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In The Time of Manufacturing Hate

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1

I

The Prime Minister was going to do “Mann Ki Baat” on the radio with school children. All the schools have been instructed to stop the regular proceedings and to make sure that the“Mann Ki Baat” program should be attended by all students. There was a familiar layer of smile on every student’s face on that day as no classes were going to take place. Everyone was eagerly waiting for the “enlightened hour.”

II

I was standing in the corner. Two boys came and almost pushed me aside and said, “What is this ‘Lashkar’ thing you are writing on Facebook? You were given warnings earlier too, weren’t you?” I knew them. Both were associated with Bajrang Dal.

– “Brother, it is a poetic couplet that I have shared. There is nothing in it as you are thinking (informed).” I tried to make it clear to them.

– “We don’t know all that. It is enough. Every time you kept writing against us on the Facebook. ‘Fielding’ will be ready for you today.” They warned me. And I remember the last time when this word “fielding” was used a friend of mine got beaten up and severely injured.

This episode was going on and a teacher passed by there. When he inquired, the boys said that despite their warning, I have written something on Facebook which mentions ‘Lashkar’. Before that I could make my stand clear, the teacher started advising me, “Our country should be our priority, my son! Nothing will be tolerated against the country. Take care from now onwards that you do not make any comment which goes against the country.”

I was shocked on how one can judge my opinion that it is against the country without even knowing it?

After the arrival of the teacher, those boys went away but they already warned me that something will happen today. I was worried.

III

Seeing something troubling me, Amit and Abhishek asked, “What happened? Why are you looking so worried?”

– “Nothing brother, boys from the D section have threatened me that they have set up‘fielding’ for me after the school.” I said.

– “Oh! so they have grown up now. By the way, why would they do so?”

– “Actually, I shared a quotation yesterday on Facebook which they could not get and misinterpreted it. For that they are showing their anger on me.”

– “We will see how they can even touch you!”

IV

Finally, the bell rang. There was ‘fielding’ outside the school. Around ten to fifteen boys were waiting for me at the exit. I came out fearfully. A skinny boy, who always used to be advised by the friends to be alert even from the wind, was coming out of the school. The boys of the remaining four sections were there to see what would happen today. But nobody could muster up the courage to come forward. Holding my hands, Amit on my right and Abhishek on the left were walking like my shadow. They both were very healthy and strong.

They kept looking at us with a wistful look and we moved ahead.

V

We used to have Samosas daily after school at Damodar’s shop. Curiously Amit asked, “By the way, what have you written on Facebook which made that much chaos?”

– “Brother, I didn’t write myself. I only shared a poetry piece of a writer–

“Naya nizaam, nayi bandishein, elaan naya,

Hum faqat ‘lashkar-e-shahi’ ke hi mafiq sochein,

Sahib-e-waqt ne yeh hukm kiya hai jari,

Apni naslon se kaho mere mutabik sochein.”

Though they also could not get it but replied in single voice, “Tumhein pata hai na ki tumne sahi likha hai, bas kafi hai. Delete mat karna baqi hum dekh lenge.” (You know you are right? Enough for us. Do not delete it, rest we’ll handle.)

It was September with the scorching sun, and the heat of hate was much more than the sun, burning the hearts and breaking the bonds of love but in that time of hate, there were some flowers too, spreading the smell of love and friendship.

(Author’s note: This short story is an excerpt from his book “Lakhimpur ki Laghu kathayein”, a compilation of Hindi tales by the author based on real incidents and memoirs.)

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