Archive for December, 2008

Maximum City, Mumbai, has perhaps seen more terror attacks than any other city in the world. But the violence unleashed on November 26, 2008 is being reckoned as the most brazen attack on Indian soil to date. The city came under militant siege for over 60 hours and today, 217 deaths later it is attempting to limp back to normalcy. India and the world have breathed a sigh of relief with all the terrorists being brought down. But no tragedy transpires without ironies. I, after reading a host of posts, articles and watching videos on the brutal onslaught on India’s largest city, have observed, as have many others, certain ironies that played out as mayhem unfurled. Ironies were the norm even after the attack. From the entry of the terrorists into Mumbai to the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s visit to the crime scenes along with film personalities, all aspects of the tragedy have been subject to scrutiny and rightly so. I shall point to a few of them.

  1. Welcome Mujahideen Welcome!: Posse of extremists waltzed into Mumbai in a boat and landed at different locations and no one had a clue. They left a boat-load of explosives near the Gateway of India and walked into the city and no one noticed. A bunch of fishermen encountered a group of twelve suspicious men and they were asked to mind their business. Later, it was discovered that the boat was owned by the most wanted bhai from Mumbai, Dawood bhai (Yes, Dawood strikes again!).  Investigations have revealed that the Coast Guard had intercepted the boat carrying the terrorists off the coast of Rann of Kutch but let them pass because they had the proper paper-work. Another group hijacked an Indian fishing vessel and got the crew to sail them to the coast and then did away with them. Now, how did the Indian coast become so vulnerable, given that Mumbai is the headquarters of the Western Naval Command? Well, the Navy was probably busy battling Somalian pirates. Was the entire Indian Navy deployed off the coast of Somalia? Looks like it. What happened to the Coast Guard? Coast Guard? What Coast Guard? All this is a huge intelligence failure. Yes, indeed, our intelligence has been numbed, we have no shred of it left in us anymore! We have thrown more than 7000 km of our coastline as wide open as the sky, with a massive invisible ‘Swagatam’ board. I admit, it is not possible to man every inch of the coast, but having a guarded post every 100 km isn’t much of an expense especially when you’re draining a tax-payer’s pocket.
  2. Policewale Ki Lathi Bandook Ke Khilaaf: Unprepared, ill-equipped Mumbai Police does its best in stalling the terrorists who stormed the hotels and Nariman House with lathis, double barrel rifles (fit only to be antique pieces) and 6-bullet revolvers vis-a-vis AK-47s, Kalashnikovs and hand grenades. One of India’s finest police forces lost three of its best officers to the bullets along with 14 other officers. Why? They weren’t armed sufficiently enough to counter an attack of this magnitude, that’s why. No police force is. This is the job of the military. And yet, they braved all odds and faced the militants with their humble weaponry until the Army and other para-military forces took charge. The policemen in CST even fought the terrorists with a single-barrel rifle vis-a-vis ammunition enough to kill 5000 people! Does anyone else think that the government should stop being frugal and spend more on arming the police force, or is it just me? Arm the police, damn it!! Lathis just don’t cut it!
  3. Raag Bharatiya Sena, Vilambit Gat, Ek Taal: The Maharashtra government did not request for military assistance until after the police had sacrificed three of its top brass officers. The MARCOs (Marine Commandos) arrived at 2 am and stormed the Taj. The Maha CM who was outside Mumbai at the time, called the Union Home Ministry in Delhi for 300 NSG commandos to be flown into Mumbai, like how one would order groceries from a local kirana store and ask them to be delivered at home. The NSG did react, however, and got the commandos ready by 1 am, but the aircraft needed to fly the commandos had to be flown down from Chandigarh to the Palam Airfield (South Delhi). As per ordinance, an aircraft is to be stationed at Palam permanently, in case of such an emergency, but it wasn’t, hence there was further delay. The entire bureaucratic protocol delayed the NSG’s arrival in Mumbai by 10 hours. They finally arrived at the hotel in a local ‘Best’ bus at 7.20 am the next morning and weren’t given the maps of the hotels until an hour later. Valuable time and life were lost in the meantime. The Army’s 400 commandos had surrounded the hotels and Nariman House by then. Why did the Maharashtra government exhibit such laxity in contacting the Army? Was Vilasrao Deshmukh that drunk or was he busy admiring his squinted son’s ridiculous big-screen misadventures?
  4. Neta Log, Apne Muh Bandh Rakho: Aah! The most ridiculous fall-out of the entire tragedy – the comments from the politicos! I was left speechless when I heard what the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had to say. Read this. I had rather not comment on his unparalleled wisdom and excellent presence of mind, because one would notice a sharp change in the tone of my language. I’d probably surprise myself with my knowledge of expletives in all the languages I know. Then the  Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s admittance that ‘we had no clue this was going to happen!’ has come under flak. Why flame the poor guy? Wasn’t he right? How would the CM be in the know of intelligence reports? Come on, people! Vilasbhai was expecting a formal invitation to the massacre, so that his son and Ram Gopal Varma could get live feeds from the whole drill, for their next project. He was also looking forward to watching Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil (now ex-UHM) perform a lavni item number with Raj Thackeray along with Mumbai Mayor Shubha Raul’s mujra. A jubilant gathering of the true ‘Marathi manoos’ celebrating pre-Christmas Diwali! And then his Deputy, R. R. Patil, goes on to add during a press conference (of all places!) that ‘itne bade sheher mein, ekaad haadsa ho jaata hai, iska matlab yeh nahin ki complete failure hua hai‘ (In such a big city, such small incidents do happen, but that does not mean there’s been a complete failure.). Now, why is this man being flamed? Poor guy, had to give up his post of Deputy Chief Minister for this! He was just exercising his right to ‘free speech’ which was awfully misconstrued. To each his own, guys. It’s a democracy remember? To him, ‘bada haadsa‘ is perhaps only when terrorists hijack and crash planes into buildings and have a death toll that runs into the thousands. Sorry, Patilbhai! Next time, we’ll formally invite and request the insurgents to hijack a plane and crash it into the heart of one the metropolises or the ‘Mantralay’ or the Rashtrapati Bhavan or the Taj Mahal (this time, the real one!). Anywhere you please. We promise you. Better still, we’ll offer one of our countless decrepit Air India aircraft which are on the verge of collapse anyway. Ok? Do not despair! A noble politician, R. R. Patil. Then comes, the champion of Gujarat, Motabhai Modi, scurrying to gather political brownie points. Motabhai, in good faith, set the value of a slain hero’s life at a mota raqam of one crore rupees, which even the Maharashtra government did not do. But, much to his dismay, the slain officer Hemanth Karkare’s widow refused the offer. Sad, isn’t it? Motabhai, with such unconditional love and respect, estimated the value of the dead policeman’s life and his family’s self-respect and his widow had the audacity to disdainfully refuse to accept it. Pathetic indeed! I’m really sorry, Motabhai! I promise you, when you die, of whatever reason, we will organize a Motabhai Modi Antim Yatra Chanda Vasooli campaign and organize your funeral. We will spend from the money collected and if any change were to remain, we will, in good faith, turn in the difference to your family. Ok? But in case the expenses incurred exceed the collection amount, then we will collect the difference from your family. You know how expensive funerals are these days, right? I hope you understand.  And finally, there is this canine breed of politicians who bark, given the smallest opportunity. One such is the Kerala Chief Minister, K. Achyutanandan…err…A ‘Chooth’ Anandan (pardon the language!). His insensitive comments on the martyred NSG Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s family saying ‘if is weren’t for Sandeep, not even a dog would’ve glanced that way’ have deeply hurt not only the Major’s family but also the people of his own state. The barks of A’chooth’anandan have even got his own, CPI(M), to issue a public apology. Yet, the Kerala CM was as unapologetic as ever and on the contrary stated that the Major’s family had called him up and said ‘Unnigrishnen’s father’s mendel* is noat goott and he is vurry opset, so don’t mind him’. Who else thinks that this mongrel seriously needs to be sacked and sent back to his pound? Please raise your leashes! Bad, bad doggy…err…CM! No bones…err….votes for you! Oh! I totally forgot! The BJP spokesperson, Muqhtar Abbas Naqvi, mouthed his peeves too. He complained that women wearing ‘lipishtick’ were protesting against politicians, and holding them responsible for the Mumbai attacks. We apologise, Naqvi sahab, our protestors are not as fashion conscious as you or your party members. They couldn’t think of threatening to shave their heads in protest, unlike one of your party’s super models, Sushma Swaraj! Forgive our modest protestors.
  5. Marathi Manoos Kothe Aahe?: WHERE THE F*** ARE THE SHIV SENA AND MAHARASHTRA NAVNIRMAN SENA NOW? They’re perhaps still chasing the North Indians out of Mumbai. Abey O Thackeray, this time the parasites are not the Bhaiyajis. Lose the obsession already, will you! What happened to your Mumbaikar revolution now? Three of your bravest ‘Marathi Manoos’ laid down their lives in order to save your beloved Mumbai and none of you even attended their funerals, at least for coutesy. Neither you, nor your family, nor your suck-up mayor, Shubha Raul turned up for any comments or reactions. You guys didn’t even bother visiting the scenes of crime. Did the terrorists instill such terror in you as to make you piss in your pants? Is the Mayor Shubha busy sucking up to you? Where the f*** are you guys! O yes! You finally broke silence calling for Bai…err…Lady Patil’s rule, right? Alas, the First Bai….err…Lady is busy dusting the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s colonial furniture and doing the dishes. She can’t come to you right now. Hard Luck, guys! Chavan’s on his way.
  6. Maan Na Maan, Main Tera Dushman: This is what our ‘peaceful’ neighbors had to say:

