Skip to content

An open letter to Madhu Purnima Kishwar: Zahir Janmohamed

January 15, 2013

Dear Madhu ji,

I was very excited when I learned you were coming to Ahmedabad and I was honoured that you expressed interest in possibly meeting with me.

I was sitting with a journalist friend when I read your Tweet about visiting Ahmedabad and he told me you are a “pioneering feminist who did ground breaking work.” He also told me that in 2005 you signed a very strong petition calling for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s dismissal because of Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. He also added that you have been very vocal on behalf of Kashmiri Pandits. After I witnessed the Gujarat riots in 2002, I returned to the United States—where I was born and raised—and I gave lectures for six months about the violence I saw. In each lecture, an audience member would inevitably shout at me that I have ignored the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. It is true. I know very little about Kashmir, and for that matter Kashmiri Pandits, and I would have enjoyed and benefited from listening to your views on the conflict there.

I understand from your Twitter feed that you have left Ahmedabad. I know your days in Ahmedabad were limited and I fully understand that you were not able to meet. Therefore in this letter I will try to convey some of the things I had hoped to tell you in person, in particular about your Tweets.

I am pleased that you have enjoyed your stay in Ahmedabad. To quote some of your remarks:

@madhukishwar: Friends say auto rickshaws never refuse passengers, never over charge in Ahmadabad or elsewhere in Gujarat. Why are Delhi autos lawless?

@madhukishwar: Photographs of young men and women past mid night having soda in Ahmedabad. Young men don’t have menacing presence

@madhukishwar: North Indian friends I’m staying with in Ahmedabad took me for midnight drive to see how safe is gujarat for women- even on  highway.

@madhukishwar: I am out on Ahmedabad streets past 1 am enjoying uniquely satvic nightlife of Gujarat. Will write more about it

Indeed, Gujaratis are exceptional with their hospitality and kindness. As a Gujarati whose grandparents are from Kutch, I am pleased you feel welcome here.

But I take exception to your comment that women are safe in Gujarat or that “young men don’t have menacing presence.”

According to the National Crime Bureau, the number of rapes in Gujarat increased from 408 cases in 2010 to 439 in 2011. When we look at other forms of violence like dowry deaths, this number becomes more staggering.

From the Indian Express, March 28, 2008:

In a span of twelve years, more than 50,000 cases of violence against women have been reported from 12 districts of Gujarat. With 640 dowry deaths and 1,443 rape cases, the chart is topped by a staggering 14,998 cases of cruelty by husband and in-laws, followed by accidental deaths which is pegged at 14,631.

The article cites a report from an NGO called Navsarjan that conducted research in 12 districts in Gujarat during a twelve year period (1995-2007). According to the report, “7894 women committed suicide and 3,006 women were abducted during this period in these districts.”

In a December 28, 2012 story, DNA reported that in Gujarat only 1 out of 5 got life term for rape and that in over 50% of the cases, the rapist had to serve only 6 to 10 years in prison. Just this week, IBN-Live reported that an ex-MLA’s nephew and three friends gang raped a girl for over three years.

I recognize that these numbers might be better than other states in India but the statistics show that violence against women in Gujarat is increasing.

At a forum I attended this weekend sponsored by Apna Adda called “Rape and Me,” female students from various universities in Ahmedabad said they no longer feel comfortable going out alone or with only girls at night. One said she had faced so much sexual harassment in Gujarat that she is now advising girls to take self-defence classes. Another young woman told me that at her college an elderly man flashed his genitals to her on three occasions. She said she rarely goes out past dark alone for fear of these incidents happening again.

Parents at this forum on Saturday—many of whom were born and raised in Ahmedabad—said Gujarat was not always like this and that it is getting progressively worse. I am happy that you felt comfortable staying out as a woman at 2 am. In my two years of research, I have met very few women in Gujarat who would say the same.

*

However the main reason I write to you, Madhu ji, is to take issue with your Tweets about the “inclusive development of Gujarat”. Some of your tweets:

@madhukishwar: Modi sure knows how to address and strengthen self esteem of his people. Give hope and confidence

@madhukishwar: 2\4 If I as much as say Gujarat roads are best in country, see Modi’s inclusive development for urself I become political untouchable. Why?

@madhukishwar: Those upset at my Gujrat observations: challenge me on facts. Don’t hurl ideology or prejudice at me. I’ll be 1st to apologise 4 inaccuracy

Since you have requested facts, here are some to consider.

In an article in the Business Standard, Mihir Sharma takes issue with the notion that Gujarat is growing at a much faster rate than other states. He writes:

…between 2004 and 2012, Gujarat’s GDP growth left the national average, 8.3 per cent, far behind. It grew at 10.1 per cent. But, in the same period, Maharashtra grew at 10.8 per cent and Tamil Nadu at 10.3 per cent.

Sharma acknowledges that Gujarat has grown faster during the period of Modi’s rule but its rate of growth has not been as impressive as in other states:

Gujarat in 2004-12 grew 3.6 per cent faster than it did in 1994-2002. Meanwhile, Bihar grew 6.5 per cent faster, if from a lower base. But better-off Maharashtra’s growth was 5.8 per cent faster in that period, and Tamil Nadu’s was 4.7 per cent.

As a resident of Ahmedabad, I have seen much of the progress myself, something Sharma acknowledges in his piece. But should Modi be given credit for Gujarat’s successes yet be given a clean sheet for the state’s failures? Sharma notes:

Still, is this chief minister somehow special? The evidence seems indisputable that Gujarat’s bureaucracy is responsive, decentralised and innovative. It is possible that Mr Modi is somehow personally responsible for this; Professor Debroy says to deny him all credit would be unfair and uncharitable. I agree. Though I do note that less objective observers of Mr Modi than Professor (Bibek) Debroy are hypocritically happy to suggest that he is individually responsible for the emplacement of every handpump in north Gujarat, but somehow had nothing whatsoever to do with the complete failure of the entire state machinery in 2002.

In an article in Rediff, Shivam Vij writes cautions against simple explanations of Gujarat’s growth. He writes:

Look at the per capita net state domestic product, a better indicator of prosperity than the mere rate of growth. Gujarat has been occupying 6th or 7th rank on this list since the early ’70s and it’s not as if Narendra Modi’s leadership made Gujarat jump up to the top end of the list.

Given your claim of “inclusive” development in Gujarat, I want to point out to you some more numbers:

According to a study by Rakesh Basant of the IIM Ahmedabad University entitled “Education and Employment among Muslims in India: An Analysis of Patterns and Trends,” he concludes that Muslims carry a double burden of being labeled as “anti-nationalists” and being appeased at the same time.

But he cautions us to think that the “appeasements” have helped Muslims in any way. He states:

The fact that the so-called appeasement has not resulted in any benefits is typically ignored. Identity markers often lead to suspicion and discrimination by people and institutions. Discrimination too is pervasive in employment, housing and education. Gender injustice is usually identified purely with personal law to the exclusion of gender-related concerns in education and employment that Muslim women do face on a continuing basis.

Basant acknowledges that while education rates for Muslims in Gujarat remain woefully low, the trends show that Muslims are improving in this category. But this is stymied, he argues, by “identity based discrimination (which) reduces access, enhances inequity and adds to insecurity.”

This inequity exists in other areas of life too. In an article in the New York Times, Hartosh Singh Bal writes that “Gujarat has an urban poverty ratio of almost 18 percent, compared with almost 21 percent for the country as a whole.” According to Bal, “42.4 percent of the Muslims in urban Gujarat are poor, compared with 33.9 percent of Muslims in urban India overall.” Bal illustrates the disenfranchisement of Muslims in Gujarat by citing the refusal of the Narendra Modi government to release 53,000 scholarships for Muslim students. Vij writes in his Rediff piece that “Gujarat is the only state to not have implemented central government scholarships for students from minority communities, started in 2008.”

