Asara village in Baghpat is marked by ripe green sugarcane fields. It is the season when discussions are usually about the price the government will announce. This time, elders have been negotiating the repatriation of relatives and other families who have arrived from elsewhere for shelter in the largest Muley Jat village in western UP
The unease here is not about “Jat vs Muslims” but about “Hindu Jats and Muley Jats”. And Asara has been working on a solution, even as the government struggles to find one for thousands others displaced in the region.
Friday the 13th saw the return home of nearly 4,000 people, also Muley Jats, who had come from villages such as Kirthal.
The Chaprauli MLA, Veerpal Rathi, and four-time MLA Kawkab Hamid got down to aggressive peacemaking. The fact that these Jats — Hindus and Muslims living cheek by jowl for centuries — could recall some old rishteydaari helped break the ice.
The meeting was held at the home of Master Akram, a respected former teacher at Asara Inter College, a school that dates back before Partition. Rathi and Hamid got together the men among the runaways, together with 30-odd zimmedars or responsible persons from Kirthal and Allam — Hindu pradhans, teachers and former headmen, and during their discussions over two hours convinced people to return.
“The Hindu and Muley (Muslim) Jats spoke in their common dialect and the brief initial lines made the point,” says a witness. “The runaways asked, ‘Tu hamara tau na lage hai? Kya hum tere bhanje-bhatije nahin? Tere kisi bete ne kaha ki tu apni gaal mein soyiyo, yahan nahin, kya yeh sahi hai? (Aren’t you our uncles and we your nephews? Your sons said we should sleep in our lanes, not yours. Was that right?’ [by indianexpress.com]