Title: Save Our Tigers | Join the Roar
Title: Save Our Tigers | Join the Roar
Dial 108 – That is the new lifeline for rural residents in the states of Gujrat, AP, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, and Goa. I just came across an article on this great non-profit emergency health service, EMRI, slowly picking up in rural Bharat. I was so amazed that such a service, implemented by NGO’s and funded by state governments was a huge success, with no corruption. Once again, one among such states was Gujrat. While the media is still stuck with past memories of 2002, it seems like Gujrat is moving ahead with fantastic pace and is not caught in the past like our English media.
This is a classic example of how good things can be done if there’s a political will. I hope that other states with dismal rural healthcare facilities, notably Bihar, UP, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Assam, and NE states, implement this service as soon as possible.
Read on for the detailed article:
An emergency medical service in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa and Meghalaya has revolutionised health care in those States. Its success could bring political dividends this election season, writes A Surya Prakash
This is election time once again and you are certain to hear political experts pontificate on anti-incumbency and poor governance. Millions of Indians who are fed on a staple diet of cynicism by sections of the media would find it difficult to comprehend that good governance is a reality, at least in some States and that visible, and at times spectacular breakthroughs have been achieved in tackling hitherto unresolved problems. In other words, whatever the negative media may be dinning into your ears about the failure of the political class and the incompetence of the bureaucracy, the truth is that things are happening at the grass roots and the change is visible to those who are willing to cast away their political blinkers.
The best example of this is the comprehensive emergency response ambulance service that is now available in all parts of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa and Meghalaya and is being introduced in six other States. This service, which operates with remarkable speed and efficiency, has been perfected and executed by a non-profit organisation called Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) in all these States, and would easily classify as the most efficient public service programme in the country. Also, thanks to media skepticism, it is India’s best kept secret. People outside these States are largely unaware of the fact that it is bringing new hope to rural India and bridging the chasm between the villages and the cities at least in the area of emergency medical care.
EMRI was the brain child of Ramalinga Raju of the Satyam Group, who felt that India too ought to have an efficient and comprehensive emergency service like 911 in the United States. The non-for-profit organisation was launched in April, 2005 and Andhra Pradesh became the first State to ask for the service. Impressed by the success of the programme in Andhra Pradesh, Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, decided in August, 2007 to operationalise the service in his State by March, 2009. But, as we are all aware, where there is political will, there is speed. Therefore, with Modi pushing it, the 400 ambulances needed to cover the entire State were operationalised six months ahead of the deadline — in September, 2008 itself.
Apart from Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, the other States which have fully operationalised the emergency ambulance service are Uttarakhand, Goa and Meghalaya. In all these States, villagers say the ambulance reaches their doorstep in 15-20 minutes after a call to 108, a toll-free number, and takes the critically ill to the nearest civil or private hospital. This is a facility which even residents of Delhi and Mumbai cannot claim to have. Some other States which have taken the first steps to introduce 108 are Rajasthan, Karnataka, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
States can get much of the capital expenditure needed for this emergency ambulance service through the National Rural Health Mission, provided they have a clear plan of action and pitch for it the way Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have done. The cost per unit ranges from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 16 lakh depending on whether the ambulance is equipped with Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Life Support (ALS) equipment. The running cost (Rs 1.25 lakh per ambulance per month) is provided by the State Government. The running cost of the present fleet in Gujarat is about Rs 60 crore a year.
Andhra Pradesh first secured 500 ambulances and later added 150 more to its fleet. EMRI has now been asked to augment the fleet further with 150 more units. In Andhra Pradesh, each ambulance handles eight cases a day while in Gujarat it is approximately five cases a day. Govind Lulla, COO, EMRI for Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa, says, “The golden hour is critical in medical emergencies because 80 per cent of the deaths occur within that hour.” Hence the value of the ambulance, which reaches every nook and cranny of a big State like Gujarat or Andhra Pradesh within 15 to 20 minutes. BLS ambulances have oxygen cylinders, suction pumps, cervical collars for immobilisation of the patient, drips and measuring instruments to measure oxygen level in the blood, blood glucose etc. ALS ambulances have ventilators and defibrillators. They can take an ECG and transmit the same to the call centre where physicians work round the clock and advise the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the ambulance on pre-hospitalisation medication to be given to the patient. The ECG and the call centre doctor’s opinion is dispatched to the hospital where the patient is being taken, so that doctors in the emergency room in the hospital have sufficient information on the patient’s condition. The ratio of BLS:ALS is 3:1. EMRI handles 2,000 emergencies a day in Gujarat.
