Mumbai Massacre
I was looking forward to writing a piece on my New Year experiences in my long musical journey but I felt ashamed to be a human being after seeing the November 26 massacre in Mumbai at the Taj Hotel, Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, The Oberoi Trident and the Nariman House. Once again we have proved that today’s so called educated human beings are the most dangerous and ferocious animals in the world. I am shocked, the world is shocked. These attacks are truly the worst our country has ever seen. The three days were a nightmare. The stories I heard, the images I saw were so surreal. As a performing artist, one has spent half their lives in hotels and these two hotels in Mumbai have had so many memories attached from my early years in the city. Honestly, much as I would like to analyze and comment on what should be done, or what could have been done or whose fault it was, the reality is that we have lost so many innocent lives, and soldiers that my heart just pours out to them. I salute to the hero’s of our country who were handling all the operations and I pray that the soul of the ones that lost their lives rests in peace.

The literal meaning of ISLAM is peace. However these terrorists, militants, extremists, radical, unkind, conceited, arrogant people who are filled with hatred do not belong to any religion. Such people cannot ever achieve their mission and goals. I remember the trying times of the partition vividly. My father had sent us away to Bhopal even as he decided to stay back. So true was he to his faith that he would not apprehend the thought of any harm coming upon him. In fact, he felt a lot safer and secure in his ancestral home with his people whom he trusted completely. He knew that they would be always there to protect him and would rise to the occasion if indeed help was needed. It is this trust and confidence that we find alarmingly missing in these times of meticulously professionalized system of education. My father believed that in the India where all faiths and cultures grew together like a bouquet of flowers with myriad colours and fragrance.

According to him, there was one common source of energy, God, Almighty that wove us all together with the thread of creative joy and compassion. We follow the same organic cycle of life and death. We share common joys and sorrows. We share common problems and have been blessed with intelligence to seek new ways of solving them. However,

I seriously believe that even education such as it is today has failed miserably in delivering. It could not create the spirit of love and compassion to flourish among human beings. All the major man-made disasters, including the recent events in Mumbai, have been planned and executed by the so-called educated people. My whole family strongly condemns this ruthless, unholy, inhuman act.

My family personally lost a very dear well wisher, friend and music lover, Sabina Saikia. I knew Sabina since her student days, especially when she was attached to the organization, Spic Macay. Over the years, she grew very close to our entire family and was loved by all who knew her. My wife, Subhalakshmi had very close association and rapport with her. She was a real connoisseur of music and knew the intricacies of the music world, both good and bad. I was so proud and happy to see her become one of India’s foremost food critics. We were completely devastated to know that she was inside the Taj Hotel on that fateful night and we were hoping against all odds that she would make it out. However, destiny had other plans. I pray that her soul rests in peace. My family will miss her immensely. Like Sabina, I can well understand the emotional plight hundreds of other people must be going through. I am just praying that our coming generations see a better world. But how will this world come about if we don’t teach our children to love and cherish each other regardless of faith, religion, ethnicity and diversity. We have a duty to our children to teach them to love one another despite heinous acts such as the ones that happened in Mumbai.

As I look around, I feel disheartened to find the regime of intolerance spreading all walks of life. Despite originating from a common source of energy, we are becoming increasing disconnected from each other. Why is it that we find it so difficult to trust? Why is it that we find it so hard to believe in anything? How quickly our faith in the innate goodness of human kind has eroded! How easily we have allowed ourselves into a human crisis where faith and mutual trust have been devalued! Thus is becomes particularly important for us to unite as the people of one country and nurture love in our hearts despite those that want to tear our country apart. If we do so, it is possible that in the coming years our children will be able to enjoy the same freedoms and sense of safety that we did when we were growing up in India.