Response to text. terror attack 26/11
Nikhil Lalvani XC
My dear friend, the terrorist- Response 2
Acts of terrorism bring about a feeling of despise, abhorrence and anger not only in the people who are directly affected by it, but also the others who watch & hear the news helplessly. Citizens need not have been through the traumatic experience, nor lost loved ones, to contribute the palpable fear that has spread across the city. The terrorist attack on India’s financial capital, Mumbai was a 60 hour operation carried out by 10 people who were purportedly trained in Pakistan by its army for one and a half years and were a part of a terrorist organisation called the Lashkar-e-Toiba, as suggested by the Indian intelligence agencies. It was a planned operation; the terrorists came to Mumbai from Karachi in Pakistan. They halted at Gujarat where they seized a trawler. The 10 of them allegedly came in five groups of two each and carried explosives such as RDX and grenades. They were armed with AK-47 rifles and managed to partially destroy Nariman house in Colaba, the Taj hotel and the Oberoi hotel. By the end of the attacks, the death toll reached 195 people and 350 people had been reported injured. This was the nastiest act of terror faced by the nation. Nikita Parikh, an IB student of my school, has given vent to her anger and put down her thoughts on the internet for everyone to read.
Nikita Parikh, who evidently seemed to be disturbed and angry with the happenings in her city, wrote down her feelings in the form of a letter to the terrorists and posted it on a social web browsing interface ‘facebook’ at 5:05 on a Saturday morning. The time at which it was posted confirms that she was disturbed, to the extent that she probably didn’t sleep throughout the night and wanted to vent out her anger and disturbance in any possible manner. She chose to put it up on facebook, probably because she was confident that her friends would probably feel the same way about this issue and share the same opinion as her. In this letter she begins with why she probably felt so angry at the incident, and then she employs a very sardonic tone, which reveals her anger. By the end of the letter she condemns these acts and mocks the terrorist by throwing questions at their acts and conscience. She also highlights the fact that she lives in very close vicinity to where the attacks took place which shows the feeling of insecurity.
She begins her letter very formally, addressing the letter and stating its origin. She states the origin of the letter as, “the side of the border where courage prevails”; this not only shows her love, passion and patriotism for the country but shows that she is not expressing the view of one, but all the citizens of India. She believes that India is a courageous nation which should stand up against terrorism. She addresses this letter to the whole of Pakistan, as she believes that they are entirely to blame for the act of terrorism, which she terms as cowardice. This shows her disgust towards the nation. She begins her letter on a satirical note which is “my dear friend, the terrorist”. Clearly the letter is addressed to a terrorist, but since she writes this letter to “the side of the border where cowardice celebrates”. This leads the reader to believe that she generalises the whole of Pakistan to be terrorists. This generalisation is often made by Indians based on the history between India and Pakistan and their previous acts of terrorism. She also starts off by calling the terrorist her friend, which is very ambiguous as she lets the reader decide what to expect from the letter. Either she tries to ridicule the terrorists and condemns their acts or feels sympathetic towards them as the lives of their family are at stake. The title however is very captivating and gains the readers attention quickly.
This is a preview of the whole essay
As we read on, we start to understand where this letter leads to. She starts off by telling the reader that she used to visit the Taj weekly all through her childhood. This shows that an attack on a place which was a clear favourite for her. The reader understands that the writer probably has many memories associated with the Taj and she can relate to it. She is probably very angry that she can never relive the same childhood memories. The fact that she used to be sent across to a bookstore tells us that she is a voracious reader. “Of course you know where these are located, where these were located.” This line tells us that the operation carried out in the Taj was very detailed. The terrorists knew everything about the Taj inside out and had a lot of knowledge on where everything was located. It is speculated that this is the reason that the operation took so long. The NSG commandos did not know half as much as the terrorists did and found it difficult to fight the terrorists and evacuate the hostages at the same time, without causing much structural damage. The difference in the words are and were tells the reader that she is very upset as they are now ruined. This is a very strong and impactful line which leaves a mark on the readers. She goes about explaining everything about the weekly dinner’s she hated, she even exaggerates that a five minute promise never failed to turn into a prolonged hour. This may show that she is actually very disappointed, but it makes the reader feel that bad for her, and sympathise with her sentiments. “Thank you my friend. What more could I ask for? I will never have to do that again, I will never be able to” This again is a very strong line. Her tone is very sardonic and cold. The thank you is a method used to mock the terrorists. The repeated use of my friend shows the anger, although it may seem to have been written in a calm way, the anger being expressed is being expressed in a very subtle way. Although hating something as small and unimportant like a walk does not matter much, she tries to make it appear that it is a great favour done by the terrorist. But allegorically she shows that such acts are unnecessary and there is nothing to gain from it. Through this paragraph we learn that there are memories attached to the Taj which are playing in her mind as she writes the letter.
