Purveyors of secular outrage, Heathen Beast from Mumbai, India focus their ire on the 2002 Godhra riots when alleged state-sponsored mobs in Gujarat orchestrated a mass killing of Muslims as revenge for the alleged torching by Muslims of a train carrying Hindu kar sevaks (religious workers). There are far too many eye-witness accounts vividly describing the terrors visited on Muslim communities in the aftermath of this incident for it to be anything but a permanent scar on the facade of the Hinduism practiced by the perpetrators and their advocates, as well as a cruel dressing down of India’s ramshackle democracy. But suspicion also lingers that Heathen Beast belong to that growing breed of modern Indian unwilling to acknowledge this land’s bloody history as fomented by repeated invasions by foreign races and by Islam in particular. One hopes for the sake of unbiasedness that the next Heathen Beast effort looks in detail at the exploits of the Ghaznis and the Timurs.
Heathen Beast adopt an exclamatory and naive “how could you!” approach to this subject but there are fundamental differences in these two belief systems on a philosophical level. All religions are not equal, contrary to the popularly-perpetrated myth, just like how all ideas don’t have equal validity. The more pragmatic among us can overlook these differences for the greater good, but to many among the great unwashed, they remain indelible parts of a genetic memory that goes back more than a thousand years. Unfortunate events like Godhra are unpardonable under the aegis of the modern constitution of India, but they are also inevitable byproducts of a clash of core beliefs.
The music on The Carnage Of Godhra is a faraway runner-up to its “controversial” theme, being little more than a distracted hodge-podge of various modern metal tropes. Black metal shrieks vomit out well-written lyrics but the music itself fails to communicate the kind of passion that the words evoke. Strains of notes plucked from Indian-sounding scales, incongruous with the overlapping progressions in Western harmony, try to add an exotic, melancholic air to proceedings but along with the use of real-life monologues from victims and perpetrators as intros, can only be viewed as attempts at conveying that which the song structures are incapable of doing. Blood-riven strife is never a pretty affair and it is only the most insensitive audience that needs it to be spelled out in such blatant terms. Heathen Beast have to because the music contained on this short EP certainly isn’t up to the task.
01 – The Carnage Of Godhra
It all goes back to Ayodhya, a holy land claimed so,
Wretched human religious beliefs, seeds of hate they sow.
The train it chugs along the rail she goes,
Somewhere along the way an evil it did grow.
The returning pilgrims with a religious blindfold,
Then came the attack for reasons unknown.
Godhra it was named, humanity shamed,
There is no fire without a spark.
Trapped. Stoned. Burnt Alive.
Were they Hindu, Muslim or Humans in the fire?
What reason could there be to spark such horrific ire ?
The tales are a plenty, who speaks the truth? Who is the liar?
The provocation was there and the reaction was strong
And this you believe is a service to your god?
Do you realize it begins at the divide?
Do you realize you are blinded by lies?
Take away your religion and see what you find.
Take away your god and do you still see eye for an eye?
How can you sleep with the blood that you’ve seen?
Live each day, is there no guilt you feel?
Do visions of those charred bodies not haunt your sleep?
How can you still justify your religious beliefs?
The truth is still buried and justice is not served
Conspiracies are a plenty, 59 people burned,
So many different stories, which one is the word?
Who was the real demon leading the violent herd?
This was just the beginning
Of a genocide that was brewing
The swords they were sharpening
For the mass revenge killing
In the name of a god.
Your best imaginary friend
In the name of a god.
It’s just good business in the end.
02 – Ab Ki Baar, Atyachar
A mountain of bodies, in four trucks disposed
In an empty well, dozens more found a home.
Women and children, no one was spared.
Even the police, did not seem to care.
We begged the gun-toting police,
Sir, let our innocent children go
He questioned their innocence and said
Aaj marna hai tum ko!
They surrounded us and doused us with petrol and kerosene
They burned us alive; I screamed I cried, at the bottom of the human pile, still alive
Six of my family, none have survived, my baby boys I watched them die
The government can give us money but will it really suffice?
Cash cannot replace justice, how do you put a price on their lives?
The women who tried to escape, they were molested
Their mouths were clamped, their clothes were torn
Kausar she stood beside me, with a child, unborn
Her womb was slit open, the foetus impaled on a sword.
At the graveyard he sits, counting the dead bodies
Not a sight for human eyes, hamari bhi himat tuti
Wherever there was an attack, women were raped
Their bodies still scarred, each mark tells the tale.
Another family of seven, hid in a field for two days
Found by the mob who stole their money and killed them anyway.
Jafri was dragged into the street and forced to parade naked
Refusing to say “Jai Shri Ram” they beheaded and burnt his remains
Think of the hate they create
Of all the lies they spread
Hindu or Muslim, it doesn’t matter
Religion should be dead.
Motherfucking religious leaders
Brainwashing the gullible fools
Creating an army of religious warriors
To fight a war that can bear no fruit.
Mandir bhi le lo, masjid bhi le lo
Magar tum hamare lahu se na khelo
03 – Gaurav Yatra (The Aftermath)
Seven Ninety Muslims and Two Fifty Four Hindus died
The religion doesn’t matter that is over a 1000 human lives
The fires died down and the smoke did clear
A blood stained ground, people living in fear
Widespread destruction, a system that failed
So many arrested, murderers let out on bail
Homeless, penniless, wandering in pain,
Still waiting for justice and relief that never came.
We are still missing answers, to what started the fire
What was the incident to spark the ire?
What was the reason? Have people conspired?
Is this all part of some political game?
They say in a game of Chess, the pawns die first.
Does the butchering of innocent really quench the blood thirst?
If you both had the same god, who would draw their blade first?
In the wake of this tragedy some prominent leaders did speak
Their speeches filled with hate, more evil they did breed
Bal Thackeray spewed venom and so did the VHP
Evil did show many shames, behold the Indian Mujahedeen
Violence will only breed more violence
When will the killing of the innocent stop
We must educated the youth of our nation
Empower them to not be brainwashed, by religion.
Can you imagine watching your family killed before your own eyes?
Do you think you will ever sleep peacefully after watching such horrific crimes?
How can anyone even live a normal life after hearing those helpless cries?
Will you still find a reason to live after everyone you love has died?
Even though 10 years have passed, the ghosts still haunt my life
There has been no justice, no relief, a nightmare with no respite.