The other day I was watching the movie Bombay on TV. Now the only way you wouldn t have heard of or seen the movie Bombay is
1. if u have been living under a rock for the past 15 years
2. if u don’t appreciate good movies and prefer to watch movies like veerasamy etc.
Jokes apart, It is one of the most beautiful Indian movies I have seen. It has mani ratnam written all over it. The story is impeccable, the actors are impeccable, the direction is mind blowing and I am not even going to talk about the music. It speaks for itself. After all God composed the music for it. its gotta be great!!! :)
Anyway as I was saying I saw the movie (for the 7th time I think) after a very long time and it took me back to 1992. The babri masjid riots. On December 6th 1992, the babri masjid was demolished by hindu extremists and the whole of Bombay was burning. At that time we were living in surat- a city which is 5 hrs from Bombay and hence was affected by the riots. My dad had gone to a god forsaken place called babrala for a 6 month trip from office and my sister, mom and I were alone in surat when the riots struck. We were hindus living in a muslim area then, and my sister and I were attending a muslim school near home. Our muslim neighbors were extremely nice people who helped us when our area was attacked by muslim extremists thirsty for hindu blood and I don’t think I would be sitting and typing this if not for them.
I was a six year old for whom riots meant no school for ten days. It is only now that I realize what my mother would have gone through without having my father for support and living in a muslim area. My mother was a 30 year old woman with 9 and 6 year old girl children. It is only now that I understand what she would have gone through, what a struggle each day must have been. A struggle for food, struggle for milk, struggle for life and existence and yet there wasn’t a single day when my sister and I went hungry or a single time when my mother actually made us realize the seriousness of the situation choosing instead to keep all the troubles of herself than let us know. Sometimes I wish I had at least half the courage and fortitude which she has. I would be a very different person today.
I remember there used to be no vegetables or bread or milk at home and my mom would be scared to leave home to buy it because she was afraid that if she was attacked/killed, we would be alone. So if she went out anywhere she took us with her and I have vivid memories of sitting on a policeman’s motor bike and going to buy milk and veggies (due to curfew no vehicles were allowed to run and only police jeeps and motorbikes dotted the empty roads). I also have these disturbing images of entire buses being burnt and curfew being declared. On the roads where we usually saw children playing, vehicles zooming, people buying vegetables etc we saw skeletal remains of burnt buses, police jeeps and absolutely no souls on the road. Some of these images are etched and ingrained in my memory and I am not likely to forget them for a long time to come.
During the riots a part of our school was burnt by hindu extremists and many of my friends lost their parents. It was appalling. The massacre of innocent people in the name of communalism makes my blood boil. Also people who make statements like all muslims are terrorists or terrorism is rampant because of the presence of muslims irritate me to no end. All terrorists might be muslims but not vice versa. Someone rightly said that it is only in times of adversity that the true colors of human beings show. And in times of adversity you are neither hindu nor muslim. You are just another human being either capable of helping or in need of help.
To all the extremists and fanatics who are ready to take innocent lives and demolish prayer houses in the name of religion I have only one thing to say to u. The primary difference between animals and us is the fact that we have the ability to think. If u cannot think, cannot value another life, cannot understand that terms like hindus and musilms are trivial and are of no consequence whatsoever in a world where relationships and human bonds matter the most and not caste, creed or nationality than u most probably shouldn’t have completed evolution and your very existence is a shame on the human race.