Skip to main content

New Delhi Bomb Blast : 7 September 2011 (a.k.a. 7/9)

Article first published as Delhi Bomb Blast on Technorati.

Life is cheap in India. Deaths from myriad random and unnatural causes are all too commonplace.

Nobody will really be able to give an accurate count of the number of terrorist attacks that have happened over the past few years.

It's fashionable to compare any and all terrorist attacks to the gold standard christened as 9/11. There is no ambiguity about what event it refers to.

But when attacks become all too commonplace, it's a bit tiring to come up with numerical shortcuts to refer to them. Should today's attack be called 7/9? The Mumbai attacks (not 26/11) on the suburban train system is already barely there in the faintest storehouse of our memory bank. The attacks on some crowded markets in Delhi around Diwali time is also but a mere part of the white noise background of my/our subconscious.

At least in New York City, they are coming up with a permanent memorial that will have the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died that day.

In India, there are hardly any permanent memorials of that kind. Life is surely cheap in India.

Will we ever even get to know the names of the 11 individuals who perished today near the Delhi High Court?

I hope the news media will bother to investigate the human stories behind the dead. Did those individuals have any premonitions that this day was going to be the last day of their existence in this universe?

In India, people have a lot of faith in gods and religion. When people start on any important journey, they do not forget to seek the blessings of whatever gods they believe in and whose photographs they tend to keep in their homes in some special place.

Clearly, god failed to protect them this day. Many families must have been permanently devastated today. But even this will be sought to be explained away in religious terms by appealing to the mysterious ways of god.

Hardly anyone will be persuaded to change their religious beliefs in fundamental ways. But if anyone really bothers to reflect about random occurrences of death such as these blasts, there's but one conclusion to reach -- there can not be a benevolent planner behind these events.

It's however surely too much to expect such fundamental shifts in mindsets in Indians. They are mostly illiterate or semi-literate. Their circle of sympathy extends only to their kith and kin. They are mostly untouched by tragedy visiting unknown families.

We are all selfish. I do not know if that's an evolutionary trait that helps us survive. Non-Indians (people in the developed nations of America or Europe) will care little for tragedies visiting poor Indians. We in India are hardly touched by the frequent occurrences of bomb blasts in Iraq and Pakistan.

The benighted citizenry of Africa can hardly be faulted if they are left equally unimpressed by Indian tragedies.

What changed because of 9/11? Statecraft, policies, geopolitics, strategic affairs, war doctrines, etc. Did people change? I do not think any society changed in deep manner. No society became permanently more kinder, gentler, more giving because of 9/11. No society rejected the concept of god as because it finally realized that 9/11 conclusively proved that such concepts are crazy, childish notions.

We seem to have a capacity to fall back into old habits, familiar ways of thinking, our own parochial and tribal mindsets and affiliations and beliefs. We seem to have an immense capacity to consume trivia and dross.

This is not a manifesto written in anger. It's merely a statement of fact.


Popular posts from this blog

Sarah Kay's poem from TED

If I should have a daughter, instead of mom, she's going to call me Point B,

because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way  to me.
And I am going to paint the Solar Systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say 'Oh, I know that like the back of my hand'
And she's going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up, just so we can kick you in the stomach but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

Edward Snowden

This seems to me to be the defining journalism-whistle-blower story of this generation. It's rare in today's world when privileged people voluntarily choose to take steps whereby they give up comfortable lives to do something that is in the 'public good.' Mr. Snowden was clearly a computer whiz which explains why he got jobs at the CIA (including postings in Geneva under diplomatic cover). Booz Allen obviously did not hire him or pay him the $1,20,000 salary without Mr. Snowden showcasing some considerable technical expertise. I believe Mr. Snowden's expertise probably lies in having deep expertise in various flavors of Linux. That is what I am inclined to infer from his various job roles as a 'Systems Engineer' or 'System Administrator.' Being the self-driven sort of person that he was, I am sure he must be having good knowledge about networking and encryption stuff including but not limited to Cisco routers and related technologies. To put these t…

Top 10 Crazy Facts About India

Here's a random list of things. 1.Indians sometimes prefer to abort a fetus if they find out that it's female. (Or they just kill the new born baby after it's born.) 2.There are more than 20 million babies born in India. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. 3.Child labor is so commonplace in India that few notice it or consider it out of the ordinary. Kids work as waiters or dishwashers in roadside restaurants. Sometimes, kids ferry tea to the local police station from a nearby roadside tea stall. 4.Massive numbers of kids and younger and adult women are employed as maids in middle class to rich households. Middle class houses might pay 200 rupees to a female who comes and washes the dishes. Rich houses might employ women permanently by paying them more. 5.Cars in the Indian cities are washed in the morning by car-washers who tend to be young men who get paid around 100 to 200 rupees per month for this service. 6.India is home to some crazily competitive exams. The IIT JEE and the IIM CAT have …