Indeed in my neighborhood of Juhapura, often called one the largest ghettoes of Muslims in India, there are only four high schools for a population of 300,000. Of these four high schools, one is private, two are partly aided (ie the teachers salary is provided by the state) and only one is fully aided up to the 12th standard.

VK Tripathi, an IIT Delhi Physics professor, has been coming to Juhapura, the Muslim ghetto of Ahmedabad, every two months since 2007 to fight for schools. In a 2009 article in the Times of India, Tripathi says there were only “24 educational institutions for a population of more than 3.5 lakh.”

Most schools in Juhapura do not have paved roads, let alone enough class rooms, and Tripathi has been fighting the Gujarat government to provide better educational opportunities for residents of Juhapura. I saw Tripathi sahib just last weekend in Juhapura and he told me that while there is some progress, it is still “abysmally low”.

Muslims do not just lag behind in education. In an article in Outlook magazine in 2011 by Pragya Singh, she cites statistics from the Sachar Committee Report and the NSSO (61st round) that state that urban poverty among Muslims in Gujarat is 800% higher than upper caste Hindus; 50% higher than OBCs. Rural poverty among Muslims is 200% more than Hindus and about 60% of Muslims live in urban areas.

Citing research by Abusaleh Shariff for International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Singh says that Gujarat’s high levels of hunger are akin to Bihar, Orissa, and Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Singh writes that “Gujarat’s Muslims are most likely to be self-employed where wages have increased the least,” and that “Muslims are least likely to get organized sector and salaried jobs”.

For Shariff, who conducted extensive research on Gujarat’s Muslims, the explanation is straight forward: “The economic and social life of Gujarati Muslims is worse than in some least developed states. The reason is discrimination.”

*

I could continue to cite statistics but as one of India’s most accomplished social scientists, you know far more reports and statistics than I do.

What I really want to do in this letter is to explain what I would have shown you in Ahmedabad.

I would have taken you to Siddiqabad, a colony of about 200 homes built for survivors of the Gulbarg and Naroda Patiya massacre. Siddiqabad is tucked behind the main road in Juhapura just down the street from my flat. Siddiqabad was meant to be temporary housing for riot victims. But it has been ten years and residents have grown weary of promises that they will get regular electricity, a gutter line, or access to a school nearby.

I would have taken you to Narol (Bombay Hotel), a row of homes occupied by survivors of the Naroda Patiya massacre. Narol is next to a massive trash dump and the builder, a Muslim, told me no one else wanted to sell land to him after the 2002 riots. Each year during the monsoon, water runs from the trash dump into people’s homes. As a result, children in Narol have grown up with deformities. When I visited, a young boy of about 12 years interrupted his cricket game to talk with me. “Yes we see dead bodies here all the time,” he said casually as he tossed a ball into the air.

I would have taken you to Vastrapur, where I lived last year for six months in an all Hindu building. My friend said I could live there on one condition: I could not use my real name. It was humiliating. It was also in Vastrapur where my friend Nida Yamin, an IIM research associate from Delhi, was recently denied housing because she is a Muslim. She left Ahmedabad after just a few months. “This place,” she told me, “is not for us.”

I would have introduced you to Asif bhai, the director of the Crescent School in Juhapura who built his school in 2008 because he realized that the Gujarat government was never going to build adequate schools for Muslims.

I would have introduced you to Kiran Uncle, a tireless advocate for secularism who has fought both Hindu and Muslim communalism and has been ostracized from his family for speaking out so vociferously for Muslims after the 2002 riots.

I would have introduced you to Hemanshu Uncle, a restaurant owner in Ahmedabad. He tells me that every day someone comes into his restaurant and criticizes him for serving non-vegetarian food. Sometimes they tell him he is a bad Brahmin and he has grown tired of the “holier than though attitude of Gujaratis.” This is not the Gujarat, he tells, that he experienced in his childhood. It was more tolerant then.

I would have introduced you to Sheba ji, a remarkable advocate for women’s rights in Gujarat who has been working tirelessly to address Gujarat’s rising problem of violence against women. I would have introduced you to Sheba ji’s staff, many of whom themselves are survivors of domestic violence.

I would have introduced you to Pravin bhai, a film maker who has conducted extensive interviews with farmers in Gujarat who tell him farmer suicides are on the rise in this state.

I would have introduced you to Jila, a 24 year old Ahmedabadi who was displaced in the 1992 and the 2002 riots. She still hopes to live in a Gujarat where people don’t always look at her as a Muslim first.

*

Of course I know, Madhu ji, that you have met many Muslims here and I commend you for that. You mentioned businessman Zafar Sareshwala in one of your Tweets. Zafar bhai is a friend and I have no interest in criticizing him or anyone else. But I will say this: it has taken me an awful amount of time to get Muslims to open up about their experiences in Gujarat. When I first started conducting research in 2011, most of the Muslims I met told me that everything was great and that they have moved on.

But as I spent more time with them, as I shared my own horror story of watching mobs attack people in 2002, as I spoke about the depression that I plummeted in for years after the riots, as I talked about the counseling I went through to help me cope with the memories of dozens of women who shared their stories in the relief camps of being rapedduring the 2002 riots, then people gradually—and very slowly—people start telling me their own stories. But it has taken long, two years actually, to get to this point.

Gujarati Muslims are often afraid to say what they really think about Gujarat or Narendra Modi. In Gujarat, Modi has become a “god” for so many—given all the Muslims face in Gujarat, why should a Muslim face further isolation by criticizing Modi or life in Gujarat? I hear this all the time: “Zahir you can criticize Modi or the Gujarat state because you do not have family here. But for us, our life will become hell if we speak out.”

And yet the outrage, the anger of Gujarat’s Muslims is there in the pauses, in the things they are afraid to say, in the silent articulation of their faces.

Last year I interviewed a BJP Muslim politician, whose name I will withhold, and he kept praising Modi. I try to speak to everyone I can and his story was equally important to me. As we pulled out of his drive way, his car got stuck on his unpaved road outside his home in Juhapura. He pulled out his phone and called his friend in the government.

“About that paved road. Is it coming?” he asked. I could not hear the response on the other hand. When the BJP politician hung up the phone, he could no longer make eye contact with me. Two years later he still does not have a paved road.

*

I wish I could write more but there is no electricity in my flat in Juhapura right now and I am writing this sitting on charpai outside my building, trying to catch some light from my neighbor’s generator powered well lit bungalow. I have not had regular running water for the past two days (the same happened last weekend) and when I told my society manager, he told me “yeh hai Juhapura.”

That seems to be the root problem here in Gujarat: Muslims—and so many others in this state—have come to accept less, to ask for less, to be content with less, and then told by society that they should complain less.

I know you Tweeted that such problems do not exist in Gujarat.

@madhukishwar: 8\9 Modi doesn’t rest. Already every rural urban household has 24×7 power, most hv high quality piped water. But guj govt working on further

@madhukishwar: 9\9 Gujrat working on amazing improvements in water policy. It was water scarce state, today it is water surplus with water table rising

Perhaps we will have a chance to meet in the future and you can show me this Gujarat: where Muslims do not face prejudice, where women do not report that sexual harassment is increasing, where farmers do not feel that their livelihood is being threatened.

Yes, some people do indeed have more after Modi. But many others do not. This profound inequity upsets me, not because I am a Muslim, but because I love Gujarat and my Gujarati people and I would not be writing this letter if I did not want more for Gujarat and all its people.

