A family’s attempts to trace their missing son


December 24, 2006

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Tears well up in her eyes as she remembers the ill-fated day in 2002 when her 13-year-old son went missing during the Gujarat riots. Even after five years, Rupa Dara Mody carries his photograph in her bag hoping that someone somewhere will help her trace him. Not many know that her poignant story inspired Non-Resident Indian director Rahul Dholakia to make the much talked about film “Parzania”.

The critically acclaimed film starring Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika — to be released next year — is based on Ms. Mody’s tragic experience of losing her son, Azhar, in the riot-ravaged Gujarat and the family’s numerous unsuccessful attempts to find him.

“We have written letters to all non-government organisations, all orphanages, even mental hospitals across the country. My husband and I have run from pillar to post but to no avail. If we go to the police, they say the investigations are on. I do not know how long I have to wait to see my son,” she says.

Ms. Mody was one of the many survivor victims of the Gujarat genocide who had gathered here on Wednesday to share their horrific experiences with the media.

A Parsi woman, Ms. Mody lived in the middle-class Muslim-dominated Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad that was attacked by the rioters who set the complex afire in the aftermath of the Godhra train tragedy.

It was during this violence that she lost Azhar.

The family met Dholakia through a common friend a couple of years ago. “He empathised with us and said he wanted to make a film on our experience. We couldn’t refuse him. We thought maybe after watching the film at least someone would give us some news on Azhar,” she says.

However, no such thing happened and the family continues to search for their missing son.

“It gets unbearable with each passing day. My condition is worse than others. I do not even know whether my child is alive or not. I haven’t seen his body. Though I pray for his well being but all I want to tell people is that even if they have any information on his body, they should tell me,” Ms. Mody says choking with emotion.

Original article here