Let us make the space we share better and bring the change we desire. Author is Indian Muslim, a Public Figure, Social Activist, Blogger and Media Personality. On mission to build a givers world rather than takers.
Long before 2002 Gujarat, there was Mumbai 1992-93. In the historiography of riots, we sometimes forget Mumbai’s bloody days. I cannot. As a young journalist and proud Mumbaikar, it was one of the most traumatic periods in my personal and professional life. To watch the city I had grown up in being torn apart by communal hatred was gut-wrenching. For weeks I scoured the streets, reporting on the violence for the Times of India, exposing the role of the Shiv Sena, the underworld, police and the state government (yes, the effete Congress government). We didn’t have a television camera to capture the stories in images for posterity, but we did write fearlessly and often on a city divided by religion, its cosmopolitan spirit buried under the debris of bigotry (the writings were later compiled into a book When Bombay Burned, UBS publishers 1993 and the evidence was part of the Srikrishna report on the riots).
But nothing could have prepared us for March 12, 1993, arguably the most difficult reporting day in my life. We didn’t know of bombs, terror, RDX: this was Mumbai folks, the bindaas city of black-and-white taxis, Bollywood dreams, cricket on the maidans. Bombs were meant for far off lands, not for aamchi Mumbai. And yet, in the space of a few hours, 257 people were killed in the serial blasts, leaving a city wounded and haunted forever. Weeks later, the conspiracy would unravel: how underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, the Memon family and others had been used by Pakistan’s ISI network to foment trouble. It was a terror attack that was projected as “revenge” for the post Babri demolition riots: almost everyone involved was a Muslim.