My invitation is still open to you, Madhu ji. I have emailed you my mobile number and it would indeed be an honor to meet you and to meet you in Ahmedabad.

With fondness and respect,

Zahir Janmohamed,
Juhapura,
January 15, 2013.

(Zahir Janmohamed is a freelance writer living in and writing about Juhapura, the Muslim neighbourhood of Ahmedabad. He previously served as the Advocacy Director for Amnesty International and Senior Foreign Policy Aide in the U.S. Congress. He tweets as @ZahirJ.)

More on Gujarat in Kafila archives:

82 Comments leave one →
  1. Rohit Negi permalink
    January 15, 2013 10:16 PM

    poignant and much needed retort. also works for Sagarika Ghose’s piece in HT, where she asks all of us to ‘move on’ because the Muslims want to forget 2002. My question to her was: ‘are they able to’? (http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/Columns/Riders-on-the-storm/Article1-971580.aspx)

    • seeta permalink
      January 15, 2013 11:18 PM

      while ‘moving on’ may be the only survival technique left for the muslims in gujarat, especially given the surveillance and with no public mechanisms for grieving (seen in statements such as riots are force of nature/werent as bad as you’re saying/hindus were affected also/get over it already/muslims=terrorists/you’re much better off here, at least there is democracy and not the Hijab), it is absolutely unpardonable for academics to even want to move on.
      as for the inclusive development under modi, whose inclusion, whose development.
      and growth simply means that he’s successfully sold off gujarat to big corporations. and when you sell land/resources/set up SEZs and so on, what you are doing in transactions in people.
      on another note, may be the hindu middle class is going to get a taste of some of their own arm twisting now: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_engineering-professors-to-be-on-escort-duty-at-vibrant-summit_1781944

      • Nishit Desai permalink
        January 16, 2013 12:38 AM

        Riots and communal tensions prevail in Ahmedabad since centuries. Read the timeline of Ahmedabad below to know more:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_timeline_of_Ahmedabad

        And you don’t like ‘big corporations’ coming in Gujarat, you can always move to a different state which has less ‘big corporations’. Choice is yours.

  2. Akshaya Mukul permalink
    January 15, 2013 10:44 PM

    Zahir, you have done a brilliant job of taking on Madhu Kishwar. In trying to be different she has become the tragic-comic figure of Indian academics.

    • Ajay permalink
      January 16, 2013 9:54 AM

      going out of the line doesn’t mean incorrect, same as be within line doesn’t mean correct! I don’t have to elaborate on this point! Though Zahir, you have done a good job! I am sure there are few replies you have read already! Communication is the key, that is Why democracy! Lets not stop talking! Replies are not by me! http://goo.gl/Pd7b0

  3. Rohit Patel permalink
    January 15, 2013 11:24 PM

    Also, first compare education proportion before employment to check how many muslims do study? And Juhapura is known for gangs and stealing of electricity. There used to be illegal network of electric cables throughout Juhapura, and perhaps it may even exist now unless Modi has corrected it as I am also abroad now so don’t know latest. But news of murder is almost certain to come from Juhapura every month.

  4. Real Indian Citizen permalink
    January 15, 2013 11:26 PM

    Sir i am not a Modi Fan. But i have to say when you subject so much subjectivity to Modi’s rule y not to others. That is the fact that puzzles me? Y shud his state be ideal in all ways? We dont expect that from others. Yes of course 2002 is bad. If he is guilty yes he is and he can be punished. But the growth even thou uneven shud be appreciated coz thats something new in India. But to target someone who praised Modi is blatant and outright prejudiced Bias.

    • Avinash permalink
      January 16, 2013 3:22 AM

      No, it is not blatant and outright prejudiced bias. We need to rally every argument we can, because we can so clearly see a fascist on the rise. Some of the signs are so clear it is shocking.

      We should subject Modi to this, and more, if we want to avoid the nightmare of Prime Minister Modi.

      • Mahesh permalink
        January 16, 2013 9:36 AM

        Avinash is talking like an Oracle – :” we can so clearly see a fascist on the rise ” . But please sttick to singular I than a plural we. And further explain the rationale for the vision – More credibility

      • Christina Moniz permalink
        January 16, 2013 12:07 PM

        Well said Avinash. It is scary to see the unquestioning loyalty that Modi commands. I pray and hope that we will never have a prime minister who has the blood of thousands of people on his hands. That’s a terrifying prospect for India.

        • Paramvir Sawhney permalink
          March 5, 2013 2:17 PM

          How did you decide that Modi has the blood of 1000s on his hand?Has any court convicted him.He is not even chargesheeted.

          • Aparna permalink
            March 20, 2013 8:00 PM

            This is like saying the Crusades never happened. Or the historysheeters in parliament never committed crimes!

  5. January 15, 2013 11:47 PM

    Can you a comparitive STudy of Hashimpura, Meerut , Malyana, Assam riots and compare state of resettlement/relief camps of these with Gujarat?.I will be waiting ofr your article. If you have already done so please send a link.dont you think communal sensitivity existed in Guj for decades now and how far Modi is to be blamed for the tension.

  6. January 16, 2013 12:04 AM

    Awesome. At times falsehood is repeated so many times that it becomes more impressive than truth. The answers to questions raised by this blog and countless others are not coming and no one wants to talk about them. Because as Modiites say Gujarat has moved on. We’ll many haven’t. You may as well ignore them, but they won’t. Prepare for that day Narendra bhai.

  7. Nishit Desai permalink
    January 16, 2013 12:29 AM

    This text does not even deserve to be called a proper ‘repudiation’. So, what were you t rying to imply by citing Himanshu Uncle’s story that random people keep telling him to stop serving non-veg food. Were you tryin to make some kind of conspiracy theory that Govt. sends stooges to harass such middle class business people? It’s absurd. does not even make sense.

    I can refute all the arguments presented in this article but I don’t think its even worth an effort.

    If you really love Gujarat and love gujaratis then try to remove the dust that has set in on your glasses and you will be able to see the world around you far better.

    • Reva V permalink
      January 18, 2013 6:44 AM

      The whole war on non – veg food and Muslims is not necessarily confined to Gujarat alone. Gujaratis living in swank Malabar Hills and Peddar Road in Mumbai have done it there also. Many societies do not allow Muslims to live there and I’ve heard of them going through people’s garbage to ensure they do not eat non-veg. And what could be a better example than a fully vegetarian McDonald’s in the area.

      • alex4140 permalink
        March 2, 2013 6:49 PM

        What exactly is wrong with a totally harmless custom of a set of people — yes people in Gujarat / Gujaratis in Bombay (There are specific Jain Retaurants ; forget non-veg they don’t even eat root vegs like Onions) are steadfast vegetarians & do not wish to have as their company people who are non-vegetarians..

        Whats the big deal about something so harmless ?

        • jain permalink
          August 28, 2013 1:31 AM

          It is not bad to have specific Vegetarian restaurants. What he is pointing out is the levels of intolerance among people against diversity.. As there is nothing wrong in having a vegetarian restaurants, there shouldn’t be nothing wrong in having non-veg restaurants either (as long as they are not in some religious premises that offends the religion). In a marketplace it is all allowed and actually required.. People are getting intolerant towards it as they think muslims are going to visit the place. It is the same people who did not think twice before murdering innocent people who hypocritically show their love for vegetarianism… It is really bad signs in the society… It is going to lead to civil war….

  8. Harsh Gupta permalink
    January 16, 2013 12:34 AM

    Hartosh cites http://planningcommission.nic.in/news/press_pov1903.pdf (say, PCR) when he says that Muslim urban poverty in Gujarat (42%) is higher than all-India average (38%). But the Sachar committee report or SCR (which came out 5 years earlier) has a different picture – not a slightly different one, but a dramatically different one.

