I have a few questions …

Dec 13th – Almost 3 weeks have passed since the
attacks in Mumbai and I still find myself restless.  It feels as if it was yesterday and I can’t
seem to shake the images off.  There are
so many questions.  They just don’t stop

 Why did the fire at Taj take so long to put out?  Why wasn’t there a sense of urgency amongst
the firemen?  Why weren’t there dozens of
firemen heading into the Taj as opposed to 
2 standing on the ladder and helping
one person out at a time?  I saw 500
firemen run into the WTC on 9/11 and as many cops within 10 minutes of the first
crash – What happened to our guys?  Are we really that gutless?

 Within hours of the attacks taking place how was a civilian
like me allowed to break 3 security cordons and go to the Taj and the Oberoi? Why
did all the different security outfits look completely confused?  Why did they not seem to be in control?  Why did they not seem alert? Is their job toTaj fire
simply be present at the scene? Why wasn’t there one person coordinating the
entire effort?  Why didn’t we have any
information about what was going on? Why was the effort so chaotic? Why do our
security heads believe that keeping us in the dark is the best way to handle
such situations?  Why do they manipulate
every news item that comes out?  Why are
we only hearing stories about number of lives that were actually saved?  Why are we giving out 5 lacs for showing up
at the target site and 10 lacs for firing a bullet at the terrorists? Why do
they think we do not realize the truth?  Do they know the truth?

 Why were the 20 something reporters checking their
makeup?  Why were they calling friends
and asking if the sentences they were framing were grammatically correct since
this was their big chance and they wanted to get it ‘absolutely right?  Why were they asking foreigners if they would
come back to visit our country?  Why did
they look so excited?  Why did they seem that
as far as their careers were concerned this is as good as it was going to get?
Why do the interviewers speak more than the people being interviewed?  Why we projecting what we want to hear as
opposed to listening? Why do the anchors in the studio insist upon using the
word ‘exclusive’ in every sentence?  Do
we really care?  Do the media remember what their job really is?

 Why is our opposition leader referred to as prime-minister-in-waiting?  Why couldn’t he help himself from making
comments such as ‘the administration has failed and will need to provide
answers’?  Why did he think that it was
more important to let people know his schedule and why he has decided to not
visit Mumbai right away?  Why did he not
provide us with leadership, facts, and assurances?  Why did he not say something that brought us
together as human beings as opposed to dividing us L K Advani
based on political
affiliations?  Is it more important for
us to know how many times he has spoken to the prime minister or is it more
assuring to know what the government is doing to take charge of the
situation?  When did he become an expert
on terrorism activities?  What right does
he have to make wild claims, within hours, on which outfit was responsible for
these attacks without the right data and analysis?  How can an individual who single-handedly
gave terrorism a platform in this country – by destroying the Babri Masjid – be
our only leadership option?  How come our
streets are riddled with hoardings, posters and pictures of politicians take
credit for everything from our GDP growth to the death of the terrorists?  Why do political parties have free license to
disfigure our city?  Why don’t they pay,
like the rest of us, if they wish to use our outdoor media? Are we ok with
having our country run on personal feelings, whims and fancies? Who
are these people running our country and where did they come from?

 Why is the only inspiring Indian leader not of Indian
origin?  Why does our prime ministerManmohan Singh cari not
speak with the same passion that he did when he was finance minister?  Where is the man, who through his poetic and
arousing budget speeches in the parliament gave us reason to believe that
change was

possible?   Is he so caught up
in his politics that he has forgotten his mission?  Has he lost sight of the millions of Indians
who had our hopes pinned upon a new India when he came into
office?  Yes, we want a prime minister
who has a squeaky clean reputation; Yes, we want somebody who can take tough
stands; Yes, the man should be able to propel our nation forward; But more than
ever we need somebody who can move us.
 Somebody who can inspire us.  Somebody who speaks
to us from the heart.  Somebody we can relate to.  Somebody who can unite us.  Somebody we can have faith in.  Will the real Manmohan Singh please stand

Why do we make up stuff when asked questions by the
media?  Why do we feel compelled to smile
when a camera is in front of us even if people are dying behind us?  Why do we go about our daily lives without
answers to questions that deserve answers?  Why do we have such little value for human life? Why are we
so quick to take credit and so eager to blame? Why does somebody else’s success
make us so miserable? Why do we try to pass off somebody else’s work as our
own?  Why do we try to take ownership of
things that are not ours or credit for things we did not do?  Why do we behave so sneaky?  Why are we always trying to see what we can
‘get away’ with?  When did we lose our
sincerity?  Why do we always try to cut
the line we are standing in?  Why are we
willful to the point that we use words and sentences not for what they actually
mean but for what we want them to mean? 
Why do we always see things the way we want to see them as opposed to
what they actually are?  Why do we lie so
much?  Have we become completely spineless?

