‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.” Almost a century after, Tagore’s prayer still seems to fall on deaf ears. After all, how long does a nation have to suffer, how long do we as a people have to suffer before we are finally free? Not a stranger to terrorism, this one of a kind, unprecedented barbaric terror strike on Mumbai on 26th night left the nation reeling. Touted as India’s 9/11, a tragedy of this scale seems to have integrated the diverse elements of the country as the nation stands by Mumbai . For two continuous days, the country awoke to this ongoing siege. As one people, as Indians and foremost as fellow humans the country shares the city’s overwhelming grief, and outrage. Even as the rest of the nation comes together, the sentiment seems to be completely lost on politicians still caught in their disgusting banal political competitiveness. As polling takes place today in Delhi and Rajasthan, they are back at playing the politics of division even as the need for united political action reverberates throughout India. Tired of the clichéd “spirit of Mumbai”, and its famed resilience, many feel maybe the answer lies in not bouncing back. As an eerie silence encompasses the once bustling roads of Mumbai, it becomes obvious that people feel the onus of getting back on their feet should not always solely rest on them. Sometimes it is in the light of such circumstances, that the real heroes emerge. The unimaginable courage and dynamism exhibited by our defense forces: the Indian Army, the National security guard and the Maharashtra police cannot be put in words. As students of DU, as witnesses to this horror and as citizens of India we salute the supreme sacrifices they make daily so that ordinary people like you and me are even in a position to read, write, publish express and live our lives with a semblance of normality. Sometimes situations like these also make heroes out of ordinary civilians .We also acknowledge the valor of these unsung maccabis, many who do not live to tell their tale .The unceasing and painstaking efforts of journalists, hotel staff, doctors, fire fighters amongst others who rose to the occasion are in no way insignificant. The human aspect of the tragedy leaves many shattered. Not only is this barbaric act a physical one but it also deals a blow to the psyche of the common man. It makes people think twice before going to cinema calls, shopping complexes or any other public place. Indians, irrespective of caste, class, religion and region cannot remain unaffected by such unmitigated violence. It is our duty to not let this terror perpetuate our lives. However, it should not be confused with passivity. On the other hand it does not necessitate uncalled for accusations or extremism. Every once in a while an event comes along, which shapes the nation. The question remains, is this the one for us? Is this the event that unites us or will we not cease to be caught up in our own stultifying divisions and limitations.
To place a finger on the pulse of prevailing mood, DU Beat brings you responses of various people from different walks of life:
“ This is a terrible tragedy and a calamity, it points to a complete internal security failure. Its not even been one month since the blasts in Delhi; many innocent people have suffered at the hands of the terrorist. This was a planned organized move and stringent action needs to be taken against the offender”
-Ashok Randhawa, (man who provides relief to victims of terror attacks in Delhi)
“ I feel that Indians operate best in such situations and are able to transcend caste, class and religious differences. Sadly, it takes tragedies like these for the nation to unite and respond as one individual identity. A question to Mr Raj Thackeray: our men, north and south Indians alike, are out there risking their lives for the city of Mumbai. They lead rescue operations side by side with the Mahrashtra police.! Where now, Mr Thackeray are your “Maharashtra Manavs”? So stop trying to fragment our country on petty regionalism. We as Indians should learn to rise above these senseless differences”
-Colonel Virmani ( The Indian Army)
Ex NSG Training Personnel
“I think its extremely sad and traumatic not only for the people stuck in there but also seeing how much damage is caused to your loving city. When i go there, I can sense the pain they feel right now. its like a part of you is being destroyed for no reason whatsoever. Heroic efforts from the police and army are seen though the entire city, and as Bombay, has, is and shall always stand united”
2nd year Student of Bombay University
“There was a lot of crowd on the highway near the new bridge built next to sahara star hotel (previously known as centaur hotel) The police had gathered in an effort to disperse the crowd. The scene was utterly horrifying, with blood spots near the victims. I saw remnants of the rear part of a taxi, in which a bomb had gone off. The driver’s body was charred completely, with visible holes in his abdomen. Rumors were rife that a foreigner was one of the occupants. Remains of burnt money lay strewn on the road. The police were very prompt and immediately sprang into action, checking all nearby vehicles. It leaves me with a memory that may haunt me forever, even though I was allowed to stand there for less than ten minutes or so.”
Student Bombay University (eyewitness )
” To quote John Gregorry – Violence is the way stupid people try to level playing fields: these attacks on Mumbai are also such a dastardly act”
– Pragya Mukherjee , 1st year student ,LSR college
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