Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bombay 26/11 Editorial - Rich India's Gravest Hour

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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26/11 Bombay Editorial - Rich India's Gravest Hour

Why should no-star India cry for 5-star India.

[Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; picture by Reuters]

The aftermath of terrorist attacks in Bombay shows that India's social divide is wider than I had imagined.

Suddenly the rich and good-looking Indians of Delhi and Bombay have realised that they, too, perhaps have a stake in the country's political system.

They never cared before. But now it's different.

After all, the Taj was like their second home.

This time the terrorists invaded the rich people's most expensive hotels. The next time it could be their gated apartment complexes. They fear that the political establishment would continue to play its usual blame games.

"You can't trust these netas," the rich people say. One elegant Bombay socialite has talked of carpet bombing Pakistan.

Dangerous times.

You may say that it wasn't only the glorious Taj and Oberoi that were targeted. People were killed in Bombay's railway terminus, too. True. True? All that TV channels showed during the great Bombay siege were the English-speaking Indians and white Westerners of the Taj.

There were bodies of not-so-rich people lying in the railway station but... who cares for the 'natives'?

In different parts of India -- in Kashmir, Manipur, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, there are millions of Indians who daily suffers the personalised terrorism of so-called freedom fighters, mujahideens, maoists, police officers and Indian army jawans. I have rarely seen south-Delhi-esque Indians lighting candles at India Gate on behalf of those.

Maybe those people don't really matter. After all, they are not bank owners, industrialists, or influential journalists. Those ignored masses usually come malnourished and wear no designer clothes. Maybe that's why they are easy to be ignored.

Of course, no one ignores the wealthy. They are everywhere. Indian newspapers gives an illusion of the entire nation being in outrage over the Bombay attacks. But there is no sound reason for such an assumption.

Why should no-star India cry for 5-star India? The 5-star never cried for them. Now the rich are demanding that India should stand united. Where were they earlier?

If that largely poor and largely terrorised India is still able to feel any sympathy, credit it to the curious concern that the very poor have for the very rich. On their part, the deodorised desis of Malabar Hill and Golf Links never felt strongly enough to lit candles for their less privileged countrymen.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

great article!

Seng said...

This post echoes my thoughts exactly as I watched the events unfold this week. Where were the innocents mowed down at the VT train station? They were consigned to small still pictures in the Times of India and the Hindustan Times - reduced to anonymous blood-spattered bodies on the station floor, in the very poses they sat/slept in when they were shot.

Putra Bertam said...

I just c'nt imagine how dare they do it and for what purpose? who are they targeting, to me they a not a real hero but coward.

Anonymous said...

True, why should no-star India unite with 5-star India. Though I agree that 5-star India have always ignored their lesser mortal fellow citizens and hardly stood with them in their time of grief, but whatever be the means and intent end of the day the two Indias are united. Saif

Sameer Bhat said...

Mayank,

Valid point, well taken.
It is perhaps not abt the rich vs the poor victims, it is the audacity of it. They seem to be getting bolder each time. I don't think you should trivialize it in a rich vs poor victims [zero vs five star, as u put it] debate.

It borders on demeaning
Sameer

Anonymous said...

Don't think in terms of binaries, by doing so you re-enforce them..

shahhen sultan dhanji said...

Maano...interesting post! keep up!

shashank said...

and you of course have an insight into what the poor in India think because....

Its great to be an armchair critic but what have you done about anything

milieu said...

Thats a very valid point!
You have spontaneous outbursts of protests and solidarity marches by the Rich India as they feel threatened or attacked.
The poor India does not display such things because for it, this is just one more threat apart from all the other existential threats they face daily.

So after the Bombay riots when the city comes back on its feet (because quite frankly it does not have the option to not to go to work), the media portray it as resilience.

Lets hope that after the jingoistic outpourings have subsided, the next terror strike which might be on the more vulnerable poor India, the rich India shares the pain.

PS: I am also an armchair critic. Not that I have done anything on the ground.

redkazim said...

Your point is absolutely right.

Connoisseur said...

I don't think you as Pakistani should write such rubbish about India. The attack this time was unprecedented and unparalleled. It needs all the attention. In earlier attacks, India couldn't catch any Pakistani at the scene of action. What do you mean by ''good-looking'' Indians? Very poor observation though. India has more good looking and diverse people than your homogeneous, intolerant and hostile Pakistan. The only thing which comes from your Pakistan is terrorism to our India.
Don't own Delhi as we don't own Lahore any longer. I am astonished at your guts. You are in India right now but you don’t show any compassion or remorse. Shame on you! dikha diya na ke Pakistani toh Pakistani hi rahe ga, FULL OF HATRED AND A NARROW-MINDED DOG.

Sherebanu said...

Man.. how'd you let the last guy post?

Anyhow.. Here's my answer to your subtitled question. No-star India should care because:

-Even five-star Indians are human after all (i know, shocking). Facing the wrong end of a gun, waiting to find out the fate of a loved one - all these are excruciatingly horrible, even if done in the vicinity of a five-star hotel.
-So what if five-star India ignores no-star India? Do we really want no-star India emulating them exactly (umm for one thing, no one would vote in the country, which i guess wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing). Don't you think no-star India wants to get to a point where they're so secure that they don't have to give a f@#@ about the rest? Don't you think that the few who get from the former to the latter don't instantly shed their pretensions to care for the less fortunate?

Gosh. We're a mess.