July 22, 2006

A letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Mr. Manmohan Singh (and the others who matter),

I am a resident of Mumbai, the very city that was brutalised by the horrendous blasts on July 11. I travel by the same trains that were turned into arenas of mass murder and massacre on that particular day.

Being a Mumbaikar had somehow made me used to disaster. Whether it was 26/7, or the recent showers in the first week of July, I carried on through them, with an air of 'resilience' and nonchalance. But 11/7 touched a raw nerve somewhere deep down. For two reasons; terrorists from any school of thought have no right to vandalise my city and the lives of its people just to prove a point, and, secondly, I'm tired of all and sundry praising our ability to be back with a bang, our 'resilience', as they call it.

I am tired of grinning and bearing everything. I don't expect you to give me a Shanghai, but I want a city which feels loved, a city that embraces everything and maintains a secular identity, not just in a farcical way, a city whose streets do not tremble and shudder with the gloomy promise of bombs, blood and gore.

Post-July 11 , you seem to be working towards my dream city. It feels nice to know that. But at the same time, you are doing it by taking my freedom of expression away, as also that of many other fellow Indians.

I always feel proud whenever I come across the line in the Indian constitution that says - Every Indian has a right to freedom of expression. It reminds me that I live in a country that keeps it head on its shoulders, the world's largest democracy. The internet is an extremely powerful medium today and its potential can be viewed both in a negative and positive manner. But, the blanket ban on blogs originating from certain websites, shook my faith in the 'freedom of expression' that you propagate. When you block millions of blogs so that precisely 20 'incriminating' sites and blogs are not accessible, it is just plain, and plain ridiculous. Of course, there were a hundred other ways to circumvent the ban and access any of the millions of 'innocent' blogs. But the bottomline is - my democratic and egalitarian government actually breached the constitution in such a big way. Didn't you ?

There is talk that the blanket ban was the result of a communication gap. Surely a government that considers itself capable of running a country with over one billion people should not be prone to 'communication gaps'?

With due respect to both you and your cabinet mates, all of you are where you are thanks to me and my fellow citizens. I wish to know why you chose to react to this wave of terrorism in an extremely paranoid and unjustified fashion. I love my city, but I also care about OUR rights.

Hopefully there shall be no communication gaps this time.

Yours sincerely,
Ranjana Dave


Sagar said...


Mumbai Guy said...

Our beloved PM said he would like to salute mumbaikars. That did mean a lot, don't you think?

check out mid-day.com. They had nice cartoon of PM saluting and one of the patient dissecting the lamp cord.

Ranjana said...

Keep saluting us.......

U haven't exactly made urself clear, but if i'm ur boss and i decide to salute you instead of giving you your salary every month, how will that feel ?

Good ???