In a country where life is cheap and social trauma fast forgotten, I still felt a cold shiver reading a recap of the events of 26/11/2009. It was unthinkable when it first happened, it stays equally shocking today. Ajmal Kasab's hanging and the excellent reporting by ToI, while it brings a little emotional closure to the tragedy, also throws into relief some key issues.
1) For every tragedy there are some unsung heroes. Take ASI Tukaram Omble. His almost primitive act of leaping on and holding onto - in the face of certain death - Kasab whose AK47 was blazing away. Had it not been for this adrenaline charged act, Kasab would have never been caught alive.
2) Which brings on the corollary - it is really insignificant that the Government spent nearly 50 crores (going with the unofficial estimate, which is usually more tenable than the official state figure) on keeping Kasab alive and his prosecution these 4 years. Yes I would've liked Kasab to hang earlier and save that cost.
And even ignore the national outrage over the attack that resulted in a pilloried national executive and PM Manmohan Singh - lambasted for not taking on the obvious perpetrators of this social crime.
After all the loss of life and trauma, what matters most is not that our individual or collective desire for revenge be satiated. What really matters is, through a painstaking inquiry under Judge Tahaliyani, the innards of the conspiracy behind this attack were laid out for all the world to see and judge.
True our judicial system allows too much leeway for a criminal to retract his confessions (twice in case of Kasab), but the skeletons of organized terror that tumbled out, coupled with the enormity of this case and the multitudes that have been tracking it, has made us aware as a society of the dangers that lurk around us.
For once we see, how easy it is for someone to rend the fabric of our peace. At once we have been reminded to stay watchful. And once more have we come to see that individual acts of valour - Omble for holding Kasab alive, Vishnu Zende for announcing warnings and saving commuters at CST, Judge Tahalayani who worked holidays to conclude a fast track trial in exactly a year and delivered a judgement that the Supreme Court recommended for inclusion in the curriculum of the National Judicial Authority - often unheeded, make an immense difference to our lives, and make us bow our heads in gratitude.
A tremendous price to pay for the world to finally sit up and take notice of the state-sponsored brand of terrorism that India continues to suffer at the hands of rogue military states.