Ten years after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, media house The Indian Express will host what promises to be one of the year's most widely covered media events. Presented by Facebook, the founding partner of the initiative, driven by Maruti Suzuki and powered by Viacom18, 26/11 Stories of Strength will be telecast 6 pm onwards from the Gateway of India on November 26.
The third in an annual series, The Indian Express 26/11 Stories of Strength gives a voice to the inspiring stories of over 70 survivors who have been interviewed by The Indian Express's Mumbai bureau over a span of three years.
The event produced by Wizcraft International is directed by the director of the musical Mughal-e-Azam, Feroz Abbas Khan. It will feature a rare performance by actor Amitabh Bachchan, and speeches by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The event will be live streamed across the digital properties of The Indian Express, ABP News, Republic TV and big 92.7fm, and broadcast on Colors.
Among those who will share their stories of overcoming anger and fear and inspiring courage at the Stories of Strength event would be Mumbai Police Constable Arun Jadhav, K. Unnikrishnan, father of slain NSG commando Sandeep Unnikrishnan, and Anjali Kunte, a nurse at the Cama and Albless Hospital that was attacked on 26/11, as well as other survivors.
At the event, The Indian Express and Penguin will also unveil a book titled 26/11 Stories of Strength, edited by The Indian Express Associate Editor Kavitha Iyer. The first copy of the book was presented to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who wrote in his note, "India's thousand-year-old tradition of tolerance and philosophy of ahimsa are very necessary in today's world. With my prayers."
Underlining the intent behind 26/11 Stories of Strength, Anant Goenka, Executive Director of the Indian Express Group, said, "In our country, we tend not to take the time to remember. For India's millennials, 26/11 was one of the most horrific acts of violence that they have witnessed. We intend to use this day to remind ourselves what Amitabhji said last year: that we shouldn't define ourselves by what we are against, but by what we are for. And what we must be for, is each other."
On their association with the project, Ankhi Das, the Director of Public Policy for Facebook in India, said, "It's important to remember those who lost their lives in such a horrific attack 10 years ago today, today is about those who showed bravery, courage and strength at the hands of terror. I thank the Indian Express for making sure the survivors and those families who lost loved ones share these stories of civic courage and resilience."
Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and Managing Director Designate, Viacom18, said, “We are proud to partner The Indian Express Group on this initiative. 26/11 is a landmark day in the history of this city and country – both because it marks one of the worst attacks on us as a people and also because it highlights the amazing stories of sacrifice and resilience that defines us as a people. As a network with a humane purpose, it is both our duty and privilege to amplify these ‘Stories of Strength’ and celebrate the spirit of our city and people.”
Bhind's husband had died when a bomb planted in his taxi by two of the attackers had gone off. She continues to live in a place 30 km from Allahabad from where her husband had left for Mumbai shortly after they got married. Every month, he would send home a part of his earnings from driving the taxi.
Some of the key performers at this memorial include Amitabh Bachchan, Javed Akhtar, Kaushiki Chakravarty, Rakesh Chaurasia, Mayuri Upadhya, Merlin D'souza, Harshdeep Kaur, Neeti Mohan, Rahul Deshpande, Mahesh Kale, Javed Ali, Ani Choying Drolma, Shivam Mahadevan, Police Band and the Navy Band.
The event is supported by Viacom Network led by Colors, ABP News, Republic TV, Vodafone, Centrum Foundation, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, LIC, Air India, Laqshya, Mumbai Port Trust, Mumbai Police, Prime Focus, Air India.