Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai Part III (Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008)

Politization of terror

The crisis at Mumbai had built up to its peak. 

Word spread that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the Opposition LK Advani
would visit Mumbai together to review the situation.

 In a crisis situation when all other considerations party ideologies and other differences should have been overlooked and the leaders should have stood together representing not their parties but India - one Nation.

They went their separate ways.

Mr. Narendra Modi of the BJP and the Chief Minister of Gujarat and expressed his desire to come and visit Mumbai

Modi was very politely requested to not come as this was not the right time. A time when the anti terrorist operations were underway and the entire team of the Government and the administration was preoccupied with the massive operation. He chose to ignore the request and landed up near the Oberoi Hotel, delivered a 'bhashan' and announced a compensation of Rs 1 crore to the families of the brave police officers who lay down their lives fighting the terrorists.

Hemant Karkare's wife has refused to accept this compensation.

Raj Thackeray, the coward bully, who along with his party - The Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena, has in the recent past been targetting innocent non-Maharashtrians who have come to live in Mumbai by beating up North Indian taxi drivers and workers, quite predictably lay low amidst these entire 60 hours of the crisis. He did not have the courage to come forward and fight these non-Maharashtrians of a different kind. Physically fighting terrorists being a far fetched thought, he did not have the courage to even voice his opinion and take a stand that his thoughts and heart were with the Nation.

Raj Thackeray did however shamelessly land up at the funeral of Hemant Karkare. And was snubbed and sent back.

The above three instances in the recent past exemplify the dirty, third rate and shameless behavior of the worst kind of politicians in our Country. 

And for perhaps the first time - the citizens of India in general and Mumbai in particular have refused to look aside and ignore their behavior and have said "enough is enough"

And like her husband, Mrs. Karkare along with her family have displayed true courage in snubbing these political leaders - who lack any character.

Once again, the Nation stands by and respects the supreme sacrifices made by the policemen, the three  NSD commandos and scores of other people - particularly the Hotel staff who considered their duty above their own personal safety, and in one case the safety of his family, at every moment of the long 60 hour period.

As per news reports, Karambir Kang, the GM of the Tah Mahal Hotel who lost his wife and both children aged 14 and 11, in the raging fire on the 6th floor of the Hotel, is still on duty at the Hotel.

A stark contrast of character.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai Part II (Friday, 28th Nov. 2008)

Forty two hours have gone by. And the nightmare continues. 

Spouses, relatives and friends wait outside the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels, in what can be termed as desperate anxiety. They don't know if their near and dear ones are alive or not. Every moment of that wait being painful.

The media camps at a safe distance from the place of the real action. Communicating meaningless reports. Speculating. And then a hoard of them - reporters and camer persons alike pouncing upon any VIP who happens to visit the scene of action. "Was there a massacre?" or "Didn't you have any clue that the terrorists would come by sea?" they ask...

More than a hundred innocent people are dead. Hundreds have died earlier - in Mumbai itself.
Yet, India - the magnanimous India, wants to forgive and forget every time. Proud in the thought that the terrorists are dead and democracy has won. 

So are the hundreds of people.

Don't those hundreds of lives mean anything to the wise old policy makers and implementers of this Country?  

When 9/11 happened in the US, we all know how that Country responded to eliminate terror possibly from the face of the Earth, and to make its own citizens feel secure. 

When the current crisis in Mumbai came to light, the currently touring English cricket team immediately cancelled the rest of their tour. Some laughed at this. But England cares for the lives of every single man on that 16 member squad.

But India has a billion people. She does cannot afford and so does not want so many. Doesn't matter then, that a few die in terrorists attacks. It's natures way of controlling and reducing the growing population - some joke.

Its time that the policy makers of India - the wise old men took a tough stance on the most blatant and defiant attitude displayed by its neighbour - Pakistan, in perpetrating trouble within our Country. And respond in a manner that the World will see as exemplary. 

Many in the World will be surprised and shocked. What happened to non-violence and all - they will ask. But India owes it to her own citizens. Every Indian has a right to walk freely and without fear within his own Country. And those entrusted with the responsibility of running this Country have a moral responsibility to grant this right to every single citizen.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai - Wednesday November 26, 2008

Terror in Mumbai !

In what can easily be termed as the most audacious terrorist attack on India, a reasonably large number of terrorists landed in Mumbai by sea - undetected. And in the hours that followed, unleashed terror of an unprecedented magnitude, in South Mumbai, targeting two 5-Star Hotels, a cinema complex and the one of the busiest railway stations of the Country. 

