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    As if nothing happened in Mumbai


    by Sunny on 13th July, 2006 at 12:05 am    

    (Nush posted this email in the previous article)

    Dear Terrorist,

    Even if you are not reading this we don’t care. Time and again you tried to disturb us and disrupt our life - killing innocent civilians by planting bombs in trains, buses and cars. You have tried hard to bring death and destruction, cause panic and fear and create communal disharmony but every time you were disgustingly unsuccessful. Do you know how we pass our life in Mumbai? How much it takes for us to earn that single rupee? If you wanted to give us a shock then we are sorry to say that you failed miserably in your ulterior motives. Better look elsewhere, not here.

    We are not Hindus and Muslims or Gujaratis and Marathi’s or Punjabis and Bengali’s. Nor do we distinguish ourselves as owners or workers, govt. employees or private employees. WE ARE MUMBAIKERS (Bombay-ites, if you like). We will not allow you to disrupt our life like this. On the last few occasions when you struck (including the 7 deadly blasts in a single day killing over 250 people and injuring 500+ in 1993), we went to work next day in full strength. This time we cleared everything within a few hours and were back to normal - the vendors placing their next order, businessmen finalizing the next deals and the office workers rushing to catch the next train. (Yes the same train you targeted)

    Fathom this: Within 3 hours of the blasts, long queues of blood donating volunteers were seen outside various hospital, where most of the injured were admitted. By 12 midnight, the hospital had to issue a notification that blood banks were full and they didn’t require any more blood. The next day, attendance at schools and office was close to 100%, trains & buses were packed to the brim, the crowds were back.
    The city has simply dusted itself off and moved one - perhaps with greater vigour.

    We are Mumbaikers and we live like brothers in times like this. So, do not dare to threaten us with your crackers. The spirit of Mumbai is very strong and can not be harmed.

    Please forward this to others. U never know, by chance it may come to hands of a terrorist in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq and he can then read this message which is specially meant for him!!!

    With Love,
    From the people of Mumbai (Bombay)

    —————-

    It is a very optimistic and stoic response, rather similar to what many Londoners were thinking after last year. On CIF today Salil Tripathi said: “It takes a lot more than a few bombs to break the city’s spirit.”

    That may apply to the ordinary people, but I’m not sure if everything will go back to being hunky dory. I wonder what the aftermath of the blasts will be.

    Talking to a filmmaker friend today who hails from Mumbai, she said tensions always bubble underneath the surface of the city. A day before the bombs the thugs from Shiv Sena were harassing people and Muslims in particular over a statue. Now they will want to make political capital out of the blasts given that the party has been internally combusting for the past year or so.

    After the last huge bomb blasts over a decade ago, riots between Hindus and Muslims broke out, killing thousands. I hope that does not happen again. But in India it only needs a spark.

    The finger will, deservedly so, point towards terrorist groups originating out of Pakistan. If that does prove to be the case, the terrorists will also want relations between Hindus and Muslims in the country to deteriorate so the latter can embrace radical Islam and continue to grow antagonistic. The trick for the government will be to crack down on the radical groups without looking to blame all Muslims.

    In the past Hindus and Muslims have managed to get on by simply, well, getting on with life. The world doesn’t stop even if there are terrorists out to get you. You still have to make a living. I just hope this does not prove to be a shot in the arm for the Shiv Sena or Narendra Modi.

    And lastly, this below:
    Papers

    Clearly the death of nearly two hundred and injuries of thousands of wogs was not good enough for the Dail Mail, Daily Express or the Metro to make it front page news. Fuck them.

    [Slate and BBC have covered reaction on the web and mentioned PP among others]



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    44 Comments below   |  

    1. jonz — on 13th July, 2006 at 1:27 am  

      There are also threads such as Pickled Politics, which use the Iraq war, Western foreign policy and international media coverage to discuss Tuesday’s events and interpret them both inside and outside India.

      Thank fuck nobody (that I have seen) has actually tried to “interpret” this as “Western foreign policy”.

      BBC agenda is ahead of itself.

    2. Terrorist — on 13th July, 2006 at 1:53 am  

      Dear Sunny,

      All this talk of ‘Mumbai will move on’ is ok. But what about some 600 people you have already lost in three terror attacks since 93? Thats 1/6 th of all 9/11 casualities NY suffered. And if I remember correctly US ran over two countries for that. But you Mumbaikars are talking about how you will ignore all this and get along with your lives. Manmohan Singh says “we will not kneel”. Ofcourse how can you when you are already crawling!

