Hindus and Muslims Reach Across the Communal Divide in Wake of Malegaon Bombings

September 12, 2006

Source: Gulf News


On September 12, 2006 Gulf News reported, "On September 11, a hundred years ago as well as today, India has a message for the world and for itself. A hundred years ago, launching the principle of satyagraha or active non-violence in South Africa, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi spoke of its potential not only to shake the British Empire, but also to create a resurgence in South Africa and India. But as the world continued to be torn apart by a series of ethnic conflicts and cross-continental wars, Gandhi warned that the Old Testament dictum promoting an eye for an eye would only make the whole world blind. On this fifth anniversary of September 11, as the world remembers that horrific morning in New York with a grimness that is, if truth be told, a somewhat watered-down version of the shock and horror that visited us that day, Gandhi's message still echoes down the century with hundredfold meaning. It's easy to dismiss Gandhi in this increasingly cynical, globalising world, especially when people routinely kill each other in the name of democracy, as in Iraq. In India, religious rioting has taken on dread manifestations, as in the July 11 Mumbai train blasts in which nearly 200 people, Hindu, Muslim and Christian, died. And yet there's one Indian town, weighed down so deeply by the idea of the religious backlash, that this time it decided it would dare to be different. Malegaon, a small town in Maharashtra, India's richest state, was last week caught in the crucible of a Hindu-Muslim confrontation when a handful of bicycle bombs went off just as the town's Muslims were emerging from their Friday afternoon prayers... Forty-one people died in the bomb blasts and nearly 300 injured in the stampede that followed. And yet, 24 hours later, Malegaon's Muslims were emerging from their shell-shocked hellhole, to walk across to the Wadia hospital in the Hindu part of the town to donate blood to the wounded."