26/11 AND THE TAJ MAHAL MUMBAI PALACE HOTEL: CULTIVATING THE EXTRAORDINARY
On 26 November 2008, the worst terrorist attack since September 11, 2001 occurred when the iconic luxury hotel The Taj Mahal Mumbai Palace was attacked, one of several targeted locations in Mumbai. The terrorists entered spraying indiscriminate bullets, throwing explosives to create chaos and force guests and staff to run so the terrorists could kill them.
The terrorists killed 159 people. At the Taj, 31 were dead: 12 employees and 19 guests, and over 1000 guests and 500 employees were trapped for as long as 60 hours. The death toll and the harrowing period of captivity notwithstanding, Taj guests were overwhelmed by employees’ dedication to duty, their desire to protect guests without regard to personal safety, and their quick thinking.
Restaurant staff rushed people to safe locations. Telephone operators stayed at their posts, alerting guests to lock doors and not step out. Kitchen staff formed human shields to protect guests during evacuation attempts. Taj Mumbai employees gave their lives while helping guests escape. The hotel’s burning domes and spires, ablaze for two days and three nights, became the symbol of the attack now known as 26/11.
Oct-Dec 2014 Issue
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