Developmental Amnesia

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He is an incorruptible leader with incredible energy and endurance; a man of steel who refuses to compromise on any issue; a visionary who has brought about all-round industrial development; a mesmeric orator who can arouse the emotions of the crowd and who works on the psychology that the masses prefer to submit to the strong rather than the weakling; a man of mystery steadfastly refusing to divulge anything of his personal life. For each success of the State, he modestly accepts all the credit. Sounds familiar?

Before you jump to any hasty conclusion, let me clarify that the superhuman described above is none other than the doctored persona of Adolf Hitler, spun out by the Nazi propaganda machine. However, one cannot ignore the eerie resemblance with the carefully advertised image of the CEO of Gujarat. This sketch of Hitler was gleaned from the Nizkor Project website, dedicated to spreading awareness about the Holocaust and to combat Holocaust denial by hate groups. It is yet another testament to the resolve to never forget the Holocaust nightmare so that such an abomination does not recur.

The world has witnessed varying responses to mass murder and genocide. The Nurembergtrials investigated crimes of the military, political and economic leadership of Nazi Germany and delivered the most severe penalties against those responsible for genocide. In stark contrast, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa was a restorative justice body that stressed on reconciliation and granted amnesty to many of the perpetrators of the horrors of Apartheid. However, the underlying philosophy for setting up these bodies was essentially the same – to acknowledge that what happened was horrendous and that such horrors should never be repeated. In the words of Desmond Tutu, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, “We needed to look the beast in the eye, so that the past wouldn’t hold us hostage anymore.”

But we in the country are working feverishly to forget the Gujarat holocaust of 2002 and ‘move on’, as though what happened then was a minor blip in our history. Through an astounding metamorphosis of thought, large sections of our society today genuflect before the leading figure who presided over the pogrom against an entire community. Writer and editor MJ Akbar recently lauded Modi’s decisive governance and incorruptibility. His adulation goes to the extent of giving Modi credit for the number of Muslim constables in Gujarat, although most of them were recruited before Modi came to power. He goes on to observe that Modi can aspire for prime ministership if he can convince Muslims that they will be safe under his watch. Even Syed Shahabuddin has extended the olive branch, albeit with a few caveats. The Modi cult grows apace and like the Emergency, his authoritarian style is seen as the panacea for the country’s ills. Clearly, in the present milieu, commerce has trumped justice. In the name of economic development and progress, we have decided to barter away the nation’s soul.

Apologists for the events of 2002 refer to what occurred inGujaratas a communal riot, thereby implying that both communities actively participated in the mayhem that followed the terrible Godhra train burning. But what happened in reality was a fascist massacre involving predators and victims. A Delhi-based columnist estimated, on the basis of FIRs and police surmise, that about 2 million people, or about 4 percent of the population ofGujarat, had participated in the ‘religious riots’. In a disturbing statement on record, Modi compared that nightmarish period to Gandhi’s Dandi March. Can thinking get more depraved than this? Now, instead of the possibility of people’s revulsion and resolution to stave off such evil, we witness the conductor of the pogrom not only entrenched as the arbiter of Gujarat’s destiny but a serious contender for the country’s top job. The dark underbelly of unpunished crimes, of distrust, of hate, still hangs like an ominous cloud overGujarat, but Modi’s spin doctors have deflected attention from the issues of justice through unremitting propaganda on development, Sadhbhawana yatras and counterfeit claims regarding peaceful coexistence and brotherhood. Disinformation, half-truths and doublespeak dominate the public space in Gujarat today.

The most mythical of all the claims regarding Modi is that he is a changed person today. His interview to Shahid Siddiqui shows him to be a misunderstood statesman with impeccable credentials carrying the good of the country in his heart. Shahabuddin has observed that Muslims see a change in his attitude. But this is nothing but a façade. It’s not a change of heart, but a change in tactics. Modi knows that the policy of polarisation of communities, which is so successful in Gujarat, will not work on the national stage; hence the Sadhbhawana yatras aimed at camouflaging his real persona — that of a ruthless, right-wing pracharak. Despite the posturing, glimpses of the hard-line Hindutva apostle occasionally peep through. Recently, he gratuitously referred to Ahmed Patel as “Ahmed miyan” with the mischievous intent of emphasising his opponent’s Muslim background, which helps consolidate the Hindu vote in a deeply polarised society. Had the Mahatma been alive today, he might have gently reminded Modi that fraternity and brotherhood, like non-violence “is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart and it must be an inseparable part of our being.”

Amidst all the bluster regarding development and effective governance, the social divide is deeper than ever. Gujaratcontinues to live in a chamber of horrors, unable to exorcise the ghosts of 2002. There is now no violence but the overpowering atmosphere of distrust and hate is there for all to see. More than ever before, the Muslim is viewed as ‘the other’. With housing apartheid blatantly practised, the Muslims are corralled together in ghettoes. As Romila Thapar perspicaciously noted, “Ghettoes are not only easy to control but easy to destroy”.