    Please see Pg 159 of http://minorityaffairs.gov.in/sites/upload_files/moma/files/pdfs/sachar_comm.pdf … 38% of urban IMs are poor and in Gujarat number is far, far less – 24% (which is in consonance with: urban poverty overall in India is 21% and Gujarat is 18%.).

    To see why the SCR is right, not PCR – look at other numbers from the much more voluminous SCR (ignore as un-quantitative and un-quantifiable for the moment the intuition that Gujarat is one of the richer states in India, and despite social discrimination, many Guj Muslims are doing well economically).

    Other numbers from SCR:
    – all-India rural Muslim poverty number was 27%, and just 7% – yes 7% in Guj. Pg 160.
    – Gujarat has higher % of Muslims in high government positions compared to Maharashtra and Delhi despite having lower % Muslim pop. Pg 170.
    – % coverage of Integrated Child Development Services for Muslim kids: All-India (7.6%). Guj (31.7%). Second in country after Orissa. Pg 181.
    – Mid day meal coverage? All-India Muslim average – 22.8%. Gujarat? 31.4%. Pg 182 http://minorityaffairs.gov.in/sites/upload_files/moma/files/pdfs/sachar_comm.pdf

    (SCR also contains facts like Hindu female labor force participation rate is almost half, while for Muslims it is about a quarter. This could explain higher birth rates and poverty figures nationally to a partial extent, along with discrimination, but only focusing on discrimination would be inaccurate in my view)

    All these lend credence to the SCR finding that urban Muslim poverty head count % in Guj is much less than the all-India figure, unless you want to believe that while the India figure kept going down south, yet the Muslim poverty exploded singularly in Gujarat AFTER 2004-05. There are many other government reports from 2009 and later which can also serve as indirect confirmation that some error has taken place in the PCR, not SCR earlier.

    About the BS column, it like an earlier Rediff column, does not measure Modi’s full tenure from 2001-02 for some reason. Let us ignore that too. About Vij’s article, I think the fact that Gujarat is the only state that has not implemented a central government program which was only for minorities – but still achieved decent socio-economic indicators for them (as shown above) – shows that Modi’s government at least here is being in a strict sense secular and liberal. One can speculate about his motives, but clearly this is a secular policy.

    Anyway, overall insightful piece. We need to keep the conversation going. Not saying that any side has all the right answers or is somehow immune from mistakes or prejudices.

    • hartosh singh bal permalink
      January 16, 2013 10:21 PM

      Harsh, given the gross, but I hope not deliberate errors in your rebuttal, I would not waste my time responding to this comment which was forwarded to me, but errors with numbers when left unchallenged have a tendency to reappear.

      First I would only point you the recent debates on India’s poverty figures, given the Tendulkar Committee report, to see why the figures in the Sacchar Committee Report (SCR) and Planning Committee Report (PCR) do not tally. Since the figures are calculated on different assumptions they are not directly comparable, and your attempts to do are illogical to say the least, betraying a complete ignorance of the debate I have referred to. And Gujarat is not the only state so affected, eg if you compare the two sets of data, the numbers show similar changes for UP and West Bengal.

      Far more importantly, while absolute comparisons cannot be made, relative comparisons do hold true and both SCR and PCR emphatically support the point I have made.

      Consider the following data for urban poverty incidences

      All India Muslim Gujarat Gujarat Muslims

      PCR data 21 33.9 18 42.4

      SCR data 22.8 38.4 11 24

      In both cases what is evident is that the ratio of Muslim urban poverty to overall urban poverty in Gujarat is much higher than the ratio of Muslim urban poverty to overall urban poverty in India. Clearly then both sets of data suggests that urban Muslims do far worse with respect to the norm in Gujarat than they do in India overall, which is precisely my point and a point made by a lot of other people.

      When you say, “38% of urban IMs are poor and in Gujarat number is far, far less – 24% (which is in consonance with: urban poverty overall in India is 21% and Gujarat is 18%.)’’ you are taking 38 and 24 from SCR data and 21 and 18 from PCR data, which is absurd.

      This suggests a deliberate ploy given you have both sets of data before you. But even if the error is genuine, then at the very least I feel you don’t know what you are talking about.

      • Harsh Gupta permalink
        January 16, 2013 11:57 PM

        Come on, Hartosh. These are your words. “42.4 percent of the Muslims in urban Gujarat are poor, compared with 33.9 percent of Muslims in urban India overall.” http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/the-hardships-of-being-muslim-under-indias-modi/ [Quoted by Zahir above]

        You are NOT comparing Gujarati Muslim vs Gujarati Hindu in that statement, as much as you would like to now spin to that effect. You were comparing Gujarati Muslim vs Rest-of-India Muslim.

        In the latter comparison, you said quoting PCR that ROI Muslim is better off than Guj Muslim.

        I quoted SCR and said that is not the case. Then I quoted other socio-economic indicators from SCR to bolster my case that SCR is likely correct, not PCR. So when I said in “consonance with”, I meant the SCR state data is in consonance with PCR national data – and the PCR state (Guj) data is almost certainly an error. So sorry to disappoint, no deliberate ploy.

        Note: In my first sentence I compared 42% Guj (PCR) with 38% Ind (PCR). The latter was a typo – it should have been 33, not 38. Of course, that does not make any difference to the argument.

  9. Mihir Fadnavis permalink
    January 16, 2013 12:37 AM

    I stopped reading this article a few paras down – I have a friend in Ahmedabad who sms’ed me the other day saying she was pretty drunk and she was heading home at 2 in the morning in an auto. I asked her to be careful, she laughed it off – she reached home safe and messaged me. True story based on facts.

    • Avinash permalink
      January 16, 2013 3:32 AM

      I wish you had not stopped reading. Needless to say, your friend, who owns a cellphone and has enough money to buy alcohol in a dry city, does not represent the entire female population at risk in Ahmedabad (which would, I assume, include dalit and muslim women). I would think that surveys conducted by national research institutions and professional bodies might carry a little more weight than a personal anecdote. But maybe I am wrong.

      • Mohit Bajpai permalink
        January 16, 2013 5:06 PM

        “I would think that surveys conducted by national research institutions and professional bodies might carry a little more weight than a personal anecdote”…exactly the reason why you are the pseudo that you are. because you believe more in fancy looking data because it is published by fancy institutions and refuse to believe in your own objective assesment of things. apply yourself. think. then judge.
        if a woman is rich, it does not mean that the US Marines would be gaurding her while she’s travelling in an autorickshaw at 2 AM. she is as safe or as vulnerable as a dalit woman or a muslim woman. you would have understood this had you made an attempt to use your head or had you not been paid for saying what you are.

        • Avinash permalink
          February 22, 2013 9:10 PM

          I lived in Ahmedabad for six years. I have plenty of objective assessment, thank you.

      • February 22, 2013 3:52 PM

        brilliant reply! RESPECT.

    • Vinay Bhat permalink
      January 16, 2013 5:59 AM

      I thought Gujarat is a dry state

  10. January 16, 2013 1:18 AM

    Harsh Gupta and I have separately rebutted several points raised by Zahir. We have storified our tweets here http://storify.com/UtsavMitra/response-to-zahir-janmohammed-s-piece-on-kafila

  11. seeta permalink
    January 16, 2013 2:39 AM

    @Mihir in the capital city of the country too we still take autos at 2 a.m. and laugh. just btw… attempts to show that gujarat is better or at any rate that namo has something to do with ensuring that women feel safe are simply akin to the pinkwashing going on in zionist israel.and of course, they rely/are pitted against the figure of the orientalist muslim despot or some posited women’s unfreedom under mughal rule as so very different from what the hindutva brigade does.
    bah.
    as for people like the desai above, egotistic, conceited and completely self centered verbal effluvia suffices for considered opinion. typically hindu upper caste middle class attempt to tell those who disagree to move off.
    who the fu** is anyone to tell anyone else to move off?

