I can’t bear to watch television anymore. The sights and sounds of the Mumbai attacks have seeped into my home and I can’t take it anymore. Images of the dead; burning buildings; young boys totting AK 47s and killing people; this is what we have come to. In the midst of this chaos, the deafening silence in the homes of those who are no more. Their haunted faces and lucid eyes give nothing away, this nightmare has no end for them. It is merely a beginning, an effort to begin afresh. I can hear the soft, stifled sobs; feel the moist warm cheeks as tears flow silently by and I am numbed in my loss. My brothers, my people are no more – assigned to duties of a higher calling with a higher being. I am helpless, again.
What talk of change am I worthy of, when I have until now taken no responsibility of it? Who am I to react and call for a ‘ war on terror’ when it is not my shoulders that the rifle shall rest? I say ‘ enough is enough’, I shall take no more, yet I am oblivious to the loss of my fellow brothers in the northeastern states of my country? When they are bombed – I carry no candle light vigil, no peace marches, no signed petitions. I do not brandish my fury at those who go about molesting and brutally killing Christians for they chose another god. I do not act, when in a public place, women are teased or the old and infirm are mugged. I offer a few condoling words and despise the judiciary at large when 30 children are cut up and thrown in a sewer, but I am too busy to seek for accountability then. I sit quietly when politicians fight to convert a ‘ death sentence’ into ‘ life imprisonment’ for a man responsible for the deaths of soldiers during the parliamentary attacks, on humanitarian grounds. He is still alive. We lost 2 NSG commandoes and 16 police officers in Mumbai in 3 days. One officer and a jawan, in the least are martyred everyday in the valley. Everyday, I receive news of more of my family being killed, while defending the borders. A man who lost his vision, trying to save the lives of other bus passengers is languishing today. Where am I?
Kargil and the daily wars ever since has seen the loss of more lives, there were vigils and processions even then. What did it finally result in? Are there lives not worthy of action. A procession is not action. Even now solidarity is divided – solidarity not for violence everywhere in the country, but for those in Mumbai. Each day, people in Manipur, Assam are struggling to keep alive. Even now, we are not united.
The terrorist is not an Indian, a Pakistani, an Islamist, a Hindu, a Christian, a Sikh… He is a human being. He lives amongst us. He is us. When we disregard rules and bribe our way through situations. He targets not just fancy hotels and business establishments, but he challenges me each day. Daring me to stand by my family, my brothers and sisters each day. When I speak up against injustice, when I have the courage to act, when I seek peace over war – then I have the right.. Until then, I have my own house to clean and my own chore to do.
I am sorry my brothers, for I sat numb even as you slipped quietly away. Lost in the dazzle of the leaders, I forgot to ask, what was happening with your families, where are they, what happened to them. The gods are with you.