The mega narrative called world and life has both big actors and small actors. Big actors can call the shots but its not they who run the show. They just spoil the show. It’s these small actors who keep the world going.
These thoughts were the ripples created by my tryst with a few victims of one of the nineteen incidents (till 19 March) that have taken place in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka after the Hindu Samajothsava held on March 15 at Mangalore.
These boys were one of the first victims of the series of violence. These boys namely: Aarif, Ahraf, Thaufeek, Sirajuddin, Hameed, Sarfaraz, Navman and Rajesh, who were returning home (Mulky) on March 15 after a cricket tourney in Brahmavar got caught in the traffic jam at Kaup where communal disturbance had erupted.
Unaware of the communal disturbance the boys in their car imagined that the traffic jam was because of some accident that they assumed had taken place on the road. As they were waiting for the traffic to be cleared, a police constable according to Hammed came to them and asked if there were women in the car and when said “no” he asked the boys to run away.
Within a few minutes after this a group of 30-40 people returning from the Hindu Samajothsava mobbed the car and asked if the people inside were Muslims. Realizing the fact that they were Muslims, due the sticker pasted on the front glass saying ‘Masha-Allah’ the attackers broke the frontal glass first and then the back glass. Realizing the threat to their life the boys inside the car opened the door and ran in different directions. But before they escaped from the hands of the attackers, they were beaten quite badly.
“I am a Hindu”
While they were being beaten, during their attempt to run, Rajesh, a Hindu, was showing his ears being pierced and also his sacred thread to the attackers as a proof to say that he was a Hindu. That being not enough he also kept crying “I am a Hindu, I am a Hindu” but the attackers did not spare him.
Rajesh after the incident was being taken to the house of Soori Shetty, who rescued Rajesh, but Jagadeesh Achar a friend of Soori Shetty, took Rajesh to his house because Rajesh was of his caste!!! That night, Rajesh speaking to Jagadeesh Achar said “if we had spoken only in Kannada the attackers wouldn’t have known that there are Muslims in the car.
“Hindutva people attacked us and Hindus saved us”
After opening the door and running in different directions Hameed crossing all the fences that he faced reached a “Hindu house” where a lady, he said, asking him to hide inside her house stood at the door with a sickle and chased away the attackers who were chasing him. As this lady was fighting the saffron brigade, Hameed escaped through the back door.
Aarif, once he opened the door to run, was caught by the attackers and beaten with rod and a lathi. He said that escaping from their hands he ran directly to a police near by holding whom tightly he said “save me, save me” and the police expressing his helplessness said “run away from here.” On understanding that the situation had “gone beyond the control of police” Aarif ran towards the residential area and collapsed in the courtyard of a “Hindu house” where, he said, two women took him in and served him water. “They were the ones who later on took me to the hospital near by for first aid”, said Aarif.
Thaufeek another boy said that escaping from the hands of the attackers ran to a non-residential area and climbed a tree and hid himself behind the leaves filled branches.
Saying that the very thought and memory of those moments scare him; Hameed said “Hindutva people attacked us and Hindus saved us” and adds to it “Those who attacked us are pawns in this game. The real culprits are the ones who instigate these people to attack.”
“Human life is more important”
“All of us got scattered while we all ran for our lives and finally it was one Soori Shetty, a localite, who using all his contacts brought us together and ensured that we all are taken to the hospital” recollects Sirajuddin.
Soori Shetty said that his house is located near by the place where the mishap took place on Sunday. That evening on hearing noise from the streets, he said, he had come out of home to see what was happening. Soori Shetty said that on realizing that there was a communal conflict he decided to do his “duty.” Recollecting the incident he said “human life is more important than religion and other things.”
How I wish the big actors had the wisdom of the small actors of this mega narrative!!!
20 March 2009