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We remember Gujarat 2002. And we know you’re lying about development.

February 9, 2013

Gujarat Riots-Sanjiv Bhatt Arrest-Tehelka

Don’t tell us stories about development, Narendra Modi. Your Vibrant Gujarat and claims of development are shameless hollow lies, and even if they were true, it would still be an unethical and blood-stained development.

But they are lies, Modi, lies.

Here’s a report by Pranjal Sharma in Business World that sees through the working of your  aggressive PR machinery:

The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) recently examined the investment statistics flaunted by the Gujarat.  The Vibrant Gujarat investment summit held by the chief minister has been projected to have earned billions of dollars of fresh investment into India. But a closer look at the figures reveals a different story. Only a small percentage of projects announced in Vibrant  Gujarat (VG) summits in 2009 and 2011 have actually moved on the ground. The details of many grand projects are missing…

In VG held in January 2009, government claims that 3,574 Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) were signed for investments worth Rs 12 trillion. But CMIE could  capture information and details of only 220 projects worth Rs 3,947 billion (Rs 3,94,700 crore).  “The number of projects captured…were drastically low when compared with the official numbers displayed on the event’s website because of poor disclosure of basic information about the projects proposed. In most cases the website does not provide the details of a valid company name, location, product, and capacity,’’ says the CMIE report….

The same is the story for VG 2011. The grand claim was of 8,380 MoUs worth Rs 20 trillion being signed. But research by CMIE did not get any details of these MoUs and projects. “Like in the earlier fair, details of either company name, or location or product etc were not clearly available for us to identify individual projects in these,” says CMIE.

These figures place Gujarat at the same level as other states. It is not head and shoulders above others. While Gujarat may be pushing projects faster than some laggard states, but it is not racing ahead at the speed it claims.

There are many states that have recorded a higher economic growth rate than Gujarat. Between 2006-7 and 2010-11, Gujarat had a growth of 9.3 per cent. Good rate but still ranked sixth. Even humble Orissa was at 9.4 per cent. Bihar topped with 10.9 per cent while Chhattisgarh (10 per cent), Haryana (9.7 per cent)  and Maharashtra (9.6 per cent) followed…

The difference between Gujarat and other states is 80 per cent hype and 20 per cent substance.

As for  Human Development indices, Gujarat fell from the 5th rank in 1996 to the 9th rank in 2006. According to the 2011 India Human Development Report, it is the worst performer in child malnutrition with 69.7% of children up to the age of five anaemic and 44.6% malnourished. Health indicators for the scheduled tribes (STs) are worse than that at the national level, and also poorer than that for other social groups in the state. According to the Global Hunger Index brought out by the International Food Policy Research Institute, India ranks 66 among the 88 countries listed. And in India, among the five worst performers is Gujarat. Gujarat’s literacy rate is only marginally above the national average, and is extremely low in the tribal belt.

(See Neera Chandhoke, “Gujarat and its little illusions”, Economic and Political Weekly December 8, 2012).

Neither extraordinary economic growth nor even ordinary human development. You have nothing but blood on your fine, smiling face.

But even if the stories of development were true, Modi, it would be a development founded on the ashes of innocents.  It is a peace and an election victory based on terrorizing minorities into pragmatic silence.  

It is the eerie silence of people held hostage by a ruthless terrorist. 

So who wants you, Modi? And who wants desperately to believe the hype spun by your PR machinery? A small, aggressively articulate, consuming Hindu middle class, which casts a distortedly large shadow on public opinion.

Many of us went to Gujarat in 2002 after the massacre, and here is something I wrote at that time.

We will not forget.

Surviving Gujarat

(Published in Economic and Political Weekly, July 6, 2002)

The bullet marks on the white-washed walls around the dargah have been carefully outlined in black. There was police firing here at Vatwa during the dhamaal, they tell you. They arrived in two vehicles on the 1st of March, the day after violence had erupted in the area, and fired upon people gathered on the roofs of their one-storey houses – one woman died, and several people were injured. Three of the injured – all young women – were arrested in June, the day after we left. Circulars issued by the government of Gujarat are impressive in their clarity: no-one injured in police firing can claim compensation, because of course, if the police fired on them they must have been terrorists. It’s a neat circle. Majority killed in communal violence in post-independence India? Muslims. Majority arrested and convicted? Right. No surprises there. We know this stuff, after all, we are a bunch of academics – students and teachers, the second team of volunteers from Aman Ekta Manch in Delhi. We also know all there is to know about Gujarat – it’s an information overload, for god’s sake. Statistics, details of loot and plunder, of gory massacres, of mass rapes and public sexual humiliation of women, of devastated localities, state and police complicity, it’s all there.

(But here’s a lesser known little snippet of information – from yet another government circular on compensation for deaths, it emerges that Rupees 1 lakh is the price of a dead person, but the family does not get it all in cash. You get 40 thousand in cash, and the rest in Sardar Sarovar dam bonds. It’s a simple equation – the more deaths in communal violence, the better for the dam. Not so coincidental is it, the physical attack on Medha Patkar at the peace meeting organized by Mallika Sarabhai in Ahmedabad?)

The VHP may call it Gujarat Pradesh of Hindu Rashtra, on saffron billboards all over the state, but it is still, nominally at least, part of this land mass we call India. And Indians are landing up in Gujarat in thousands from all over the country – to “do something,”  to document, to mourn, to see for themselves. “Riot tourism”, it has come to be called. There is an element of that, but it is this large-scale documentation at all levels – individual video-clips, journal entries, anguished first-hand accounts, detailed fact-finding reports, news coverage, all circulating on the web, in newspapers, on television – that has produced the composite picture that turns our stomach: Gujarat 2002.

Having arrived after three months, what we encounter in the camps is dull resignation and a simmering resentment, not the raw pain and uncontrollable grief there must have been. It’s easier for us to take. But in fact, nothing you have ever read or seen or heard prepares you for the utter horror of Gujarat. Nothing prepares you for the survivors of the Chaman Pura mass rapes relating the nightmarish details of the rounding up of the women, the taunts that were hurled of “akha” (whole) Hindu penises, so much better than “kate” (circumcised), of recognizing rakhi brothers and those who had shared Id feasts amongst the attackers. We hear of one young boy in a mob, shamed by his Muslim friend’s startled recognition and partly amused query, “Arre, tu mujhe marega?”, retreating to the door, but being pushed back by the crowd to finish the job.

Nothing prepares you for nine year-old Nagma, during a quiet moment inside the dargah of Qutb-e-Alam – now, like many dargahs in Gujarat, a camp for the detritus left by the sweep of the saffron sword –  saying in that endearing sing-song Hyderabadi way they speak Hindi there, “jab hum ghar vapas gaye na didi, do-teen din bad, tab vahan kuchh nahin tha, bilkul khetaan jaise tha” (When we went back home after a couple of days, there was nothing there, it was flat like a field) – gesturing with her little hands ironing out the air.

Even though you have been to the ravaged bastis, seen the destruction for yourself, utterly thorough and high-tech, crunched underfoot the pulverized remains of homes and dreams, seen the gloating slogans on the ruins of walls – khandahar gali (Ruins Street), ajanta-ellora ni gufa (Ajanta-Ellora Caves) – watched the partially burnt Quran being pulled out and impassively taken away by a survivor (why is it not in ashes? Was it meant to be recognized, to hammer home the humiliation?) –  still nothing prepares you for those little hands gesturing.