  12. January 16, 2013 4:01 AM

    Dear Mr. Janmohamed

    My personal experience of Gujarat contradicts the picture you just painted.
    I travelled in Gujarat for a month, starting 8th August. We were a group of two women, my mother and I. We covered Ahmedadbad, Baroda, North Gujarat including Mehsana, Patan, Vadnagar, Ambaji, throughout Saurashtra (Bhavnagar, Palitana, Somnath, Gir, Jamnagar, Porbander, Dwarka) and Kutch (Bhuj, Little rann of Kutch). We travelled at odd hours, joined queues at dawn (3 AM in Gir to get the morning saffari), and walked at times alone and quite late (close to midnight). We used both public and private transports in our travel.
    We felt perfectly safe at all times and did not feel threatened even when we disputed charges that we felt were unreasonable. Incidentally, I have been living in US for a while, but visit India once every year, and grew up in the latter.

    During my trips, I interacted extensively with local, ranging from those in the tourism industry, hoteliers, drivers, boatmen, waiters to fellow travellers, ethnically Gujarati and non-Gujaratis living in Gujarat, mostly professionals (scientists, forest officers, engineers). An overwhelming majority spoke very highly of the safety, quality of the administration, and in particular of the chief minister. Many of the above travel-acquaintances brought up Mr. Modi themselves (which suggests that their admirations are genuine) and could not stop praising him. Many of them, again unprovoked, criticised the previous congress and Keshubhai regimes. Rightly or wrongly, they attribute all the progress that Gujarat has encountered to Mr. Modi and their discontents (such as with corruption at lower levels of administration) to local legislators and government officers. This perhaps is not an objective assessment, but reflects a strong emotional connect between the leader and the masses. I grew up in Bengal while the left front was sweeping election after election, and Jyoti Basu was voted to power multiple times, and subsequently studied in Bangalore, and lived and travelled in many parts of the world. But, I never witnessed this level of emotional connect with a political head. Perhaps its time to acknowledge that Mr. Modi is doing something right!

    Best
    Saswati Sarkar

  13. Ramit permalink
    January 16, 2013 4:14 AM

    I dunt know nos much, but the weakest link in this is the part abt Hemanshu uncle!!? Wats the relevqnce?
    Which part ofworld has not become more intolerant? India is no exception. Which place is not unsafe in nite. I have been travelling in australia past few weeks & yes its like crazy amt of policing i see. A sense of security is all pervading. But yes at nite unless thrs a cop in each street how can it be said that yes 100% safety exists here in even this advanced nation. maybe in Guj police is more responsive or male population is less lecherous /aggressive than a Delhi but whatever reasons as much as i hear from frnds in Ahmbd/baroda/surat there is far greater sense of security ateast in Gujarat cities at nites. I personally saw it whn i was in Guj for 2 yrs & even witnessed the riots of 2002.
    Rape incidence has increased in Guj says author…can it be coz its registered & reported more in Guj v/s rest of nation.
    No community can forget state apathy, am.sure many muslims fled Guj in those past 11 yrs to states which they felt were safe for them…let the author throw light if they stayed on flourished or came bk to Gujarat, coz they felt only Gujaratis & in Gujrat dhandaa or the art of business & fin independence is possible as per merit & hardwork & not just greasing official machinery…
    Can the author come to my city of Delhi & i will show the pathetic way muslims live in Delhi’s muslim areas…wont call them ghettoes but are just better coz they hav paved roads…so isnt that a systemic problem of poor in india…irrespective of religion…

  14. Faiz permalink
    January 16, 2013 8:42 AM

    Awesome…Awesome..Awesome.. One of the best articles that I ever read after 2002 Genocide in Gujarat..What an eye opener… Even after this if some “Intellectuals” believe Gujarat is on “Inclusive” Growth I would not be surprised as this article clearly explains why some of them still do.. Hats off Zahir..Muslims need more “Flames” like you to spread across India and especially in the Genocide Land of Gujarat.. My whole impression of Post 2002 Genocide (which was slowly turning to positive) changed instantly after reading your 100% factual article.. Keep spreading the light.. Arise & Shine!!

    • Amit permalink
      January 16, 2013 12:14 PM

      I think you should also read Harsh Gupta’s comment to open your eyes wider.

  15. krati mishra permalink
    January 16, 2013 10:21 AM

    my dad is in central govt service and i have lived nearly more than half of the states of this country and i have to say this that this article is extremely biased and prejudiced and i can tell you with my personal experience that no place is as safe for women of this country as gujrat, i can safely come out 2 o’ clock at night without fear, i’m not saying there are no crimes in gujarat, even the most developed countries in world with highest security arrangement are not free from crimes but what citizen of gujarat feel is an enviornment of security around them which is the duty of government and gujarat govt is doing this duty quite well, nowadays i’m in delhi, my room partner who is a muslim (yes i’m feeling quite pathetic in writing her religion but seems like you understand that language only) told me after delhi rape incident, “no one would have dared to done this in ‘our’ gujarat” yes, that were the exact words, thats how common citizen of gujarat feels, safety they feel in their guts which is inclusive to all….

  16. Shourav permalink
    January 16, 2013 10:27 AM

    Reading some of the responses to this insightful article it seems to me that there is a massive propaganda campaign taking place to position Modi as some sort of panacea for all of India’s ills. As someone else stated, this propaganda by this fascist on the rise must be countered, lest we face the prospect of PM Modi in 2014.

    • Mohit permalink
      January 16, 2013 4:37 PM

      Reading articles about Gujrat and forming opinions is very simple. We should not forget that people living in that state have given almost 63% seats to Modi.
      I have seen many articles discussing various type of numbers about Gujrat, No other state is subjected to that much scrutiny.
      I though after the poll results these articles will subside, but seems your Kafila is going in other direction.
      Another point is that when I go to outstation and i feel safe moving here and there, I just tweet about it. For posting my Tweet i don’t have to check the records that how many murders or rapes have happened in that place. Too much reading into Tweets.
      I am not able to believe that this OPEN LETTER is in response to Tweets..

      • January 17, 2013 12:13 PM

        Actually, Mohit, no one would care about your Tweets. Madhu Kishwar, if you know anything about her, is a fairly prominent academic and writer, whose current views are of interest to the author, compared to her earlier stand. It makes for an enlightening article.

        So please go ahead and Tweet without fear that no one will be writing an article about it.

  17. Secular Indian permalink
    January 16, 2013 11:47 AM

    Perhaps u can stop looking at everything from a Muslim/Hindu/or any religion perspective in a secular country? No? Why not look at things from an Indian perspective?

    Do u represent only Muslims or do u wish to speak for all Indian citizens?

    If u are only representing Muslims, then u r as communal as any other communal person in India.

    • January 17, 2013 12:08 PM

      Secular Indian: Which Indian perspective would you like the author to adopt? Male/female, upper caste/Dalit, heterosexual/LGBT, differently abled? I think you are missing the point that the experience of Everything is colored by these factors. There is no such thing as speaking for “all Indian citizens”, and you are confusing the male, Hindu, upper-caste narratives for objectivity. I think you didn’t understand what the author has so articulately stated.

