Saturday, November 29, 2008

In Sorrow and in Hope

The carnage in Mumbai appears to have come to an end. I still hold my breath as its painful to wait for the news of those who may have died in the Taj. I am still too shaken, angry and upset to write anything coherently. Words fly around my head but never long enough to hold a full thought.

Yet a few thoughts on the past three days:

1. Sorrow at watching the Taj in flames. The building is not only a symbol of Mumbai but also of self-reliance, nationalism and growth for all of India. After all, it was built to negate British racial laws. It broke my heart to watch it burn - and so glad it was saved.

2. Anger at watching the carnage, at the knowledge that its once again our loony hate-filled neighbours who are obsessed with harming us.

3. Pride at our forces. I am always surprised at how gentle our army officials appear - one smiled this morning and said, "smiling is what you need to ensure morale."

4. Sorrow for those killed. Especially Gaj Singh, whose body was flown back to Dehradun. I feel pride in my hometown but sorrow too as it seems that convoys bearing our brave dead never seems to halt for long.

5. Fury at the Israeli officials who were quick to claim anti-Semitism because "their" victims were not prioritised; and even quicker to criticise the forces. You ever try living in a civil, democratic open society, a society that is NOT a police state? And ever manage a crisis that involved bringing out hundreds of hostages in multiple locations? All I can say is: Shut Up Already!!

6. Finally, hope. Regardless of what western media says about "sectarian" tensions in India, I take courage from the fact that Islamist fanatics could not find even two dozen people out of a population of 150 million Indian Muslims to behave like blood thirsty barbarians. That says good things about us.

Jai Hind!