Chapter 19 India's Heroes

This chapter titled Indian Heroes draws our attention to some of the unsung heroes India has seen during the 21st century. They all exhibit their care for their fellow citizens and love for their mother nation. All you need to know and learn about this chapter is given below.

Summary of the Chapter

Students of 8A were asked to prepare a speech on what they would like to be in the future by Mrs. Reeta Baruah. As she entered the class the students were busy talking, fidgeting (making small movements) and shifting their seats. She asked them to settle down so that she could begin the speeches.

Class 8 A consisted of 40 students and all of them were ready with their speeches. Mrs. Reeta reminded the students that the topic was not constricted to just professions but also traits and qualities that you would like to imbibe from your role models and mentors.

Ajith Basu was first to deliver. He took inspiration from the famous cricketer Sachin Tendulkakar and wanted to become a cricketer. Ajith was followed by Gayatri Chhabra who wanted to be a social worker like her mother. Then came, Sanjay Damle who aspired to become a pilot and soar high in the air.

The class paid undeviated attention as all of them mentioned and took motivation from popular and celebrated politicians, actors and sports personalities. Next in line was Kabir. He had his share of fear and excitement to present his future goals in front of the class. He was not fond of public speaking and was not used to it. He believed that he did not possess the talent to bring out an astonishing speech.

He was not accustomed to facing the entire class and speaking out aloud. He knew that he did not have a flair for making speeches.

Conquering his fears he decided to deliver the speech he had prepared. He took inspiration from the following people:

  1. Lieutenant Colonel Sankalp Kumar: He fought the terrorists in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir on 5th December 2014.

  2. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan: Kabir wanted to be brave like the Major who was a young National Security Guard (NSG) Commando, who gave his life in the fight with the terrorists in November 2008, Mumbai.

    Kabir added that Major Unnikrishnan wanted to become an army officer when he was in class 3. He served two tenures with battalion in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations before joining the NSG in January 2007.

    On 27th November when he went into the Taj Hotel to encounter the terrorist he displayed bravery and courage. He engaged in a fierce gunfight. During this time his fellow commando was shot and Unnikrishnan, knowing the risk, asked for his evacuation. With immense courage he then went up to the next floor to face the terrorist all by himself.

    “Don’t come up, I will handle them”, he said. A massive gun battle took place killing Major Unnikrishnan.

    A fierce gun battle ensued and he was hit by theri bullet- a hero had fallen.

    After narrating this Kabir paused. He discovered that all the eyes were on him. Even though it was time for their short break, they decided to stay in and listen to the rest of Kabir’s speech. He continued:

  3. Vishnu Dattaram Zende: he was the announcer at the Mumbai railways for over 10 years. As he heard a loud explosion at one end of the CSt platform he remained calm and helped all other passengers to exit through a safer option. His quick and attentiveness saved many lives on 26th November. Even though his life was in danger he decided to stay back and help the passengers.

  4. Hemant Karkare: Kabir wanted to be as fearless as Hemant who was the Anti-terrorism Squad Chief. Hemant followed terrorists in his jeep while he was gunned down by terrorists who gunned him down near the Cama Hospital along with other commanders, DIG Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar. Hemant fought against terrorisma nd made our future safe and sound.

  5. Taj Hotel in Mumbai, main part of this chapter
    Taj Hotel in Mumbai

    By this time Kabir was having goosebumps and Mrs. Reeta had a teary eye. She looked down so that other students might not take notice of her watery eyes. Kabir went on:

  6. Mohammed Taufiq: Kabir wanted to be compassionate like Taufiq who was a young tea seller. He was the first to transport the injured into the St. George Hospital.

  7. Sandra Samuel: He wants to attain the same selflessness like Sandra, who was the nanny to Moishe Holtzberg. Moshe lost both her parents in the terrorist attack.

  8. Caretakers of the qabristans: The caretaker of the cemetery denied to bury the dead bodies of the terrorits spreading the message that terrorism has no religion. Like them Kabir wants to spread the message that each religion only propagates respect and love.

    They proved by their resolve that terrorism has no religion, and the only true religion in the world is love fro all human beings.

Everyone in the room was filled with tears. A student named Irom asked the teacher who was a terrorist. Mrs. Reeta Baruah replied that terrorists were common people like them but the only difference being their goals being misplaced. She continued to say that no one in their right mind will ever think of torturing or murdering innocent people. The attacks on children in Peshawar and Paris tells us that terrorist are humans who have hatred and wishes to spread the same.

She added that Kabir’s heroes were all people who cared for others and stood by peace, tolerance and selflessness. They did it in order to make India a country free from terrrorism.

Terrorists are people like you and me. The only difference between us and them is that their goals are misplaced.

Historical Background to the Text

2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attack

The 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack took India on a whirlwind. The series of attacks were orchestrated by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, an islamic terrorist group, operating in Pakistan. 10 terrorist conducted various bombing and shootings across Mumbai for four days. They led the terrorist activities acoss the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station,Taj Hotel, Oberio Trident, Cama Hospital, Leopold Cafe, Nariman House and Metro Cinema.

Their major targets were foreigners and civilians. Around 170 people were killed and thousands injured in the series of attacks. Among the dead were 9 attackers. These attacks are referred to as ‘26/11’ in India.

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India's Heroes Questions and Answers

Below are a few questions that you can look out for your examinations and class tests. Stand out with perfectly written answers with help of Aneetta Class.

Kabir believed himself to be not a good orator. He was not accustomed to addressing a gathering. Hence, he was nervous to deliver his speech.

Vishnu Zende was an announcer at the Mumbai railway station. He risked his own life to conduct his duty and alarm people about the attack. His courageous act saved many lives.

All his heroes cared for one another. They showed immense courage at the time of an emergency. Major Sanddep and Chief Hemant are examples for this. All his role models stood for peace, love and respect. This is evidently visible in Vishnu Zende and Sandra Samuel.