      • Mohit permalink
        January 17, 2013 4:14 PM

        First, Don’t assume that i don’t know her. If you want you can write n no. LETTERS to lot of people for changing their opinion. Only point is whether they need to be Open.
        If you don’t know, Madhu replies to her Tweets also. Try one…

        Second, So many articles criticizing Gujrat and Modi have been published and he has win around 64% seats in election.
        So trying to prove that you have more knowledge and information than lacks of voters is a foolish attempt. At one point of time this has to stop.

  18. RSM permalink
    January 16, 2013 12:00 PM

    “…between 2004 and 2012, Gujarat’s GDP growth left the national average, 8.3 per cent, far behind. It grew at 10.1 per cent. But, in the same period, Maharashtra grew at 10.8 per cent and Tamil Nadu at 10.3 per cent.”

    The thing about statistics is that you can choose your data points depending on the conclusions you want to reach. Hence Mihir Sharma conveniently chooses 2004-2012. Since Modi came to power in 2001, Sharma should have taken 2002-2012 but that would bring out an inconvenient fact of Gujarat growing the fastest among all those comparable states. Secondly, even the comparison between 1994-2002, the point is about Gujarat’s consistency where in the 90s it showed huge volatility in growth figures.

  19. Rajesh permalink
    January 16, 2013 12:00 PM

    Godhra is the “cause” and Modi’s and Gujrat’s image is the well utilized “effect” – Period!

  20. Mukul Dube permalink
    January 16, 2013 12:11 PM

    Gujarat is the scene of a crime that began in 2002 and is continuing today. Justice must be done and will be done. Lies can never mask the truth. It does not matter who is roped in to pour buckets of white-wash. I am pained that Madhu, whom I have known since 1969 or so and whom I tried to help with “Manushi” in its early years, is involved.

  21. Harmindar Pannu permalink
    January 16, 2013 12:19 PM

    Well the commentators here should also read the article by Mediacrooks – “The Roman Agent in Gujarat”. http://www.mediacrooks.com/2012/12/the-roman-agent-in-gujarat.html#.UPZL4yfFUkU

  22. January 16, 2013 12:38 PM

    The first bit of this essay makes wonder why is someone who signed anti Modi petitions now talking in his favour. it may be that this is part of some sinister super-organized campaign against him, it may also have to do with how we debate about him.

    I lived in gujarat two years, 2009-2011, researching in four districts as RA first 9 months and then reporting for Tehelka as their state correspondent a little over a year. For whatever my limited experience shows i took autos (who are all very particular about using the meter etc. – though this changes as you move to other Gujarat cities) easily and frequently even late hours and felt safe and fine enough. people usually just dont have the aggressive stance towards women in public so common in other cities, though I also remember hearing/reading that Gujarat had the highest number of suicides by women (I have not not verified the data on this). But about the other Modi government claims and what seemed true of those or not, I have shared below some of my reports from the state, and other relevant reports that may have been missed for anyone interested:

    1. On muslims’ access to education, housing, credit, infrastructure, on Modi’s discriminatory quota politics and education policies against minorities. on what space do muslims in gujarat have to negotiate with the government

    http://tehelka.com/the-truth-behind-the-stage-show/

    also, has anyone checked if the Sachar data we have quoted is pre or post Modi years, since that is crucial to citing these figures for this particular debate

    2. On corruption in the political economy of Gujarat, on the pressure anyone academic or activist faces on saying anything critical of the state. Modi government discontinued the HDR report after Dr Indira Hirway and Dr Darshini Mahadeviya’s first HDR report in 2004 was critical of some state policies:

    http://tehelka.com/vibrant-gujarat-your-coast-is-not-clear-mr-adani/

    Dr Hirway’s recent op-ed on how the reasons for Gujarat’s persistent malnutrition may not be vegetarianism or fashion fads of the middle class as Modi cited in an interview:

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/not-vegetarianism-or-dieting-mr-modi/article3939379.ece?homepage=true

    3. Sample of rural development, access to forest rights in the second half of this, my report

    http://tehelka.com/rural-modiland-is-no-model-anna/

    4. On workers in small factories dying in factories in Godhra based on my interviews with adivasi families in east gujarat. Modi govt has refused to give compensation repeatedly refusing to follow a Supreme Court order of Nov 2011

    http://tehelka.com/migrants-die-a-dusty-death-here/

    5. On what the Naroda Patiya order reflects about legal justice there, my report.

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-partial-sense-of-closure/article3863086.ece

    The same week Ajay Ummat, TOI reported in detail how Modi govt tried ever thing to protect Mayaben Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi till 2009.

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-02/india/33548078_1_kodnani-naroda-patia-judge-jyotsna-yagnik

    Even last September when I visited an academic was ruing the fact that the government will do things like start a solar park and advertise it like crazy but look away from the all the pollution in Ankleshwar, Vapi (which are among the top 10 polluted spots in India) because that is where the monies is at.
    That is maybe partly to do with why people react so fiercely to him – there is so much propaganda that people have to work doubly hard to counter it. I am still curious why someone who signed anti Modi petitions is now talking in his favour, if how we debate this has something to do with it.

    • Rajagopalan permalink
      January 16, 2013 5:34 PM

      can you please show one Indian city which is not polluted. Plastic, chemicals, dyes etc is found in every Indian city. You people want to criticize modi. Why don’t you put the same comments on any congress ruled or supported state.

    • Nishit Desai permalink
      January 16, 2013 9:06 PM

      It never ceases to amaze me how fiberals with some tehelka links, sachar reports and human dev indices do not miss any opportunity to hurl mud at NaMo but conveniently ignore all other states where these same indices and data are even worse.

      Get over it people. Gujarat Elections are over.

  23. gita ramaswamy permalink
    January 16, 2013 12:55 PM

    Some of you may not be old to recall that many among the Left supported the Emergency in 1975 because `women felt safe, trains ran on time, and hospital attenders did not demand bribes with impunity.’ It frightens me that the first salvo for fascism comes from Leftists and feminists.

    • seeta permalink
      January 16, 2013 5:24 PM

      exactly what my mother remembers of those days.
      she says that while petty crime may have been suppressed for those years, big and structural crimes that have debilitated the indian polity in a sense began then, and with an impunity not witnessed till then.

  24. January 16, 2013 1:01 PM

    Jesus Christ ,the desperation to target Modi has reached epic proportions.I will not be surprised if people like this writer will blame Modi if they fall sick in Gujarat.Should Modi’s Gujarat tops the charts in every parameter for Modi to be accepted ? If Modi is “not individually responsible for the emplacement of every handpump” then is he responsible for every pothole or an open gutter leading to Muslim house.

    I dont expect the self appointed champions of minority rights who peddle the “minorities are backwards” narrative everytime to accept that if a community if backward then that community is responsible.A large part of the blame lies with the community and not with the State.Madhu Kishwar is being criticized if she doesnt fall in line with what is supposed to be ‘secular’ opinion.Prof Bibek Debroy’s economics is being questioned if he doesnt agree with political journalists like Mihir Sharma commenting on Gujarat’s performance.

    Anybody and everybody who disagrees with the ‘liberals’ is being questioned , discredited and pilloried.

    This is the mockery that is being circulated as the ‘idea of India’ and as in my individual capacity reject.

    Psst… does that make me a ‘fundamentalist’ ?

    • January 16, 2013 10:42 PM

      It does indeed make you a fundamentalist. I am amazed that you have used up so much space to say nothing. You clearly don’t have any idea about how power or politics work, and this brilliant piece is wasted on you.

