Saturday, November 29, 2008

Even Anger has an agenda

I just finished watching a panel discussion on ibnlive with Rajdeep Sardesai with Shobhaa, Nikhil Wagle, Deora, and a couple of others.

As a viewer, it was very interesting to see and hear the various agendas of the panel participants and the degree of vehemency with which thier view was presented. While the emotion of anger was a common denominator, for each the object of thier anger and thier solutions offered were just slightly different.

The young "hope of south mumbai" Milind Deora impressed the least in his bumbling attempts to deflect any suggestion that as a elected politician he could and should own up to any responsibility for reform at the simplest level (for which he is well funded)... the constituency level. His argument that attempts to change anything at a legislative level will result in further politicising terrorism, are completely stupid and iresponsible. Terrorism is inherently a socio-politico-religious matter. Accept it for what it is and take the bull by the horns. Why be cowardly about debating the tough questions? Should we add cowardly and conviniently blind to the list of nasty attributes that we associate politicians with? I was appalled at his attitude. His suggestion that infrastructure and the bureucracy and strategy be "fixed" first before politicians are brought to task was preposterous. The rot starts from bad leadership in the first place. With a corrupt political will the best infrastructure will mean nothing. It does not matter how many subinspectors are moved around and how many bulletproof vests are distributed or how many commisioners heads roll. Unless the man at the top is made accountable, nothing will change. Milind Deora should be ashamed of himself. I am afraid Milind has learned his political lessons too well at the knee of family.

MN Singh had good points to make as a tried and tested bureaucrat and his clearly defining the role of the local police... for civic policing, not for terrorism policing and rescue... was something that needed to be reiterated for us to hear. I agree that we need different bodies to take care of different types of security and that it should be more decentralised. I hope someone is taking notes!

The person on the panel who I found the most interesting was Nikhil Wagle who is a journalist from the local Marathi media. He certainly had his finger on the pulse of the "aam janta"... the people who make the machine that is Mumbai... actually work. He begs for civic leadership and political will to change the scenario of a presently leaderless but "willing to help" populace... Mumbaikars who are moved and willing to make a grassroots difference. Put that man on a steering committee or a citizens think tank.! I think he will have valuable input along with the pragmatism that comes with being a journalist in the thick of political reporting.

Shobhaa your expression of impatience with the present status quo is finely tuned and your display of righteous civic anger will make a big difference. Now it will bode well, if only more regular people will speak up and keep aflame the fire of this civic disgust at ineptitude. I am so glad you say what is to be said. We must as ordinary citizens take your lead and hammer away at it too.

And Rajdeep, brilliant journalist and interrogator that you are, please speak slower and less excitedly. It helps if we can understand what you are saying when you are totally impassioned.

On a personal note Shobhaa, I am so glad that at the end of the panel, you paid tribute to the people at the VT Station and non prestige locations that were ALSO victims of willful and malicious terrorism. They are being too soon forgotten, in the rush to focus on the more glamorous(?) aspects of this tragedy.

I personally pay tribute to all the armed service, security and municipal agency personell who risked life and limb to bring about an end to this madness. In particular I would like to remember and salute the bravery and professionalism of the Fire Department of Mumbai who battled raging infernos under gunfire (despite being unarmed) and who rescued so many from a certain death. There have been too few kudos given to them in all the round of congratulatory messages.

My suggestions about what can be done... why there are all in the preceeding paragraphs! Lets start with what Milind Deora and his ilk should NOT DO as politicians...

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