In Grief, Mumbai Seeks Solace in Religion

December 5, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Daily Tribune

Neetu Natu’s husband, Siddharath, was at work in Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel last week when armed militants stormed the building. That he survived when hundreds didn’t was down to fate, she said.

As the firing started, Siddharath, a food and beverages manager at the luxury seafront hotel, closed the doors to the restaurant where guests were dining and escorted scores of people to safety.

“He wouldn’t have been alive today had it not been for God. Incidents like these only make my faith in God stronger,” said Neetu, a regular at the Hindu Bhid Bhanjan Mahadev temple, a short walk from the Taj.

Human suffering often shakes the faith of the religious. In Mumbai, at least 188 persons were killed and more than 300 injured in shooting and grenade attacks by 10 militants who terrorized the city for 60 hours.

Even in spiritual India — home to Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, Jews, Jains, Christians and Zoroastrians — attendance at religious places dipped in the wake of the attacks, according to faith leaders.

But as the city returned to normal under a cloud of grief and loss, the faithful were back in temples, mosques, churches and on the streets, lighting candles and praying for the victims and injured survivors.