My eleven-year-old daughter and I are reading Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-winning graphic novel, Maus. It is chilling as Spiegelman draws his father’s memories of Nazi Germany and surviving the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Then I read Sameera Khan’s article in the Indian Express — “That January“, published on 6 January 2021. It is about the mobs that went on a communal rampage in Mumbai in Jan 1993, after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 Dec 1992.
Sameera Khan recounts how they were the only Muslim family in their block of apartments and thus a marked family.
We first heard about the election lists circulating in neighbourhood with Muslim names conspicuously identified. The newspapers reports on mobs entering buildings and pulling residents out. Many residential buildings removed the boards listing names of flat owners. Our apartment building decided to take out only our name from the board below. The only Muslim residents of A-wing. The B-wing had no such problem: There were no Muslims living there. My parents tried not to get upset about this in front of us but I recall my mother calling up the building secretary and asking most decorously how this was allowed to happen. When you are the only ones, you keep your voice low. One morning a chand-sitara (moon and star) was scrawled in chalk on the wall next to our door. We had been marked. … That was Bombay, India, January 1993. It might have been yesterday.
Decades may have passed; but inexplicable, senseless hatred and cruelty of man vs man persists.
Today, writer Andrew Solomon posted the following image on Facebook with the comment: From yesterday’s riots [storming of Capitol Hill by Trump’s supporters]. In case Jews (or gay people, or BIPOC people, or educated people) thought they were safe. The abbreviation on this shirt stands for “Six Million Wasn’t Enough”
What is the difference between Spiegelman’s. Sameera Khan’s stories and the riots on Capitol Hill? Nothing. No time seems to have elapsed. Hatred thrives. Why?
8 Jan 2021