For once, I agree with the Shiv Sena. I’ve refused to go to Leopold from the day I first heard that they were selling 26/11 merchandise.
Still, one can understand (while not agreeing with) their identifying and subsequently seizing an opportunity to make money. I avoid Leopold’s; many others feel differently than I do and still go there. And buy 26/11 mugs and other 26/11 merchandise.
I cannot understand all the news media that I consume and the way they are milking the memories of 26/11. All of them (all the English news channels, all the English newspapers published in Mumbai, all the national news magazines) went after the 26/11 story hammer and tongs immediately after the event. They supported citizens’ movements, they reported on victims and victims’ families, on the properties that were damaged. They did investigative stories on the readiness (or the lack) of the government and the police force, of the investigative agencies. The media was full of it.
Till they lost energy or interest.
And they slowly, but surely, forgot all about 26/11.
I cannot think of a single story from a single media house that has resulted in Mumbai becoming safer or that has resulted in changes in the government’s focus on the laxity in security-resulted issues.
I cannot think of a single newspaper, channel or magazine that has taken up an issue related to 26/11 with singlemindedness and has invested in such an issue so as to bring about change.
Like I said, they forgot all about it.
Till about a couple of weeks ago.
And I learn of the unhappiness of Mrs. Salaskar. And I learn about an unhappy Mr. Gafoor. And I learn of the announcer at CST who was a hero and received the pittance of a sum for his heroism – Rs.500!
And I learn of bullet-proof jackets which may or not be bullet-proof. And I learn of speed-boats which have fuel tanks with inadequate capacity. And of an elite force whose members faint after two hours in the sun.
Why didn’t I hear about all this in the months that preceded November?
Because terror GRPs and terror readers weren’t such an opportunity without the magic of the memory of the magic date: 26/11.