Tag Archives: Gujarat

A Sadbhavna to wash away the blot of riots

This is a shocking poster I saw…shocking because the image of a secular, founder of our constitution, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s image being put next to Narendra Modi’s was far too shocking for me…self promotion was the mantra of the 3 days Sadbhavna…an attempt to wash away the blood of riots from his hands…

I was on the 3 days visit to Gujarat for official coverage of Sadbhavna anshan of CM Narendra Modi & Satyagraha fast by ShankarSingh Waghela. This was my first trip to Guj since post-riots. Was I floored? No. Though I did think BRTS works well for Ahmedabad. I saw changes & did think the changes are good for that city. Considering there was no development, these changes have made people in Gujarat fans of Modi. I don’t think Modi can white wash his sins & blood on his hands by now focusing on development.

Development is the new magic mantra. Journalists & many so-called learned senselessly harp on how Modi’s govt is non-corrupt, works fast, take decisions fast. They compare Maharashtra to Gujarat & how that state is a lesson for us all to learn. He has made Guj load-shedding free. Sure that is good, but that’s NOTHING to do Maharashtra’s load-shedding issues. Our governments, including Sena-BJP have been complacent, moreover public that has been even more indifferent- for not holding govt accountable.  Why are we buying power from other states at v expensive price, why not even 1 Megawatt has been generated in over 10 yrs by this state? This is about lack of political will & complacency, from a power-excess state to power hungry one. Guj was simply powerless…so obviously any progress thereafter will be considered as fantastic.

Some facts that bureaucrats, journalists & people told me – Modi has blanket order –“Don’t Speak to the media.” No one from his ministry will speak like they do here in Maha. If they do speak out of turn, god forbid, they will need help. Babus can’t give paper,s documents, leak information to the media or opposition. Modi has RSS youth deployed across the gally, by lanes of every city & villages. Like the village where Modi’s 2-hour old bride lives. Yes, they were married for 2 hours & thereafter Modi just pursued his ambitions.

Modi also has a strategy, he snoops on private conversations in his state. He has got dozens of kids who he has ‘hired.’ These kids are equipped well, with latest cell phones, lap tops, gadgets by which they communicate with him ‘directly.’ There is NO person in between. They are Modi’s eyes & ears. So you won’t find people talking anything against this man. Most look like they hero-worship him, and women & girls of all age groups look like they have got orgasm seeing him…they think he is saviour. Sure.

There are few voices of dissent, but so low & hushed whispers, you actually feel bad for them. They are NOT Muslims, but Gujaratis, who have witnessed too closely Modi’s heinous unleashing of terror & violence on the streets of Gujarat, which was state managed & controlled by him. They have suffered, have been helpless & till today these voices will not speak up. Remember true stories will never be heard….

I am always grateful to be born & working in Maharashtra, a state that may lag in development graph right now. The reason I have hope, since people can protest & fight for rights-farmers in Raigadh gave a vote & they rejected the SEZ. Even though it may take its toll on the economy & development, they have a say in the democracy & this right the state still upholds. The state is leading where scholarships for Minorities is concerned. This is state is a pioneer in social uprisings & movements & we are seeing impact. Yes, the likes of famous Anna too are allowed to nurture here. Maharashtra despite the riots & bomb blasts has a positive secular life.

I don’t think the 10 years ago history of Gujarat should & can be forgotten. 2 entrepreneurs, X a Hindu & Y a Muslim. They were successful, had leading brand names & designer collections in their store. One fine day Y was attacked by rioters. All Hindus. The post-Godhra riots had broken out & both the entrepreneurs ensured that right at the beginning, all workers were  sent away to their homeland. While Y was attacked, X used all contacts & family influence to save the partner. X was categorically told by the top cops, they have been asked NOT to help a single Muslim. Y was badly injured, would have died, had the 3 persons who knew X not risked their lives to save Y.

These 3 individuals will remain silent heroes/heroines. They don’t want to ever speak of this, as they fear the consequences even today. The 3 are Hindus but prefer to be forgotten today. The story doesn’t end here. Y couldn’t get medical treatment, since doctors & medical professionals were told they will not attend to any Muslim or given any sort of medical treatment. Doctors oath trashed, is it?

