I began with the narrow streets of Khajoori Khaas and came across the horrifying view of burnt houses. The people in this locality recognised me as one of their own. I was met with love and kindness from people who had suffered hatred. I went into a house and turned ‘on’ my flashlight as it was quite dark. The walls were pitch black as if they were akin to the hearts of the mob who set it on fire. I could see that even the walls grew black and everything was a mess, even the floor of the house was completely covered with ashes. A blistered motorbike could be seen in a narrow corridor of the house. I then entered a room which was absolutely vandalised. The owner of the house tried to narrate the mental trauma she suffered with, but she didn’t have to speak her eyes said it all. After having a brief chat with her, I came out of the house and some people there, directed me towards the mosque which was torched in the violence.
THE MANIPULATED PERCEPTION
I stepped in the mosque and my heart literally skipped a beat, all I could see was just piles of embers, a few leftovers of some blistered pages which were precisely the folio of possession of heaven – The Holy Quran. I felt a little hesitant before entering the mosque and I guess, the people around me sensed my nervousness and yet they encouraged me to move in. So, keeping in mind the awe of one’s worshipping place, I undid my shoes and moved inside. I could see the dreadful pieces of their sacred book. I started shivering when I witnessed this optical. A young fellow who emboldened me to enter the mosque noticed something over my countenance, and so he wished to tell me every single inch of what all his innocent eyes witnessed. I myself felt something on my face, probably it was the dropped emotion that rolled down my cheeks. He then manifested me towards a huge bag which contained heaps of scorched pieces of papers which hold very high esteem in eyes of the people who assembled it. This huge bag was placed at the left side of the main entrance door. No matter to what religion you may belong, in any way you don’t hold any prerogative to contempt the sacred and holy books of any other religion. I just had a glance over the pile of ruins that too for a fraction of second and then I couldn’t perceive; my eyes were shut all by themselves.
My eyes were not powerful enough to stare at those darkest possible bits for long. I gathered all my courage to comprehend what was around me and yet failed to look upon those incinerated emotions all over again. I then decided to proceed in another direction, but the problem was that every ace of monument looked the same, grey embers covered every single inch of the floor, smashed super cool liquid fragments were scattered everywhere. Every point looked alike. Every sight trembled my soul. I was unable to discern between the linoleum of floor and the pulpit. I was so lost in my own feeling of imbecility that I just did not register about where I was heading to. It was only when I heard someone asking from somewhere behind me to be cautious that I realised, that I was walking over shattered fragments of glass of course with pointed edges that too bare-footed. Though I wasn’t lucky enough to get injured with those excruciating edged fragments over that holy piece of land, I felt so lethargic that I wished to sit right there and snivel as much as possible.
I underwent this may be because I thought that breaking down into tears will aid me, lighten the burden that made my shoulders feel so hefty. Regrettably I had no option but to construct utmost strength out of nowhere and push myself. Someone from the locality whose face I could barely see, pointed towards the pulpit which was located on the extreme left corner of the hall just on the opposite wall of the main entrance door. Adjacent to which, empty window frames were spotted, their broken sharp-edged glass pieces of every size were scattered below the frames. On having a glance at dark ruins of the pulpit on which a few traces of golden artwork were faintly visible, I could imagine how beautiful and fascinating it must have been a few days ago. The young boy who was constantly with me, administered me towards the staircase which was located on extreme right corner of the chamber. I sluggishly pushed myself towards the stairway.
As I was ascending towards the next floor, with each step I took I felt as if someone was repeatedly stabbing me right in my heart. I was so indulged in this pain that I could definitely not feel anything below my foot. Needless to mention that I was walking on the floor concealed with sharp edged glass chunks. All I could see everywhere was just shades of black getting even darker with each step I took. After climbing somewhat 15 – 20 long steps, I eventually reached the first floor of the mosque.
