By Siddhartha Roy:
I remember Nazar bhai since I was in Grade 4th, I guess. He used to drive us kids of the University (where we lived) to the school in the town in the blue mini-bus with pink-tinted windows. He was always on time and we always yearned to see his caring face as we ran back from the school gates, huge bags on our little shoulders ready to get back home. He was this young chap — quirky and cool. I remember when he gave all of us — kids he barely knew — Five Stars and pastries on his birthday.
The mini-bus service stopped after a few years and we started taking the conventional buses to-and-from the University and I began to see less of him. After finishing school, I moved to Ahmedabad for my Engineering. Trips back home became less. But each one savoured even more. It was on one of these trips back home that I heard this story — albeit, a true one.
Nazar bhai took the college students of the University for their 18-20 day Educational Trip every year. It was on one of these trips down south that it happened.
Hyderabad was gripped in riots. While driving through the city, one could see burnt cars and rarely even dead bodies. Driving through empty roads and trying to make a speedy exit from the city, the bus was stopped by a mob of Muslims with swords and pelting stones at the bus.
The mob fiercely hurled stones breaking window panes, shards of glass falling everywhere. The mob started demanding that the people of the bus get down and that all Hindus are to be slain. The crowd of students and faculty in the bus was terrified and lay low in the seats trying to protect themselves.
Nazar bhai took a huge risk when he got down and said that all the passengers were Muslims and that they be allowed to leave. It was a gamble and very little is known of the conversation. But the mob didn’t break open the bus door and check. They relied on his words and allowed the bus to go.
Had there been a slight hint of doubt, the mob might have even attacked Nazar bhai ‘since he was lying to his own (only in terms of religion) men’. But religion is no parameter for people to align for or against. It’s not worth more than the lives of the innocent.
The bus got out of the city, its passengers unscathed and everyone looking towards him as their hero. Because of one man’s bravery and his choice of doing the right things ‘no matter what’, many lives were saved. He chose Humanity above everything else. And that is what makes him great.
But here is the question: What about the countless young men whose minds are being poisoned to kill and to terrorize and who perhaps will never be able to understand ‘Humanity’? Is there a way out? What do you think? Drop in a comment below or tweet us at @YouthKiAwaaz. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy: http://zenducation.net/?p=282