Bodo, Muslim. Assam, Pune. Murder, Hatred. Not.

Reportage and analysis can come later. For now, knowing that two communities in India are at each others’ throats — again — and that ‘community leaders’ are trying to spread the murderous fire of ethnic rage all over the country, this anecdote from my Facebook feeds was like benediction. In darkness, a light.

And there are several such beams all over the country, as there is the thick subterranean poison of communal Othering. It is easy to pierce a heart, or rip a foetus from a belly, if you don’t think their owners are quite as human as you are.

Let this also be a reminder: Casual supporters of sectarian politics — of every kind — are as much flesh and blood as the people they label ‘miscreants’ and ‘terrorists’. If there is a riot — or, more accurately, a bigger riot than there already is — then fanaticism, apolitical disinterest, or naive hope for peace will make for flimsy shields. If all of us share the peace and prosperity of the land, such as they are, then we must also share the consequences of ripping it to shreds. So really, a more self-serving idea right now would be to stay calm and calm people down, than to roll up sleeves and rub hands in red glee.

Just a little something to think about, before you let that righteous bubbling blood reach your head, and convince you that the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, upper castes, lower castes, adivasis, dalits, northies, southies, darkies, lighties, heteros, homos, girlies, transies and boyos really have it coming.

Just out of the meeting called by Commissioner of Police Pune regarding the NE people’s issue along with comrade Ganesh Darade.

Kudos to the superbly democratic approach taken by Pune police. DYFI Pune will issue a press statement soon but a couple of points I’d like to quickly highlight

1) The hall was full of “identifiably” Muslim people who unequivocally said “my home is open for them”

A man who looks after the maintenance of a Masjid said “There were 30 Assamese workers who lived in my neighbourhood. Thanks to their cleaning and repairing of the old Masjid near my place it can now accommodate 300 people for prayers at one time. But yeterday they left all of a sudden. How am I to celebrate Eid without them?”

2) A Manipuri student who as per an SMS was reported to have been beaten and chased out of Ferguson college (and was said to have left Pune) took the mike smiled and said “No nothing has happened to me”.

3) The Mufti (after reciting Sahir) said “I told my audience after the prayers if you receive an SMS that tells you to get angry about what’s happened in Assam, delete it. We will not fight battles in the name of Assam in Pune”.

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5 comments

  1. For every war mongering, hate-propagating individual on each side, we need to 10s and 1000s of people like above. We should denounce anyone calling India home when they cannot accept and be proud of our plurality. No Assamese, Oriya, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, and/or Malyali has an existence without being an Indian first. And I know it is scary, I lived in Assam at the height of the ULFA kidnappings in 91-93 and each evening calls would go out about the number of non-Assamese people that they would be kidnapping today. As 6-7 year olds with limited means of communication, we waiting each day for our dad to come back from work even as people we knew got taken away. Many left to go back to Bombay, Gujarat, Dehradun but we didn’t. Because, say what a handful of terrorists will, all our Assamese neighbours were wonderful and thankfully cared much more for individuals they knew than issues they couldn’t relate to.

    I’ll say to all North-easterns now fleeing back “home” – stay on. Let’s see who dares harm you!

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