On the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, one of the key targets, Chabad House, in Colaba was transformed into a permanent memorial, unveiled today.
Newly-appointed Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka and Chabad House rabbi Israel Koszlovsky inaugurated the refurbished ‘Nariman Light House’ and the ‘Nariman Lighthouse Memorial’ on the five-storied building rooftop at a solemn function this evening.
This was Malka’s maiden engagement in India after his appointment. He was accompanied by deputy head of the Israeli Mission in New Delhi, Maya Kardosh, said a spokesperson for Chabad House.
The first phase of the ‘Nariman Lighthouse Memorial’ includes a plaque with the names of all the 166 victims of the 26/11 terror strikes, a gently flowing fountain in an artificial garden signifying the flow of life, purification and regeneration, and six planks signifying the prime targeted locations.
Mumbai has several other memorials to the 26/11 terror strike martyrs and victims including at the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Hotel Oberoi, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and the Girgaum Chowpatty.
However, the Nariman Lighthouse Memorial is the only place in Mumbai where all the victims are being honoured. The memorial will open for public viewing soon, the rabbi announced.
“The memorial will symbolize that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that it is only through positivity that the message of peace can be spread to humanity,” rabbi Kozlovsky said on the occasion.
The entire memorial comprising Phases I and II “will tell the world that the only way to lead lives is to abide by the virtues of humanity, spread positivity and become a harbinger of hope.”
The proposed second phase blueprint has been finalized and will be implemented on the fourth and fifth floors of the Nariman Light House.
The fifth floor served as the erstwhile residence of the slain rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka and their toddler son Moshe, who was barely two and saved by his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel, now 54, from the terrorists’ indiscriminate firing that night.
The theme for the fifth floor will be in pristine white including the furniture and fittings to recreate the apartment as it looked before 26/11, with prominent displays like the family living room, hallway library, common room, kitchen and Moshe’s bedroom, and the late Rabbi Holtzberg’s 10 campaigns the Jewish way of life highlighted.
The entrance to the fourth floor would be through the scorched and fractured door, as it became after the attacks, the bullet-ravaged next room is dedicated to global terror attacks besides chronicling 26/11 with an audio-visual display.
A thin beam of light will shine from the adjacent ravaged room turning into a seven-coloured rainbow representing the seven laws of Noah — the basic laws of universal morality. The visitors will leave with the belief that good can overcome evil.
It was on a cool night of November 26, 2008 that 10 heavily armed terrorists from Pakistan sneaked into Mumbai through the Arabian Sea route and landed at a fishing jetty in Colaba in a dinghy.
For the next 60 hours, they went on a rampage hitting at six prominent locations in a small geographical area of barely 4.5 sq. km of south Mumbai, including CSMT, the two deluxe hotels, the Chabad House (in Nariman House), Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital and finally at Girgaum Chowpatty.
While nine terrorists were killed during the joint security operations which included the Mumbai Police, Army and Naval commandos and other paramilitary forces, Ajmal Amir Kasab was nabbed alive, given a fair trial and later hanged in 2012.