Pete and Laura, old friends from Derby were visiting. They were here for a month and wanted to go around and discover the land of Buddha.
“We want to go to Agra and see the Taj Mahal”, she said with a mouthful of English accent.
“Hmm…Taj Mahal? That’s in Uttar Pradesh, nearer to Dadri where Akhlaq was lynched.”
“And then we want to go to Jaipur”, she announced.
“Well that’s near Alwar, where Pehlu was lynched”
“And what about Nalanda?” He asked
“Nalanda University you mean? That’s a few hundred kilometers from Sobhapur where Mohammed Naeem was lynched. And yeah, he wasn’t alone. There were Vikas and Gautum, the Verma brothers who accompanied Naeem that night into eternity”
“We also want to go to East India. To see the Tea gardens of Assam. My great grandfather was a manager there” Laura looked excited at the idea.
“Oh, why not? Go to Dimapur. They had lynched Syed Farid Khan there”
“And how about Bombay?” She finally enquired
“Shh… it’s not Bombay anymore. We call it Mumbai. That’s the state where in the village of Kherlanji, Priyanka, Surekha, Sudhir and Roshan were lynched”
So, we are told that India is changing. It sure is. It has a new tourist map for the likes of Pete and Laura. A map where lines are drawn with sledge hammers and daggers. A topography described with stones and boulders, solid boulders which not only kill but also crush a face beyond recognition. A map with red water bodies and grey skies.
A bloody map of Lynchdia with a bloodless heart and a soulless body.
Prof. Shah Alam Khan, AIIMS, New Delhi
(Views are Personal)