Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

– Rabindranath Tagore

It was with these noble and pious thoughts that many of our ancestors and heroes of yesteryear’s led India to freedom. Today we only find ourselves become captives again at the hands of frugal politicians who exhibit symbiotic relationship with scum of the society.

The entire country today stands to falsify the vision of Rabindranath – because we dwell with fear in our hearts, today we are ashamed of our own country and its people – for their acts of cowardice, their non accountability to the position and the ranks that they stand for. These are the representatives of the nation today who stand to face the future with their feet stuck in scams, bureaucracy and corruption.

Today we have nothing but remorse to feel,about these so called self- labelled leaders who inspiration is to fulfill personal agendas by risking the fate of the nation.

Since childhood we learn about Unity in Diversity as one of the strengths of our country – today we find this Unity only spelt out in books as the country is strewn in parts on basis of language and origin. Gone are days when leaders gave speeches that spawned inspiration in the masses that we could throw out the British Raj, today we have only ‘Raj’ remaining and all that this ‘Raj’ can accomplish is to sensitise and politicise social issues and create chaos. The outcome of which is a divide – who says we drove out the British, their roots are widely spread and the strategies they used to rule us are still prevalent – we still fall prey to the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy. And worst of all we let them get away with it.

We have ourselves to blame – the attacks at Taj and Oberoi were not meant only to bring down these magnificent structures but to bring down a reality to us that we need to WAKE UP. Open our eyes to the fact of how susceptible we really are, how hollow our morals are – how weak and untrustworthy our words remain and more so how much time we waste in internal conflicts that it takes a catastrophe of this magnitude to act like a shot in the arm. SHAME on US.

The ineffectiveness of the administration, lack of organisational structure – the inability of a statesman to take a decision in the hour of crisis were exposed at this time. The valor that we salute after brave men have been slain – I wonder how these men sleep at night with so much guilt at heart. It is only when the entire system comes crashing down like a pack of cards that any efforts are made to re-inforce it. It was obvious there was no contingency plan – Mumbai was not prepared to handle this adversity. A few men, boys actually can create havoc with guns blazing at common people. 10 men with no face, with no fear, no religion, no country but with a motive to destroy and devastate, thats all it took to bring an entire city to its knees.

It is no use documenting events that have been so explicitly and vividly splashed upon on our media channels, we have all been subjected to the ghory details of last week’s happenings. So what are we going to do now? Is it going to be one of those things that just happenned in our lives? Will this be going in our books as the darkest hour in Mumbai’s history? Is it going to be one of those incidents that you share with friends over coffee? Or is it going to be another one of those debates that has no outcome? To everyone who cares to call themselves A Mumbaikar I pose you a simple question – what are you in your capacity going to do?

The answer is simple – we need to come together. Come together as a society – as a city – as a nation. Leaving aside our differences – we need to channel our efforts to re-build our nation. We need to come together as enlightened masses who make our politicians answereable for thier actions. We need to come together as a civic troop who upholds the rules,respects and enforces them. We need to come together as one voice which speaks for benefits of our society. We need to educate the minds of our youth to motivate them to work toward the country. We need to participate – be active in voicing opinions,we need to support causes and issues that will enable the administration run effectively and efficiently. But most importantly we need to take ourselves seriously – 60 years of Independence and we are still limping. We cannot take the freedom and the right to live in this country so lightly. Any administration will function appropriately only if it gets the support of its members. We need to recognise ourselves as members of a responsible society and support it in every way we can.

Acts of violence and terrorism are a reality that we have to live with today. They are outcomes of a society that has not been fair. A society that has been prejudiced on religious grounds – on racial grounds – scars of which will remain on generations to come. The only way we know how to get back to such heinous crimes is by committing another one. But that does not really solve the problem. The divide only becomes wider and deeper. We cannot think uprooting it in a day or in a month or in a year. It will take time – but we cannot just wait and watch for this time to come. There are changes that have to brought about – changes to our systems, to our behaviour , to our tolerance and our acceptance of each other. We have to look beyond the realms of colour and religion and equalise ourselves on grounds of humanity. Free ourselves of the grudges and not let emotions come in way of rationale.

So many innoccent lives have been lost – so many brave men have fallen in the line of duty – what have we learnt now that we didnt already know before. It took us 150 years to end the Empire’s rule and earn our freedom from slavery of the British. We are own slaves now, slaves of showing indifference, of our laziness and of our ignorance, of taking things for granted – we need to fight for our freedom again and break these shackles. Let’s not just mourn the death of these brave and let’s not let their sacrifice go waste – the opportunity we have today has come for this price and we must now make the most of it!

– Dedicated to the brave men and women of the hotel staff ,the Mumbai Police Force, the NSG and the Naval Commando’s.

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