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There's Hope. Stories Of Solidarity From The 2020 Delhi Riots

In the last week, our beloved city of Delhi has been burnt. We have witnessed grotesque violence, and been overwhelmed by stories of inhumane discrimination. Silently, we have watched neighbourhoods getting torched, many stripped to prove their religion, many lynched and burnt alive; all the while hoping that this is just a bad dream. But, it’s not. The map of our city has been changed forever - yet again - on the whim of a handful of powerful individuals who could have prevented this, or curbed it, but didn’t. We’ve been there - partition, 1984, 2002, and now. It’s the same dynamic at play - genocide. Let’s call a spade a spade. 

While we saw flames consuming the Muslim-dominated neighbourhoods of our hometown, we remained silent. We were looking for a tiny, fading ember of hope - something to tell us that there is still some compassion left among us. Helplessly, we sat behind our screens flashing images of brutality we couldn’t fully believe, scouring for ways we can make you - our readers - feel slightly less anxious and terrified, slightly less threatened, slightly more Zen. We couldn’t think of anything. We couldn’t make it better. We were paralysed by what we were seeing. 

The violence may have subsided, but peace will not be restored for a long time to come. 

The wounds are too deep and will leave permanent scars. But This is why we must also listen to the stories of solidarity - we must remind ourselves of the times that Hindus and Muslims, and Sikhs and Christians, and those who aren’t religious, stood beside each other, even as their homes were snatched away from them; stories of stoic survival and small miracles that are easy to forget in times of conflict.

When Hindus and Sikhs formed a human chain so their Muslim friends could peacefully read the Namaz

 

 

When 30-year-old Shabana Parveen who was kicked by a mob in her belly, gave birth to a healthy baby boy 

Parveen's mother-in-law told PTI, "They hurled religious slurs, and beat up my son. Some of them even kicked my daughter-in-law in the abdomen...as I went to protect her, they came charging at me... We thought we would not survive that night. But with god’s grace we somehow managed to escape from the clutches of the rioters." The family calls the son a "miracle baby".

When Sanjiv welcomed Mujibur Rehman into his home after the latter’s was burnt down in Mustafabad

 

 

When 23-year-old Savitri Prasad’s “Muslim brothers” stood guard outside as she got married in the violence-stricken Chandbagh 

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When Gurudwaras and Churches offered shelter to those in need 

 

 

When Yamuna Vihar residents formed a human chain to ensure that students can cross safely 

 

 

When the 17-year-old Harsh Singh was given shelter by Wahab and his wife in Khajoori Khas 

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“Divide-and-rule” is not a political philosophy that lived and died with the British Raj. It is a diktat that has been followed many times in human history, and indeed, humans have been divided by religion, caste, gender, and more. The sense of ‘otherness’ is deeply ingrained in the human psyche. But, this otherness can co-exist with harmony. 

These stories give us hope, and tell us that the world isn’t full of hatred. That compassion lives in people like Sanjiv, and Wahab Bhai. 

If you know of more such stories, please share them with us. Write to us at: zenkeeping@gmail.com. We will share it with our readers, and lend some hope to them in these dark times.  

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