What action did our ex-Chief Minister taken in the last few
years?  Has anyone ever seen a bead of
worry on his forehead?  Why does he
always appear like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar?  How does he sleep at night? Why do our
politicians feel that their job is to win elections and that their work ends
when they get into office?  Shouldn’t
their work start when they join office?  Why
does it seem like being in office is the celebration for fighting the election?
Why is being ‘in position’ the most important thing for us?  Isn’t being ‘in position’ the beginning and
not the end?  Do you ever get the feeling
that most people in this country are simply ‘getting in position’? Is there anybody left to take action?

What concrete steps have been taken since the crimes
occurred?  Yes, a couple of politicians
have lost their ‘positions’ but will that lead to any good or are they simply
being replaced by people who had also, at some point, lost their
‘positions’.  Does it feel like we are on
a merry-go-round?  Why have we still not
been given one single comprehensive view on what exactly happened?  Has a complete internal security plan been
presented before the people of this country? Have we been told how the victim’s
families should come to terms with this? 
What are we doing to make sure that people did not lose their lives in
vain?  Were they just collateral
damage?  Why can’t we have a cross-party task force to address all the issues
completely, cohesively, and quickly.  Where is our sense of duty that will ensure
that this never happens again?

I could go on and on and on because no matter how hard I try
the questions just don’t stop.  In the   
end, perhaps there is just one question that matters – What next?

                                                                Question mark





9 thoughts on “I have a few questions …

  1. Very deep, very poignant. Quite depressing too! If I felt what I felt watching the drama unfold on CNN thousands of miles away, I can imagine the impact must be manyfold stronger when you’re just around the block!
    I have had enough of hearing about the so-called “Mumbai spirit,” wherein “life goes on as usual.” I think that’s more apathy than any courage on our part. Life should not go on as usual at least this once!
    So keep writing…

  2. Read the blog first and then read my comment below. My english has gone for a toss. Can you rewrite this and make it sound really smart? You can add/delete stuff I put here – some of it doesn’t even make sense.
    This is very lucid and thought-provoking. For once, I can see so many people are restless and looking for answers. And that is a BIG change in this city I had pretty much given up as being apathetic.
    I appreciate the fact that you are actively looking for answers. A lot more people need to read this, and push themselves to be more active in making our city/ country stronger. And more responsible.
    You should get these thoughts out to as many people as possible. Great ideas (especially about voting being more of an obligation than a right)! Keep writing!

  3. Hi Anupam,
    I stumbled upon your blog while Googling around for info on 99….
    Your angst and frustration clearly show up in the questions you asked. Regarding the solution space, I totally agree we should all vote and choose leaders based on their caliber. You echo what Aamir Khan wrote on his blog as well about voting. But the problem is that a majority of India’s population still lives in villages, so their vote will inevitably be the dominant one. And we cant expect them to ignore their illiteracy or starvation while voting. So, while everybody voting is necessary, its not sufficient. We need to improve the basic education level in India. Only educated people can make sound decisions. While all of this is a slow process, I feel it’ll fix the problem at a root cause level. Meanwhile, media can help steer people in the right direction, but alas, it gets embroiled in the regimes of channel publicity, as you noted. Cinema can also play a role by making socially-relevant films that are still entertaining so that masses see it.
    The other aspect is how parties choose the leaders. Your point about the leader of opposition being the man who destroyed Babri Masjid is a good example. Yes, our leaders also come from within us, but the nomination is in the hands of the parties and is typically based on family tree or public image or within-party politics, talent being a lower priority. I think each party should put forth 2-3 candidates for a post and let the public decide the right one.
    Regarding the so-called spirit of Mumbai, I feel its more because constraints of life push people to move on, they dont really have a choice….
    I’ve put a link to your blog on my site (sanjitdang.com) under ‘Bollywood blogs’ section to help spread the message.
    Its heartening to see personalities like you come out and express your views. Keep the thoughts flowing….

  4. Good stuff on the Blog mate. These are questions that should never be asked because the answers are so depressing. All these questions are everpresent in mind when dealing with the Indian public sector which consists of the intellectually and mentally bankrupt. Every encounter with a pubic servant increases by 20% your chance of becoming a permanent alcoholic, 5 times and you’re done!

  5. Hi Anupam,
    I am not sure if you are going to read this. But there is something I really need you to know. I am a paid member of one of your sites fropper.com and I am being unduly harrassed by an employee of yours called Lloyd. Could you please look into it as this is really tarnishing the image of the site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s