Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 6th 1992 and Me

The views expressed in this article might be controversial to some. It is not my idea or intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments. I offer no quick-fix solutions. I’m only stating things the way I see them.

I was 7 years old on Dec 6th ’92. I remember school shutting down and we being rushed back home. I didn’t understand what really had happened. I was studying in a Hindu school and the general impression I got at the time was that something good had happened, that something was being set right after a long long time. There was some fear around. But generally there was some kind of pride building up inside all of us.

Since that day I became acutely aware of my Hindu identity. I started looking for religion in people’s names, dresses, habits. I was aware that I was buying my cricket ball from a Muslim shop and that the boy who I played cricket with was a Christian.

As years went by, I got even more radical. It didn’t help that we had moved to the Gulf where prejudice is a way of life. It had reached a state where I didn’t want to be friends with Christians or Muslims. I just didn’t trust them.

But as you grow up things get a little bit more complicated. You realize many things. It’s not only the Hindu guy who treats you well- it can be the ‘other guy’ too. It’s not only the ‘other guy’ who is insensitive and insensible- it can be the Hindu guy too. There are good people and bad people in every faith, caste or creed.

I realized that ‘they’ are not very different from ‘us’. They have the same questions about God and religion that come to our minds. They find it difficult to comprehend the complex web of spirituality and religion with the conflicting views on sexuality, morality, life, death, etc. just like we do.

Leaders manipulate people using religion, caste, nativity etc. The demagogues make you angry, they make you hate, and they control your emotions. When your blood is boiling it is very difficult to make rational decisions. Politicians thrive in this situation. They don’t want you to use your brains. They’re not good enough for it and they know it. The only way they’ll win is to use sentiment.

Looking back at that fateful day I feel ashamed of what happened. I feel cheated and abused. I feel stupid and small. Maybe I was just a child… but it still is very difficult to get over the false-pride I felt at that time.

It might be true that the particular spot is the birthplace of Lord Ram. But can any temple bring back the lives lost? Can any temple/masjid  reverse the decades of suspicion and hatred? Ram and Allah stand for love and peace. Not hatred and war. And let’s be clear- the masjid/temple is not for God, it’s more a political statement.

I’m not an authority on history so I can’t say with certainty if there was a temple before the masjid was demolished. From what little I have read, it was not uncommon for Muslim conquerors to destroy places of worship and build masjids in its place. What we should learn from that- as Hindus, Muslims and primarily as Indians is when we belittle another faith, then the damage that is done lasts for centuries. The cycle of violence, hatred, prejudice is never-ending. We don’t need that. The after-effects of the short-sighted decisions of the erstwhile Muslim rulers of India are still being felt today.

Today- You and I are the rulers of a New India. We have history to learn from. In principle, it is we who make the decisions for the future of this country. So do you want to move ahead or do you want to repeat history again? Temple/ Masjid- is it going to bring peace to our land? Can we try to forgive and forget- at least so that we are not manipulated by the scheming politicians? Please ask yourselves these questions.


The Literary Jewels said...

A nicely written piece! Indeed, what really matters is what we are as human beings. We won't be someone different if we belonged to some other religion. It is just a man-made divide. And we often fail to look beyond those boundaries and are not able to see the underlying unity. I once wrote a post about such underlying unity: Who am I?

Unknown said...

Its time to move on.. Just as you said - its important that we do not let ourselves be manipulated by inhuman leaders...
A temple/masjid is the last thing people want. we have enough of it already. It's time we stood up and let those morons know that their dirty games wont work anymore.

Chhaya said...

I blv in that someone who lives inside us. its called our consciousness. for me, its that godly part. I know, if i hurt someone deliberately, it will come back to haunt me, today or tomorrow.

For every religious fanatic, i have just one Q, How can anyone of us, doesnt matter of which religion, claim to be the care-taker of God? God does not need temples and mosques and churches. We need them. they are just a place where we can gather to pray, nothing more than that. not for me.

i like th way you have sketched your thoughts. i was as old as u on that day, and yes, it has left some scars on my soul too.

i hope nothing like this ever happens again, cz no matter which party/leader does it, only one person will suffer, the common man/woman

nice reading :)

A New Beginning said...

Yes Ajai, its time we moved on. You know its not the common man who has a problem, its politics that generates that seed in people's mind.We grow up together, eat at each others homes, treat each others parents as our own, love our friends, it never matters who is who...I love being an Indian, because I know that I am a part of a country where there is no religious bias, and whatever has been created has been creative to meet selfish desires, making the common man an instrument. I hope people realise the problem that exists..the real problem, that its not us but a selfish few who create problems. How does it matter what religion our neighbour or our countrymen belong to, how does it matter whether the shop we get our goods from is run by a hindu or a muslim, how does it matter at all...we are a nation..a united whole, and whereever we may be any part of the world..we should remember that being humane is more imp, coz no religion allows its followeres to destroy peace..
Its time that the new generation looks beyong such prejudice and peace and harmony rules our world.
Its a beautiful post Ajai, thanks a lot!

