Bombay Blasts: Tears and Thoughts

November 27, 2008

My hands are shaking while I hit the keyboard: I woke up to countless text messages about Bombay: mother, sisters, friends… I turned the TV on and stared, aghast. I just can’t believe it. Colaba is in flames, nearly a hundred people have died, and there are still hostages. The very places I visited on monday: the Taj, the Oberoi, Leopold Cafe, plus a train station, a hospital and markets. Ten sites in total. What the hell?

Since I arrived in India, there have been bombs nearly every month. I had just left Jaipur when the blasts happened, in May. I was in Delhi when bombs exploded in September, not so far away from the markets where it happened, but thankfully, safe. And now Bombay is hit. I was there yesterday, at these very spots.

What does it feel like to live in a country where such things happen?

It feels like a weird mix of hope and anger. Hope: I wish I had faith. Anger: who did it? Why? How can a police be so absolutely useless? As usual in India, people are left to fend for themselves. They are scared, and they are angry. No wonder then, religions are so easily instrumentalized.

To finish with, I just wanted to point at the numbers: blasts in India kill hundreds of people. They happen nearly every month. A month afterwards, not one single newspaper mentions it. We in the West mourn or victims for years: think London, Madrid, even Paris. The last blast that happened in Paris was in 1982, if I am not mistaken, and we still commemorate it. Maybe this is why foreigners are being targetted now: it is the only way for the terrorists to ensure they get an international coverage.

EDIT: The last bomb blasts in Paris happened in 1996, and not 1982… Thank you Esther!

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9 Responses to “Bombay Blasts: Tears and Thoughts”


  1. [...] Jasmine in Mumbai said on her site that blasts in India “happen nearly every month”. [...]

  2. Amit Gupta Says:

    Here is my Hypothesis of how the Mumbai terrorist attack was made possible:
    The Pakistan Marine Agency has been kidnapping and capturing Indian fishing vessels for the last 5 years. Look at this news link:

    http://www.hvk.org/articles/0603/176.html

    Pakistan then puts these kidnapped fishermen into jail and periodically decides to either release them or to keep them languishing in jail depending on whether it wants to take favors from India to release its citizens languishing in Indian jails for much more heinous crimes.

    The Indian government has done nothing, zilch, nada in the last many years to take care of the above situation.

    The terrorists apparently took this situation a step further. They took the help of the Pakistan Marine Agency

    to kill/kidnap and hijack an Indian fishing trawler. Next they loaded up the vessel with explosives and
    grenades manufactured in Pakistani factories. Finally they entered Mumbai (with all their prior research and review of the cities famous landmarks and their floor plans) and launched these attacks.

    Conclusion: The above goes to show that there are several factors leading to this tragedy:
    1) the lackadaisical attitude of the government in dealing firmly with Pakistan
    2) the apathy of Indian citizens who were happy to be tolerant and look the other way
    3) the absence of policing security and law system that protects the citizenry proactively
    4) the lack of political will to impose strong laws – the Congress is a leader on this
    5) the willingness to negotiate with terrorists – the BJP created a horrible precedent during the Indian
    Airlines hijacking incident few years ago
    6) the lack of cool self-assessment of what India’s strengths and weaknesses are in the security and law/order area
    7) opening up of borders with Pakistan – a country that is predominantly lawless and where the government only pretends to govern. We have spent too much time trying to build a relationship with a government that cannot control its internal environment
    8) ignoring the dangers posed by allowing Pakistanis to enter Indian territory by air, land and water without realizing the dangers it would pose to Indian lives
    9) constant interference in the functioning of the defence forces by the Indian government
    10) not investing in intelligence, security and training that is world class to ensure that the police can deal with such incidents
    11) agnostic Indian citizen psyche that refuses to get united and is happy in living in denial untill they are not personally attacked
    12) a citizenry that does not hold its politicians responsible for their actions.

  3. Patel Says:

    YOu are right and I liked your blog. Except for the use of word Bombay. It is the word that British masters used. We are no longer their slaves and should stop using that word. The name changed to Mumbai in 1995. Let us feel some pride in using Indian names. If we Indians don’t use it we are proclaiming that we are still slaves. Have some pride in being Indian!

    Himanshu

  4. jasmineandtheelephants Says:

    Hi Himanshu,

    Thanks for your comment!
    I’m sorry my using the word Bombay upset you but…I am not Indian!

    Take care,

    J

  5. B Says:

    “Maybe this is why foreigners are being targetted now: it is the only way for the terrorists to ensure they get an international coverage”.

    U know what, I never thot of it in that way but u are absolutely right. That was the best way(and the worst!) to make the world sit up and listen.

    Its a war cry against terrorism in India now. Enough of everything.


  6. Hey I like your take on the 26/11 attacks, its very intense and I sat and read right through it. Good writing :)
    BTW I disagree with Himanshu, Bombay was a simple anglicization of “Bombaim” used by the portuguese. Using Bombay or Mumbai doesn’t make you any more Indian than you want to be :) In times like these, I seriously wish people would not dwell on such petty issues!

  7. jasmineandtheelephants Says:

    Hey Ana!
    Thank you!! I just can’t get myself to say “Mumbai”, it doesn’t sound nice…

  8. Tania Says:

    The Mumbai attack is uniquely different from past terror strikes carried out by Islamic terrorists. Instead of one or more bombings at distinct sites, the Mumbai attackers struck throughout the city using military tactics. Good post

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