Myth of Vibrant Gujarat

Document Sample
Myth of Vibrant Gujarat Powered By Docstoc
					   Myth of Vibrant Gujarat
                          An E Digest

  Compilation of Articles on the development-decadence of Gujarat

                   Compiled by Ram Puniyani




                     (For Private Circulation)




Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution
                         &
              All India Secular Forum
          602 & 603, New Silver Star, Behind BEST Bus Depot,
                   Santacruz (E), Mumbai: - 400 055.
              E-mail: csss@mtnl.net.in, ipscr1@gmail.com
                                   CONTENTS


                                                           Page No.

      Preface

      1.Introductiory Article……………………………………………………. 04

      2. Anna Hazare‘s Comments about development of
         Rural Gujarat …………………………………………………………… 09

      3. Whose Gujarat is Vibrant? …………………………………………. 14

      4. Vibrant Gujarat Again ……………………………………………….. 15

      5. The Monumental Myth of Vibrant Gujarat ………………….. 16

      6. Box
          16,000 Farmers, workers ended life during ………………………………. 18
          Modi‘s tenure

      7. Margin Speak …………………………………………………………… 20

      8. Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious
         Differentials……………………………………………………………… 24

      9. Marginalizing Muslim in Gujarat ………………………………. 26

      10. Interview ………………………………………………………………. 28

      11. Resources ………………………………………………………………. 30




E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                       2
                                        Preface
        During my childhood I had heard a story from a friend. A Nawab had
        borrowed a lot of money and had no means to pay back to his creditors. He
        would attend to his rather demanding and angry creditors oh is doors and
        tell them that he had sold every furniture of his house to pay them and had
        nothing left and pleaded them to be left alone. However the creditors
        could not believe as they imagined a beautiful palace behind the beautiful
        curtains that were drawn all the time when they peeped through the
        windows of the palace. Once an angry creditor pulled down the curtains to
        get a better view of the palace. He was shocked to find nothing in the
        palace except the walls and all the members of the house did not have even
        clothes to cover their naked bodies. The Nawab gave away the costly
        curtains to the creditor pleading that whole world has now witnessed the
        naked truth and the curtains are of no use to him now.

        The MOUs touted by the Nawab of Gujarat are much like the curtains of
        the palace in the story acting like a smoke screen to cover the nakedness of
        its occupants. The more naked the family members in the palace, the
        costlier are the curtains put up to cover up the nakedness. The Public
        Relations machinery of the Gujarat works hard to juggle with selected
        figures and statistics and spreads it far and wide through expensive PR
        budget – the curtains that cover Gujarat are not only expensive, but also
        thick and impregnable – so the Nawab of Gujarat thinks. The MOU
        curtains cover, for example the fact that the most backward district of the
        country is the Dangs district of Gujarat. The creditors of the Nawab are the
        people of Gujarat, the tax payers of Gujarat.

        The Nawab in the story was at least trying to protect the dignity of the
        members of the family by putting up those costly curtains, though he had
        borrowed a lot of money for his pleasure and to showcase his status. The
        Nawab of Gujarat invites the capitalist vultures from outside in his vibrant
        Gujarat programmes and assists them to pull away the remaining scanty
        pieces of clothes from the bodies of the helpless members and raid the
        remaining furniture inside the ‗Gujarat Palace‘ in the form its natural
        resources, land, water and environment. In return, the Nawab has been
        promised that he will supported by them to become Emperor of India.

        The creditors (tax payers) of Gujarat are not yet as demanding and feel
        powerless as compared to the creditors of the Nawab in the story. The
        smoke screen of development and MOUs is intact.

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                       3
         The compilation in this digest to be circulated through e-mail networks
         and in hard copy is the act of angry activists and academicians
         representing the tax payers of Gujarat, particularly the marginalized
         sections in Gujarat – the adivasis, dalits, farmers, the landless, women,
         artisans, workers, casual labourers and the backward classes amongst the
         minorities, who resemble the creditors in the story and are pulling down
         the curtains one by one to enable a peep in the palace (swarnim Gujarat)
         that Narendra Modi claims he has made. As the reader goes through the
         articles in the compilation, the curtains are pulled one by one it is for the
         reader to judge whether the inhabitants of the palace are naked or well
         provided for. The contributors to this compilation have done a difficult job
         as the mountains of propaganda have to be dug to tease out the mole of
         truth. To penetrate the thick and strong veil of swarnim Gujarat the tools
         in the hands of the activists and academicians are preliminary but they do
         the job honourably.