Wednesday (last) night - will be one which the World in general and Indians in particular will not forget in a long time. Two prestigious Hotels, one of them a National landmark slowly burned to almost complete destruction. Hundreds of people - Indians and foreigners taken hostage by the terrorists or trapped inside their rooms. Many innocents killed in the indiscriminate firing and grenade blasts on VT Station. 
Three senior and very dedicated police officers who rose above the call of duty and chose to defy the perpetrators of terror, made the supreme sacrifice and laid down their lives. 

Over a hundred people dead and over 300 injured at the last count.

And an entire Nation brought to its knees by a in shock, disbelief and frustation.

All this while the Intelligence agencies sleep, security forces 'react' and politicians blame the rival party. And wait for the next such disaster to happen

Human life is cheap in India - in fact of no value.


Monday, November 03, 2008


We all have experienced it, through the loss of some near and dear one. A very emotionally distressing experience. The question is how does one deal with death?

One way  to come to terms with death is to understand it philosophically.

The one inevitable fact in our lives is that we will all die- or, "pass over" from the physical to the spiritual world. The transition from the physical realm to the spirit is not an ending, it is a transformation - to another state of consciousness.

Physical life can best be described by the Sanskrit word "maya". An illusion. According to Hindu philosophy, everything that is changeable and subject to decay and has a beginning and an end is 'maya' Everything that is indestructable and eternal is reality. Since our life on Earth is temporary, it is 'maya'. Mistaking the facade for reality, we are in a state of 'maya' 
Believing that physical life is the only form of existance is an illusion. And thinking we are dead once physical life ends, is the biggest illusion. 

So, the person is not dead - he or she has passed over from physical to the spiritual life.

The other way to come to terms with the death of a near and dear one, is to focus on all the goodness he or she left behind. The person's thoughts, deeds, teachings, contributions towards shaping the family, the children. Principles and values. In short his or her character, and what learnings could be derived from it.

To continue to follow those guiding principles, practise those values and learn from the actions that the departed one was known for. 

Grieving is natural. But to also cherish memories. And to also thank God for having ended his or her suffering.

And paying the ultimate tribute to the departed soul - celebrating life by living it the way he or she loved to.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Farewell - Jumbo !

Anil Kumble - Jumbo to his teammates and fans, announced his decision to quit professional cricket, at the end of the 2nd test match in the current series against Australia.

Jumbo was one of the most celebrated and respected cricketers in the history of World cricket.
The third largest number of wickets taken - 619, in the history of the game.  One of the only two players to have taken all 10 wickets in an innings. Jumbo played 132 test matches for his Country, in a long and illustrious career spanning 18 years.

Numbers apart, Jumbo was always respected for his professionalism  and fighting spirit. In the age of 'sledging' and agrressive behavior he stood out as a gentleman. For these qualities, he will remain a 'role model' for many young aspiring cricketers.

Many so called 'experts' of the game are surprised at Jumbo's decision which was made right in the middle of a test series. Others have wisely commented, that it was the right time to go. He was thought of as one of the many 'seniors' in the team who have overstayed their tenure and are now passengers. All of this is debatable. Jumbo still had a lot of cricket left in him and should have been given his due...

At the end of the day, it was Jumbo's decision and has to be respected.

All good things must come to an end - they say. Jumbo will forever be remembered for his professional competence - as one of the greatest spinners of the ball. More importantly he will be remembered as a great human being on and off the field.

Farewell - Jumbo. Your departure is a loss to the game of cricket and to the Indian team. I am sure you will continue to be associated with the game in one way or the other.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sunset at Langkawi

The sea has always held a fascination for many and I am one of them. That it can offer an absolutely unbelievable, breathtaking spectacle, was a learning and one of the most fascinating experiences of a life time.
In Langkawi, Malaysia, there are a countless number of beaches. Each one that you visit will provide a different view of the sea face.

Nature's miracle begins to unfold at sunset time. As the sun begins to set, the sky changes many colors - one after the other with each scene created transitioning into the next one. You will for instance see the sky painted grey and the water surface filled with streaks of silver which is the water reflecting the sunlight of the setting sun. You turn you attention away for only a few moments, and the next scene unfolds which could be a bright orange sky - almost as if it is on fire. And very quickly you see the entire expanse of the horizon - the sky and the sea water turning bright orange. And, as the sun slowly goes down, the orange light dims from on top of the water and for the few remaining moments of day time, remains only high above in the sky. Another fascinating spectacle - the land and the sea engulfed in darkness, and the sky still brightly lit up, in light and then deep orange, then grey.
Physicists explain this as the 'scattering' of light. Whatever may be the explanation, this is one scientific phenonmena which instead of being profound to many, is easily understood and marvelled at.