Khetaan jaise.

gujarat-riot-2002-313

Nothing prepares you for the policemen swaggering into the dargah with their shoes on. Has any Indian, of any religion or none whatever, ever entered temple, dargah or mosque except on naked feet? It’s a daily, ritual, humiliation in small things and big. It’s a hostage population.

And the story of the middle-class Muslim, a friend of many of us, at the railway reservation counter in Ahmedabad as late as the end of May? Seeing his name on the form, someone behind him set up a shout, he was mobbed by others present, kicked and beaten, and he escaped with his life by managing to run to his scooter parked nearby. The crowd followed him for quite a while, he tells you. We know that the carnage was state-sponsored, that mob violence was meticulously planned and executed, but ordinary people at a railway station on the morning of a working-day? Did they not have offices to go to? Children to take to school? They just happened to be there that morning, after all. But then, if every mob numbered thousands, then the chances are high that every third or fourth person you see on the roads – man or woman – was part of a violent, rampaging mob. Nothing prepares you for that thought. Nothing prepares you for the blood-lust over the city.

It is also a city that is expecting at any moment, that dreaded thing – “the Muslim backlash.” Every Hindu knows full well that what was perpetrated there is beyond human endurance. They have looked into the void – will there not come a moment when the void will look back? One morning an auto rickshaw driver taking some of us to Vatwa in a sort of convoy with two other autos, lost sight of the others. As we drove deeper into the clearly Muslim locality he grew more and more panicky. Trembling with fear, he said again and again that he had only agreed to come because of the others. He tried to make us get off – don’t pay me, he said, just let me go. They take two totally different routes to the Vatwa dargah, Hindu and Muslim auto drivers. Hindus invariably take a longer route through the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation area, from the outside of the city centre. Muslims drive straight through the city, through teeming localities, many of them evidently Muslim.

Then there was the government official from the Collector’s office, on a head-counting trip to the camp. The government has been trying to wash its hands of the camps ever since they were set up, to withdraw the pitiful amounts of rations it provides, and it is the task of the official head-counters to pounce on camps in “surprise” raids to prove that the camp organizers are in fact building fat fortunes on sarkari daal-chaval. That there are not as many people in the camps as the organizers claim, that they have all gone back to their homes. We asked the official who came to Vatwa dargah whether he had in fact seen the village, less than a kilometer from the dargah, where he was expecting the people to go back to when the camps were closed. He had not, not once in the four months since the camps were opened. My brother Dilip and I insisted he come with us to see Navapura, to see the devastation, to decide for himself whether anyone could go back to live there. He agreed reluctantly, and off we went in the vehicle emblazoned with the words I can no longer encounter without a hollow feeling of dread – “Government of Gujarat.”

We arrived, and started taking him around, the destruction more complete than any earthquake could have managed. People were around, working on their homes, trying to repair, to rebuild (that’s where they are when the head-counters swoop down – in the wrecks of their homes, with pitiful amounts of cement and building material; or they are roaming the city in search of work, because they are not being taken back into the jobs they were in before the dhamaal. Or they are out in places where they can escape from the merciless sun). We began to walk around, the official impassively looking and listening, but pretty soon word had spread, and a young man suddenly accosted him, challenging him on the paltry compensation, the lack of it for most, demanding to know why he or others hadn’t been seen there in four months. Others joined in the shouting, and more and more joined the little procession of about ten people following us.

The official’s footsteps hastened, no longer was he the powerful sarkari afsar but merely a Hindu in a Muslim locality – his shoe slipped off as he practically ran to the car, which in the meanwhile had been started and was waiting, engine running – we made a clean, panic-stricken getaway. He off-loaded us back at the camp without a word.

We related the story at the camp, and were rather taken aback by the amusement it generated, the way it was told and retold amidst building laughter. The image of the frightened government officer, his shoe slipping off  – it became a moment of recaptured dignity. We can still frighten them, the laughter said. We are not entirely reduced to that heart-wrenching, humiliating picture of the young man pleading with folded hands for help.

By the time we arrived, in early June, the manufacture of “the Muslim backlash” was in full swing. Every day the police would raid Juhapura, the Muslim ghetto, try to round up “suspects”, they would be resisted by the residents, there would be police firing, and the papers were full of front-page photographs of “Muslim mob marching towards Juhapura police station.” The photograph clearly showed an unarmed, peacefully marching demonstration – but more than two Muslims is, of course, “a mob”. Narendra Modi’s goons? Oh, that’s the “Government of Gujarat.”

We went one day to the Hindu village adjoining Navapura. No-one from the camp would come with us, we were pointed in the right direction by our friends in the dargah. Vaghrivas is as devastated as Navapura, in an identical fashion. We have come to recognize the way these villages look – the black streaks of soot on broken walls, the evidence of explosives inside electricity meters, the systematic looting, right down to ripped off floor tiles. We identify ourselves as Aman Ekta Manch volunteers from Delhi, people gather, a young man is located, clearly the spokesperson. He and the others show us around, the same heart-breaking remains of little, ordinary lives. They have returned from the camp where they were located because the organizer was swallowing up all the food and money that was coming in, and they were close to starving.

“First the Bajrangis burnt down Navapura”, the young man tells us, and the next day, a mob arrived at their village. They show us the route by which they ran for their lives, tripping and falling, children caught underfoot. They headed for the other Hindu village across a stagnant pond – they pointed it out to us. Undamaged. But that village was far from welcoming – they were thakurs, these were low-caste chunars.  “They wouldn’t let us enter, they said they would be killed too.”

I think of the feminist friend from Pune, after having met the survivors of the Chaman Pura mass rapes, crying out in bewilderment and anguish – “What makes us Hindus so tolerant of violence? Even the women participated in the rapes, you know. It was the local dhoban (washerwoman) who helped tear off clothes. Is it the perpetual, endemic caste violence in our society that trains us to take this so lightly, even to enjoy it – the public humiliation and slaughter of human beings?”

But the Vaghrivasis  did force their way in to safety. The mob did not follow. Did they recognize anyone in the mob? There is disagreement on this, and a confused discussion breaks out. Didn’t the police help? No, the police told them to run for their lives, would not fire on the mob. The Gujarat police did not take the opportunity to fire on a Muslim mob? And the identical pattern of destruction? And the confusion on whether they recognized people from the neighbouring village? Who was in that mob, really?

We look across at the Bajrang Dal flag fluttering across the field, think about the way they were referred to as “Bajrangis” – not as “Hindu”…

They point us in the direction of the dargah, where we say we are headed, but they too, will not accompany us beyond a point. As we turn to leave, the young man mutters, naming the camp organizer – “Akbarbhai ko hamara salaam kehna.” When we pass on the greeting back at the dargah, Akbarbhai smiles politely.

By June in Gujarat, there have been several hundreds of volunteers from all over the country, some like us co-ordinating with Nagrik Pahel in Ahmedabad, others with other civil society initiatives in the state, and still others just landing up and trying to be of use. (Every day one or the other of us would break down, and Bina, our friend, philosopher and guide in Ahmedabad, would calm us. When do the secular activists  in Gujarat sleep or eat? When do they have the luxury of crying?) The volunteers have come from Mumbai and Pune, from Hyderabad and Vellore, from Delhi and Almora and Lucknow. They are doctors and those with training in psychiatry and counselling, others with experience in community work, government employees and private sector employees on their annual leave, film-makers, theatre people, teachers and students. Some are independently wealthy, others are desperate to go, but cannot even afford second class train fare – other people sponsor them. Some are so young that their parents seek reassurance that it will “be safe”, others are close to retirement. Another thing. They are overwhelmingly Hindu.

