January - March 2009



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 Editor's Note

 Mumbai 26/11

 Five Main Targets

 - Leopold Cafe

 - CST

 - Nariman House

 - The Oberoi Hotels

 - The Taj Hotels

 Heroes at the Taj


 Two Men & a City

 - Hasan Gafoor

 - Jyoti Krishan Dutt


 Mumbai 26/11
 Lessons Learnt


 Tolerance Targeted
 in Mumbai

 Parsis & Jews of


 Deccan Odyssey

 Bombay to Mumbai


 Taj - Mumbai's
 much-loved icon



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 Mumbai 26/11 - Five Main Targets

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

– A World Heritage Site turns into a ‘Killing Field’

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus , formerly known as Victoria Terminus, and fondly known as CST or VT is a magnificent structure built in 1888, in the Victorian Gothic Revival style - a uniquely Bombay style of architecture which emerged when British architects blended European and Indian architectural traditions and idioms. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004.

CST is the Headquarters of Central Railways – and perhaps the busiest railway station in India, the hub of mainline, suburban and local tracks.

On the night of November 26, at about 9.30pm, two gunmen alighted from a taxi at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and immediately targeted the main hall of the terminal with grenades and indiscriminate firing. Very soon the floor of the main hall turned into a killing field, littered with bodies and pools of blood. More than fifty people were killed in the brazen attack. The casualties would have been a lot higher if not for the presence of mind of a Railway Announcer, who saw the onset of the attack from his vantage position at the station and alerted the people through non-stop announcements urging them to leave the station from different exits.

As soon as an armed unit of the police arrived at the station, the terrorists stole and fled in a police van that had responded to the CST, continued on to hit Cama Hospital and a movie theatre, with police pursuing them. They created panic and confusion while the other terrorist teams moved into the hotels and the Jewish Centre at Nariman House.

Built in 1888 over a span of ten years, Victoria Terminus has a spectacular stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and unusual ground plan, unlike the traditional Indian architecture. Its fine interiors, wood carvings, tiles, ornamental iron, brass railings, etc, reflect the efforts of students at the Bombay School of Art.Some of the beautiful carvings can only be seen from a height.

When the building was first used it held not only railway functionaries such as the accounts, chief engineer and traffic manager but also other municipal offices such as the superintendent of the police. Railway tickets were also printed in the same building. At present a large section of the building is given over to administrative functions of the Central Railways, including commercial operations such as railway reservations. It is the first functional administrative building to be put on the World Heritage list.

Architect Frederick William Stevens, who was paid a princely sum of 16.14 lakhs at the time (in 1880s), designed the station after a masterpiece watercolour sketch by draughtsman Axel Herman. Stevens spent ten months in Europe to make a detailed study of the railway stations there. St Pancras station in London bears some resemblance to Victoria Terminus.
The Victoria Terminus was renamed Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus on March 4, 1996 – but Mumbaikars still call it VT!



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