Posted by: John Elliott | November 27, 2008

Mumbai Taj and Oberoi attacks go to the heart of India’s pride

There is something specially symbolic about a terrorist attack on a major hotel, especially one which is a haven for foreign visitors.

Two months ago it was Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel that was hit by a massive truck bomb in one of the worst attacks to happen as the battle between the Islamic militants and the Pakistan establishment escalated. For years the Marriott – earlier a Holiday Inn – had been a symbol of some sort of normalcy in an increasingly dangerous country. No more!

Tonight the majestic and historic Taj Hotel on the waterfront in Mumbai has been besieged, and some of its splendidly gracious corridors and rooms set on fire, in one of several terrorist attacks on the city.

Flames rising from a wing of the Taj hotel - Reuters pic

Flames rising from a wing of the Taj hotel - Reuters pic

The Oberoi Trudent hotel, on the other side of the peninsula that constitutes south Mumbai, was also attacked along with other targets including a popular restaurant near the Taj.

There is the additional factor that foreign passport holders – especially American and British – seem to have been targeted, and some held hostage.

There is the tragedy of the deaths totalling over 80, with more than 200 injured, as I write.

This takes terrorism to a new level in India, which has been accustomed to various types of attacks for some 25 years – including the killing in 1984 and 1991 of prime minister Indira Gandhi and her ex-prime minister son Rajiv, plus attacks on the parliament in Delhi and Mumbai railway trains in more recent years.

There has been obviously careful and highly competent planning of the attacks, plus the combination of bombs and shooting in two of India’s most famous hotels, and the targeting of foreign tourists.

For Indians the Taj – now a favourite top price business and tourist location – has a special signficance because it was opened by Jamshed Tata in 1902 as a hotel where Indians could go and avoid British-only rules that applied elsewhere.

India has tonight become a much less safe place to be than it seemed just a day ago. That of course is what the terrorists intend.


  1. great thinking cyril, basil…please call me when everybody’s dead and gone. regards.

  2. Mujahadeens were trained by the LTTE which was originally trained by india. Dont do unto others what you would not been done to you.

  3. India is not a soft state. They are a ruthless lot. Would do anything to distroy/ unsettlke neghbours as seen in the case of Sri Lanka. Now it is time for India to learn about the principle of KARMA. RETRIBUTION>

  4. India ( RAW ) trained and armed the LTTE to destroy 30 years of development in Sri Lanka. So they deserve evrerything that they get for promoting terrorism in Sri Lanka. We feel that India should give Kashmir to Mujahadeens and Tamil Nadu to the Tamils.

  5. India is surrounded by failed states and worse they are not democracies…more of a theocracy where the rulers are hand in gloves with the extreme right wing. And they love to hate India.

    As for Pakistan – I have no sympathies. India should quit being a soft state and show some teeth…that bites.

  6. […] Mumbai Taj and Oberoi attacks go to the heart of India’s pride « Riding the Elephant – migrated f…   […]

  7. Please don’t add insult to injury by talking about India (a victim of terror) and Pakistan (an exporter of terror) in the same breath.

  8. What a horrific tragedy for India and the world at large. My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by this event. Dave

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