26-11

26/11 Anniversary, Stories of Strength: A night of remembrance

Families of survivors and people from all walks of life came together at 26/11: Stories of Strength, a memorial event in Mumbai organised by The Indian Express Group and Facebook.

November 28, 2017 2:01:01 am

On Sunday evening, stories of strength, kindness and valour came together under an open sky at the Gateway of India, Mumbai. Nine years after the brutal attacks on the city of dreams, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, actor Amitabh Bachchan, lyricist and CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi, and a host of artistes spoke and performed at the second edition of 26/11: Stories of Strength, a memorial event organised by The Indian Express Group, in partnership with Facebook. They paid tribute to not just those who lost their lives at the hands of terrorists, but also the survivors — especially the children of the victims — who continue to inspire the world with their resilience, courage and an indefatigable faith in humanity. The memorial was attended by families of over 52 victims, police personnel and survivors.

Read: Amitabh Bachchan’s full speech at 26/11 #StoriesOfStrength: ‘Perception that moderates are not relevant in the war on terror is myopic’

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The evening featured video stories of those affected by the attacks, a poem by Divya Salaskar, daughter of police inspector and Ashoka Chakra awardee Vijay Salaskar, who died in the attacks, an address by Vice-Admiral (Western Command) of the Indian Navy, Girish Luthra, musical performances by Priyanka Barve and Amruta Fadnavis, wife of the chief minister. Special performances included one by Bollywood composer and singer Amit Trivedi, and Suresh Wadkar took the stage with the students of the Shankar Mahadevan Academy. The Indian Navy band played the National Anthem at the end of the evening. The event was produced by Wizcraft International and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan.

“For families to come together and share their stories on such a large platform is very overwhelming,” said Floyd Martis, who lost his father in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Anjali Kulthe, a nurse who was in Cama and Albless Hospital, when terrorists attacked it, said, “It’s hard to forget November 26 but we’ve been recognised for our struggle and efforts to save patients. That gives us a sense of fulfilment.”

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Amitabh Bachchan with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

One of the highlights of the evening was a video screening of a conversation between Marine Commando Praveen Kumar and Sachin Tendulkar. The soldier recounted how, during the attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, he took five bullets, and lost an ear. Kumar wants to climb the Everest, and is training for the Ironman triathlon championship to be held in South Africa next year.

Amitabh Bachchan spoke at the second edition of 26/11: Stories of Strength, a memorial event organised by The Indian Express Group, in partnership with Facebook. (Express photo: Nirmal Harindran)

Fadnavis said, “Terrorists are bombing all parts of the globe, they are firing in theatres. They want to tell humanity that we can win. But if we stay united, we can prevent such a tragedy, another 26/11.”

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Singer and wife of Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Amruta Fadnavis

Ankhi Das, director of public policy, Facebook-India, South and Central Asia, said that the social networking site has been making an attempt to reach out to victims of attacks. “Their stories of faith and strength are important and must be told to people,” she said. Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, added, “As a group that has been documenting a changing India for over 80 years, we recognised that we have rarely heard from those directly affected — the survivors… there are many inspiring stories that needed to be told, and it’s our role as a responsible news media group, to give voice to these remarkable individuals.”

List of those invited on the stage for the National Anthem

Devendra Fadvanis, Chief Minister, Maharashtra

Amitabh Bachchan

Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval command

Prasoon Joshi, Lyricist, CBFC Chairman

Families of those who we lost in the 26/11 attack

Suresh Wadkar

Amit Trivedi

Mame Khan

Priyanka Barve

Students of the Shankar Mahadevan Academy

Girish Kuber

Divya Salaskar

Commissioner of Police, Dattatray Padsalgikar

H.E. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

Mr. & Mrs. Unnikrishnan

Devendra Bharma from The Oberoi Group

Amruta Fadnavis

 

Sponsors

Sonia Huria, Viacom Media Private Limited

Nath Parameshwaran, PayPal

Shiv Prabhat, Life Insurance Corporation of India

Jaspal Bindra, Centrum Group

Arjun Bhatia, Prime Focus Ltd

RJ Siddharth, Big 92.7 FM

Sai Nagesh, Lakshya Solutions

Puneet Chhatwal, The Indian Hotels Company Limited

Farzana Cama Balpande, BookASmile

Hosts for the evening

Ankhi Das, Facebook

Anant Goenka, The Indian Express Group

Sabbas Joseph, Director Wizcraft

Feroz Abbas Khan, director of the show

A different way to fightStories of Strength takes centrestage at memorial event