Meanwhile, citizens realised the attackers had pages of lists of names. People of which religion & caste, with their addresses printed on these sheets which they held onto. They went from mohalla to catch the ‘musalmans.’ People saw  it that the govt supported those went on a rampage.

The incident uprooted their lives completely. The partnership of X & Y ended for all reasons. Meanwhile X’s family would get calls from govt/cops/officials demanding the papers be shown to prove X is now the sole owner of that business. These ‘official’ calls weren’t just once, but a weekly drill. Till the person is mentally fatigued to say or compelled to spill something wrong. The partners had to shut shop. 1 went abroad & the other, Y learnt to get lost in the compelling circumstances. But all have to return to reality.  People have now got used to living with their demons. Both living separate lives with no business deals & piecing together individual life, yet again.

Today these 2 & others have learnt that the informers are around. They say the youth eves drop & listen to private conversations. Citizens’ phones are tapped & opponents of Modi are tormented. Excise officials, sales tax officials, home dept make enquiries & people are plagued with issues that compel them to battle for small things in their lives.

One such is a Muslim rich businessman. He & his brother’s business was attacked, they were harassed business was made to shut down for few months & suffered physical, mental & financial losses. The family are fighting till date. Except now, they have given up on some battles. M had filed petitions against the Guj govt & miscreants, who attacked him & his family & tried to destroy their business. He hired the best of lawyers & has spent upto rs 3 cr on legal fees.

In the interim between court hearings, he resurrected his business & over a period of time realised he is battling on many fronts. Permissions, lincences, taxes, inflation, fuel price increase, impact of all this on business & family issues and court hearings. Now he has finally reached a conclusion of giving up on the court cases. He says he realises he has been fighting just too many battles & when he had prioritise, he reached a conclusion of sticking to his conscience, and gave up on fighting the legal cases. He correctly told me he didn’t want to get isolated. Why should his family suffer because of his fight for justice. “Is there justice? And what will I get at the cost of what?”

Today M has disappeared in the crowd of a mass…M concentrates on his family, business & keeps low profile. He has a lot of stories to tell, wants to talk, but still fears repercussions. He isn’t bothered about it on individual, but now he has a family & would rather let his story die with him.

These are just some of the many persons I met. 1 man spoke of Modi’s qualities & when asked what according to him was his CM’s biggest flaw, “He doesn’t listen to anyone.” Modi is ambitious & it is evident from how he conducted a 7-star mockery of a fast. In this very land was born Bapu, Gandhiji. While Anna went on his countless fasts unto death (Anna has out-scored), Modi on all fronts. Modi wooed & paid Bhaiyyu maharaj a bomb to get him to share the platform. A CM who has set his eyes on becoming a PM. That he is undeserving, I’m NOT the only one saying.

His total disregard for seniors, leaders other himself, arrogance & tremendous along with being vicious & vindictive (which BJP leaders bitch behind him), won’t at all get him to his destination. Hitler had similar qualities, so did many a megalomaniac ruler. His immense hatred for the Muslims was evident from the fact he returned the minority scholarship. More over in his speech, which fortunately was aired live by all channels & witnessed by the whole nation, when Modi he spoke about Muslims, was sad…it was pathetic…”Aur woh Musalman…(biting his teeth), followed by a pause…” that a few Muslims in the auditorium spoke in hushed whispers, “Kitni nafrat karta hai who hum se….”

I’m glad I’m in a state where the CM has to brief the media every week & tell the public what decisions were taken in the cabinet. Whether the ministers like it or not are analysed, dissected & compelled to talk. Where the citizens’ rights are upheld & they can go to courts, which are reasonably balanced & pull up the erring govt. Development as a process where the weakest voice is heard. Yes there is ghettoisation in Maharashtratoo, but at least the stories are being told….a true picture is told & a justice BN Srikrishna could put the SS-BJP govt in dock & made them answerable…here in Gujarat the CM desperately tries to wash away his sins