It was one of those usual mornings for me, a cup of tea and news shuffling on TV. One said about Dadri Masjid case, the demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. I would rather call it demolition of humanity that caused the death of at least 2000 people, and what for, in the name of religion. These things are beyond my understanding. Religions are to serve humanity, but sadly humanity is getting away serving religions or some hidden political motive, I dare say! 

Any way, my day started with a provoking thought. Being in a government job and posted in a remote hill area, I didn’t have many options for entertainment or any company to hang out with. I lead a monotonous routine every day. Though I loved the company of interesting people, like one of my subordinate staff in the office. He was about to retire in two years. He would tell me stories about places he worked before, people he worked with, and many other things. He looked much older for his age.  He would say atrocities of life that he had faced all through which made him looked older. He was short, stoop, fair complexioned with a peculiar expression on his face all the time, which I figured out, was a blend of curiousness, chronic sadness, absolute emptiness and begging to come out mischievousness sometimes. Adding more to his much older look was his attire, loose straight trousers, khakhi shirt, Nehru jacket, aam aadmi cap, big round glasses and a laathi in hand, that he used as a support while walking. 

So, like every day, we were having some random conversation. He would call me Saabji. I was addressed this way or Sir sometimes in hills. I assumed people would have seen only male officers before. Suddenly he mentioned what’s been in the news, Babri masjid kaand, with an utter innocence; considering I am his senior he asked, “Saabji, jo hinduon ne kiya masjid gira ke kya sahi kiya?” I was intrigued by his question, as he was a hindu himself. I expected him to have different opinion like others of his like. He was waiting for my answer. It took me some time to recollect my thoughts on that and I replied, no, it was wrong. They shouldn’t have done that. He agreed saying, “galat kiya saab bahut galat kiya, agar maszid nahi todte toh waha kya banna chahiye ye mamla hi khatam ho jata. kya fark padta hai masjid bane ya mandir”. How simply he rooted the problem out. I told him people involved in such deeds do not belong to any religion. Such incidents are always politically driven. He nodded with the same peculiar expression which probably suggested his ignorance related to politic nuances, not a bad thing I wondered! 

There is one thing common among common people, they believe in what they are made to see.  But he was different!       


                       Someday you get to learn something extremely beautiful having a conversation with probably not the best of mind but a pure heart. That day I returned home with a firm belief on humanity. That hatred has still not completely taken over our minds.    

                       A memoir by Sudha Kripal

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