Naadaan Hain Hum To Maalik, Kyoon Di Hamein Yeh Saza
Yahan Hai Sabhi Ke Dil Mein Nafrat Ka Zaher Bhara
Inhe Phir Se Yaad Dila De Sabak Wahi Pyaar Ka
Ban Jaaye Gulshan Phir Se Kaanton Bhari Duniya
(Excerpted from the song ‘Ek Tu Hi Bharosa‘ from the movie Pukar)
What is happening to our beautiful country? Who are these bloodthirsty countrymen we never knew about? Why didn’t we see them before? And what makes them thirst for innocent blood? Did we do something to make them think this way?
Historians and more learned folks might claim otherwise (and they may well be right) but for me December ’92 was when the desecration of my beautiful homeland began. When a little known (to me) political party capitalized on a little known (again, to me) religious feud to spur its rise in national politics.
Yes, that’s where it all began, to my mind. When my beloved hometown, a cosmopolitan city where Hindus thronged Muslim markets to shop for Diwali and where Manmohan Desai made a sappy national integration movie like Amar Akbar Anthony, Mumbai, a safe city that stayed relatively calm through the horrors of partition, was rocked by gruesome religious riots. And the terrifying bomb blasts that followed a few months later.
I have no love for the terrorists (who would!) but I am ashamed of what you did too. Our two communities may not have been the best of friends, but we never had it so bad before, did we? So much mistrust, hate fueling hate, revenge begetting another bloody round of revenge… Where does this all end?
Religion is a very personal matter, it belongs in our minds and in our families and homes, at most. How can we fight and kill each other over something so personal and subjective? Would you kill me if I said my husband was the best husband in the world? Would you mistrust me only because I did not marry yours? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? I am sorry, but I find the other argument just as ridiculous too.
I am Hindu and I’d like to tell the so-called saviors of my Hindu pride, I don’t really care about rebuilding a temple that may or may not have been destroyed so many years ago if it is to happen at the cost of communal peace. And I have no interest in reclaiming the so-called lost honor of my religion. I never thought it was lost in the first place. I am very proud of my religion and would have been prouder still if you had never entered the picture.
Having said that, I am also least interested in establishing the supremacy of my religion over others. I am quite okay if you consider your religion superior to mine. Maybe it really is, who knows! I respect all religions equally, I truly do. I find as much peace of mind in a church as in a temple. I bow my head in reverence each time I pass a mosque. And I have Muslim friends who I am sure would like to say something similar to the terrorists supposedly waging war on their behalf.
So let me ask you both, fanatic Hindus and Muslims, do you care about the thousands of innocent lives being lost in this farce, lives of the very people whom you claim to protect and later avenge? Did they volunteer to be sacrificed in your war? Men, women and children, the bombs did not distinguish between Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians – simple folks like yours and mine out for some Saturday evening fun with the family. Did any of them personally murder someone in Gujarat?
WHAT CRIME DID THEY COMMIT? None? So they were simply a statistic then? A statistic in the grand war you are fighting on behalf of us all? Ah, that explains it all.
Note: This was my emotional and personal reaction to the Delhi blasts. I may have got some facts wrong or you may disagree with my interpretation of events – I’ll be glad if you would politely correct me and explain your viewpoint in that case. Thank you.
Edited to add: Roop and Phoenix Ritu have something similar to say too. I wish we could implement some of Roop’s suggestions. I have a feeling they would work but vested interests would never let us try.