Tulsi

I met a landless adivasi woman called Tulsi. She resided at Mokhada village in Thane district.  Having been deserted by her husband she shifted to Bhivandi with her only child.  She lived in a predominantly Muslim area called Ambyachapada. 5-6 Adivasi families from her village had already shifted there.

Tulsi tended cattle for a Muslim farmer.  Her son Hira worked as a hotel boy.  It was the morning of 17th May 1984.  The village seemed to be abuzz with noise.  Clouds of smoke were rising to the sky. 

A mob of about 200 to 300 person was seen advancing towards the adivasi slum.  Some of them were armed with lathis, some carried swords and others carried kerosene cans. 

 

 

 

 

They were raising slogans like “Nare Takbir, Allah ho Akbar.”  The Muslim landlord said to the Adivasis, “It seems riots have broken out in the town.  These are all dangerous Muslims from U.P.  All of you run away, otherwise these fellows will kill you.”  Tulsi and her neighbors ran for their lives towards the jungle.

Tulsi was sick and could not run fast.  The mob caught hold of her.  One of them gave Tulsi a hard blow.  She collapsed.  Her son Hira rushed to her rescue.  The mob attacked him.  One rioter chopped off his hands.  Another one chopped off his legs.  A third beheaded him.  The crazed mob put all the body parts in a gunny bag and threw it on to a pile of grass.  Somebody set fire to the pile of grass.

Tulsi looked on as her 17-year-old son was hacked to death and burnt in front of her.  After setting the fire the mob turned towards the rest of the Advisees.  It went berserk and rants of “Nare Takbir, Allah ho Akbar” were heard everywhere.

 

Chandbi

The second woman I came across was Chandbi.  She hailed from Pathri in Parbhani district.  She was a land-less labourer.  She earned three rupees per day and her husband was paid rupees five per day.  Sometimes there was no work and they starved.

Once they met a person from their village.  He worked as a supervisor on a pipeline construction in Bhivandi.  He said to Chandbi, “Why are you rotting here?  Why don’t you come over to Bhivandi?  There the women get 10 rupees a day and men get 25.

You will also get work around the year.”  Heeding his advice, Chandbi & her sister shifted to Bhivandi.  They set up a hut under a tree on a municipal plot.  She had to pay Rs. 10 to a slumlord for that hut.  The adults in the family worked as stone crushers and the urchins collected rags in the town.  This is how the families lived.

Now came the fatal 18th of May.  Chandbi’s hut was surrounded by a mob of 300 to 400 men.  They carried lathis, iron bars and some had kerosene cans.

 

 

The mob was raising slogans like “Jai Bhavani - Jai Shivaji, Har Har Mahadev”.  Some of them shouted “All Muslims in the hut should came out, or else we will burn the huts down.”  Chandbi’s husband must have realized the gravity of the situation.  He collected the members of the family and they prayed to Allah.  He told them “It seems that Allah is displeased with us. Everyone’s life is in grave danger. Run for your life to whenever you can.”

Every body’s realized that the only way to save life was to get away as fast as they could.  When a cat pounces on a flock of hens, they fly in all directions.  The members of the family similarly took to heels in all direction.

Chandbi and Shalnu’s husband could not get far.  They were stuck at a barbed wire fence.  The mob caught up with them.  Stick blows rained.  Chandbi & her sister pleaded with the mob, “please do not kill our husbands”.  But who would listen to them in the din of “Jai Bhavani - Jai Shivaji, Har har Mahadeo”?  Some body doused the unconscious duo with kerosene and somebody else lit the fire.  Chandbi and her sister saw their husbands torched to death right under their nose.

I heard such heart breaking stories by the dozen.  By way of illustration I have quoted a few of them in my book “Bhivandi Riots 1984.” I was puzzled.  Does the religion speaking in the name of God, advocate killings of others?  I started studying both the Hindu and Muslim religions to find out whether they advocated killing.  As a Hindu I observed various fasts and would deligently worship Gods.  I realized the greatness of the religion when I read its philosophies about body & soul rebirth, varnas, four stages of life, salvation etc.

The religions advocate love not only for human beings but for all animals too.  Saint Eknath offered water to a thirsty donkey.  Saint Namdev rushed with a bowl of pure ghee after a dog, which had eaten stale bread, so that he would not suffer a stomachache! According to Saint Dyaneshwar even a buffalo could recite the Vedas.  Hinduism teaches its followers to do their duties without any expectation for reward.  On what basis did the Hindu mob torch to death the husbands of Chandbi & Shano?

A Muslim mob hacked Tulsi’s son to pieces.  Does Islam teach the butchering of others?  I studied Islam.  The word Islam means ‘Entering Peace’.  It advocates surrender to God, love for human beings & nonviolence.  God is all mighty.  He creates and protects the world.  Nobody is as kind as Allah.  Nothing in the world moves without his sanction.  Why should such a God will the killing of poor Tulsi’s Son?