News Day Tuesday: Mumbai Heroes

Vishnu Datta Ram Zende working Monday at a Mumbai railroad station where he saved lives. (photo: Ruth Fremson / The New York Times)

Here is an article about some ordinary people who did some extraordinary things during the tragedy that struck Mumbai recently, when terrorists held the Indian city under siege for three days. 173 people died, which is already too many, but had it not been for the calm and courage displayed by this group of heroes, that death toll surely would have been much higher.

I always find these types of stories particularly inspiring because they give me hope that maybe I, too, have the capacity to display that kind of courage. Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy the adventures of superheroes, and I respect the everyday heroes who, despite the dangers of their jobs, get up and go to work anyway. But personally, I find that both of these are a world apart from me because the reality is, I don’t have superpowers and I don’t have the training to subdue violent situations. I am just a regular gal, like most other folks, who goes to work everyday to pay her bills and maybe make the world a better place along the way.

The people of Mumbai also went to work that day, to pay their bills and maybe try to make the world a better place. I doubt any of them knew that on that day, they would be in middle of an attack on their city, with gunmen on a rampage, shooting their machine guns every which way, and people running away screaming. And yet these unassuming employees of a train station and a hotel kitchen somehow held it together to take care of their fellow citizens. Can you imagine? What does it take, do you think, for a person, with windows crashing and bullets whizzing, to say to him or herself, “I need to get these people to safety” and then go about doing just that? Can that type of courage be taught or developed?

“When we are afraid we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger.” – Mark Rutherford

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.Β  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” – Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

What do you think courage and heroism mean?


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11 Responses to “News Day Tuesday: Mumbai Heroes”

  1. taylor nikole Says:

    i think heros are inspiration….
    after all where did you get your inspiration from?

    Although i kinda get what you mean…

    do we doubt ourselves when it comes to thinking about our capability to do something so magnificent… that makes us a hero (or our definition of one)…

    but then again… what is your definition of a hero?

    Okay courage…
    (for myself) being able to do something I never thought possible…
    Saying “hey ive never done this.. and it may be scary, but im going to do it”

    anyone who inspires a community and persuades them to do better for their community.

    Life savers, mothers, family….
    people who give a part of them self for a cause they think is good….

    not just the peoplein capes and tights πŸ™‚
    on cereal boxes and comic books….

  2. taylor nikole Says:

    tell me if that was english…
    ive had the flu for the last 2 days πŸ™‚

  3. MarilyneL Says:

    HAha I’m kinda freaking out right now. Everything that’s happening in the last few weeks; Mumbai, Greece, our almost coalition here, the economic crisis….and while driving, 5 war trucks were driving next to me and I was so scared and suddenly felt so powerless. I found myself watching the news and inevitably comparing it to what I saw in a certain episode called “Zod” hehe : CHAOS! Ah man…if we need heroes uh? well YEAH! πŸ˜› more than ever, so I’m more than happy hearing that there are still good people out there, helping and saving each others.

    I’m trying my best helping people even with a simple smile. I just can’t wait for the world to realize we have to come together in order to live peacefully. awww..utopia..maybe πŸ˜›

  4. taylor nikole Says:

    eghh the idea of a utopia seems great…
    but the possibility of actually having one is slim to none
    and the thought of actually having one scares me…

    in a world where there is perfection
    there is no controversy
    no black and white
    no grey
    soo where do we get when there is none of this?

    maybe we don’t need utopia, just more understanding…
    especially in scary times

    and im sure its hard to say that utopia wouldn’t seem great in times like these, but maybe its not the solution πŸ™‚

  5. MarilyneL Says:

    Yeah, you’re probably right, nothing’s perfect:P

  6. taylor nikole Says:

    hehe depends on what perfect is…
    even perfect could be.. imperfection
    if you think about it πŸ™‚

  7. MarilyneL Says:


  8. Nakisa Says:

    My definition of courage is the ability to accept oneself and the existence of infinity. In accepting these two things, one accepts mortality, humility, and the existence of something without bound, which in my eyes is the most terrifying idea known to man.

    Now, seeing as infinity is undefined, it is what I think, incomprehensible (which adds to its terrifying nature). But this leads to a questions: what is without bound? The universe and energy are the two things that come immediately to mind. The universe in the sense that it is constantly expanding (or so I’m told) and because the universe is expanding, energy within the universe is not constant but changing with it (but for calorimetry sake we say that Energy of the universe = Energy of the system)

    … Off note, I despise calorimetry… and I would expand on my refusal of the first Law of Thermodynamics, but I’m a minimalist πŸ˜›

    Because courage is the ability to accept oneself and the existence of infinity, a hero one who not only is aware of this ability, but chooses to do something about it knowing that they are mortal and chose to act alongside humility.

    A utopia to me is not that there is no black, white, or gray, but that there are these things and they coexist peacefully (Kingdom Hearts II anyone?). There is controversy, but it is resolved peacefully. A Utopia is where the population has achieved a level of collective understanding about the environment, society, and life in general.

  9. Emma-Lu Says:

    Hi Kathy,
    These people are truly amazing, but I believe some people thrive under pressure. They get an adrenaline rush and then kick into efficient mode; and are able to cope. That doesn’t take anything away from the bravery and courage in their characters though.

    Hehe Taylor Nikole, adding some spice here and there! That’s it, I’m calling you …Thai Pickle from now on.

  10. taylor nikole Says:

    hahah another nickname :-p
    haha πŸ™‚

  11. foretold Says:

    If you ask me, the whole Mumbai terrorist attack looks like it has been sponsored or built up by some secret service.

    My guess is that there will be calls of all different kind of people for more security in Indian the next weeks, months and years, like it was and still is the case for the 9/11 attacks in 2001 here in the US.

    I will increasingly watch the Indian politics development, and someone else should do that too.

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