A Kashmiri Pandit writes in an email message – “I as a Kashmiri was a victim yesterday.

Today if it happens to be a poor Gujarati Muslim, tomorrow it may be the turn of anybody – a  poor Hindu, Muslim, secularist or a pseudo-secularist. I and a friend of mine have found something definite that can be done. Something on a small scale…In the heart of Amdavad, in Beharampura, there is a small Muslim basti… Some residents are now gradually and very reluctantly wending their way back from the relief camp to their burnt and looted houses… We would like to help them rebuild their lives, to get them back on their feet again, bring them to a safe home…in a city where they were born, which they must not stop loving. We want to live with the people in this chali, we want to be with them when they are scared – there is still a very palpable fear in Ahmedabad about the rath yatra which is to take place on 12 July. We want to keep watch every night with them in case the mobs come again. We want to be with these people with our hearts and minds and we want to participate with them in the rebuilding of their lives.”

Shame – it crops up again and again – “We are ashamed of what has happened. We want to show we are sorry.” At one orientation in Ahmedabad for a team that had just arrived, a young woman says seriously – “I’ll do anything required of me. Anything.” We all recognize the feeling. It’s a form of prayaschit, of atonement. The horror has been perpetrated in our name – in the name of Hindus. We are responsible. For many of us who never considered ourselves to be “Hindu” it is a difficult process of coming to terms with this identity. We argue about it among ourselves, if people in the camps ask what our religion is, what should be our reply? Some feel we should respond – what does it matter, we are all humans. But others say that it would be grossly insensitive to those in the camps to deny that it is as Muslims they have experienced humiliation, torture and slaughter. The taunts about circumcision, the desecration of Qurans and mosques,  the demolition of dargahs, the forced shouting of Jai Shri Ram before being cut into pieces. (Was there ever a time when that cry came from the heart in praise and thanksgiving?) And now the conditions being laid down if they want to return to their homes where they have lived for centuries – no meat except on Id, no aazan, no beards. It is their Muslim identity that is to be obliterated. Humiliatingly obliterated.

And if this is so, how can we deny our Hindu identity – it shouts itself from our names, from our bodies, from our practices, from the way we speak Hindi and Malayalam. It strikes us that this was ever so – we were always Hindu, even when we claimed to be non-believers. For we were always legally Hindu and Muslim and Christian, governed by Hindu and Muslim and Christian personal laws. This is not an identity we can choose to take on or deny – this is an identity that we bear, for better or for worse, and all the more so if we are believing and practicing Hindus. It calls itself the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, it claims that Hindus want the temple at Ayodhya. We must reclaim that space. We are Hindus too, those who want a democratic India in which all can live in dignity and peace.

Suddenly, towards the end of our stay in Vatwa, the children who have become very close to us, hear a rumour. In the impromptu school we have begun with the help of local young educated women, Safia comes up to ask, “Didi, aap Hindu ho?” (Are you Hindu?) At our reply, she claps her hand over her mouth in shock and dismay – “Haww..”, she gasps. The class breaks up, the children cluster around – “Amanbhai bhi? Aradhyadidi bhi?” they name us one by one. [Aman is Aman Sethi]. Seven-year old Sultan swaggers up – “Kaun kehta hai ki aap Hindu hain?” (Who says you are Hindu?) he shouts, eager to protect our honour. In a few moments however, it is part of their common sense, they have absorbed the knowledge. We go back to multiplication tables. The next day Safia is teaching me a rhyme to go with the game all little girls seem to play, clapping hands together rhythmically. It’s mostly nonsense, as these rhymes are. I catch the odd phrase – “garam masala” she goes, “paani puri”, both of us clapping away. Suddenly – “Laam Lachhman”. I stop, surprised. What did you say, I ask. Safia is irritated with this break in the rhythm. She says impatiently, “Aap Hinduon mein nahin hota, Laam Lachhman?” (You know, what you Hindus have, Ram-Lakshman.) Oh that. We carry on.

At the camp at Aman Chowk, where some members of our team, Aarti Sethi and Bhrigupati Singh, young people with experience in theatre, conducted theatre games with the children over the week, they had a similar experience. There the team brought up the question themselves – “Do you know who we are?” they asked towards the end of their stay. The children guessed, “Bhai-behen? Mian-biwi?” No, no, do you know what our religion is? They guessed again – Sikh ho? Isai ho? The two of us are Hindu, Bhrigu explained. Ho hi nahin sakta, (it’s not possible), the children were confident. “Hindu” was a word they associated with terror, with fire, with frightening shouts of Jai Shri Ram, with fleeing in the night. These children were playing games of Hindu toli versus Muslim toli in the camp – of course it was inconceivable to them that any Hindu would have spent this time playing with them and making them laugh.

Zubeida had a bangle business, destroyed now, of course. In the shade of the neem protecting the dargah, she chats to me about Delhi, where she has relatives. But she is not from Gujarat originally.

Bindravan gayi ho?” she asks. Have you been to Brindavan.

No, I reply.

Tirath karne nahin gayi? Never gone on pilgrimage?

No.

Hum wahin se hain. Wahi hamara vatan hai.”  We are from there. That is our land.

Hamara vatan. Zubeida’s and mine. We have no other.

More on Gujarat from Kafila archives:

68 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2013 8:32 AM

    This is horrifying. Such an eyeopener. Narendra Modi and Mahinda Rajapakse. This week was all about two men who committed genocide and have remained unpunished. Modi is one of the cleverest persons in the political history of India. what is favoring him is an arguably large section of Indians, especially youth and middle aged, who are ignorant of India’s political history of turmoils, the factors that led to the communal divide of worlds biggest nation, the emergence of fascism in modern nation states and the complexities involved in the survival of human race. Plus the magical idea of economic development which has cast such a spell across the nation that even the secular friends of mine are expecting him to be the next PM.This whole thing is appalling, a lot.

    • Abhishek permalink
      February 9, 2013 11:52 AM

      Modi is exactly similar to Rajiv Gandhi.
      Both accused of genocide, but both visionary.

      You have taken on one agenda of investments.

      – about agricultural growth of about 10% in Gujrat while national average is less than 2.5% ?

      – Increase milt production in Gujrat ?

      – about connecting rivers policy ?

      – about three fold increased electricity generation in Na Mo’s time ?

      – BRTS public transport system developed by Modi’s govt @ Ahmadabad without any support from India Govt. An example to all the state govts

      – A big economy is still growing at decent rate, is n’t that sufficient for one ?
      How can one compare rates with Orissa and Bihar ?

      Its not good to see one side of coin, when you count disadvantage then count advantages also and then weigh them !!

      I am just comparing Modi with UPA. He is must better !!
      Till Arvind Kejriwal comes. One needs to rely on Modi !

      • Nivedita Menon permalink*
        February 9, 2013 2:44 PM

        Abhishek – here’s one – just one fact to counter one claim in your barrage of nonsense – “agricultural growth of about 10% in Gujrat while national average is less than 2.5% ?”

        And here’s the truth:

        “Latest figures provided by Gujarat government to the Planning Commission have busted the myth that the state has been experiencing high double-digit growth rate in agriculture.
        Giving details of the state government meeting with Planning Commission in Delhi early this month, a top bureaucrat said, “During the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), agricultural rate of growth in Gujarat was 5.08 per cent per annum.” This is way behind 10.8 per cent what chief minister Narendra Modi claimed at the meeting with Planning Commission vice-chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

        I dont have the patience to bust all of your lies one by one. But it’s one thing for some poor foolish Modi fan to make these idiotic claims, it’s quite another for the elected CM of a state to make entirely false assertions and unsubstantiated boasts.
        Wake up. if you want to defend the man because he kills Muslims, do that. Dont make a fool of yourself parroting his lies about development..

