I am a tolerant Indian – reminiscing 26/11

I am a tolerant Indian – reminiscing 26/11
Exactly seven years ago, when we
assumed that we were all Indians, there was no talk of any intolerance and insecurity,
the secular fabric of our country was ripped apart by some so-called state
sponsored actors from across the border.


“City of Dreams”, that’s what Mumbai
is called. It’s a city where we can dare to dream and if we are lucky, we see
our most bizarre dreams turn into reality.

Living in this city of dreams, I have
many a times walked the fine line between hope and despair, as perhaps so many
other dreamers may have. I have dreamed myriad things, have seen many of them
shattered and a few of them bloom to reality too. But sadly, I had never dreamt
of being part of deadly bomb blasts or communal riots. But I have prayed.
Prayed and wished that such nightmares never happen even in my wildest dreams.

Unfortunately dreams are so far from
reality. Time and again, I have witnessed my city overcoming tragedy after
tragedy, giving rise to the maxim, “The spirit of Mumbai”.


Seven years ago, this very day, the 26th
of November, 2008, the resilience of Mumbai was tested like never before.

A night, we all would wish to forget,
but has been etched in our memories for ever, a bunch of ten youths from across
the border, brain-washed in the name of religion converged
into this commercial capital of our country holding under siege two major
five-star hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Trident for almost three days and
waging a terrorist attack on several other important landmarks of the city, thus
converting Mumbai into a war zone.


It has been precisely seven years now,
and the physical damage of the gruesome attack has perhaps long been swept
away.  But let us candidly admit that the
psychological scar still remains to be healed and can be felt to this day.

The hotels repaired the damages and renovated
their structure almost immediately and the bullet marks left on the walls at
all those places, where close to 200 people were killed and hundreds of others
injured, have long been plastered and painted, but the city now moves ahead
with a feeling of diffidence, insecurity and timidity, the sensation and
sentiment of fear and an emotion of dominant and paramount admission that we
are vulnerable.

The Spirit of Mumbai may perhaps still
be persistent, but surely not with the same bravado and audacity that it used
to show earlier. I can see the spirit just lingering on with an extreme sense
of caution and vigilance and an acceptance that the next attack may just be around
the corner.


The earlier part of these seven years,
whenever I saw armoured vehicles patrolling tourist hot-spots where once upon a
time we could casually walk around, whenever I see curious on-lookers
clamouring to have a glimpse at the few walls where the bullet marks have been
retained as a tourist gimmick, I have felt a strong urge.

I have honestly felt the urge to move
to some other country where I can live safely with my family, if given a
chance. I felt that urge because I felt vulnerable here, but not for anything
else.


I did not feel the urge to leave this
country for the reason that I was intimidated again and again; several times
over the years by someone who thought he was fighting the battle in the name of
his God. But I stayed back because I was tolerant.

I swept away my fears and my worries
in the Bollywood super-hits my city of dreams produce. I have cried, my chest
had puffed with pride when I have watched my Bollywood heroes being patriotic for
my motherland. 


When I did, I never differentiated between Hockey Coach Kabir
Khan in Chak-De India or ACP Ajay Rathore in Sarfarosh. I never differentiated
between Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi in Bajrangi Bhaijaan or Bhuwan in Lagaan.


When I watch my favourite movies to
wipe away my sorrows, I never differentiated between Harilal Jethalal Jariwala
and Mohammed Yusuf Khan. I just watched them on screen as Sanjeev Kumar and
Dilip Kumar.


I am tolerant because I know that
these people who wage these mindless attacks may have a religion but they
certainly do not have a God.

I am generally tolerant because I know
that I am secure in this country. I may become a bit intolerant at times when
someone keeps burning my city and my country in the name of religion, or when
someone appeals for mercy to be shown when a terrorist is punished, or when
someone feels it necessary to attend the funeral of a hanged terrorist.


Till then, I am tolerant and so is the
over 1.25 billion of my brethren in this country, save a few misguided souls.
May God forgive them for they know not what they are doing!

Epilogue:


Religion still provides hope to people
in a world torn apart by religion. How Ironical!

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