'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
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Friday, June 5, 2015
An aged man from Atali reduces entire village to tears
Below is a rough-and-ready English translation by Javed
Anand of the lead news report published today (June 4) on Page 1 of the Mumbai
edition of Urdu daily, Inquilab).
NB:One can only offer thanks to Shabbir Mulla and to his fellow villagers, Hindu and Muslim, for speaking to each other with honesty and friendship. This shows us once more, the lesson that Mahatma Gandhi died in order that we may remember: ahimsa is another name for love. Truth and love are the only medicine for communal hatred and violence:Dilip
An aged man from Atali reduces entire village to tears
Govt. and district administration fail to bring down the
wall of hatred in Atali village in Ballabhgarh, Haryana; but with a few words, an aged
Shabbir Mulla douses the fire, paves the way for the return of Muslims to their
By Mumtaz Alam Rizvi
New Delhi: History is replete with examples of how in all
incidents of communal violence, if there is politics at work on one hand, there
is human empathy on the other. When violence gripped Atali village in Ballabhgarh
district of Haryana recently forcing Muslims to flee their homes, here too both
politics and human empathy were at work.
With both factors in evidence in Atali between May 25 and
June 3, there arose the question of how to resolve the conflict, how to breach
the hate barrier, how to facilitate the return of the violence-affected Muslims
back to their homes. Several attempts were made but no solution seemed to be in
sight. At last, Union minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Krishan Pal
Gurjar, state education minister, Ram Vilas Sharma, Minister, PWD, Rao Ranvir,
local MLA Tejpal Tanwar and other leaders brought people from both communities
together at the Panchayat Bhavan at Ballabhgarh in the hope of finding some
solution. The victims of the violence spoke their minds, narrating their woes
in great detail. A lot was said from both sides; the ministers and the
administration were hard put to find some way out of the impasse.
Among those attending the meeting was the aged Shabbir Mulla
who sat in one corner, tears rolling down his cheeks as he listened quietly to
all that was being said. When there seemed to be no solution in sight,
gathering courage Shabbir Mulla stood up and said in a trembling voice: please
grant me two minutes for I have something to say. As he spoke, he was heard with
rapt attention. In a highly charged atmosphere, what could Mulla say in two
minutes that could possibly show a way forward?
But as he spoke, each word that
he uttered helped douse the fire of hatred. What’s more, what he said reduced
all the Hindus present, ministers included, to tears. Many rushed to embrace
him even before he had finished his say. This is what Mulla said: “Where can we go? Even at the time
of Partition in 1947, people of our village would not let us leave. When
Muslims elsewhere were fleeing to Pakistan, we were not allowed to leave. We
were told that this is where we must continue to live. So where can we go now?
If they wanted to kill us, they could have killed us then. Why would the
village elders have guaranteed our safety, offered us protection? Now, we will
live how they want us to live”.
Mulla’s words brought tears to every Hindu eye. The
ministers and the village elders rushed to grab Mulla and hug him tight. “You
have touched our hearts, shaken us, opened our eyes. Our Muslim brothers should
feel free to live in the village in any way they please. You are free to build
your mosque. Even if you send us to jail we’ll live together as brothers from
The frail, aging Mulla broke the ice. As Hindus and Muslims
embraced each other, the latter decided to return to their village. The
ministers and the district administration gave them the assurance that the wall
of the mosque which had been demolished will be rebuilt and all those who had
suffered loss of property will be compensated. They also assured the Muslims
that they would have the right to continue to pray in the mosque at the
To earn for his family’s upkeep and to pay for the treatment
of his ailing son, Shabbir Mulla, makes regular rounds of some 20 villages
neighbouring Atali, selling cloth. Mulla has been engaged in this business for
the past 30 years. The 9 days of conflict have cost him dear for he was unable
to meet the orders customers had placed with him for weddings in their family. The force of love is the same as the force of the soul or truth. We have evidence of its working at every step -M.K. Gandhi The music of humanity
(Farzan Qureshi adds from New Delhi):
The biggest problem facing Muslims returning to their homes
is the repair and reconstruction of their dwellings which had been completely
destroyed; and to rebuild their lives. It may be recalled that their homes had
been looted and subsequently set on fire. Meanwhile, repair of the mosque which
had been the pretext for the perpetrators to run riot has commenced. Though
there are some difficulties on account of the matter being subjudice, Muslims
are confident of rebuilding the mosque.
To ensure justice to the victims of the violence in Ballabhgarh
a Writ Petition has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking the immediate
arrest of the perpetrators and a CBI probe of the violence. Turning down the
prayer for an urgent hearing of the matter, the apex court has directed the
petitioners to approach the High Court.