these r thoughts that i had written during the Bombay riots in 1992. A lot happened during that time..visions that i still see, events that are vivid. My niece’s wedding was on Dec 6, 1992, when a BJP leader from Pune hugged my late brother-in-law, congratulated his leaders & himself.. Ecstatic that they had pulled down the Babri Masjid, I could feel the chill on my back coz i could envisage the events that would unfold in the next few days. Days? Seems the thread is broken forever..
i will be honest-i had NOT expected the killings to be so random, many & violent…worse still the repercussions that a good community feeling has ruined our society worse…Bombay was forcibly converted to Mumbai.
My father, sister & I still proceeded to Bombay the next day we thought of getting on wt our normal lives come what may. We left Pune by train & it was shocking- had to pull down shutters, fm Kalyan people had begun throwing stones at the trains, delays & people rushing wt fear in their eyes when we did reach VT. As we neared Girgaum there was not a soul on the streets..reminded me of the dark window days of Indo-Pak war.
For 2 days we managed to live on few foodies that were at home. I had to try innovative things to fill our stomachs, like crushing garlic into paste mix it wt butter for garlic-butter-paav & other such things…we had to threaten our father who has a habit of going out at unearthly hours like 5.45am! Good time when prowlers target unarmed people in tensed situations, why even police had resorted to all sorts of tactics…meanwhile baba & I would have Indo-Pak war coz his predicament & mine clashed. In addition i have a friend-Altaf, who’s name is a give away. So less said the better..it was tough for his family too that was uprooted from their home in Tardeo..life was not the same for all for few months. Years after normal life was restored, the Shaikhs could not put up their name plate! These are my thoughts…
The air is tensed & the skies rage with hues of fires
Little children, youth & adults are gripped in a mania
Reason, is visibly absent
All perform ‘acts of duty’ with utmost loyalty
For whom? As inexplicable as the acts of violence
Ironic, you see hatred more on faces of those who pulled down the Masjid
Revenge is for those who saw their place of worship crumble
They have sent fear down streets of ‘Bombay’
No bearded man or a burqua lady is being spared
Men are forced to pull down their pants
witnesses ensure there’s no one circumcised!
Majority indulgences in thrills to satisfy their sadism
Scared they will be out numbered soon
Is this the triumph of any religion?
Who are these victorious soldiers?
What medals should be conferred on them for merciless muders?
Children have died, women raped & riots on the streets
Arson, shooting and houses destroyed as clouds of smoke blur the horizon
Sounds of swords, bottles and tube lights ring in the air
Are we the same peace-loving Indians? Is this democracy?
‘This is just the beginning,’ warn the hardened Hindus
The quiet tolerance has disappeared
They smirk devising heinous plans
These frenzied have become the voice of majority
But most civilians are mere mute participating in a vicious game plan
Do they realise they are being used?
A chill is sent down our spines as the commissioner orders shooting a baker’s family
While in the suburbs a politician is cleared of carrying arms & explosives
Blame game has begun whilst a gangster has initiated a new terror chapter
A blanket of fear has covered the faces of common people
Bombayites witness one of their worst nightmare
While our government turns a blind eye to all destruction
Gory visuals leave all benumbed, sadly not shamed
The world watches Bombay change from cosmopolitan to communal
The war continues..Now even the middle class has taken to looting, killing & force
Unfulfilled desires surface, as the rich too grab from the muck
Confusion surrounds the goals & motive for rioting, people look dressed for some haloween
Except no sweets are asked at the door, they break-in to spread terror
Anger, pain, and isolation have embraced the scary souls
Haunting memories make them shiver
Lights are out in mohallas where all whisper in fear
Nameplates are missing from doors & many tip toe towards nearest city exits
The homeless huddle in clusters & cries of children echo the over crowded stations
Platforms have disappeared under sea of humanity, all look in stunned silence
Only heads are visible-caps or burquas many have still retained their lost identity
For many the journey of migration to safety has begun, destination still unknown
Are these crackers heralding a New Year or gunshots & blasts?
Shimmering sparkle have set the streets on fire
The epidemic of religious frenzy has spread wildly
Humanity has been thrown in a whirlpool of pain
Most have been uprooted, is this a war?
The markets are closed & goods vanished
Only ashes remain on the ground
Hunger is the last worry on their minds
Fathers are prevented from going to work,
Police arrest thousands from only one community
Leaders cry for strong action but the administration fails to deliver
Is this the city I was born in?
Everyone seems to have joined hands to claim their share of ÂpowerÂ
These are plain chess moves & the reigns in the hands of conspirator
Madness continues as even noble attempts to restore peace seem superficial
The culprits are at bay, but rest live in a world of suspicion, hostility & revenge
All have been used & abused, but the conspirators sleep well
The crack is now evident, they have succeeded in dividing us
All we can now do is plaster & paint,
But we will never be able to hide our shame
My journey on the BEST began being seated on the last row
My serenity was broken suddenly by loud sounds of laughs and loose talks
The hooligans rushed to squeeze next to me What was the excitement?
After many days this travel was possible
The bus was full as my eyes searched for rescue from the taunts & jibes
Ahead sat a lonely man isolated from the rest
His beard was a give away, my saviour was right there!
He like few had still not shed their respect.