Tuesday, March 6, 2012

10 years - still so fresh in memories!

27th Feb, 2002 - just after we were remembering the damage created by the earthquake to our lives in the past year of 2001. It was about 3:00 PM when we got to hear about the mob setting fire to the Sabarmati express at the Godhra station. People spoke a lot about that, everyone was discussing about various options while the news spread that the coaches were coming to Ahmedabad, honestly I couldn't follow a word of what was happening as that was the first time I was hearing something like that! Almost everybody was sure, there would be something that would happen. What would happen, what impact would it have, how much impact would it have, who all would be affected, when would it start, when would it end if at all....nothing was known. Slowly the day passed & towards late evening, fear started spreading around the city - immense fear. Next day morning, things started & nothing in our country can initiate at such a fast pace as what we know today as the historic riots in Gujarat 2002.

I can't describe the details - but the damage it had done to all the lives has not yet healed entirely. Almost everybody has views about the riots, all sorts of questions - who did it? why they happened? how they happened? About the political icons involved in the riots - all these in the fastest developing city of the country.

I LOVE Ahmedabad - I give most of the credit to that city in making me what I am today. I hate the fact that the city saw such high impactful incidents like the earthquake, riots, floods back-to-back. But each time, it stood back up to normalcy. But of course some things remain silent, unspoken but they remain - in the form of distances between people, distances between friends, distances between communities which were once sharing celebrations of festivals together!

10 long years now - the city has seen amazing development in terms of infrastructure, in terms of ease & peace of life! The only thing it was lacking possibly was the jobs sector which now has not remained a big concern with many IT companies setting up their offices there & also some companies considering some of their outsourcing operations to be set up there.

I keep reading a lot of stuff occasionally on the riots front - news pieces, some video snippets etc. a week back, when I was seeing the documentary by Rajdeep Sardesai on this I remembered the experiences I had also during the riots - there was indefinite curfew which after 1.5 months or so, started opening up just for 30 mins to 1 hour only for women & kids - the shops has stinking eggs, no milk, no vegetables - all we could do is cook some rice & eat it with something like a pickle - we south Indians can survive just with rice & some pickles or some powders. Fear was in the air - police releasing tear gas shells just in our street, sudden curfew announcements happening which would throw current through your spine - we could see mobs going with as many kinds of weapons as possible to just cut down anybody in the rival side - all from our own balcony. It was truly terrifying, there was fire everywhere, lots of well-known shops, restaurants were set ablaze, every road had vehicles burning, some friends described seeing incidents of setting people live on fire!!! I pray such an instance won't happen again! At least I don't have the courage to see it again!

To all of those who suffered in the riots passively, to all those who got jailed for no reason, to all those whose families got affected for no reason, to all those who are probably still suffering & lacking the basic amenities, to all those who died innocently, to all those whose businesses were washed away, to all those whose livelihoods were ripped apart - hats off to their strength! And prayers that the human race gains some wisdom to not let such incidents take place ever again!

Read the Outlook issue of March 5, 2012 here generally on some other related articles.

No comments: