Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Michigan State University; Independent journalist - environment, science and international news.

Fellow - International League of Conservation Writers.

Member - Society of Environmental Journalists, International Communication Association.

Tears, Blood, Bullets, and today, a Salute!

I do not live in Mumbai. I was not there to witness the 26/11 attack last year. Who am I to be writing about it? I am an angry, disturbed, and agitated Indian. I did not lose anyone I know in the attack. I lost a whole bunch of people I had never known or met. I lost a whole lot of fellow Indians. To what? To a group of misguided cowards who used violence against innocent Indians. A group of maniacs who left children orphaned, women widowed, people dead and bleeding on railway station platforms, on roads, in hospitals and hotels. A group of over-confident bastards who gunned down top-notch Police officials, and injured numerous others.
Police officers who fought valiantly but had no back up whatsoever. Police officers who did not even blink to think of their families in the face of a terror attack. And Mumbai may not be my home. Pune isn't my home either. My home is my country. And no random asshole from Pakistan or any other country can walk into my country and go on a killing spree.
A year after the incident that shook the world, the widowed wives want their sons to grow up to be loyal patriotic fighters like their dead fathers. They want their children educated and aware of their civic responsibility and they want them to become strong men who will not turn back when their country needs them. THAT is spirit. And it is trademark Mumbai! A city who has time and again been bombed, raided, painted red with blood, and yet, after all this, it still stands strong and sincere. It stands looking these anti-social elements in their face telling them to either give up and go or face the public rage. This remarkable regeneration property embedded in Mumbai does not come from a history or from the fact that it is our financial capital. It stems from the fact that each and every person who resides in this city, has it in his/her blood. And I don't mean to dilute the topic's intensity when I say this but, EVERY single person in Mumbai stood up to fight that day. And several of those were from Uttar Pradesh, or from Bihar, or from god-knows-where! The NSG commandos were sent from Delhi and one of them who lost his life, was from Bangalore. So, to anyone who thinks that Non-Maharashtrians don't have a place in Mumbai, kindly look inward first. The like Israel national, the child who lost his family to terrorists.
It is because of people like this, who live for states rather than country, that the image and strength of India weakens. People like this are an invitation for Pakistan to send across many more terrorists to cut through our country. And as far I know Indian history, we have one of the most strong and radiant glorious pasts. Why? Because back then it was not Hindu, Muslim or Sikh or Christian or Jew or whatever!! It was human, and Indian!
Losing that spirit, has cost us a lot and will continue to do so if we don't pick up from where we left off. Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Taliban, the LeT, the who-ever-else, will ALL be in a position to make us vulnerable.
We are the 2nd most populated country in the world. And somehow, we fail to use that to our advantage. If we make a chain and stand along our borders, there will STILL be a zillion of us left to replace those who make the chain weak. This chain is the force that binds us to each other. It is our blood. And THAT is why, when Mumbai or Kashmir get attacked, ALL of us feel the pain.
And I am really not sorry to say this and we have a right to freedom of speech so I WILL say what I want to - no matter how many ministers say that our ties with Pakistan need to be strengthened and that we are in a common battle against terrorism, I will STILL detest that country- Pakistan. I don't know how "common" this so called battle is, but what I DO know, is that Pakistan is providing shelter, food and training to those picked up people who are brainwashed to kill innocent lives. Pakistan IS the home of terrorism and what I have with Pakistan, IS war.
Let one more attack happen, let us spend another 31 Crore keeping captured (if at all they are captured) terrorists alive and let our ministers continue to say , "We are looking into the matter." let them keep looking. When we HAVE enough evidence to prove Pakistan's involvement, when we have names, WHY are we quiet and still vulnerable? If no one else is willing to fight, the public is and for the first time I know, that I am NOT alone in my statement. The people of this country are VERY strong. So terrorists, Pakistan and our own ministers, kindly do not push us to the extent that we turn democracy into rebellion and revolution. I could make this a personal war against Pakistan as well. I could want to avenge the death of a brother who got blasted into pieces because of a land-mine. But I would want anyone reading this to know, that this IS personal. Because I am an INDIAN and I will NOT continue to tolerate this endless volley of bloody attacks on my people and my countrymen no matter what state, city, town, village they are from. Also, the people of this country can be remarkably understanding if our politicians and police forces took us into confidence and answered the many floating doubts about WHY we are no better than we were when 26/11 gripped us last year? A country cannot function amicably if you leave out its people from its core issues.
I don't think the police needs to protect Kasab from anyone else but Indians who will have their blood boiling to get their hands on the boy who walked about with a thick-skinned, regretless grin and an AK-47.

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