Riots Aren’t New, We’ve Changed: Woman’s Facebook Post Goes Viral

In a now-viral Facebook post, Sam Ish laments that Indians have “lost their spine” in the face of mob justice.

3 min read
(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

Perpetrators of mob lynching – or any other crime in full public view – are in the wrong. But what about the spectators? There are umpteen instances now when passersby have actually stood back and watched as heinous acts of crime are carried out in front of them. Some, of course, have intervened and prevented them.

A Facebook user Sam Ish – in a widely shared Facebook post – laments that Indians have “lost their spine” when it comes saving victims of mob justice. She recalls an incident during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots when the case was different. On a train bound for Uttar Pradesh’s Mughalsarai, her parents saw passengers come together to shield a Sikh couple from a raging mob that had halted the train to hunt down Sikhs.

Since the wife was very nearly hysterical with fear, an old lady, who perhaps had never shown her face in public, took off her burqa in that crowded compartment and hid her.
Sam Ish writes in her Facebook post

“But that was then. And this is now,” she further writes.

Though the incidents of mob lynching are seemingly commonplace now, just as several non-Sikhs saved Sikhs then, there must be several non-Muslims today doing the same – Or so we hope.

Read the full text of Sam Ish’s viral post below:

On 1 November 1984, my parents were travelling to Delhi from Mughalsarai. News hadn’t reached them that widespread riots had broken out across the country, post former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination. They just knew that the situation in Delhi was tense.

Mum and dad were one of the two young couples in the carriage. The other was a Sikh couple who had been married for month. They were scared and worried.

The train was stopped a short distance after Banaras by a mob which then started checking each compartment. Like Muslims of today, the Sikhs that day were suddenly the enemies.

The Sikh man’s wife broke down. But the India of 1984 was not as impotent as the India of 2017. Everyone sprung into action. They closed the compartment door.

Since the wife was very nearly hysterical with fear, an old lady, who perhaps had never shown her face in public, took off her burqa in that crowded compartment and hid her.

Sikh men are bound by religion to keep their hair long. Those were to be cut. And fast. Someone handed him a pair of scissors.

That is a scene my father never forgot. As the Sikh man took off his turban and started cutting his hair and beard – a part of his identity – his hands started shaking so badly that he just couldn’t. He froze. Dad and another man helped him while tears fell down his stony face. Mum, the lady who had removed her burqa and the now-hidden Sikh woman sat huddled. They were surrounded by the men in the compartment and the Sikh man sat on the top berth.

When the rioters entered the compartment a few men went ahead and argued with them. Some professed that they’d themselves kill a Sikh had there been one. They lied and argued until the bunch of goons moved on ahead.

No one, not a single person in that compartment, either by word or action, betrayed the Sikh couple.

But that was then. And this is now. Somewhere between 1984 and 2017, Indians lost that spine.

Now they bow and scrape and are ready to kill a Muslim, any Muslim, justify rapes of Muslim children. They clap and cheer at the horrors Indian citizens face in Kashmir or Chhattisgarh, and hack down fig trees if their favourite saffron-clad mob leader tells them to. It is heartbreaking to see such dimwitted and spineless humans.

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