The figures for Andhra Pradesh are indeed mind boggling. The 108 call centre in this State has handled over 22 million calls during 2008-09 of which 1.7 million calls related to emergencies. Pregnancy-related emergencies topped the list with 22 per cent, followed by stomach aliments and abdomen pain (17 per cent) and accident trauma cases (16 per cent). Cardiac cases accounted for four per cent of the emergencies. In this State alone, 108 has saved over 40,000 lives until now.
Such is the efficiency of the system that sometimes it makes you rub your eyes and ask whether all this is happening in India. The system operates as follows: When there is a medical emergency in a village, the villagers call 108, which is a toll free number. The call centre directs the nearest ambulance to reach the village. It has an Automatic Vehicle Location and Tracking System (AVLTS). The physician (there are 13 of them at the call centre in Ahmedabad) decides whether to dispatch a BLS or an ALS to the scene. On reaching the village, the 108 crew get down to their task. Whenever necessary, the EMT calls the call centre, gets on line with a doctor and seeks his advice. He also arranges a conference call of a friend or relative of the patient with the doctor, so that everybody is in the loop with regard to the nature of the emergency and the course of treatment suggested by the doctor. There are 3,400 hospitals in Gujarat. By end of 2009, the Government plans to double this number and ensure that there are 7,000 hospitals in place. The emergency medical service is absolutely free and the ambulances take patients only to hospitals which have signed an MoU with EMRI for receiving patients and handling emergencies. In Gujarat, in the first 16 months, EMRI has handled more than 4.25 lakh cases, of which 1.21 lakh cases related to pregnant women being rushed to hospitals.
Every ambulance has a pilot and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). The crew is trained for 45 days.
The pilot learns about extraction of vehicles in accidents and dealing with similar emergencies. The EMT, who is a graduate in life sciences or nursing or pharmacy, is trained to deal with medical emergencies. Since this is a service-oriented activity, EMRI places a lot of emphasis on ethics and attitude. As Lulla says, “If the attitude of an applicant is not okay, we don’t hire him.” Members of the crew are not to even accept tips from people. Such is the training that the crew of an ambulance handed over foreign currency worth Rs 30 lakh to the victims of an accident after admitting them to a hospital. The car was involved in a crash while the family was heading to the airport to board a flight to Australia. The 108 crew took charge of their bags, cash and travel papers and handed them back to the family after admitting them in a hospital.
Those who step outside this ethical framework are fired. EMRI ensures quality and courteous service because of the autonomy it enjoys in its operations.
EMRI pays special attention to the recruitment process. Lulla says the catchment area is “good souls with right values.” Soft skills and value skills are as important as technical skills. Amit Desai, head, EMRI Gujarat, says the challenge is to get the right people and to train them. As Lulla points out, “This is not a Government job and those who join us must realise this. We tell them that if money is your objective, don’t come here.” EMRI currently has over 12,000 employees all over India. Desai says the employees like it because “they have the best of both worlds — corporate culture plus public service.” The emergency service runs like clockwork because of the hands-on approach of the management. Lulla, Desai and other top executives often accompany ambulances when on call and watch the crew at work. The training programme is designed to make the employees mentally strong and sensitive. “It is a combination of leadership, technology, innovation and research, which are the four pillars of the organisation,” Lulla says. “We want persons with passion, energy, modesty and reliability.”
The dedicated crew have made 108 a roaring success. This writer caught up with the crew of one emergency unit — Preeti Patel and Vyas Pratik, the Medical Assistant and Pilot of the ambulance — on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Both of them do 12-hour shifts but women are exempt from the graveyard shift. The ambulance is well-equipped with several emergency facilities. It has disposable syringes and anti-snake venom, and equipment to deal with emergencies like drowning and poisoning. The crew also has a digital camera to get photographic evidence in medico-legal cases. This evidence is passed on to the police. All calls to the crew and from them are recorded and made available in medico-legal cases to investigators and courts. Both Patel and Pratik are happy with their jobs. They say there is a lot of job satisfaction because they are able to help people in times of distress.
