Hail the spirit of Mumbai

As the fresh blasts rocked the financial capital of the country, the Spirit of Mumbai has once again “defeated” the motive of terrorists to create painic. Even after 41 hours of the attack, the battle is still going on at Trident Hotel and Nariman House (28th November, 15:00 hrs IST) but Mumbai woke to the morning of the 27th with the same spirit as it has always.

As I was reading the newspaper to get the latest updates, I got a call from my colleague asking whether office will remain open? I called up and was told that my office is open. Few of my friends offices declared a holiday and so they enjoyed it watching latest flicks on DVD. I reached my office and there was announcement that “Proud to be Working today”. It gave a great “solace” to my heart. There were few people chatting about the terror attacks that hit the city last night and few of them were visiting website and watched news channels to find the latest update on the encounter between security personnel’s and terrorists. As usual, media was trying to give its latest updates by telecasting the “old footages” and repeating the same stories and few lines again and again. They asked a wounded man, who was hit by bullet and running for help to show his wounds on camera and interviewed family of deceased and asked questions like: Where do they belong to? When they are planning cremation and many other irrelevant and illogical questions but then that is expected out of our media houses who are trying to get more viewership. After all, this is also a part of the spirit of Mumbai. I saw many people in the campus listening to music, discussing latest movies, having pastries and giving weird views and comments on the latest development at the battle ground in South Mumbai. A lady commented after the news of chief chef of the Taj Hotel being killed, “Are the terrorists fool, who will cook food for them?”. And entire group of hers laughed loudly on this comment. As I was returning back to my home, I observed that people have no fear and were carrying on with their usual business with great “callousness”.

This is called Spirit of Mumbai. Well I just beg to differ and I call this INSENSITIVITY and APATHY.

The phrase “Spirit of Mumbai” has just become hollow in last few years and it just “sounds nice” when we hear it these days. The same chronology was followed as in many of the terror attacks that have hit the country in last few months. PM and inept Home Minister condemned the attack. It was good to see PM addressing the nation “after 18 hours” of the attack. Now in next few days a probe will be set in, we will await the results till the next terror strikes. Meanwhile, everyone hailed the spirit of the city and its resilience.

It does take a great deal of courage and a soul of steel to go back to work the next day after an attack like this. But you were at work because you have no other option. You don’t have time to pause and think.

An email is being circulated that “Terrorists, you cannot defeat us”.

But let me tell you, my friend that if 150 people of our city have been killed because they were at the wrong place and at the wrong time– and you still get up early in the morning and behave as nothing has happened, Sorry to say that– You are already defeated!!

The enemy has broken your spirit and has won over your soul. The enemy has subdued the rage that should boil over and it has taken the tears from your eyes that should flow. The same soul will pretend as nothing has happened even when we as a nation will loose our identity, when we will be balaknized. This fatalism will ultimately lead us nowhere.

I read one interview of Sir VS Naipaul where he says that

“I feel all of this tells people that they should be defeated again, it s good for them to live with defeat, and that somehow beauty comes out of defeat. I don t think beauty comes out of defeat, I think the Indian wretchedness comes out of the Indian defeat, and this idea of experiencing is utterly wrong. I don t think the Sanskrit texts pre the Muslim conquest, dealt in this kind of negation. I think this negation has come with the years of squalor and defeat. Defeatism, denial and helplessness have become the defining Indian traits and this is the battle that needs to be fought.”

There is a dire need to send the Spirit of Mumbai on a vacation and it should not come back unless the government has taken concrete measures to protect the citizens. I, as a citizen of the country don’t feel safe in my country. It feels that anyone can come from anywhere and kill people at will. I don’t want condemnation of attack but some concrete steps. I don’t want reactions but some sort of action. Can my government guarantee that? If not, then let Defence take over the reign of this country because our politicians have become spineless eunuchs like millions of us.

Lightning candles, observing silence, changing display pictures etc is not going to help. Neither government nor future attackers are going to see it. One thing is for sure that I am not going to do this thing. I want my conscience to continuously pinch me till I do something.

