As part of my research, I have been going through literature on Partition. Right now, I am re-reading Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas. I am amazed and shocked at the similarity of events in the 1947 story and the recent Muzaffarnagar disturbances. If it was mischief using a slaughtered pig then, it is a fake video clip today. A paragraph in the story has the Deputy Commissioner Richard telling his wife the reason for the communal riots: “All Indians are quick-tempered. They fly at one another’s throat in the name of religion …” Sixty and more years later, we haven’t changed a bit.
The Muzaffarnagar disturbances have proved that the ghosts of Partition continue to haunt us. Lust for political power has made all parties keep the embers of communal fire burning. The mistrust between the majority and the minorities refuses to go away. Unless the nation wakes up, we will not be able to live in peace. It is time people from both the communities rose above the religious divide and worked for amity.
The violence clearly points to a planned game played by some vested interests for polarising the vote in the coming election. Under the circumstances, the role of genuine religious leaders assumes special significance. They should calm down the aggressive elements and allay their fears stemming from rumours making rounds in the affected areas.
Azhar A. Khan,