The Love Story of a Movement
by Raja Sharma
She is the most beautiful girl in this world; she loves me more than any other thing; she gives meaning to my life; and she is made for me, etc. are the lines which are so banal that love has gradually begun to lose its weight and platonic aspect of human existence. I had never, before the tragically grotesque and magical moment which I am going to relate, realized that a moment could be enough to change every preconceived notion of love. That one moment, that one glance, and that storm changed the meaning of life forever. It has become an inevitable part of my existence, a page in my life on which the love story of my life has unwillingly been scribbled.
Notwithstanding its momentary existence, it left behind the sense of ages. To categorize this story under the heading of tragedy, tragic love, or misfortune would be injustice, for it is so subtle that words don’t suffice to express it. I have experienced it and I am sure that once you have gone through this small story your concept will definitely and drastically change.
After the partition of British India, riots had broken out everywhere, Hindus killing Muslims, and Muslims killing Hindus in their respective parts of the land, left to them by their former British masters, India and Pakistan. I was in a border town of Rajasthan, in the Hindu dominated area. I am a witness to the ugly and hateful dance of humanity.
It was my first major assignment given to me by the newspaper I had been working for. I had to cover the situation in that area. The editor had already sensed that something big was going to happen there, so I was sent there. Being a journalist, it was my duty to meet people, ask them about their village, their neighbours, and the tension that prevailed in the area.
One night, I was given shelter by a villager. The very next morning, the riots broke out. The minority community was the target. The rioters were burning houses, looting shops, killing people, and shouting slogans. The Muslims were trying to go over the border to their Pakistan but the people, the Hindus, who chased them, did not want them to go there alive. Not even children were spared. Being a Hindu by birth, I felt safe there because the majority belonged to my people.
Suddenly, a Muslim family appeared from a house from the other side of the road. I was on this side of the road. Old parents and their young daughter and a little son began to run for their lives. A group of our people saw them and ran towards them. They had swords, tridents, and knives in their hands. A few policemen were standing with me but they were mere spectators because they belonged to the majority community too.
They killed the old parents on the spot and the little child was crushed to death, under the feet of the rioters.
The young girl, around 20, ran across the road. When she was about three yards from me, she fell unconscious. I ran towards her and lifted her in my arms. Her shawl had fallen off and my eyes stuck to her bright face. She was the most beautiful apparition I had seen in my life up to that day. Her young body was so light in my arms that I felt I could easily escape from there, carrying her. That touch, her closed eyes, and warm breaths reached my face when I lifted her up and almost held her tightly to my chest. I knew that I was in love and I had to save her. I began to run, without looking back. The policemen did not assist me at all. I did not know where to go and how to save her. The most important thing that I wanted to do was to change her dress because her kurta and salwaar distinguished her from the Hindu girls and women. The embroidery on her dress eloquently spoke that she was a Muslim.
Suddenly, I heard shouts and I looked back. A group of the rioters was running towards me. I realized that it was useless to run. I began to think the words which I would use to beg for her life. But before I could open my mouth, a young man pushed me and the girl fell off my arms. She was lying unconscious on the ground. A sword came down on her throat and I saw the head cut off. Her body stirred and then stilled forever. I was on the verge of collapse but I controlled myself.
I sat down beside the road, with tears in my eyes. The rioters passed by me, laughing and shouting slogans. I did not dare to look in their direction because I was not ready to believe that humans could be so cruel.
My lover, my prospective lover, with whom I had already decided to spend the rest of my life without knowing who she was and what her name was, who had fallen into and off my arms in a moment, was never going to open her eyes to see that someone was going to repent all his life for the beloved. I did not want to cover the story of that area because I had become the part of a story which was going to touch the hearts of millions of my readers.