More than anything else, the spirited move to deploy IAF aircraft into enemy territory in Balakot is seen as a brave one, and reflective of the Narendra Modi government's keenness to safeguard Indian citizens from Pakistan-trained terrorists
Hyderabad: When it comes to attacks on and from Pakistan, the people in southern Indian states, with distance being a crucial factor, tend to look at things rather unemotionally.
The passion and effervescence that you see north of Vindhyas is always little less in these matters in the south.
In the event, how does the people of five crucial southern Indian states — Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka — see India's spirited sorties in Balakot to snuff out terrorist camps there?
Going by the response of the people MyNation spoke to and also gauging the mood of the public in general, it can be said without any gainsaying that the masses are happy with the decision of the government to cross the borders and bomb critical areas in Pakistan from where the terror groups operate.
More than anything else, the spirited move to deploy IAF aircraft into enemy territory is seen as a brave one, and reflective of the Narendra Modi government's keenness to safeguard Indian citizens from Pakistan-trained terrorists.
"This must have been a difficult and tough plan to approve for the government. To fly sorties into another country is a momentous and monumental call that the government had to take," says S Subashri Sai, a bank manager in Hyderabad. "The decision has huge national and international ramifications. The government, one hopes, must have thought through that."
And when people say the government, it also includes the armed forces. The IAF in particular came in for a lot of praise from all. "The IAF pilots have done a great service to the nation. They may be trained for such eventualities. But to actually pull it off is courage and skill," says VR Chetana, a student of MBA in Bengaluru.
In neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where the population is generally anti-BJP, the mood in favour of Prime Minister Modi was palpable on Tuesday. "That man has shown he has spine. Compare this response to the wishy-washy attempts in the aftermath of 2008 Mumbai attacks, you now that the difference in leadership and how crucial it is important in safeguarding nation's self-respect," says Mani Krishnamoorthy, the CEO of a software startup. "We now have a man at the top who cares for India."
Adds B Senthilkumar, a government employee, "India needed to show that it cannot be taken lightly. For long, India was seen as meek. But now, this will change the perception of the country."
In Kerala, the feeling was that this was a strong but much-needed show of strength by India. Says Rajesh Panicker, who heads a logistics firm, "Pak terrorists have been getting away scot free for long, even when they were inflicting slow but sure harm on India. They deserved this comeuppance."
But his partner in the business, JG Varghese, says, "We should not get carried away. Emotions have to be under check. Warmongering will take us nowhere." He adds that he can't comment on the government's decision, as long it was taken based on defence and diplomatic realities. "But the chest-thumping triumphalism, especially on social media platforms from common public is a bit worrisome".
His misgivings are shared by Sagaraika Rao, a bio-researcher in Hyderabad. "The media too seems to be going overboard in its emotional coverage of the events. I can understand the sense of catharsis among the public, but not from the media."
She adds some news channels are pathetic and their coverage was surely farcical.
But for Solomon Raj, a financial consultant in Bengaluru, the actions of some media professionals seem dubious. "As I see it, a few so-called liberal journalists don't even mind supporting the enemy as long as they can spite the government and its leader. This is totally unacceptable."
"We in south India hardly have an understanding of the mood in north India. It is not as if we have not had terrorist strikes here in these parts. But we have never been buffeted by attacks as much as they have been. We must have more empathy," he adds.
In Chennai, H Kanthimathi, a professor in a women's college, says the messages on WhatsApp circuit have been downright irresponsible. "Most forwards are fallacious. People are exchanging pictures of what they claim were the pilots who carried out the sorties. One, they don't understand that such photos are fake. Two, even if they are true, it is their responsibility to not share them. But who is to educate these folks?"
The students that we spoke to were most thrilled and satisfied by the government's action. They think that Modi by taking a firm decision has sent a clear and strong message to the enemy nation. "As youths we feel that this augurs well for the nation."
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Last Updated 27, Feb 2019, 4:28 PM