Are Indian Lives Cheap? by Shubha Tiwari SignUp
Are Indian Lives Cheap?
Prof. Shubha Tiwari Bookmark and Share

The question is simple - why is it that there has been no terrorist attack in the US after 9/11 but here in India there’s a terrorist attack every three months or so? Why have we not been able to prevent terrorist attacks in our country?

There was a minor blast outside the Delhi high court just three months back and yet the metal detectors were not working, the CCTV cameras were not in place and the result as we saw was the high potency blast which has so far claimed 13 lives and has disabled many.

Are Indian lives cheap? ‘Chalta Hai’, it goes on. Some dead, but abundant alive, how does it matter? 

It may sound harsh but the fact is that we ourselves are responsible for this mess and all other related chaotic scenes. We are successful individually but we fail collectively. Personal ambitions dominate and overrule institutional and national interests.

Sometimes I wonder if an Indian is the most practical and materialistic being on earth. To combat any problem, be it terrorism or corruption, we need professionalism. We need offices and institutions which are run professionally. We need inter-institutional collaboration and cohesiveness. But then, institutions are not built here. If they are built, in spite of the society, they are not sustained. Every institution has to find support from its surroundings in order to thrive. That support is missing. We have malnourished, undernourished or even unnourished intelligence system, policing system and security set up.

A small example would suffice. If barbed wire is fixed around an office, that poor barbed wire would be stuck up and stolen in the night and it would adorn somebody’s personal abode. So it is with all funds, all resources everywhere. The situation is alarming if we think about it. Of course we have the option of not to think! Ignorance is bliss, indeed.

There’s stark lack of bipartisanship in matters of security and international policy framework. Soon after a terrorist attack, we all blissfully wait for bitter war of words between ‘rival’ forces on TV channels. TRPs rise. There’s fight on TV and the matter gets lost. Everyone speaks out of personal loyalty; no one speaks out of national loyalty.

We’re actually running away from our problems. Our constitution has the beautiful, really wonderful concept of ‘the Indian citizen’. Today, all of us are ‘majority’, ‘minority’, ‘our religion’, ‘our caste’, ‘our region’, ‘our language’ and so on.

Where’s the Indian?  The Indian citizen has been lost. In protecting and nurturing our fractured identities, we’ve sacrificed the Indian within us. To my mind, here lies the core of the problem.

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