      Dear Sunny, please remember that when you are blown to pieces in the next inevitable terror attack in Mumbai, someone else will urge Mumbaikars to get on with their lives. Nobody will lose sleep over your death except may be your close relatives. (Unless they are not blown together with you, that is!) Ofcourse Mumbai will go on, except you Dear Sunny, because you would have already been dead! Don’t you see that your beloved terrorist has already won?

      Terrorist.

    3. Nav — on 13th July, 2006 at 2:16 am  

      The goal of terrorism isn’t simply to kill people, it’s to terrorize. Thus ignoring the attacks, inasmuch as it means continuing to live your life as you did before the attacks, is the best way to combat terrorism. Certainly security measures must be put in place, but if people refuse to be scared, terrorism can never win.

    4. Sunny — on 13th July, 2006 at 2:23 am  

      Exactly, Nav.

      j0nz - I found that funny too. There was some satire in that thread where people were blaming Iraq etc as a joke, and I think the BBC reporter thought they were being serious. Heh.

    5. Nav — on 13th July, 2006 at 3:05 am  

      How long until Joe Biden makes a joke about this attack occuring on 7/11? (Do you guys have 7-Elevens in England?)

    6. Manisha — on 13th July, 2006 at 3:06 am  

      Yes. The mumbaikar sprit is indomitable. But to combat terrorists, I think we need to start in our own back yard. We are giving them plenty of fuel to start a fire. Case and point — the Bhiwandi issue, the mud on thakarey’s wife’s statue. For all we know there were also instigated by terrorists.. and look how people and hooligans reacted. We are creating divisions and fractures within ourselves and thereby giving fodder to terrorists. If you remember, the 1993 bombs closely followed the communal riots.

      A united society is the best prevention to such atrocities.

    7. Nyrone — on 13th July, 2006 at 3:09 am  

      Pickled politics readers using Iraq to justify terrorism? Now, that would be shocking.

    8. Nyrone — on 13th July, 2006 at 3:23 am  

      I don’t really know what to think about the 3 newspapers mentioned not covering the blasts on their front pages. My gut reaction (given the titles of the rags given) was ‘rascist elitists’ but then as I gave it a moment to settle in, I kind of wonder why I feel strongly that every paper should have it as their lead story…after all, if it’s gonna be covered by all the main papers anyway, why bother repeating it over again?

      If I was the editor, I think I would have simply followed the same story, but with a unique different angle, perhaps highlighting who could have been behind it, a personal angle or perhaps an international reaction.

    9. jonz — on 13th July, 2006 at 3:26 am  

      Pickled politics readers using Iraq to justify terrorism? Now, that would be shocking.Pickled politics readers using Iraq to justify terrorism? Now, that would be shocking.

      BBC journalists obviously yearn for it…

    10. Vikrant Singh — on 13th July, 2006 at 8:05 am  

      A day before the bombs the thugs from Shiv Sena were harassing people and Muslims in particular over a statue.

      Forgot to mention last weeks Bhiwandi riots eh?

    11. Vikrant Singh — on 13th July, 2006 at 8:07 am  

      Btw i’m sick of these self-satisfied smug statements odedifying Mumbai and its mythic spirit. Indian PM can cover up his incompetence with speeches bravely declaring teerorists will fail. Mumbaikars need security more than anything else. Bottomline is Indian government doesnt care for my life, as long as it can manage religio-ethnic divisions to stay in power.

    12. Vikrant Singh — on 13th July, 2006 at 8:09 am  

      corrections: Indian PM cant cover up his incompetence with speeches bravely declaring terrorists will fail.

    13. Leon — on 13th July, 2006 at 10:23 am  

      “How long until Joe Biden makes a joke about this attack occuring on 7/11? (Do you guys have 7-Elevens in England?)”

      We used to. Odd that’s the first thing that went through my head closely followed by why is the US version of dating being used? Do they use it like that in India?

    14. sonia — on 13th July, 2006 at 10:46 am  

      great spirit.

      though of course Terrorist up above has got a point in as much as comparing the US response - ‘running over two countries’ - and the Mumbai people saying they are going to carry on as normal ( which as sunny points out - is similar to London’s response last year.)

      then again - who knows what the aftermath actually is going to be. if the stirrers have it their way..

