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Mall Road

Bus Addey, Maal Rode, Camp, Madal Toun, Ajadpur, Shalimaar...

You saw that weapon with him?

I was born in 1984. Growing up in Lucknow, there were many vague things I could not understand, still can't. One of them was my mother's frantic reaction when giant-looking Sikhs would visit our colony wearing what seemed a costume to me. It would be blue and saffron, and they brandished what I thought were mock-swords.

As I grew up I learnt that they were jathedars, or Sikh priests, from a local Gurudwara. They would come once or twice a year, knocking on everyone's doors, asking for donations for the gurudwara. My mother would order us in, all doors and windows shut and bolted. Our neighbours would do the same. Then we would tell the jathedaar - without opening the door - that we will give our donation in the Gurudwara itself, or that we've already given it. The jathedar would persuade us in his heavy voice, but finally go away.

I aksed my mother for an explanation and she said that we should not trust strangers. "You saw that weapon with him?"

Then I learnt of Hindu-Sikh riots, which Shekhar Gupta rightly calls Congress-Sikh riots. Lucknow has never seen Hindu-Muslim riots, a very surprising fact at face value, but in 1984, Cangressis went about killing Sikhs in Lucknow too. And then everyone, including my parents, voted for Rajiv Gandhi, and some of the killers became ministers...

We must always have thought that the Sikhs could think of revenge. They didn't, and neither did they get justice. We've always known who the guilty are...

Imagine the many layers of irony here: pre-Partition Punjab is supposed to have been a place of Hindu-Sikh amity to the extent that Hindus would often raise one child as a Sikh. And many Hindu Punjabis still visit Gurudwaras, particularly in Delhi. Partition's Hindus never rioted against Lucknow's Muslims, but only embraced Lakhnavai culture, and ended up killing Sikhs in 1984. That apocalyptic year India changed into something else.

By the way, happy Independence Day. Whatever that means.

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-- Blogger Dilip D'Souza, 8/15/2005 09:46:00 pm

That apocalyptic year India changed into something else.

You can say that again. Thanks for all your reminders.    

-- Blogger Amit, 8/15/2005 11:34:00 pm

The Sikhs have been betrayed twice....during PArtitions and again when the "tree fell"... with such things happening... indenpendence looks more like a bane than a boon    

-- Blogger Minal, 8/16/2005 06:05:00 pm

Innocents never get justice here.
It's not a Muslim, Hindu or Sikh that dies. It's innocent people who die so that the affluent, powerful can stamp their authority.

We have become immune to the system ,we have given up so badly that even in day-to-day life's little battles we have lost the will to fight cause we have resigned to the fact that those in power will rule and we will never be heard or get justice!

Fine Democracy and great 58 years of independance we are celebrating. Point is whose independance are we really celebrating?

That last line "That apocalyptic year India changed into something else." really put things in perspective.    

-- Blogger Unknown, 8/18/2005 12:43:00 pm

Would be great if you could investigate why Lucknow never had Hindu-Muslim riots?
I find it hard to believe    

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