To Hope Or Not To Hope

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Activism, Friends, Media, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Whoever read Another Bakery Another Parzania by Harsh Mander on Abdulbhai and Noorie in yesterday’s Hindu ( must have not slept last night. If they did, they must have had a nightmare!

6 years now and still there is blood on the streets. Still many stories untold and many unheard!

If we don’t speak about the issue, I fear, history will forget, like the massacre of 1948 in the then Hyderabad ( and if we speak about the darkness of our times we are called traitors and also punished for it.

I remember reading about Juned Salim Sheikh, who was 7 when the Gujarat Massacre took place. He saw the violence and his boggled to an extent that he used to wake up from sleep and start running around saying, “Run! Run!” (Troubled Times, pg 18/19; Published by Bhoomika, Bangalore)

How can I not speak of it? Juned’s voice echoes in my heart. How can I remain silent about Juned? Speaking truth is blasphemy. We remain silent as darkness expands its empire. Should we be speaking of it all this? Ask many! I know not what to say. I am told ‘positive reinforcement’ needs to be given. I don’t understand.

Phaniraj Sir was telling as to how Muslims of the coastal Karnataka were reacting to communal violence in 1992 and how they did in 2002 after Gujarat riots. In 1992 they used to say- “the police will do something and we will get justice” and in 2002 they said- “God’s there. He will do justice.” The people have lost all hopes on human beings!

Recently Phani Sir was speaking this, in a seminar and he was stopped!

We should speak of the ‘good days’ we are told. That will bring back good times. What good shall we speak of?

And you’ll ask: why doesn’t his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!

Pablo Neruda


”In Ahmedabad, most people I met – social workers, journalists, survivors – agree that what Gujarat witnessed was not a riot, but a terrorist attack followed by a systematic, planned massacre, a pogrom. Everyone spoke of the pillage and plunder, being organized like a military operation against an external armed enemy. An initial truck would arrive broadcasting inflammatory slogans, soon followed by more trucks, which disgorged young men, mostly in khaki shorts and saffron sashes. They were armed with sophisticated explosive materials, country weapons, daggers and trishuls. They also carried water bottles, to sustain them in their exertions.” – Reported Harsh Mander in March 2002. (

Friend Vasanth Bannadi’s poem Devarantha Manushyara Devare Elliddi (God of Godly human beings, where are you?) reads:

Broke the bolted doors
With the help of axe: the door was scared.

Entered the house and
destroyed everything: no one asked them to stop

broke the small gates
in the house: no one cries for petty reasons.

squeezed the neck and
snatched the money: no name was written on it.

smashed the flower
that was smiling: the flower could not speak.

poured glass pieces into
the drinking water: the glass pieces dint injure them.

hit with a sword
right in front of the house: that hid all the sound.

chased and poured
boiling tar on them: no tears were left to cry now.

in their houses
are Godly people: !!!

(Sorry, for the poor translation -done by me)

They too carried water bottle with them they too are good human beings to their people but they have killed! They have killed but they too carry water because they too get tired like you and us and moreover they are good human beings! How do we construct the sentence? What do we speak in such moments? Beast within men? Or man within beasts?


I also join voice with Abdulbhai and Noorie in saying “we don’t know whether to hope any longer or not to hope”

16 June 2008

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