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01 December 2008
Mumbai terror attacks: Faces of tragedy
Mumbai terror attacks: Faces of tragedy Sarah Jacob, Anasuya Roy Sunday, November 30, 2008 12:23 PM (New York, Bangalore, Mumbai)
For the families of nearly 200 people who lost their lives in the Mumbai terror attacks, the loss is just unimaginable to their friends and family. One of the martyrs in Mumbai's terror attacks was Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the only son of his parents. The entire city of Bangalore turned up to mourn at his funeral, as his body wrapped in the tricolour was taken to his house.His seniors spoke of his heroism."In this hotel, the Taj heritage, our Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan died while saving our havaldar who was injured. The terrorist opened fire and Unnikrishnan was separated from the rest of the NSG commandoes team. He died while fulfilling his duty," said J K Dutt, Director General, NSG.Major Unnikrishnan's father was stoic while recounting the last time he spoke to his son."On the night of November 26 he called me and he told me to watch the television, where I saw all these things," said K Unnikrishnan, Sandeep's father. A braveheart and a gutsy commando, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan upheld the finest traditions of the Indian Army where country came first, countrymen next and his own life on last priority. Corresponding to the death of a brave soldier is again, the case of Moshe. He is a little boy who turns two, without his mother or father, who were killed in the terror attacks. Newly married, Moshe's parents, the Holtzbergs, moved from Brooklyn in 2003 to manage the Mumbai chapter of the Chabad, an open house for Jews, on their mission to spread Judaism to Jews around the globe.Across the world in New York, members of the Chabad-Lubavitch ultra-orthodox Jewish community are in mourning over the death of Moshe's parents.In the Holtzbergs' home in the United States, prayer services were held in their memory, and for their young son Moshe, who was rescued by the nanny and has been united with his grandparents ."Today, he became an orphan without a dad and mom to lovingly embrace him and celebrate with him," said Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairmanChabad's Education and Social Services arm.For the past few days, members of the Chabad headquarters in New York had been glued to the television and the internet trying to separate fact from rumor. Now, they are united in grief, and a promise top provide a loving and caring environment for young Moshe, who lost his parents just days before his second birthday.After Major Unnikrishnan and Moshe, is Times of India journalist Sabina Sehgal Saikia, who died in the Mumbai attacks. Saikia was married to former journalist Shantanu Saika. She began her career as a political correspondent with the Times of India and went on to become the first editor of the successful Delhi Times for several years, before becoming the paper's popular restaurant reviewer and compiler of its bestselling food guide. A connoisseur and student of Hindustani classical music, Saikia was a friend to many musicians." She will be remembered for the great contribution she brought to a whole generation of young journalists with her twin committments to Indian classical music and to non-communal politics in this country. She was a larger-than-life person. She was a big person physically, and even her person exuded this extreme passion for life, for friends, for food, for music, for dance and for art. She lived many lives and she had different personas. But she transcended them with great agility and with great quick wittedness, with great felicity of information and imagination. She was an immensely talented woman. I used to tell her on her face that she was a combination of Annapurni and Durga together in a modern avatar," said S Kalidas, arts writer. Thus three diverse lives had common binding threads - tragedy and loss.