She was so emotionally attached to the Taj that she calls it her second home, this further reiterates that she has many memories associated with it. She also highlights that she stayed very close to the Taj and hence felt insecure in her surroundings. “thank you my friend for not destroying my first home in Cuffé parade” The tone implied in this line is very sarcastic, as though to mock the terrorists and their conscience. This makes them appear them to be sinners interested in nothing but destruction. This gives the readers Nikita’s view on the terrorists and her strong dislike for terrorism is evident here. She feels unsafe, again due to the fact that she and her brothers hold American passports. Foreign nationals were held hostage at the Taj, most of who were American citizens. This tells the reader that. She deals with a lot of implicit issues over the paragraph. Although she explicitly mocks the terrorists of being nothing more that symbols for creating panic and fear, she also tells them that they were victorious in a way. They had set out to spread terror, and she had been terrorized and shocked by the incidents. Her experience seems to be very bloodcurdling, as she lived so close to her second home, she could hear its destruction very clearly and the screams of the hostage through the 60 hour siege. One can tell that she sensed a feeling of trepidation. She returns to the sardonic tone to make the terrorist believe that they are wrong and no one looks at them as though they are heroes. Nikita makes use of an anaphor to imply the disgust that she felt hearing the bombs, going through such a traumatic experience. She makes the reader sense such an attack through the effective use of gustatory, olfactory and visual imagery. This makes the reader sympathise with her sentiments against terror and realise that a naïve you girl of 17 years has gone through a very disturbing experience and yet she is handling her thoughts very maturely.
Nikita now starts blatantly condemning their acts. The tone employed through the paragraph is a very angry one. She starts defending Mumbai and attacking the conscience and reason that these terrorists had in mind when they started out this operation. She makes them feel dull. She also seems to have full confidence in the spirit of Mumbai, the spirit of resilience and ability to return to normalcy. Clearly, the effect of this whole incident, has etched permanent frowns on the hearts and minds of the people. Nikita has been very blunt in this paragraph, which makes it appear to the readers that she has had enough of terrorism and wanted to combat it. She also feels that there’s no point to terrorism, as there is nothing to gain from it. “You spread terror to make the world a better place” and “thank you my friend for spreading the love”. These are very ambiguous statements as the aftermath of these attacks were those of peace walks to spread love and show solidarity and unity, but it could also be looked at as though she is mocking them. “Can you reveal to me the secrets behind this newfound revelation?” This confirms that she is trying to mock the terrorists and their acts by questioning their thoughts and reason. The next line she expresses outright anger by insulting them. She puts this thought in one line to make it impactful, to make the reader realise the effect that this experience has had on her, to make them realise that terrorists are inhuman creatures. I however feel that it is not the terrorists who are all to blame, as the news suggested that the one captured terrorist was scared of returning got Pakistan to the militant training camps as he though his family would be killed in front of him. This shows that even terrorists have feelings and they are conducting such sinful operations so that their families can survive.
She excellently puns the acts of terrorists, entered with bombs from the bay into Bombay. A slight hint of humour has been added here to captivate the interest of the reader and keep them interested in the rest of the letter. She also uses anaphors to create an effect of obviousness. She shows her patriotism in Mumbai but also makes her faith in the government seem negligent. She knows that Mumbai is a very well developed area, with a lot of inflow of tourists and with an incompetent government. This makes it a very easy target for the terrorist. But she knows from experience that the people of Mumbai are resilient and will combat terrorism in whatever manner possible. This shows her patriotism towards Mumbai and her faith in the people.
“why did I look through a tiny hole every time my door bell rang” this tells the reader that she felt really unsafe in the area she was in due to the closeness to the area where the terrorists carried out a part of their operation. “You wouldn’t have rung the bell. You would have barged in. We’re friends after all; “Open doors”, they call it” this is very impactful line targeting the terrorist. They would have barged into her house, why would they ring the bell? She questions herself in looking through the tine hole to make sure that terrorists do not come into her house. She implies that the terrorists were unruly and dint care or think about anything. She calls them her friends again, telling them that her house is always there for them. It is ironically stated, because she probably cannot control it if a terrorist does actually walk into her house and hence uses the term ‘open doors’. The cynicism used here is very impactful as it makes the reader realize that terrorists cannot be controlled.