Anyone traveling through Gujarat or Andhra Pradesh today can sense the positive vibes that 108 has generated in even the remote villages of these States. Villagers in Narmada, Mehsana and Gandhinagar districts of Gujarat and Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Vishakapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh, where this writer travelled to assess governance at the village level, swear by this service. Amazingly, although a “government service”, there was not a single complaint of corruption, bribery, inefficiency or bad behaviour of the crew in any of the villages of these six districts in these two States. This is indeed something extraordinary for a “government service” in India, but it is true. There is such an outpouring of public gratitude for this free and efficiently delivered critical health care service that it is certain to bring in political and electoral dividends for all the chief ministers who have introduced it. In that sense, this could be called a “108 Election” in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa.
That there could be political dividends from good governance is evident from the responses of village folk in these States. Says Diheshchandra Kalidas Shah of Garudeshwar Village in Narmada district: “The ambulance is just a call away. It reaches our village in five or ten minutes. There is no payment to be made and there is no corruption.”
Mohammed Bhai of Chanwada Village in Rajpipla echoes this sentiment. “Just the other day there were several medical emergencies in our village. We called 108 three times and on all occasions, the ambulance reached the village in 15-20 minutes.”
Praise for the service is uniform across the villages of north Andhra Pradesh too. Sayamma of Kurupam panchayat in Vizianagaram district says that recently, when they called 108 even at 2 am, the ambulance reached the village in 15 minutes and rushed the patient to the General Hospital. Poovalapatti of Biyyalavalsa village in Vizianagaram district said that the fact that 108 is a toll free number added to the value of the service. “Even a person who is broke can call the ambulance,” he says. Jyotamma, secretary, Mahila Mandal, Durubili village, says, “Earlier we used to carry patients to the Civil Hospital, which is 7 km away. Now we have the ambulance in our village in 20 minutes.”
This is also probably the first “government” service that is free of corruption and inefficiency. Shikalu Ushansa Diwan, of Bunjatha Village in Narmada district says this of the crew of 108: “They are very courteous and efficient. There is no corruption and bribery involved. All are treated equally and with respect.” Ashwin Patel of Amjagaon in Gandhinagar district agrees. “We have no complaints. We have not heard of any kind of corruption or bribery. There is no problem with this service,” he says.
SK Goush, a social worker in Parvathipuram in north Andhra Pradesh, says the quality of the service is attributable to discipline among the crew. “Strict action is taken against erring 108 employees. Also, much attention is paid to maintenance. The vehicles are serviced regularly and the tyres changed after the mandatory mileage.” This is rather unusual for a “sarkari service” because even residents of big cities in India often see ambulances with flat tyres and in various stages of disuse lying in the courtyards or sheds of Government hospitals.
The most obvious spin off of 108 is the contribution of this quality emergency medical care facility in bringing down the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in the States which have ensured State-wide coverage. This has further been dovetailed to the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), which seeks to encourage pregnant women to deliver their babies in civil hospitals or primary health centres. For example, in Gujarat, 3,800 babies are “108 babies” in that they were born in these ambulances. The State Government has urged rural folk to discourage “home deliveries” and to reach pregnant women to primary health centres and civil hospitals in time for delivery. Anganwadi workers, rickshaw pullers and many others have been roped into this scheme. They get an incentive if they call 108. This is helping the State bring down both Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). The 108 crew also explains the advantages of the Chiranjeevi Scheme which offers a cash incentive of Rs 500 plus a saree to every woman who delivers her baby in an established medical facility. The villagers are told that by calling 108, they ensure proper medical care for the expectant mother and the baby. People in the villages of Gujarat say that while the cash incentive and the saree offered by the State is a major draw, rural folk have also realised that by going to the Civil Hospital they get proper medical attention both for the mother and the baby. The facilitators at the local level also get a cash incentive.
Yet another advantage of 108 is the remarkable boost it has given to the health care sector in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The number of hospitals in Gujarat will double within a year’s time and Primary Health Centres and Civil Hospitals are getting upgraded. In Andhra Pradesh, 108 provides a crucial link between medical emergencies and Arogyasri, the health insurance scheme.
