The terrorist attack on Mumbai has aroused public anger against both the incompetence of the government—especially home minister Shivraj Patil —and the cynical habit of politicians to take partisan advantage during previous instances of mayhem.
That should hopefully drive a national consensus on a tough stance on terror —both in law and during the actual fight.
While this happens, all those who have watched television and read newspaper reports over the past three days saw two types of courage that have cut through the usual fog of cynicism.
The police and the army lost good men in the battle. Various reports have shown how these men put themselves in the line of fire. We have survivor accounts of how commandos assured the trapped citizens they were leading out to safety that they would take the first bullets if the terrorists opened fire again.
And there are also stories of how staff at the two hotels put their lives in danger to feed and hide guests. This is a rare silver lining in the dark episode.