Here I could smell the aroma of terror. Blazing odour was still persistent even after 7 days of the inhumane hawkishness. The praying mats on the right side of the stairs were crumbled and scald vestige were clearly evident. In the front part of the hall, I witnessed vandalised small tables which are commonly used by students to place their books over them and study. Those tiny lifeless wooden pieces were desperately narrating the savagery they have gone through. I heard them saying that “we wanted virtuous books to be kept over us, innocent children sitting around us and hear the melodious recitation of The Holy Quran on us” , but to our affliction, we had stones over us, a bunch of crying and depressed eyes around us and we heeded people scorning one religion and unjustifiably praising the other one. I was so involved in hearing these declarations that indeed I forgot about them being abiotic. I then realised that this allegation came somewhere from the back of my mind. I began in questing myself about what was the fault of these mere wooden pieces. What was the liability of those innocents who were categorically unaware of this hate politics? They are the ones who used to come to this sacred place just to acquire knowledge. What about the terror that must have been established inside the pure hearts and clear eyes of pupils who are no more muscular enough to come to the same place to cherish their intelligence? A million more similar questions erupted inside me. I looked around in the wickedness and unfortunately found nobody who could supply remedy to my questions. The only thing that could be seen were the horrifying dark black walls flavoured with the aroma of blood thirsty terrorism. I could sense the tears of ground it must have shed due to the pain they must have gone through when those glass slices broke upon them. I could hear the cry of praying mats due the injuries they must have suffered when some masked infidels set them ablaze. I could feel sobs of bookshelf which had nothing to wipe its tears off but the burnt remains of books and notebooks that were once owned by some young lads. On the extreme left corner of the hall right in the front corner of the staircase, a small amount of acid could be seen. I couldn’t figure out what or who actually suffered from the liquid. I was several meters away from the deadly liquid yet could feel its burning sensation over my entire body as if that acid was heaved at me. I moved a few steps forward and turned 120 degrees clockwise to enter the main praying area. It was so profusely covered with the grey powder that even the praying mats were hardly visible. Dark everywhere. The mosque was evocating a grave. The only light one can hold is the divine light of one’s faith, else you have to face that lethal darkness much more than this one till eternity. On my left side, I saw some scattered clothes stuck with one another and a clear incinerate mark was also seen and certainly they were unwearable now. Spotting clothes in a praying hall was absolutely strange so I enquired about them and so I was told that those belonged to the Imaam of that mosque.
At some point I felt as if my vitality was desensitizing and I just wasn’t capable enough to manoeuvre further. My intact anatomy quivered. I tried to figure out the trepidation inside me but anomalously it turned out to be something whose title is yet to be designated. An experience that led to my heart being ruptured with every single moment passing by. It was my abhorrence that rifted me apart. I was exasperated up to an extent that I just did not intend to move further. My heart vociferated that its robustness started to fade away but then I comprehended that no one can hear that vocalization of my heart. I was so worn out with my agony that I just longed to fly from that geography.
As I moved to the next floor the boy behind me said – “Jab gundo ne neeche vaale floor pe bikes daal kr aag lagayi thhi tb jitne bhi log thhe yaha vo sb upar vale floor ki taraf bhhagey thhe” (when the mob was torching the mosque the people inside had sought refuge in this floor). On hearing this momentary testimony, my cerebrum began to visualise what I heard. I could see fumes coming from the ground floor all around my way, some indefinite number of folks running on the staircase with a dismay on their physiognomy of being assassinated. I could realise the terror inside them of being a prey of this pogrom. As I embraced each step, I could even hear the howls and lamentations that were a phenomenon seven days back. I saw the second floor of that architecture and once again experiencing the inhumanity on watching the extent of darkness and lifelessness here. On witnessing such a creepy desolation in a mosque for the first time in my life, I broke down into tears. My heart was bleeding. Anxiety inside me was underlinable.
The battle between my heart and my brain involuntarily began but this time, since I lacked fortitude, my heart won the stroke and without moving an inch forward, I came down with the best of my pace.
Habitually when people leave a mosque, their hearts and souls are at peace. They return with a glowing faces and smile. Thanks to those infidel rioters, I stepped out of my self-proclaimed comfort zone and witnessed this countenance of the world as well. Thanks to peace breaking goons that I witnessed death before I am actually no more alive. Thanks to these devils, for the first time in my life, entering a mosque made me feel more cumbersome than ever before. To my misfortune, I left the mosque with a phlebotomized heart and an injured soul. I returned with a dull face full of anxiety and depression. I testify that those monsters were successful in manipulating an ideal perception of a holy place.