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Mumbai Tragedy

Service organized by the American Jewish (AJC) group at American University, given as part of Mutli faith response to the Mumbai tragedy

                                                   Sri Siva Vishnu Temple

                                                                                           December 7, 2008

 by: Siva Subramanian

The United Hindu & Jain Temples Association of Metropolitan Washington D.C. (UHJT) which represents fourteen Temples and organizations of Hindu and Jain faiths, unequivocally condemns the heinous acts of terror perpetrated against innocent persons who happened to be in the great city of Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra, India. While there have been a spate of cowardly attacks this year in various parts of the country, this is perhaps the first time that foreign visitors to India were targeted.

 India’s National Anthem celebrates India’s pluralism. This is a manifestation of equal respect to all religions, a wonderful democracy of all religions. Over the centuries, India has received with open arms followers of various religions persecuted in their domiciled homelands-Israelites, Christians, Zorastrians, those of Bahai faith and recently Buddhists from Tibet. We are therefore especially saddened that in addition to Hindus, Christians and members of other faiths, several members of the Jewish faith also lost their lives in these terror attacks in a country where Jews had lived in perfect harmony for nearly twenty-five centuries. Many Jewish religious leaders have singled out India as the only country in the world where Jews were not persecuted for following their faith. The cry of the 2 years old Moshe “ Emma! Emma!” for his mother still rings in our ears. The nanny Sandra who saved the 2 years old boy is a hero. There were many heroes that day- the hotel staff, firemen, commandos and common Mumbaikers who showed remarkable strength and helped so many injured during the attack.

 We hope that the international community will assist the Government of India to bring to justice the perpetrators of these atrocities against humanity, including those who planned, abetted and assisted these unspeakable crimes.

 We pray that those who lost their precious lives in this senseless tragedy find eternal peace and liberation or Moksha. We wish speedy recovery for the more than three hundred people who were injured and strength to their families.

 We will NOT fear the Terrorists or Terrorism. Our Democracies, the world’s largest and the longest and the smallest will win at the end. “The only thing to fear is fear itself”. In the great style of what is Mumbai, the citizens went back to what they do very quickly and that is the only way we can show the terrorists that nothing they do will deter us from pursuing liberty, freedom and justice for all. We recall that on 9/11/1893, Swami Vivekananda declared the death knell of fanaticism and persecution at the Chicago World Parliament of Religions. Let us make sure that happens NOW.

 Hindu ancient scriptures, Vedas, proclaim that there are three kinds of calamities – created by internal ‘self’ forces, external forces like these terrorists attack and that which created by Nature. We chant the peace three times so the blessings are uttered for each one of those calamities.

Om SHANTI! Om SHANTI! Om SHANTI!