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Mumbai Attacks Failing to Bridge the Divide

Posted: 12/03/08 02:50 PM ET

Although a Remembrance March of thousands of people across the country makes it seem as though we are completely united, this is unfortunately not turning out to be a truly lasting impression.

India is a country that suffers a great deal from its vast economic divide. This divide is reflected socially, and is the key component to many of India's problems. Corruption, crime and bribery can be seen as some of the direct results of this crease. The more money you have, the more of an exception you feel to every rule. Clearly, the rich are not 'invincible' anymore. But the only real answer to fixing an economic divide is education.

The unity that comes after a terrorist attack is a reflex action in this country, and as positive as we try to be, realistically we 'know' it will not last long. Just yesterday I attended a type of brainstorm/protest in the Government area of South Mumbai. Many people knew about it, yet as well publicized as it was, only about 60 people showed up. These 60 people have made time on a work day, at 4p.m., to come and contribute to a proactive discussion. Even though there was a ten-point plan already in hand to discuss, people were still talking about personal tales, not just of the last week, but of their lives. The resulting intention was to create and reinforce the spirit that already existed in those 60 people, and therefore, I found the meeting to be quite unproductive.

There are so many funds, groups, protests, P.I.Ls (Public Interest Litigations) and forums in the works, that we just seem to be heading towards one big mess of unstructured good intentions, where no one gets anywhere, and eventually everyone gives up. Are we headed back to our negligent hibernation? As I mentioned two days ago, the Government looks as though its tripping over its own feet at the moment, and the activity of the citizens is nearly an unintentional reflection of that. There is no order anywhere.

It is precisely this lack of central order that has failed the country in avoiding these attacks in the first place. The individual agencies had a massive communication gap, and therefore, despite any particular agency having information on when and where these attacks may take place, it could not do anything about it, not even warn the public, since the organization it reported to, decided this was not an important enough case to investigate

So the hot potato got cold. I can only hope that this does not happen to the various citizens groups that are popping up like hungry fish. I fear very much that the driving emotion will fade away as the frustration builds in those who are trying to make a difference.

Where will we be if that were to happen? Some of us have been naive to behave as if we are invincible, and even if we claim to believe otherwise, that is the only mindset we have previously known. A friend of mine even said, 'if i had heard a bomb go off, and I was in the Colaba area, the first place I would have run to for safety was the Taj.' Quite frankly, so would I. So far, all we have learnt is that we are more vulnerable to an attack than we previously thought.