The third important advantage of 108 is the valuable data that it provides to health authorities, the State police and traffic planners on road accidents and accident-prone spots. It also offers valuable research data in a variety of other areas which help public policy formulation. It is therefore no surprise that India’s 108 is being hailed the world over for its extraordinary efficiency, social purpose and commitment and is being showered with international awards and accolades. So, if you belong to a State that has still not woken up to 108, do not despair. Make the best of this election season and extract a promise from the parties that seek your vote that they will introduce an efficient emergency medical care service. Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh may have got ahead of you but remember, it is never late to demand 108! Meanwhile, whether you like them or not and whether or not the media tells you what they have done in their States, do not be surprised if 108 brings in electoral dividends to YS Rajashekara Reddy, Narendra Modi, BC Khanduri and other chief ministers who had the foresight and political will to introduce an emergency ambulance service that would make us all proud.
This is a great article on the elections. Something which we all need to think and act upon.
“Elect those who choose India as life-force
Tarun Vijay | March 09, 2009 | 17:37 IST
Surrounded by failed States and terror dens, India needs a strong leadership that will not hesitate to take punitive action against the erring State or non-State ‘player’ and organise the strength to withstand a spillover. Wars and inner conflicts are not won with machines. You got to have a heart that’s firm and courageous. The war machine’s role is secondary.
India was never so vulnerable and foolishly spineless as it stands today. Not because we do not have the power to defend our people and land but because of a leadership that’s a delight of the alien invaders and petty boat infiltrators. Our leaders join politics to earn money and sell conscience — they have no credentials except to boast of a family name or caste and muscle power. We have a galaxy of non-political leadership but that too boot polishes the nincompoop rulers in search of reflected glory. These holy men and women are so detached from the realities of their nation’s pains and agonies that they go on a six-month long world tour for establishing peace in Palestine and Iraq and show off their pictures in the galleries of the United Nations as proof of their expanding influence. And surely they get quite a number of gullible people to believe they are great.
And we are increasingly surrounded by a Nepal, once a Hindu nation and now a threat for Hindu survival. We have a Pakistan and Bangladesh that have bled us continuously for the last three decades of intermittent terror wars — Khalistan, Operation Topac, the jihad in Kashmir and the ignominious forced exodus of Kashmiri Hindus.
We have lost more than 60,000 Indians in terror attacks directly sponsored and encouraged by Pakistan — whether its army or Inter Services Intelligence or the sheepish conspiratorial silence of their leaders, only the naive would make a difference and absolve the culprits. The simple arithmetic is that Pakistan, a creation of intense hate against Hindus, has always felt a sadistic pleasure at our discomfiture. It’s the very basic element of Pakistan that has not let us live in peace since August 14, 1947.
But we refuse to see history and continue to lose geography.
Post-1947, we have lost more than 1.25 lakh square kilometres of land to Pakistan and China and Indian Parliament had passed a unanimous resolution to take the lost land back.
But not a single political party would dare to mention in its election manifesto that if voted to power it would strive its hardest possible to implement Parliament’s resolve.
Cats would remain cats unless they are born as tigers.
The last 100 years has seen India shrinking to half and the Hindu population being overwhelmed by a demographic invasion that hates to see Hindu dominance in any sphere of life. They have vanished from Kabul, Balochistan, Pakhtunistan, Multan and Dhaka, humiliated in Kathmandu, killed, converted and incapacitated in Sri Lanka, turned invisible in Sindh, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Chittagong, driven out of their last bastion in the saffron valley and increasingly reduced in Nagaland, Arunacahal, Mizoram and Jammu. And we fight over sackfuls of currency notes as we saw during trust vote on the nuke deal and are busy winning votes through dramas like a night’s stay in a Dalit home.
That’s India of today — reduced to an Orwellian play by murderers and bribe-seekers who are again seeking an entry to Parliament by investing huge chunks of money.
There are those who still believe that Pakistan will, or it can, or it may become brotherly to us. Perhaps Uncle Sam, now Chacha Obama, will help.
Even Gods refuse to help such worms.
