On 26/11 – the first one year after the terror-attack in Mumbai

…The mirror that reflects our collective cowardice

[Excerpts from article By Rahul Bose, Outlook, 30 November, 2009]

Over the last 40 years, no international city’s government has treated its people with such indifference and scorn as ours have. We quickly realized this and set about making things better for ourselves. The rich bribed and bullied, the poor thieved and used the political and criminal mafia. Both knew they had no choice. This was their only city of hope.

And then we had 26/11. Up to this point, we thought nothing would anger us. But when 26/11 happened, it seemed the final straw. Wrong. The general elections showed how the politics of the city affects us not one bit. Despite the most intensive effort ever by the non-profit sector, Mumbai refused to vote. Truly the Mumbaikar believes nothing will change, no matter who you elect. And don’t underestimate our ability to shut things out. We are way too insular, way too scared to disturb the status quo, lest it interfere with our rise to a ‘better life’. This tragedy –of us practicing the deepest cowardice there can be—has destroyed any moral fibre we had. Politicians accused of genocide? We must welcome him to our city! Sports stars accused of match-fixing? Invite them for an awards night! Film stars doing drugs? Get them a new endorsement! We have become our own rapists. We experience terror everyday by terrorizing ourselves. 26/11? Let’s make a film.

(The writer is an actor, activist and quintessential Mumbaikar)

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