        • Deepankar permalink
          February 10, 2013 1:29 PM

          Just to add to busting one more myth…the BRTS system is funded by JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission – a Central govt project) and not by Modi’s govt…after claiming the success of BRTS for years by Modi govt, they finally added a small sticker of “JNNURM” on their buses recently…

        • Anish siddque permalink
          February 10, 2013 2:50 PM

          We are happy in all respect tht is Modi is here and he will be here till he can be the chief minister

          God bless you and your report

      • Samvaad Samvedna permalink
        February 11, 2013 7:48 PM

        Social media is abuzz with Modi supporters. But, net-surfing on Modi in the following ways is insightful too:

        Go to Google and type in search box –

        CAG and MODI
        Modi and JASHODABEN
        Modi and APCO
        Modi and NANO Loans

        Last but not the least,
        Do not forget to go to YOUTUBE and type in search box – BABU BAJRANGI

        The very first 8 minute video will let everyone know what was Modi’s role in riots. Of course then you can also search in Google about what is Babu Bajrangi doing now.

    • 4thaugust1932 permalink
      February 9, 2013 12:37 PM

      Gujarat is developing due to Globalization i.e FDI/FII/QIP/NRI/PIO investments ($120 billion/yr).
      Modi’s contribution is nothing but religious bigotry.

  2. Rahul S permalink
    February 9, 2013 8:48 AM

    Bitch Please!

    1. Investments committed and converted to actual investments in summits are never very high. Do you discount the projects worth 75700 crores for which money is already invested (projects that are running or have been completed and not the ones where the information is not available according to your referred article)?. Remember, this money is just from the first year of the VG summit and could be more if more information is obtained.

    2. Don’t go to 2002 when talking about present state of Gujarat. I find myself difficult to argue without numbers. Show me the numbers of poverty, investments and if Gujarat is lagging behind in it. And please show me this data from 2002-present.. the time of Modi (as you are criticizing Modi) … and do not choose a convenient timeline to show him and the state in poor light.

    • seeta permalink
      February 9, 2013 6:55 PM

      perfect example of the high respect shown different opinions, even studies, and women by the good old bharatiya-always male, always middle/upper caste, always hindu who is the modi supporter. also a parrot of everything authoritarian. you are disgusting rahul.

      • Malay Dave permalink
        August 27, 2013 10:56 PM

        Well said, Seeta. I couldn’t have said it better. I am a male, a hindu and belong to upper caste and that too from Gujarat and I feel ashamed of being all that… sadly… I don’t see much hope when I see so much ignorance and arrogance both combined and no capacity for soul searching. Who’ll save us from ourselves?

    • February 10, 2013 10:16 AM

      Rahul S (I can think of various expletives that begin with S, but I won’t misuse Kafila’s liberal comment moderation policy): Why shouldn’t we “go to 2002 when talking about the present state of Gujarat”? Is it because you have nothing intelligent to say in defence? I hope you are getting paid for your propaganda, because there can’t be any other reason for you to agree to looking so stupid and crass.

  3. passerby permalink
    February 9, 2013 9:49 AM

    The fact is most states have PR machinery to claim how good are they doing. Modi’s one is more visible and more vocal and perhaps its claims are noticed more by those who hate him. Dont forget 2002 but keep on harping on it again and again is not a good strategy because at some point this becomes a cliche. After 2002 there has been no major communal violence in that state. Many take this also into account when they want to assess him.

    • stupidseeker permalink
      February 9, 2013 2:16 PM

      The fact that no major riots have taken place since 2002 may also be due to the bashing that Modi took at the hands of the Indian and international intelligentsia.

      Modi knows that another round of rioting is unnecessary for electoral benefits since the 2002 riots were savage enough to show the muslims their rightful place in “Hindu rashtra” as well as satisfy the sang parivar and its supporters, even as he is fully aware of the catastrophic effect another riot will have on his international image. Witness how no riots occured after the Akshardham attack even though the provocation similar to the Godhra incident.

      That said, it seems that encounter deaths especially of the minorities continues under Modi’s watch and that Muslims continue to face widespread discrimination because of their religion in gujarat.

      I recall the sadhbhavana yatra were Modi invited Muslim leaders but his bonhomie came short when a maulvi offered him a muslim skull cap to wear. Modi who had happily donned headgear of other communities promptly refused to wear the proffered cap. All’s fair in war, love and politics.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      February 9, 2013 2:19 PM

      Rahul S, you charming charming man. Do go and campaign for Modi, you’ll ensure him a thumping victory, or at least a thumping.
      Why do you think “the the information is not available”? Because these are hollow lying claims that cannot be substantiated by documents.
      The data I gave from documented reports covers the period from 2005 to 2011 and the HDI report is of 2011. That’s pretty much “2002 to present” – wonder why this simple fact is so difficult for you to grasp.
      We have a saying in Malayalam – “when you’re losing an argument, make faces.”
      You’re even more desperate, you reach for the easiest way to silence a woman – call her a bitch. But believe me, I’m proud to be called a bitch, I would have taken serious umbrage at being called M*DI.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      February 9, 2013 2:27 PM

      passerby – you have to be either gullible or motivated to make this argument seriously – “After 2002 there has been no major communal violence in that state. Many take this also into account when they want to assess him.”
      Yes, because Modi and his supporters have not chosen to launch any attacks. They have terrorized and intimidated the minorities, who are now held hostage in their own land by vicious and violent thugs, and they live there at the perpetual risk of violence. Their livelihoods have been destroyed, they are utterly ghettoized, and the decision to launch another pogrom is in the hands of Modi. Of course there has been “peace”. it’s the peace of the prison camp.

  4. rahul sharma permalink
    February 9, 2013 10:44 AM

    Very curious! Have you investigated any of the countless riots that have taken place in places where the left front and congress have been ruling for ages? Not surprising, since they would reveal far gorier details than what you have presented. You have not even investigated the godhra train burning.
    As for the economic growth, by your own data nearly 4 trillon dollars of the 12 trillion have been actualized. This is a 25 % conversion rate is very good for any MOU set. Other states and countries manage around 5% to 10% and this is a function of governance and infrastructure. As for the growth rates, kindly conceive of something called the base effect. Piddly economies like Bihar, Orissa and even Maharashtra(for its relative size, population) should boast only if they have double digit rates given how far they have yet to go. Gujarat has only 6 crore people and much of north Gujarat, the far larger region, is arid and difficult terrain. It is in such conditions that Modi has delivered. Which brings us to the HDI mentioned above. Clearly, in such regions, it is expected that they will be lesser., but still the CM has taken and clearly improved the situation a great deal, and whats more, he has a practical and clear vision to take these indices to international standards. The improvement that has occurred on the ground, and not specious leftist theories of society and equality have compelled the people to choose the government.
    One cannot have any sympathy for the objections in the article, as the gujarat government has delivered on every front. Thismakes us conclude that lefties are pathetic plebs who just want power without even knowing what it is, and then again the only thing they know is mass killing stalin mao….the list goes on and on.