Elect those who at least know a little bit of India and love her people. A leader that wouldn’t hesitate to serve from South Block even if it means incurring personal monetary loss, but inspiring newcomers to stand and live proudly on their earnings through labour and merit. Living on peoples’ money must come to an end. Forget the temples, mosques and churches for a while and just concentrate on two basic factors, removing illiteracy and bringing every fellow Indian above the poverty line with a one-year period as deadline. It has to be on a real war footing to make up for the losses due to a lethargic, vision less and self-serving leadership.
Trust me, we can do it if we have the will. Have courses in science, mathematics, engineering and technology upgraded, spread out and quality marked. We terribly lack in the manufacturing sector because there is not enough engineering talent available. Even the best of engineering colleges are facing a serious dearth of proper faculty and it results in less than appropriately equipped students. It’s good to see a number of technology and engineering colleges, institutes and private universities that have sprung up in most of the cities and metros that must be the envy of even a developed nation. But are they really providing what they announce and do they have the right kind of facilities and infrastructure to produce credible graduates confident enough to start a swadeshi enterprise of world class standards?
If a post-World War America, Japan and Europe can rebuild their ravaged countries into models of modern development and human endeavour, why can’t we? Why can’t we set our own goals and standards that must make the most developed nation too follow us? Swami Vivekananda said all expansion is life and all contraction is death. Barring politics, we have shown the world the extraordinary capabilities and the astounding acumen to achieve the impossible in recent years. It happened, as is said, in spite of bad politicians. Let a new crop of good politicians take over Parliament and change its fossilised and stinking contours to a vibrant new hope commensurate with the professionalism being exhibited by Indians elsewhere.
And this is not at all age related but only needs a mind and heart that works for the nation.
And they must have the sinews to expand militarily unabashedly. India must show a will and the power to control her region. We are bled because of a meaningless large-heartedness that makes jihad factories on both sides of our territory send mercenary self-destructionist lunatics who kill and maim and destroy our people and city life. Bangladesh and Pakistan have got to be brought to their senses through instilling fear in them, a genuine and serious one. They have to be made to think twice before being silent or encouraging an anti-India terror policy. State policy makers must be clear in their mind that sometimes revenge is the only word the enemy understands and why must we not avenge the brutal killings of our patriotic citizens?
Hence choose those who choose India as their life-force and not just a platform for money making and dying like dirt. The choice is yours to practice in the coming elections.
Tarun Vijay is Director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi. “
Election Season is on full swing in Bharat. The dates have been announced. I’ll try to post some good articles covering the election. The General Elections of 2009 would have been a one-sided contest in favour of the opposition parties in Bharat but for the Indian media and the new biased Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Navin Chawla. The Indian media is working all out to project the success of present government, which everyone knows has been a failure. Just remember the number of terrorist attacks in Indian cities during last five years, the number of farmer suicides in the rural parts of the country, the number of corrupt ministers in the cabinet, and the amount of reservation made in educational institutes, based on caste and religion; you get the picture yourself. What matters for the present ruling party and the English media is that another son of the Gandhi family has to be made the future Prime Minister, without any laurels for doing any kind of public service. Ohh I forgot, he has got the right surname !!!
But then lets remember the failures of this government and ask them what you achieved in last 5 years, rather than believing in the promises they are making to fulfil in next 5 years. They had the chance but they lost it..So throw them out. To conclude, I would just borrow from Mr Obama and ask you to ”Vote for Change”!!!
P.S. Do go out and vote..!!!
I never gave a serious thought to the extent of religious conversions carried out in India and its eventual side effect on a normal Bharatiya like me. But after going through this document, which made me sit straight and think about this phenomenon, I have been left more thoughtful and alert about the impending threat to us and our civilization. Nor am I a religious fundamentalist nor a communal person, but I’m a proud Hindu who is proud of his heritage, culture, and traditions. And I found the process of religious conversion to be a modern day assault on my culture ; on my identity.
Read through this document, which is long but worth reading.
I would like to extend my Thanks to all those who took out time to read this document.
As always, any comments are welcome.
Another gem from the pen of Tarun Vijay. The idea of a singular point of unity for every citizen in Bharat is what is required now. To fight the terrorism, no doubt we need a superior strategic and economic resources, but at first we need to start from the root level. The resource at this root level is mind…intellect…sense of pride…If the terrorists are brainwashed into Jihad, we must be brainwashed into patriotism..nationalism..cultural pride..
