Mumbai: Is Secular India Dead?

The spirit of Mumbai can’t be killed. That’s what Suketu Mehta says in his op-ed piece in the NYTimes:

Mumbai is all about dhandha, or transaction. From the street food vendor squatting on a sidewalk, fiercely guarding his little business, to the tycoons and their dreams of acquiring Hollywood, this city understands money and has no guilt about the getting and spending of it. I once asked a Muslim man living in a shack without indoor plumbing what kept him in the city. “Mumbai is a golden songbird,” he said. It flies quick and sly, and you’ll have to work hard to catch it, but if you do, a fabulous fortune will open up for you. The executives who congregated in the Taj Mahal hotel were chasing this golden songbird. The terrorists want to kill the songbird.

Mehta’s book Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
is possibly the most important book today for anyone trying to understand what is happening in Mumbai today.
Here’s an interesting interview with Mehta in the Washington Post.
My worry is that the fallout from the Mumbai carnage will be the rise of more fanaticism and stupidity on both sides. India can’t afford more “divide and rule.”

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