    • Sunalini Kumar permalink*
      February 9, 2013 1:13 PM

      Pathetic plebs we may be, and proudly so, but one simple question. Let’s say all you have been told about development in Gujarat is true; does it justify a chief minister who openly allowed a community to be butchered? We suspect you un-pathetic un-plebs really don’t care about the loss of a ‘few’ lives as long as your lives are getting a little more comfortable and you have a hero to believe in. Worse, you may be secretly pleased about 2002, seeing it as righting of historical wrongs. We suspect beneath the support for Modi-as-development-messiah is admiration for Modi-as-Hindu-God. Plain and simple, low and dirty. And if you really think Kafila supports the Congress, you have buttons for eyes. You do know the pathetic plebs of JNU boo-ed and jeered Rahul baba when he spoke there, don’t you? I guess complexity is not your game. Nor reading before writing, for that matter.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      February 9, 2013 2:34 PM

      Rahul Sharma – You have said absolutely nothing that contradicts the data I provide, but have merely offered long pathetic explanations and excuses for why your hero has actually not delivered on his boasts.
      Whining, “Oh he is doing his best in arid terrain” is a far cry from thumping your chest and proclaiming “Gujarat has the highest growth rates, the largest investment, the best indicators of everything…”
      When caught out, you say, oh but he’s doing his best…? Pathetic, really.

    • usman permalink
      February 9, 2013 7:48 PM

      rahul, you cannot justify what happened in Gujrat by making political comparisons. think on humanitarian grounds. its difficult to understand how a state can be called ‘developed’ whose structure has been built on thousand dead bodies.

  5. February 9, 2013 3:04 PM

    I was in Gujarat when the riots took place. There were no untoward incidents in the city of Bharuch, where I used to live at that time; even though half the population of Bharuch was Muslim…but we all co-existed peacefully. My school, a convent school, had still given us holidays for around two months, in lieu of the riots in the other cities…and my school had hindus, muslims, Sikhs and Christians students in equal measure.Many of our friends were Muslims, and they were normal, decent people. But I know what happened in the rest of Gujrat…I can see the results for myself. Hindus and Muslims both suffered the damage inflivted by the riots. Both can’t go back to their homes in localities of the ‘other’ community because they are afraid they will be killed.It all happened RIGHT under the nose of the ‘Honorable’ CM of Gujrat..you know who he is. He used his power to actually allow the riots to be PERPETUATED, rather than stopped; although he could have done the opposite. Everyone knows how he promoted Maya Kodnani, who participated in the genocide of 107 Muslims in Naroda Patia, to ‘Child and Women Development’ Minister. The irony! It’s obvious that the pogrom was done with the complicity of the state, as B.Sreeram, Rahul Sharma and other IPS officers have proved, by phone records and other evidence. I appreciate the authors of the above piece for bringing forward a very crucial issue. I hope that more people read this article and open their eyes to the truth…all those who want NaMo to go for PM(God Forbid!) should reconsider their stand.

  6. stupidseeker permalink
    February 9, 2013 3:40 PM

    An article in firstpost requests Modi to engage with indians regarding 2002 and not the europeans.

    http://www.firstpost.com/politics/modi-must-talk-to-india-not-just-eu-envoys-on-02-riots-619388.html#disqus_thread

    The above article concludes by saying :

    “In the same honest manner in which he allayed the concerns of meddlesome European Union envoys, Modi can seek to tell his side of the story to an Indian audience, whose support he seeks to come to power. He may have a compelling story to tell, and he must get it off his chhappan inch ki chhati.””

    Now that I think of it, how come the Modi fan boys, the sangh parivar included, have never showered the invectives upon the europeans and the americans for denying modi visas to their respective countries, that they have on his indian detractors. i.e anti development, anti hindu and the rest of it ??

    Anyways, taking advantage of the opportunity Manish tewari asks Modi why he chose to own up to the europeans and not his fello indians :

    http://www.firstpost.com/politics/why-didnt-modi-own-up-to-what-happened-in-gujarat-asks-tewari-619046.html

  7. D_Inscrutable permalink
    February 9, 2013 4:17 PM

    I think this trend has been seen even in history. One man comes to power using wrong means and an ideology which will help him get majority votes. After getting power, with majority by his side, he appeases them. Then he says, sorry to others and starts with development (which may be true). People who are selfish and concerned with the greater economic welfare, as long as they are a part of it, are willing to forgive and forget quickly. The scars remain with those who bear the brunt. Even under Hitler, Germany reached great heights of technological, scientific, agricultural development etc making huge progress and had numbers to prove; so does China today. Does that relieve him of his misdeeds?
    Then again in democracy, it is majority which has its bills, laws passed even if it is by 1 vote. There is always a case where minority community suffers. There are intellectual and so called civilised, human ways of getting your way as a majority like Congress chooses to, through bribes, using CBI etc and Modi chose the barbaric way. To me none of them is correct but the second way will be condemned more than the first by people at large.

    There is a second debate which causes a dilemma. What do you do to make a group of diverse people more productive, motivated and energised towards a common cause, such as development? Discipline, having the same set of goals and vision is important. If people in a country like India, do as they like, which democracy allows us to do within a social framework, India will not progress. On certain grounds, there has to be a consensus which should not be ‘superficial’ but passionate. Ideally that should happen across religion, castes, regions and borders. But sadly, human beings are more comfortable with people of similar tastes, similar thoughts and interests, that brings out the passion in them. In general, this alliance is not superficial and very intrinsic. In a diverse society, people are very helpful, understanding and tolerant but it has been seen in many cases, it is all a charade when put under pressure and they quickly chose their selfish interests over other things. Leaders who know this well can easily take advantage.

    Truly speaking, we human beings have a long way to go. As long as we call ourselves humans to show we make mistakes, which can be forgiven, a Modi will always be there. The severity of mistakes will always be debated, primitive or intellectual. But now things are becoming dangerous the clear message being, “BE ON THE WINNING SIDE”.

  8. Melanie permalink
    February 9, 2013 4:45 PM

    Excellent analyses, Nivedita and Sunalini. It is very obvious that those who support Modi, support his butchery too. Why should one not harp back to 2002 and the genocide committed in Gujarat? Nobody should be allowed to forget it, least of all Modi, who always adopts “mauna vrata,” whenever questions are posed about the riots! I hope that the people of India will see through his PR efforts.

  9. February 9, 2013 7:47 PM

    Okay let us start who started it? Why did Gujrat Riots started? Why did they Burnt Kar Sevaks in the train? and all are balming only Modi? What about them who started it? Why every one is only after Modi , RSS and BJP… why people do not hold the people who started it responsible?

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      February 11, 2013 2:50 PM

      I have passed one such comment out of several (the stock weapon in the armory of Hindutvavadis – “They started it!”), only to state that a) Even if it were true that the train was burnt by some Muslims, there is no justification for the mass killing of completely different innocent Muslims who had nothing to do with the burning of the train. Just as the massacre of Muslims by some Hindus in Gujarat does not justify bomb blasts that killed innocent Hindus who had nothing to do with the Gujarat massacre.
      b) The Banerjee Commission held after extensive inquiry including forensic inquiry, that the Godhra train fire was accidental, and Justice Banerjee reiterated this after the Nanavati Commission held the fire to be pre-planned.
      The point is that at the time of the fire itself, nothing was clear, but immediately, the Gujarat administration and Hindutvavadis in the state had announced it as an attack and the violence began almost immediately, showing that great planning had already gone into the violence, and the train fire was only a convenient excuse.
      And as for the comments that keep asking why dont you attack the congress for 1984 etc – we have done so, continue to do so. But we do not have to offer Hindutvavadis any certificate of being anti-Congress.

