26/11: what does that mean to me?
Author Raja Krishnamoorthy / Kitty - Nov 26, 2015
26/11: What does it mean to me?
I still find the idea of celebrating birthday, in the way it is largely celebrated, very funny. I can understand when you celebrate achievements, success, good deeds, break thru efforts or setting new standards of any kind. Even coming together and having fun for no particular reason is enjoyable.
My own Birthday is an event for which I have made absolutely no contribution. I was- like all creations- delivered by divinity as a package of Soul, Body & Mind. If at all anyone has, it is my mother who contributed. Yes, every mother has made the greatest and most painstaking contribution to her children’s birth. Hence I feel every human being should actually call his/her birthday as “My thanksgiving day to my mother!”
26/11, as birthday, belongs to few other “heroes” that I know of.
Dr.Kurien, the great Anand and Amul fountainhead is one. He created with the farmers of Gujarat- as never before- now what is popularly known as the “white revolution” in the country.
The other hero is Velupillai Prabhakaran. I admire the former LTTE supremo for many qualities and strongly disagree with his approach in some areas. I would love to share (in yet another blog) a Tamil poem I wrote in August/ September 1987, which almost seems prophetic today.
But my most respected heroes are the 26/11 heroes of Mumbai: The day when terrorists attacked the heart of India: My Bombay. This city of opportunities, land of inclusivity, openness, shelter for every dreamer, a forerunner for the co-operative housing in the country, the only city which ever had a disciplined waiting system in bus stops for many years, the center of Bollywood and Bandra-dharavi paradox…Our, AAMCHI MUMBAI, my birth place, was attacked by Pakistan sponsored, anti-India & underworld supported terrorists.
I still remember my flight landing in Mumbai on that day at about 9.45 pm. I remember my taxi driver explaining the traffic jam at the airport: “a bomb went off in a taxi Saab, just some time back – there, just outside the air-port”. I remember, at my sister’s place in Dadar watching TV and seeing police officer Salaskar wearing the bullet proof vest to get into action. I remember many things…
The 26/11 sagas belong to the true heroes of India. Among the security officials martyred in gunfights with the terrorists were the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, shootout specialist Vijay Salaskar, Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte, API Tukaram Ombale, Senior Inspector Shashank Shinde, commandos Major Sanjeep Unnikrishnan and Gajendra Singh, a trooper, both of the elite NSG.
I still remember the face of Ampte’s daughter and Unnikrishnan’s father. I remember many things…
I also remember, over the next two days, the shameless competition for “breaking news”: “Our reporter is the first one to have eaten vada-pav at the Churchgate station after the terrorist attacks…” kind of chest beating. Unmindful of the complex and multi dimensional challenges and threatening realities of the situation, most of these media mediocre made “stories”: Just to create sensation, drama, heighten anxiety, create mindless security risks, insensitively comment the police and administration, criticize things out of context, and most blaringly continue to do their basic trick: Manufacture & peddle self-concocted opinions.
Scores of Indians and some foreigners died in this dastardly terrorist act, which was meant to create fear, panic, hate and division of India. The enemies of India lost, and My Mumbai won. And how?
By the next day afternoon, the voluntary blood donors of the city outnumbered the demand as required for the emergency operations in various hospitals. Then the next day, against all pessimism floated, Mumbai offices clocked a record 90% plus attendance.
NO ANIMOSITY, NO CALL FOR REVENGE OR RETALIATION AGAINST ANY ONE. NONE. PERIOD.
I do not know how many Indians, after the Mumbai attack, felt insecure and considered leaving Bombay, let alone India. My data says none. NOT ONE. What a city, my Bombay!
That is why 26/11 is very special to me. Not because it happens to be my birthday. It was a day, 6 years back, when mother India was put to test. She had to identify her true sons and heroes. She had to come to terms with the enemies. And she had to, with a sigh & a large heart, accommodate the convenient opportunists. And grudgingly accept the curse of the pseudo-secular opinion manufacturing company, which in my view, is now far more dangerous than the erstwhile East India Company.
Some of these opportunists carry the passport of being politicians. Some of these are the exploiters of the non-aggressive, non-violent, timid (almost placid) tolerant majority population of this great nation. ‘The opportunists’ need is to further their own agenda. It can range from marketing hate, moneymaking, cheap and easy popularity, freedom without accountability and other coveted needs. Some are the die-hard “west-approval-seeking” intellectuals. Some are the hard-core information manipulators, conveniently carrying the ID card of so-called “media”.
Their main agenda: Shame this country. And that is very close to the terrorist agenda: Maim this country.
26/11 will always be a special day for me. For my India. For showing, in a way again and again, who-is-who truly in this nation!