Extreme situations test the mettle of Individuals. The actions and character they display turn ordinary persons into heroes. Heroism is often associated with bravery but what is actually being brave? Does it mean, that one is not afraid?
It is the acceptance of fear, coming to terms with it and yet doing your duty, irrespective of the consequences that makes brave individuals.
The Terrorist attack on 26/11 has thrown up very unlikely faces. Most of the faces and names, we may never know. Some wore uniforms of the force they represented whether NSG, Army, Police or the Fire Brigade. They saved lives while sacrificing their own.
There were staffers of these commercial establishments who escorted their guests to safety. Look at the irony, why should staffers do this for their customers? The hotel industry is the only commercial service that addresses its paying customers with the nomenclature of “guests” and it is from this tag that the nature of caring achieves a different meaning. The turbaned bearers of the Taj did not leave their posts. The Chefs and the Major Domos herded diners and locked them in safety. The tale of the young housekeeping executive at Trident, who shoved his guests into the elevator ahead of him as a terrorist climbed the stairs, is tragic. He died as the elevator door closed on him, under bullets intended for the guests. All are exemplary tales of bravery.
Extra-ordinary is the effort of the CST railway announcer who when he heard the firing at the outstation platform announced to the passengers of 3 incoming trains to disembark from the domestic gates.He saved thousands of lives with his announcements. There was firing around him then. Then there are the ambulance drivers who tirelessly carted dismembered bodies or injured people to hospitals. They were under peril but went about their jobs.
The fellow hostages who helped each other with a kind word or act shall be remembered forever by those who survived. This is bravery in action and we take pride in these souls who stood up to the occasion and brought out their finest instincts in support of humanity. We salute these heroes with all humbleness, and take pride in their acts of honor, when the occasion demanded.
We would not desecrate the memory of these souls by mentioning the politicians in the same breath. Those who roared from mikes and newspapers that we shall attack and drive out our enemies. Their roar was only against defenseless civilians of different states whom they targeted and attacked in a mob. In this hour of need when the victims cried out, these so called leaders were conspicuous by their absence. There were many in the mob who lauded the bravery earlier when these leaders took on the establishment and held this very city to ransom. But now when the city needed their bravery, they hid in the safety of their homes. Not one peep came out of them. Their actions too speak louder than their words.
We shall not forget any of this; the tales of bravery and those of abject cowardice.