Hopes for 2009

Condolences to all those who lost their dear ones in the Mumbai tragedy.

Thanks and Kudos to the commandos, policemen, hotel staff and others who fought the terrorists to save innocent lives. Special salute to the policemen, NSG and ATS forces who lost their lives fighting for their country. The country is proud of you.

Centered around this tragic event, here are my hopes for India for the year 2009 –

  1. World community recognizes India as a country that can fight against and survive such dastardly acts and will continue to do business with us. I am certainly heartened by some of the interviews with the survivors, particularly foreigners. One of them urged countries and companies to do business with India lest we give into these terrorists. Another one, a tourist, insisted that she will continue her tour of India. Such spirit needs to permeate across the world community.
  2. Every India becomes more aware of terrorism and considers it their civil duty to thwart it. Become more aware of what is happening in the community and in the surroundings. Do not just rely on the government to provide security and fight this menace. It has to start at grass roots and community level.
  3. India continues the policy of non-negotiation with the terrorists
  4. Pakistan government takes serious steps to eradicate rogue elements (Dawood Ibrahim for example) and terrorist’s camp in Pakistan. (Do not construe this as a statement of assumption regarding Pakistan’s involvement in this tragedy.)
  5. The Muslim minority condemns the attack vehemently and goes beyond to rid itself of radical elements
  6. The Hindu majority sympathizes with the state of Muslim minority. A few bad apples are giving the whole community a black spot.
  7. Our intelligence continues to improve and prevent such attacks rather than just react to such events
  8. Politicians do not take advantage of the situation and will act as leaders of the nation rather than leaders of their party
  9. India goes onto become stronger – financially, culturally and as a society.

In US, CNN dedicated almost a day and a half to cover the tragedy. I was particularly impressed with Mallika Kapur and Sarah Sidner’s reporting. There was an unfortunate incident where Sarah Sidner was accosted by a mob, but the way she handled the mob was appreciable. Goes to show the danger these reporters sometimes face to give us the story.

I wish the government had done a better job of dispersing information. At various times, we got information that the siege has ended only to see it continue and that was extremely disappointing.

Some of the sites I visited to get latest information included IndianExpress, TimesofIndia, NDTV, CNN, rediff etc. Of these, NDTV surprised me with their reasonably upto date information. Hindu was extremely disappointing.

Coincidentally, I happened to watch the hindi movie – “A Wednesday” around the time of this tragedy. This is a movie based on terrorism and how it affects the psyche of a common man. Naseeruddin Shah was his usual brilliant self. The climax was certainly surprising. As much as I could not agree with the message of the movie, I could not help but empathize with it. Do watch it if you get a chance.



  1. Quote

    Ganesh – You’ve given us all much to think about. Point (2) resonated with me.

    [Every Indian becomes more aware of terrorism and considers it their civil duty to thwart it. Do not just rely on the government to provide security and fight this menace]

    This incident happened in the past few days. I won’t disclose “where”, for obvious reasons.

    I visited a financial institution. Usually, all cars are checked for bombs. The boot is opened, the under-carriage is checked etc. On that day, *all* checks were waived & the security personnel were reading a magazine. I was horrified & demanded them to check the car. They looked at me irritably & said – “The device broke”. I was speechless.

    When my meeting with the manager was over, I briefed him on what happened. He shrugged his shoulders, smiled & said – “Happens all the time, Ms Raju”. He didn’t take security seriously!

    I decided to broach this matter with the cops guarding the institution. There was a desolate looking cop gloomily staring into her tea cup when I got in & I hoped she would still be around. But, there was no one around!

    I drove around till I found a cop in the next street & implored him to take action. A financial institution, that too! Could he please ask someone to set the situation right? The cop looked at me beseechingly & said – “But, Madam – that’s not my area”.

    I’ll just let that sink in. I then called the police control room – # 100 – & begged & begged them to do something. They assured me they would. I hope they did something.

  2. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said December 4, 2008, 8:07 pm:

    Excellent post Ganesh and a timely one as well. To Priya’s point, we were at a posh hotel in chennai of the type that got attacked in Mumbai and their handling of the security precautions left a lot to be desired. If such as is the state of a financial institution and a posh hotel you can imagine the state of the others.

    To me the revelation during this crisis was Twitter. It is another powerful medium that is developing fast.

    My best wishes to all of us to have your Hopes fulfilled 2009.

