Which one of our citizens, our high-octane celebrities, our media-savvy politicians spoke out with indignance, defiance, patriotism? Not one, with the exception of Kumar Ketkar who tersely called the disturbances — and I paraphrase — a transparent stunt to get political mileage. Why didn’t we speak out? Welcome to the psychology of the coward who loudly abuses the bully only once he has disappeared around the corner of the street.
Never will a Bombayite stand up to an enemy who will remember your name and your face. We cowered in the confines of our houses when Muslims were being eliminated by a conspiracy between right-wing Hindu political forces and saffronised members of the Bombay Police in 1993. We turned our backs and ran home when Dalits and right-wing Hindus clashed last year (another example of gleeful, misrepresentative television reporting), and have done so again. Because we are scared of any enemy that is known, that is local.
But why blame only us when our politicians have let us down time and again? When they displayed such cowardice that night after night on television we winced to see the embarrassment and shame on the faces of senior police officials who were left with the blame of inaction last month?