Kolkata, Siddharthya Roy: I’m on a bus in Kolkata. The traffic near South City Mall has been diverted because of a Tazia procession.
A man behind me says, “Ektu beshi bara bari hoye jachhey na? Baddo beshi Musolmander daya dekhano hochhey” (this Muslim appeasement has crossed all limits this time around)


Nobody in the bus agreed or disagreed. The cretin took it as silent approval. I turned around and audibly asked, “do you have a problem with diversion of traffic or diversion because of Muslims?” Alerted the man changed tracks, “how does it matter to you?”

“Every bit of it matters to me. Situation all around is tense and bloody people like you want to provoke matters further”
He tones it down a note,

“Arey dada why are you getting so worked up? I didn’t say anything against you did I?”
“How do you know I’m not a Muslim? Is it written on my face?”
Then he plays victim, “Are you saying it’s right to block roads?”

“Do you say the same thing during Durga Puja when road after road is occupied? During Baisakhi when Sikhs march on the streets? Every other day you have this political party and that on the road, do you complain every time?”

Ultimate victim hood “Jader jonnyo desh bhaag holo tader jonnyo eto dorod?” (You are defending the people who partitioned the country?”
“The country was partitioned by people like you-aaj dhormo niye bolchhen kaal jaat niye porshu bhasha niye-apnara to desh abar bhaag korben”
“Apni rajniti korchhen” (you’re doing politics)

“Apniyo tai korchhen. Dhormer namey korchhen” (You’re doing politics too- even worse you’re doing it in the name of religion)
Two other young men step in and tell the rascal, “uni theeki bolchhen…aar apni to jaben Howrah…eto golabaji keno?”
(He’s right, you’re unnecessarily shouting…as it is you’re heading to Howrah and the diversion doesn’t affect you)

End note : I’m as wary of picking fights with people as anybody.

I love my peace as much as you. But we have to shout down riot apologists on the streets in offices and colleges and inside our very homes. And we’ve to do this while there is time, before prejudices become urban legends and take hold as firm ideas.

Posted by on November 6, 2014. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.