Tag Archives: Uttarayan

Indian History X

I recently watched the movie ‘American History X’. It’s a highly violent and disturbing flick; but also a cinematic masterpiece. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a story about how a brilliant young man ends up being a neo-nazi white supremacist and eventually understands his mistakes. He develops a better insight into the life; but by then it’s too late and the path of violence & non-tolerance he chose has destroyed everything he ever held dear. What is interesting and comes a bit later in the movie is how and why he turned into an extremist in the first place. It was a small chat over a meal from his father who was a cop where he irresponsibly makes some harsh stereotypical observations about black Americans. This gets ingrained in his young impressionable mind and gets compounded when his father gets killed on the job.

A small inoculation of a racist thought and an unrelated misfortune turn this young guy into a violent murderer and then takes away his whole world from him.

This reminded me of this real life incident from my days at the Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad.

It was 14th January 2004. Uttarayan. The worst day for an orthopaedic surgeon to be on duty in Ahmedabad. Children running after kites fall and break wrists, adults jumping off the rooftops break their legs heels & ankles if not spines too. The emergency department turns into a production line of plaster casts. Our unit was on duty.

One of the patients that day was Aslam (Changed name). Aslam was about 10-12 yrs old boy from Shapur- the area of Ahmedabad that’s almost always under some communal tension. He had a broken wrist that required pull & plaster. Aslam was talking to Dr. Vishal- the senior registrar treating him.

“ये साल्ला तुम हिन्दु लोगों के तहेवार की वजे से मेरी हड्डी टूट गई । साल्ला सब ख़तरनाक जानवर हो तुम हिन्दु लोग और तुमेरे सब तहेवार सब दूसरों को मारने के लिये होते हैं । उत्तरान में भाग भाग कर के किसी की हड्डी टूटती है तो मांजे से किसी का गला कटता है; होली में सब रंग डाल के गंदा करते हो और आँखें फोड़ते हो; दीवाली में बम फोड़ते हो और आग लगाते हो…हमारे तहेवार कितने अच्छे हैं- ईद पर मीठा खाते हैं सब और गले मिलते हैं । साल्ले तुम लोगों के तहेवार में मेरा हाथ टूटा; बड़ा होने दो, सब को ठोक दूँगा”

(My arm broke due to your bloody Hindu festival. All you Hindus are bloody dangerous animals and your festivals are only for hurting others. In Uttarayan someone breaks bones by running, someone gets their throat cut by the thread; in Holi you make things dirty by throwing color & make people blind; in Diwali you blow bombs & set things on fire. Our festivals are so good: we eat sweets & hug each other on Eid. My arm broke because of your bloody festival; when I grow up I’ll whoop you all)

Where does a 10 year old learn to think like this & say such venomous things?
What will he do when he really grows up?