Strengthening a City’s Spirit - 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack

26/11 remains a date etched in the psyche of many people. Many watched as forces turned two city hotels and a residential apartment block into killing fields. It was to be 48-hours before the terror attacks could be declared over. Yet the fighting continued in the minds of those who lost their loved one in the hostage spots and those who witnessed the continuous coverage on the television.

The Art of Living directly initiated trauma relief workshops and counseling. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar cut short his programs abroad to bring support to Mumbai. He interacted with the grieving and directed the trauma relief efforts.

Relief programs were especially held in areas that were under siege.

Many residents shared that they felt much better. Around 120-150 employees of the Oberoi-Trident hotels underwent a trauma-relief workshop. They had witnessed many hours of terror as terrorists held up the hotel.

“They’re feeling rejuvenated, as during the course the people found a way to get in touch with their inner feelings,” said a spokesperson from the Oberoi Hotel.

Even those who watched the horrific events unfold on television were left shaken. “The children are constantly asking questions. They have seen the gun battle, sitting in their living rooms and are angry and confused,” said Jyoti Thakkar, an Art of Living teacher. The additional pressure of coping with studies resulted in “a colossal negative impact on young minds with mood swings and anxiety common among all.”

Special sessions were held for children. “It’s a rejuvenating experience,” said Lipika Chandra, a Std X teacher at Lokpuram School. “I am seeing the change in my students. Earlier, they were restless in class. They have been discussing the terror attacks, and there was a certain amount of anger, a strange fear in their sub-conscious that it could happen here too.” According to her, the meditation program has helped ease tensions, and the students feel calm throughout the day.

Published in 2008.