Other day BBD had gone to a service centre of hardware/software solution to fix the issues of his laptop. He could find a beautiful billboard and good ambience of an establishment and decided to explore the possibilities for solution. The owner of the establishment was a smart young man of around 30 years. But, what drew attention of BBD was not his excellent marketing skill, nice behaviour, attractive ambience of the establishment – but, writing on the shirt, which the young man was bearing – it was written in Dracula style “DO NOT FORGET 1984”. BBD is not sure as to whether this young man was borne during 1984.
BBD remained numb for a moment. The scar remains – Sikhs find it hard to forget the trauma of the 1984 riots. So, is the situation with BBD too. BBD cannot forget the sequel of events which went as under:
Post-Emergency, period of her Prime Ministership, Indira Gandhi was preoccupied by efforts to resolve the political problems in the state of Punjab. In her attempt to crush the secessionist movement of Sikh militants, led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, she ordered an assault upon the holiest Sikh shrine in Amritsar. It was here that Bhindranwale and his armed supporters had holed up, and it was from the Golden Temple that they waged their campaign of terrorism not merely against the Government, but against moderate Sikhs and Hindus. “Operation Bluestar”, waged in June 1984, led to the death of Bhindranwale, and the Golden Temple was stripped clean of Sikh terrorists; however, the Golden Temple was damaged, and Mrs. Gandhi earned the undying hatred of Sikhs who bitterly resented the desacralization of their sacred space. Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated, at her residence, by two of her own Sikh bodyguards, who claimed to be avenging the insult heaped upon the Sikh nation.
On that fateful day BBD had gone to Garhmukteshwar unit of his bread giving organisation. During those days UP Police use to provide police protection to certain PSB units. Some of the police men were having special feeling for BBD due to various reasons. Around 1045 HRS one of them whispered into the ears of BBD and told to leave the place as Mrs. Gandhi has been assassinated. After uttering those words, all police men left the place without informing the Unit head – and BBD could observe very strange atmosphere and found fit to leave the place. His Chaityanyaratham URJ 3721 (YEZDI 150) took him to his HQ at Rajnagar Ghaziabad, where the office was just closing down. MVI the in-charge of HQ was staying alone – not far off from the residence of BBD, advised BBD to take care of two of our colleagues Walia (an AM(ID) for whom MVI was not having good opinion and wanted to get rid of him next moment) and one Jaswant Singh who was heading Masoori Jhaal unit. BBD was shaken very badly as he had special reverence towards Mrs. Gandhi.
By the time BBD came to his official residence at Ashoknagar in Ghaziabad, the atmosphere in Ghaziabad – particularly in Model Town and Gandhinagar had started emanating disturbing signals. Among his friend and follower circle, it was only BBD who was having a B/W TV and large drawing room – hence members of the friend-follower-family (FFF) started coming to his residence for hearing Salma Sultan (the TV news reader of Doordarshan).
One among his FFF leader Sadan Singh was working for NBI and had come to Ghaziabad on transfer from Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. Interestingly, wives of the family had a curse of leaving this world with extremely rare disease. Wife of his elder bro (who was incidentally the 2nd wife, after death of his 1st wife) had come to Ghaziabad recently as tourist. Around 2030 HRS, this lady started feeling breathing trouble and by 2130 HRS, we had to take her to a nearby nursing home. The lady was extremely beautiful having very fair skin. But, due to the trauma through which she was undergoing, the veins beneath the epidermis had started getting ruptured and blood droplets getting trapped beneath the epidermis, making the skin dark blue. The night passed just like that; and the better half of BBD replaced him for further assistance to the patient. By the time Delhi was burning, particularly outer ring road. If permitted to say so, the entire show of cruelty had its own dimension from caste system too, prevalent in the society and supported by the great polity.
By noon, Ghaziabad was put under the shadow of inhuman exhibition of intolerance. Now, it was change of duties and BBD was sent to fetch the pathological report from Navyug Market Ghaziabad. After seeing the report, the doctors at the nursing home raised their hands off and advised us to take out the patient, as her condition was deteriorating every moment. Ultimately, the patient was moved to Narendra Mohan Hosptal at Mohannagar, Ghaziabad. At reception itself, the attending doctors indicated that chance of survival was only 1%. By 2100 HRS, ultimately the patient left all of us crying. This was first hand exposure to BBD, Sadan Singh and other FFF – Awadh Kishore Singh. None of them had any exposure of close encounters with the destiny.
By the time, we could come back to the residence of Sadan singh with the dead body, Ghaziabad too was burning with riots/curfew/shoot-at-sight. Now, Sadan Singh wanted to take the body to his native place (nearly 1500 KM away) for further rituals. Then BBD, had to play the role as destined of elder bro and ensure that cremation takes place at Hindon ghat only. Based on glimpses of childhood on handling such issue and getting some clue from Hindi Cinema, cremation was conducted and within few hours, Sadan Singh & family were packed and put on transhipment for his native place. BBD cannot forget the bold decision taken by Late MVI in allowing his official vehicle to extend all support for the entire episode. Special thanks to the driver, whose name is not even remembered at the moment, took the risk of driving the car under riots/curfew/shoot-at-sight. The assistance extended by Aashim Babloo Haldar to all FFF of BBD was simply par excellence.
But, the destiny had few more paragraphs of trauma to the episode. The better half of BBD was one step ahead of BBD. She had kept more than half a dozen of Sikh boys in guise of girls in house. These boys were leftovers by their parents who were neighbours of BBD and had to keep minimum risk of life and property during the unfortunate event. Residence of BBD was near Nasirpur fatak (to be examined from the dimension of caste angle – if allowed to say so) – exposing the life of BBD at risk for the (mis)adventure of BBD. Anyhow, a luxury of few moments of evening fiesta was allowed to BBD, which was short lived. The Post man brought a Telegram informing that mother and younger bro of BBD had left the place (Purnea in Bihar state) for Ghaziabad to see the for herself the well being of her two sons – one BBD at Ghaziabad and Hrishikesh in Delhi. BBD wanted to cry, as there were reports of Curfew atleast at more than a dozen places between Purnea and Ghaziabad, trains were discontinued. Journey abandoned. Poor lady accompanied by just 15 years old son venturing into most troubled part of the country. To cut short the sequel of events, by 2330 HRS of day 3 the family union was over, leaving poor Hrishikesh at ISBT New Delhi who was trapped since last 3 days. He was brought home on day 4 and URJ 3721 could be brought back safely on day 5. Horrible 5 days. OMG