We remember 26/11 only because the rich got hit?

Posted: September 13, 2010 in Mumbai, Pakistan, Terrorism
Tags: ,

Ok, here’s a quick quiz? And don’t surf the Internet for answers, be honest with yourself.

• What was the exact date of the bomb blasts in Sarojini Nagar in New Delhi?
• When were the bomb blasts in Greater Kailash Market and Karol Bagh in New Delhi?

How many of you guessed correctly? Let me be honest, even I didn’t know the precise answers to these questions. So why can’t we recollect the dates of the blasts in Delhi? Is it because those who got killed were people just like you and me (I mean the middle class) who were out there shopping, looking for a bargain in the middle class markets of Delhi when they were blown to smithereens? So what am I getting at?

I’ve been reading with interest Salman Khan’s comments on the terror attacks in Mumbai on 26/11 and the reactions to it by politicians. According to the websites, this is one half of his comment: “It was the elite that were targeted this time. Five star hotels and all. So they panicked. Then they got up and spoke about it. My question is why not before. Attacks have happened in trains and small towns too, but no one talked about it so much.”

I can’t seem to find the other half of his comment on Pakistan’s involvement (or the lack of it) anywhere. But if he has said that Pakistan is not involved then he should be condemned, because by now the world knows that Pakistan was in it neck deep.

But coming to the first half of Salman’s comment, what has he said that is so wrong? Moreover, why has it angered the political class, most of who were anyway missing when people were getting slaughtered and when policemen and hotel staff died in the line of duty on 26/11 in Mumbai? Like always, they know they can get their two minutes of fame if they drag the name of a film star into a needless controversy. So why not do it? So let’s not get swayed by all the nonsense and breast-beating indulged in by the politicians at Salman’s comment.

People have died in blasts set off in Mumbai’s local trains and in buses, or in Delhi’s GK Market, Paharganj, Akshardham, but no one remembers and no one cares, because it was the little guy who died. No one lit a candle for them and no one ever held placards that said “Enough is enough!”

The unpleasant truth is that one of the main reasons why 26/11 remains etched in public memory, is because the Taj Mahal Hotel & Oberoi Trident is frequented by the rich and famous, many of whom were in there, when the terrorists stormed the two places. I remember the comments by the Shobha Des and the Suhel Seths of the world who were outraged by what happened at the two hotels. I also remember the reactions of the man on the street and it was precisely what Salman said – that the only reason why everyone was making so much noise is because this time it’s the RICH THAT GOT HIT. Earlier, when the poor man on the street got blown up everyone forgot about it in a few weeks time.

Incidentally, more people died at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (58), Cama Hospital (8) and Leopold Cafe (10), Chabad House in two hours of mayhem than either at the Taj Mahal Hotel (32) or the Oberoi Trident (36) in over three days. And let’s not forget the NSG commando and the brave cops who were killed in action. I am also not implying that I don’t sympathise with the people who lost members of their family in either of these hotels or the bravery of the hotel staff that placed itself in the line of fire to protect the guests. But the truth is we still remember 26/11 more for the mayhem that unfolded at the two hotels and not so much for what happened at CST or elsewhere in the city. So if Salman Khan said what he said, what was wrong?

  1. neel123 says:

    What Salman Khan said is neither the first, nor something new. However he is being misquoted as trying to absolve Pakistan of its complicity.

    India will be blessed when the politicians, and not the common men on the street are targeted.

  2. Rajdip Ray says:

    There’s nothing wrong with it…. It’s just that we as the human race are a bunch of hypocrites…. We really don’t give a damn about anything which doesn’t concern us “directly”…. so, the ppl in taj and oberoi were the inflential… the rich… the powerful… their actions and lives actually affected us cuz we , the ordinary indians look upto them… we have this habit of following in the footsteps of anyone who is higher up on the social ladder without judging them….admiring them blindly…. while, clearly the commoners dont matter cuz we dont follow them…. hence the difference in reactions….

  3. MCM says:

    The media is also to blame. The coverage and hype given to 9/11 and 26/11 was beamed live from start to finish worldwide, whereas bombings in marketplaces and other areas get a fleeting few seconds at the end of the news.

  4. Gurvinder says:

    Your blogs are always thought provoking and are well presented.

    However don’t you think that more of what we write falls on deaf years?

    The will of people to take any initiative to do anything is pathetically non existent?

    Let us find ways to translate thought into action?


  5. mohansblog says:

    A journalist’s job is to write in the hope that somewhere along the way people get influenced enough by the writings to react.
    If not then they should not complain. If they don’t have the will, they can hardly look for a way!

  6. Edwin says:

    From what I remember of 26/11, the journalists were so full of their own trp ratings that they indulged in some pretty irresponsible coverage.

  7. Maybe he wanted to say it all along.
    But, just said it when his film released.
    Tch, tch.
    Though, I do agree with what he had to say.

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