Photographers Hitesh Harisinghani and Afsar Dayatar revisit the sites of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
March 12, 1993, dawned just like any other Friday. On the surface, Mumbai seemed normal. The blood-letting in the infamous riots in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992 and January 1993 was behind it, and the Congress-run state government headed by Sharad Pawar was determined to put the dark days behind.
But everything changed at 1.30 pm that day, when the first of the 12 blasts, using the military-issue Research and Development Explosive, RDX, went off at the Bombay Stock Exchange.
In the next two hours, the city saw 11 more explosions, setting off widespread panic in the pre-mobile phone, pre-24x7 TV coverage era.
At the end of it all, 257 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the serial blasts, the first of its kind in the country as urban terrorism made its macabre debut in the country’s commercial capital.
Now, 25 years later, the sites that were mangled beyond recognition in the mass bombing have put a veneer on their façade, as life has moved on irretrievably in the city that never sleeps.
Does it also never remember?