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A Time to Act

Posted by RB Kollannur on November 30, 2008


In 1993, few boats landed on the shores of a Mumbai suburb and offloaded arms and explosives. It was later used to create havoc in the city of Mumbai. In 2008, few boats landed again on the shore of Mumbai, this time in the heart of the city and created havoc in the city.

What we saw in Mumbai the past few days is horrifying and tragic. But we should not lose sight of the fact that considering what happened in 1993, measures should have been in place to prevent a repeat. The state has failed again to protect its own. How many more should die before the state wizens up and corrects its errors?

What happened in Mumbai is akin to a car owner leaving his car on the streets, with the key in ignition, engine running and the doors open, for anyone to steal it. Should we blame the terrorists for taking advantage of an opportune situation or for allowing the opportunity to happen in the first place?

Blame not the government whose competence in national security has reached a new low. Blame neither the politicians who indulge in votebank politics while their cities burn. If you are looking for someone to blame look no further than your mirror. It is we, the citizens of India, who have allowed for this tragedy to happen by happily electing the same incompetent and corrupt politicians that we crib about at our coffee tables.

UPA has been targeted for being soft on terror in Ahmedabad and Delhi, while NDA has been accused of causing terror in Gujarat and Kandhamal. The so called Third Front is so divided in their policies that they have TRS and TDP talking about a separate state of Telengana while allying with the Left who are vehemently opposed to it.

Despite being disillusioned with the politicians and political system, millions queue up on election day to cast in their votes for the same politicians, for want of a better alternative. What we need is a new breed of politicians, to lead the nation before it hits the abyss.

India is not short of leaders. We have made long leaps in an economic front and have created leaders in their own right. But this has not trickled down into our political system. Last week, Infosys head Nandan Nilekani was talking about his book giving suggestions of how India can prosper in the future. But when asked about joining politics, he was hesitant.

The Indian political system has a strong entry barrier. For even the most inspired Indian to have a prominent say in the Indian governance, it requires a lifetime of effort. Ask Vajpayee and Advani the effort they needed to build BJP into a national party and you will realize that.

We need to first change our political system for it inhibits the capable people of the nation from joining it, while favoring a cartel of the incompetent. Then only will our vote truly count. If we do not, all we can do is shut ourselves up in our rooms like the guests of Taj and Oberoi, hoping someday these dark days will come to pass.

There is a time to talk and there is a time to act. The time to act in now. The political system needs to be reformed. It is the nation that we need to change and each and everyone of us has to act.

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