MUMBAI: On November 22 last, the Karkares celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary. Four days later, Hemant Karkare, chief of Maharashtra’s Anti Terrorism Squad, lost his life, shot by terrorists in a lane near the Cama Hospital here.
The ATS investigation into the Malegaon blast which unravelled new terror links caused rancour in right-wing politicians. Yet Kavita Karkare bore all that with calm and dignity.
However, soon after the Mumbai terror attacks, she raised questions about accountability. She wanted to know who really was responsible for her husband’s death.
Over a month after the tragic loss, Ms. Karkare, in her 50s, fights back her tears and puts on a brave front as she talks about her husband. “How long will I dwell on what has happened? I know I will not get the answers to the questions I am raising,” she told The Hindu in an interview.
“Even the attack on Parliament has not been solved. Where will I get justice? I know no one will give me the answers.”
To those affected by the November terror attacks on the city, Ms. Karkare sets an example in fortitude. A sociology teacher in a city college for the past 15 years, she plans to rejoin duty on January 15.
Yoga and lectures at the Chinmaya Mission are helping her put her shattered life back on track. She has been speaking out on various public forums in the city and voicing her opinion on terrorism. “I strongly feel that society and the government should come together and take some proactive steps to counter terror,” she suggests.
“Everyone should introspect where we went wrong. We lack patriotism. During the British rule, the feeling was strong, but now we don’t do anything constructive for our country. Our social commitment has slackened over the years. We are not doing it right from school,” she points out.
“I don’t have ill feelings towards political parties. This is a time to come together and fight terrorism. My social values have taught me tolerance,” she says. The country has so many different religions and each religion has its special teachings. But how much of this is taught anywhere?
“I feel we should have a 100-mark paper on secularism right from school.”
Ms. Karkare feels that as a nation “we have accepted secularism.”
But that alone is inadequate. “We have to nurture it. We are not imbued with those values in our childhood itself. We are not doing it right from school. In adulthood, suddenly we are confronted with secularism.” she says.
“I always try to inculcate those values in my teaching. I discuss different religions in my class. I never apply escapism.”
She met her husband when she was a bank employee. At that time Karkare was with the National Productivity Council. It was during a personality development course that the two met to form a lasting bond.
“My husband never discussed work with me. We shared a strong bond of social commitment that was very important for both of us.”
The Karkares have three children, two daughters and a son.
“Though I worked in a bank, teaching was my first love,” says Ms. Karkare. Her love for teaching is what she expects will keep her going in future.
“I want to learn more about the Upanishads, about Sant Tukaram and Sant Gyaneshwar,” she says.
Ms. Karkare became interested in spiritual literature while her husband was in Vienna some years ago.
That she says helps her deal with the vitriolic criticism by political parties of the investigation into the Malegaon blast.
“I don’t ask questions anymore,” she concludes.
If anything, it will be her strength of character and spiritual commitment that will get her answers to the questions that are troubling her mind.