    15. sonia — on 13th July, 2006 at 11:03 am  

      leon - nope- they use the british system.

      we don’t use it either and that didn’t stop people from calling last year’s events as 7/7! There seems to be some desire to link all these terror events to 9/11 and using their way of referring to dates seems to somehow turn it into more of a significant sounding date than just saying the 11th of July. maybe that’s too commonplace or sth.
      some one on CiF suggested that surely now Mumbai would be referred to as 7/11 to keep in tune kinda thing. of course the numerology types have been getting all excited about the ’similarities’…( 11 i suppose - 7/11, 9/11)

    16. bikram — on 13th July, 2006 at 11:10 am  

      Indians stood United when Akshardham happened, Indians stood United when Ayodhya was attacked, Indians stood united when Varnasi was attacked, but despite that Dr. Singh the Terrorists won on 7-11, when with no fear of consequence, they struck with impunity at the heart of Indian prosperity

      If the only insurance the Indian Government can offer against future terror attacks is the resilience and Unity of the Indian People, then there is a serious doubt as to the future security of the Indian State.

    17. Sid — on 13th July, 2006 at 12:12 pm  

      Excellent post Nush/Sunny.

    18. sonia — on 13th July, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

      “heart of Indian prosperity” - people keep saying that - because Mumbai is the ‘heart of indian prosperity’. well maybe overall compared to other parts of india - but there are plenty of poor people in mumbai - if the point was ‘attacking prosperity’ why wouldn’t someone go and drop a bomb on the big banks/multinationals - instead of a train - which ordinary people use. Ain’t like all the seriously richy rich types favour the trains over their chauffeur-driven cars. can we please have some perspective please. all this paranoia about oh they wanted to get at our prosperity. clearly they wanted to kill a lot of people and cause a lot of trouble, i dont know about the prosperity bit.

    19. sonia — on 13th July, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

      Putting words in people’s mouths.

      “Pickled politics readers using Iraq to justify terrorism?”

      I can’t remember anyone justifying terrorism here - looking for the causes of terrorism seems to be conflated with justification. not a rational scientific way of thinking is it..

    20. Leon — on 13th July, 2006 at 12:36 pm  

      @ Sonia, very true. I think it’s worth keeping in mind that the mainstream media (or MSM as they’re increasingly called) lack any real understanding Blogs and how they work at best and at worst have real contempt and fear about them as competitors.

      It doesn’t surprise me that PP was reported on in such a convoluted and misconstrued manner…

    21. Vikrant Singh — on 13th July, 2006 at 12:58 pm  

      Ain’t like all the seriously richy rich types favour the trains over their chauffeur-driven cars. can we please have some perspective please.

      Sonia,

      All the bombs were placed in first-class compartments whose fares are considerably higher. BTW Slimes of India is just beginning to notice the threat posed by illegal Bangladeshi who throng the streets of Mumbai these days!

    22. al — on 13th July, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

      I’m a bit angry with the nutterss who’ve done open-air cremations. this is worth an article.

    23. Ravi Naik — on 13th July, 2006 at 2:18 pm  

      “I’m a bit angry with the nutterss who’ve done open-air cremations. this is worth an article.”

      Is there a reason why open-air cremations are prohibited in Britain?

    24. Nush — on 13th July, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

      cheers Sunny, I didnt get to put that anywhere else yday was swamped at work.

    25. sonia — on 13th July, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

      Sure Vikrant. Still, higher fares on trains aren’t exactly on par with the level of prosperity that exists at the top. i think we all know what the perception of ‘public transport’ is within certain echelons. anyway it doesn’t matter to me - it’s all terrible.

    26. waxon — on 13th July, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

      I would try understand the definition of Terrorism and Wanton acts of Violence.

    27. don — on 13th July, 2006 at 6:17 pm  

      ravi naik,

      Although scarcely an expert on the subject I did read a couple of books on Victorian fneral practices a few years ago and my (non authorative) view is that there were strong religious objections to cremation of any sort until the twentieth century and that it was actually illegal in any form until 1902;

      http://www.srgw.demon.co.uk/CremSoc3/StatutoryLaw/CAct1902.html

      The overcrowding of London cemetries and the concurrent rise in free thinking had led to a campaign for hygenic crematoria from around the 1870’s on but even after legalisation it was very much opposed by the church and most members of the public.

      The main religious objection was that the body should be complete. however, the slaughter of the Great War meant that pretty much every family had a relative whose body had been torn apart and it became less and less acceptable to suggest/believe that this would mean some sort of post motem penalty. I believe the turning point was when a member of the royal family chose to be cremated.

      Prior to cremation, burial practices in Victorian urban centres were hair-raising, with bodies dug up after only a few months to be replaced by newer arrivals and the disinterred remains literally stamped into the mud.

      The act which legalised cremation was very proscriptive, partly because of deep seated suspicion, and the hygenic, scientific aspect was very important. I suspect that it is less that open air cremations were banned, but that they did not meet the criteria which allowed for cremation under very specific controls.

