The comments (including mine) on this post by Nita sparked off these thoughts. What good does a riot do? Bad for the stability, bad for the economy, bad for the image of the nation. And we bloggers get a new subject to rant about. Group A intends to humiliate or crush the spirit of Group B, they go medieval on them. Well then, after a while some one or the other from Group B will be plotting for revenge, and the whole shebang will start off again. The debate on the post was on Firaaq, an (Pakistani) award winning movie which depicts the suffering of the Muslim community in the Godhra riots. Many, including me, said that the movie is one-sided, and should have included the mention of the train burning incident as well. The others ranted on, how a riot, is not about the faith, but the death of innocent beings. So on and so forth. Read the rest to get a better idea. But then, is a riot, a contest of some sorts? Is it so, that the community which loses more members is to be sympathized with more, or the community to bear the brunt first gets a justification for the brutality with which they descended upon the others. Do we keep a score, and use that to settle the argument? Movies like Firaaq do not justice to tragedies like Godhra. What you need is objectivity. We need to look beyond who started or ended it, the blame game. We need to condemn the action and the reaction equally. A truly great and sensible movie would be one, which showed you everything, told the story in its entirety. It wouldn’t appeal too many, the pseudo-seculars or the minority-bashers, and it won’t get an award from Pakistan for sure, but that would do justice to it. A fellow blogger remarked, “You don’t need to belong to a particular community to speak truth. Nandita Das is a hindu and she bothered to empathize”. But then, if you are empathizing/sympathizing on the basis of religion, then it is not true empathy or sympathy. How different is the grief of a mother whose child was burnt from that of a one, whose child was hacked to pieces? Rioters and the inciters of those riots should be doled the harshest possible punishment, irrespective of the cause and effect; these episodes spread sociological cancer. And if being rational while analyzing such incidents makes me a “dhobi ka kutta” (thank you Indyeah), neither here nor there, then so be it.
Remember the movie, Desh Drohi? How a “North-Indian” comes to Mumbai, gets his ass whopped, how he kicks Marathi ass back, and all that crap. That again, is one hell of a flawed movie, and lame as well. If I were to ever make a movie on that subject, I would start off with the root cause, the non-development of UP/Bihar. How the “great leaders” of UP and Bihar let the states rot. How they are the front runners in the BIMARU group. And then move on to Mumbai and blame the likes of Thackeray. I am a Bihari, but an Indian first and foremost, and in that spirit, it would not be fair to put all the blame on one man and his party. It is not a black and white world. This is not just a Marathi or a Bihari problem, but an Indian one, and it should treated objectively.
People lose their rationality and sense of objectivity when it comes to their own. Their “own” could be their religion, language, caste, colour, city, state or sexual-preference, possibly everything except their nation. For me, India is my own. If not, then how can I claim to be a true Indian?
A poem I wrote as a teen, years ago, after the Godhra aftermath.
A riot broke in my land
Blood flowed and flooded,
through every hand,
Man slaughtered man, and,
in vengeance was butchered by him.
A father and son were amongst those,
One perished, the other vowed revenge.
But when the time to kill came,
He heard the cries of a weeping mother,
All around him were grieving losers,
Their cries pierced the depths of heart,
The tears were many, the anguish same,
His hands froze, the malevolence maimed,
In death, he saw us all as one,
For they had no religion, once they were gone.
p.s. Someday, I will make a movie on the Kashmiri Pandits, and then fast until death if the Pakistani Government refuses to acclaim,accredit and award that movie. I am banking on the fact that :-
1. I will win a lottery to finance the movie, and cast Nandita Das .
2. There will be a few Pandits left by then .
3. The Land-of-Pure would still be on the face of this Earth .