Ayesha Rashid Bhai Mansuri & Nausim Rashid Bhai Mansuri, 10
Father irons clothes
We have lived here for eight years, on this side of the road we call
‘Border’. We cross to the Hindu side only to buy vegetables.
Recently, Hindus and Muslims threw stones at each other across the
Border during a wedding. I know what a Hindu looks like because
they wear a bindi and tika. The only time we meet them is when we
go with father to the factory where he works. It’s in the Hindu area.
Ansari Uzair Arif Hussain, 10
Father is a tailor
My school is the only one around where both Hindu and Muslim kids study. My parents tell me there were at least five such schools earlier. I play football with my Hindu friends. But our families don’t allow us to play cricket — cricket is a sensitive matter. My sister Ayesha is stitching a wedding dress for Sweety, a Hindu bride. I wish I could go with her to put mehndi... the food will be delicious.
Noor Sabah, 10
Father is an autorickshaw driver
When India plays Pakistan in a cricket match, the air is rife with tension. If Pakistan wins, Muslims light crackers and celebrate. My parents ask me not to cheer for them openly. They feel the Hindus will get agitated. They don’t like us celebrating Pakistan’s victory. I’m not even allowed to play outside. I don’t have any Hindu friends because I’m a girl. My brothers, however, are friends with many of them.
Sheikh Maaz, 10
Mother is a healthcare professional
I never met my dad. In 2002, three days after the train was set ablaze in Godhra, he was stabbed by some Hindus on his way home. My mother has morphed a family photograph and put me right beside him. She tells me I look like him. However, I don’t hate Hindus. They are my friends. I play kabaddi with them at the garment factory my mother used to work in. She was the only Muslim employee there.
Arbaas Ali Abbas Bhatti, 10
Father is a shopkeeper
A good Muslim is someone who goes to the masjid, reads the Quran and celebrates Ramzan. I don’t like violence. I shifted from a Hindu school to a Muslim one because the Hindus would beat me up. Once I was playing a video game. When I won, the Hindu kid, along with his friends, threw my bicycle away and hit me. I used to cross a Hindu area while going to school. Now I take a longer route.
Kunjal Mehul Sanathara, 10
Father is an electronics engineer
I’ve heard about Godhra. I know a lot of Hindus got hurt and that some court case is going on. I don’t really understand it. I went to a mosque once on a school trip. I noticed they do not have photos of gods like us. There were a lot of policemen outside. I don’t like them or the colour of their uniform. They are not helpful. If you lose your cell phone, they don’t make any attempt to look for it.
Bhavnesh Kumar, 10
Father is a plumber
Anna Hazare has no bodyguards but Narendra Modi walks around with many because every night his enemies want to kill him. I don’t know anything about 2002 but I know Hindus and Muslims fought when India got Independence. I don’t like going to Muslim areas because they hack chicken. It stinks and makes me vomit. I think Muslim girls wear burqas so that they don’t feel cold and also ‘unhe nazar na lag jaye’ (to ward off the evil eye).
Sheikh Aftab Abdul Hameed, 10
Anjum Colony, Ahmedabad
Father is a flower vendor
I saw a film at my friend’s place, recorded during the 2002 riots. Bombs were exploding, bullets were being fired. People were killing each other with swords and knives. I got scared and ran home. I don’t know why Hindus and Muslims don’t like each other. My parents don’t tell me much about it. Sometimes, I dream a bomb has been thrown at our house. I recognise Hindus because they tie a red cloth around their vehicle.
Adil Miya Sayeed, 10
Ekta Colony, Ahmedabad
Father is a house painter
I think Hindus fight with us because of Bakrid. They don’t like us killing goats and cows. When trucks full of goats come to our areas, the Hindus start throwing stones at us. They hurl abuses at us and stop only when the police arrive. Every year, tension mounts in the city when the rath yatra takes place. Whenever there is a festival, the police are all over the place. Anything can happen. We live in fear.
Shah Deep Rakesh Kumar, 10
Father sells auto spare parts
Narendra Modi is a good man who helps poor people and plants trees. At a fancy dress show in school, my friend came dressed as him. He looked funny wearing a dhoti. I want to become a solider when I grow up and protect our countrymen from America. Americans are funny people: They take their dog out for a walk and pick up the dog’s shit. People don’t scare me but I get scared of the shadow of a tree.