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26/11 memorial highlights: Attack was not only on Mumbai, but also on humanity, says Goyal

26/11 Mumbai Attack Anniversary: The event, an initiative to honour survivors and their families, saw a bevy of politicians, musicians and dignitaries descend on the city.

By: Express Web Desk | Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: November 30, 2018 12:24:50 pm
At the 26/11 memorial event in Mumbai. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

“Terrorism is not just about holding the power to kill us… it is designed to destroy the integrity of our oneness”. The words by actor Amitabh Bachchan perfectly encapsulated the essence of the third edition of ’26/11 Stories of Strength’, which was held at the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

The event, an initiative to honour survivors and their families, saw a bevy of politicians, musicians and dignitaries descend on the city, which 10 years ago witnessed ten Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists unleashing a wave of violence, killing 166 people and leaving many more with scars and trauma.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said India had never attacked a country as it followed the path of truth and urged the international community to follow a zero tolerance policy towards terrorism. Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said the attack was not only on Mumbai but also on humanity. He further said the opening lines of the Constitution, “We the people of India”, had a lesson for the entire nation.

Live Blog

The 26/11 memorial event has ended. Read in Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali, Hindi 

21:32 (IST)26 Nov 2018
'26/11 Stories of Strength’ event ends

The third edition of ’26/11 Stories of Strength’, an initiative to honour survivors and their families, has ended. Thank you for joining us.

20:56 (IST)26 Nov 2018
26/11 attack was not only on Mumbai, it was on humanity too: Piyush Goyal

Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has now arrived on the stage. He begins by paying tribute to the martyrs. Goyal says the attack was not only on Mumbai but an attack on humanity. "It was a challenge posed to humanity by the terrorists," he says. Goyal says a retaliation to such terrorist acts cannot only be political. "It has to be through vikas (development) and by eradicating poverty," the minister says. Goyal says the opening lines of the Constitution, "we the people of India", has a lesson for the entire nation.

20:46 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Javed Ali is presently on stage

Javed Ali and his band of musicians are now singing 'khwaja mere khwaja' on stage on the backdrop of the Gateway of India, which has been lit up in green.

20:32 (IST)26 Nov 2018
India has never attacked a country, says Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis comes on the podium. "We all know 10 years ago an attack was carried out on humanity, an attack where the targets chosen was to defeat the international community as well as India. We are on the path of truth. India has never attacked a country because it follows a path of truth. We have increased surveillance in Mumbai to thwart such dastardly acts in the future," the CM says. The international community should follow a zero tolerance policy towards terrorism, Fadnavis says.

20:18 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Our solidarity is too strong to be broken by cowards: Amitabh Bachchan

The legendary actor states that our solidarity is too strong to be broken by cowards and parasites. "We have drawn lines, continents and nations on this planet, but our planet is one. We have drafted scores of faiths and beliefs, but humankind is one, humanity is one. Our oneness, our unity, our singularity is not limited to fighting terror and anti-social ideologies. Our singularity is too vast to be shaped by limited horizons. Our solidarity is too strong to be broken by cowards and parasites. We must define ourselves not by what we are against, but by what we are for, and what can we be for, if we aren’t for each other!" he says.

20:16 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Terrorism is designed to destroy integrity of our oneness: Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan further says terrorism is designed to destroy the integrity of our oneness. "Terrorism is not just about holding the power to kill us... it is designed to destroy the integrity of our oneness. It is a desire to make children become slaves of their worldview of victimhood. It is a kind of collective selfishness which divides humanity into parts and portions for eventual consumption which means the Oneness has no time to work on its main purpose - which is development and growth," he says.

20:09 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Oneness is not a concept, it is a living reality, says Amitabh Bachchan

Continuing his speech, Amitabh Bachchan says oneness has varied meanings and is not a concept, but a living reality. "Oneness is more than common... oneness is one joy, one pain, one pride, one life. Oneness is not a concept, it is a living reality. It is the essence of our existence," he says. 

"There is a word, which has its origins in the Bantu languages of Africa – Ubuntu. When translated it means, 'I am because you are'. It is an acknowledgement of the fact that we owe our self-hood to others, that we are bound together in ways we can’t possibly fathom; that there is an inherent unity to mankind... and we succeed, by sharing with others. This is oneness," the actor says.

