Whether it was at the powa-lassi-chai joint in the main market-place or the more snooty town bookshops, suddenly no one displace or the more snooty town bookshops, suddenly no one discussed the news of the day, or the concerns of the city of Bhopal . A frenzied mantra was being chanted, first softly , then as more and more listened, louder and louder until it became deafening.
Mandir, masjid, mandir, masjid, mandir, masjid people started repeating, continuously. But why were these words that depict god’s abode being spoken in furtive, threatening and terrorised tones?
When we speak of God, and worship, surely there can be no reason to terrorise and hate ?
This went on foe a whole month it made every citizen of Bhopal uncomfortable and shifty. Not any more did you feel comfortable roaming the streets freely for, maybe, a paan after dinner.
The tension built up, and suddenly, one Sunday, it burst open. People were running to their radio and television set many heartbroken and betrayed, some rejoicing as they heasrd the news. The Babri Masjid had been destroyed at Ayodhya.
Anger and betrayal was felt by many who lived in Bhopal . For a group youngsters who refused to pay heed to wiser counsel, such an act had to be revenged. Unstoppable, they attacked a nearby temple: Bhopal’s Drug temple was the victim of the demolition in Ayodhya.
Five days passed . After the first fury, an uneasy claim reigned. Pent-up emotions had been given an unhealthy release. But for many of the residents of Bhopal, such revenge could never be sweet.
Overnight, they mobilised scores of Muslim from the town. The entire assembly solemnly vowed to reconstruct the Durga temple in the riot-affected Bafna colony, with their own hands.
Haji Wajid Hussein, an expert in mosque construction, had lost one son in the recent riots. He had been short dead by the police. At the gathering, he vowed to be the first to launch the “kar seva” to rebuild the Durga temple.