  3. Quote

    Good one, Ganesh. I was greatly disappointed with India’s total intelligence agency’s failure, I hate to be a reactive rather than proactive. What is the point of ranting now, we unable to protect a small strip which leads to main city from Colba beach? And we even hate to do “postmortem” also? I don’t know when we are going to learn how to become proactive after all these years of terrorism and all bad incidents. There is no excuse for people’s life loss, no body can compensate it. As you said, Hindu was busy with covering Karunanidhi’s family reunion after 1.5 year of fight.

  4. Quote


    About Twitter and its impact during the tragedy, I heard +ve’s and -ve’s.

    I heard there was a lot of misinformation floating around in twitter in terms of number of victims dead, injured etc. Such misinformation only leads to additional fear and could be exploited by terrorist organizations.

    As our earthly directory Bharathiraja would say”I am not against with technology, I am against with misuse of technology”!!


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    Yes Ganesh. There was some misinformation. But that is true of most social media including blogs. The users need to have strong bullshit detection capabs.

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    Ganesh – Sukumar is right. There was a lot of misinformation in the traditional media too. TV channels reported misleading & incorrect info.

  7. Quote

    I don’t have any hopes on points 4 thru 8 though.

  8. Quote


    It is a sad state of affairs when decent citizens lose hope on the government and politicians. Just goes to show the extra-ordinary efforts that politicians need to take to restore trust in the government. Maybe, the protests and marches in Mumbai and other parts of the country will be a wake-up call.

    There are certain seminal events that prove to be a positive turning point in a country’s history. And I believe this could be one.

    And Priya, if you think #4 through #8 is not possible, then #9 is an impossibility. Do you agree?


  9. Quote

    Nice hopes Ganesh. I will be happy to see atleast 3 of the nine hopes.I guess 9 is possible only other eight 8 are satisfied.

    I agree on the media part with Sukumar and i would like to add that its not just tradtional media but even the new age media is sending wrong messages.

    Another problem with mails/forwards,twitters,SMS is the repeated recipt of the same fowards.I mean beyond a point we stop taking them seriously an treat it as spam.So i feel there should be check it too.

    One example is the the slogans displayed during the peace march in Mumbai.I got this fotos atleast 6 times from various sources.

  10. Quote

    Nice Post Ganesh.

    Point 2 is what we need to do. We should tell ourselves and people around “Stop Cribbing and do something however small. If you can’t just shut up and don’t demoralize people by just being a nay-sayyer.”

    Priya liked the post about what all you did to raise awareness. I guess all of us should just keep doing. We don’t when the “Chaos effect” will take over.

    Inspire yourself with a few words from Gita – “Do your duty lay not claim to its fruits”.

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    All the best on all of your points Ganesh.

    In addition to these , I would also wish all our Media channels to be a lot more responsible in dealing with information dissimination. Watching all the channels through the incident, I almost felt as if each of media channels were too fighting with each other at this time of tragedy to report. For a moment , I even felt that the good old DD news of the 90’s would have been far better. Some points :
    a) Lot of restraint while showing graphics and material that would adversaly affect children.
    b) Ban ‘live Video’ reporting on emergencies. We do want news asap, but we can very well wait for a delay of an hour or two with respect to sensitive information & videos that puts the entire operation at risk.
    c)Stop ‘making’ & ‘creating’ news when there are emergencies. Just report them. And do your homework before you do that.
    d)Cut all those 3-D effects and glorifying background music when you report such incidents. I just sometimes think how the victims & their families feel when they hear the news of their near & dear ones dying on these channels.
    e)Support the forces in whatever way you can..Even if that means reporting exactly what the authorities want you to report. Abs nothing is above the nation. This is not the time to use your reporters to gather ‘insider information’ for scoops. You can do that once the air settles.

    Information dissimination in this incident has played a very important role , even in ways that we might not have yet comprehended. Right from shaping world opinion to aiding the attackers in their cowardly act. I only hope the I&B ministry comes with a clear cut charter on Do’s & don’ts by the media in such cases which is followed in spirit.

    I had seen ‘The Wednesday’ . The film very clearly showed how terrorists used the media for their own gains. It’s pathetic that we never learn our lessons.

  12. Quote

    Ganesh – I think we’ve already made 9 possible, while 4 thru 8 are deteriorating. Although, if 7 worsens any further – as in more terror attacks – 9 (India becoming stronger) will suffer major setbacks.

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