         Our thanks the Ram Puniyani for the painstaking effort.

         Irfan Engineer

         14th April 2011.



 1. Introductory Article


                                                (i)
                                 Myth of Vibrant Gujarat
                                         Ram Puniyani


N    early nine years after the carnage of
     Gujarat (Feb 2011), a perception has
been created that Gujarat is developing with
                                                      humiliation at the hands of instigated mobs,
                                                      are still fresh in the air as the state has
                                                      totally been unjust to the victims of the
rapid strides, there is all peace and harmony         violence. There was no rehabilitation worth
and minorities are happy. Like „Shining               its name, the „refugee camps‟ were closed
India‟ a word has been coined, „Vibrant               too soon. State totally washed its hands off
Gujarat‟.                                             the rehabilitation process.

Nothing can be farther from truth. In the             Today while the few amongst the Muslim
aftermath of the violence, the death of over          minorities, especially a section of traders,
two thousand Muslims, the rapes, the                  have been won over by the BJP and


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                4
dominant social forces, the majority of           been pushed behind. Poverty of Gujarat
Muslim community has been forced to live          Muslims is 8 times more than high caste
the life of severe social and economic            Hindus and 50% more than OBCs. Twelve
deprivation. The trend of ghettoization is        per cent Muslims have bank accounts but
increasing in major cities and expanding.         only 2.6% of them get bank loans. This
Juhapura is the showpiece of the fear and         study concludes that Muslims in Gujarat
insecurity which has gripped the Muslim           face high levels of discrimination, even on
community. Many a traders are trying to           the roll out of NREGA, Gujarat is at the
continue with their businesses in old             bottom of the pile. (TOI, Feb 18, 2011,
localities while settling their families in the   Mumbai)
Muslim ghettoes like Juhapura. Most of the
Muslim establishments have changed their          As per the report of Pratham, an NGO
names and patterns to sound like being the        devoted to the issues of education (Annual
Hindu establishments, with the hope that          Status of Education Report), Gujarat is
this will prevent their religion being            worse than Bihar when it comes to
identified in the future pogroms, protect         educational standards. Gujarat has been
their property, and this move will overcome       doing miserably in Social development
the economic boycott from the majority            indices and its budgetary allotment in this
community. Incidentally this call of              sector is low compared to other large states,
economic boycott of Muslims has been              being 17th amongst the 18 large states.
given by VHP. The domination of Modi/BJP          While all this is happening, the mental
in the social and political arena is leading to   ghettoes, the emotional partitions have
the situation where a large section of            become fairly strong and physical ghettoes
Muslims is forced to hide their pain and          tell the real truth of Gujarat, the „Hindu
anger and carry on with the ignominies of         Rashtra in One State‟. Those displaced due
their situations. Remarkably many a social        to carnage are living with no civic facilities
groups from amongst Muslim communities            reaching them. The banks and telephone
are concentrating their work in the area of       companies are shunning these areas and
education; preparing the youth to take up         children‟s education is one of the major
jobs in the fields that are free from             problems for the victims.
discrimination, and to prepare them to
traditional and newer avenues of self             Through conclaves like Guarvi Gujarat, and
employment.                                       the annual meetings of NRIs; Industrialists,
                                                  investment is being solicited and more than
A major study by Abdul Saleh Sharif               the forthcoming investment, projections are
(Relative Development of Gujarat and              being made of the flow of dollars, creating
Socio-Religious Differentials, 2011) is very      the image that it is during Modi regime that
revealing about the condition of Muslims.         Guajarat has begun to progress. The fact is
This shows that Muslims fare very badly on        that there are some investments; there is
the parameters of poverty, hunger, education      some industrialization; but it is far from
and vulnerability on security issues. The         what      is     being      projected.    In
study shows that levels of hunger are high in     previous Vibrant Summits claims of big
Gujarat alongside Orissa and Bihar.               capital investments have been made. For
Muslims are educationally deprived. Muslim        example in 2005 claim for Rs.106161 crores
community which at one time was                   had been made. Out of that investment of
dominating in diamond and textile trade has       Rs.74019 crores (63%) was made as stated


