'Hi RAJ, So how much does your Audi cost?'

We don't know what that means, but our far-flung correspondent in terror-torn India (call her The Mumbai Girl; but seriously, read her personal report from that city, "A Terror Unlike the Usual Terrors") assures us that the man carrying that placard at what was billed as a December 3 "peace rally" was delivering a near-universally held message -- namely that Indian citizens "aren't going to stand for bureaucracy and inaction any longer."

By all reports, local reaction following last week's deadly assault throughout the city Americans grew up calling Bombay has been understandably strong -- divided among factions that blame Pakistan for enabling the terrorists and (often overlapping) groups that blame the Indian government for not protecting its borders. They should all, of course, be careful what they wish for. A lot of civil-liberties damage can be done and a lot of foolhardy wars started in the name of national security. Remember?


In any case the "peace rally" was, in the best tradition of peace demonstrations everywhere, an anti-government rally. The signs folk flew -- some professionally printed; others hand lettered; some obvious ("10 Pakistanis On A Boat Come and Take Away Our Dignity Because You, Mr. Politician, Are Incompetent, Illiterate, Selfish, And Corrupt!"); some comprehensible only within India ("Mr. Deshmukh Don't Play a Joker/Remember You Are Our Naukar!") -- do manifest a major distrust of officialdom. The slogans also bespeak a certain prejudice against dogs ("Dogs and politicians are not allowed in this rally"), and a few hint at advocating violence ("GANDHIGIRI GAVE US 1947 -- NOW! IT'S TIME TO GRAB AK-47").

And one . . . well, one proved that there are young male lager-louts with one-track minds in all cultures.


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