BangaLore #4: India's 9/11


Nov. 30, 2008, midnight | By Sonalee Rau | 12 years, 9 months ago


The Indian metropolis of Mumbai is home to over 12 million people. This week, they bear witness to a terrorist attack that left 195 dead - including several police officers, American tourists and at least two journalists - and over 300 injured. On Nov. 25, terrorists disguised as students held victims hostage in two famous hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, then set fire to the former. Shots were fired and explosives set off around several other Mumbai landmarks. The tragedy lasted for three days as captives remained trapped in the city and the death toll rose seemingly without end.

Photo: Sand sculptor Subala Maharana pays homage to the victims of the Mumbai terror attack through his art. Picture courtesy of Yahoo! News India.

They were arguably some of the most devastating terrorist attacks that India has faced in years. Somehow, though, I found it hard to comprehend their magnitude. Maybe because as an American, I tend not to give any act of terrorism as much importance as Sept. 11 - to ignore the fact that, though slightly smaller in scale, this was India's 9/11.

The attacks provide some food for thought for all of us, whether in America, India or elsewhere. The lack of government response to the incident here in India highlights the need for reform in India's government. We cannot make progress unless we actively address terrorism, rather than blindly blaming others for acts of terror. However, we can all contribute to the cause on a personal level by increasing awareness of terrorism in our own communities and keeping the victims of disasters like the Mumbai attacks in our thoughts and prayers.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of violence both in Silver Spring and in India, where bomb blasts rocked state after state in the weeks leading up to the Mumbai tragedy. Sadly, to some extent, these acts of senseless cruelty are desensitizing us. We've come to expect reports of bloodshed and brutality when we turn on the evening news or open the newspaper. A worldwide movement towards violence that transcends the divisions of nationality, religion and race seems to be in the works. It calls for a worldwide response.

Editor's note: Sonalee Rau, who moved to the city of Bangalore over the summer, blogs about her life in India in the "BangaLore" series. For past entries, enter "Bangalore" in the Quick Search box.



Tags: BangaLore

Sonalee Rau. Sonalee (suh-NAH-lee) is a chipper Chipper and a would-be magnet junior. She spends a great deal of time playing tennis (Blair is red hot), doodling, reading, quoting famous people, quoting not-so-famous people and lamenting her inability to play the piano. She is also a big … More »

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