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                              5
by Chief Minister but in reality as per the     Nano project to Gujarat. The subsidy, which
information availed under R.T.I. only           this small car gets, is huge. Industrialists are
Rs.24998 crores (23.52%) projects were          having a free run and the social concerns
under implementation.                           like job creation are very poor in the Gujarat
                                                pattern. Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are far
As per Teesta Setalvad, “…Likewise, in          ahead of Gujarat in the Job creation ratio on
2007, 363 MoU (Memorandum of                    the investment. The investment figures
Understanding) were made in which Modi          which are flashed are not all actualized. One
Government claimed to have mobilized            of the major victims of the reckless
capital investments of Rs.461835 crores.        industrialization is the ecology, which has
Factually this amount was Rs.451835 crores      been ignored totally far as Gujarat is
and not Rs.461835 crores so an excess           concerned.
investment of Rs.10000 crores was claimed.
Out of this State Government claimed to         The growth differentials in Gujarat are very
have     made       an     investment    of     appalling. On one hand, there is the growth,
Rs.264575 crores but as per the figures by      on other there is a serious decline in the
Industry Commissioner of Gujarat projects       social indicators of like sex ratio. According
worth Rs.122400.66 crores (27.08%) were         to „India State Hunger Index 2008‟, Gujarat
under implementation. Actually out of the       is shockingly ranked worse than Orissa.
investments in 2003, 2005 and 2007 only         Gujarat is ranked 13th in the 17 big states
20.28%      of    projects    were    under     which were calculated in this list. Gujarat is
implementation in Gujarat.”                     only above Jharkhand, Bihar and Madhya
                                                Pradesh, which are globally equal to the
While Gujarat was already amongst the most      hunger situation in Ethiopia. Poverty levels
industrialized states, it has been able to      are rising; employment and agriculture are
invite good deal of investment. Still it        not in good shape. The agricultural
remains next to Maharashtra which leads the     production has been declining, e.g. from
pack. While one does not hear much about        65.71 lakh tones in 2003-2004 to 51.53 in
the Maharashtra progress, through different     2004-2005. A survey conducted by NSS in
types of media hypes the image of Gujarat       2005 reveals that approximately 40%
phenomenon has been built up. The               farmers of state said that given the option
industrialization in Gujarat has a pattern.     they would like to shift away from
Two decades back, the growth rate of            agriculture. Recent studies show that during
Gujarat was something between 12 and 13         the last decade agriculture and labor both
per cent. The national average was six to       have suffered extensively.
seven per cent then. Today, Gujarat has the
growth rate of 11 per cent while National       Modi, in a reply given in state assembly
growth rate is 10 per cent. This fact should    stated that in one year up to Jan 2007, 148
make the matters clear to us.                   farmers had committed suicide and the
                                                condition is worsening on that score. While
As such Gujarat state has opened its coffers    on one side the state exports electricity, its
to subsidize the industrialists. Land, water    villages are having a power deficit. Indian
and soft loans are the order of the day; they   Express 8th April 2007 reported that state is
have been given to the industrialists at        reeling under the shortfall of 900 mega Watt
extremely cheap rates. It was one of the        of power, the victims of this are mainly in
reasons because of which Tata shifted his       the villages. One of the indices of poverty,


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                              6
prevalence of anemia, is very revealing on           sex ratio in Gujarat during last decade. The
this count. The percentage of women                  plight of Adivasis is no better.
suffering from anemia has risen from 46.3%
in 1999 to 55.5% in 2004 (Third round of             Gujarat is facing problems at the level of
National Family Health survey report 2006)           living conditions more of poor, women and
among women. Amongst children it rose                minorities. The media hype is meant to
from 74.5% to 80.1%. Some of the reports             change the image of Narendra Modi from
point out the conditions of dalits and women         the one who led the carnage to a
has deteriorated during last decade. For             development man. But deeper look at the
women, one of the indices is the declining           economic and social situation tell us another
                                                     story.

                                    (ii)
          Vibrant Gujarat summit-2011 – Ridiculous show-off of Power
                                           Teesta Setalvad


O     ne more summit of Vibrant Gujarat is
      to be organized in January 2011. Prior
to this such summits have been organized in
                                                     Rs.24998 crores (23.52%) projects were
                                                     under implementation.