  10. Theaces56. permalink
    February 10, 2013 12:28 AM

    “Gujarat has recorded the highest decadal agricultural growth rate of 10.97% in the period 2000-01 to 2009-10, shooting past Maharashtra and leaving many other front-running agricultural states behind. and pulverising the 4% growth target set by the Central government for the farm sector in recent Plan periods.

    An ASSOCHAM study holds that Gujarat recorded the highest agricultural growth in real terms (at Compound Annual Growth Rate or CAGR) among 15 non-special category states. Second among the A listers of farm sector growth is Maharashtra, which showed a growth of around 10.50% ”

    Your quote came from the Times of India infact you took it straight from there. I maybe wrong but theThe Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India says you are. Care to clarify?

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      February 10, 2013 10:57 AM

      Theaces56 – I love the way you M*odiclones make such utter fools of yourselves in public. I suppose that’s why you don’t have the guts to write in your own names.
      The Assocham report you cite, is word-for-word from a report in The Economic Times in June 2011. It is precisely these figures that are utterly refuted by the report I cite from Times of India, a year later, June 2012. Since you dont seem capable of following a link with any degree of competence, or reading or comprehending anything much except that you love M*di and want M*di to love you, let me re-post a substantial chunk from the report I cited:

      a senior economist, YK Alagh, disputed the claim of double-digit growth rate. “To say that it is eight to 10 per cent annual growth rate is incorrect,” he told a seminar on Gujarat development last month.
      “A four per cent plus annual growth in agriculture is seldom seen in world history, and even if we did not achieve 10 per cent, our growth is respectable,” he added.
      According to his calculation, Gujarat agriculture’s growth rate has been “around six per cent per annum”.
      Giving details of the agriculture figures handed over to the Planning Commission, the official said, one witnessed “sharp volatility” in Gujarat agriculture over the last five years. In 2007-08, the sector grew by 10.5 per cent, but in the next year, 2008-09, there was a “sharp downfall of 13.3 per cent.” The stagnation continued in 2009-10, when there was “virtually no growth.” After two bad years, there was 17 per cent growth in 2010-11 and 5.2 per cent growth in 2011-12 in the sector.”

      Economically, Gujarat is like any other state in India, some growth, a lot of stagnation – it is certainly not the worst-off state by any means, but it has nothing special to its credit that M*di can boast of. Not one thing.
      What it has that is special is the cold-blooded, state-aided massacre of Muslims in 2002. That you can be proud of. Boast about that, and leave the economy out of it.

      • Theaces56. permalink
        February 10, 2013 11:49 AM

        Firstly let me start of by saying thank you for making this personal. Now I believe those statistics may be. Looking at other sources including the Indira Gandhi for Policy Research they themselves quote a 10% rise in agriculture. Now I am not saying I am wrong. But it would be nice if we had proper information so we could see what the situation is really. The Insititute is headed by D.Subbarao a man who is known for his independent policy as we ave seen recently with the bash ins between .

        Now I believe I can come up with the reason for this difference of understanding. There is a difference between yield levels and production levels . Please let me explain.

        A reason cited for that volatality of the cotton crop. where it was not yield levels but production levels which fell. Now I can understand how this may be confusing but since cotton plays a large part in the overall production levels could it be that? I do believe so having looked further at the statistics. Ok so why did this happen? Well as you may have known a couple of years back the central government banned the export of cotton this cost the cotton farmers in Gujarat to lose $2 Billion in net profits. This as a result caused the high fluctations in cotton production as it meant a lot of farmers were sitting on excess supply. So maybe again I am wrong, but I would like to say this could it be that you are citing production levels whilst I am citing yield levels? Again thank you kindly.

        • Nivedita Menon permalink*
          February 10, 2013 12:06 PM

          ‘Maybe this, maybe that, maybe the other thing….? Maybe if I bend over backwards, some little statistic will emerge, some small thing – give me something here, please?”
          Theaces56 – sorry, there is nothing. Nothing at all. You’re looking at an ordinary Indian state, with nothing special to its credit.
          Except…

          • Theaces56. permalink
            February 10, 2013 12:19 PM

            I am sorry you feel this way but am I wrong I don’t believe I am about the production levels vs the yield levels causing confusion. Again thank you for taking the time to put up my rebuttal. I do appreciate it.

  11. Arun Kumar permalink
    February 10, 2013 8:06 AM

    It is my misfortune that I have had for very different been forced to spend nine years, since 2002, living in the state. And what never ceases to amaze me is the rhetoric that the state government, the local newspapers, and the auto-wallahs deploy in re-counting his achievements.

    They speak of the Sabarmati River Front Development, modelled to covert Ahmedabad into Paris and London.
    They speak of his disciplining of the administration (I recall the bodies of bureaucrats forced to do surya namaskar in a camp).
    They speak of the co-operative movement, and I wondered why people bought into such rhetoric.
    Can they not see that the co-operative movement was born of a different age and ethos, and whose success has often been critiqued by those interested in girls’ nutrition in the rural areas with the monetisation and commodification of all production.
    Can they not see the forcible evictions to make way for global capitalism to come marching in, and setting up its retail, cultural, high-finance, and luxury residential architecture, on the sides of the river.
    Can they not see the emaciated tribals from South Rajasthan and Gujarat pouring into the large cities, with nothing but their gunny-sacks of meagre belongings on their shoulders.
    Can they not see the obliteration of difference in the state, the resurgence of the Gujarati language, the masculinist invocation of the Gujarati honour, now morphed into high-finance, investment, dollars, and petroleum, and development; from the earlier day idea of rape and control of women’s bodies.

    And each time I hang my head in shame, for not being able to speak to ‘them’, those who had bought into the rhetoric, who believed in marching ahead and not regressing into the past, not too long ago. I still don’t have the language to speak to them. I guess I never will.

    PS: Nivedita, I appreciate that despite the abuses and the unwarranted parading of statistics, you continue to speak to ‘them’.

  12. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    February 10, 2013 12:12 PM

    Mihir Sharma has unpacked the Gujarat hype in Business Standard. He takes up three claims and I quote him below:
    1. Is Gujarat doing better than comparable states?
    The indispensable website indiaspend.com has examined Planning Commission figures for growth, and shown that 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. Yet, for some reason, we don’t hear quite as much about the Karunanidhi/Jayalalithaa Growth Miracle. The argument falters at Step One. Perhaps you worry that income growth is deceptive? Well, let’s look at growth in per capita consumption. In urban areas, at 2.13 per cent per annum, it’s actually lower than the all-India average growth of 2.4 per cent; in rural areas, it is much lower than comparable states and close to the all-India average.

    2. If so, has it done even better in comparison in recent times, under Mr Modi, than it did after reforms, but before him?
    Has Mr Modi’s Gujarat done a better job of raising growth rates? Again, 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. Arguing Gujarat’s exceptionalism is, thus, difficult.

    3. And if that’s true, too, then what’s Mr Modi’s contribution to this performance?
    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…

    But Mihir Sharma’s question is,why Modi’s supporters seem happy to suggest “that he is individually responsible for the emplacement of every hand-pump in north Gujarat, but somehow had nothing whatsoever to do with the complete failure of the entire state machinery in 2002.”

  13. Shourav permalink
    February 10, 2013 12:28 PM

    Fantastic eye opening article.

    Reading the comments to the article, i think what is clear is that it is difficult to talk sense into people who have internalized the GDP growth = development rhetoric. Using GDP growth statistics about agriculture, which is largely based on BT Cotton production, to argue about developmen in a state which has high levels of malnutrition seems like a obscene exercise.

