Mumbai –The Queen of the Arabian Sea. Unfortunately our Queen was attacked and tortured ghastly by some horrendous beasts a year ago. Since then life has never been the same for an average Mumbaikar. For those who lost someone close or who were front row witnesses, 26/11 will remain etched forever. A year on, however, people have somehow learnt to cope up and move on, living up to the Mumbai Spirit that every Mumbaikar brags about. But can the same be said about the city?
Shobhaa De, in one of her articles, wrote that after 26/11 attacks, Mumbai has lost the sheen of being the most desirable city of India. Money, fashion, cricket and everything else have now shifted their focus to other wannabe cities of the country and Mumbai is no longer the cynosure in the eyes of the ‘important’ people. What the city really needs right now is a desperate makeover.
Shobhaa De may be right. People are bound to be apprehensive while considering Mumbai as the destination for their future ventures due to security reasons. The city, often hailed as the true picture of a progressive India, is a hot spot for both ‘T’s – tourists and terrorists. And the former, especially foreigners, are pretty scared to enter the city thanks to the merciless killing rampage that the later displayed on 26/11/2008. Now, safeguarding a huge city like Mumbai is not an easy task. Deploying police forces at the vulnerable points is not a very effective way since it is almost impossible to stop a determined terrorist from striking in a totally unpredictable manner. The most the concerned authorities and the public can do is to react faster and minimise killings. It’s true that 26/11 attacks resulted in unparalleled consequences but this doesn’t make Bangalore, India’s IT hub, or Delhi, the Capital city, safer than Mumbai. These cities too are in the hit list of various terrorists outfits. Safety, as I said before, lies in our hands. The government and the security agencies must remember and act on the lessons of the Mumbai attacks. By better policing and intelligence gathering, we can at least ensure that 26/11 isn’t repeated.
I visited Mumbai in the month of June, 6 months after the attack for my IIT JEE Counselling. As I stood right in front the Taj Hotel, awestruck by its gigantic structure, I was filled with a new hope. With every defeat, we learn a new lesson. With every loss, we master the art of survival. With every tragedy, we emerge as stronger individuals. With every hope, we build our tomorrow. This is what Mumbai Spirit is all about. Hope this spirit will never die.