      Of course, today objections would come from different reasons and my first reaction is to oppose any move to introduce them. On the other hand, I do recall at least one case of a pagan open air cremation where the law turned out to be not so clear cut. Sorry, can’t remember the details.

    28. Ravi Naik — on 13th July, 2006 at 6:33 pm  

      Don, that was very informative. Thank you.

    29. Vijay — on 13th July, 2006 at 11:04 pm  

      “Pickled politics readers using Iraq to justify terrorism?”

      Obviously a misunderstanding by you guys.Prejudice?? I think BBC said, you londoners, (i guess not all of you) are no mumbaikars, (again not all of you), and are discussing the tragedy from western point of view. BBC sounded positive about this site and thats why I ended up visiting this page. But your sarcastic tone on mumbais poverty and commenting on PMs incompetence in the same breath is bit irritating to an average Indian. Gandhi said Poverty is worst form of violence. We are happy that he is doing better than any past PMs atleast in this regard. Personally, I dont feel bad that he is not acting like the rich western cow boy shouting and screaming with all the guns blazing, eventhough many of my friends are.

    30. Sunny — on 13th July, 2006 at 11:50 pm  

      Vijay - don’t get us wrong. If you see the previous article I wrote on mumbai, we weren’t disparaging about mumbaikers really. There were some sarcastic comments made along the lines of: “I bet someone is going to blame this on Iraq”, which I think the BBC took seriously.

      Otherwise, another point was made that the problems lay more with politicians, who ignore the poor mumbaikers most of the time, but make a big deal during such attacks.

    31. don — on 14th July, 2006 at 12:40 am  

      re. the media; I just glanced at the Mail’s online edition and there is zero mention on the homepage. Go to ‘News’ and I certainly couldn’t find a single reference. I found ‘Several injured after cable cars collide on Scottish mountain range ‘ but nowt on Mumbai. World News? Nothing. They found room for ‘Saddam trial enters final phase ‘, but not a single word on the bombings. So I put ‘Mumbai’ into their Mail search engine and got some hotel deals.

      As far as Mail readers are concerned, nothing happened.
      They possibly really don’t know.

    32. mirax — on 14th July, 2006 at 1:11 am  

      >>So I put ‘Mumbai’ into their Mail search engine and got some hotel deals.

      Coupled with “Ride the trains at a discount” options?

    33. Nyrone — on 14th July, 2006 at 2:11 am  

      @Don

      Please dont take this as an attack, just a healthy question/debate from someone discussing the matter internally, but is it really essential for rags like the mail to ‘have’ to have articles on Mumbai when they are geared toward a more national audience as it is, with the little international news of little concern to their readers, who may buy the paper to read about what concerns them locally in their backyard?

      I have mentioned that I think there should absoloutely be major coverage (indeed not just of the bombings, but also the general ramifications on the people/society/culture there in general) but feeling that newspapers MUST be obliged to follow certain stories throws up all kinds of questions about what the agenda should be, who sets it, where the ‘news’ should focus, and what type of stories they should relay externally.

      There are certainly many many stories that I wished that newspapers would follow-up on and explore in detail, but newspapers have their own agendas, and that’s why we have the choice to choose the ones which suit are tastes best.

    34. Sunny — on 14th July, 2006 at 3:31 am  

      Nyrone - I think the point is it shows their hypocrisy when they demand that all lives be treated as equal (”what do you mean the life of one British soldier is not important?”). This is not about general news agenda, because that will certainly be biased, but about the value they place on life from different parts of the world.

    35. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 14th July, 2006 at 3:51 am  

      Unsure if anyones mentioned it but there is a memorial service in London today at the Hare Krishna temple in Watford/Radlett North London in the evening.

    36. Don — on 14th July, 2006 at 8:54 am  

      Nyrone,

      Of course I don’t see it as an attack. I wasn’t expecting heavy coverage, but not a single reference seemed taking it to extremes.

    37. Ravi Naik — on 14th July, 2006 at 10:28 am  

      “I just glanced at the Mail’s online edition and there is zero mention on the homepage. Go to ‘News’ and I certainly couldn’t find a single reference.”

      To be fair, here is the Mail’s article about the Mumbai blasts with video and pictures.

      I feel that British media in general tend to focus on Britain and US events and less on world affairs, unless both parties are involved.

    38. Ravi Naik — on 14th July, 2006 at 10:46 am  

      “This is not about general news agenda, because that will certainly be biased, but about the value they place on life from different parts of the world.”

