The torrential rains had battered the village. The water level had steadily risen over the past few days and finally crossed the menacing limit. There was water everywhere. Everyone was trying to protect and recover whatever they could. Overall the mood was gloomy. People were depressed to see their entire year's toil going kaput. Our lives had been affected in more than one way.
They had been the best of friends since very long. Nobody in the village remembered the day they had become friends. Probably the two had forgotten the day as well. They had built their houses opposite to each other. Both were known to help the villagers in times of difficulties. People would ask for their advice in situations that required good reasoning. Both were respected a lot in the village. But that was before the last year.
It had started with a petty argument over their religion each one trying to prove how his religion was greater than the others. After a while the debate had become a minor altercation and finally it had come to blows. Timely intervention by some villagers had averted the situation. Since then they were at loggerheads. They were no longer on speaking terms. This fight had led to the beginning of a split among the village community as far as their advice was concerned. The village elders had been concerned about it. They had tried to fix a compromise but neither would budge.
The flood water was still rising. Suddenly there was a gush of water. A child was about to drown. Then one man without caring about anything had jumped in. He had caught hold of the child. For a moment there was a smile on everyone’s face after a long time. But the next moment there were tears. The man was losing his control. He would not hold for long. Then we saw another man jump into action and throw in support for the other man and the child.
People were smiling. The child was in shock. The two men were in tears and hugged each other. They were friends again. One had saved the others child and the other had provided the much needed support.
There was no longer any feeling of uneasiness in the village. It had once again become normal. But two questions had been imprinted on my mind. I have never successfully answered them.
1. Did the two friends fight because of the concept of religion? Or was it because of the basic instinct in the every living creature?
2. Did they risk their lives because of the qualities imbibed in them by their religion? Or was it because of their friendship?
PS: Dedicated to putting an end to communal violence.