Thursday, May 09, 2002
M.V. Kamath's rightist rant has all the usual elements - Godhra, Kashmiri Pandits, Modi-defending etc.
One, there would have been no Ahmedabad had there been no Godhra, a point that need to be stressed again and again.
Something I am not too sure of; considering the planning and smoothness of execution of the carnage and ethnic cleansing that followed: trucks of well-armed people landing up in Muslim areas with lists of Muslim shopkeepers and businessmen - sorry Kamath; I'm with HRW on this.
And to insist that Godhra would not have taken place if there was no Ayodhya is adding insult to injury. Had the Muslim community been gracious - is it too much to ask for that virtue? -and granted the right of Hindus to dismantle the Babri masjid and set up a temple to Sri Ram on the site, India would have been applauded as a model state where all people lived in peace and mutual understanding.
The point of course is that the Hindus did not wait - they went ahead and broke the law and violated the Constitution.
The secular extremists - yes, there are such in the country-must ask themselves whether they may not have been responsible, howsoever indirectly, to the spawning of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parisad.
Since his credibility is damaged if he openly espouses the cause of the BD and the VHP - he puts the blame on the secularists for spawning rightists. Oh yes, the VHP and BD have absolutely no responsibility for the methods they've adopted, right?
To demonise Narendra Modi and say that he deliberately waited for a couple of days before summoning units of the Armed Forces to control the rioters merely serves to remind one of the killings in Delhi in 1984 following the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
A random fact introduced to say, "Look, if the Congress says the BJP has been negligent, look - they've been negligent too". It wasn't right then and it isn't right now, Mr. Kamath.
Communal violence has been endemic in Gujarat - and especially in Ahmedabad ...
Which is especially good reason for all forces to be on full alert. Godhra was avoidable, to a limited extent, and the succeeding riots - much more so. That Modi sat back and watched has been noted by the NHRC - especially despicable since he knows the condition of the state.
According to an impartial writer, Bharat Wariavwalla, "the Hindu-Muslim divide in Gujarat is deeper than perhaps anywhere else in the country and it cuts across party lines". Says Wariavwalla, writing in The Tribune (27 April): "The the Congress is secular and the BJP is sectarian simply doesn't hold true in Gujarat". This is a point that Sonia Gandhi may do well to remember.
This whole article seems directed at Sonia Gandhi; an attempt to exonerate Modi, the BJP and Sangh Parivar members of blame by pointing out flaws in the Opposition. Is a simple honest admission of guilt too much to ask for?
Another point to be noted is the angst shown by tribals in the Chotte-Udepur area of the Vadodara district when 7,000 of them, armed to the teeth, sought to massacre Muslims in Bodeli town, complaining that they have long been ill-treated by Muslim merchants and middle-men. A Media inquiry would surely find out - if an inquiry is pressed - that the tribals of Gujarat blame local Muslims for their exploitation, especially of tribal women.
Ah yes, the other attempt to wash away the planned pogrom by raising an instance of local ethnic conflict. Well done, Mr. Kamath.
According to another observer, Arvind Lavakare, bullying by the minority over the years has largely been responsible for the educated Hindu class to veer to the conclusion that 'enough is enough'. It may not bring back a single wasted life but it may explain to some extent the ferocity of the riots this time.
Writes Lavakare: "The overt and covert appeasement of Muslims by the political class and the media is finally it appears, becoming too stifling, even for the traditionally tolerant Hindu".
And thence we know the true source of Mr. Kamath's ideas. Rightist authors quoting each other.
The religious guru and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Ravi Shankar has been quoted as saying that in Karnataka, 40,000 Hindu temples have an annual income of Rs. 400 million of which only Rs. 5 million are spent on them, the rest going to the government. Ravi Shankar is then quoted as saying that while the income from minority religious institutions is just about Rs. 5 million, they get government grants of Rs. 80 million.
Once again, Kamath diverts from the issue at hand (the initial Godhra attack and the ensuing pogrom) and dives into some personal grudge report.
At the same time attention of secularists is being drawn to the plight of the Pundits of Kashmir, thousands of whom are living in the most miserable conditions in Jammu and elsewhere. According to Ashok Padit, spokesperson of Punum Kashmir, about 10,000 Kashmiri Pandits have been shot dead over the years and some 3.5 lakhs have not only been dispossessed but have been thrown out of the state without so much as a protest from the secularists. While the Gujarat Government is being condemned for not showing enough sensitivity towards the plight of Muslim refugees, not one word of sympathy, it is claimed, has been uttered concerning the suffering of Kashmiri Pundits. The insensitivity of secularists in this regard can only be termed as sickening.
Ah yes, rightist tactic #2 - bring up the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits whenever violence against Muslims is spoken of. Forget the fact that the Govt has been on opposite sides of the issue in the two cases.
For the first time in Indian history foreign intervention in India's affairs have been noted with the European Union - represented in India by Spain and Belgium - presenting a 'demarche'against Delhi for violation of Human Rights. This is ironic considering that in the middle ages the Spaniards drove out the Moors from the entire Iberian peninsula and destroyed every one of their mosques with a mindless ferocity that would put to shame anything that has happened in India in the last fifty years.
Sometimes I feel that most rightists just need a simple course in reasoning and logic - and I dont think more than a few of them would get more than 500 in the GRE analytical section. To accuse Europe of hypocrisy, you have to show that they are simultaneously guilty of double standards - not bring up issues that are centuries old!
All in all, a standard rehash of usual rightist stuff. Maybe I should just make an FAQ of rightist objections.
posted by Kensy |