India's response to repeated terror attacks has been sickeningly predictable.
Official outrage and vows of vengeance are followed by a quick moving on. The most that we appear capable of is a temporary drama-queen delay of our so-called "peace" process with Pakistan.
This is largely because India has global aspirations which compel it to act "responsibly", no matter the cost to our people.
The paradox of this posture is that we end up pleading with the world to recognize our new-found "power" even as terrorists castrate what little remains of our tattered mojo.
This is, therefore, not about whether India should or not talk to Pakistan (it doesn't really matter, does it?) -- rather, this is about India's structural misunderstanding of the nature of power in our world.
Whereas great powers use muscle to assert their influence, India seems to be intent on acquiring its geo-political weight through permission and charity of others.
As long as this remains the view of our political elite -- across the ideological spectrum, it needs to be emphasized -- Indians will continue dying while our elite express unfelt regret then continue chasing their mirage of faux-power.
To this retired blogger, it's clear that sensible Indians will now quit celebrating meaningless adulations in the world media, quit talking about great power status, quit our obscene and unearned swagger, and quit talking big while carrying a really small stick.
Instead, we need to get back to hard work, back to our democratic revolution for throwing overboard this pussilanimous elite-- we need to get back to reversing, in Gore Vidal's words, the overturning of our real history by their made-up myths.
This is what we owe the dead of Mumbai and Delhi and Akshardham and Ayodhya and Kaluchak and Kargil and Kashmir as also Godhara followed by its viciously evil whirlwind.
Let's begin by acknowledging how extremely weak our state is presently and how unbelievably far we have yet to go. There is surely no shame in beginning with the truth about ourselves.
As Faiz wrote, Aaiye haath uthaein hum bhi.
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