Clarence Darrow, the humanist who fought relentlessly for the rights of the African-Americans, had observed that no matter what laws we pass, unless people are kind and decent and humane to one another, there can be no peaceful existence or liberty. In the ultimate analysis, “peace and freedom come from human beings rather than from laws and institutions.” Sadly,Gujarattoday has little of brotherhood or the ‘Indian spirit’. In this difficult period of universal deceit, we need to heed Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s dire warning: “When we neither punish nor reproach evil doers… we are ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”

(A former civil servant, the author is the Secretary General of the Lok Janshakti Party)

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12 COMMENTS

  1. What kind of propaganda are you running Abdul…??? Godhara train burning could be called holocaust not the spontanious reaction of the public.

    • godhra train can be burnt on ‘tea’issue calling it spontaneous reaction, and post godhra riots r what? dont they r spontaneous reaction of one community to other for burning their ppl alive.why author forgets involvement of local congress leaders in GODHRA TRAIN BURNING.interview with shahid siddiqui of NARENDRA MODI was an eye opener for all muslims.GUJ muslims opened up eyes and INDIAN muslims now knows the fact.

  2. Abdul Khaliq. I know that your compulsion to write according to yours party’s ideology as well as the paper for which you are writing. Just for the sake of common Indian could you please write the articles on Sikh Mascara and hundred of other riots in congress government.

    If you are a true journalist you know very well that before Godhara, every year these kind of violence erupt in Gujarat. From last 10 year there is not a single indecent happened.

    Why are you not asking from molana mulayam singh that in a short 6 months span there are 7 communal rights happened?

    I hope you could ask these questions to him as well. But i don’t think you will do this because you all are Hippocrates…..Lalu, Mulayam, Mayawati, Paswan etc.Sirf mislim votion par roti sakane wale

  3. cutie pie Abdul, did you count how many Kashmiri Pandits were driven out of their ancestral homes from Kashmir by your fellow brethren? Could you please point me to the articles you have written about them?

  4. Abdul Khaliq’s article is a good piece of writing with a clear message to the politically motivated drum-beatings about Narendra Modi’s personality, his vision and his rule that it is a ploy to give him the mask of development and good governance. Mr. Khaliq has served the purpose of exposing the facts lying beneath the bundle of falsehood which is generally used by the fascist forces committed to the agenda of misusing the purpose of ‘politics’.

    What happened in Gujarat in 2002 and afterwards is not merely an incident but something unprecedented in history of violence in the country. Multinationality and plurality of the society may cause some disagreements and violence due to some political and administrative errors but the nature of killings, arsons, humiliations, lootings, expulsions, rapes, violent deaths in 2002 certainly raise multiple questions on the role, responsibility and principles of politics displayed by the then chief minister Modi, his cabinet colleagues and enforcement agencies under political masters.

    The nature of violence against Muslims cannot be called Hindu-Muslim riots but completely one-sided aggressions and killings in a planned way. Who should be held responsible for the genocide? Modi’s re-election cannot be a buzz word for extending legitimacy to murderers and terrorists. Whosoever is responsible for the crimes against humanity must be punished without any mercy as it is a private matter but the misuse of the constitutional powers and agencies against the Muslim minority community.

    The judiciary must come forward as it is the custodian of the Constitution of the country. If Fundamental Rights of any community are violated by some members or units belonging to any other community or the state government of the Union government, the judiciary has all the rights and authority under the purview of ‘judicial review’ to manifest its constitutional colour before the crimes against humanity is finally forgotten. We must not ignore the crimes committed in Gujarat as the terrorists would become habitual in their thoughts and actions. If Muslim victims are not given justice, then the question can reasonably be raised over the purpose of the State itself whose basic and primary duty is to ensure safety and security of all communities in the country. If taint officials of police, administration, intelligence and lower judiciary are promoted and retired personnel are given political privileges and assignments by the Gujarat government under Modi, then what kind of confidence and trust the victim community should keep with the government?

    Anti-Muslim tirade of Modi’s parivar dominance and control over the Gujarat State government is clearly reflected in covering up the crimes, erasing all the evidences of the planned burning of the Godhra train, provocative speeches by Modi and his colleagues by carrying the dead bodies of the train victims and not handing over their bodies to their families, total misuse of government powers against Muslims, police forces openly aiding the terrorists within and outside the control rooms, post-genocide discriminations and target killings, threats and false cases against potential witness. These crimes against humanity cannot be substituted by ‘good imaging efforts’ as the justice promised within the Constitution needs to be put into effect. Otherwise, the purpose of the Rule of Law would be converted into the ‘rule of the criminal desires’ of the wrong-doers.

