Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Godhra school gives a lesson in ‘Sadbhavana’ to Modi

Godhra: When Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi announced the Sadbhavana Mission in 2011, professor V K Tripathi could not avoid a wry smile sitting in his office in IIT, Delhi. After all, he has been running an organization with almost the same name for two decades before the posterboy of Hindutva embraced Muslims under the glare of TV cameras. 
    Sadbhav Mission was started in 1990 by Tripathi, a professor of physics, and a few others. In December 2002, when Modi was still taking jibes at Muslims, the mission had organized special classes for 1,000 standard XII students of both communities just before final exams. 
    Cut to 2012. Some 150 dalit children of different ages from a nearby slum gather at a Ram temple in Godhra and wait for their tutor. Enters Imran Pola, a young Muslim, and starts giving lessons even as idols of Ram, Sita and Laxman watch over this harmony. This is one of two classes the mission has been holding in the ground zero of the 2002 riots for the last few years. 
    “A man who does not believe in sadbhavana has started the Sadbhavana Mission,” Tripathi says sardonically. “I have been asking the government to give access to central scholarships for minority children since 2008, but they insist they will not implement the scheme as it discriminates in the name of religion.”