As a blog post on Bharat-Rakshak by Sbajwa acidly says,

They have attacked Red Fort, wives and children of Army personnel, Parliament, Stock Exchange, Educational institutes and professors, Amarnath/Ayodhya/Sankat mochan/etc temples, mosques, bombs in buses/trains/streets. What is left?

I guess they will have to start exploding bombs atop Himalaya or Ganga to get Indians to wake up and do something.

Indeed.

Does your conscience pinch you?

If yes then let’s come together and pressurize our government to take some strong and bold steps.
This can perhaps be the first step towards the long journey that citizens of this nation need to start.I would prefer to die after killing an enemy of nation than being killed on a street as a mute victim.Remember,

Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

I am very keen to know what the awaken readers think we can DO. Its time to do something instead of being insensitive lost souls. If you have any ideas/opinions about things WE can DO to reach out to our Government, appealing it to take steps towards a more secure and a safer country to live in, please post them here as comments.

0 thoughts on “Hail the spirit of Mumbai”

  1. There are so many points that I disagree with on this post that I’m sure that this short note will not suffice.
    The current situation of the world allows nobody to be safe in any country. The US has had its 9/11, the UK its 7/7. India has had a hit as well, but having martial law is not the answer. Indeed, that is defeatism, because you are washing your hands off the problem and pushing it onto others.
    Indeed, one of the values that India has taught the world is the value of acceptance. It is precisely because nations and states refuse to accept the status quo and fight that we have needless wars. Any victory in war is Pyrrhic. Pride in your nation is nothing but an overtly vast ego, which needs to be curbed.
    My hats off to the Indian military that it has not allowed its successes to go to its head and that it has remained faithful to the democracy it supports.
    Excellent examples of martial law lies to both sides of India. If I am given the choice of a democratic India or a military ruled Pakistan (past), Bangladesh (past) or Burma/Myanmar (present), I choose India.

  2. Yes, it is The Spirit of Mumbai that it goes to work the next after a strike. Mumbaikars are definitely not indifferent. Because it has happened in Mumbai does not absolve others of their responsibilities. The whole nation has now has to rise and pressurise the government to take concrete steps…demand action till it is implimented and not wait till the next strike.Time we have a federal agency overseeing internal security. Has there been a strike in the USA after 9/11 ? If they can prevent, so we have to. YES WE CAN.

  3. Rishab, I have a high regard for your sense of patriotism and your will to do something for the nation. Which is basically why I am saddened and rather surprised that someone of your strature is making such remarks. The people that you met in cafeteria having lighter moments, the people watching DVDs at home dont really represent Mumbai.

    Every passing moment is past 30 odd hours have left us infuriated. And it was a much easier task for all of us to vent out the fury on the administration and of course the terrorist. But we prefferred to work, work in a situation where our hearts were hooked upon the South part of Mumbai, but in a struggle with this frameset of mind, we decided to work. I decided to work, just because the terrorist didnt want this to happen. Let me tell you where does the spirit of Mumbai lie.
    We at work began our day with a minute’s silence, and believe me, that calmed my anger down to a considerable level. I know this silence conveys no message to the terrorists, but it certainly shows that Mumbaikars have their conscience alive.
    The day when police were firing outside the CST station, people were covering up for the police at the tier two level. Media has captured locals helping the injured cops.
    Just today after the mission at Nariman house finished, hundreads poured out on streets shouting “Vande Mataram” .. No that doesnt garuntee our safety, but that shows that there is a sense of patriotism within Mumbaikars. The people of Mumbai have never left the blood banks go dry in such situations.
    The Taj management had a good chance to flee themselves out to safety, but they reacted to their instincts of “customer first” and rescued quite a lot with effective management tactics. So instead of looking at the black spot of what the media did, try to and appreciate the spirit of the Taj management.
    In such a situation if you say that the terrorists have won!!! Buddy, I have one simple exclamation for you …. ” OPEN UP ! ”

    Jai Hind.

