Two Parents Who Lost Their Children Have Something To Say To Us.
Are we listening?
Kaam agar ye Hindu ka hai, Mandir kis ne loota hai
Muslim ka hai kaam agar ye, Khuda ka ghar kyun toota hai
Jis mazhab mein jayaz hai ye, wo mazhab toh jhoota hai.”
These poignant lines from Manoj Kumar’s Upkaar, remind us of the utter absurdity of communal riots.
The absurdity though, it seems, is only really understood, really grasped as it were, by the people who pay the worst price for violence, and what worse price, than paying for the violence, by shouldering the coffin of your loved one, your child.
Two fathers, from two completely different backgrounds, reacted almost the same way on their child’s funeral.
Yashpal Saxena, the father of the 23-year-old photographer killed in Delhi recently by his Muslim girlfriend’s family, said that the murder should not be given a communal twist and exploited to whip up trouble.
“I don’t want any inflammatory statements. I feel very saddened by what happened, but I don’t want anyone to create a hostile environment against Muslims. I have nothing against any religion.”
And today, yesterday we heard a similar story from Asansol, Bihar.
Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, Imam of a mosque in Asansol, and father of Sibtulla Rashidi on Thursday presided over a congregation where he appealed for peace. He told the crowd that he would leave the mosque and the town if there were any retaliation for his son’s death.
Sibtulla Rashidi, who appeared for his Class X board exams this year, was reported missing after communal clashes, and his body was identified a day later. It is believed that he was beaten to death.
What went through these two parents’ minds, when they made their respective appeals?
By all accounts, in both cases, it appears to have a been a spontaneous urge to stop further hatred.
In both cases, this was unexpected; they had lost their child, a child which every parent is supposed to protect and nurture, a dear child with whom every parent has a million memories and even more dreams. The child whose first step and first word every parent celebrates. All of that, destroyed in a few moments.
“Wo mere do jahaan saath le gaya
Tamaam Daastaan Saath Le Gaya” (Gulzar,Haider)
If Ankit Saxena’s father had called for revenge, I wouldn’t have the conviction to tell him he was wrong.
What enormous courage then, it must have taken, for these parents, to say what they said, in the face of such a colossal loss.
What conviction they have, and what grit.
This conviction, to prevent further loss of lives, can only come from a grim realisation, the realisation that only the death of a loved one can bring, the realisation that hate is futile.
Sometimes, in the face of death, all notions of ego go away, you are in so much pain, you can’t bear the thought of anyone else suffering that pain. Even if it happens to be the person or the ‘people’ responsible for your pain. The people who the world tells you are your ‘sworn enemies’.
These parents paid the ultimate price, and have wise words to say to the rest of us; will we listen, and give up hate before it is too late or will we continue on this path, till we have to pay for it with our own blood?
May our children grow and thrive, in peace, in love amongst themselves, and may their parents cherish every moment with them, and may the children, one fine day, attend the funeral of their parents and not the other way around.
“The smallest coffins are the heaviest ” – Ernest Hemingway
Junaid is an Anesthesiologist, who when not making surgeries comfortable for people, reminds you to not let your hatred for him come in the way of your own liberty. He tweets at @juneymb