  25. Dipankar Dey permalink
    January 16, 2013 1:11 PM

    Recently the mainstream media is fascinated with ‘Resurgent Gujarat’ and the economic development of the state under the ‘able’ leadership of Mr Modi who, few years before, was considered by the same media and columnists as one of the main architects of the worst communal riots of Independent India where hundreds of minorities were brutally killed and raped.
    In this context I am temped to quote few ‘achievements’ of the German economy during Nazi era. Please refer to: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/de-drittes-reich-economy.htm

    Hitler achieved notable economic and diplomatic successes during the first five years of his rule. Unemployment had dropped from 6 million to less than 1 million between 1933 and 1937, this at a time when the US was still wallowing in the Depression. National production and income doubled during the same period. This was partly owing to Hitler’s rearmament policy, but also to more benign forms of public spending. The world’s first major highway system, the autobahns, began snaking across the country, and there was talk of providing every citizen with a cheap, standardized car, the people’s car, or Volkswagen.

    Nazism took root in the world’s most powerful scientific culture, boasting half of the world’s Nobel Prizes and a sizable fraction of the world’s patents. German science and medicine were the envy of the world, and it was to Germany – the “land of scholars and poets” – that many academic hopefuls flocked to cut their scientific teeth.

    Think of television, jet-propelled aircraft, guided missiles, electronic computers, the electron microscope, atomic fission, data processing, industrial murder factories, and racial research-all of which either were first developed in Nazi Germany or reached their high point at that time. There are innovations in the area of basic physics (nuclear fission, discovered by Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner in 1938), hormone and vitamin research, automotive engineering (the Volkswagen was supposed to be the “people’s car”), pharmacology, and synthetic gasoline and rubber (I. G. Farben in 1942 controlled more than 90 percent of the world’s synthetic rubber production). The nerve gas sarin and the chemical warfare agent tabun are both I. G. Farben inventions of Third Reich vintage – as is the opiate methadone, synthesized in 1941, and Demerol, created about this time with the name “pethidine.”

    There are many other examples. Nazi aeronautic engineers designed the first intercontinental ballistic missiles-never actually assembled-and it was Germans in the 1940s who built the first jet ejection seat. German engineers built the world’s first autobahns, and the world’s first magnetic tape recording is of a speech by Hitler. The first television broadcast strong enough to escape the planet featured Hitler’s speech at the opening of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

    In 1927 a national unemployment insurance program was established. But these gains in social insurance and assistance programs were threatened by the Great Depression of the early 1930s, In 1934 the regime dismantled the self-governance structure of all social insurance programs and appointed directors who reported to the central authorities. The regime made many improvements in social insurance programs and benefits, but these changes were conceived to serve the regime rather than the population. In 1938 artisans came to be covered under compulsory social insurance, and in 1941 public health insurance coverage was extended to pensioners. In 1942 all wage-earners regardless of occupation were covered by accident insurance, health care became unlimited, and maternity leave was extended to twelve fully paid weeks with job protection.

    During the Hitler era (1933-45), the economy developed a hothouse prosperity, supported with high government subsidies to those sectors that Hitler favored because they gave Germany military power and economic autarchy, that is, economic independence from the global economy. Hitler claimed to have achieved full employment in Germany by 1939. There were still five million Americans unemployed at the end of 1941. Hitler’s Germany had long since absorbed its unemployment by building arms and German infrastructure.

    Now compare the above achievements with these figs:

    In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews (i,e 6 million Jews) as part of the “Final Solution,” the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe. Although Jews, whom the Nazis deemed a priority danger to Germany, were the primary victims of Nazi racism, other victims included some 200,000 Roma (Gypsies). For details see: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005143

    • Nishit Desai permalink
      January 17, 2013 12:47 AM

      so, are you trying to imply here that since Nazi’s achieved a lot of economic success and then there were involved in holocaust, the same would follow in Gujarat or in India (in future) ? – you are funny

      • alex4140 permalink
        March 2, 2013 7:25 PM

        Adding to Nishit’s reply, you forget to mention that Germany grew from a very low base… (post Versailles German Economy was completely destroyed, Gujarat on the contrary is growing from a fairly high base..better than ever and no looking back.. entering into a Service Industry mode).. And as for the riots why are we starting the story necessarily from 2002… there have been countless riots before that (None after that though) , the no. of deads have not always been tilted towards one end of the community spectrum… Modi has ensured that no riots have taken place in the last 10 years… this is unprecedented____ truly unprecedented… Howz there anywhere near a comparison between Modi & Hitler

  26. January 16, 2013 1:54 PM

    sorry typo in first line of my comment: The first bit of this essay makes wonder why is someone who signed anti Modi petitions now talking in his favour. it may be that this is part of some sinister super-organized campaign *in his favour

    • Dipankar Dey permalink
      January 17, 2013 11:12 AM

      No. I wanted to remind that a leader should not be judged by the ‘economic achievements’ only. There are many instances, including Soviet Russia, where autocratic states have ‘achieved’ remarkable economic and social ‘progress’ which could not be sustained in the long run due to inherent socio -political contradictions. It is much easy to address economic contradictions but difficult to resolve social and political contradictions which, usually,are more complex and deep rooted.

      It will be interesting to watch how Mr Modi manages these contradictions in future. In the early seventies,Mrs Gandhi wanted to take India, with some success, to a higher economic level though her ‘garibi hatao’ and ’20 point’ programs. But she failed to manage the political and social contradictions. Tried to manage it by imposing ‘emergency’ which back fired. Later the same Indian state had to address this, though partially, by implementing Mandal Commission Report. In recent past both Chandrababu Naidu and Budhadev Bhattacharya relied on the economic growth models and were defeated.

      The federal and democratic structures of the Indian state have saved us from total collapse as were seen in USSR and post war Germany. When Indiras and Naidus make mistakes V P Sings Kansirams amend them. So India would survive in future also. But as a student of political economy I am eagerly waiting to see how the autocratic Chinese state- the emerging economic and military super power, manages its socio political contradictions in future.

  27. Udayan permalink
    January 16, 2013 2:39 PM

    I think there are different yardsticks to judge NM and other politicians. I am not a gujarati n i do not stay in gujarat. I have been to quite a few states and cities around India (and abroad) in my short lifetime and I have to comment that most Ahmedabad and Baroda residents seem to be happy and it def seems to be ‘easier’ to work in gujarat than other parts of India. And my non -gujarati friends who stay (or stayed) in gujarat (for job etc) seem to echo the same view.
    One particular incident which i carry, the first time i went to ahmedabad (2 yrs back) i expected to see no muslims on the streets of ahd (due to the media coverage that muslims are being ‘discriminated’ against etc). however, i was pretty surprised to see all (n i mean all the hand cart ones, it was early morning n no shop had opened) food vendors outside the busstop to be muslims (visible ones, cap and beard n all). That seemed pretty monopolising for a community which is ‘marginalised’ and ‘discriminated’ against.
    Again, NM may or may not be great, but he def is not worse than any of the other CMs ruling any of the other states (yes double negative, just to illustrate the point). There might be many statistics to that he has done little, but the alternatives have done even lesser.

  28. January 16, 2013 3:21 PM

    Dear Mr. Janmohamed, in speaking of Indian feminism, this article might further clarify its far right associations: . http://roundtableindia.co.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6138%3Athe-protests-in-delhi-and-the-nationalist-paradigm&catid=119%3Afeature&Itemid=132

  29. Chand permalink
    January 16, 2013 3:22 PM

    Dear Author – You appear biased (and may be frustrated – anyone can get frustrated if you talk about governance of any Indian states: since it’s governed by idiotic people like you and me), who are dividing societies and have no solutions towards uniting it. From my personal experience (as I have live there from 2003 – 2008) – it appears contradictory

  30. India At LSE permalink
    January 16, 2013 5:15 PM

    Click here for more information on Gujarat’s majoritarian political pact, the marginalisation of Muslims, and the resettlement colonies in Ahmedabad for victims of the 2002 riots: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/indiaatlse/2012/12/03/gujarat-exclusionary-political-pact/

  31. January 16, 2013 7:09 PM

    and modi still manged a victory. people like madhu kishwar creates doubts in our minds about their real intentions. they do not know giving a certificate to the man largely responsible for the genocide that took place, is travesty of truth.

