Salute 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 the terrorists to create widespread panic. Even after 24 hours of the attack, the battle is still going on at the Trident Hotel and Nariman House (November 28, 00:33 hrs IST). But Mumbai woke to the morning of the 27th with the same spirit as it has always does. As I was reading the newspaper to get the latest updates, I got a call from my colleague asking whether our office would remain open. I called up and was told that my office was open. Few of my friends offices’ declared a holiday and so they enjoyed the day watching latest flicks on DVD. I reached my office and there was announcement that we all were “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 websites and watched news channels to find the latest update on the encounter between security personnel and terrorists. As usual, the 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 of our media houses who are trying to get more and more viewership all the time. After all, this is also part of Spirit of Mumbai. I saw many people in the campus listening to music, discussing latest movies, having pastries and giving odd views and comments on the latest development at the battle ground in South Mumbai. A lady commented after the news of chief chef being killed in Taj Mahal Hotel, “Are the terrorists fools, who will cook food for them?”, and the entire group of hers laughed loudly on this comment. As I was returning back home, I observed that people had no fear and were carrying on with their usual business with great “callousness”.

This is called Spirit of Mumbai. But I beg to differ and I choose to call this Insensitivity and Apathy.

The phrase “Spirit of Mumbai” has just become hollow in the last few years and it just “sounds nice” when we hear these words. 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 and we will await the results till the next terror strikes. Meanwhile, everyone hails 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 the work because you have no other option. You don’t have time to pause and think. An email is circulated – “Terrorists, you cannot defeat us”.

But let me tell you, my friend,if 150 people of your city have been killed because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time — and you still get up early in the morning and behave as nothing has happened — 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 away 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 balkanized. This fatalism will ultimately lead us nowhere.

I read one interview of Sir VS Naipaul where he said, “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 need to send the Spirit of Mumbai on a vacation and it should not come back unless government has taken concrete measures to protect the citizens. I, as a citizen of the country, don’t feel safe in my country. Apparently, 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 reaction 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 and 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.


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

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