Friday, July 14, 2006

What is the "Spirit of Bombay" ?

Yet another gruesome tragedy in Bombay, killing in its wake, hundreds of innocent Indians in a dastardly terrorist attack. Following it is another set of inane comments by the Prime Minister, Home minister and Chief minister about how India would "never bow to terrorism" and about how India would "destroy terrorism".. The tragic events are followed by a complete lack of response from any arm of the Indian state; mangled trains, bloodied face and dead people are all that remain... And then comes the final epitaph...a ballyhoo praising the 'Spirit of Bombay', by the Indian media, state bureaucrats, Maharashtra legislature and Indian parliament.

This cliche 'Spirit of Bombay' would sound funny if it were not for the fact that the perverse hypocrisy of the people using this expression thats costs us the lives of innocent Indians time and again. In today's India the shameless wringing of hands by the Indian state when tragedy (man made or natural) occurs in Bombay is defined as the 'Spirit of Bombay".. Is it the 'Spirit of Bombay ' for the local law enforcement to not be able to prevent such heinous terrorist attacks when the central home minister says there was sufficient intelligence indicating such a tragedy could happen.. is it the 'Spirit of Bombay' that when innocent people going to work are blown apart in a train there is zero emergency response from the government and individuals are carrying around dead bodies in plastic sheets. Is it the 'Bombay spirit' to cold heartedly go back to work and carry on with their mundane lives the very next day after such a tragedy when hundreds of people have lost their lives and livelihoods.. is it the 'Spirit of Bombay' to not demand an effective response from the Indian government to make visible amends to the way it functions and promise us that such things will not happen in the future..is it the 'Spirit of Bombay' to forget the lost lives.. not for once remembering the tragedy that befell its fellow people.. When the entire city was flooded by monsoon rains a few weeks ago causing people to be helpless bystanders as they watched their lives floating away in slush and mud.. the government turned on to the 'Spirit of Bombay' excuse once again to cover its pathetic deficiencies.

This 'Spirit of Bombay' song and dance has become a nice excuse for our inept and horribly corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to prevent them from taking any blame for their failings. Just say a few good words about the city, and our lame media carries it few hundred times..and the entire country forgets the tragedy and never punishes the perpetrators. What happened to the innocent men and women who were killed in the '93 blasts.. Have we done anything to remember the victims and bring the terrorists to justice? It would have been really the 'Spirit of Bombay' if the people of the city went on a strike voluntarily for the next few days bringing the entire Indian financial edifice to a screeching halt and forcibly demand better governance.. The callous indifference to the death of fellow country men and lack of government response cannot and must not be hidden away in pithies like the 'Spirit of Bombay'. It is romanticism at its worst.

People helping each other in times of such tragedies is a very Indian quality and there is nothing remotely 'Bombay' about it.. The term 'Spirit of Bombay' once reflected the city's rich mercantile spirit, the spirit to embrace people from different parts of the country and the city's ability to simply function ( a luxury in India)..It was not meant to cover up callousness, irresponsive administration, and decay of the system. Much of the real spirit of this city has already died or is eroding fast and nobody seems to be working towards restoring it. We should once and for all stop, the abuse of this term by all and sundry and try to find the real 'spirit of Bombay'.

3 Comments:

Blogger Radhakrishna G Iyer said...

Good one man! I believe Indian Govt is licking ass...Made sense when NY used it after World Tarde Center..Even made sense during the floods as it was a natural disaster...Ofcourse Mumbai is a gr8 city with gr8 helpfull ppl ...but its not the time to be praising ourselves but the time to get to the root of the problem and freaking making sure it never happens again...anyways as Hindus we believe its FATE and nobody can do anything abt it..

July 31, 2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beliving in "FATE" is being coward...

October 03, 2006 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

''spirit of Bombay''-Its the life in the city...never stops for anything!!!The worst of bombings, riots, murders...next day is another usual day for Bombay!! No time to weep. There is always something on the morning news papers, in the neighbourhood or in the minds of people to forget yesterday and move on today...thats Bombay...just never stops!!!

March 24, 2007 9:40 AM  

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