If there was to be one response beyond the deep sense of horror every Indian felt during the Mumbai terror attacks, it should be a renewed commitment to peace.
A little bit of myself went cold -- with fear, with revulsion and with the thought that we all just took another giant step backwards -- we went from civilized negotiation to fist fights, from speeches to squeezing life out of throats and perhaps just witnessed the start of yet another violent uprising against a particular people.
It is easy perhaps to turn and blame our neighbours for harbouring terrorists, what is perhaps more important and consequently difficult. More than the nationalities of terrorists -- a long stalled delay to the peace process in this country across a whole host of fronts are the real harbingers of guns and grenades.
It is precisely times such as these that call for a march towards inclusion regardless of religion.
Remember that it took a couple of five-star hotels to be burnt and maimed before our enormous defence budget could be used towards building an effective barrier to hatred.
The most effective of these barriers is not a celebration of militarism or better helicopters but a consistent hacking away at what should be the 'Spirit of Mumbai' and indeed India.
We cannot allow attempts to turn this democratic country into a xenophobic fortress.
Photograph: Vaihayasi Pande Daniel
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Also see: The youth fight back