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Narendra Modi – Murdabad! Murdabad, murdabad!

November 3, 2009

Can you even imagine Indian politics, or even India, without Murdabad? Who in this country has not seen a protest with people shouting “murdabad” after the name of a politician? Murdabad literally means death be upon you. In Gujarat, though, wishing death upon Narendra Modi can land you in jail. After the chief minister contracted swine flu, one Umesh Anupchandra Jain in Surat sent his friend Nirav Jagdishchandra Rana an SMS that read: “Jay Shree Ram. Narendra Modi ne swine flu positive. Bhagwan ene jaldi uthavi le aevi prarthna. Jaisi karni vaisi bharni.” That translates as: ‘Jai Shri Ram. Narendra Modi is swine flu positive. Let’s pray that god takes him away soon. As you sow, so you reap.’

So what if the recipient, Nirav, further circulated this to another 500 people? And so what if some of those were Modi fans, who were infuriated enough to go to the police station with it? What in those words gives the police the right to arrest Umesh and Nirav under charges of promoting enmity between groups, criminal conspiracy and abetting a crime, besides the IT Act. The irony of the Narendra Modi government accusing somebody of promoting enmity amongst groups. You may say it’s in bad taste, you may invoke Gandhi and say and eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. But jail for an innocuous SMS makes Gujarat a police state.

While Nirav is a suspended NSUI member, both Umesh and Nirav are members of one ‘Vishwa Hindu Sewa Samiti’. Had they been Muslims, perhaps the charges would have been terrorism-related. The VHSS was formed in support of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur who is an accused in the Malegaon blasts case. The Surat police is now grilling Nirav to know his “motive” to do so. Such is the state of personal freedom in Gujarat that to make a wish on SMS can get you behind bars. Ideal time for another satyagraha. But that isn’t happening either, in a state where civic bodies have called off their strike (demanding such things as higher wages) until Modi gets well.

This is not the first time that sms-ing in Gujarat has landed a more-Hindutva-than-thou leader in jail. Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashwin Patel had similarly been arrested in 2008 for sending out SMS-es that were not just ‘defamatory’ but even ‘seditious’! While granting him bail the judge wondered if the police knew what sedition meant. Gujarat might as well start narco-analysing its citizens to find out if they need to be jailed for thinking ill of Modi.

Some elections ago, Modi’s chief opponent was not the Congress but ‘Mian Musharraff’. Musharraf’s Pakistan soon became Asif Ali Zardari’s, and the Pakistan government started rounding up people sending Zardari jokes on SMS. Mian Modi’s Gujarat is doing the same.

While your officers hunt down the source of your swine flu and you  recuperate, I suggest you read some Faiz and Tagore and suchlike. And may you have a long, healthy life Mr Modi.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. ravi permalink
    November 4, 2009 7:37 AM

    That SMS is in bad taste.Sending the same to hundreds of people is like spreading hate speech/rumor
    I dont know whether the provisions under which the person has been arrested are the relevant provisions or not.Murdabad in protests is different from sending SMS like this.Shouting murdabad can also come under hate speech depending upon the context.Of course for pseudo-secularists Bush Murdabad is fine but Musharaff Murdabad may not be acceptable. :).
    It does not become an innocous SMS when it is shared widely.Sending a lwed comment or sexist joke to hundreds of persons cannot be termed as an innocous act or message. The police action might not be the right one and that person could have been let off with a warning.But defending it as it is against Modi is not acceptable to me. Had the SMS been against a community or had it be a vulgar/sexist joke or comment would shivam vij defend it.
    ‘The irony of the Narendra Modi government accusing somebody of promoting enmity amongst groups. You may say it’s in bad taste, you may invoke Gandhi and say and eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. But jail for an innocuous SMS makes Gujarat a police state’
    You cannot cover it up by saying that it is an innocuous SMS. If so the sender should have at least sent to those whom he sent the previous SMS to discard it and should have apologised for that crude SMS.

  2. Dan Husain permalink
    November 4, 2009 12:01 PM

    Funny! The man who connived to perpetrate a genocide finds an sms wishing him death in bad taste. I find this almost Orwellian, Shivam. Yesterday I was watching Caligula, the controversial Peter ‘O’ Toole movie, and it was unnerving to watch each Ceaser grow into a monster – insecure, killing each and every of family members, friends, senators, counsels because he felt a threat to his power. And anyway, a man who wields a sword in an election rally in our times is an aberration.

