Gujarat Pogrom












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The Way Out


We can see the anger of the caged wild animal in its agitated, mad movements. We know the bull before the bull fight returning from the doors closing before it one by one. But it doesn't know, before it reaches there, that the last and only door that will open for it will lead into the arena. I myself have encountered a character restlessly climbing up and down a spiral stair, unable to do anything against the horrible atrocities committed in front of her. Sometimes the opening at the end of the passage may be invisible. Particularly, when the stage is a whole land itself, when the passages are those that lead to its future. But we know that the doors are there. We hear them closing. We are the citizens of a land stuck on the way. We are beings, who realize that our own country is a prison, and fear that the only door that opens out of it might lead into the arena. There are presonances of a catastrophe in this statement. But if as a last thing, it is left unheeded, if the madness of the bull before the fight does not possess us now, tomorrow we may become criminals before history.

Sometime back I was asked about my views on Kashmir. I told that the issue before us is not whether Kashmir or any other territory should be part of this or that country or should remain independent. That a region is given an identity on the basis of religion, or rather, such an identity is imposed upon it, is what disturbs us. That is what should disturb us. That living human beings are portioned out as majority and minority. "Minority community" is the most humiliating qualification that can be given to any people in a democracy. The people, in a democracy cannot be classed on the basis of belief or any other feature into big and small parts. There is only one status for all - that of equality.

The people of the Indian subcontinent have a history of its own and an identity formed from that. It is not the monopoly of Hindutva or anything else. A propaganda contrary to this segregated some people half a century back and made them only Muslims. The remaining part of India decided to retain its primal character. For the last fifty years, people who have their discretion and their heart are fighting to stand by that decision. It is our desire and need that this identity should be retained. For this, it would help if this land stands united. On the other hand, this identity is necessary for the unity of the land too.

It is in this context that the issue of our roads to future confronts us with utmost gravity. That is why every individual who thinks, become like a bull in the bull fight. That is why we have to state firmly that our future will not be death in the arena.

The programme initiated by some wretched men a decade and a half ago to destroy this identity and to make its future a scene of battle, has brought our land to a decisive stage. Let us realise this: their agenda, is to re-establish the primitive customs and knowledge systems which were rejected as obsolete by the Hindu community a long while back. Politcally, to make India a Hindu empire; that means, make the non-Hindus hindu, and if they are not willing, in the language of their guru, make them the serving class. They enacted a prologue in Ayodhya in 1992 and later in Bombay. After ten years, their campaign chariots have closed in to establish an overriding regime.

At the time of writing this, the news media say that the army is bringing the situation down to normal. Curfews are being withdrawn. Offices have started to function. People are buying milk and vegetables. Gradually everyone will return to their routines. Politicians of all kind too will return to their usual activities. This too will be written off as yet another communal riot.

Communal riots are not new to the Indian soil. They used to be staged, sometimes in a natural way on trivial issues, sometimes artificially for somebody's vested interests sometimes to protect ministries or to make them step down or for other such reasons. But what happened in recent days was not similar. It was not an expression of anger of the local people over the Godhra train tragedy. It is part of a wider agenda, like what happened in Mumbai ten years ago. It was a phased testing in cities and in villages, of the genocide that the advocates of Hindu nation formulated and planned in their laboratories. Now they must have returned to their laboratories to analyse the favourable and unfavourable results of their experiment. We can surely expect more well designed models in the future.This has to be understood exactly. That is why there is no space for elegies invoking the name of Gujarat as Gandhi' s birthplace. Elegies and prayers will only help to distract our attention from seeing reality as reality. For Indians, this is the time to see reality as reality and confront it. If we do not understand the significance of 2002 as an aftermath of 1992, we will not be able to see what 2012 has in store for us. That should not happen.

The criterion of terrorism of an organisation is not whether it uses RDX or not. The criterion is the amount of venom that it generates and disseminates. This venom can have any form, or we can say that RDX can have different forms. Anyway we have seen that there is not much difference in the number of corpses lying lined up. Then how does the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its allied organisations become different from Lashkar e Toiba and Jaish e Muhammad?

Lashkar e Toiba and Jaish e Muhammad grew in the same decade in which Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its allied organisations grew. The truth of what they did in Pakistan and Afghanistan is clear for everyone now. The Taliban is gone. Whatever be the circumstances and the pressures, the ruler of Pakistan decided to crackdown on the evil spectres of that country. The people of Pakistan welcomed the general whole-heartedly, contrary to people's expectations.

But, at the time of writing this, our Prime Minister is holding discussions with the leaders of the terrorist organisations of this country. In this night of horror he found only criminals to get advice from and not the people with intelligence and discretion. He knows for sure that these people who have come from the darkness of the past does not represent the Hindu community, and that their claims are not those of the Hindus. But they are his advisors. He does not need to be told that the question before the country today is not whether to build a temple somewhere or not. Still he is behaving as if that is the issue.

The need of the hour is to counter the Hindu terrorist organisations in the same way as Pakistan and the world countered the Islamic terrorist organisations. These forces of darkness should not be given the right to haunt our present and our future. The government that has taken its oath in the name of the democratic and secular constitution should not indulge in any action that legitimises these forces directly or indirectly. But everything is happening the other way. So it is time to say that we have lost our faith in that government.

Lastly, the agenda that this government is carrying out is not that of the people of India. BJP has come into power on the basis of a tiny percentage of votes. Even the majority of people who voted for them do not believe in their ideology. This government has no mandate to execute the programmes of Vishwa Hindu Parishad or Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh. The lesson of history is that the Fascists have made their power all-embracing, by coming to power as a minority and carrying out mandates that they don't have. That is their method. The solution that Brecht speaks of in Stalinalee:

leaflets distributed in theStalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts, would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

It must be this solution that Mussolini, Hitler, Franco and Stalin found, that of electing their own people, which our ruling party which has failed in three more states and has been reduced to two states out of twenty seven, is trying out now through Gujarat.

This is written by one who belongs to a receding generation, the old generation which carries the responsibility of so many mistakes. Let the young generation decide that they will resolve for themselves this strategy of solution.

(Anand is a writer and thinker)