Ravi Dharnidharka: A brave heart who saved 157 lives on 26/11

India experienced one of the most dreadful attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. A total of 12 attacks were carried out by 10 terrorists in four days. 159 people were killed while 200 were severely injured. This number would have been more if Ravi Dharnidharka wouldn’t have shown enough courage. This is the story of an unsung hero- Ravi Dharnidharka.

Ravi dharnidharka
Image courtesy: Yourstory

STORY OF THE HERO: Ravi Dharnidharka

It was a casual day for Ravi until the hotel was attacked by the terrorists. He was dining at a Lebanese restaurant with his uncles and cousins on the 20th floor. Once Captain Ravi was confirmed about the attack, he gathered a few South African commandos and decided to take the entire matter in their hands.

He, along with the commandos knew the kind of guns and ammunitions, the terrorists have. They knew that the rescue team which was on the way couldn’t get their hands on the terrorists anytime soon. Hence, they chalked out an exit plan.

Ravi dharnidharka
Image courtesy: speakingdots

This team was successful in finding a safe conference hall and a fire escape along with it. They barricaded  the entrance with chairs and tables and opened one entry so that the victims could safely exit. They collected knives, rods and other sharp instruments in order to arm themselves. They knew that would stand in front of those heavily loaded guns.

The hall was then darkened and drawn with curtains to avoid the terrorist’s attention. Everyone was strictly instructed not to use cellphones since that could risk their lives. While they waited for the right time to escape, the sixth floor of Taj was blown off using RDX by the terrorists. This was when Ravi and his team thought of executing their escape plan as fire could be a problem for them.

The exit plan was executed in a very slow and noiseless manner. The 157 people were asked to switch off their phones and remove their shoes to make a safe escape. This group was led by those South-African commandos and Taj security men. Ravi with few other men came last. There was one 84-year-old lady who wouldn’t have managed to climb down 20 flights of stair. She asked everyone to move ahead, leaving her behind. Even in such a tedious situation, Ravi along with the help of one waiter carried her downstairs.

After a nerve-wracking 20 floor descent, Captain Ravi Dharnidharka and his team of ex-commandos escorted 157 terrified people out of the burning hotel and into safety. The perfect embodiment of courage and presence of mind in the face of danger, what they achieved can never be forgotten.

Read stories about more unsung heroes here

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