      If they claim that every life is important to make a point, then they surely are hypocritical now. But the fact is that we do place different value on life according to the connection we have with different people. Surely, bombings in India or any part of South Asia for that matter are more troubling to us, then what happens in a remote village in China. And both might mean little to the average Brit.

    39. tashie — on 14th July, 2006 at 11:02 am  

      “Clearly the death of nearly two hundred and injuries of thousands of wogs was not good enough for the Daily Mail, Daily Express or the Metro to make it front page news. Fuck them.”

      Guys, I think we need to revise our News Math!

      200 Indians only = about 2 Caucasian citizens and maybe 0.4 of a solider stationed in Iraq in terms of Interesting Terrorism Deaths.

      Hey, at least we’re not Sudanese or Rwandan. I think the ratio for them is about 1000 dead to 1 white person dead.

      Strange times we live in. But as a Bombayite at heart, that email cheered me up :-)

    40. Arif — on 14th July, 2006 at 11:44 am  

      The letter expresses the right sentiments in present circumstances. But in such a letter I would ask some questions. My questions to the terrorists would be unfashionable ones:

      Who are you?
      Why did you do this?

      I would then hope to find out that their motives were to right a genuine injustice. If that is so, then as a citizen I would want to punish the politicians who were responsible for perpetuating the injustice as well as the terrorists who created new injustices.

      If their motives are something else, then we are in more trouble. Ideological violence requires an ideological battle (which is exhausting), political action to take away the freedom of those who break the law (which is draining) and building alliance to marginalise the ideology (which has to be very sensitive to avoid alienating more people). And basically it demands the best from us to combat the worst from others.

      The worst thing is not knowing who and why. “Third Force” violence - when rumour and suspicion is all you have to go on - seems the most corrosive thing. And the letter suggests precisely the kind of defiance and solidarity needed in that situation. Hopefully, when we get some understanding of why it happened and who did it, the solidarity will remain and citizens will insist politicians deal with the causes of the violence intelligently, not using the unity and fear to get people involved in their conflicts.

    41. Ravi Naik — on 14th July, 2006 at 12:08 pm  

      “I would then hope to find out that their motives were to right a genuine injustice. If that is so, then as a citizen I would want to punish the politicians who were responsible for perpetuating the injustice as well as the terrorists who created new injustices.”

      When we talk about ‘justice’ we enter into an ambigious realm. Those that we consider terrorists are freedom fighters and heroes for others. I rather look at it in another angle. If your cause is more important than human life, and you want to make a point by killing and hurting indiscriminately - be it children, women, old people and whoever happens to be there in the most horrendous and cowardly way possible - I really don’t want to hear what you have to say. May you rotten in hell.

    42. Arif — on 14th July, 2006 at 1:06 pm  

      Ravi Naik, I agree that justice is ambiguous, and that this is why we have to make sense of different concepts. I could say to the Governments of the world which abuse human rights, start wars, fund terrorist organisations and trade in arms that “I don’t really want to hear what you have to say” and telling them to rot in hell. It won’t make any difference to them, it won’t help them come to a different understanding of justice and it won’t help me enlarge my own.

      My attitude is terrorists, politicians, citizens - we are all human. We all have the capacity to be or become all three. When I tell myself that some humans aren’t really human because of what they have done, I imply I would never be capable of such a thing. Not only do I lose a chance to understand myself as well as others, but by not understanding I am also less able to guard against turning into what I fear myself.

      I know this sounds like tortured thinking to most people, and they think that a short-cut is just to tell yourself not to do anything evil. But I don’t trust short-cuts, and when taking the long route of trying to understand different ideas of justice, I feel I gain a lot along the way.

    43. Ravi Naik — on 14th July, 2006 at 7:04 pm  

      I agree with you that is important to understand how anyone can become so insensitive as to disregard the value of human life.

      However, this is different from asking what political motivations took them to do such things. It’s totally irrelevant - in my view - that the 7/7 bombers did it because they thought the Iraq War was unjust. And we certainly don’t need to listen them to make our minds about Iraq and about the leaders involved in it.

    44. Nyrone — on 14th July, 2006 at 10:40 pm  

      Sunny

      When have they stated that all lives have an equal value? Sadly, I certainly don’t think that they feel this way at all and it certainly feels like an unwritten, unspoken understanding of sorts. Rwanda and African countries are a good example. Nationalism breeds this kind of ‘I only care if it’s in my backyard’ culture, where stories of British dead or (OUR BOYS) as they proclaim are always amplified with the font 24 underlined headlines.

      Placing equal value on lives from all over the planet is something that I feel newspapers will forever be unable to do.

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