Whoever these terrorists in Mumbai turn out to be, its clear that they are trying to sow division and hatred in a country of many cultures. The fear is that Hindu will now turn against Muslim, and India will now turn against Pakistan. This is certainly what the cynics expect.
I am hopeful, however. Back in 2006, after the Malegon bombings, I was struck by the defiant attitude of the locals who refused to divide themselves along religious lines, as the terrorists (in that case, militant Hindus attacking Muslims) intended.
There is a lot of cynicism about the over-use of the word ‘Hope’, and about the potential of digital technologies to help create a genuinely new politics. I think this atrocity, terrible though it is, presents an opprtunity to put these optimistic sentiments to practical purpose. What is needed is a grass-roots response to the current crisis, similar to the We Are Not Afraid phenomenon, which wrestles the narrative away from a divisive blame-game. Its a way in which advocates of peace, those who recognise our common humanity, can win another PR victory against these vicious ideologues.