More about ‘The Taxi Takes’
What happens when people from different class backgrounds, literacy levels or religious faiths sit across from each other in a taxi and take a journey together? Can this setting provide fertile ground for a rich dialogue about modern terrorism?
The Taxi Takes on Terror is a media project based on conversations between taxi drivers and passengers in Mumbai cabs about Modern Terrorism. The conversations are centered around the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008.
Taxis are a space where interesting interactions take place. The public yet contained environment of the taxi becomes a meeting ground to exchange perspectives with people from a diverse cross section of society.
Why are talks between Taxi Drivers and Passengers relevant?
Drivers represent the working class, the common man, in India. Most of them are not well educated and migrate to big urban cities from rural parts of India in search of work. Their passengers on the other hand, usually belong to a higher socio-economic background and are more educated.
In a country where the caste system prevailed for centuries, fault lines and gaps based on caste, class , education and creed run deep. Hence it is important to find spaces where it is possible to have a public discourse which overcomes such divisions. Especially when the discussion is about something like terrorism, which does not discriminate amongst its victims and effects humanity universally.
Post 9/11, war and terrorism have globally impacted people from all walks of life, regardless of class and religion. The Taxi Takes tries to bridge a gap and start a dialogue that can heal the divisions and hatred that terrorists aim to create.
Why Taxi Drivers?
The taxi driver, the man in the front seat is the mobile new age guru who navigates mean streets and has a pulse on what is ticking in the city. Cabbies are also links of exchange and contact with people from various backgrounds. The drivers picked for ‘The Taxi Takes’ were mostly on the roads of Mumbai when the terrorists attacked in November 2008.
The conversations start in the city of Mumbai, chosen in light of being the financial and international capital of India and the target of years of communal conflict and now the recent 26/11 terrorist attacks in 2008. With over a billion inhabitants, thousands of languages and all of the World religions, India has long been a laboratory for sustaining peace amid enormous diversity.
In a post 9-11 climate of rising ‘Islamophobia’, India is of particular interest to peace building initiatives because it houses the second largest population of Muslims worldwide.
The use of Integrated Media and in connecting across cultures
By bringing these terrorism-related video interactions from Mumbai taxis to cyber space, ‘The Taxi Takes on Terror’ aims to create a global discourse on Modern Terrorism that spans geographical and public spaces like Taxis and the Internet. Media provides us with various social tools which we can use to gather, protest and harness for various purposes. The democratization of Egypt has shown us the force and magnitude of using social media responsibly. The Taxi Takes is an independent grassroots project that is using media for cross cultural communication.