A mass murderer just cannot become a saint of sadbhavana or a symbol of progress. He will be forever mapped by his own mappings.
All criminals, murderers, mass murderers, rapists, gang rapists, blood-thirsty fanatics, they all think they can escape. Some do. Some don\\\’t. A few get convicted in their lifetime, especially after riots and State-sponsored genocides. Others use and manipulate a slow, slothful, corrupt, insensitive, communalized system to cock a snook at the judiciary; often backed by certain extremist political parties, including ruling parties, they strut about like heroes of war who have accomplished a great act of valour and bravery for their ethnic cleansing cause. Indeed, instead, they should ask a few questions to their own selves. But, that, they will never do.
They never ask their own mirrors, how can you love and respect your own daughter, wife, sister and mother when you have raped and murdered someone else\\\’s mother, sister, wife, daughter? How can you face your own god and religion, when you have violated all that stands for godliness and purity in your religion?
What kind of a religious and social order will your ideology and parivar bring to this society when you have desecrated other sacred spaces so brazenly, violated eyes, hearts and bodies, murdered, hacked, butchered, burnt alive innocent people, little children, women, men. Sometimes, when you burnt all of them alive, as you did at Best Bakery in Vadodara, or in Mehsana, do you feel alright when a fire burns near your description, when your wife bakes bread on a fire, when your child is hurt by a stroke of fire in Diwali, when you light a candle or diya in a mandir, when you go for a Hindu funeral of a friend or loved one?
How do you touch your wife when you were part of a gang of gang rapists who ravaged women at Naroda Patiya as a public spectacle? How do you sleep a peaceful night\\\’s sleep when you remember the screams of women and men whom you hacked many times, and burnt alive, as you did with Ehsan Jaffrey, in that blood-curdling Gulbarga Society massacre in Ahmedabad? "The mob dragged my husband, stripped him and chopped off his limbs before burning him alive," Zakia Jaffrey later told a court. Is this the way you celebrate your self-identity, your ideology, your religion?
Zakia Jaffrey, Bilquis Bano, Kausar Bi, the mother of Azar who disappeared (she still waits for him), as told in the true story in the film, Parzania, do you share one moment of their infinite, relentless, tragedy? Does it strike you that they will never sleep a sleep peacefully in their entire lives? Does it give you great pleasure to imagine their suffering?
Are you a human being or a mad, murderous, mechanical barbarian, chasing your fascist ideology outside all norms of humanity and human conduct, unimaginable in a civilized society?
Ten years after the Gujarat carnage of 2002, February 28 has yet again arrived with the same nightmares. How can a society remember such grotesque details year after year, waiting for justice which seems so far and impossible, as far as the farce of the enquiry commissions? (Remember the Liberhan Commission report, submitted after 17 long years, after they destroyed the Babri Masjid, which was followed by killings all over India?)
Is the mask of death and destruction their only mask which they truly love, and is that why they don\\\’t throw out or punish the criminals, rapists and mass murderers in their own parivar and party? How can a party reconcile to its own daily beliefs and disbeliefs after having been morally part of such organized atrocities, stretching the most barbaric logic of barbarism? Can murder and rape and burning alive give you a high moral ground?
They think that memory can become weak and we will all forgive and forget. Life\\\’s injustices, and the eternal longing for justice, do not work like this. The spiral of the scream, like the scream in that famous painting, will keep returning, like a long playing record, recorded in streams of consciousness, across the nation\\\’s conscience, trapped in the trappings of documented injustice.
Indeed, a mass murderer just cannot become a saint of sadbhavana or a symbol of progress. He will be forever mapped by his own mappings. Not even a mask, or many masks, can hide or disguise his bloated, blood-thirsty face, his red, bloody lips, his sinister blood-soaked eyes of demonic gaze, his dirty devilish tongue let loose, celebrating daily, devilish hate.
This is because February 28 will come back. Again and again. Like a memory soaked in colour red.
(This article was first published in Hardnews magazine)