Taj Hotel’s Ex GM Recalls Events Of 26/11, Says “26/11 Is Etched In My Memory”

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Taj Hotel’s Ex GM Recalls Events Of 26/11, Says “26/11 Is Etched In My Memory”

26/11, or “Chabbis Gyarah,” is known as Black Day in Mumbai. The 2008 Mumbai attacks, which lasted for four days until November 29, were the worst terror attack in Indian history. Four assailants entered the Taj Mahal Hotel and brought alive a distant nightmare for the people at the hotel. Taj Hotel’s former general manager recalled the incident that he witnessed and said that it will be etched in his memory forever. 

Taj Hotel’s Ex GM Recalls Events Of 26/11

Credits: @officialhumansofbombay/Instagram

As the country remembers the martyrs of the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks on its 15th anniversary, KS Kang, Taj Hotel’s former general manager, recalled the events he witnessed. He was the then-general manager and lived on the 6th floor with his wife and two sons. While speaking to the Humans of Bombay, this is what he shared. 

At 9:15pm, Kang got a call saying some gunshots were heard in the hotel. He thought it was another gang war, but when he reached the site, he said, “Taj did not feel like Taj anymore.” One of the staff members informed him that there were terrorists in the hotel and that they were killing people or holding them hostages. 

Nobody knew how many terrorists were in the hotel. The guests were stuck in the conference rooms, their rooms, and restaurants. He called a staff meeting, and together they called up every room and asked guests to switch off the lights. The city, which was filled with the honking sound of vehicles in traffic, could suddenly only hear gunshots. 

At midnight, he called up his wife to check on her, and in the middle of his sentences, he heard gunshots. 

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Entire Floor Covered With Smoke

Credits: @officialhumansofbombay/Instagram

Someone told him that the terrorists had lit the sixth floor on fire. Kang rushed there to see his room on fire and the entire floor covered with smoke. He immediately called his mother, saying he had failed. His mother said, “You’re the son of a Major General. You couldn’t save your family, but you can save others.”

He got back to his duties, and the entire Taj staff put in their best effort to save their guests. After 18 hours, the NSG took over, and three days later, the operation was completed as all the terrorists were killed. 

Defeating The Memories Everyday

Credits: Canva

Kang said that the nightmare had surely ended for many people, but for him, it had just begun. At 23, he met his wife at Taj, and at 40, he lost her at the same place. When his wife and sons’ bodies were taken out, he chose not to see them. He took a month’s break and went to Chandigarh. 

After a month, he went back and saw the hotel being rebuilt brick by brick. He never had the heart to enter his room on the 6th floor. After 1.5 years, he took a transfer to Pune. Now he is settled in the US, and last year he spoke on terrorism at the UN. He said, “26/11 is etched in my memory, and by choosing to move on, I’m defeating it every day.”

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Our heartfelt tribute to all the martyrs.

Cover Image Courtesy: @officialhumansofbombay/Instagram

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