  14. Eric Pinto permalink
    February 10, 2013 5:12 PM

    It is tough to go against the grain of PR hype lapped up and amplified by the media.I salute you Nivedita Menon, because you question touted stories. And when you do that the skeletons get exposed. Gujarat is also the most polluted state in India, be it air,land or water but nobody tells that story. Some communities have been ‘shown their place’ and they remain there second class citizens. We need to go beyond the economics of growth that leaves the poor behind.Take a simple example of the Ahmedabad railway station where I spent a night because I missed my train. The restaurants are privatised and the ‘branded’ food is beyond the reach of even middle class people. Scratch deeper and you find that the poor are marginalised because they lack a voice. In the run up to the polls there were many such stories but they were ignored. BBC carried a story about the plight of workers in the cotton industry. Stories that portray a negative image are systemically dumbed down by an agressive PR machinery. Dare I say that Gujarat boasts of all the hallmarks of a fascist state ? Check out this checklist. http://home.earthlink.net/~eldonenew/fascism.htm

    • Avinash permalink
      February 11, 2013 1:04 PM

      >>>>>Take a simple example of the Ahmedabad railway station where I spent a night because I missed my train. The restaurants are privatised and the ‘branded’ food is beyond the reach of even middle class people>>>> what has Modi got to do with the price of food items at Railway Stalls?

      • Nivedita Menon permalink*
        February 11, 2013 2:32 PM

        Nothing at all. And The price of food at railway stalls has nothing to do with people’s incomes, which has nothing to do with development. Modi also has nothing at all to do with Gujarat, it seems, except that he is responsible for its “Vibrancy”.

  15. Namit Bafna permalink
    February 10, 2013 6:54 PM

    Brillaint and well researched article Parul, but, If I belive whatever Guj. govt. claim is flawed then how far can I go and belive a resrearch? People at top level are very clever. They know how to play. I don’t see any point on taking any stand now becuase most of the claims by the author are quoted from anonymous top officials and reserach but then, to know the actual scence, RTI applications can be filed and results can be made public, this would be most open and democratic way to judge. We cannot belive media, every thing is like a world of maya, common man being victim of it. I don’t take a nuetral stand now but, seriosuly, amazing article. Thank you for sharing :)

  16. charu permalink
    February 11, 2013 7:25 AM

    Come on Nivedita!! Don’t make it personal! That will only make us lose our credibility. We don’t need to get personal because we know that we are supporting the truth and not Modi! And the difference in opinion here is not whether Modi was the mastermind behind the riots or not, the difference is in the interpretation of facts! And about the reliablility of the sources of those facts. Theaces56, with all due respect, let’s say that your interpretation is in fact, correct! So what?? Does development in a state, in any way, compensate for the loss of those lives. Does it, in any way, mean that Modi’s crimes can be pardoned? We can’t cut him some slack just because he contributed a lot to the development of his state (which, itself, is under scanner), and we can absolutely NOT do it for a man who is a potential Prime Ministerial Candidate. And even if we ignore the riots case (which is impossible.. but, for the sake of argument, let me use that grim possibility), we can absolutely NOT forget the fact that he is such a huge advocate of Hindutva. And don’t get me wrong here, I am a Hindu myself, but my point is that making a man who is known to propagate a particular religion, almost fanatically, making him the PM of a secular country like India just on the grounds of his Gujarat Deveopment Model, is that a wise thing to do?? And yes, you may counter me by saying that India is no longer a secular country, and is ruled by Pseudo-secularists, it doesn’t change the fact that India is a democracy, and there still are a few of us, who hope to see an India free of communal violence and discrimination on the basis of religion.

    And Nivedita, thank you for this incredibly moving article. And let it be known that we will not forget Gujarat 2002.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      February 11, 2013 7:31 AM

      Thanks Charu. And while I agree with you that even if Gujarat had the best development ever, it would be unjust, restricted to one community, and bloodstained (as I say in my post), it is crucial to counter Modi’s claim of development in the first place. The lies he is propagating must be exposed. Gujarat is like any other state in India as far as development goes, and much worse in some respects, in fact. This point we must make forcefully with data that is widely available in fact. As you can see, they have nothing to offer in reply but more unfounded bragging.

  17. Avinash permalink
    February 11, 2013 1:10 PM

    @ Nivedita Menon, it is a known fact that all major resources like Central Excise duty, Import duty, Service Tax, Income-tax, etc are collected by the Central Govt and then distributed to the States at their whims and fancies.

    A few days back the Kerala CM was telling that about 80% of the State’s Revenue is spent on Salaries and Pensions of State Govt Employees. The conditions of other States also may not be much different.

    So “Gujarat is like any other state in India as far as development goes”.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      February 11, 2013 2:54 PM

      Gujarat has a terrific success story that has entirely to do with Modi. Whatever fact you encounter that doesn’t fit this narrative is the Central Government’s fault, or the fault of global recession, or of the arid region, or the railway vendor…or…or…

      • Manav permalink
        February 12, 2013 2:08 AM

        Dear Nivedita, Thanks so much for attacking the Modi myth! It’s surprising how many otherwise rational people support Modi (and also the way in which capital punishment is happening in India– but that’s a different story).I’m glad there are such strong counters here!

  18. Vaibhav permalink
    February 11, 2013 10:11 PM

    Thank you for a nice article, it really enriches the debate on Modi.

    I would like to make certain value neutral observations about the data analysis carried out.
    These are not intended to refute the claims, but just to put in my two pence about adopting a better methodology to compare things.

    1. On investment figures: Comparing the quantum of investment is not enough. One must look at the qualitative aspects as well.
    e.g. A starbucks is more likely to open in Mumbai than in Gandhinagar, because of the higher spending power, It MIGHT be easier to have more investment if you have large natural resource pools etc.
    So one must see what are the sectors in which investment is being attracted, is the investment coming in because of some inherent advantage (like minerals) or because of a good investment climate (minimal red tape, good land acquisition laws etc.)

    2. On malnutrition figures: The trend would be a better indicator than the current level, because any chief minister inherits the level. It would be better to compare how much has malnutrition increased/decreased – how does that compare with the rest of India. (the double derivative would also be helpful – how much more quickly is it changing under Modi’s rule compared to before).

    3. The growth rate of GDP also needs to be examined qualitatively – which sectors are driving growth. Eg. Gujrat has a shipping sector, which could be under pressure in a global recession (think Greece), but it may still have posted 9-odd% growth. Whereas other states might have grown in GDP as a result of increasing commodity prices etc. (Don’t know whether you used GDP at constant prices or not)

    • Raisa permalink
      March 12, 2013 5:06 PM

      Dear Vaibhav,

      While your points are appreciated, I believe that each of us are responsible for the direct messages and the subtle undertones our comments hold. So when you post “neutral” comments such as these I request you to do the above stated analysis and post results along with your critique. When you leave something hanging in the air like this you’ve injected doubt in the mind of a reader without having posed a valid argument, n if you, a person who comments is not going to do the analysis then I highly doubt if a reader is.

      I’m sure power for the last 10 years continuously is reason enough for us to judge him on the current conditions- 44.6% of the children are malnourished, and Gujurat is the worst performer in India on child malnutrition( HDI report, 2011) is not a condition that was given to him and if he really is the wizard he claims to be then he could have a made a dent in that the same way he “claimed” to have created magic in the economy. Obviously, he wants to win the “first prize” as far as GDP growth is concerned, HDI is not his priority

      N I like how no one cares that such a booming economy does not reflect on the malnutrition levels. I mean, if he claims better agricultural growth and better GDP than the country why hasnt it “trickled” to the children in the last 10 years????