20:04 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Amitabh Bachchan stresses on the need for oneness

Stressing on the need for oneness, Amitabh Bachchan says, "There is a sort of singularity, a kind of uniqueness, about different things which cannot be called oneness. For example, if yogic meditation feels like waiting for something, then it is not meditation at all. Waiting in anticipation has at least two features - one which is waiting, and the other which is waited for."

The legendary actor further says there is a subtle difference between solidarity and oneness, "Yogic meditation is not divided. Such too is oneness. If oneness is seen as a cluster of differences which are united for a reason, then it will not perform. That is like a fist of different fingers. That’s solidarity, not oneness. Oneness is the hand to which the fingers belong, it's the kind of singularity from which other singles spring out. The fist is a union of diversities, the hand is the oneness," he says.

19:58 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Amitabh Bachchan on stage, speaks on the power of unity

Amitabh Bachchan is now on the podium, recalls his last year's pledge to not give shelter to terror. "We join our hands, it’s a symbol of oneness and the recognition that the divinity in me bows to the divinity in you. On this very day, at the same place last year we pledged that we would never give shelter to terror, determined that this parasite called terrorism shall never breed in our homes. Today, we want our dream to be realised, to reawaken to the power of love and of oneness," he says.

19:54 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Dance performance going on stage

Students of Nritarutya dance academy are performing to 'Vande Mataram' as Amitabh Bachan's baritone voice emerges in the background.

19:45 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Moshe Holtzberg was one of the youngest survivors of the 26/11 attacks

The story of Moshe Holtzberg, one of the youngest survivors of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, is being played. He arrived in Mumbai on January 16, 2018, for the first time since 2008, when he lost both his parents – Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivka Holtzberg – at Chabad House, South Mumbai. Now 11, Moshe was not even two at the time of the attack and was saved by his nanny Sandra Samuel.

19:40 (IST)26 Nov 2018
We were furious, angry after the 26/11 attack: Javed Akhtar

"I remember we had collected near Gateway after the attack, we were furious, angry but connected. Mumbai is called the commercial capital, but Mumbaikars have shown they have their heart at the right place," says Javed Akhtar.

19:38 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Sixteen-year-old Anjali Gupta shares her story

Sixteen-year-old Anjali Gupta shares her story. Her father Vinod Gupta, then 31, was dropping his mother off at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus from where she was to board a train to Patna. When the terrorists opened fire, one bullet pierced his heart. His mother Malathidevi suffered bullet injuries to her waist and a leg. READ the full story here

19:35 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Kaushiki Chakravarty on stage, singing Tagore's famous song Ekla Chalo re

Kaushiki Chakravarty, Rakesh Chaurasia and Merlin are on stage presently, singing Rabindranath Tagore's famous song Ekla chalo re. The Bengali patriotic song was written by Tagore in 1905.

19:26 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Javed Akhtar has come on stage, recites 'Mumbai ko salaam'

Noted poet, lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar has come on stage. He is reading out a poem to pay tributes to the victims of the 2008 terror attacks at the Gateway of India.

Salaam is sheher ko Hindostaan ka jo hai darwaaza
Salaam is sheher ko jis ka har ik andaaz hai taaza

Salaam is sheher ko mehnat ki jis ke dil mein hai izzat
Salaam is sheher ko koshish ko jo deta hai har daulat

Salaam is sheher ko jis ko har insaan se mohabbat hai
Salaam is sheher ko gumnaamon ko deta jo shohrat hai

Salaam is sheher ko jo kitnay beyopaaron ki nagri hai
Salaam is sheher ko jo kitnay fankaron ki nagri hai

Salaam is sheher ko khwaabon ka jis ko sheher kehte hain
Salaam is sheher ko jis mein baday dil walay rehtay hain

Salaam is sheher ko jis sheher mein sabhi deson ki hai boli
Salaam is sheher ko jis mein Christmas Eid aur Holi

Salaam is sheher ko jo Ganpati se pyar karta hai
Jo Nauroz aur Baisaakhi sabhi tyohar karta hai

Salaam is sheher ko jis mein badi har baat hoti hai
Jahan hoti hai to phir toot ke barsaat hoti hai