    Mr. Khaliq should have raised the issue of massive violent rapes and murders of Muslim women and girls in Gujarat in 2002 genocide. They have not only been raped but the terrorists have pierce iron rods into their private parts. The media and the BJP wanted to take political advantages of the rape issue in the country while they forgot that the Sangh terrorists and some uniform personnel are on record committing rapes and murders in Gujarat in 2002. Most of these rapists and murderers have been protected by the Modi regime. Why the BJP, the Congress and the media is silent over it. Is there any colour/communal-conscious approach to the issue of rape? Of course, for Modi and his associates but not for those who believe in the Rule of Law. Democracy, elections and separation of powers become ineffective if the principle of the Rule of Law is dumped. This has happened in the case of Gujarat in the context of the Muslim minority community for whom security, dignity, freedom and peace are more important than the kind of development Modi is taking about. Modi’s rule has no legitimacy vis-a-vis the Muslim minority as it has no trust in him and his rule is an existing threat to the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution. Modi is a threat to Hindu-Muslim unity. He is anti-thesis to the constitutional values and his political presence and powers have inserted dark chapters in the history of Indian political system.

    I agree with Khaliq’s disagreements with those who have gone by ‘appearances’ factor repeatedly mirrored in different footages in print and electronic media. Any person responsible for Gujarat genocide and post-2002 disturbances against the Muslims in Gujarat, can never be free form corruption. The biggest corruption is killing, rape, arsons and threats which the Gujarat victims know about. So-called intellectual favours to Modi on the basis of sympathy and personal feelings cannot provide an ‘alternative’ channel to the Law. Their sympathies should be treated ‘personal and emotional’ gestures rather than a certificate for ‘escape’ to Modi and partners in genocide. It would be like a foolish parents to ignore the thefts and murders committed by their lovely son as such kind of love would create many other sons and daughters to play with the life, freedom, security and dignity of others. Such parents are fools and vulgar in the words of Plato and Machiavelli and such sons and daughters would be the brigands of Hobbes’ description of the ‘state of nature’. At this juncture, the intellectuals have no moral authority to dig up a new discourse but the law must speak and show up to the purpose for which it was created.

  5. I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi’s words of Wisdom;
    “Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall” think of it always.
    Gandhiji (who was born in Gujarat) reassures us that truth and love will win even in Gujarat.!!

  6. Modi has spawned a cottage industry for every failed politician, writers and sundry other unemployed kinds. I think the amount of garbage this group has generated could have at least have some effect on the law and order machinery of our country. Most of India is unsafe for women. Yet no one is raising this issue. Even after bashing him for the last 10 yrs no one could stop him. He is constantly changing the narrative and so called intellectual class are gasping to find a way to compete with him. It would be better if we can put our energy in nation building. Lets give one our for the nation. Join Volunteer for Better India.

  7. very nicely written and truth about the ideology of his party and RSS. nothing different from ideology of parties across the border except from difference in religion. and it will lead to a almost destruction of society and his own religion too. we lost courage to speck about our own weaknesses and wrong doing done by our people ( our people by language, religion, cast and color). we blindly justify unlowfull act or wrong doing to people do not belong to our domain/society. this is the result of not reading about our own history and not reading about our own books that we worship and belive in it. it will be difficult to digest truth for some who blindly whitewashed in Modi fever. and it will be too late one day for them to realize what everybody have lost something/everything collectively as nation or society. may be it is the mentality of society and it has been changing so dramatically. and it will change course of future and make history for next generation to reed. ( if they read and learn from it or make another history) there will be a time to hard to digest that man named Gandhi was born in this society who influenced each corner society throughout the world. and it will be remembered well beyond where he born and worked. think about Modi or his party or their ideology ( not justifying work of Congress in Delhi what they have done with Sikhs) to contribute to our society and nation in long term to breath and flourish and make new Renascence in India.

  8. Abdul Khaliq,

    This article is a piece of journalistic garbage. By trying to equate Modi with Hitler you have forgotten some important facts. Thugs from your favorite party the Indian National Congress and Rajiv Gandhi were responsible for over 4,000 deaths of innocent Sikhs in 1984. Rajiv Gandhi justified this by saying “when a big tree falls the ground shakes”. Why dont you write an article about the lack of jsutice for those victims (4 times as many as the Gujrat Riots?). Or how about the over 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits that were ethnically cleansed and kicked out of their homeland of over 5 millenia? As an Indian Muslim it makes me sick to see how one sided and ANTI- NATIONAL this article is. If you had your way, we would be lotted for another 60 years by the congress party with no development while China surges ahead. Ever heard of journalistic responsibility? Probably not…

  9. in pakistan hindu population goes from 32% to less than 1% . tehelka is shhhh. in kashmir lakhs of kashmiri pandits are killed and thrown out of their home land tehelka is shhhhh. in assam and bengal illegal bangladesi muslims kill hindus tehelka is shhhhhhh. in gujrat innocnet women and children are burned in day light by muslims tehelka is shhhhhhhh. but in supporting gangsters and terrorist like ishrat jahan and sohrabuddin. tehelka is bow bow 😛

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