National Convenor, Congress Party’s Social Media Department
One day, instead of our tuition teacher teaching us, his elder brother started talking to us. He was very sweet, and offered us chocolates. Who doesn’t like chocolates? Naturally, we instantly liked ‘uncle’. He started telling us that he would take us on a picnic every week, where we could play games and spend time with people like him. But this was conditional – we had to convince all the boys in our colony to also attend his lecture (so he could bring all our friends also to the picnic). My brother and I were so excited that we convinced all the 30 or so boys in the neighbourhood, and like he suggested, we invited ‘uncle’ after a couple of days.
When he came, he again gave us chocolates (much bigger than last time) and some forms. While we all greedily gobbled the chocolates, he asked us if we loved our mothers. So all of us chimed in, “yes uncle”.
He asked whether we would do something if someone harmed our mothers. We again replied in the affirmative.
Then he said just like our mother looked after us, fed us and loved us, even Mother India did. He then asked whether our country was also our mother. After looking at each other, we said “yes uncle”, not understanding where the conversation was going.
Then he said, we weren’t strong yet and we had to become very strong. We needed to learn to fight like real men to defend our mother. That’s why we must go to the picnic.
“Will you go with me? I promise you’ll get more chocolates”! More sure about the chocolates, we all shouted “yes uncle”.
Someone then innocently asked him them, “uncle, who is going to attack our mother?” And his whole countenance changed. Menacingly, he growled, “the Muslims! Boys your age are right now getting ready to attack you and your mother”.
I was shocked! My school in Ahmedabad had an equal proportion of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Many of my best friends were Muslims. Why would they attack me or my mother?
As I was thinking this, Papa, who had walked in a while ago, spoke up “why would any Muslim attack us. We’ve lived together for years”. While ‘uncle’ was stammering, papa again said “and another thing, who allowed you here? Why are you giving our children chocolates, and promising them picnics? And who let you give these VHP forms?”
Uncle then started saying something, but Papa just slapped him and told him to get out. And he took us out of that tuition centre that day itself.
Despite the fact that the children didn’t believe what the uncle had said, some of the other children were forced to keep going to the tuition by their parents.
Things changed in the colony after that. Instead of one big gang, we were now two gangs. Even though we wanted to play together, their parents would actively stop them.
I really couldn’t understand what was happening, so asked my father. He told me that “there will always be some people who’ll divide families and people. They’ll do that by winning your trust first. Then they’ll take your soul. So you need to decide- listen to your conscience, or listen to them”.