THE RIGHT VIEW
India battles to win
29 Nov 2008, 1211 hrs IST
India knew about al-Qaida’s threat to attack Mumbai, but it played it down for apparent reasons of vote bank politics. A United States embassy’s communiqué issued in August 2006 had warned about India being a target of al-Qaida. Though it was issued cautioning about a possible attack around the Independence Day that year, it should have served as an alarm bell to the Indian establishment and activated them to gather more intelligence inputs on al-Qaida strategies on India.
The advisory had said: “The embassy has learned that foreign terrorists, possibly including al-Qaida, allegedly intend to carry out a series of bombing attacks in and around New Delhi and Mumbai in the days leading up to India’s Independence Day on August 15, 2006″. We knew that India had been appearing in the speeches of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahirias as a ‘target’. In a message broadcast in April, 2006, bin Laden had referred to a “Crusader-Zionist-Hindu conspiracy against the Muslims”. But the government of India chose to play it down. As was reported in the Times of India.
The American warning had appeared in August 2006. But a meeting about it took place next year. The TOI reported on 7th August 2007 under the headline-’Centre plays down Qaida’s threat to India’, ‘A meeting attended by senior MHA officials, intelligence brass, SPG chief B V Wanchoo and Delhi’s commissioner of police Y S Dadwal, on Monday discussed the alleged threat from Al-Qaida.’ Quoting a senior official, it said that he tried to play down the issue but admitted that it had been discussed. “We assess everything threadbare and everyone should refrain from making a larger-than-life image of such threats, which can also prove to be wrong at times,” he said.
Proved to be wrong?
In fact TOI can be credited for having warned the nation a year before the attack came. The above quoted report had said, “Terrorism analysts universally agree that India’s growing closeness to the US may have put it in the crosshairs of the international terror group. The recent announcement of the nuclear deal would have sharpened the focus. ..India’s vulnerability stems from several factors. India is a naturally soft state, which makes it easier for terrorists.” Why did Indian government not take it seriously and sought to play it down?
Pray, what are we doing, have done or intend to do?
A united tricoloured face that’s what India needs today. Every colour and assertion merging into one signpost of our Indianness – the tricolour. Mumbai represents the best of Indian minds, the real secular spirit and entrepreneurship. Its time we salute that spirit and bow our heads before those valiant soldiers, Navy’s commandos and policemen who fought and laid their lives for a cause so dear to us all- India. Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamte, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Gajendra Singh are our nation’s heroes.
Let this moment inspire us to flutter tricolour atop our houses, offices, and work stations as a challenge and a victory sign to the cowards who attacked us thinking they can cow us down and instill fear in our hearts. Instead it has further reinforced our resolve to stay united and fight the weeds. How I wish that everything we do, whether creating a blog or buying a bike or a car, that must have an essential sign- the tricolour, like we have bindi or a cross or a 786 locket.
It’s not an emotional outburst but there are times when one has to forget the structural areas of frame worked worship to reach a greater god of a people. That, to me, can’t be anything else but Bharat that is India. If India survives our gods still may have a space to be in. We lost Kabul, Rawalpindi and Lahore. And our gods lost their space too. So be an atheist, if that suits you, but keep your faith in one icon, that’s India. Let a new Anand Math emerge against the invaders and let every colour that India wears be a part of it, as patriotically as tricolour inspires. While politicians failed, it’s the people and the soldiers who held the tricolour high and fluttering. And the nation saluted them with tears of pride and praise. Let this spirit be visible in other areas of national concerns too.
Ugly colours of politics
Congress and BJP leaders should have been seen together in Mumbai to underline signature of united Indians ready to battle and win. But shamefully even on such occasion, party politics took over and the PM chose to trivialize the togetherness, which didn’t occur.
This showed, once more, how ugly our politicians could become. That’s one reason common citizens have begun hating them and praying oh god, please get rid us of these irrelevant dons of the parliament. See the way ad campaigns of political parties have tried to encash the terror. Media houses and channels are playing in the hands of various political parties and their poll eve headlines catered to their political masters. It was so visible and apparent. One newspaper that campaigned against the Hindu Right as a Talibani propagandist, specially picking on Malegaon case, gave a headline-’as forces fought terrorists, BJP is busy seeking votes’. It’s more like a cheap line from a politically opponent’s pamphlet rather than a journalist’s report. If BJP was doing that, what were Sonia and Manmohan Singh doing in Mumbai and why their cohorts used full-page ads to use Mumbai terror to attack their opponent, mixing Kandhar with Mumbai? What was the relevance of it?
