The terrific happenings in Gujarat riot have stunned the country wondering how a man could do such things to man! Gujarat, the home of religious saints and philosophers of Jainism, Gujarat where the ‘Bhakti’ movement was led by many glorious personalities—to cut it short, Gujarat of Gandhiji, the Father of the Nation who lived and died for the unity of the Hindus and the Muslims—bleeds today in a thousand wounds.
It was allowed to rage on Gujarat riot for weeks before it returned to the pretence of normalcy in which we have all been indulging so far. The murders, the looting and setting fire to houses and shops are inhuman things that some people are doing to others. As soon as we transfer the blame to some others, we open the doors of that treacherous thoughts that ‘they’ are killing ‘them’ and none of ‘us’ has anything to do with that.
Some people say that ‘they’ were working out spontaneous reactions after the Godhra incident, which had set Gujarat afire. We must say in the same breath that the incident at Godhra and in Gujarat are both condemnable. When we see some persons are burnt in the train, when we see that thousands of people are murdered, and nearly 1,00,000 people are stranded in relief camps, we feel shocked for both. When we see too many doors are closing around us, too many people are retreating in fear from each other, we don’t need a line to emphasise the incidents of those burnt bodies in the train or those sorrowing faces in the relief camps for any political gain.
We only need a soul that feels for a soul. We need to express our feelings—rage, anger, fear, sorrow and humiliation from our conscience. We must say that force and violence can never be the last word. We must create that amorphous, intangible but profoundly powerful force called public opinion to cope with such horrendous situation. We can share our agony with the nation to save the conscience and honour of our mother India. And after such a bitter experience we can take the task of building a real, new, secular human ‘temple’ on our soil with the saying for any such heinous action—thus far and no further.