The intention of the faceless perpetrators of these acts of terror were three-fold. First, to spread mass panic and fear among Delhiites. Terrorists, by making ordinary helpless and defenceless persons their victims, expose at once the brutality of their project and the cowardice that marks their moves. Second, to attack the democratic republic of India with the aim of weakening it. Third, to undermine its unity by pitting community against community at a time of heightened tension. In none of these intentions did the perpetrators of the recent outrage succeed. In that lies India’s victory. The people of Delhi, and its institutions, rose as one in the face of the assault. The man on the street rushed to rescue the injured and dying; fire brigade squads and hospital authorities worked indefatigably to mitigate suffering, the police succeeded in restoring calm quickly. Greatness is sometimes thrust on the most unlikely in apocalyptic moments. The bus driver who threw the explosive device out of the vehicle, hurting himself grievously but saving innumerable lives on the bus, or shopkeepers in the affected market areas who decided to go back to business the very next day because they did not want to give the perpetrators the satisfaction of having paralysed Delhi, these are the unsung heroes of the hour. Together they demonstrated that heinous acts of terror will not extinguish the lights and spirit of Diwali.
The inevitable question as to why the Capital was not adequately secured at a time of great vulnerability needs to be asked. Bali happened just the other day; London, just the other month. The presumption that Delhi will some how be spared such strikes is a dangerously flawed one in a country that witnessed the serial Bombay blasts of 1993. If that was an old story, how about the recent storming at Ayodhya? Or the Delhi cinema blasts some months ago? Or the recent spurt of attacks in J&K after the earthquake? How much more evidence does this country need that it is in the line of fire? The resolve of terrorists can only be defeated if we display an even greater resolve to defeat them.