Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mumbai Bombs: That Old Cliche Spirit!

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mumbai Bombs: That Old Cliche Spirit!

Article excerpt

There are two words in Mumbai's street Hindi that accurately describe its character. One is khadoos, meaning one who stands stoically unbowed, facing slings, arrows or bullets (like the Indian captain Rahul Dravid). The other is bindaas, meaning cocky, or courageously doing what's needed, whatever the consequences (like Sachin Tendulkar in full flow).

Both qualities have been on display since the bombs that blasted through seven trains on n July, killing nearly 200 people and injuring 700 others. Amrita Shah, a columnist with the Indian Express, says: "The trains are Mumbai's veins, so essential and so vulnerable. By attacking them, the terrorists attacked something dear to us."

But the surprise for the terrorists was what has become a cliche: Mumbai's spirit. Thousands of people poured out on to the streets, offering food, water, shelter and comfort to the millions stranded in the city. Thousands more turned up at hospitals, offering blood--hospitals had to turn them back, saying they had more than enough. Mumbai's poorest citizens living along the railtracks ferried the maimed to hospitals and helped remove bodies. Rickshaw drivers took passengers to their destinations, refusing fares. One businessman turned up at Sion Hospital and spent nearly [pounds sterling]3,500 buying medicines for victims.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Unconditional help came from everywhere. Unlike what occurred in New Delhi in 1984, when goons allied to the Congress Party went on a rampage, attacking Sikhs after two Sikh bodyguards assassinated Indira Gandhi, and unlike 2002, when nationalist Hindus in Gujarat killed hundreds of Muslims after some Muslims burned a train--in Mumbai, there is no talk of revenge against innocent people. Apurva Bhagat, a businessman, explains: "We know that people from any community are not all bad, and there are no communal clashes, but we all think the suspects are Muslims. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.