This is Janaab Zaid Hamid, the Strategic Defence Analyst. With defence analysts like this, who needs enemies? The great analyst talks about ‘Hindu Zionists’ and a few other best-friends of his. Also, a Pakistan Muslim League MP, Marvi Memon Sahibaan shares her excitement on sending the ISI chief to India.

This would be the former ISI chief, Janaab Hamid Gul, talking about blowing up Bangalore in a ‘dhooen ka  baadal‘ (a cloud of smoke).

I would advise you to watch the complete interviews with both Zaid Hamid and Hamid Gul. Aur is maamle ko ab main apne wafaadar aur faheem qaareen ke hawaale karta hoon aur unse yeh arz karta hoon ki apne tamaam qaabil-e-ehtaraam tabsaraahon ko yahaan bayaan kare. (I now leave this issue to my loyal, perceptive readers and request them to leave their valuable comments here!).

The atrocities in Mumbai have morphed from being a major terror attack into a wake-up call for the government. It is time we took a firm stance against the menace that not just India faces but the whole world. In spite of all the clamour about monting evidence against Pakistan, I still think that a war is not the panacea. If it comes to a war then an extremely strategic approach is necessary. Instead of launching an offensive, India should either take a defensive or counter-offensive stance. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I really hope so.

I salute the martyrs – the brave policemen and the Army commandos – who have paid with their lives to save India’s most precious gem from the clutches of insurgency.

Take our bow, O Brave Men!!

Jai Hind!!

PS: The harsh criticism and satire aimed at the politicians was completely intentional. No apologies there.

* By ‘mendel’ he meant to say mental state.