Salaam is sheher ko har pal jahan hai kuchh na kuchh hota
Salaam is sheher ko jo aik pal ko bhi naheen sota

Salaam is sheher ko rangeeniyan jis par barasti hain
Salaam is sheher ko ki jis mein itni pariyan rehti hain

Salaam is sheher ko jo un-ginat logon ka sapna hai
Salaam is sheher ko hum jis ko kehte hain ki apna hai

Salaam is sheher ko dishman hain rehtay jis ke sharminda
Salaam is sheher ko jis ko shaheedon ne Rakha zindah

Salaam is sheher ko ke jis nay Karkare ko dekha tha
Salaam is sheher ko ke jis mein Salaskar bhe rehta tha

Salaam is sheher ko Ashok Kamte jis ka vasi tha
Salaam is sheher ko ke Omble jis ka niwasi tha

Salaam is sheher ko jisay veer yoon samman dete hain
Ki is ki rakhsha ki khatir woh apni jaan dete hain

19:17 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Flautist Rakesh Chaurasia begins performance

Noted flautist Rakesh Chaurasia is on stage and the audience seems to be hooked to the tunes. For the uninitiated, Rakesh Chaurasia is the nephew of flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia.

19:06 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy for Facebook in India, begins speech

Ankhi Das, the Director of Public Policy for Facebook in India, begins her speech. "This year we have taken down 14 million pages of terrorist content. Doing our utmost best to check terrorism and terrorist propaganda," she says.

19:03 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Anant Goenka concludes his speech

"We would consider our endeavour successful if, upon listening to these stories, you are encouraged to think of what Indianness is, and what you would like Indianness to be. You see, each one of us, at some point, has to make that deeply intimate choice. A personal and yet universal one as to which path should we take between the faith of the extremist, the religion of the moderate, and, yes, even the belief of the non-believer," says Anant Goenka.

19:02 (IST)26 Nov 2018
It’ll be a shame if the Indian millennial turns a blind eye to religion, Anant Goenka says

"This continues to baffle social scientists today…who say that this behavior is unusually rare, and highly improbable in any other setting. It’s been famously – and accurately -- said that whatever you can rightfully say about India, the opposite is also true. But one thing we do know is that we as a country have always been deeply spiritual and devout. But an increasing cohort of young Indians look at events such as 26/11 and feel disenchanted by religion…given that terror attacks are often connected with religion," says Anant Goenka

"It’ll be a shame if the Indian millennial turns a blind eye to religion because then it leaves the battleground of religion to those who weaponise it — that is, the extremists. And so today, MORE THAN EVER, we should not view religion with apathy or disdain. Instead, it’s up to each one of us to find meaning in ancient texts and philosophy, rather than judge religion based on the most twisted interpretations that some have adopted."

19:00 (IST)26 Nov 2018
Anant Goenka quotes Harvard study, says why Taj employees behaved so unpredictably

"You will see many such stories through the course of today’s event, in the book that we have published, and through our reportage. These are powerful markers of humanity in any place, any culture, but I’d like us to reflect, to what degree does being Indian define how these incredible individuals dealt with adversity? A Harvard case study done on the behavior of the Taj employees (on 26/11), concluded that one reason they behaved so unpredictably selflessly was that Indian Hotels HR policy was to hire people who are likely to be from joint families … and who display respect for elders because they imbibe the Indian value of putting others before themselves," says Anant Goenka.

Dipping into ten years of reportage by The Indian Express, especially for the newspaper’s Stories of Strength project over the last two years, the book offers a long, gentle look at the personal struggles that continue long after the newsmen’s cameras have left the bloodied sites of the attack. READ more about the book.

Since 2016, The Indian Express 26/11 Stories of Strength project has sought to give voice to the inspiring stories of over 70 survivors, who have been interviewed by The Indian Express’s Mumbai bureau. On Monday, among those who will share their stories of overcoming anger and fear and inspiring courage at the Stories of Strength event will be Mumbai Police Constable Arun Jadhav, slain NSG Commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s father K Unnikrishnan, and Shruti Kamble, whose husband was fatally wounded while helping guests to safety at the Taj Mahal Hotel, where he was a staffer.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
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