I don't envy the New York Times or any other struggling newspaper, for
that matter, their full-page ads. The more advertisements the better.
But I did notice a full-pager in both the Times and Wall Street Journal on Friday morning that had a weird and, in some way, gruesome message. I assume it also ran in other metropolitan newspapers in the United States and, perhaps, around the world. After all, the company that placed these advertisement was the Tata Group, the owner of the Taj Hotel, one of the two Mumbai hotels that fell to the Islamic terrorists over the weekend. Tata may be one of the world's largest enterprises and almost certainly the largest private enterprise.
Please take a close look at the ad.
At the top is a photo of the ornate (what I am tempted to call) cupola of what looks like a holy place. Maybe St. Peter's or the Hagia Sophia. Or maybe the Dome of the Rock. No, let's not go there. But it's none of these. it is the architectural pinnacle of the Taj itself. No, not the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, stately and serene, an image surely taken some time before last Friday, a very commercial enterprise yearning for the spirit.
Then there is a quotation I do not recognize. Is it from a Hindu goddess? Perhaps. In any case, it comes within quotation marks. Someone uttered these words. It could be Ratan Taja, the Group chairman. Or maybe it's from his father. But, you see, I am just guessing.
Here is the statement, a bit empty, a bit pompous, in capitol letters, just like in the ad. (Gee, I hope these are not the words of some holy man.) "I HAVE HELD MY GROUND AS HUMAN HISTORY HAS UNFOLDED IN ITS TIMELESS PROCESSION OF LAUGHTER AND TEARS, COURAGE AND COWARDICE, GOOD AND EVIL. I WILL PREVAIL."
The message is not exactly resilient. It is, on the contrary, rather passive. Ah, maybe the words are Gandhi's words But, let's face it, the Mahatma did not prevail. Yes, he did force the British out. Still, after that, his project has been a failure.
Then there are another hundred words. Not a mention of the other hotel or the railroad station or the hitch-hikers' hangout or the Chabad House in which its Jewish inhabitants were actually tortured. Even terror makes its distinctions.
So what was the purpose of the enormity? It was, the ad says, an "attack on the Taj."
And what after? "Now that the smoke has cleared, a different fire is burning within us: to resurrect the Taj in all its brilliance...We will reopen soon, Like India, the Tal will stand tall for years to come."
"To resurrect the Taj in all its brilliance." That is not a brilliant aspiration. It won't even protect the hotel from another assault.
There were no defenders against the ten assumed-to-be-on-their-way soldiers of death. That would have required something more of India. Some more that even the richest man in the country can imagine. But "the Taj will stand tall for years to come." That is what seems gruesome to me.