Citizen Initiative Launched
United Force of India -- a citizen initiative to bring the youth of the country on a common platform -- was launched at the Police Gymkhana, Marine Lines in Mumbai.
Smita Salaskar, wife of slain police officer Vijay Salaskar, who fell to terrorists' bullets during the last year terror attack, was the guest of honour.
Speaking on the occasion, Smita said that her husband as a young man cycled from Mumbai to Delhi. The spirit of adventure, she said, was in him much before he joined the police force.
Later, she chided reporters for harping on 26/11 and said this was not the forum to discuss. She also said she was happy to see the changes being witnessed in the Mumbai police set-up since 26/11.
Text: Ganesh Nadar Photographs: Uday Kuckien
Image: Smita Salaskar at the function
Tribute with pictures
Fittingly or ironically, some chose to pay tribute to the martyrs of 26/11 on the walls of a crematorium. The initiative was by Giants International, I love Mumbai and Prism. It was an artistic tribute to martyrs, victims and heroes.
The participants were students of Rachna Sansad, Jehangir Art Gallery and the Mumbai Art Association.
St Xavier's College student Shraddha Rupavati said, "We have divided the wall into five sections. Apart from the three institutions we mentioned, one section is for celebrities and another for the public."
Hundreds, armed with paint and brushes, assembled to paint the giant wall.
Another volunteer Sneha Sansore was helping a visually challenged girl. The girl couldn't paint, but she had a message Sneha wanted to paint. She wrote the message in a book and gave it to the painter. It said, "Jai, Jai, Jai, Jai Mumbai. You are my mother, Mumbai. Jai, Jai, Jai Mumbai".
Image: A participant paints the wall in tribute
'We will fight back'
Rachna Sansad's students explained to us that they were using only three colours: black representing death; red representing blood and white peace.
It was heartening to see the enthusiasm of students and teachers. One adventurous professor climbed up on a ladder to paint a huge picture.
All messages had one thing in common. "The helplessness is still there, we still feel vulnerable, we must be united and we will fight back."
Image: Another participant paints the wall