  3. Manash permalink
    November 4, 2009 12:38 PM

    Ravi,

    Better err on the side of those who are more vulnerable than those who are more powerful. Simple precept for sensitive human beings. One doesn’t have to be well read, intelligent, or even too concerned a citizen to follow this. One just needs a good heart and an honest mind. That is enough. But nowadays it isn’t enough, because one has to act smart, rather act smarter than others, make one’s point at the cost of erring on power’s side, and feel elevated, worthy of one’s education, and serves the monster of middle-class pride, with it.

    What is surprising, to begin with, is someone who resembles Nirav more than the Chief Minister in terms of the equation between power and powerlessness, between the propensity for violence and some degree of reasonableness (however conservative), should choose to abandon Nirav in favour of the Chief Minister. The surprise turns into a sick feeling, when a person forgets his own subject position in his slavish identification with the aura of power, and ends up defending a tyrant. That is when the word “hope” runs into a crisis. That is when a citizen resembles a Nazi.

  4. radhika permalink
    November 4, 2009 2:14 PM

    ravi for you , it seems sending an sms is not a joke , but presiding over the killing of 2000 people is.
    i understand your touchiness about murdabad, since modi doesn’t have to do any for his opponents: since his footsolodiers take it upon themselves to stifle each voice that even concieves such a thought.
    and iam sure you are in the know , on how many apologies modi has sent for those killed in 2002.

    • Devang Shah permalink
      April 3, 2011 6:28 PM

      Narendra Modi is the ironman of gujarat……Only talkin abt the 2002 episode wont do any good…..try to openup ur eyes and see wats on the Global Sumit 2010. I have being in gujurat from 2007-2010…even a five yr old boy who doesnt knw to speak properly will surely knw to say Narendra Modi ki jay <<<<<i mean it….i seen wit my own eyes….so u better stop accusing Mr. Modi for something tht is gone far behind :)

      Regards,
      Devang Shah,
      Mumbai

  5. Abby permalink
    November 4, 2009 5:08 PM

    I tend to agree in toto with Mr Ravi.
    Besides, it is getting a bit too much of Modi-bashing here. Now that the Central Government is going the whole hog to see him prosecuted for 2002, it may be logical for us to trust that justice would not be denied.
    Lets wait it out till then.
    In the interim, it also makes sense to see what the man actually talks. I am no fan of communal politics, but it is unfair to paint the man with one brush all the time. Surprisingly, no one, not the media- whose biases you oppose, Mr Vij, nor the flag-bearers like you,who have rightfully come to be known as ‘pseudo-secularists,’ ever write about the sensible things he talks. Not just about his developmental policies, but also his views on how to improve the politics in this country.
    I would say he is one of the handful of politicians in this country who wants to move this lethargic giant of a country forward.
    It may be instructive to listen to him, and to give a fair chance where it is due.
    Till then, would you mind explaining if it really is okay to shout death upon Bush, but not on Musharraf ?
    Regards, and keep up the otherwise superb work.

  6. November 4, 2009 5:53 PM

    @Ravi
    “But defending it (sharing the message?) as it is against Modi is not acceptable to me” tells me more than enough about you.

    Do you realize people like you who worship politicians and have zero tolerance for criticism actually enable ‘leaders’ – political and religious – to emotionally manipulate vast majorities and use them permanent vote-banks?

    Jailing people for sending messages is the beginning of fascism. A real leader, a Gandhi, would not resort to such fear tactics. Childish, unmanly behaviour Mr. Modi.

  7. Anivar Aravind permalink
    November 4, 2009 8:28 PM

    Just seen the caller show in News 9 channel (Newschannel from TV9 Group) now (8.00-8.30)
    . It is clear hate speech. Qn is “Should Vande matharam be not sung by Muslims?”
    . It is clear hate speech. who will take action against these people

  8. November 5, 2009 8:38 AM

    Advani and Modi injected VENOM in certain sections of Indian society.

  9. ank|t.k permalink
    November 6, 2009 3:05 AM

    Jay Shree Ram. Narendra Modi ne swine flu positive. Bhagwan ene jaldi uthavi le aevi prarthna. Jaisi karni vaisi bharni.”
    You guys kidding me! You call this written in bad taste, if he would have sent something like “mothafukkin son of a bitch” or some other form of lewd comment then I might have raised an eyebrow. The fact that this poor guy is behind bar and is facing legal consequences is abuse of power.
    What happed to freedom of speech and press????
    “Bhagwan ene jaldi uthavi le aevi prarthna” – At least the guy is praying to God to take him away, I would pray to God to curse this SOB and leave him on this earth to rot.
    Pardom my French, I hope m not causing a bad taste now… :]

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