THE TAJ MAHAL PALACE HOTEL, BOMBAY (MUMBAI) BUILT IN 1903 – THE FIRST LUXURY HOTEL OF INDIA
A SAD DAY IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WHO LOVE INDIA
November 27, 2008 ( A HAPPY THANKS GIVING DAY IN THE UNITED STATES) is indeed a sad day in the lives of many people who love India and cherish its rich Culture and take pride in its noble values. It is painful to watch the beautiful landmark of Bombay engulfed in smoke and fire. We as a nation share this grief and mourn the loss of our people from an unprovoked and sudden attack. The repeated attacks on Mumbai reminds of the repeated assaults on SOMNATH Temple and the Temple was rebuilt seventeen times and we may need that kind of patience and endurance and demonstrate our resilience and frustrate our enemy.
India achieved much progress and Bombay (Mumbai) is the proud symbol of that progress and it is the natural home to people of all faiths. The presence of Parsis, Jews and other religious minority groups in Mumbai speaks about the spirit of tolerance of the city’s inhabitants. They are countless number of Muslims who are part of that rich heritage and they are part of a well-integrated society. India , a land of peace and non-violence has come under the attack of an enemy who knows no mercy and has no sense of human values. We should be united and stay determined to fight this threat. We need to be prepared for the next confrontation. Our willingness to defend ourselves is the only force that will deter our enemies.
HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS TO MUMBAI POLICE DEPARTMENT
I am particularly happy to know that the Mumbai Police had captured a terrorist alive and the terrorist was taken to the court. The details of this heinous crime have already emerged and very soon the international community would recognize that Pakistan has sponsored and has premeditated this crime against the people of India. The Mumbai Police Department took the brunt of this attack, displayed great bravery and they should be fully equipped to fight back any such future assault on innocent civilians.
THE TAJ MAHAL PALACE HOTEL
Jamestji Nasarwanji Tata, the legendary founder of India’s largest industrial house built this 565-room hotel with its architecture blending Moorish, Oriental, and Florentine styles. It was built-in 1903, much before the Gateway of India was completed in 1928 to commemorate the visit of Britain’s King George V and Queen Victoria. It offers a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea and is considered to be a heritage structure. The restoration of the century-old Taj Mahal Palace could take as much as 12 months and may cost about $ 100 million.
THE PROBLEMS OF URBAN WARFARE
We need to cope up with the realities of Urban Warfare. Urban centers of life have come under repeated attacks. We could easily see the sense of shock, the unspeakable amount of pain, and the heavy burden of anxiety on the faces of people, the innocent victims of this ruthless warfare. Because of the vulnerability of our borders, the enemy could sneak in and launch a surprise attack at any time. A small contingent of enemy force with assault rifles and hand grenades can inflict a large number of casualties amongst unarmed and unprepared civilians in a very short time. It needs a considerable amount of effort to flush out the enemy when the enemy is holed up in big buildings with a large civilian population. We need to immediately alert people to leave the streets and take cover in their homes and places of business should be shut down and large establishments such as hotels should have emergency plans to keep their guests until help arrives. During World War II civilians were regularly alerted by air raid warnings. We could also send the emergency warning over the radio, television and the mobile phones and the paging devices. People at Taj Mahal, Oberoi Hotel, and Nariman Place were not alerted when the enemy started his first attack at the Victoria Terminus. A city-wide alert could have helped people to barricade themselves. The streets were not safe even for police personnel if they use unprotected vehicles. It was reported that five police personnel were shot and killed when their vehicle got ambushed. People in buildings should also be warned to stay away from glass windows. Like in air raids, people would be safer if the lights are turned off. We can not negotiate with our enemies over hostages and the only option we have is to retake our land and property that comes under the enemy occupation. We need to prepare for these urban military operations and we should have personnel with proper equipment for fighting a battle in crowded cities and concrete buildings.
Our intelligence capabilities appear to be limited and we can not actually depend upon the government of Pakistan to provide us with information about groups which are training and preparing for these attacks on their soil. Amongst Muslim nations, I could expect some help from Iran which is the home of Shia faith. Iran is interested in selling its natural gas and has also taken the initiative to restore the historical monuments at Golconda, Hyderabad. Iran has the ability to penetrate the Shia groups operating from Pakistan. The recent attackers called themselves as ‘DECCAN MUJAHIDEEN’ and it may indicate that they are a Shia group. The Shia faith arrived in the Deccan region of India from Persia( the present day Iran) and the terror group is taking its orders from Pakistan and Iran is not involved in their command and control. The Parsi community which also arrived in India from Persia gave us peace and prosperity. Iran the home of Shia faith should shoulder the burden of controlling the Shia groups operating out of Pakistan.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S. Class of April, 1970.