“Mera apang, palnevala baccha tha voh (He was a handicapped son whom I had brought up with so much care). His name was Moinuddin. He was 18 years old. Though disabled, he had passed his GSC exams from Nasir Sir’s School in 1999.What could they gain by killing a boy like that? I am the unfortunate mother who saw it with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen. They made him drink kerosene, tied him to the bed and torched him. I was trying to save a young girl from the neighbour’s family. In trying to save her, I lost my own son. We were living at Hussain Nagar in Naroda Patiya. We saw many bodies burnt and dumped into a well.”
Place: Hussain Nagar, Naroda Patiya
Witness: Mariambi Hasan Bai Sayed
(Interviewed at Relief Camp on March 20)
– Communalism Combat, April 2002
I met Mariam Bibi at Chennai railway Station on February 21, 2003. Mariam roughly in her sixties accompanied by Ayisha came out of the Station carrying her small bag. She came along with the other Gujarat Genocide victims invited to our conference. Mariam lost her son Moinuddin at the so-called ‘backlash’ against Muslims on February 28, 2002 with the Godhra Train burning. As she says in the above excerpt, her son was 18 years old and was handicapped with both legs paralysed. He was killed by Bajrang Dal thugs by making him drink kerosene and setting him ablaze. When she spoke out to me in the train to Thanjavur on her horrifying tale, soon she broke out in tears. For the two days when I accompanied them, I found Mariam often speaking to herself with a shudder. It was a visible agony and I always found her eyes tired with a search in it.
We, People’s Art and Literary Association (PALA), Tamilnadu conducted ‘Conference against Brahminic Terrorism’ (CBT) on February 22, 23, 2003 at Thanjavur, Tamilnadu in view with the rising of Brahminic Terrorism (termed wrongly as ‘Hindutva’) in the country resulting in Gujarat carnage. We invited Dalits from Meenakshipuram who got converted to Muslim religion due to the atrocities of upper caste men in their village. Sangan, another Dalit from Pallapatti who was urinated in his mouth for defying upper caste men spoke in the conference. Murugesan a Dalit from Thinniyam who was forced to eat shit of the upper caste men for questioning the malpractices of local upper caste thug narrated his harrowing tale. Relatives of Dalit skin-reapers killed by VHP hooligans for cow-slaughtering in Jajjar were invited to the conference. But due to fear of backlash, they conveyed their inability to come to the conference.
In the second day of Conference, Gujarat Muslims gave their testimonies. Other than Shahbuddin and Maulana, a Hindu eye-witness also gave his account on the massacre. Ayisha narrated the horrifying days in a trembling voice with tears in her eyes. She spoke of the inhuman, unimaginable atrocities heaped on helpless Muslim men and women. She reminded Abidha, a 60 year old woman who was made to run nude in streets by the Bajrang Dal thugs and got killed. She spoke about Kausar banu, a pregnant woman whose belly was ripped open and the unborn child taken out pierced by a sword, and thrown into the fire. She narrated some more incidents which myself not able to narrate here. When Mariam came to the pedestal, she couldn’t even make a single sentence and broke out instantly. That poor old mother who had never stepped out of her home for years, came all along from Gujarat to Tamilnadu in the endless seek of justice for her son couldn’t utter a single word and cried. On behalf of her, Ayisha spoke again about her son.
Mariam’s husband ran a small hotel in Naroda Patiya and she had three daughters. After the carnage, their hotel was appropriated by a Hindu goon and all their jewels got looted and her house was burnt. She came to streets in a single day and she started living by selling golis (small candies) to school children. Mariam’s husband totally traumatized by losing his son remained in bed and Mariam needs to marry her three daughters.
After the Conference ended, we came by 4:00 AM and we all went to a lodge to take rest for two hours as we had to catch the train to Chennai by morning. The men got settled and I found a place to sleep. I was totally exhausted with the two days work and when I was about to sleep, I found the light still burning and Mariam sitting quietly in a corner. I asked Mariam to take rest and to switch off the light. She took a second and opened her bag. She picked a photograph of her son and showed it to me with a pleading voice, “Doesn’t he looks like you?” I got awestruck. I paused for a moment and said, “Yes, I am your son, don’t worry, go to sleep”. The next day Mariam went back to Gujarat with others waving her hands through the train window until we were visible to her eyes.
She must be in Naroda Patiya till date selling golis, trying to make up her family stand again and still searching for her son. This is the story of one Mariam I knew while there are Hundreds and hundreds of Mariams, Kausar Banus, Geeta Bens and Shabuddins in Gujarat. Geeta Ben, a Hindu woman was stripped, paraded naked by the Bajrang Dal thugs and got killed for trying to save her Muslim husband. Now be proud to say, this is the land of ‘tolerance’, with a ‘glorious’ past and a land that draws the world for its ‘heritage’ and ‘culture’.
Gujarat is not an unfortunate, lone, past accident to forget but it is Genocide by the RSS similar to the Genocide of Sikhs by Congress in 1984. Modi proclaimed Gujarat as the laboratory of Hindutva. The same Hindutva, which by bogus fixes a tag ‘Hindu’ on all of us and masks its core Brahminic face, is the demon that topples the lives of all working people of India. The stagnation of BJP today doesn’t mean the end of RSS and its ancillaries. The strength of RSS lies in its poison houses named as ‘Shakas’, which still thrive, by which it lures the innocent boys for physical training and there by metamorphosize them to Nazis of India.
Umpteen number of Laws, Commissions and legislations can never stop RSS. Also the counter-terrorism by Muslims in India can never solve the issue as RSS justifies all its barbaric acts only by showing the counter-terrorism creating an endless vicious cycle. Fascist RSS can only be checked by People’s resistance in street battles. We fought with RSS goons in Trichy, Chennai and all over Tamilnadu, whenever they tried to perpetrate terror.Till date we resist them and they have announced us as their prinicipal enemies in Tamilnadu.
If the Hindus of Gujarat would have checked the RSS hoodlums, Gujarat carnage wouldn’t have taken place. But they were poisoned by the RSS propaganda that the public opinion was in favour of slaughtering Muslims and nothing much changed till date which could be traced from my previous post. RSS and VHP are not the only ones who are responsible for Gujarat Carnage. Modi is not the single culprit.
We…We all are responsible for the carnage.
Hindus of Gujarat locked their doors when the Muslims were butchered in the streets. Hindus of other parts of the country locked their minds turning deaf to the helpless cries. Gujarat Carnage is an act of collective guilt. Comrade Marudhaiyan aptly asked in his end note, “Does anything called Conscience exist for a person who calls himself as Hindu, after hearing and seeing all this horrors that are perpetrated in the name of his religion, in the name of safeguarding his religion, and is these things are acceptable to him? If not then what you did to save them?”
Innocence cannot be an escape. Nazis were successful in demonstrating the Holocaust with the mute support of so-called decent, educated, peace-loving, apolitical Germans. It’s the same here. If you think you are responsible and accountable to all these things, then show it in action and not by shedding tears. As Comrade Marudhiyan says if North is the Laboratory of Brahminic Terrorism, then South is the Laboratory of Resisting Brahminic Terrorism and ensuring secularism in a true sense. Mariam is still searching for her son, it’s not the search of a physical body but it’s the quest for justice and dignity and we all, as sons and daughters of Mariam have the responsibility to fulfill her just, ignored and forgotten aspirations.