Tuesday, August 21, 2007

satyameva jayate?

Niladri’s post opened up an ideological debate. I haven't seen the movie therefore I have nothing to comment on it yet.

However, I agree with him largely on the ill gotten and completely corny PR machine of the ‘mahatma’. Agreed he was human and he is allowed a mistake like all of us, but when that comes at the cost of life and livelihood of millions, I cannot absolve him of murder most foul.

My family belongs to the Noakhali’s Korpara Ray Choudhurys. An educated landed gentry who were members of the Indian National Congress and most importantly followers of Gandhiji’s beliefs. A family that foolishly hung on to their ‘bhitey’ in East Pakistan believing whatever that Gandhi said. A family whose men folk numbering sixteen including male children were beheaded in front of their women in their own country mansion, (where they had gathered to celebrate the durga pujo) which the ‘attackers’ had laid siege for over 72 hours before they burned the house and gained entry. The women were brutally raped and children thrown in the blazing fire. A few unmarried girls were abducted, of whose where about we do not know till date. Someone from the family met a lady a decade back who looked like one of those abducted girls but who now wears a burkha and refused to reveal her connection to this family out of guilt and shame of her fate.

My grandmother, who was a young girl at that time, and the rest of the remaining women and children escaped with the help of some of the muslim villagers who gave them food, burkhas to cover themselves and protection till they reached the border on foot and boat. According to the villagers the house burnt for three days after the mayhem.

The irony?

According to my grandmother, the ‘attackers’ were all West Pakistanis. They were Pathans on horses and spoke no Bangla. The local muslim farmers had warned about their infiltrations and the threat of attack and same was informed to the then Congress leaders who in Gandhi’s behest asked the Ray Choudhurys and others to stay put and set an example for the scared fleeing mass.

The result?

A generation of widowed women and children who migrated to Kolkata with just the clothes on their backs and no money. Whatever little jewelry the women carried with them were used to house the children at various distant relatives and well wish wishers custody. A few suffered from dementia and most died tragically young.

Freedom is relative. But at what cost?


Shubhojit said...

Gandhi was never a simple good man. He was a manipulator of the highest order. But he did succeed in fooling people into believing that he wanted only good for everyone.
Noakhali to date remains one of the blackest spots in India's history. Have heard so many stories of horror of people who fled from Noakhali. To some extent my family too was affected being in East Pakistan.
But the good thing is that in this generation lot of people look down upon Gandhi as a shrewd & scheming guy and that makes me happy.

DreamCatcher said...

SJ : thank you for being honest...

~Nayan~ said...

I agree
Gnadhiji used the manipulative power to make things flow according to the polictics.

DreamCatcher said...

nayan: thanks for dropping by..