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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Chp 320. Remembering December 6, 1992.

Ok now that the Ayodhya verdict is finally out after more than 18 years and 18 judges, I think it’s safe to write this post. I could have posted this on September 30th 2010 itself, the day of the verdict, but I didn’t want to read about violence following the next day…

Fortunately, India has grown up. No violence anywhere. Way to go India!

Anyway, this post is not about the verdict or TOI headline. It’s not an opinionated post about Hindu and Muslim sentiments, or even about religion. And frankly speaking, I think many of us are a bit tired of hearing it over and over again everywhere.

In this post, I would like to ask my dear readers about your experience on that fateful day.

I know some of you may have painful memories about that day like losing a loved one or a classmate. If you are one, then I deeply apologize for refreshing your memories and kindly request you to stop reading this post. My intention is not to bring back the pain.

December 6, 1992. I was in Calcutta then. Sixth standard. St. Thomas Boys’ school, Khidderpore. Christmas vacations were still a few days away and everything was as normal as usual. Until “it” happened.

Some of the people whose blogs I currently follow were not even born then! And many of my friends from Mizoram didn’t know how serious it was because Mizoram being a predominant Christian state, didn’t see any of the communal clashes that shook the country and shocked the world.

The next day, December 7, was a Monday. School day.

Khidderpore, being a Muslim dominated area, was one of the worst hit riot areas. We were too young to understand why Hindus and Muslims would hate and kill each other then (I’m not generalizing here), but our hostel wardens somehow managed to tell us that there was a “big problem” going on. There were many rumors that day, like some of the seniors saw chopped heads near the school gate and none of the “darwaans” (watchmen) allowed anybody to climb the school walls to see what’s going on on the streets.

That day, we hostellers had the entire school campus to ourselves because of the curfew. Some of the seniors were huddled in groups and seemed to be talking about serious stuff, but for those of us in junior school, it was actually a day of fun. We played football, basketball, group relay etc, and when we got dirty, surprisingly, none of our wardens scolded us. They were all preoccupied with things we never understood then.

I don’t exactly remember how many days we were “trapped” inside our school, but I remember about the scarcity of food, and how our prefects announced that we would be getting only 3 puris each for lunch etc. And when we weren’t standing in a straight line to enter the refectory (dining hall), none of the prefects punished us!

And then one of the hostel wardens announced in the refectory that all the Mizos were wanted in the warden’s office. Upon reaching there, our Mizo seniors told us to quickly pack our things - only the essentials we needed.

Soon, a convoy of police vehicles entered our school complex. The jeeps had cops (or army personnel) with their finger on the trigger. We (Mizos) were huddled into the prison van along with our luggage. Till now I don’t exactly know what happened. Was there a Mizo IPS officer or somebody high on the police ranking who came and “rescued” all the Mizos from popular schools around Calcutta, or did the Mizoram government play a role in this?

Anyway, we were all taken to “Mizoram House” on Ballygunge road by the police convoy. (A place run by the Govt of Mizoram where Mizos travelling through Calcutta can stay. Cheaper rates, Mizo food, camaraderie etc)

My two elder sisters, who were both studying in La Martiniere’s then, weren’t there in Mizoram House! They had bunked hostel for the weekend and were staying at their friend’s place when the riot happened. Lolz, wrong time to sneak out from hostel! Our LG scolded them nicely much later.

So I was in Mizoram House, a small kid, with no elder sisters around. But my cousins and other Mizo seniors treated me well.

I remember how mattresses and sheets were laid everywhere in Mizoram House because it was overcrowded. Food was scarce too. None of us were allowed to venture outside by the LO (Liaison Officer, the guy who runs Mizoram House).

Again, I don’t remember how many days we were stuck in Mizoram House, but I remember how hungry we used to get.

And then came the news on the radio about how curfew (shoot on sight order) was finally relaxed and people were allowed to venture outside for a certain time duration (5 in the evening to 7pm or something like that).

After that, there was another rumor that if you walk outside during curfew time and raise your hands (like the surrender gesture in times of war), the army will not shoot you. And lolz, we actually did that!

