The Other Side Of Gujarat Carnage
By abdul Majid Zargar
03 July, 2015
Gujrat carnage of 2002 remains one of the worst State aided communal riots in Indian History. Around 1500 Muslim men, women & children were killed, most of them in a savagely cruel & barbarous way. Former Supreme Court judge Justice PB Sawant, who conducted an inquiry into the riots found then Chief Minister Narendra Modi guilty. Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran appointed by supreme court to investigate allegations of Mr Modi's complicity in the riots has also stated in his report that prima-facie a case exists against Modi . It is another thing that Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by Supreme Court exonerated him on very filmsy & technical grounds. For instance, there can be nothing more sillier than the bizarre statement of SIT which said that even if Mr Modi had told the police during the riots to allow the Hindus to vent their anger over the massacre of 56 kar sevaks in the Godhra train burning incident, his mere statement in the confines of a room does not constitute an offence. In a sting operation, a BJP MLA in Gujrat has confessed that Modi gave them three clear days to kill Muslims wherever found seen or hiding. Justice Sawant has made his opposition & disagreement known to SIT report. .
Even during his lifetime , Gandhi, who brought freedom to India without a drop of blood, was less popular among Gujrati Hindus than Vallabhbai Patel. Commenting on Modi’s continuous post riots electoral victories, Martha C Nussbaum the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago says in her book “ The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age”, that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's third straight win in the assembly elections is a major negative for the state & its people. She feels that by re-electing him, Gujaratis have re-elected an outlaw and a person whose world reputation is synonymous with hatred for Muslims and fomenting violence against them”.Few Gujrati Hindus are aware today that Gandhiji's original trip to South Africa was sponsored by a Gujarati Muslim, Dada Abdullah. Similarly the Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose was sponsored by another Gujarati Muslim, Abdul Habib Marfani whome Bose later conferred the title of Sevak- e-Hind.
But there is also another side to the Gujrat carnage- the story of humanity, brotherhood & compassion which also needs to be brought to fore . It is penned down by Harsh Mander in his book “Looking away- page 354” and I am reproducing it for the benefit of readers.
“ In Koha, a village not far from Ahmadabad, more than 110 women, men and children cowered many hours in fields of standing crops. They were all Muslim, all belonging to working-class families- landless workers, lorry drivers, tailors in clothing factories- and all were mortally terrified.
As darkness fell, the children became hungry and they wondered how they would survive that night of terror. They knew a Hindu farmer, Dhuraji, to be a compassionate man. They decided to take a chance with him. Thus they their way under the cover of darkness to the home of Dhuraji and Babuben Thakur. With lowered eyes, they begged for shelter for just one night.
Neither Dhuraji nor babuben hesitated for even a moment and opened their doors and hearts traumatized, wearied, now homeless neighbours. The next morning the guests offered to leave for the relief camp, but their hosts would not hear of it. ’This is your home,’ they assured them .’As long as god gives to us, we will share whatever we have with you.’ They opened their entire stores of rice and bajra for the whole year and ensured that all were fed for the full ten days that they lived in the sanctuary of their home. The women of the family brought out all their clothes and would form a human wall and form a human wall around their well as women bathed each day.
Dhuraji gathered his extended family from the village to mount constant guard for their guests for ten nights and days, armed only with sickles. The women and children were persuaded to sleep inside the home, while the Thakur women slept in the open fields and the Thakur men kept vigil through the long cold nights. They were unshaken by threats from their Hindu neighbours, who sent across bangles as taunts, set fire to their haystacks and, one night, even stole in throught the darkness to set fire to their house, which they managed to douse just in time.
Still, Dhuraji and his wife Babuben were perfect hosts, as though these were just normal times. They tried to meet every need of their gusts and a make them feel constantly welcomed.Dhuraji’ grown sons would set out in their tractors and bring back large stocks of bidis for the men, tea for the women and milk for the children. Years later, the refuge-seekers remembered fondly that seeing them in gloom, Dhuraji even hired a VCR and showed them Hindi films to life up their spirits.
At the end of ten days, it was they who insisted that they must finally shift to the relief camp. Their hosts tried to persuade them to stay as long as they needed to rebuild their own homes. Dhuraji finally organized tractor and a police escort and safely reached them to the camp .He used to visit them regularly at the camp as well, and the women recall that his eyes would often well over when he saw their children lose weight in the austere rigours of the camp and stand in lines for watery tea.
Four years later, when I met Dhuraji and babuben, they were embarrassed when I told them that what they had done was magnificent. When I pressed them about why they did what they did, Dhuraji thought for a long time before replying, ‘simply ‘How could I bear it that people of my village are treated this way? ‘He added firmly, ‘This village belongs to the Muslims as much as it belongs to me.’
I asked if they were frightened during those ten days and nights. Babuben was almost irritated by my question.’ ‘if you are doing the right thing, how can you be afraid?’. She asked me.
I then asked if they regretted that they lost their entire year’s stock of grain in ten days. Dhuraji replied,’ Our Thakurji (God) ensured that we get a good harvest after our guests Left, and since that day, our grain stocks have never fallen empty.’ He had no doubt that his Thakurji would reward him for saving the lives of more than a hundred Muslim children, women and men.
Babuben added, Their good wishes and prayers have strengthened us. Don ‘t you see greenery everywhere?. I did.”
My salutes to the people like Dhuraji and babuben.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at [email protected])
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