2003, 2005 and 2007. These summits have              Likewise, in 2007, 363 MoU were made in
been organized to attract industrialists and         which Modi Government claimed to have
industries to state. In which Chief Minister         mobilized capital investments of Rs.461835
of Gujarat offers land at cheaper rates to           crores. Factually this amount was Rs.451835
industrialists     interested     in     capital     crores and not Rs.461835 crores so an
investment, free water or water at cheaper           excess investment of Rs.10000 crores was
rate to use in industry, if such industries lead     claimed. Out of this State Government
to pollution then freedom to them from laws          claimed to have made an investment of
related to pollution, exemption from tax for         Rs.264575 crores but as per the figures by
five years and in this duration of five years        Industry Commissioner of Gujarat projects
freedom from laborers‟ act will also be              worth Rs.122400.66 crores (27.08%) were
given and thus would give a feel of his              under implementation. Actually out of the
power. He would show that he can give land           investments in 2003, 2005 and 2007 only
at cheaper rates to industries he wishes to          20.28% of projects were under
and in return would expect industrialists to         implementation in Gujarat.
appreciate him and say that he is best Chief
Minister of country.                                 Figures of capital investment in each state
                                                     and expected employment opportunities out
In previous Vibrant Summits claims of big            of it as per the memorandum submitted by
capital investments have been made. For              industrialists to Ministry of commerce and
example in 2005 claim for Rs.106161 crores           industries in central government under
had been made. Out of that investment of             industrial policy has been put up on its
Rs.74019 crores (63%) was made as said by            website by Ministry. These figures are of the
Chief Minister but in reality as per the             year 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and up to
information availed under R.T.I. only                September 2010. The analysis of these
                                                     figures has revealed that compared to

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                7
investment      coming      to   Gujarat less       direct benefit of availing employment will
employment        opportunities   will     be       be less which is clear from the below
created. That is wealthy capital investment         mentioned table.
industries will come to Gujarat due to which

       Year              State            Project            Investment     Employment
                                                                            opportunities
                                                                           (Rs. in crores)
       2006           Gujarat               568                   66,109          1,27,051
                     Maharashtra            861                   38,122          1,27,015
                     Tamilnadu              724                   19,522          9,60,867
       2007           Gujarat               336                   92,480            89,125
                     Maharashtra            582                   84,957          2,65,080
                     Tamilnadu              393                   26,387          1,12,218
       2008           Gujarat               361                 1,25,357          2,12,428
                     Maharashtra            705                   92,257          1,90,398
                     Tamilnadu              289                   24,145          1,35,019
       2009           Gujarat               376                 1,42,239          1,43,709
                     Maharashtra            593                   68,069          1,32,936
                     Tamilnadu              233                   66,864            69,887
    2010 (Up to       Gujarat               368                 1,09,688            75,318
     September       Maharashtra            586                 1,37,141          1,47,966
       2010          Tamilnadu              172                   26,362            31,622
    Total of all      Gujarat                                   5,35,873          6,47,631
       years         Maharashtra                                4,20,546          8,63,395
     mentioned       Tamilnadu                                  1,63,280        13,09,613
       above

Above mentioned table reveals that in               employment opportunities will be created
Gujarat in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and up to         against this,
September 2010 memorandum of Rs.5,
35,873 crores by industrialists was filed with      At the end of the year 2009-10 in Gujarat
Ministry and out of that expected                   there were 8, 32,000 educated unemployed
employment opportunities creation was 6,            people. Number of educated unemployed
47,631.     Whereas       in     Maharashtra        people was 9, 64,000 in 2004, 9, 00,000 in
memorandums of 4,20,546 crores were filed           2005, 8,30,000 in 2006, 7,78,000 in 2007,
(less than Gujarat state) and expected              8,25,000 in 2008 and in 2009 also it was
employment opportunities were 8,63,395.             8,25,000. Now if in the year 2003, 2005,
Which means one lakh rupees less capital            2007 there has been capital investment as
investment than Gujarat yet 2, 18,000 more          per Chief Minister‟s say then why there has
expected employment opportunities than              not been any significant decrease in the
Gujarat. Whereas in Tamil Nadu during this          number of these unemployed people.
time period against capital investment of
Rs.1, 63,280 crores, 13,09,613 expected             On the other hand, out of the memorandums
                                                    filed before Ministry of Commerce and

