Bombay and Stoicism
An Indian reader vouches for this email from a friend in Bombay. It sends a powerful message to terrorists. One weapon we have is outrage and a refusal to be numbed by their evil. Another weapon is an aggressive attempt to find and kill these people. A third is something Americans are not so practised in: stoicism. We will, I believe, suffer many more attacks in the future. I think we will endure worse than 9/11 in the coming months or years. We have to remind ourselves that one way of fighting back is simply to carry on as if nothing has happened, to deny them the paralysis they want, to keep the freedom they want to destroy. Here's the email:
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 Marathis or Punjabis and Bengaliies. 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 over 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 vigor.
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.
(Photo: Sebastian D'Souza/AFP/Getty).