Publisher: Penguin Books
Challenges: Orbis Terrarum Challenge; Country - Pakistan (Author's Origin)
(Adding this to the OT challenge, though I read it a month earlier)
The whole world had witnessed the most brutal serial bomb blasts that shook Bombay (now Mumbai) on 12th March 1993. There have been probably many more such unfortunate events in the city and the rest of the country but this one is supposed to be one such incident, which even today, after more than a decade, can shake the readers as much as it shook the entire nation then.
This book was a revelation to me! I was just around 11yrs old when the blasts happened, quite unaffected, living hundreds of Kms away from Bombay and I hardly remembered any details. I’ve always wanted to know more and delve deeper to understand the cause and effects of this incident. So I was very happy to find this book which details the true story.
The book starts and ends with the scene on the day of the blasts, near the affected sites, with a detailed account of the state of innocent victims – like the Chaat or Samosa vendor near BSE, or someone who was just walking out to grab lunch or get a photocopy and was unfortunate enough to succumb to the blast. The details are extremely painful; it pricks your heart and churns your stomach just by reading. This is one such book which has actually made my head spin and almost throw up! I can’t imagine, even in the wildest of my dreams, what the people witnessing this would have gone through. Makes you question, what rights do people have to take away other human lives and cause so much pain and destruction?!
There is a detailed description of the planning that went behind these blasts and the people involved – the underworld, bollywood, politicians, custom officials and the police force. The author was a crime reporter and all the facts presented in the book are through trusted sources, police files & investigation reports. The event that triggered the blasts was the communal riots between the Hindus and Muslims that followed the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Lots of Muslims were massacred and they struck back with vengeance causing further damage to innocent lives. I felt shivers down my spine when I learnt that more than 2000kgs of RDX was smuggled into the city without any hassles! The masterminds behind this meticulous planning were people who were beyond the reach of Indian Government. They used unsuspecting people like puppets to perform this ruthless act and managed to get away even after committing such a hideous crime. So is there a bigger problem out there and are we living in denial because we don’t see a solution to it?
The book leaves you in a very emotional and pensive state, raising a lot of questions. Whatever happened after the blasts, we need to ask ourselves if we are well equipped and adequately prepared to prevent another such disaster? The harsh reality is, NO!