Attention diverted for vote banks?
And when time permits, there would be many questions that would have to be answered. Did India pay a heavy price of diverting all security attention to a Malegaon probe giving the Mumbai attackers an unattended space and time they needed? In an interesting reference to it, a highly reputed Army officer Lt. General Ashok Joshi (retd.) wrote,” The indirect cost of the Malegaon-blast probe — still climbing — is very considerable. It is no one’s case that the Malegaon blast probe is either unimportant or unnecessary. It appears, however, that the probe exclusively held the attention of the security apparatus until November 26, 2008, when the disaster occurred. This could well have been an unintended consequence, but it was terrible.”
Then they say-India is at war. Really? When was it not in the last two decades? Do we have to form our opinion on the words of a de-nationalized media that use every such opportunity to introduce new clichés and idioms to increase their circulation and market brand value? Have you noticed the anchors on the TV screens whose theatrical maneuvers completely overshadowed the person who they were supposed to be interviewing and the ‘guests’ were simply used to have anchors pour their high-pitched speeches? It was so kiddish and morally downgrading that the entire episode of a serious jihadi war was reduced to a page three tamasha , that inadvertently helped Jihadis inside the hotel as the news analysts have now commented. Not a single channel or newspaper devoted a space to question why did it happen to us? None discussed Osama’s threats and the Islamic angle to the entire episode. So terrified and disoriented our media persons have become having ‘possessed’ by a ‘hate the right wing Hindutva phobia’. They simply avoided discussing the basic issues. Was the real motive of the Jihadi attackers to cripple our Economy? Or hurting our business? And terrifying the western visitors and investors? Damaging India’s reputation as a safe business centre? Were all these the real goals or just the means to achieve a distant aim?
The reporters whose every single line while reporting Malegaon was laced with ‘Hindu terrorism’ saw to it quite consciously not to mention ‘Islamic Jihadi’ even once in the passing. But there were efforts by a couple of media chatterers on the screen to mention ‘now we have Hindu terrorism too’ while discussing Mumbai’s agony! This hate attack of the seculars even in times of such a tragedy is as killing as were the gunshots of the Jihadis inside the Taj and Oberoi. And they have monopolised the channels and the print media turning them into virtual Gulags.
The same crowd which has been singularly responsible for providing shields to the jihadi terrorism and speaking in the abusive language against the nationalist saffron side, was most vocal to question why police is not being given the appropriate arsenal, sophisticated guns and a proper combat ready uniform. The same words were heard when parliament was attacked. Nothing happened afterwards and none remembered it either. Police remains a soft target for the seculars and security forces are denied any rise in the sixth pay scales on the eve of Diwali. That much for their concern for men in Khaki and Olive green. None, yes none of them tried to ask one simple question, why it happened?
What wrong India has done to al-Qaida or the terrorists’ organisations or their religious leaders that they should act in this horrendous manner? And is this the ‘first’ time, the very first and unique kind of an attack, which is the most ghastly so far? Why? And how? What had happened when the terrorists had attacked Akshar Dham? Do you remember the visuals and the commentaries and the reactions of the same old, seasoned and concerned glamorous media persons and leaders then?
What had happened when they had attacked the parliament and the members of parliament were holed up inside the central hall and the security forces fought a fierce gun battle on 13th December 2001? Were all those attacks just casual, old fashioned and without any trace of uniqueness? And this was too unique because Taj being Taj, a super high elite was involved in the tragic incident, which was made to reminisce in the dark hours of the active war zone how they had met their first girl friend in its heritage building?
Mumbai attack was like it had always been. Killings of the innocents and blasts before they prepared themselves to die.
Why they chose to kill our people even at the cost of their life? They were no small, ordinary thieves and supari-killers. Those who support their heinous crimes would call them ‘brave and committed’ men. Young, and ready to lay their lives for a cause so dear to them that they would forget the family bonds and a desire to live and enjoy this world. They were taught to prepare for a ‘big contribution’ to their faith and enjoy the after-life up there. They believed in every thing that was taught and did what they did.
