Mumbai, December 1992, Nearly ten Years Ago

by | English Kahaniya, Kahaniya | 0 comments

It was late at night. The whole city was tense after the events of the past few days and while most people were terrified of stepping outside their homes, a large group of blood thirsty men with coloured bands round their heads, drunken eyes and armed with freshly sharpened choppers roamed Kurla’s streets.

Kurla is a densely populated part of Bombay. Most parts of Bombay are crowded with people. Here, too, different kinds of people live. There are people clustered in different localities. Many Muslims and many Hindus live in Kurla.

But on one particular street in Kurla, a lone building is occupied by muslims, next to which stands a mosque where they pray. It was people living in areas like this that were most terrified during whole of last week. Because crazy stories were being spreading lies about people and making others tense and afraid.

It was near this building at 1.a.m. that night that this incident occured. Unsuccessful in their efforts elsewhere, this bloodthirsty and drunken mob arrived outside this building and shouted in the dark of the night demanding that all the muslims living there line up one by one and come out. Everyone inside the building, man woman and child were listening, trembling with fear . Waiting, but none came out.

Shout after shout . And threat upon threats followed. Fear, tension, blood, anger, shouts — you could almost feel all these in the air. The mob was raring to go, angry and hysterical at no response. They were not going to wait too long to act. That much was clear.

As the tension reached breaking point, and someone in the crowd called loud to “Marco, to do , booming voice of a buxom old lady could be heard. She was plump and old, her hair peppered with white.
“You will destroy that building over my dead body, “ she could be heard declaring, “even I am a Hindu. But my faith does not teach me to destroy others’ property, to burn, loot and kill. If you want to do so in the name of Hinduism, you can do so over my dead body. But you will have to kill me first”.

There was a silence, pregnant with meaning. The trembling folks in the building through finding her voice familiar had no real faith that the courageous act of this lone woman could save their lives from the raving mob. But still they waited. Tense and afraid.

Minutes passed. Some more. Suddenly the silence was broken as the crowd broke up, turned around and started to disappear. As they did so, even the leader of the mob slunk away. He, by the way, was the old lady’s son.


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