  4. @kpowerinfinity

    Gr8 i very much agree to what you say….but all you have being emphasising on is pressurizing the govt.
    I would like to knw how do plan to do that. Even during the anti-reservation campaign a lot had been tried to do the same but how much did people succeed in?
    If the ‘Spirit of Mumbai’ is appreciated then thats because of their power to remain indifferent to terror on streets and continue pursuing their ambition. Its takes a lot of mental courage to do so.
    Its easy to say that they do that because they dont have any option….well are you trying to say they do that by putting their life at option.
    Not that they dont have option. Even after many attacks in the past the population of the city goes on increasing in huge figures. I dont think people come becuase they dont have any other option that they put u their life at stake.

    Not that i disagree with you but i practically you have been saying this because this is a recent event…will you putting your efforts the same way you been trying too now a month later and how?

    People may not be spirited to fight but they are spirited enough to continue their routine and not be discourage themselves by terror….thats where i say failure of terrorism.
    Killing lives for no output is proving their failure.
    They may not be defeated but they very will be failed to achive their so called goals.

    The very first step to defeat terrorism is not to be affected by it BUT at the same time eliminating it( In which we have been failing, i agree).

  5. @ Nimish

    The incidents which I have mentioned here definitely do not represent Mumbai. But when you are in that state of mind and you see people commenting like that, I just felt kicking them.

    The point I am trying to make out here is that every city limps back to terror strike but our politicians have used this phrase to hide their incompetence behind the Spirit of Mumbai.
    No doubt there have been numerous of incidents where people of Mumbai have braved the terror. But now it is a time to show different type of SPIRIT.
    How many times will our city be attacked and how many times will our leaders tell us that they will fight terror to core. Please stop getting on with life. Cry! Become angry! Riot! Do something to let those in power know that they can’t go off to sleep and let another terrorist attack happen, knowing well that the Mumbaikar’s resilience and spirit will ensure that they don’t get blamed in the end.

    I agree with Binoy (a blogger)who says
    My heart reaches out to those killed and the bereaved families, I wish we had more to give them that just mere sympathies and condolences . I wish we had a government that would provide them with some kinda justice. I wish we have a government that would prove me wrong, at least this time. If and when that happens, we will truly be proud of our “Mumbai Spirit!”

  6. This is the real SPIRIT shown by common man who has always stood for his nation. But if Common Man lets his fate in hands of corrupt politicians then he is helpless. So he must now stand for the change in the political system of the country.

    This is the story from Indian Express. There are numerous others who have shown this indomitable spirit but now its our responsibility that there sacrifice is not wasted. I just hope that fire keeps burning inside us.

    Mumbai : Prashant Mangeshikar could be dead, one of more than a hundred victims of militant attacks across Mumbai landmarks, if it had not been for an employee at the Taj Mahal hotel. Mangeshikar, his wife, and daughter were in the foyer of the 105-year-old hotel on Wednesday night when gunmen opened indiscriminate fire in one of a series of coordinated attacks in India’s financial capital.

    Recovering from the initial shock and chaos, hotel staff shepherded the guests, including the Mangeshikar family, through the service section upstairs — only suddenly to come face to face with one of the gunmen.

    “He looked young and did not speak to us. He just fired,” said Mangeshikar, a 52-year-old gynaecologist. The man in front of my wife shielded us. He was a maintenance section staff. He took the bullets.

    The tale of the unnamed staff member has echoed across Mumbai where, time after time, hotel workers have emerged as the people who shielded, hid or evacuated their guests from militants at the Taj and Oberoi hotels.

    Hotel workers in one case ushered guests into a conference room and then locked the doors to protect them from the militants. The guests were later rescued by the fire brigade.

    Within seconds after Mangeshikar’s family was saved from the bullets, the guests made a dash for the hotel rooms to hide. Mangeshikar and a few others dragged the wounded hotel employee identified only as Rajan into one of the rooms. His intestine was a lump hanging from a gaping hole in his abdomen, he said. The bullet had entered him from close to the spine.

    For the next 12 hours, Mangeshikar and other guests surrounded the wounded man trying to push back his intestines with bedsheets and stop the bleeding. He was finally evacuated, but it was not known if he survived.

