Ayodhya Gaatha

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 PMNov (Friends, Media, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Ruhi messaged me just now saying, “Baithak kahatam. Ayodhya per do baje faislaa aaney ki sambhawana.” My soul shivered. A week ago the verdict was to be announced. But it got deferred. And it was a momentary relief for all of us. That evening my mother called me up and while speaking she mentioned, “They had announced holiday tomorrow (24) and day after (25) but now they have canceled it.”

As she said that i remembered the morning of 7 Dec 1992. I was in class three. My dad woke me up and said, “its holiday for you.” There was shine in my eyes. I woke up quickly and asked my dad why was it a holiday. “They have demolished Babri Masjid,” came the answer. That was the first time i had heard about Babri Masjid. Without bothering to ask why they had demolished or what the matter was, i started off with my celebration. Narendra, Sandeep all of us gathered to play within an hour, heart in heart feeling good about the demolition of Babri Masjid. Holiday prolonged for many days. We celebrated on all the days. One of our seniors named Samartha (who i liked a lot just because his name was closer to my name) son of an editor of a leading Kannada daily, later started saying us that if BJP came to power we would get 3 months holiday because Ram Mandir had to be constructed at Ayodhya. So pressing on our parents to vote for BJP we all became a hardcore fan of BJP just for those holidays.

Today when i recollect all those days, i feel very ashamed of myself and i scream heart in heart saying, “main sharmindaa hoon.” As i type this i can hear azaan from the near by Masjid. I feel like saying it aloud once, like an azaan that, i am ashamed. It had taken very long for me to realize that 6 Dec 1992 was a dark day, which we had celebrated. By the time i realized it 2002 March was at the door. Those days Niyad had become a part of our group. I still remember some of my friends calling him a “terrorist” when the Gujarat riots was at its peak. He had tears in his eyes. It was a strange situation for me. I could not agree with what my friends said. But neither did i speak in favour of Niyad then. Today i want to go hold Niyad’s hand and say again, “Main sharmindaa hoon.”

Few years later i.e. 2005 i came across one of the finest gentleman i have know. Faizan Khan. Apart from having our usual sher-o-shayari sessions at times we also got into some serious discussions. Once while we were sitting at K.C. one of his classmates started making vulgar and fiery statements against Muslims. Faizan had silently walked from the location. The next day i met Faizan and spoke to him of the previous night and told him not to take the words of our common friend seriously and just ignore it. That was when Faizan narrated me the day of 6 Dec 1992 in his life.

The matter was getting worse. Fear had gripped all of them. Staying separately was scary. So the family of Faizan had moved to one of their relatives house in a less sensitive area. He had recollected how he saw the moving images of the Babri Masjid demolition on television. He also spoke as to how they had all stored food fearing that no food would be available. When he narrated the incident i could sense what a bitter taste that day had left behind for him. I could sense that fear of a young Faizan even in a grown up Faizan. When he narrated i did remember how i had celebrated on that day when at the same time in some other part of the world Faizan was sitting and watching television while intense fear had gripped him.

Few days ago i casually called my friend Pankaj. After our usual talks Pankaj said, “arrey bhaiyya 24 ko verdict hai.” After i expressed my fear he said, “My dad was caught in the riot that followed the demolition in 1992.” I never knew about this. Pankaj and i had never discussed the matter earlier. I was shocked to know and so asked for details. “My dad was working there those days and he got caught in the riots. You know what, he was sheltered by a Muslim family then.”

Today the same Pankaj messaged me, saying, “Hope humanity triumphs.” And as i read it i remembered the display of humanity by an unknown Muslim family which sheltered a Pankaj’s father those days. Because of them, today i can still hope…

28 September 2010

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