I finally saw Firaaq, full of forebodings and fears, reluctance and resistance, unwilling to face the post-Godhra genocide in Gujarat, even fictionalised and on a small TV screen, sitting in the living room with my family in Bangalore, far removed in distance and in time from the horrifying events whose scattered pieces still cross my days, and inhabit my nightmares of soiled nights. I saw Firaaq with the dread of guilt, a combined guilt that people of India still have to acknowledge, accept - necessary to absolve ourselves, by first seeking forgiveness. And facing Nandita Das' Firaaq allows one to do that - feel the palpable fears of lives accidentally entangled in the violence that the state unleashed - accidental by the chance of birth - as muslims, in a hindutva enraged India. I felt fears' chill creep down, almost unbearable, in each set of anecdotes collaged - anticipating dreadful violence, horrific events that I would force myself to see, but that do not happen, in a taut, terrifying and tormented script - and through this all, a tiny child running along in long empty streets, big limpid eyes, searching for a parent.
To get even close to, in a most insubstantial, intangible, and non-damaging way, an idea of what we unleashed on our fellow muslim brothers and sisters of Gujarat - and then seek forgiveness, repent and rebuild all that we have lost, we need to first go and see Firaaq.
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