She also expresses her deep concern for those people in Mumbai who slept on the streets, who didn’t have homes. She has used a lot of ambiguity here while saying that heaven has reserved rooms for them in the best five star hotels. Maybe she is trying to imply that along with those who died during the operation, the people on the streets who died at the shoot-out areas will rest in peace and her condolences are with her or probably that their lives are in as much danger as those who are taken hostage, as they have nowhere to hide. She uses the word ‘angels’ to symbolize innocent civilians. She mocks the terrorist again, showing them the impact of their acts and the fear that they managed to spread across the city. These terrorists also killed Hemant karkare, an ATS chief, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte. The three of them were India’s most respected people who died at the Cama hospital while trying to combat terrorism. She looks at this from a different perspective in a very cynical way, as though the terrorists did a favor by sending them to protect the other civilians who lost their lives during the siege. Again she mocks the terrorists of being dim-witted, she is convinced that they won’t be able comprehend what she has written and won’t understand the sarcasm behind it, due to their lack of education. She mocks them by saying that instead of having a constructive and productive education which will leave them with brighter future options, they chose the paths of becoming terrorists, and she condemns this. An implicit issue that comes up here is her feeling towards terrorists. She doesn’t feel sympathetic for them in any phase of the letter. She in fact has a very negative view of the terrorists and is of the opinion that they deserve some cruelty back in the form of capital punishment.
Some of the issues which came up earlier of her not sympathizing with the terrorist seem to have faded now as she shows some sympathy for them by saying that she supports their cause. This makes the reader feel that this is very ironical because she has taken a very negative stance against terrorism. Then it becomes clear to the readers that her view has not changed, she just feels that Mumbai is not an ideal target for them. Then she builds up a lot of suspense by stating its qualities, loves death, loathes freedom and is no stranger to unfairness. This makes the reader wonder whether she is referring to hell or not.” Its inhabitants are fully prepared to suffer and would love to die for their religion” this makes the reader all the more certain that she is referring to hell. But when realization draws upon the reader that the place is not hell, a climax is reached and sustained for a few lines. She does note that hell would also be perfectly alright for the terrorists, but the place she has in mind is “the militant training camp in Pakistan” This makes the reader realize that she is not actually sympathetic towards terrorists. By the time this letter was written, there was not enough evidence to point fingers at Pakistan, yet she does so. This is an Indian mentality due to the history between the two nations. She also condemns their acts as these terrorists in Pakistan conduct these terrorists conduct in the name of Jihad, and she seems to be fully aware of this. These terrorists have been brainwashed that their god, Allah, wants them to convert others to this faith, Islam and they must do it in his name to attain blessings from Allah. She neither shows respect to the religion and its preaching neither sees the practicality of such operations in the name of god.” You might know it better as home” tells the readers that she is convinced that these terrorists came from there without the presence of too much evidence. I feel that her lack of respect for the Islam community and Mujahedeen’s (Jihadists) is incorrect and she needs to change her opinion of Islam. This is because I believe that Jihad has been misinterpreted, it is a struggle, not a war and some people spread the misinterpreted meanings to make people of this faith rise and fight those who do not have faith in Allah.
In conclusion I feel that the article is very well written but it is biased against Pakistan and Islam. I feel that terrorism hold no religion and any ideology cannot be blamed for terrorism, but I am of the view that nations can be held responsible for terrorism but we must not take radical steps against nations in the name of self-defense. The article is beautifully structured, somewhat like a poem with variations in the number of words in each line and each stanza having a different shape and implying and suggesting something different. She has put many people’s thoughts on paper very beautifully. I particularly liked the way she expressed her insecure feeling and the way the words’ open doors’ were coined to symbolize her helplessness. The letter has appealed to our senses and is very emotionally written with a lot of personal messages which were brought out in the letter. It appealed to me because I felt It came straight out of the writer’s heart and her emotions are well displayed. I also feel that she has used a lot of irony, symbolization and has varied her tone to make the letter more interesting and to create a stronger impact of her views on the readers. Overall, it was a very well written piece of work, though a little bias sometimes against Pakistan, which is understandable due to the long history between the nations