Pages 27

On 26 November 2008, on a moonless evening, 10 strangers descended into Mumbai after a gutsy and risky 600 nautical miles’ sea voyage from Karachi.1 They were not the ubiquitous tourists or aspiring Bollywood actors the vivacious and bustling metropolis receives every day. Although in the peak of their youth, neither the nightlife of the city nor the breezy evening wind from the Arabian Sea drew these strangers into Mumbai. All in their early 20s, they were hardened terrorists belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), one of the most organized, disciplined and dreaded terrorist organizations of Pakistan. They unloaded their weapons and explosive-laden rucksacks from the fi shing trawler, which had brought them up to four to fi ve nautical miles off the Mumbai coast, loaded the bags into an infl ated dinghy and paused to catch their breaths for sometime, before reaching the Mumbai shore and fanning into the metropolis to create mayhem.2 They came to the city to kill its citizens and create a reign of terror before they themselves decidedly and unfailingly got killed.3 Their indoctrinated desires were not fully gratifi ed however. One terrorist out of the 10 did not die. The Mumbai police apprehended him instead, denying him the promised paradise and, worse still, kept him alive long enough to tell the tale. Astonishingly, a mere 10 terrorists managed to successfully attack nine locations in the city. As video cameras rolled in on 26 November and transmitted the live telecast, what stunned the world was that a mere handful of terrorists took the 18 million inhabitants of the megacity to ransom for three long days (emphasis author). The frightening display of murder and mayhem, the chilling mediatized operationalization of the attacks, and the fi endish massacre rivalled the 9/11 attacks on the United States (US).