THE DIVISION By Sushant Supriye

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THE DIVISION By Sushant Supriye My body lay on the street. My forehead bore the marks of an injury. My shirt was bloodstained. There was a crowd surro

THE DIVISION


My body lay on the street. My forehead bore the marks of an injury. My shirt was bloodstained. There was a crowd surrounding me. An excited crowd! Within minutes, the mass separated into two groups. One group claimed that I was a Hindu and waved saffron flags. The other group was of the opinion that I was Muslim and waved green flags. One group roared, “He was killed by these Muslims. He is a Hindu. He will be cremated. We have the right to claim his body.” The other group shouted back, “The non-believers have killed him. He is our Muslim brother. He will be buried. We have the rightful claim on his body.” And then, the air resounded with cries of ‘Allah ho Akbar’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram.’

I stood quietly nearby. Was I dead? The reactions of the rabble proclaimed as much.

I said, “Brothers! Even if I am dead, take me to the hospital first. At least get a ‘post-mortem’ done. Let it be known how I met my end.”

The throng replied, “Oh no! We can’t take you to the hospital. This is a police case. There will be endless rounds of the courthouse.”

THE DIVISION By Sushant Supriye
The chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Allah ho Akbar’ resumed. The hordes were becoming blood thirsty. Scared, I climbed up the nearest tree. There was no trusting this obsessed mob. What was to stop them from killing a dead man all over again?

I was in a quandary. The body lying on the streets was undoubtedly mine. While deciding whether it was to be cremated or buried, they should have consulted me. But the throng was not ready to listen to me.

I addressed the people in pleading tones. “Brothers, why are you disrupting your communal harmony over an inconsequential man like me? Please maintain your accord.  Sit down together and decide amicably whether I should be cremated or buried. If you all can’t reach a decision, then take the matter to the courts.”

The mob replied, “The courts take too long to deliver justice. Sometimes, cases drag on for more than fifty years. The verdict of the lower court can be appealed in high court and then, the Supreme Court. What will happen to your body till then?”

I said, “Brothers, just to avoid all this acrimony and blood shed, I am prepared to be a ‘mummy’ till the final verdict.”

But the mass was thirsting for blood. Nobody was ready to wait so long.

Then I said again, “Why don’t you decide with a coin toss? The winning side will either cremate or bury me, as per their religious ideology.”

The people retorted, “We have all watched the movie ‘Sholay’. We will not fall for this prank.”

What a problematic situation! There lay my body on the street. A crowd of fanatics surrounded it. I, myself, was perched on a tree. For the first time, I was watching my body like this. I found myself pitying my own body. I felt an even greater pity for the crowd. Those poor people were ready to kill or be killed over the possession of my body.

Just then, a somewhat educated rioter pointed at my tree and started to shout in English. “Blah, blah, blah, bloody fool, blah, blah, kill him.” Many of the others left my body and gathered under the tree. Fear drove me to climb up to a higher branch.

The fanatics shouted up at me, “Tell us quickly who you are or we will kill you again.”

Such strange people! They wanted to kill an already dead man. I thought very hard. But for the life of me, I could not recall if I was a Hindu or a Muslim. What is the religion of those people who can’t remember their religion? What names do they have? Ram Rahim Singh David?

The mob was getting out of control. Both sides were now waving tridents and swords. The slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Allah ho Akbar’ rended the air.

Lest a riot break out, I tried to appeal to the crowd again. “Brothers, quieten down please. If no solution can be found, please divide my body in two halves. Let the Hindus take one half and burn it. Let the other half be taken by the Muslims for burial.”

I recalled the famous tale of the just king Vikramaditya.  Surely now, one group will back down so that my body is not desecrated.

But the rabble came forward with blades, scythes, swords and knives, ready to dismember my body. Even though I was sitting on the top branch, I started to shiver. After all, the body about to be torn apart and divided was mine.

What kind of people were these that they were bent upon dividing even a dead body? I looked closely at the throng of men. The same kind of faces were on both sides.  The same fanatic countenance that carried a saffron flag on one side, was also present on the other side, holding aloft a green flag. The same crazed eyes, the same deranged smiles were on both sides, testing the sharpness of their blades. I wish we could utter the word ‘statue’ and rioters would turn into stone so that we could sink them in the ocean.

The crowd was ready to cut me up. Just then, somebody in the crowd shouted, “ Hey, just pull his trousers down. It will become clear whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim.”

This was the ultimate insult! Many pairs of hands began to pull down my pants. I could no longer stay still. I jumped down from the tree and started to shout for help.

But nobody paid me any heed. The mob had pulled the clothes off my body and it lay there, stark naked! I closed my eyes in shame.

“Oh Lord Shiva! God save us from Devil! “

A harmonious hilarity rose from the crowd. I opened my eyes and in an instant, it all became clear to me. In a flash, I recalled who I was! Some of the rioters were making slutty jokes about eunuchs. Some began to clap their hands in a rhythm and chant ‘Hai! Hai!’ “He turned out to be ‘it’,” they joked and laughed amongst themselves.

The tension in the throng abated and I heaved a sigh of relief.

Slowly, the mob began to disperse. The saffron flag bearers went one way and the green flag holders went the other. Today was not the day for tridents or swords. I was left alone with my naked dead body. “If all communal riots can be resolved this way, God, please make everyone ‘IT’”, I prayed to Him.

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Sushant Supriye
A-5001,
Gaur Green City,
Vaibhav Khand,
Indirapuram,
Ghaziabad-201014.
 UP
INDIA .
M:8512070086
email: sushant1968@gmail.com

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हिन्दीकुंज,Hindi Website/Literary Web Patrika: THE DIVISION By Sushant Supriye
THE DIVISION By Sushant Supriye
THE DIVISION By Sushant Supriye My body lay on the street. My forehead bore the marks of an injury. My shirt was bloodstained. There was a crowd surro
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