      And with all due respect why should we care if Starbucks opens in Mumbai or Gujarat?? Majority Indians cant afford to go to Starbucks!!!! I’d care to see if households from which those malnourished children come have means to sell the skill sets they poses to meet their daily requirement through the much spoken about friendly investment climate or the unbelievable agricultural growth!!

      Plus,most importantly, as stated in multiple comments above the “economic & administrative wizard” was CM during the riots, n was obviously not capable of providing “all” citizens of his State with the security they need. What does that show of his abilities as an administrator??

      If we are going to claim to be neutral and logical, lets’ be neutral and logical about everything please. In our rendition of what I call, “the Wizard’s magical economy” lets not forget the his unfortunate social indicators, his questionable administrative abilities and finally, lets all grow up and realize that magic is always an illusion.

  19. February 12, 2013 4:17 AM

    Three words only – Nivedita, You rock!

  20. Fazahath permalink
    February 12, 2013 11:01 PM

    Speechless, is what the article and the rebuttals has left me. Nivedita, i could not stop reading and did not. Read each and every comment made by everyone and your clarification to each. Thanks for being you, a very very great admirer and fan.
    Hope to see the great land my ancestors and great grand fathers built, will one day see the values and ethics this land was actually built on.

  21. avaise permalink
    February 13, 2013 11:43 PM

  22. Arko permalink
    February 14, 2013 11:17 AM

    Very True and nicely said Nivedita and Charu. Especially the point that we should not support people who support or propagate a particular religion.I am very supportive of it. Just curious of it (understanding that you might also criticize other people with similar interest) May I also read any blogs or articles of yours which talks about Akbaruddin Owaisi or MIM or even may be the silent background Muslim appeasing policies of Congress.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      February 14, 2013 12:13 PM

      Arko – you’re very welcome to use a secret search engine of mine called Google to look up what I have written over the period of a long life, and not only on Kafila. Meanwhile if you gave me your real or full name, I could do likewise, to see where you have raised your voice against communalism of all kinds.

      • February 14, 2013 4:06 PM

        By far , this i one of the best articles that I have read so far on the Modi issue. Although I am a journalist from Hyderabad, I was born in Bharuch, and it saddened me that I was told not to go to Guj for a long time. I was just 13 when the pogrom took place, and I remember my mother calling my all of my relatives asking about the situation from time to time. Hyderabad has also seen its share of violence. Perhaps the fact that 40 percent of the populace is Muslim is what may have prevented something like that here. But violence always leaves its scars. No wonder the people in the old city where majority of the Muslim people stay depend on the Owaisi brothers to shield them from the bajrang dal, vhp etc. Not that I support any of that, but that is the common sentiment.

  23. Mohit Sharma permalink
    February 15, 2013 5:05 PM

    I could’nt agree more with the myths that you have busted around the tall claims of development in Gujarat, however i do have a problem when you pass on a judgement regarding the culpability of Modi for 2002.
    Politicians and Political parties are a bunch of idiots, doling lies, just to stay in power, all political parties have lost the trust of the people. However, the judiciary is something that can still be trusted. And unless and until the judiciary pronounces its verdict on the culpability of Modi in 2002, it would be wrong, to hold him guilty. We feel proud in the way fair trial was provided even to an enemy of the state who killed numerous citizens and the due process of law being upheld, was hailed worldwide. After all our justice system holds everyone as Innocent unless proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.
    Now if you start off the article by quoting Mr. Sanjeev Bhatt, trust me there are 10s of other officers who would counter his statement as a lie. (You must have heard about the supreme court instituted SIT and its report). Just to quote someone because his opinion matches yours is biased analysis.
    The day his culpability is proven in a court of law, let him be hanged for his crimes but till then we should not pronounce biased judgments.

  24. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    February 17, 2013 1:18 PM

    Here is another hilarious and frightening example of Modi’s PR machine at work. In 2011 Wikileaks leaked a diplomatic cable sent by Mumbai’s US Consul General back to his government in 2006, which said:
    Modi has successfully branded himself as a non-corrupt, effective administrator, as a facilitator of business in a state with a deep commercial culture, and as a no-nonsense, law-and-order politician who looks after the interests of the Hindu majority.” The rest of this statement was about how the US should deal with him in case he became a player on the national stage, and how to convey to him US concerns about “human rights and religious freedom in Gujarat.”
    When this cable was leaked in 2011, the BJP and Modi himself widely misinterpreted and presented this cable as acknowledging Modi as “incorruptible” and “the lone honest Indian politician”.
    “Successfully branded himself as” means exactly the opposite of what Modi is claiming. But of course, Modi and his followers have not ever cared about truth, accuracy or anything but their divisive and anti-democratic agenda that may well yield him a crop of votes, but is unethical and unacceptable nevertheless to most Indians.

  25. Sanchita permalink
    February 18, 2013 10:08 PM

    A very well written article indeed… it has really made me reconsider my stance on Narendra Modi..As an undergrad student, I too had fallen prey to the “Gujarat Growth Story” but the facts that you have so meticulously presented have served as a much needed eye-opener. Just one question though, now that it is almost certain that the 2014 elections are essentially a Rahul Gandhi vs. Narendra Modi affair, I am confused so as to who should I, or if I may take some liberty, ‘we’ the youth of this country, are to vote for? Modi, for all that he has done, has managed to create an ‘impression’ of a visionary but Rahul Gandhi, I just cannot feel any sense of connection with him, more so because he simply doesn’t voice his opinion on absolutely any issue of national importance..In such a scenario, what choice essentially do we have? Irrespective of who wins the election, isn’t our country doomed either ways? Besides, could you please tell me so as to how on earth did Modi manage to win the Gujarat elections without the support of the minority there, for I believe the caste equation does play a very significant role in the Indian elections?

    (P.S. Please excuse me for my naivety as I am still trying to understand the nuances of the Indian politics.)

  26. XYZ2 permalink
    February 19, 2013 4:58 PM

    @sanchita winning election is very easy for modi… the minority population is only 9% in gujarat… and an average gujarati hindu is more communal than hindus in other states… so even if the growth rate of gujarat is 2%, modi will get votes… all this drama of development is a justification by communal hindus to LOUDLY support modi, nothing else…

  27. XYZ2 permalink
    February 19, 2013 5:00 PM

    no offence to gujarati people… but gujarati hindus are the first ones who would refuse to rent/sell a home to a muslim…

    • Ramesh Narendrarai Desai permalink
      February 20, 2013 2:38 PM

      XYZ2 is right but not completely. Our housing society in a predominantly Hindu locality has a muslim resident. He had been elected as the President of the society. One of the reasons why Muslims do not live in Hindu localities is that Gujarati Hindus are by and large vegetarians and do not like non-vegetarian neighbours. When Sindhi rtefugees came over, in Vadodara, they were given an area close to the Muslim locality as many were non-vegetarians. Another reason is that both Hindus and Muslims feel rather perceive themselves to be unsafe in the mjdst of each other. However there are also localities with mixed population where amity prevails. Many Hindu localities next to Muslim localities co-exist peacefully. Last ten years have seen amity on the increase, partly because of economic progress and partly because of social progress. Let us all try to take this further.

  28. Brijesh singh permalink
    November 6, 2013 3:27 PM

    Modi is like a pravachan wale baba is giving wrong information about Gujarat development he (modi)knows that all Gujarati’s still making their business in Mumbai tell me where is development in Gujarat or in Mumbai ?? Just u decide to whom u ll decide. …….

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