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                             8
Industry in the year 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009         Chhattisgadh       in   capital    investment
and up to September 2010, 8,97,782 crores           memorandums? Also without vibrant if
have been filed in Chhattisgadh i.e. 3,61,909       Maharashtra and Tamilnadu can have more
crores more than Gujarat and 8,35,048               expected employment opportunities with
crores have been filed in Orissa i.e. 2,99,175      less capital investment then in Gujarat why
crores more memorandums than Gujarat had            less expected employment opportunities
been filed during the same time period.             compared to investment? Compared to other
                                                    states inspite of Vibrant Summits why there
If in Chhattisgadh and Orissa without any           is less capital investment in Gujarat? Vibrant
Vibrant Summit, memorandums (I.E.M)                 Summits are nothing more than a means
worth 3,61,909 crores more than Gujarat in          through which industrialists praise Chief
Chhatisgadh and 2,99,175 crores in Orissa           Minister and avail financial benefits, and to
are possible then in Gujarat why inspite of         show off that Chief Minister is more capable
summits, it is lagging behind Orissa and            than other Chief Ministers of country.


 2. Anna Hazare’s Comments about Development of Rural Gujarat:
   i) Response by Mallika Sarabhai

           Dear Annaji

           We are deeply shocked by your endorsement of Narendra Modi's rural development.
           There has been little or no rural development in this state. In fact gauchar lands and
           irrigated farmlands have been stealthily taken by the government and sold off at
           ridiculous prices to a small club of industrialists. There has been no Lokayukta in
           Gujarat for nearly seven years so hundreds of complaints against corruption are lying
           unheard. From the Sujalam Sufalam scam of 1700 crores to the NREGS boribund
           scam of 109 crores, the fisheries scam of 600 crores, every department is involved in
           thousands of crores of scams. The poor and rural people are being sold to Modi's
           friends the industrialists. The state is in terrible debt because of his largess to
           industry while 21 lakh farmers wait for compensation.

         Your endorsement is apalling and we will be forced to distance ourselves from
         the Lokpal movement unless it is irrevocably retracted.

           Sincerely
           Mallika Sarabhai
           11.4.2011
  ii) Response by Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah
                                                                       Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah
                                                                             Date: 12th April 2011

Dear Annaji,                                        once again retreated that ―I praised only the
                                                    developmental work done by Shri Narendra
We received your reply in the form of your          Modi and Shri Nitish Kumar in rural areas.‖
‗press release‘ to media in which you have          That is what we are questioning - the ―rural

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                    9
development model‖ of Mr. Narendra Modi            You could either visit the state to have a first
based on the ground realities in Gujarat.          hand look or could reach out to those
                                                   affected and working in the state. We hope
Our letter dated April 11 highlighted the          that you will relay on the facts and not ‗false
ground reality of downtrodden masses of            propaganda of the Government‘.
Gujarat    from     farmers      to     fishing
communities, tribals and salt pan workers.         Even your mention about communalism is
Please read it carefully. Most of us in            very vague and you had not said anything
Gujarat working for the working class,             about the role of Mr. Modi‘s Government in
women, farmers, dalits, tribals, landless          2002 and the continuation of the worsening
laborers and the downtrodden who wrote to          of the plight of most affected people
you on April 11, have focused on the               particularly poor Muslim women and men.
development that Modi claims has
happened, but is a contrast in reality.            We need to look at the situation holistically
                                                   and not in isolation as the rise of fascist
Your endorsement of Modi's development             communal forces in Gujarat who use
led to Modi writing an open letter to you          ``development claims'' to mask all their
minding you of a ―vilification campaign‖.          shortcomings.    The     rise   of    fascist
We hope you realise the implications of            communalist forces in Gujarat is closely
endorsement now.                                   liked with the neo-liberal globalised
                                                   development model.
For a chief minister who turned his backs on
scores of farmers who demand their right to        We hope for a suitable and prompt
farming (the Mahuva agitation), on tribals         clarification on your comments now.
who seek forest land, of turning blind eye to
pollution in towns and villages (Ankleshwar,       Rohit Prajapati & Trupti Shah
Vapi, Nandesari, Vatva, Saurashtra and             (Social Activists of Gujarat)
                                                   37, Patrakar Colony, Tandalja Road, Post-Akota,
Kutch).     Fishing   communities      being       Vadodara - 390 020
deprived of their livelihood in Kutch, the         Phone No: + 91 - 265 – 2320399,
                                                   Email: rohit.prajapati@gmail.com, trupti.vadodara@g
instances are numerous - will you call it          mail.com
development Annaji.