I have no freaking idea who spread that rumor (or was it actually true????) but one day, I tagged along with two of my seniors in the morning in search of food during curfew time and when an army convoy suddenly appeared with their guns aimed at us, we all raised our arms and stood still. They didn’t do anything!

Much much later when I flew safely back to Mizoram, my folks had a fit when I told them about that little incident. Hihihi.

Anyway, that day when we defied curfew and raised our arms, we did indeed discover a small alley where some people were making food. There were all different types of people there eating quietly. Nobody gave a flying f*ck if the person next to him was a Hindu, a Muslim or any other. At the end of the day, we were all the same – hungry people. I don’t remember how expensive the food was and I think my seniors paid for my food, but believe me, it was the tastiest most filling food I had in a long time then.

After some time, things got back to normal and I finally met my sisters. We had already booked our flight tickets to Aizawl for the Christmas vacations much before December 6 took place (Tuirial Vayudoot days, lolz) and so we all reached home safely.

Back in Mizoram, none of my friends knew how serious this issue was. When I asked them if no incident took place at all, they told me that a bunch of Muslims from Aizawl mosque (dawrpui) and a bunch of Hindus from Canteen square marched towards each other, and then a bunch of Mizos appeared and told them that if they create a public nuisance, they will beat both of them up. And so they dispersed.

I don’t know whether that’s true, but come to think about it, it’s quite possible. Maybe those of you who were in Mizoram then could shed some more light…

So, if you were in the thick of action during December 6, 1992, what was it? What was your experience on that fateful day and a couple of days that followed later?

And like I mentioned in the beginning – My intention is not to bring back the pain or to create communal tension. Hence the reason why I will be moderating comments for now (and removing the dreaded “Word verification” at the comment section that so many of you hate ).

Peace and love – Kima.


benjamin rualthanzauva said...

Was a 4th grader in Mizoram and hence had no idea how serious it was. My only knowledge about it then was my aunt mentioned my uncle lost two years of his Engineering course due to Ayodhya problem. How two years? I don't know. He studied in Kota, Rajasthan.

jay-me said...

ku2 was still tugging her diapers when that happened...:)))heheh

luliana said...

Mary mount a class 2 ka nih lai :D

Engvak sawi tur ka hre lo, news velah kha chuan ka pa kha chuan a en ngei chuan ka hria. He thil thleng hrim hrim hi high school ka kal hnu chiahin chiangkuangin ka hria...

catherine RPC said...

i was just beginning to learn how to read n write at that time, so nothing much to contribute.
One creation, one world, peace!

Anonymous said...

Nice writing. My experience due to the verdict...
We are about to go for an Industrial visit on the previous day. But, due to security reasons our VC cancelled all the plans. Approximately 1000 students from different department loss Rs 400 each from the amount paid to the travel agency in advance. (Rs 4,00,000 aprox.):(

odzer said...

Ha, perhaps I am going to be the first one to post today! I don't have any memories of "this" day. It was just an ordinary day like any other up here. No fighting, nothing. However I do remember a bit of 1984 during the Hindoo-Sikh riots. I remember my Mausi barging in to my maternal grandmothers home holding the hands of her kids because Karnal in Haryana where she lived was no longer safe for "Sikh" people. I also remember quite a bit of the Mandal Commission mishegoss that was when we had our last ever curfew here. I remember my father using curfew passes and what not.

My earliest memory of being terrified though is growing up in the trouble Punjab when everyone shut their doors at dusk. No one opened them no matter what and I remember one day hearing how a neighbour of mine got shot dead. Everyone has had their interesting share of trauma in this nation.

dr_feelgood said...

Dont have any recollection what I did then. But do remmember seeing it on the Tv. My memories of my days in Calcutta is processions, soda bottle throwing etc etc, which were quite common in those days.

illusionaire said...

@ Ben: He probably lost two years because it affected his exam and then later those back papers piled up with current exams?

@ Jay-me: And what about you? :P

@ luliana: hehehe... i va la naupang ve :D

@ catherine: Peace indeed. Cheers to that.

@ ramtea: Whoah. Thats a great loss :( But hey, I think that's any day better than losing lives :)

@ odzer: lolz... not first :) I have started moderating my comment to prevent any ugly anonymous comments, and also to remove word verification so that it will be easier for you guys (which means more spam comments will come in, but I can simply delete them at moderation queue)

@ dr_feelgood: lolz. yes, those were still common during my days in Cal too :)

Maisek said...

