Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Blasts that made a hole in our Faith

On the eve of 13th July, 2011, 3 consecutive blasts shook the city of Mumbai again after the shock we had during 26/11 in 2008. Three of the crowded places in Mumbai city namely Zavery Bazar, Opera House and Kabutarkhana in Dadar were the target this time. It took a toll of 19 innocent people and injuring 130 or more. The gory scenes brought out by the news media shocked me. What type of reactions and response that would have gone through  the minds of the people of India could well be imagined. The one that gripped me initially was a deep sadness. Like a mumbaikar, though I am not one, I felt why again Mumbai. After thought made me think, "do we want that other places too should be hit?". Oh, no, we cannot think of these tragedies any more. After an initial sadness, there was a deep anger as many of the mumbaikar expressed in the interviews to the media. When we talk of anger, we have to ask the question, anger on whom. The cowardice of the terrorists to take the innocent life and then hiding from the law is the greatest anger of all. However, there are other genuine angers too: on the inability of the police, intelligence, failure of the local as well as Central government to provide safety to its citizens and the list can extend to National Intelligence Bureau, Home ministry and in particular Home minister or whoever makes a statement at that time trying to politicize the issue or on hospitals which do not handle the situation properly or even on media which is irresponsible in the reporting or making sensationalizing of the gory scenes, etc., And finally the anger should turn on ourselves too for being mute to all and being impotent.

The event for sure has created a hole in the Faith of the Mumbaikar in particular and in all Indians in general. I could see a mistrust among many interviewed and people seem to have lost faith in decent life. Many people were heard saying "we thank God if we safely return home every evening". Thanking God is a good part of course, but the bad part is that we have come to accept this as a reality. Does the government have a strong will in putting a full stop on this?

After all the initial emotions that engulfed me, I started thinking as a scientist and a socially responsible individual. "What need to be done to do away such happenings in the future and what the common man who thinks he has no say in any matters concerning things like this or corruption needs to do" is the biggest question before us.

There are many things that came to my mind. For example the top police officials mentioned that in such crowded places analysing CCTV footage is near impossible. CCTV is no doubt a big boon for finding out the culprit after the blast. Can we stop this on time? When even the children play with compact cameras which have face recognition and smile recognition technologies, can we not develop the technology to find out unusual activities? Fro example, if a person moves around suspiciously for a longer time in the same place, alerts can be sent to the nearest police station as well as the Control Room with the footage or when some one bends to keep some objects, the alerts can be given. Even the cameras can have a capability to focus on persons showing strange behaviours. Did we also consider having cameras that can pick up images during dark nights with IR capabilities? Those with technology capabilities can definitely develop these gadgets easily. I really do not know whether RAW has knowledge on these technologies or they are working on such research areas, etc.,

Can Government initiate to establish an Institute to work on "Anti Terrorism Research"? I do not need to elaborate on the various divisions it needs to have. No subject is unwanted here. Experts from all areas such as Engineers of various kind, chemists, biologists, physicists, aeronautical engineers, mathematicians, forensic experts, psychologists, doctors, sociologists and many others are required here.

"Ammonium Nitrate" has now become a household name after all these attacks. The news that a regulation will be brought about is late though. As a person with the knowledge of plant biology and chemistry I can think of many options. Why at all ammonium nitrate as fertilizer? There are many ammonium containing fertilizers available as well as nitrate containing fertilizers. Also we talk of biofertilizers but could not bring out effective biofertilizers for nitrogen fixing to dissuade farmers from chemical fertilizers. I do not want to go into the details of the problems many biofertilizer industries go through with regulations. Probably my friend Mallikarjun will be able to talk about it more on this subject of biofertilizer industries.

The purpose of this blog is to invite your suggestions. I also want people who can really contribute something fruitfully for this mission. I had been emphasizing on many occasions and in many places about a Civilian Task Force which can raise up to the occasions in the Peace Time Problems of the country. This can be done easily by the volunteers from the civilians. Government could provide necessary help in terms of training and support. I am ready to share my idea too on the structure and functioning of such units. Any takers?

Please do pass on this blog to your friends / relatives or whomsoever who is responsible. Are we not forwarding mails which are superstitious in nature or funny in nature or just for time pass? This is the time, we need to stand up. I express my solidarity with the Mumbaikars at this stage. This is not just about Mumbai, but it could spread anywhere and everywhere. My dear friends, I request you to think, not as someone who knows more but as a weak person suffering from shocks and crying for my nation. Will you not help me and my country?

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