Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Train to Pakistan

There was a couple of blasts aboard the Samjhauta Express that left nearly 70 people dead, the day before. The train had left the Old Delhi railway station, for Lahore in Pakistan. Most of the dead were Pakistanis, who belonged to families separated during the partition of India in 1947, returning home after visiting their relatives in present-day India.

As the great Sufi poet, Waris Shah, once said:

ChhaaN badlaaN di, umar bandyaaN di

(The lives of human beings are as transitory as the shadows that clouds cast upon land.)

Philosophy apart, the death and destruction that has been caused by the act of terrorism appears to have been highly avoidable. The television news channels have been presenting details of all the security lapses that made it easier for the terrorists to succeed in their nefarious designs. Apparently, there were only about half a dozen policemen guarding the 14 bogies and the luggage of the passengers was not checked before they boarded the train.

I can not help comparing this against the kind of security that was provided by the government of the Pakistani province of Punjab to the 'Sikh Pilgrim Special' train, aboard which I travelled across the border in April 2006. Each bogie had at least two policemen armed with automatic weapons, guarding the train night and day. Armed policemen had also been posted along the tracks, at various places where the train was likely to slow down. Additionally, there were several security men in plain clothes, on the train.

The passports of all passengers had been checked and their luggage passed through an X-Ray machine, before being allowed on the train, by Pakistani authorities.

I sincerely hope that the government of India will tighten the security for the Samjhauta Express, along with all other buses and trains plying between India and Pakistan, and that such a tragic incident shall not recur.

Meanwhile, if the extremists are going to such lengths to disrupt the peace-process, I am sure that it must be on the right track!


Sidhusaaheb said...

With you on this. Your last para needs attention of every one.
Shirazi | Homepage | 02.21.07 – 4:32 pm | #


I too had a feeling that if security is thorough it might have been possible to avoid this.
Mridula | Homepage | 02.21.07 – 5:00 pm | #


@Shirazi Sa’ab: The governments on both sides do seem to understand this. I hope the people will, too.

@Mridula: You’re absolutely right!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 02.22.07 – 6:55 am | #


Division of the country in the first place was a big mistake. People on both sides have paid the price, are paying the price now and will keep paying in the time to come.
Sifar | Homepage | 02.23.07 – 11:28 am | #


Whether it was a good decision or bad, the division is a reality and has been so for the past 60 years.

As independent countries and neighbours, I am sure that India and Pakistan can not only live in peace, but also have close economic, social and cultural ties.

The point here is that the two countries seem to be making sincere attempts at improving their relations and those who do not wish that to happen are doing all they can, perpetrating violence included, in order to throw a spanner in the works.

Peace and friendship shall triumph in the end, I hope!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 02.23.07 – 1:11 pm | #


I absolutely agree with you, Shirazi!
Ra. | Homepage | 02.23.07 – 4:04 pm | #


Ya, I once went to the station where samjhauta express was leaving and it was very dirty and smelling bad. It crowded with people seeing each other off and sniffer dogs were roaming about smelling for rdx!
Cyberkitty | Homepage | 02.24.07 – 2:33 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

I am not a controversy theorist but who did a lot of things in the world could at the best guessed. Having said that, I wonder who could have done this. Why in the world would in of the so called muslim terrorist outfits do this? The only answer I can think of is they have to fanatic to the extent that they think some/most/all the muslims travelling on that train are indirectly supporting India or are against Kashmiris or somethinng on those lines.
Why could this not be done by some hindu terrorist outfit, or may the north-eastern ones (there are many there) to divert attention? I hope the authorities are probing these possibilities. I know in the above sentence the word hindu along with terrorist would tittilate an angst in the heart of the most tolerant of the hindus. But friend did you ever wonder what it does to those with whom the media (and those who accept it), has made the word synonymous?
Dont get me wrong, I oppose any such by any group what so ever. But what hurts me as a Muslim from India is the hypocricy and the lack of understanding within the common man towards such acts and disputes.
Rahsa Diaz | 02.25.07 – 5:24 pm | #


Sidhu says “the two countries seem to be making sincere attempts at improving their relations”
Thats what it is Sidhu, just an attempt that ’seems’ to be sincere. Bogus pride of the governments and of the people of both sides over occupying a piece of land could NEVER EVER lead to even a beginning of sincere attempt. As an Indian, I would never want to see Kashmir be part of Paksitan, because I fear it will become like pakistan (economically, politically, socially etc.). I would also not want Kashmir to be a part of India if the Kashmiris (the msulims there)do not want it. Personally I would want Kashmir to be a part of India as muslims in India do pretty well whereever and whenever they wanted to (exceptions are there). But then India has been successful like Israel in prolonging the issue so long that the issue has blurred and wrt many things it has changed. The Indian gen-x infact doesn’t even have a clue as to what the issues were.
Rahsa Diaz | 02.25.07 – 6:05 pm | #


now ihave on
Rahsa Diaz | Homepage | 02.26.07 – 1:09 am | #


Waiting for the peace…..

Reminds me few lines by Gurdas Maan

har paase chup di suli hain
har jind langdi looli hain
leader taan rab nu bkahshan na
banda kis baagh di muli hain
de bhashan tey bhashan na roti na rashan
asi bhashan sun sun ke thak gaye hain

nit marde putar mawan de
asi khabbhran pad pad ke aak gaye haa
nit vekh ke lasha siviya vich
asi pathar wangu pak gaye han
koi labo sant sipahi no
asi aak gaye haan thak gaye haan
aaj ik sache murshad bajo
har ik banda ekalla, har ik banda ekalla


Sunil Chawla | Homepage | 02.27.07 – 7:10 am | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

Visit this one!

Another Thinker…Like you…

Ra. | Homepage | 02.27.07 – 7:08 pm | #


Hey, I really liked your balanced comment in response to Sifar, Sidhusaheb. May all people on both sides of the divide think this way.
sabizak | Homepage | 02.27.07 – 8:36 pm | #


@Cyberkitty: Most trains in our country are not clean, mainly because we treat govt property with a lot of disdain. I wonder if sniffer dogs were deployed to check the train on which the blasts took place.

@Rahsa: Thanks for taking the time to read the blog entry and to post comments!

However, the major points that I have tried to make in this particular blog entry are:

1. Security on the Samjhauta Express was lax, which made it a lot more easy for the terrorists to smuggle the bombs aboard the train.
2. Those who are responsible for the blasts obviously want to disrupt the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan, especially people-to-people contact and interaction, and they must believe that it has made significant progress, if they are doing all this to stop it.

I have written nothing about the identity of the terrorists, who planted the bombs on the train, or the past, present or future status of Kashmir.

@Sunil: Those lyrics are very beautiful and I wish more people would realise all this!

@Ra: I’ll check that out.

@Sabizak: Thanks! I hope so too!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 02.27.07 – 10:52 pm | #


Exactly man… ur abs right in the last sentence
Sriram | Homepage | 03.01.07 – 2:05 pm | #