I see humans , but no humanity.
Shabeer Ali was a truehearted Muslim in his 70s who offered Namaz 5 times a day without fault, He was at that stage of life where a man feels to have done with all the ritualistic duties of the world and waits for the day when Allah would call upon him. Shabeer was contended with whatever little he had and most importantly had no qualms with life. After retiring as a postman, he had been staying with his eldest son Mushtaq ,his daugher in law Nadira and his youngest daughter Sabina in outskirts of Muzzafarnagar. Everyday since his retirement had been a Sunday for Shabeer, but he was not the kind of man who liked being idle for even a moment. People used to say that during the days of his youth, he could do work equal to three men, play Kabbaddi like a national player and was the best man in the village for cock fight.
Shabeer missed his job badly , more so because that was the only thing that kept him busy ever since he lost his wife to Tuberculosis. A month before retirement He had applied for an extension of two years. Everyone in the Post office believed that he would easily get the extension as they knew how hard working and sincere Shabeer was, but the 'Bade Sahab' simply didn’t agree to his appeal and gave a terse one-liner that the department required young blood. Later it was found that the job was given to one of the distant relatives of 'Bade Sahab' only. Shabeer knew every member of the colony by name. And well, that came as one of the perks of being a postman. Just tell the name and he would promptly tell all he knew about the family. He was the Telephone directory , Yellow Pages , Google maps and all you can think of the area. But of late his memory had not been so benevolent to him, probably age was taking a toll on him. Many a times Shabeer had expressed his wish that he just wanted to be a grandfather before he breathed his last. He wanted to hold Mushtaq's child in his arms. And that this would be his last wish ,provided there were any. Shabeer believed he would attain his Jannat on earth itself when he would play with his grandchild.
That day was a very usual day in all terms. The sun rose in the same direction as it had done for billions of years, birds chirped with same melody, the zephyr was equally freshening, everything was just the way it should be, except that a storm was veiling underneath this calmness. The clock showed 7:30 and Shabeer's son Mushtaq was about to leave for his job, he worked as a peon in a private school nearby. The daughter-in-law was unwell so was still sleeping on a cot in the inner room and his youngest daughter Sabina was preparing the breakfast. All of a sudden there were cries of a mob stampeding, there were screams of violence and vehemence, every passing moment the thumping feet were growing louder and louder , no one in the family could make out what was happening. Shabeer tried to look out of the window and saw a huge mob charging towards their locality with Swords, axes, burning tyres, kersosene, Guns and a lot more.
He was freezed to death imagining the atrocity that was to fall upon them in next few minutes. At this age he could have neither run and save his life nor could he have fought back. He saw his death imminent. He cried out calling for Mushtaq and pleaded for him to run away but Mushtaq refused to go anywhere leaving his unwell wife, and old father .Afterall there was no guarantee that they would be safe outside. Sabina seconded Mushtaq and refused to move either. Sheer love and selflessness was at display, everyone was ready to sacrifice themselves. Everyone kept convincing each other but no one budged and eventually lost whatever precious minutes they had at hand.
What happened then was what everyone had already anticipated except the savagery with which it was done. All of a sudden the fanatic crowd swarmed into the house and slaughtered the entire family down to death. Shabeer's own survival was a bizarre consequence of his unique position , placement and timing. Probably he went unconscious during the massacre. Upon waking up he found himself on a ragged jute sack. He turned his gaze to find his daughter-in-law Nadira chopped across her waist into two halves. He followed the random line of clotted blood to find the missing head of his son Mushtaq's beheaded body. The mutilated head rested against a corner of the wall. His daughter Sabina’s corpse hinted that all beastly inflictions were centred right across the middle bottom of her waist. Perhaps, being raped innumerable times and the sexual violence inflicted by the mob traumatized her to an extent that the gang of fanatics did not need any other weapon to snatch away the life from her. There was blood all over!
Shabeer turned away his eyes from the vividness of this barbarism. He put his palms over his face and wept like a 7 year old kid. The weepy screams broke away the morbid silence of the room. He cursed and abused himself, beated the chest a few times. However, to no avail now. Getting all dehydrated and mentally exhausted, Shabeer didn’t realise when he again fell unconscious.8 hours passed since then and night started was settling in. Shabeer slowly regained consciousness. He rose on his feet to gape through the window. There was ghostly silence on the street. A couple of stray dogs were comfortably gorging upon the belly of a corpse. The rest of the dogs were sleeping leisurely as if inebriated by the taste of human flesh.
Shabeer heard someone sobbing on the street. He focused his weak eyes closer to recognize that it was the baby grandson of Pandit Ramnarayan. Shabeer's eyes sparkled like that of a cat. He took the courage and inched towards the gate. Suddenly the slogans of retreating berserk crowd deafened his ears. But this time the slogans were from his own community. The slogans called for triumphalism and revenge. However, Shabeer did not let himself to entrap again in any bigoted quandary. He knew the blind rage of the crowd and the fury of the mob. Therefore, he had taken the firm decision in his mind. An unwavering and unalloyed decision strong as steel. Much above the confinements of caste, sect, creed and religion. A decision based on pure humanity, and nothing else.
He took the baby in his weak arms and carefully hid him under his Kurta for don’t know how long. The last thing Shabeer remembered was a single hit of axe across his neck…....' After a while this another group of blind crowd went away sloganeering when the fearful baby felt the loosening of the grasp of Shabeer’s palm over his mouth. Shabeer was dead! But He had held the baby till his death, and atleast for those couple of hours, the baby was his own grandchild. Perhaps Allah would have accorded Shabeer the long wished 'Jannat'.
Eitherway Humanity had won.
P.S. : It is the people like Shabeer Ali who keep the thread of brotherhood and fraternity strong and robust enough to let people believe that good is still out there to defeat Bad.
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