Your vague clarification is only related to
communal harmony and politics - which is
not we in Gujarat raised to you in our letter
on Monday, while pointing out your praise
of Modi's development model is misplaced.

       iii) The Reply – Email received in the form of Press Release by Us.

Press statement by Anna Hazare

I am issuing this statement to clarify one of my   done by Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Nitish
statements which has been misinterpreted.          Kumar in rural areas. Alongside I clarified that I
                                                   am equally opposed to any form of communal
On a question asked in my press conference         disharmony. I am completely opposed to any
today, I praised only the developmental work       kind of communalism or discrimination on


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                    10
religious or caste lines. I strongly condemn and   I also wish to clarify that we are not attached to
oppose any kind of communal violence. People       any political party. The movement is completely
from all faiths and religions are founders,        non-partisan and will remain so.
supporters and participants in this movement.
This includes, Arch Bishop of Delhi, Mufti         I sincerely urge the press to understand my
Shamoom Kashmi and others. I strongly believe      intentions, which is to save this country from
in Gandhian values and principles of communal      corruption by taking people of all faiths and
harmony.                                           religions along.

                                                    K B Hazare


iv) Teesta Setalvad


W      e, academics, activists, artists and
       intellectuals strongly condemn the
recently reported statement made by Anna
                                                   has Modi even apologized for failing to
                                                   perform his Constitutional duty.

Hazareji in which he has brazenly endorsed         On the issue of corruption and good
Narendra Modi, a politician who not only           governance too, Modi may yet fail the
symbolizes the politics of division but            exemplary test. Allegations of serious
unconstitutional governance. For the               corruption in state government schemes
veteran anti-corruption social activist,           have been steadily documented and printed
Hazare to endorse a politician against whom        within Gujarat but have rarely made it to the
a Supreme Court led investigation into             headlines of national television. There has
conspiracy to commit mass murder and               been little or no rural development in this
rape, subversion of evidence and pressure          state. In fact gauchar lands and irrigated
and intimidation of key witnesses is still         farmlands have been stealthily taken by the
underway reveals a narrow and mercenary            government and sold off at ridiculous prices
understanding      of    the   meaning     of      to a small club of industrialists. The
corruption. Worse, given the support base of       ridiculously low interest loan given at the
the recent high profile and highly televised       expense of five crore Gujarati taxpayers to
event agitation, that included open support        Tata‘s Nano project suggests a corrupt loan
from Ram Madhav and the RSS as also Baba           write off f public finances.
Ramdev, Hazare‘s move could be construed
as a bid to actually influence this SC-driven      The irony of Modi being hailed by the leader
criminal investigation.                            of the National Lok Pal movement is cruel
                                                   since there has been no Lokayukta in
Modi stands accused, and has not been yet          Gujarat for nearly seven years! Hundreds of
cleared of serious charges of actively             complaints against corruption are lying
masterminding mass murder, loot and rape           unheard in that state as the common
of 2,500 of Gujarat‘s innocent citizens            Gujarati reels under his mercenary
consciously perverting his position and            dictatorship.       From        the Sujalam
power as chief minister in 2002. This and          Sufalam scam of 1700 crores to the NREGS
other investigations have been rigorously          boribund scam of 109 crores, the fisheries
pursued by victim survivors of these               scam of 600 crores, every department has
gruesome      massacres      and   Hazare‘s        been accused of being involved in thousands
statement, more than anything else rubs salt       of crores worth of scams. The poor and rural
on deep wounds. Not once in the nine years         people of Gujarat are being sold to Modi's
since the state sponsored carnage has Modi,        small coterie of friends, the industrialists.
who has written a tear-filled communication        The state is in terrible debt because of his
to Hazare wiped tears from the heavy hearts        largesse to industry while 21 lakh farmers
of Muslim victim survivors in Gujarat. Nor         wait for compensation for the land seized