Maya said...

regarding religion, marx got it right

dumbheart said...

How much we say , I am an Indian...if we touch deep, we actually are not...!!
India is more of a country of states and India likes to be called south, north, east , west , mumbaikars, tamilians...etc...

Within and outside their country an American is American, a Russian is Russian.. but an Indian is never an Indian in his country...Sad that I am called a telugu...gujju, tamilian, my own nation..

Each state is bound to its own culture,language and religion majority and we have lost our unity amidst this strict drawn diversity...

@Ajai - Nice one yaar!! I loved this post of yours.....Though all of us the youth wants a mindset change in this topic...we tend to get lost in our own life and the scene hardly changes..

@Chhaya - I loved wht you wrote - "God does not need temples and mosques and churches. We need them. " - to Add to it.. We need God!!

Ajai said...

I'm not against per-religion per se. it has it's role to play. but yes, we should see it for what it is... and not see too much in it.

i was looking for your comment here. yup... it's time we moved on. we've been exploited enuff. it's time we used our heads and stop allowing ppl to exploit us.

Well... i have to disagree in some part here. who gives u the authority to write here? who gives u the authority to chose a career? to do research in math? u did. similarly if someone wants to pursue his religion i'm game with it. what we should understand is that society and laws have come through consensus. we will have issues with each other... what we must do is to solve them amicably so that consensus is maintained.

Ajai said...

yes... i totally completely agree. let's focus on today and tomorrow and keep history where it should be.

i wouldn't put it that simply. i don't know why... but i'd like to believe in the spiritual quality of life. should that spiritual quality be monopolized by religion.. that i'm not sure.

it's not true that India is the only country with these problems. Every country has these problems. Everyone talks abt 9/11 but before that there were the oklahoma bombings and they were carried out by a klu klux klan sympathizer. China has it's problems, Russia has it's problems, the middle east is full of problems. we don't have a monopoly over problems. what u must realize is inspite of these complex problems india has managed to hold on as one. that's the beauty of India. don't take it as our is our strength.

ANC said...

Well written. I agree with you. It's time to move on from division. It's bad enough we were divided at birth, but we need to put it past us. More importantly, we have to make sure our resolve is strong enough to defy these manipulative leaders. Our problem, however, is that we forget too easily.

I'm glad you asked these questions. Really glad.

Chhaya said...

@Ajai - u totally misunderstood me. what i was trying to say was better expressed by legendary poet Ekbal - *majhab nahi sikhata, aapas mein bair rakhna* (No religion teaches you to hate each other)

i just find it amusing when poeple try to kill each other in the name of protecting their own version of god/almighty/ishwar/allah and so on... i mean, if u blv in God then u must blv that we are too tiny to protect Him/Her.

What we all cal do is try to be a better person. Try to make at least one kid happy, try to look after our parents.. friends and more, if possible.

i have noting against people who are pursuing religious activities/studies full-time. i have tons of respect toward REAL holymen/women. not the fake ones.

Ajai said...

Thanks. We should all ask ourselves these questions.

Well that makes things clearer. yes i have the same philosophy towards spirituality and stuff. nice to know we have a lot in common. :)

itsyvitsy said...

I have no idea how I have managed to miss this post. Thanks to the week long holidaying that I was sequentially browsing through new posts on each of the blogs I follow that I realized I missed this one!

This is a problem that I guess we will face for all eternity. Politicians and religious activists have always had a knack to mould minds to think the way they think. And you as a rational thinker will only come across as a rebel and nothing but a nuisance-maker. The voices that will be raised against such irrational thinking and behaviour will be silenced in one of many cruel ways known to mankind.

However, I share your views. So you have another rebel joining your gang. :-) Keep writing such moving posts that could at least entice a few to perform a bit of soul searching.

Have a nice year of 2010. I see you have missed reading a few of my recent posts. I guess you are busy with your theatre work. Do read some time it is convenient.

Intern said...

hmm, its not everyday i see a point of view like this one :)
nicely laid out.

btw, i read this article from bottom to top :P, started with the last para nd continued to the 1st. :D

still it made sense :P

sri said...

very well said. Thoughts depicted here are similar to that of every hindu boy who go through a great deal to figure things out.

A evolved society is the one where everyone are treated well , irrespecitve of sex, race, culture, caste, religion, social status, sexuality, education, appearnce etc..

Ajai said...

Glad you finally managed to read it. Yes, if you're the type who uses your own brains to think out things, then unfortunately you are in the minority. :(

After reading your comment I also tried reading the article backwards! :P
Thanks for liking it.

Yes... i totally agree. We need to evolve. :)