Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The sinful chariot

Gujarat EDN
AM 12SEP2012

Chief Minister Narendra Modi finds a new issue to polarise voters: so-called injustice to Gujarat

    Chief Minister Narendra Modi launched a monthlong ‘Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Rath Yatra’ ahead of assembly election on Tuesday from Becharaji. It was the same place exactly a decade ago on September 9, 2002, that Modi had taken a dig at thousands of poor Muslims who were living in relief camps in subhuman conditions after one of the worst communal violence in independent India. He had remarked “A m e p a a n c h, a m a a r a p a - c h e e s” (we five, our twenty-five), apparently referring to Muslims producing a lot of babies in the camps.
    At that time it was important to keep alive the complete polarisation between Hindus and Muslims. The arithmetic was simple: more the hatred generated against the Muslims, more the Hindu votes coming in his pocket. He won the 2002 election with a landslide majority. For five years, several Muslims were branded as LeT terrorists and killed in cold blood by some hand-picked officers of Gujarat police. With every kill, identical FIRs mentioned that the ‘jehadi terrorist’ had come to kill Modi. Polarisation was sustained and Modi enjoyed the sympathy of the majority Hindus. Modi successfully used Sohrabuddin’s killing and Sonia Gandhi’s ‘m a u t k a s a u d a g a r’ remark to rake up emotions in the 2007 assembly elections.
    A lot has changed in Gujarat in the last five years. The recent tough sentence of Modi’s ex-minister Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre and Supreme Court’s stance in the fake encounters in Gujarat has led Modi to look for an entirely different reason to polarise the voters. Modi is fighting the upcoming polls on the plank of “injustice meted out to Gujarat.” A series of anonymous ads full of halftruths are running in broadcast media. These are designed to polarise the public against the central government. Joseph Goebbels was Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister in Nazi Germany.
    He had once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    Modi’s inflated ambition to become the prime minister has led to a full U-turn in his original stance. To keep Muslims in good humour, district collectors were asked to buy skull caps for his Sadbhavana meetingstoshowtheworldthatMuslims are in love with him. The state government which is leaving no stone unturned to save Modi and Amit Shah from legal punishment, is now demanding the death penalty for the foot-soldiers of Hindutva they once used. On September 4, 2012, Modi government asked for the death sentence in its appeal against 27 people, sentenced to life imprisonment by an Anand court for their involvement in the 2002 Ode massacre. Kodnani is sent to prison for 28 years. Several of the blue-eyed officers who carried out the Hindutva agenda are in jail for several years. Many others are waiting to join them. Modi will not talk about Sohrabuddin ever. Modi will not talk about Godhra. Modi will not talk against Muslims at least for now.
    Shakespeareinhisfamoustragedy ‘M a c b e t h’ created the character of Lady Macbeth who said, “Will these hands ne'er be clean?..... Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”
    Arjuna rode a chariot to wage a war against sin in the epic of M a - h a b h a r a t a. In contrast, this rath to be driven through the length and breadth of Gujarat will carry so much of sin. It will be an insult to Gandhi’s Sadbhavana, Sardar Patel’s nationalism and Swamy Vivekananda’s philosophy.