Friday, December 12, 2008

Mumbai Attacks and Rahul Gandhi

Rediff had a link on Rahul Gandhi's statements after the Mumbai Attacks here.
As I said in the post below, I am very very suspicious of people who call terrorist acts as war.

"We will fight this war against terror and win this war," he said lauding the unity shown by Parliament in response to the Mumbai attacks.

As I explained, he is trying to act like Bush did after 9/11. 7 years after Bush declared "war on terror" the USA is mired in two bloody, brutal wars of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan and has not achieved any strategic goals.
Our leaders now want to act statesmanly and try to use flourishes of rhetoric - but I have a more important quote here:

"It is not enough for us to protect the people. We should go one step beyond. People who have done this should understand very clearly that not only do we hold lives of our people highly, but there is also a cost to killing innocent Indians," Gandhi said.

Is Rahul Gandhi joking? What country is he living in? Innocent Indians are killed all the time in totally avoidable accidents and poverty and hunger because our government has abndoned its role of regulatory authority for the last so many years. Indians are killed and maimed by other Indians all time in our roads - from pedestrians crossing ill-designed roads to speed limits that are never enforced.
I am curious - why wouldn't we declare a war on traffic violations?

1. Why are our leaders not angry when a tragedy like the Kumbakonam fire accident happens and a hundred children burn to death in a school that should NEVER have been functioning or granted a license?
2. Why are our leaders not angry when lung diseases and cancer incidence increases throughout India and people die prematurely because of the massive pollution caused by zero regulation or action by the Indian government?
3. Why are our leaders not angry when tens of thousands are killed by reckless driving and unregulated traffic in our cities and highways?
4. Why didn't we declare a war against incompetence in Chennai when a stampede caused by inappropriate organization of crowds killed hundreds of poor people during last year's rains?
5. Why didn't we declare a war against callousness when building after building collapses in Mumbai and regulators who certify them sit by without punishment?

Bush could declare a war on terror because atleast the US government does take care of its own citizens in that country. They could truly state that they were shocked by the deaths of innocents. I am amazed that Indian politicians pretend to be outraged by innocent Indian deaths. Innocent Indian deaths have been happening for a long time because the value of our lives is zero in front of the massive greed of our rulers.
Let us first declare a war against incompetence, against brutality, against callousness. Then we can declare war on terror.

As a practical matter, the Indian state can never get its act together regarding terrorism unless our regulatory and enforcement wings actually work - our coastal areas will not be protected; our cities won't be protected either unless the government can actually ensure compliance with law and regulation at every level. The idea seems to be that every police department would continue to function as badly while dealing with local laws - but somehow we will be protected against foreign terrorists just by forming central agencies. Unlikely.

By the way, Salman Khan is still running around attending movie shows and television shows - even though he was charged with running over innocent pavement dwellers several years back. No justice has been served. The case keeps dragging in court.
Sanjay Dutt is still making movies though he was actually convicted and sentenced.
So much for protecting innocent Indians.


Pedda said...

Could not have agreed more. These statements to arouse the patriotic fervor are just rabble rousers trying to mask their own shortcomings. The people on the other hand are following this stupid calls for war on terror forgetting what happened at Kargill. Our own defense minister used it as an excuse to make money on the coffins. Unless we clean up own house internally, we should expect and will not make progress.

Destination Infinity said...

You are right. The government has made some mandatory security procedures for all hotels which is costing them lakhs. We need not have gone through all this if the govt employees had done their basic job. We are not demanding anything extraordinary, are we?

Destination Infinity

Sridhar said...

We - the people are responsible for the messy systems we are in. Rahul Gandhi happens to be a representative of this society.

In the city of Chennai, can we find 10 people who wouldn't bribe a cop when caught for a single traffic violation, but accept the guilt and pay the legal fine? If we can, then there may be a hope that we'll one day care for the innocent people.

If not, let's keep blogging about the more corrupt amongst us and scratch at our emotional itching.

Ramiah Ariya said...

Sridhar, I will write a bigger post about this guilt complex we have - that blames ourselves supposedly.
Here is the thing - people follow incentives. That is a basic economic principle. There is an incentive to get ahead of the line or violate red lights because the punishment is rare.
There are some people who would equate such natural behavior on the part of common people with crimes committed for profit by corporations and the state. They are not the same - they are not the same by scale,by damage caused or by motivation.
Here is a simple question for you - are Indians a unique species? Do they have specific "corrupt" characteristics that other peoples of developed nations obviously do not possess? Do you believe that?
There are some who out of frustration would blame their own country men for cutting ahead in traffic or jumping lines - but there is a difference between individual frustrations and a systematic problem.
If Indians do NOT posess (self-evidently) such corrupt characteristics by default, then what differentiates the state of our nation from others?
Obviously, it is the state of our rule of law - a democracy requires two attributes to function:
- citizen engagement
- rule of law
That the rule of law does not exist in India is clear - but how are you laying the blame on common citizens? Common citizens respond to incentives - and the incentive is to disragard law. But are their offenses somehow the cause of the rut we are in?
You do not think that a hospital that throws biological waste into the neighboring streams is more dangerous? Don't you think that a health inspector that takes a bribe is more dangerous?
Rahul Gandhi is not our representative, really. He is an aristocrat who has been thrust into a leadership position by the same elitist system. To not acknowledge that a corrupt system exists, (then trying to blame the people struggling around us, because of petty violations) - now that is pretty emotional.
But I will write more about such self-incriminations - I read more such all the time.

Anonymous said...

Rahul Gandhi himself is a big joke. He is a hypocrite surrounded by ass-licking sychophants. Its better we all ignore the statements this fool makes.

Karthik said...

oops, sorry..the previous comment was mine. "anonymous" was unintentional. Hi!! This is Karthik

Sridhar said...

My original comment wasn't on comparing us and developed nations. It is not even about equating terrorism with other kinds of crimes out of carelessness. Just to answer your questions on the developed nations, I'm referring them here.

I probably used the wrong term - representative when referring to Rahul Gandhi. He is just a sample from the society.

But can you name one "representative" who would be serious about following the rule of the law? This "representative" has to come from this society. I feel the probability of finding a good representative is higher in developed countries. This good representative is a key to fixing systemic problems for systems do not fix themselves.

I am not differentiating between hospital that throws biological waste into the neighboring streams from a reckless driver (of a bus) who jumps the signal or a suicide bomber. The potential effects are the same. I may understand the incentive the hospital gets in such an act, but fail to understand the presence of any good incentive in jumping a signal or suicide bombing.

Leave aside the crimes, for they always happen. I am looking for the integrity that will make people accept their mistakes and undergo the penalty. Societies of developed nations are better placed, possibly because of their religious background, penalties/incentives etc.

I'm interested only in the personal integrity - not as a cultivated virtue but as an inherent attribute. I feel this integrity is a key for a healthy society. This integrity in individuals will ensure better systems and fewer crimes.

Kunal said...

I could not stop thinking of how Media has an effect on the way we think.

But are they to be blamed for not raising issues that are more dominant in the the country.. May be not because we are the people who are more interested in kareena Kapoors life.

No body has raised such issues, because we have started getting used to it.

"Be the change you want to see." _ Mahatma Gandhi

Only when we change, we cn think about changing the world!