Mumbai: Many things have changed since 1993 Bombay (as it was then called) bombings that rocked the city and shocked the nation. But the explosion spots still brave the wounds and stand tall. Twenty five years after the dark night, members of both the Hindu and Muslim communities recount the past, live the present and plan their future together in the Maximum City.
The official number of fatalities in the 12 bomb explosions was 257, with over 1,400 people injured. The coordinated attacks caused a major rift within the Hindu-Muslim communities, explains both community members.
While some believe there is new-found harmony among the communities, others feel a cold war-like situation still persists and much has not changed since.
“There is a crack within both the communities but they are together while they have another community to tackle. Then them being a Hindu or a Muslim matters more than being a Brahmin or Bohri. This has been the case since the very beginning. Things don’t change that easily,” said Feroze Mithiborwala, a social activist who is also the co-convenor of Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy.
A staunch Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha worker wishing anonymity, said the community rift has healed and it is time people move on. “For how many years can people look back and walk ahead? People let go of fights from days back, and we are talking 25 years. The two communities are an instrumental part of the city and sometimes they bicker but ultimately stay together,” he said.
Commenting on majoritarianism, he said Hindus never believed in emphasising their superiority. “Hindus just kept quiet for a long time. Now, we just show our identity, that is it. But what needs to be look into is a sudden bout of patriotism among the Muslim community for India,”
While the communities remain divided and neutral over the blasts and the repercussions it had on them, ones doing business in the bombed areas still fear each other.
Rajesh Mody, a 72-year-old Malad resident who has been in diamond business for over 45 years, says Zaveri Bazaar never remained the same after the attacks. “Although the business remained as usual, but there was always a titter in our hearts as soon as someone from any other community came as our client. We felt like something might happen at any moment,” he said. “People from both the communities were affected. So if they fight with each other, they will heal each other as well,” Mody added.