The 26/11 attack on Mumbai in 2008 remains one of the biggest attacks on Indian sovereignty. 10 terrorists attacked the financial capital of the country, and many heroes perished on that fateful day, trying to save their beloved Mumbai. 12 years on, we still remember the day like it was yesterday.
But while some were sung enough, many remain unsung. One such hero was Captain Ravi Dharnidharka, a then US marine, who saved 157 lives, including his own on that unfortunate night. The then 31-year-old had spent four years flying combat missions in Iraq, including the bloody battle of Fallujah in November and December 2004.
In November 2008, Dharnidharka was in India after more than a decade, holidaying with his cousins near Badhwar Park, close to the upmarket Cuffe Parade. On 26/11, his uncles and cousins decided to meet for dinner at Souk, the Lebanese restaurant on the 20th floor of the Taj Mahal Palace.
According to the book The Siege: 68 Hours Inside The Taj Hotel, by journalists Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy, also trapped inside the hotel, the Marine was very uneasy after arriving in the hotel. He was constantly on edge, his instincts hinting at something that wasn’t right’. Too many phones were ringing at the same time, and very soon, his cousin got a call about the shootout in Colaba.
“Captain Ravi Dharnidharka, the US Marine captain, was no longer looking at the view but was worrying about the great wave of text messages and calls crashing across the room. One of his cousins received a call: Gang fight in Colaba, a couple of blocks away,” reads an except from the book.
Ravi knew something bad was going to happen because, unlike hotel security, he didn’t miss the beeping sound of the metal detector when he entered the hotel.
“Told you, Ravi said to himself, recalling earlier misgivings about the security at the hotel’s main entrance. When he had walked through the security cordon half an hour back, a metal detector had beeped, but no one had stopped him. That had really got him going. Why did people have systems and then pay no heed to them? Who else had got through unchecked? He hoped that his paronia was simply the prolonged repercussion of battle fatigue,” reads the book.
Source: India Times