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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Zhaveri Bazaar and Mumbai blasts retold……..


There could well be similarities – centuries ago, only those who owned land were rich – they toiled hard as civilization developed alongside rivers and water bodies.  The agricultural produce was of most important – but even in a bumper crop, they could realize little as little they knew of preserving them.  Nature was the biggest challenge

In early days there was nothing as money and everything was exchanged – life was more based on essentials.  The start of last century turned the story a lot – people started moving towards cities – in search of lucrative jobs forgetting tilling and toiling driven by famines and the lure of riches.  The city of those time was far different from what we saw…

As people started living in cities, they formed societies in the clusters where they lived.  Those were not the days of Kings but still they were being administered by rules in one form or the other – elected representatives in later times.  City wears a cosmopolitan mask – theoretically there is space for every one.  People go to jobs, produce or render services, make money – there are to be General elections where their representatives get elected.  The elected representatives serve the people, taking care of administration that of providing the basic needs of those in the city and elsewhere and that includes – providing infrastructure, good roads, potable water, electricity, maintenance, health amenities and above all security to their lives and property.   What common man can never understand is ‘how the elected one from amongst their middle turns so uncommon – differently rich, inaccessible and unmindful to any of the needs of the common man’ – that perhaps is manifestation of ‘popular democracy’ – rule of the people by the people, for the people !!!!

The Govt machinery runs from out of taxes of public [the few good Samaritans or rather the ones who are forced to pay] and administration is all about prioritizing and appropriating the available funds for the benefits of the society – this is done by a vast machinery which include bureaucrats, elected representatives and more….
There still exists many societies – say a small group of household in any locality.  It might consist of say 200 houses or more – there are some residential localities and there are some where commercial activity is predominant.  In one such society in the city of moombapattinam, known as commercial capital – there lived a group of merchants dealing in stones – not the ordinary ones but which were bought for high value by many. Going by the demand and less supply theory, they turned quite rich and started enjoying the benefits of trade. 

As life went on, there were incidents of theft and minor offences which made them realize the evil side of life – they had a meeting. Each one had their thought which including raising a group of youngsters for protection and vigil.  Some spoke of changing their pattern of trade.   A senior person said that ‘as residents of the city and being law abiding citizens’ – all that was required was to meet the Govt and law enforcing authorities.  They did with full belief; soon they had a chowkie [an outpost] which raised their confidence levels boundless – alas that was short lived and the felonies continued at a higher pace and in larger numbers. 

Meantime, there were changes in administration and rulers after ruler came – the administrators changed but not much change in any strategy or care.   When they thought of making huge investment in infrastructure for protecting themselves, the Senior advised them saying that they already have an administrative mechanism which can be compared with their ‘outsourcing security services’ to a service provider albeit at a cost. 
Understanding the futility of securing themselves with the meager man power they decided to outsource and a new look ‘security agency’ came on the wings.  Just as the new brooms sweeping well, a perceptible change was on air – only to last for a few days.  The Agency initially provided security with zeal – youngsters in neat uniform were at hand, overseeing and patrolling.  If any lapse was to be found, there was a reporting mechanism – things seemingly foolproof – but only seemingly that too only for the fools as realised as the days passed by. 
In the months that followed, the cost only increased and quality kept deteriorating.. from young boys it changed into old retired persons who could hardly walk – as crimes kept occurring and the establishments kept having losses, all that they could decide after lengthy meeting was a change in agency, which does occur in passage of time.

In tune with the times, the Society also found out the problems were getting curious and more curious.  If they could think of strengthening their society which extended a few streets, there was one more at the locality which includes some more streets, there was another agency of the area, one more at the circle, another greater division, then at the city, at the State and then the Centre.  Each had distinguished and differentiated policies and whom to approach for what was never comprehensible for those so called educated elite of the core society.   Their troubles kept multiplying and worries manifolding.

This time it was a trusted agency headed by elderly  people, with credentials and of experience of administering for years.  At the helm was a person who was extremely well educated in foreign countries and holding doctorates – he headed  a team – one from a village and had the name of another small city.  Little did they realize that it was remote administration  with de facto powers lying elsewhere with a family who had claims to have formed the Nation.  The head of the agency whom they saw on paper  was only symbolic.

There was a major terror attack – lives were lost and properties destroyed.. they were shaken but still had full faith in the system that guilty would be punished and they can continue their trade.  They had hobson’s choice and hence continued with their trade with renewed vigour.
As has been, immediately there were cat calls denouncing the act of barbarism as caused by unworthy neighbours who were keen to make the society disintegrate – a foreign hand  -  but nothing concrete happened either to prove or when categorical proof was available to initiate action against the perpetrators.

As days passed by the new Agency was boasting of their measures to step up vigil and their unbounded capacity of keeping all criminal activities at bay.  In effect nothing had improved, another disaster was waiting to happen but there was time for the Agency to keep bragging about their capability and the action taken by them in curbing trouble..

Few years later, another attack, some more lives lost – a higher magnitude in terms of property loss – they were all crying – the senior of the society continued to harp on believing the system and representing.  They all looked to their security agency to bring to book the perpetrators and to restore their livelihoods by providing them security.

Immediately after the occurrence, the administrative head in charge of security visited the spot and went around observing the damages.  He went on air stating that the crime was meticulously planned and executed.  That sounded to be a compliment rather than any condemnation – anyway the society was not interested in any condemnation – their requirement was that ‘guilty be brought to book and ensuring that such incidents do not recur’.  Another  head of the agency with a differential function aired his opinion that ‘the agency did not get enough vital inputs from intelligence nor from the people forming part of the society’ – thus a failure of those in the society to observe what was occurring around.  A self inflicted failure.  Just as they debated more, there was another advice – this time from the brain who was behind the running of the agency – a young guardian who was thought upon by so many others to take over the reins of the administration that ‘it would be difficult to be 100% secure and that one such incident is bound to occur’.  A clear message that the other societies should perhaps be happy and praise the agency that such tragedy had not befallen on them and those who suffered should treat it as once in a while incident which cannot be prevented

In the last meeting, the Senior and other wise men of the society were still debating on whether there could be any remedy at all or should they acclamatise to live knowing fully well that one such incident could occur any time and nobody really can do anything nor had the gumption to do something….

Now the Society is back in business - Nation is conglomeration of smaller societies and generally it is the collective will of smaller units that bounds the Nation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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