[Reader-list] Gujarat's secular development

Rakesh Iyer rakesh.rnbdj at gmail.com
Sun Jun 13 18:09:31 IST 2010

Dear Rajendra bhai

First of all you do talk about the rigid truth of Azamgarh. While I do agree
that those who force women to wear hijab have a rigid view, isn't the view
to ask women to not wear hijab at all anywhere too a rigid view? Frankly
speaking, it's for women to choose, and in Bihar where I went, women while
not wearing burqas do have a tendency to hide their faces from men. Equally
in Bhopal, I saw not only Muslim but also Hindu girls who have handkerchiefs
or other clothing covering their faces and upto the breast level also
covering their hands. This is not only to avoid any eve-teasing but also
ensures that girls are not caught by their parents while hanging with their
boyfriends. Should we stop that too? (And the Bajrang Dal has been indulging
in this in Bhopal as told by my friend, since girls wearing masks makes it
difficult to find out whether the girl is a Hindu or a Muslim, at least for
the local karyakartas, and the women too protest stating that they won't
open their masks before any 'unknown' men). Wonder if that is a problem for
you or not.

By the way, the burqa is not 'traditional' necessarily as is being claimed.
In many regions, it has only come in the last 100 odd years or so. Those who
want to denounce women and reduce them to the status of being totally
dependent on men are responsible for just forcing this on women, but again
if women feel safe and secure wearing it, why should we stop them?

Yes, politics is today the management of perceptions, but not entirely, and
not at the macro level as the Indian media thinks it to be. Nitish of course
wants to have a 'secular' image, but to ensure that he has to work towards
it in some respect. He can't alllow the VHP to have a field day in pogrom
and then declare himself 'secular'. So pogroms are not allowed. But the BJP
being the allying party means that VHP does enjoy the blessings and so is
able to throw stones at the local police and innocents who protest against
it, as seen in the case of fighting against the AMU campus being built in

As for the managed perceptions, how many perceptions about Modi can be
wrong? (The same was asked of Lalu when he used to make the same claim that
Bihar is doing very well). The media showed what the 2002 pogrom was all
about. Out of the few times the Indian media had done a commendable job,
this was one among them. This was brought about further by films like
Parzania and documentaries like 'the Final Solution'. The Gujarat police had
colluded with the ruling party associates to bring about this genocide which
then resulted in mass violence against Muslims and also animosity amongst
the two communities which resulted later in violence against some Hindus
during end of March and April. This led to communal polarization in central
Gujarat where the BJP reaped rich political dividends. Nobody can hide the
reality that during 2002 Gujarat elections, Modi's speeches were more
focused on Godhra and the 'karara jawab' that the 'sampradayik tatva' had to
face because of it. One can understand on his own what all that was about.
All know what was the situation of relief camps and what Modi had termed
them as ('baby-producing camps'). Neither I nor you made the comment of 'hum
paanch humare pachees'. His speeches were laced with references to Mian
Musharraf after the Akshardham attack, and of course the famous quote that
if the Congress were to win, there would be celebrations in Pakistan. Going
by that logic, Pakistanis would have got many opportunities in the last 60
years to celebrate.

Dubious logic can't withstand the seriousness of facts, and hence Modi has
been unable to answer any query on his handling of the post-Godhra riots at
all. Instead, he likes people to forget it and trumpet his achievements
(which a section of the Indian population, including Ratan Tata and others
indeed do), among the populace. We would also like to know as a populace
what does he mean by development, since he has bogus definitions and
understanding as seen through various quarters (as witnessed in many cases
ranging from the recent Nirma plant case to salt factories which have
mushroomed polluting the very salt they are supposed to process).

Modi is a public figure (and an administrator), and he has to answer 2002.
And even if he doesn't want to, the BJP has to. They claim their name as
'Bharatiya Janata Party'. We also wish to know what they did and why they
didn't take effective action against those culpable for instigating violence
against a section of the 'Bharatiya Janata'. That we not only includes me
but several others who want that answer.

As for his development theories, I would like to listen to them too. He is
generally seen to raise his voice only to improve his self-image. Sometimes,
it would be prudent to speak the truth as well out in the public. And for
his positive achievements, congratulations, but equally if he can take
compliments for positives, he must learn to take brickbats and abuses for
his negatives as well.


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