Heavy smoke from Taj Mahal Hotel set on fire by the terrorist on early Satruday morning. Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar. Mumbai   29/11/08

26/11: The Attack on the Privileged

The 2008 Mumbai attack is globally recognised as an important part of the history of India, it may not seem unusual at first, but the traction is problematic.

For Indians, sweater weather brings with it clouded memories of the Mumbai attacks of 2008; broadcast tributes can be found aplenty, people get clicked while the bullet studded walls of Leopold Cafe provide a backdrop, and the ones that were directly affected are forced to relive the trauma. The media coverage expected this year is perhaps tenfold, since this year marks the ten year anniversary of the attacks.

It’s important to mark the bloodiest days in history and remember them from time to time, honour the unsung heroes, pay respect to the innocent, and learn from past mistakes. The Mumbai attacks are, globally, the most well recognised and empathised terrorist attacks in India. However, a brief history lesson on the deadliest terrorist attacks in India highlights several ones that exceed the 26/11 attacks in terms of quantum of lives lost. It’s diabolical to evaluate the damages caused by terrorism in the utilitarian sense of the world; any loss of lives is appalling regardless of the number. The only mildly troubling aspect of the attention given to 26/11 attacks is that the international media coverage given to the attacks due to the number of foreign lives threatened and lost. The attacks were meticulously planned and executed along the most famous tourist spots in Mumbai, including the Taj Hotel and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Since high profile tourist spots were targeted by the infiltrators, many foreign lives were lost on the Indian soil and that is primarily why the bombings garnered international traction and interest. The New York Times or the BBC were obviously not as interested in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings or the stream of deadly violence prevalent in Assam since decades. The modern world is such that European and American lives are often given primacy over the Rohingyas of Burma, the Syrians forced to abandon their homes due to genocide funded by Uncle Sam, the Hondurans fleeing political unrest, and the millions plagued by starvation and unemployment. India has long been stung by foreign (and even domestic) forces propagating violence and instigating fear.

The ball wasn’t entirely in the court of international media houses. The fate of the accused was addressed by the Supreme Court in this case, but there remain tens of other terrorism cases dated decades back, that await verdicts.

There is no doubt that all matters of national security, in any part of the country, are to be given equal importance and priority. In the status quo, sadly, privilege plays a huge role in the action taken by the respective authorities. Perhaps that’s why the valleys of Kashmir witness day-to-day bloodshed, the children of Chattisgarh live in fear of Maoist insurgencies and Cow Vigilantes continue to haunt the streets of Uttar Pradesh- unchecked.

 

Featured Image Credits: Indian Express

 

Nikita Bhatia

nikitab@dubeat.com

 




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