New York on 9/11, London on 7/22 and Mumbai on 7/11. It has become common to identify these tragic events by the date. But what is not common is the reaction of these cities to the tragedies.
New York and London whimpered and cried for blood, which their leaders gave them in large measure. Enough blood has been spilt in the name of fighting terror as much as terror itself has spilt in centuries.
Mumbai however was a refreshing change. There was anger there, let us not make the mistake of thinking there was no anger. But it was aptly aimed at the ghostly cowards who perpetrated the crime and not some country or religious group.
Mumbaikars know that you can’t fight ghosts with guns and missiles. A fact that the technologically advanced western countries didn’t seem to understand. I suppose it must be our “backwardness” which tells us that ghosts have to be dealt with differently. So there was no cry for revenge, no baying for blood, nor any Muslim cab drivers being shot and killed.
Instead Mumbai answered in the best way possible. The grief was kept personal. No gathering in squares for us. No lighting of millions of candles in front of TV cameras. Instead those candles or diyas were lit in the personal space of homes where the fallen will be forever missed, where they will not be a statistic to be bandied about.
Mumbai went on. The suburban trains were up and running, and the people swallowed their fears and stepped on like as if it were just another commute to the office. But it wasn’t. It was a statement like none other. It proudly proclaimed WE WILL GO ON.
Forget the insipid statements by PM Singh, Mrs Gandhi and the so called “Iron Man” Advani. The strongest statement came from the man who is never quoted in news papers or on television channels – the common one.
He told the terrorists in no uncertain terms where they could stick their brand of conversation.
As for me, my chest fills with pride and eyes well up in passion just at the thought that I was born in the strongest city in the world.