Mumbai under pressure

Mumbai under pressure

Shreya Shankar

Students share their stories and experiences with the catastrophic bombings in Mumbai.

 

Nov. 26 and the three days after left the Indian subcontinent devastated. The rising world power, having recently made its way out of obscurity, was attacked by bombers and gunmen. The target was Mumbai, the country's financial capital.  A series of attacks was carefully planned in eight high-profile locations, including two luxury hotels, a cafe, a Jewish outreach center, a theater, and a hospital. According to the online newsspaper The Australian, the attacks left almost 200 dead and 293 injured.

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An attack on a Mumbai train station leaved the train ravaged. Photo courtesy of Times of India.

The attacks have affected even the most distant of candidates—MVHS students. On Nov. 30, many students wore white—India's national color of mourning—to honor those killed and injured.

For those who had family in Mumbai, empathy came easily.

"[My aunt] hates the fact that when she sends [her kids] to work, she doesn't know if they're coming back," junior Kavita Varadarajan said. "Everyone was so scared."

Varadarajan's extended family was out and about in Mumbai that day—one of her cousins saw the Oberoi luxury hotel bombing before he was evacuated from a site very close to the bombing, unhurt.

Sophomore Suarabh Deyo's relatives also live in Mumbai.

"All of them were on vacation," Deyo said. "They were worried, not only for themselves, but [also] for friends in the area."

While both Deyo and Varadarajan's families were unharmed, they have been greatly impacted by the attacks.

"My parents grew up in [Mumbai]," Varadarjan said. "They were hurt that the symbol of their city was literally on fire."

Those fortunate not to have family or friends caught in the attacks also found themselves left with a lasting impression.

"Everyone feels bad about it for like a week, but there's actual victims that feel it for the rest of their lives," senior Amey Shroff said.

After hearing about the attacks, an inspired Shroff started a fundraiser for anti-terrorism. Upon discovering that the government chose not to heed warnings about the attacks months in advance by fishermen, he also became a firm believer in the betterment of federal ethics.

"[They need to restore] honesty and civic virtue into the government of India, which we've seen happen, but it's deteriorated at the grassroots."

Senior Alex Malcolm showed a different kind of pathos. "Snippets on the news didn't really reach out and grab me until I found out that a Jewish center had been attacked—then I began following it." Malcolm has been following the investigation closely on the Internet and the news and, while he was unsure what to make of the attacks at first, has decided where he stands.

"I feel like there needs to be some kind of retaliatory measures taken," Malcom said. "We need to focus on making sure this never happens again—in India or anywhere else."

As shown by the impassioned opinions and heartfelt sympathies expressed by Deyo, Varadarajan, Shroff and Malcolm, students are paying rapt attention to the world at large. And while there are pundit speculations that India will lose its steady flow of immigrants and sink into chaos for a while more, junior Kavita Varadarajan feels otherwise.

"People still love their city," Varadarajan said. "This just keeps them on their toes… in a bad way."