Thursday, December 18, 2008

EPW Commentaries on the Mumbai terror incidents

At a time, when jingoism is the ruling the roost both in the Indian intelligentsia and also predominantly in the rather obtuse television media, EPW offers a set of rational and sane commentaries on the aftermath of the terror attacks in Mumbai.

A Call for Sanity

A catastrophe awaits if the government takes military action against Pakistan.

The Dead of VT

For the 56 working poor who were mowed down by two murderers at VT station in Mumbai.

Manufacturing Confusion

It is clearly time for television news channels to turn the judgmental gaze inward.

Moment of Truth for Pakistan’s Elected Government
Haris Gazdar

To the disadvantage of the elected government in Pakistan, Mumbai has brought forward the moment of truth for the country’s tentative transition to democracy. We may not have long to wait to see which way the matter settles. India too has a role to play. A diplomatic, legal and institutional approach can help pin down the culprits, and may even help the transition in Pakistan.

Terror, Force and Diplomacy
Srinath Raghavan

“Limited war” or “surgical strikes” in retaliation for the Mumbai terror will be a senseless course of action, not the least because they will take India on the path of escalation and rather than achieve any of the desired ends, could have disastrous consequences in a nuclear neighbourhood. The struggle against terrorism requires us not only to keep our nerves but also to keep our heads. A far more productive approach would be bilateral, multilateral and United Nations-sanctioned diplomatic pressures on Pakistan to act on domestic terror groups. How the US and UK followed up on the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 and forced Libya to abandon state-sponsored terrorism is a relevant example. The options offered by UN Resolution 1373 constitute a related approach.

Governance Failures and the Anti-Political Fallout
Kalpana Sharma

The terror attacks in Mumbai that began on 26 November revealed a failure in governance on many fronts. The city has been victim to a string of disasters and crises in recent years, yet the emergency response was once again abysmal. A multiplicity of agencies was handing out information which was often incorrect. The people of Mumbai are very angry, but unlike in the past this anger shows little sign of being channelled into serious debate that will lead to constructive action. Instead the anti-political rhetoric that is being drummed up by the media will have a negative fallout and threatens to open the door for fascist tendencies.

Mumbai, Militarism and the Media
Sukumar Muralidharan

The media has encouraged talk that the Mumbai terror events of 26 November are India’s equivalent of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States. There are indeed vital lessons to be learnt by India from the US experience with “9/11”, though not of the kind widely imagined. By stoking the anger of handpicked guests and unsubtly suggesting where the direct responsibility for the Mumbai outrage lies, the electronic news media, in particular, have seemingly predetermined whatever strategic choices may be available to India.

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