Wow! What an experience you had! But you might have realized by now that these experiences have made you more matured! I appreciate your memory given that you could remember so vividly the incidents that took place eighteen years ago! Moreover, I really like your talent in writing!

VaiVa said...

Pawl thum ka zir kum! Sawi tur ka hre tlat lo. ha ha

Vikram said...

I wish I could begin describing the atmosphere in Mumbai. I was really little but I remember sitting in our apartment's balcony and watching some of the carnage makers roam around with impunity.

I remember us having to buy stocks for the entire week and use stuff very sparingly. And I remember a lot of family turn into right wing Hindus.

Luckily, the last point seems to have changed drastically in the last 5 years.

blackestred said...

Its a fascinating nature of Humans that a communal riot in one part of a country instigates another at a different location, the only connection between the two being that the rioters are from the same communal party.
In medieval times, wars were fought for land, now, its just religion. Wonder what will be next? Information? Technology? interesting..
And BTW: I half-prayed for a minor riot to break out at the very least so we can have a break from work. :P Like they say in Hindi, it was a big KLPD! Hehe..

chhangte_ll said...

UP daih a inhmun inchuh mai maiah ka buai peih lo e. Khidderpore...Lolzz...Misual awmkhawmna, kan Department hmun min chuh avanga kan Department MoS in hna ka thawh tantirh a min phone sek kha theihnghilh a har khawp mai, engzah tak tiam ang maw 'Land Sharks' ho khan :P

Alejendro said...

92 ah chuan ka la nopang lutuk, engmah ka la hre pha lo... kum sawm pawh ka la tlinglo, Primary School ah ka la kal, Pawl khat/hnih vel ka la ni. Illusionaire i ni bawk a, i blog chhiar zawh hian mit a phe vek zel.,. thil zawng zawng hi illusion ang vek in a lang LOL

Diddley said...

saw a documentary film on it by Anand Patwardhan.... it was really sad ..

khumchikthei said...

Thudang daih ziak teh ang! (High school kan pel tawh a a boruak tan that zia kha chu kan hre pha e.)

Pu Kima, mizo bloggers ho tan tan i la nasa a, a lawmawm khawp mai. Tun tum hi ka lawmthu sawina ni rawh se. Thlatin ah i rawn update ringawt pawh hi i fakawm ka ti hle mai.

All the best and God Bless you.

Eveline said...

I think I was pretty well insulated from the riots since we were out of the country at the time and we watched very little t.v.
I think my parents were just recovering from the terrifying scare of The Gulf War and I think they were just shielding us from such stuff.
There was no one I knew who lost their lives at the riots. But I pray for peace of mind for every Indian and that they would respect life.

Anonymous said...

U have good experience!!
Congrats, hehee..


illusionaire said...

@ Eve: I do the same too. And yes, it is a parents nightmare to see their children witness things like this. This was the reason why they shifted me from Calcutta to Tamilnadu - a strict and highly secure residential boarding school (Fortress) in '93. :)

@ Diddley: Haven't seen it yet. Will try to.

@ Vikram: Thank God it is not like that now :) And most of these people on a rampage don't even have religious sentiments... they're just @#$%#$ looters who have found a golden opportunity to make dough (while the sun shines).

@ blackestred: hehe... I'm sure a lot of other people half-prayed for that too :D

@ Maisek: Things like that are difficult to forget. Although I vaguely remember most of the events (like how long I was stuck in hostel and Mizoram House etc) some other events like when the army pointed their guns at us and we raised our hands, seemed like it happened just yesterday.

illusionaire said...

@ VaiVa: Eheh! i piang tawh a maw? Wow!

@ chhangte_II: haha an sual teh mai a nia Khidderpore ho hi. Fancy Market awmna nge nge, a bul lawkah thianni te lane a la awm zui :D

@ Alejandro: i monitor brightness a dik lo a nih chu :D

@ khumchiktheia: Thank you pu khrum. In update phawt chuan ka lo update ang :)

@ kilung: hehe thanx pu kilung :)

kicking.and.screaming said...

Thank you for sharing.