Search This Website


Monday, January 09, 2006

An astonishing incident: Communalism on the countryside... [Part-II]

Deeply hurt I went to the people I had to meet as part of my assignment. But I was demoralised and did all this without my heart into it. I hastily finished all the work in just a few hours without going into long sessions of interviews with politicians, workers and local media men.

I asked the driver to take me back. Barely had we set off and from the side of the railway station went to the other side of the town that was the way out, the driver exclaimed..probably it was Baap Re or Maar Daala [exclamation].

This was followed by, 'Arrey sahab...yeh kahaaN le aaye..dekha! yahan to poora Pakistan bana rakha hai...'.[Where have we come, they have made a Pakistan here]. He was obviously pointing towards the row of houses, mostly pained green, the minarets, domes and the people looked Muslim.

 This was the second shock. Not as harsh as the first one but nonetheless a shock that unsettled me. As the town was not too far, just a few hours of journey away, so I had no formal introduction with the driver. On my way to the town I had slept in the taxi for the couple of hours and reached there in the wee hours.

If we had a meal together he might have guessed about my religion. I had a book which I was reading in the early morning and so there was no way he could have felt that I was 'The Other'. He hadn't asked my name

Why should have he bothered, it was a routine job for him and I was used to the comments "You don't look like a Muslim" from childhood. The difference in Hindi-Hindustani and Urdu is not as discernible to everybody. 

It was a five hour journey and by evening, I reached home. In the meantime, he told me so many things. Of course, he didn't ask me about my name even once. He said that he lived in a Muslim ghetto in the old part of the town. 

And he took pride in the fact that he owned a Giant Wheel [merry go-round or Hindola]. This was his side business. During the peak months when the fetes and fairs were organised he earned lot of money with his Ferris Wheel.

In rest of the months, he worked as taxi driver. The job of taxi driver was harsh, he said, you have to work for long hours and on occasions no sleep for 36 hrs or 40 hrs at a stretch. But the gleam in his eyes was unmistakeable when he talked about the Giant Wheel which when installed went up to 51 ft in height.

In fact, I had never given a thought that there are men who can earn good money through swings and merry go-rounds. He dropped me at the home and asked me to write my name on the slip. I wrote it in English and he asked me to write in Devanagri also, I wrote and he casually kept it in the pocket.

The Pakistan comment was not as harsh compared to the previous statement. One is used to 'Pakistan comment' since childhood. I wondered that if after reaching his house and taking out the slip he might feel slight remorse on noticing that I was a Muslim. 

Instead of signature, I wrote my complete name. This is necessary as it approves the distance travelled. Unless I do sign, his bill would not be cleared, as it may be construed that he went elsewhere also and drove in excess, to make money, by fooling the owner.

So I wrote my name, verifying the kilometers and places I had gone to, and handed him the paper. He might think of being more careful in future and not to take any one as a Muslim or Hindu on the basis of mere looks. It took me a few days to come out of the shock this short journey had given me.

I told many of my friends, mostly Hindus, about the incident. This made me feel lighter, I don't know why. There was a long period of introspection. We can't force any one against his will to like or dislike a community but then it is in our hands to introspect and mend our ways.

I am sure we must share part of the blame, Kuchh ghaltiyan to hamari bhi hongi warna hamse itni nafrat ki koi wajeh to hogi......READ THE FIRST PART OF THIS SERIES HERE


Roopa said...

:( that is just horrible... people harboring blind hate. So much for a secular nation where atleast tolerance should be practised. But why hope for tolerance - some of us should just set the bar higher, wayyy higher.

AJ Scholenberg said...

such things are a part of life. its not so much "hatred" as u like to put it.
in the united states, places like el paso have huge populations of mexicans and they have been there for time immemorial. do the americans hate the mexicans? wella few of'em do. but just cos someone off the street sez something unpleasent doesnt imply hatred. so lighten up.
the way i see it...india is THE most complex country on the face of the earth. in the 1950's most nations(developed) were on a consensus that a country like india will not exist for too long as there are about 30 odd states each having its own unique history, language and culture.
to see tht such a country has lasted almost 60 years is a remarkable achievement in itself. but in such a complex make-up of a nation, you gotta get used to the fact that differing outlooks and opinions and unique biases are bound to be a reality.
oh and BTW i'm a german and hav been livin in this country for 3 1/2 years and believe me not one day goes when this country fails to astonish me(pleasently or otherwise)

Roopa said...

well aj, you are right in a way, but it gets me thinking - much of this prejudice and bigotry is baseless, opinions formulated on nothing more than the need to feel superior. We want to protect our "individualism" so much but are unwilling to see others in the same light. It makes me sad, but then who am i to judge, I have been guilty too.

Anonymous said...

well if its pakistan, every indian should hate that country. so many indians- of every religious stripe, killed and mutilated in the name of islam, and some muslims (not the author of this piece) continue to praise it or regard it as a homeland. that plus we have to admit that many muslim rulers were horrible with hindus. both combine for anger at muslim community by some misguided souls who take umbrage at indian muslims of today, who are not like the above


vijay said...

I thought the author of this blog was different..but alas no..can i have it any other way..no apparently..the "Lower caste" comments proves he is more or less the same whining guy like others..

Talking about the hate, What wud u say of numerous preachers coming to hindu-majority places and organise meetings, invite hindus and then say "All religions are false except ours".. That doesnt qualify as hate, does it?

or about zakir naik?? His unwavering stance that hindus are infidels?? How can that be hate? Thats pure peace and love..

Atleast you are mentioning about some stray hindus who may or may not exist. You would rather be a VICTIM quoting these ppl rather than try to counter hate-preachers frm ur religion??

And wat about numerous "These buddhists" comments all over the net and the release of fake-photos..

That doesnt matter does it?? after all, these infidels are "Lower-caste" ppl, all of them..isnt it??can they be judged on the same scale as our own TRUE RELIGIONISTS?? Not at all..

indscribe said...

Dear Mr Vijay...

....where have I made the 'lower-caste' comment?

vijay said...

Dear Sir,

"Is it about the way Muslim are, their apparently aggression and ego that is intolerable to others who probably want them to be like the extremely lower castes--unable to raise voice."

This is ur comment in first part.. Thats what prompted my lower-caste comment. Ofcourse mine was an analogy..

Ok, tell me one thing, would it not have been provocative , if i have said that,

"Is it about the way RSS ppl are, their apparently aggression and ego that is intolerable to muslims who probably want them to be like the Dhimmis--unable to raise

Plainly provocative? isnt it??

Victimhood mindset has never helped any community. Its basically an aggression.. A premise being constantly laid for attacking an enemy ..

Anyways i found some self-critical articles in this website..and also the way u celebrated a muslim couple using "Kafir's god" ganesha in their invite letter.. I thought u probably are at the same thinking plane as the likes of azim premji or abdul kalam (I mean in social issues)..

But the reluctance to remove the cloak of victimhood and the hesitation in outrightly condemning ppl like zakir naik , makes me think again..

No offence meant..just typed out my thoughts..

rAJIV gURJAR said...

Kuchh ghaltiyan to hamari bhi hongi warna hamse itni nafrat ki koi wajeh to hogi...you are correct its all your fault not just kuch.
your axn have settled an image of Muslims as a whole and you can't escape from it now.
stop blaming RSS..both these you mentioned were surely not from RSS..do you think so??....in future things will become worse for you people..we Hindus don't want you in our homes..now it's about jobs and than more where will you go...you thought you can insult us by marrying Hindu girls...or doing riots or doing bomb blasts all over the country...pay for your karma now

i hope you publish my comment