By Rayan Joel Lobo, SJ
ďWhere shall we go? What is the future of my kids? What shall I do?Ē the woman from the Assam relief camp, broke into tears, having severely affected by the violence all around. Footages on NDTV, showed the victims crying their hearts out.
India is often known before the world community for its-Tolerance. At this point I remember a group of thinkers, who questioned long before and the question still holds good and the question is-When was India really tolerant? Was it tolerant during the anti- Sikh riots or is it tolerant when the Dalits who suffer discrimination everyday? Was it tolerant when thousands of people were massacred and women raped in Godhra carnage, or is it tolerant now as the death toll of victims of Assam riots is rising every day? Is India really tolerant?
Itís indeed saddening to see Kokrajhar, Chirag and Dhuri districts of Assam are burning having more than 2,00,000 people in the relief camps, which doesnít even have proper basic facilities, is nothing but a serious humanitarian crisis and a concern. It was unfortunate, as we were watching the houses burning in the violence struck areas and at the same time the Chief Minister of the state, Gagoi asking, " Where is Assam burning? Itís only a few villages."-an immature statement a Chief Minister could make . I wonder whether, itís a time where the political parties are trying to make their most for themselves, as Bodos are a stronghold in the land. Is this a politically orchestrated drama? If not why was all the delay in taking the necessary precautionary measures in time?
India, is known for its cultural diversity, religious plurality and above all for its tolerance. In my opinion the cry of that helpless woman raises several questions on the tolerance of us Indians.My question is that, When will they go home? Will they ever go home? Even if they go home, will they ever be at home in their homes?
Those were not ordinary tears, for the cry was :
1)Cry for survival:One of the basic questions these victims are asking today, is that , How will we survive? Itís not going to be easy for these victims to go back to their homes, as most of their houses are burnt and nothing much is left behind to hope for? Or is it going to be another case of Ďsurvival of the powerful? Even if they survive, will they ever be able to live?
2)Cry for dignity: Every human deserves dignity and its heartbreaking to see , these victims are merely reduced to objects of violence. The sources say, that even the army, in action isnít really bothered about the conditions of the victims. The eye witnesses say that, when some of the victims asked for help, the army personnel coolly replied that theyíve got to go.Itís not merely an attack on two communities but itís an violent act on the simple lives. These people of Assam will definitely need lot more time to recover from the trauma.
3)Cry for meaning:Possibly many of these victims are asking today, ď Do we deserve this?Ē. Bodos and Muslims are basically religiously oriented communities and no wonder they at this hour of trial , seeking for meaning. I wish, these people be able to draw some meaning out of all this catastrophe around.
Itís not long back when the destitutes from Andhra were thrown into the borders and the beggars from Delhi were chased from the capital, preparing for the CWG. Who will forget the genocide in Godhra or the riots in Khandamal. Some how, we are pleased to hear the slogans like, ď India is ShiningĒ, no matter what the reality around.
Itís time for us Indians now, to open our eyes and have a keen look a the reality and to start acting pro-actively. Assam violence, is yet another addition to the intolerance of Indians.
We have learnt to swim like the fish in the water and fly like the birds in the air, but we have not yet learnt the simple virtue of living together. We have somewhere failed to learn from the past failures. The biggest loser amidst all these is humanity- A suffering humanity;today particularly in the victims of Assam violence .Letís learn to be humans and respond to that cry, so that we will be able to realise the dream of that great man, ĎTo wipe away every tear from every eye.í