Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saluting the Heroes of India

Today, I would like to share with you a very touching true tale of selflessness and courage. I got to know about this story from my youngest sister. In the story, an American survivor of the recent Mumbai terror attack recounts the extraordinary professionalism, selflessness, and courage that was demonstrated by the staff of Hotel Taj and the NSG Commandos. Please click on the following link from to read the full story: Heroes at the Taj.

There were several other moving and inspiring tales too; unfortunately, I don't have the links to all those stories, but here are some brief descriptions:
In one incident, a bystander outside the Hotel Oberoi Trident rescued a young boy by running into the hotel where the terrorists were firing indiscriminately. What would most of us have done if we had heard gunshots from automatic rifles coming from a building?
The bravery of the poorly paid Indian constables was absolutely mind boggling; these guys, who just had lathis (or sticks) or the ancient 303 rifles (these rifles need manual loading after each fire) in their hand, did not hesitate to take on the ruthless terrorists who were loaded with automatic assault rifles and grenades.
Not just the men in uniform, but also other regular government employees went beyond their call of duty and saved hundreds of lives. The announcers at the CST Railway Station, who could see the terrorists from their glass windows, instead of running to safety themselves, braved terrorist fire and directed hundreds or may be thousands of passengers to safe exits. Similarly, the nurses at the Cama Hospital also showed great presense of mind under pressure, by directing the mothers to breastfeed their newborns to prevent the little ones from crying and drawing the attention of the terrorists in the building.

The list of touching and inspiring tales goes on and on. Suketu Mehta said it really well in his New York Times article, "In other cities, if there’s an explosion, people run away from it. In Mumbai, people run toward it — to help." I don't know why people risk their own lives to save absolute strangers; I don't know how they manage to do that when the instinctive reaction should be to flee from danger. But, I know for sure that the purpose of the terrorists gets absolutely defeated when their attacks brings the best out of people. Terrorists lose when we refuse to get terrorised; they lose when we refuse to cower despite our fear; they lose when ordinary citizens give up their own lives to help and save fellow citizens. I hope Indians and ordinary people all over the world continue to show such courage and solidarity in face of terror — that will be sure doom for the terrorists.

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