Remembering the HEROES- a mini exhibition on FANS 26/11 Memorial Event
I feel deeply honored that my work on security forces was showcased at the event “Memorial Day: 26/11” organized by Forum for Awareness of National Security (FANS) at the International Convention Hall of Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai on 26th November.
26/11 is not just a date but it signifies the most horrific moment India faced in recent years. But then it also brought into light stories of many brave hearts who valued Nation before Life.
|The back drop for the event |
The photo exhibition was played on a slide show and also put on a continuous loop on the six LEDs at the venue.
The theme of this unique event was “ We have not forgotten”, that also touched upon the subject “ Citizens, Terrorism and our Preparedness”. The distinguished speakers included visionary orator, ideologue and RSSNational Executive Member Mr. Indresh Kumar, Chief Minister Mr. Devendra Fadnavis, MoS for Home Affairs Mr. Kiren Rijiju and Mr. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Lt. Gen Vishwambhar Singh, AVSM, VSM, GOC Maharashtra, Gujrat and Goa.
|Lighting up the light|
Ms. Reshma H Singh, Convener, National Executive and Uttar Bharat Prabhari of FANS spoke about the significance of 26/11 attacks in national perspective.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis said, “It is important that the citizens act as the eyes and ears of the government.”
Mr. K Unnikrishnan’s fiery and passionate speech moved everybody in the hall.
“Sandeep was not an extraordinary soldier or the best soldier in the country, but when his moment came, he took the lead and made sure he took the bullet on him rather than his team members, and that was his greatness,” he said.
|Sh Indresh Kumar, RSS Ms Reshma H Singh (National Sec -FANS) Mr. K Unnikrishnan|
|Exhibit 2 : The Role of Black Cat Commandos in securing Taj and rescuing the hostages will always be remembered as one of the most heroic efforts in the history of modern India.|
|Chief Minister of Maharshtra Devendra Fadnavis|
|Vikkramaditya Singh with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis|
|Sharing my experience on photographing Heroes of the nation with MoS Kiren Rijiju|
A handful of terrorists held Mumbai hostage for four days and the whole country sat glued to TV sets in shock and fear. It wasn’t just an attack on Mumbai, but a deep and sharp wound inflicted by the ‘enemies of humanity’ that had every Indian heart bleeding.
I am one such Indian whose heart still feels heavy thinking of those nights when fear and uncertainty ruled Mumbai and I couldn’t find a hospital for my mother who needed an urgent neurosurgery to remove a blood clot that had formed between brain and skull. We had to fly her out to Delhi to get the surgery done.
In the ‘Mumbai Terror Attacks ‘ 164 people were killed including 15 policemen and 2 NSG commandos and more than 300 were injured. We were caught unaware and unprepared, but had it not been for the brave policemen and commandos, many more would have died.
It is to honor these heroic efforts that I have since then been documenting and photographing India’s men and women in uniform- HEROES- whether they are a part of internal security forces and safe guarding the borders.
|Exhibit 3 : Mumbai Police QRT commando at Bandra Worli Sea Link|
|Exhibit 4 : Mumbai Police QRT commando in training|
For this mini-exhibition and slide show, the co-convener of the event Vikramaditya Singh himself handpicked 24 images of Mumbai Police and National Security Guard from what I have compiled over the years.
|Ms. Reshma H Singh, Convener, National Executive and Uttar Bharat Prabhari of FANS, whose motto is to create awareness on sensitive actions through actions and not just words|
|Bhushan Kumar M.D. T- series|
|MoS for Home Affairs Mr. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir|
|Shaina NC -Fashion designer, politician, social worker|
|Lt. Gen Vishwambhar Singh AVSM, VSM, GOC Maharashtra, Gujrat and Goa. |
His words :“ Sleep well. Enjoy the freedom.
India Army is there to take care of you.”
|Mrs Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan- mother of Shaheed Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan|
Every time a solider wears that uniform, he thinks of his motherland.
And every time I see a soldier in uniform I think of his mother.
Only an exceptionally brave woman can raise a soldier and fill him with the courage to give up life, if needed, fighting for the honor of the nation.
I stared at the dignified face of Mrs Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan who was at the “Memorial Day: 26/11” While the speakers talked about national security, her moist eyes spoke untold stories of a million mothers in the country who send young men and women to defend the borders or join various other security forces.
She lost her only son Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who led a National Security Guard (NSG) commandos operation to flush out LeT terrorists from Hotel Taj in the November of 2008.
|Arun Jadhav, Crime Branch, who was involved in capturing Ajmal Kasab along with Assistant Police Inspector Sanjay Gowilkar of Special Task Force were also felicitated at the function for roles played during the 26/11 terrorist attack|
|Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju|
Nine years on, our security forces have come far in terms of our preparedness and response time. But as MoS for Home Affairs Mr. Kiren Rijiju said, “No talk about security can be complete without the participation of the common people. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand and citizens have an equal responsibility by being vigilant.”
It was the first time I heard Mr Rijiju speak and was fascinated by his passion and conviction. He is not just a great speaker but also one of the best leaders of this generation.
|A patriot and a passionate speaker Kiren Rijiju MoS Home Affairs|
|Kailash Kher with dynamic team of FANS|
|Shri Indresh Kumar, Mentor and Guide FANS and Member of National Executive RSS|
While concluding the event, Shri Indresh Kumar, Mentor and Guide FANS and Member of National Executive RSS said, “Every citizen has a responsibility not just to himself or herself but to the country, and this responsibility is of paramount importance when it comes to terrorism.”
As I left the auditorium, the words of Lt. Gen Vishwambhar Singh echoed in my years,
“ Sleep well. Enjoy the freedom.India Army is there to take care of you.”
I am now gearing up for the final exhibition on our security forces beginning of year 2018. Its time the world sits up and notices, what makes today’s India so secure and powerful.