. They do not like to see a rising, prosperous India.
Till recently, none of the terror attacks managed to shake the confidence of the country. The media gave the lead, extolling the spirit of India and the country reverberated with, “We are one and none can shake our spirit.” After the recent Mumbai blasts, however, the refrain of the media is, “Enough is enough. We are disgusted with the politicians and the system.”
The entire country is echoing with, “Enough is enough, hang the politicians”. We are prone to exhibiting a herd mentality at crunch situations.
Here lies the problem. At times, we applaud the politician for playing to the galleries and whipping up passions, spitting venom and fire on people based on their caste, religious or regional roots. One day it is the season for hero worship of the politician and on another day, it is time for pelting abuses and stones at the entire lot of them.
Look how this mentality even consumed the father of the slain commando, Sandeep Unnikrishnan and led him to drive away the Chief Minister of Kerala from his home.
When an upright police officer stood up and conducted an impartial enquiry into terrorist links of some religious leaders, there were top political leaders casting aspersions on the integrity of the officer. Hardly anyone stood by the officer then.
Today, brave individuals in India are rare. We have to value and preserve upright police officers who do their jobs fairly. We have to applaud the honest, hard working politician because that again is a rarity. We have to thank the heavens for giving us a judiciary at the highest level with tremendous strength and backbone. India is alive and kicking because of people like them.
Just as a few mad young people could induce feelings of despair in the minds of people, these rare individual leaders carry the country on their shoulders and give us hope. We have to treasure them.
We tend to praise the dead, or praise them after they win acclaim in foreign lands. We follow, not lead. How I wish that we had more Indians with innate strength, people who know it is no use hero worshipping when each of us has the capacity to be heroes in our own right. Standing by what is and who is right. Till that happens, our country will go through cyclical periods of applause and abuse.
We are now dry fodder for any terrorist. They must be a happy lot. Where is the spirit of India?
I wish we made some effort to get out of the thick envelope of gloom and recriminations. Let us not allow the terrorists to steal our thunder. We have to stand tall as individuals and as a nation. And prevent them from wounding our national psyche.
It is ultimately an individual choice.
Image Credit: Hamed Saber
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