Friday, 18 August 2006

At what cost?..disturbing thought

Another bright day. Infact too bright. I go to the central park of our apartments where the flag hoisting is done with all solemnity. A short speech by the RWA president. Children sing patriotic songs.Jalebis and Samosas are served as it has been done for all those 12 years I have lived here.There are various competitions for the children...painting, essay writing, sports etc etc. It goes on and on. Nothing seems to have changed. Apart from the fact I am older and most adolescents of yesteryears now have kids of their own.

Post lunch..I venture out to go to India Gate. Now the rude awakening. Though there is hardly any traffic on the roads where you go, you see policemen and/or defence personnel searching all vehicles. They even body search a few. Thoroughly check the belongings too. All my enthusiasm is lost by this time. At last we are told no one can go near India Gate. Imagine that. In all the 30 odd years I have lived in Delhi, we have always been free to move anywhere in Delhi.

I realise there has been threats of terrorist attacks on all major landmarks , malls, Cinema Halls,temples,national monuments etc in Delhi. We do need these security checks. We cannot take any risks. But at what cost? We are living in constant fear. The government wants us to stay home. We are not free to move anywhere we want. Worst, at few places we can't even carry water as liquids in any form are not allowed.

Finally I realise that haven't we played into the hands of terrorists? They have achieved their goal. They do not even need bombs. Killing and maiming innocents is not what works best. Fear factor works just as well...more so for the govt and the security agencies. The common man just wants the freedom to move as he desires.

Feeling afraid is normal becos we care for our loved ones. We worry for their safety. We should not give in to it though. We should not let fear become part of our lives. We have to find ways and means to deal with it.

All I ask, will it ever end or terror will become a way of life for us? Disturbing thought that....


  1. I hope not but I would not be surprised. Unless or until a totalitarian regime clamps down on ALL OF US the cost of freedom will be

    accepting the rights of others to act like idiots and

    to acknowledge their retarded notions about how the world should operate.

    Democracy is certainly not perfect but it is the lesser of the two evils. Unfortunately it is ruled by statistical 'mob/majority' rule and not on the premise that the best ideas always win. Pity.

  2. I agree, a scary thought. We in Canada are not living what you are living, which makes us lucky.

    You are so much closer to where this is all happening and it doesn't sound like much fun at all.

    I don't know what the answer is.

    I think the only thing is to determine how much terror actually exists (Bush talks about the "war on terror" all the time. How much of the terror did he start himself and how much of what he says is just fearmongering to make his Iraq invasion legitimate?

    So how much of the "sky is falling" scenarios are actually resulting in terrorist events?

  3. Yes, Within/Without makes a good point, it's hard to tell the proportions between fear mongering for purposes of the goverment, at least here in the US, getting more and more power and control; and what the degree of real threat is.

    In any case, as you suggest, the response to threat, if disproportional, can be almost as bad as the threat. I lived in the DC area when sniper shootings were going on. Several people ended up being killed, but this whole humongous metropolitan area was just TOO terrorized by it, imo. Some of my coworkers were actually changing their behavior, like filling their gas tanks less often, because a couple shootings had happened to people at filling stations.

    To my mind, my odds of being shot filling my tank were so remote it was like not going out during times of the year when meteor showers occur in case one falls on your head!

  4. Hi Gautami,

    As I said, a good thought piece. I saw the terror in Bagdad and wondered if India will go the same way.


  5. homo:I know what you mean by democracy. The largest democracy seems to be in a mess, methinks!

    within without: Oh, we are not scared. But the govt wants us to be scared. How long can one stay cooped up just becos of some silly threat. No thanks, I will lead it the way I have been doing.

    darius: No one calculates the probability factor. The one who does is considered a fool. If I say, the probabilty is negligible, I get to hear, what if?

    John: Hope not! Scary thought!

  6. My dear Gautami,
    Once again you speak with the voice of wisdom. Terrorism's greatest victory is when we alter our way of life in fear of losing it. This way, we lose our precious freedom, that which makes our lives worthwhile. It is stripped from us , inch by painful inch, rather than in one blinding explosion.
    I do believe that we need to hunt these miserable creatures down but our greatest defence against them is to live as though they do not exist.
    We also need to ask what creates the climate in which these vermin flourish. What have we contributed towards creating such a perverted sense of injustice? How can we fight what we do not understand?