The 26/11 attacks changed not just Mumbai but the entire nation. People were shocked at the brazenness of the terror strikes, which exposed the loopholes in the country's security apparatus.
One year later, the shrill sloganeering has subsided, but the country still confronts unsettling questions: Is Mumbai safer after 26/11? Is the country now prepared to handle a terror attack of a similar scale?
The NDTV-GfK MODE survey, conducted across ten cities with an All-India sample size of 6010, brings to light the ground reality of an India, post 26/11. The survey was conducted in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Nagpur and Patna.
We began the exercise with a simple question- Are you aware of the terrorist attacks, which took place in Mumbai a year ago? And the answer was an emphatic Yes by 90 % of the respondents- not surprising in a nation that was left hostage at the hands of terrorists for almost 60 hours.
A great deal of noise was made post-26/11 about upgrading internal security structures, both at the Centre and in the States. But one year later, Mumbai remains extremely vulnerable and Mumbaikars, worried and far from secure.
Is there an all-weather mechanism in place to prevent and pre-empt a terror attack of this magnitude? Perhaps not. When asked if India was safer now as compared to the days after the attack in Mumbai, 49 per cent of the respondents said Yes, a close 48 per cent said No, and three per cent left it at Can't Say.
But not all is lost for the central and state governments, whose promises of a safer India have helped restore some faith in the system.
When asked if the central government has been effective in dealing with the threat of terrorism, 54 per cent of the respondents said Yes, 42 per cent said No and 4 per cent were undecided.
On the Maharashtra government's role post 26/11, 48 per cent of the respondents said it had been effective in dealing with the threat of terrorism, while 44 per cent disagreed.
Amidst calls for a higher level of security a year after militants laid siege to Mumbai, 54 per cent of the respondents believe the central government is now capable of stopping a similar attack. 40 per cent believe the country's security is no better than what it was on 26/11, while 6 per cent left it at Can't Say.
The challenges Mumbai faces in preventing militant attacks are echoed in other cities of India, often crippled by an ill-equipped police force and a bureaucracy unable to respond quickly to the new threats.
But with the attacks on Mumbai, modernization became the buzzword for the police force.
Fifty-seven per cent of the respondents believe security forces are better equipped today as compared to the time of Mumbai attacks. 27 per cent said No, while 10 per cent believe there was no difference between then and now. Six per cent remained undecided.
On a question over threat analysis to India post 26/11, 53 per cent of the respondents believe Pakistan is the biggest threat to the country, 17 per cent cautioned against China and 28 per cent consider both countries as equal threats.
On whether India should resume the peace dialogue with Pakistan, 52 per cent of the respondents said Yes, and 41 per cent said No.
The Prime Minister had recently admitted that Naxalism is the biggest internal threat to India. Sixty-one per cent of the respondents believe the government's approach to combat the menace is the correct one, while 31 per cent believed it was not the best approach.
Before 26/11, India and US were fighting their own wars on terror, though parallel to one another. The attacks in Mumbai changed the dynamics of the relationship between the two, fostering an important cooperation on how best to deal with the menace.
As many as 49 per cent of the respondents believe America has done enough to co-operate with India in its battle against terrorism, while 45 per cent think otherwise.
On America's response to Pakistan, 61 per cent believe the country is blind toward the fact that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism.
Fifty-seven per cent of the respondents are of the view that the strategic partnership with America made us more vulnerable to terror attacks.