  32. January 16, 2013 7:55 PM

    Reproduce Media Report –

    Publication: The Times Of India Ahmedabad; Date: Nov 24, 2007; Section: Times City; Page: 7

    ‘Karmayogi’ swears by caste order
    ‘Scavenging A Spiritual Experience For Valmiks’
    Rajiv Shah | TNN

    Gandhinagar: Trust a saffron soldier to perpetuate the caste system. In a yet unreleased book, ‘Karmayog’, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has stirred the hornet’s nest by writing that scavenging was an “experience in spirituality” for the ‘Valmikis’. This sub-caste among Dalits have been condemned to scavenging jobs for centuries.

    “I do not believe that they (Valmiks) have been doing this job just to sustain their livelihood. Had this been so, they would not have continued with this type of work generation after generation,” writes Modi. Most Dalits have called Modi’s view “unacceptable”.

    But the Chief Minister goes on to say: “At some point of time, somebody must have got the enlightenment that it is their (Valmiks’) duty to work for the happiness of the entire society and the Gods; that they have to do this job bestowed upon them by Gods; and that this job of cleaning up should continue as an internal spiritual activity for centuries. This should have continued generation after generation. It is impossible to believe that their ancestors did not have the choice of adopting any other work or business.”

    About 5,000 copies of the book – authored by Modi and published in October 2007 by the Gujarat government’s state information department – could not be released for public distribution because of electoral code of conduct. Sponsored by Modi’s favourite public sector undertaking, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, Modi’s aim in this 101-page booklet is to spread his ideas of ‘karmayoga’. But his blatant casteism has outraged Dalit groups.

    Poet Nirav Patel said, this was a part of a “larger conspiracy” to continue with caste divisions and exploitation. He asked bitterly: “Why didn’t it occur to Modi that the spirituality involved in doing menial jobs hasn’t ever been experienced by the upper castes?”

    Novelist-activist Joseph Macwan called Modi’s view a reflection of the “Brahminical world view and a status quo approach”. He wonders, “How can a person who has to work in a gutter be described as doing some spiritual duty?” BJP’s Dalit leaders are reluctant to react or comment. Former minister Fakirbhai Waghela said he didn’t want to comment until he’s read the book and checked the context.

    It is a larger conspiracy to continue the caste system. Why didn’t it occur to Modi that the spirituality involved in doing menial jobs hasn’t ever been experienced by the upper castes?

  33. sudhir permalink
    January 16, 2013 8:33 PM

    I admire the energy and passion behind this letter the most. I am sure some of it would also be spent in constructive engagement.

  34. January 16, 2013 9:28 PM

    Reblogged this on Reclaiming The Garden City and commented:
    nice one

  35. s.faizi permalink
    January 16, 2013 10:32 PM

    when I stayed in a higher end hotel on the bank of sabarmati in ahamadabad for abt 2 months in 2007, on work, every morning i was witness to one of the saddest scenes. the scene i view from my room every morning was that of women from a nearby slum looking for place in the prosopis thickets to attend the call of nature. and the slum one needs to see to believe it! nd the ‘development’ jagurnaut that was going to vaporise even the sabarmati river wud now hve thrown these women frm this wretched life to something even more hellish…i feel sorry for the author to have invested hope in ppl like madhu kishwar (i remember reading her a few yrs ago wherein she was supporting the dowry system!)
    pl cross check ur data on rapes in gujrt. i dont remembr the rape data, but the report of crime records annualy published by the police hq (IG of crime records) that i saw in 2007 had the murder data hovering around 3000 (per year) in 2006 and the previous yrs! rapes must be several times higher.

    • hartosh singh bal permalink
      January 17, 2013 7:15 AM

      Harsh, you got it wrong again,

      this is what i say in the piece:

      `Gujarat has an urban poverty ratio of almost 18 percent, compared with almost 21 percent for the country as a whole. Yet according to India’s Planning Commission, a government body that draws up five-year plans for the economy, 42.4 percent of the Muslims in urban Gujarat are poor, compared with 33.9 percent of Muslims in urban India overall.’

      you leave the `yet’ out, and leave the first part of the claim out and deliberately misrepresent me, but that’s par for modi men, when facts don’t suit them distort them or invent them.

      examine the numbers any way you want as along as you stick to any one data set and my conclusion about modi’s gujarat is inescapable.

  36. sidharth prasad permalink
    January 19, 2013 11:37 AM

    Zahir is at pains to discredit Modi for each of his acheivments and highlight Modi’s failures.
    I leave it to the readers to draw their inferences about his motive.He could have researched
    on Kasmiri Pundits also if he actually cared for society as he professes.

    • Ajay permalink
      March 11, 2013 4:18 PM

      sidharth.. my inference is that zahir stands for what is right.

  37. January 19, 2013 3:54 PM

    excellent piece. about this moving on thing the only sane voice about muslims moving on is from mr. bandookwala. only he has the right, having fought tooth and nail for them. this poor chap also said all modi had to do was make an apology. if they move on for whatever reasons it is for nobody to preach. it will be their lookout alone.

  38. April 4, 2013 8:35 PM

    The fact that Modi and his state are under close and constant scrutiny tells me that it has never been easy to be Modi. That itself is in a way good. People like me wait, read more, follow debates and draw conclusions of their own. They (non-Gujaratis) also silently compare Modi/Gujarat to their own states and leaders.

    I am not impressed by this open letter.

    -Vasu-

    • April 7, 2013 7:06 AM

      After telling us that Modi has achieved some great success in governing Gujarat, you can’t complain if we scrutinise such claims. If you are afraid of such scrutiny, don’t make such claims in the first place.

  39. ASHRAF IMAM permalink
    March 31, 2014 11:15 PM

    Madhu Ji …Please we never expect from you this kind of fake research and social surveys from you and dnt be in hurry to say NAMO NAMO…Zahir sb well done…Good Job with all stats and datas…now i think they only criticised you by saying Opposition party ke log hain.. aur Madhu madam kis party se hain… woh logo ke samajh aata hai…..thnxx Zahir sb for your wonderful open letter …..

  40. ismail permalink
    April 13, 2014 3:42 AM

    Such discrimination solely based on religious divide, our founding fathers never imagined specially in the state of bapuji. But we do have rss which was supposed to be banned but survived and we all see the result of divide and rule policy of this group.

Trackbacks

  1. Himachal Pradesh: Back to Nature? | thoughts on the go
  2. Sanjay and me: Zahir Janmohamed | Kafila
  3. Kai Po Che and the reduction of 2002: Zahir Janmohamed | Kafila
  4. The making of the India’s new Ghetto in Vibrant Gujarat where a Muslim Judge or Police Officer cannot rent an house in posh areas in Gujarat | twilightbeckons
  5. A conversation that didn’t take place in Juhapura: Madhu Purnima Kishwar and Zahir Janmohamed | Kafila
  6. Madhu Mausi, Namo Mamu and the Ghost of Uncle Pepper | Kafila
  7. Victimhood as Ideology | Manushi Latest

We look forward to your comments. Comments are subject to moderation as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55,310 other followers

%d bloggers like this: