We stand by you!’: Mumbai’s Shivaji Chhatrapati Terminus railway station lit with the colours of the French flag.

In the middle of early Saturday dawn, my phone flashed a message with a tinkle. Being fast asleep I didn’t read it till I got up from bed in the morning. The message was from an overseas friend of mine, who was the first to report about the unfortunate Paris terror attacks. As I switched on the morning news on T.V, I got complete details of what had happened on the streets of Paris on Friday the 13th of November’ 2015. It brought to my memory flashes of what had happened on the streets of Mumbai, 7 years back. 26/11, as the day is referred to by the record keepers of Mumbai’s history, witnessed the city’s most horrifying night. Handful of terrorist from across the Indian borders entered Mumbai by sea routes with the intention of reducing the ‘maximum city’ to its minimum. Most of the action being in South Mumbai, I could hear the cross firing between the terrorists and the Mumbai police that took place around Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).   CST is a huge railway station built in the year 1878. It has been accredited as world heritage site by UNESCO. Thousands of tourists flock to see the site on a daily basis. Besides this, lakhs of local train commuters buzz at the station throughout the day. On the day of the attack on Mumbai i.e 26th November 2008, the usual cacophony of the railway station came to a halt when armed terrorist fired bullets and threw bombs on the premise. Innocent people, awaiting, boarding or alighting from their respective train became victim to the ruthless attack. Besides the CST, Leopold Café, Chabad House, Cama & Allbless Hospital, Trident & Taj Hotel too were simultaneously attacked. Here’s an HBO documentary film based on the Mumbai attack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDROrLtc6GM


Bullet marks on wall opposite to Chabad House, that hosted Jewish travellers at Colaba, South Mumbai

The victims of the terrorist attack belonged to all socio-economic strata of Mumbai’s social fabric. Over the years it is clear that the terrorist attacks on Mumbai were conducted by religious fanatics with geo-political interest. The same context I am noticing in the recent Paris attacks. Vengeance is the most dominating emotion in an act of terrorism. The fear psychosis that results after a terrorist attack determines the success or failure of the attack. Panic, chaos and helplessness among the targeted population gives a sense of achievement among the vengeance seekers. My thoughts echo the findings of the recent Caspian video report I viewed on the topic: ‘What terrorists want?’ Click here for the Caspian report, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpifclvMEOE

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Leopold Café back in action after the terror attacks on Mumbai

With a past experience of a terror attack, Mumbai’s heart feels the pain of Paris. As a gesture of solidarity Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station was lit with the French tricolour on Sunday night. Though there was a slight goof up in the arrangement of the sequence of the colours of the French flag the sentiments were underlining the gesture was straight from Mumbai’s heart which conveyed to the French people that ‘we are with you in this moment of grief’. Like every thinking Mumbaikar, I believe, when ‘Liberty, Equality & Fraternity’ is at stake, no progressive civilization would want to sit ideal and just watch the ‘terror show’. Each generation sows seeds for the next generation to live their life. Hatred sows seeds of hatred and care sows seeds of love. With attacks and counter attacks I wonder what impact it might be causing on the minds of children. A song sung by Declan Galbraith ‘Tell Me Why?’ is a thought provoking song which is worth a watch. Here’s its link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j6IBdHW_rY

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The Taj Mahal Hotel: Restored and back in business after the 26/11 attacks

Nursing its wounds Mumbai gradually moved on beyond 26/11. I am sure with a warm empathetic hug to Paris every wise Mumbaikar would want to encourage France to carry on with the UN Climate Summit to be held on 30th November in Paris. Courage is born out of resolving fear and on the 7th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack around the corner, Mumbai would like to convey the Parisians about the Indian values of ‘Satyameva Jayate’ (Truth will always triumph) as they move on constructively beyond the black Friday of 13/11.

Photos Credits: Shraddha. C. Sankulkar, Aditya Chichkar & Free internet download.

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Standing tall and stronger: Hotel Trident at Marine Drive