    As the gunmen went around spraying bullets, on another floor hotel staff struggled to secure the doors with bedsheets and put tables and beds against the doors.

    Kanda Noriyaki, a chef at the hotel’s Japanese restaurant, led guests trembling and screaming with fear to safety. “We hid in the restaurant,” said Noriyaki. “We could hear the firing somewhere very close. Intermittently, there were blasts.”

    Many evacuees from the hotel hailed the bravery of the staff.

    “Just imagine, they even served us food the first few hours,” said a hotel guest, who did not wish to be named. Only when the kitchens became out of bounds did they express regret for not being able to serve us food.

    One person recounted how Taj staff stopped panicky guests from rushing into the lobby where militants could have shot them.

    The wife and children of the Taj’s general manager who lived on the hotel premises were killed in the attacks. Witnesses said many trainee chefs had been killed in the kitchen of the Taj.

    Mangeshikar said that, but for the courage of Rajan, his wife and daughter could have been dead. “I’m going to the hospital to find out what happened to him. I owe it to that brave man.”

  7. hi….its good na that all mens in the mumbai come out of their place after the blast…..it is totally rubbish……hum hindustani hai….humari mother tongue hindi hai bt english is compulsory everywhere…in tamil dey killed hindi speaking persons…in mumbai,they want to throw out the U.P n bihari……hum aapas mai hi ladte rahenge n yh log hume aise hi maarte rahenge…..we have to answer…we have to unite……har koi bhul chuka hai ki hum hindustani hai….vo to yh jante hai ki yh marathi hai ya bihari…..hum hindustani hai…..is tarah se normal life jeene ka yh matlab nai hai ki hum logo mai bahut potential hai….iska matlab hai hume aise jeene ki aadat ho gai hai…….9/11 hua to america ne afghanistan par halla bol dia…..to fir hum kyu nai kar sakte…we stand second in miliatry power…..bombay attack ko important banakar kuch nai milega…..pehle ahemdabad fir banglore,jaipur,assam,delhi,bombay….vo kya batana chahte hai….yahi ki hum unhe rok nai sakte…..this is the time to unite n tell them that we can stop them nywhere nyplace b’coz we r INDIANS.

  8. Hi Rishabh…

    Viewed your blog. I would like to appreciate varieties of this blog. It covers good range of topics.

    Commenting on this post….

    Well man, have you been to the place during firing? Have you seen the ‘death’ from that close distance where media, commandos and police officials were performing there duty?? Criticizing public servants by writing post is not a big deal. You have raised finger on media’s coverage and footages, but those were camera persons and reporters of news channels who performed their duty without thinking about safety of their lives and brought the coverage to your door. Whatever footage you saw was bcz of media’s dedication for their profession. It is really surprising when people easily criticize the media! When reporter asks to an injured ‘where they do belong to’? It may be a news for that person’s relative to identify his missing one…but you find it an ‘illogical’ question bcz you never try to see it from others perspective .

    Your comments on media is not different than the behavior of that lady who passed comment on chef’s death and ignorance of people about the incidents…You showed your concern by writing a blog post and criticizing public servents ..What else you did? If you have done something really needful I would like to appreciate.

    Nice to know that you just not want to sit by lighting candles and praying and want to do something…I wish you become a contributor just not a commentor…

  9. @Devanshi
    It is not at all the effort of the media that I am trying to disattribute, but the lack of filtering of news that can be observed…

    Three very considerable news items are:
    1) India TV was airing live what one of the terrorist had said on phone. This is something that was supposed to be passed on to the authorities and not to the public.
    2) Aaj Tak and other channels delivered news about firings at the CST station on Day 2. It eventually turned out to be a rumour and created enough panic among the public. They shouldn’t have aired such news before confirmed reports.
    3) Most importantly, all the channels were telecasting the operation’s movements and strategy, which is supposed to be highly filtered and only information relevant to the public should have been aired. This again seeds rumours in one form or the other and should have been avoided.

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