Hence the question that must disturb us and make every Indian to seriously analyze and formulate a strategy is ‘why India is on their target?’
India hasn’t attacked them; on the contrary we always tried to project ourselves as friendly to Muslim countries even after getting insults and non-cooperation from them. Remember Rabat and the way Saudis and Malaysia has treated us and our people who are our blood and flesh. And the tightlipped Muslim countries during every war we fought. We are the victimes of their Jihad. Our land was bisected, our people were uprooted, killed and insulted, and our temples razed and land grabbed. Yet we chose the dialogue path. Then what’s the reson of this ‘revenge’? The answer lies in their ideological hatred for us, which has to be discussed on the intellectual level.
Weak leaders, strong commoners
Unfortunately India never had such a weak ideological and political leadership. During the Moghuls, Portuguese and the British, we had best of leaders who led the society through literature, culture, religious reformism, helping organize resistance to the invaders and had no confusion regarding the friends and the foes. They were definitely helped by the moneyed elite too, but the moneybags were never allowed to influence decisions. Their biggest forte was credibility and an uncompromising, predictable behaviour.
Today the biggest casualty of the Indian national movement has been the credibility gap and the growing influence of the moneyed, alienated elite with a colonized mindset that compels to convert our language and purposes into a secular framework before any inclusion in their invite list. The Congress, used to be a grand old alliance with a strong nationalist pitch. We have lost it to the same pressure groups that stand for a compromised hue of the alienated. And BJP is still fighting for its right-full space.
Any war is first fought intellectually and then on the grounds. India is facing its worst ever ideological war since the days of Shivaji and Guru Govind Singh. The attackers are not coming here to loot or colonise us. They are here to attack what they still perceive a Hindu India that has to be broken to expand their school of thought and faith. It’s happening not because we have offended them. It’s happening for just being what we are. And we have begun to assert our individuality, our distinguished way of life, within our precincts. And that’s intolerable to them.
The temple priests of Somnath or the Acharyas of Nalanda hadn’t gone to Turkistan or the barren lands of the Arabia to offend them and invite their wrath. We were always attacked for being just what we were. Hence this fight can’t be replied without going into the real causes of the war and preparing an intellectual resistance that strengthens the minds before that empowers the sinews. That has to be an inclusive bond defining cultural and civilisational stream. Stress on the elements that unite rather than those which divide.
This war requires forging a united Indian resistance based on the love for our motherland and the elements that express her glory. We must ensure that the different faiths of worship do not get into a conflict with the patriotic fervour and we have shown, we can do it successfully, many times before. 1857 is one shining example of that. We showed it in 1971 and in Kargil too. We WILL show it this time too, come what may.
The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.. Any comments are welcome..
As I followed the turn of events which unfolded in Mumbai after the night of 26th November 2008, my emotions ranged from one extreme to another. First of all, the feeling was of Shock…then it turned into Disbelief..then into Horror.. then into Prayers..then into Sadness..then into Frustration..then into Anger..then into Rage..!!
First of all, I salute all the men in uniform who laid down their lives to protect the lives of common man and also those who fought and finally killed the Islamist terrorists who attacked on Mumbai. I hope the country never forgets their bravery and sacrifice.
Right now, what I feel is that we need a change..The whole country needs a change..The system needs a change.. A change from the current creed of politicians.. Do we deserve a Prime Minister who was as always “shocked” by the terrorist attack..?? Even after more than 70 attacks in last 6 months, he just feels a shock, nothing more than that!! While hundreds of common citizens dies in terrorist attacks which happens every month in some part of our country, our leaders continue to live peacefully and becoming filthy rich under Z+ security. To top this, the deputy CM of Maharashtra says ” it is small incident in such a big city like Mumbai”. Is he a warm blooded human who can feel and think or a cold blooded animal with no ability to think.
What are we waiting for? Why don’t we act?Why still we think that we have to diplomatically correct? why still we are asking Pakistan to help us in investigation? What then is the use of having the 4th largest military force in the world? Is this the way we will join the league of superpowers of the world? Is not time to say Enough is Enough?
The country doesn’t need Gandhi and Nehru anymore. Bharat now needs Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Patel !!!