Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some thoughts in the wake of the Mumb...


Some thoughts for  action  in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.  These  ideas  may  have  been  independently  proposed  by  others   and  certainly  these  ideas  have  formed   through  numerous  discussion  with  friends  and  colleagues  since  26/11.


Caveat  Emptor:   These  ideas  have a general progressive bias, but you can see this tragedy has evoked the occasional reactionary approach


Things individuals can do:


1.  Become Security Conscious:   Understand the  security  measures  at  your  neighborhood,  your  work  place  and  other  places  your  frequent.  Look for loopholes  and offer suggestions.   Always  follow  security  procedures  and  make  sure  everyone  around  you  follows  security  procedure.  Challenge  anyone  (irrespective  of  who  they  might  be)  around  you  who  bypasses  security  measure.


The idea of  Area Suraksha Mitra  from Janaagraha  maybe  a  good  way  to  try  to  this


2.  Commit yourself  to  making  India  better:   Spend  10%  of  your  time  and  10%  of  your  money  to  make  your country  a  better place.   Focus  on  local  problems  you  see  in  your  daily  life   and  make  an  effort  to  solve  them.


Janaagraha   is  an  excellent  place  to  start


3.  Make  an  effort  to  build  friendships  with  people  who  are  different  from  yourself.   Bridge  the  religious,  urban-rural,  education divide to  understand  the  issues  and  concerns  of  people  different  from  you


4.  Vote  and  vote  strategically.   Vote  for  competance  over  ideology.   Select  the  best  candidate  not  the  party.   It  is  competant and inspired  individuals  in  key positions  that  can  make  a  difference.


Association for Democratic Reform  is  a good  place  to  start


Ideas  for  Movements / Organizations:


1.  Corporates/Individuals:   Develop  an  online  security  monitoring  based  on  internet  volunteer (use  P2P  computing concepts).  Install  security  cameras  at  all  places  (Stadiums / Tourist  Places /  Temples  /  Restaraunts / Movie  Theatres /  Malls)  where  security  is  important  and  stream  the  video  on  the  internet.  Use  volunteers   (or  even  by  pay  by  click)   to  monitor  the  output  of  video  camera  to  report  security  lapses  and  suspicious  activity. 


2.  NGO/Media/Celebrities:  Organize a  massive  nationwide  rally  of  Indian Muslims  standing  out  against  terror.   Show  the  entire  country  we  are  all   Indians  and  we  all  stand  united  against  terrorism.   The  image  of  10 million  Muslims  marching  an  Indians against  terror  will  be  very  powerful.


Ideas for  Governments:


1. Create a Federal  Agency   with  a  budget  of  atleast  1%  of  GDP   to  really deal  with  security.   This  agency  needs  to  be  protected  from  political  interference.   One  of  the  first  actions  should  be  to  create  a  National  ID  card  for  every  Indian  citizen / resident.


Looks  like  the  goverment  is  planning  a  federal  agency  and  an  national  identity  card  is  in  the  works.   We  need  to  build citizen pressure  to  implement  this  ASAP



2.  Create  the  concept  of  National  Service ...  Every  Indian  when  they  turn  18   will  need   to  spend  12  months  do  the  following:

           a)   basis  military  training

           b)   disaster  response  training

           c)   responsibilities and  rights  of  what  it  means  to  be  an  indian

           d)   oppurtunity  for  Indians  of  all  religions/castes/language/walks  of  life  to  live  together  and  share  a  common  Indian experience


3.   Create  an  elite  precision  strike  force  of  commandos  to   target  terrorist camps /  individual  sponsoring  terrorism  which  accuracy  and  minimal  collateral  damage.   Using  guerilla  tactics  is  likely  more  effective  against  terrorists  compared  to  conventional  army / air strikes  and  has  the  potential  of   achieving   the  objectives  while  reducing  the  likelihood  of  war.  This  force  should  be  available  but  used  only  with  extreme  caution.


Ashish said...

Vivek, excellent action items for most of us who struggle what we should do personally other than rant. Serious challenges are a good catalyst for introspection and identifying improvements we can make in ourselves individually and as a society. We should not miss this chance to get better. As you hear from others, pls share an updated version of your list.

Puneet Singh Lamba said...

Vivek, you list some excellent actionables on your blog. I encourage everyone to go through them. Even though the ideas appear to be targeted at those living in India, they are universally applicable.

I'd like to emphasize the importance of recognizing the gaps (economic and otherwise) that exist between different sections of society and making genuine attempts to address them. Once these gaps are resolved, there is no "us and them" and most of the world's problems will begin to recede.

GS said...

Most of these are very valid thoughts. However, most of the should-be items never get done. Moral science needs to become law somewhere. I think the way out is one of us or more of us have to enter politics. The only other thought is to promote and get all the bachelors married so that terrorism does not become a career option for them. Maybe that's why our forefathers thought of child-marriage, who knows? Thanks for sharing.

Vijay Patri said...

Vivek, these are excellent guidelines for us to contribute as individuals and as members of our community. The biggest problem that we as Indians face is the lack of middle class participation in the public space. We as citizens need to be more engaged in our community and hold our leaders accountable, on both immediate actionable items like security, as well as long standing issues like infrastructure, economic disparity, illiteracy etc.

anand said...

Vivek, these are excellent suggestions, and quite practical (the ones where we have direct influence over). I really hope someone in NSA team reads these suggestions and does some serious soul searching, starting from the need to create an independent security apparatus whose positions are not politically annointed. Also the Middle Class in India HAS to wake up and start participating in local/national matters. As the Mahatma said "be the change which you wish to see". Great stuff....