Ten years hence…


Indian memoirs- How long is so long?, acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 40″. (faded text in English, Hindi, Urdu)

27/02/2002, a day crystal clear in my mind’s eye- the weather, the subject I studied (preparation for my A levels), the food prepared for lunch, the colour of the jumper I wore and the exact spot where I stood in the house when I saw the news on TV… it has now been 10 years since the riots broke out in Godhra, an Indian city in the state of Gujarat.

I remember the train journey with my father to Bombay (2 months after the riots). There was a brief halt at Godhra station and I could see smoke charred buildings in the distance. Later that week we travelled to Baroda, another city in Gujarat and I remember someone showing us an area where shops were burnt and told us about the curfew timings… that day we also met a young man who had no remorse whatsoever for the carnage and proudly admitted that he would vote again for the same chief minister in the next elections, even though the CM and his administration did nothing to curb the rioteers. This minister, our ‘modern day Nero’ still runs the state as of today and could now be a potential prime ministerial candidate.

Later in 2002, I joined art school in Bombay and for five years took innumerable train journeys back home and every single time the train halted at Godhra, the images of the burnt buildings would flash across my mind.

“Saints, I see
The world is mad
If I tell the Truth
They rush to beat me
If I lie they trust me

Hindus claim Ram as the One
Muslims claim Rahim
Then they kill each other
Knowing not
The essence

With prayer beads and caps
And brows of holy paint
They lose themselves
In sacred hymns but
Know not their own souls

Many holy men I’ve seen
Teachers of holy books
Who acquire disciples
Venerate graves
But know not God

The world goes on
Like this and yet
They call me mad
But Kabir says, listen
Who’s the one insane?”

– Kabir, 15th century Indian poet.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Ten years hence…

  1. How true.Sad but true.Hurts but true.

  2. Profound thoughts portrayed through art and words

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