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                  11
from them. How hen can Haraeji call Modi       actors who are sworn to partisan politics,
non-corrupt or hail his model of               ideology and governance. While their was
development?                                   more than some discomfiture felt by many
Little or no funds have been released by the   of us when we saw this worthy anti-
GOG to the Minority Finance Development        corruption movement being supported by
Corporation, even less to the Gujarat State    RSS cadres and Baba Ramdev, guilty of
Wakf Board. No figures are provided by the     amassing crores of money and property
state government for funds allotted to the     himself, this discomfiture increased as
religious minorities.                          accusation of bus loads of supporters
                                               arriving to Jantar Mantar from Gujarat
The corrosion and corruption in our system     came in and finally dues were extracted by
is not merely monetary but the subversion      the ruler of that state, Narendra Modi, in
of    the    Indian    Constitution    and     the form of praise from Anna Hazareji.
Constitutional Governance has been in large
measure due to the unbridled and               Teesta Setalvad.
unchecked growth of state and non state


v) Mallika Sarabhai on Hazare’s Comments

Modi thanks Hazare for praise, Sarabhai upset

New Delhi: Social activist Anna Hazare's       Sarabhai, one of the prominent supporters
praise of Narendra Modi Monday fetched a       of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption crusade,
prompt 'thank you' from the Gujarat chief      Monday asked the social reformer to retract
minister himself but danseuse-activist         his    praise     of Narendra     Modi for
Mallika Sarabhai, a vocal supporter of the     development work.
anti-graft   movement,    expressed      her
                                               Sarabhai, who spearheaded support for
disapproval and asked Hazare to retract.
                                               Hazare in the state, said she will distance
                                               herself from the Lokpal Bill movement if he
The Congress, in a guarded reaction, said      does not take back his endorsement of
that no secular person can condone the         Modi.
                                               In her e-mail to Hazare, Sarabhai said: "We
                                               are deeply shocked by your endorsement of
                                               Narendra Modi's rural development. There
                                               has been little or no rural development in
                                               this state. In fact, village grazing lands and
                                               irrigated farmlands have been stealthily
                                               taken by the government and sold off at
                                               ridiculous prices to a small club of
                                               industrialists."
                                               Sarabhai said there had been no Lokayukta
                                               (ombudsman) in Gujarat for nearly seven
                                               years, so hundreds of complaints against
                                               corruption      are     lying    unheard.
"black events" of 2002 in Gujarat.


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                          12
vi) Social Activists’ Response to Hazare’s comments on Gujarat

                                         12th April, 2011

       Anna Hazare’s statement endorsing and appreciating the ‘Modi-Raj' is
                          unfortunate and unacceptable

It was shocking to find that Anna Hazareji             As a shrewd politician, Mr. Modi knows
after receiving support by all of us, with            how to divide the secular force and seek
millions, publicly appreciated the rule as            advantage for himself and his party. We
well rural development work by the Chief              shouldn‘t however fall prey to this. Anna too
Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi.               must hear and heed to the serious
The entire world knows the role played by             grievances and charges coming from the
him and his administration in the Gujarat‘s           activists and people in Gujarat against Mr.
communal riots. His government has only               Modi and his government. Gujarat is
indicated callousness and contempt for the            growing only for and with the industrialists
farmers and other natural resource based              at the cost of those contributing their land
communities in Gujarat, including those               or human labour and now the local
fighting against displacement from their              communities in Gujarat have also stood up
land and livelihood or for rehabilitation.            to the challenge the injustices.

On the issue of corruption, Modi‘s response           All of this clearly indicate a betrayal of rural
to the initiative to bring in a strong                needy population for his corporate vision.
enactment or to wipe out corruption is, to            We surely would join many of Gujarat‘s
say the least, only politically motivated. If         progressive activists who know the ground
only he was committed to an institution like          reality and the atrocities against the dalits,
the Jan Lokpal, how could the Lokpal‘s post           adivasis, minorities and other downtrodden
be vacant in Gujarat since 2005? His                  population to tell Anna that he should stay
government has suppressed massive                     away from supporting politicians until and
corruption in the land purchases while                unless they prove their mettle and
submitted exaggerated data on benefits to             commitment to people‘s causes. We agree
the drought areas of Kutch and Saurashtra             with the letters written by activists Rohit
and the rural population.                             Prajapati and Trupti Shah to Anna, seeking
                                                      an explanation. The common people of
In Narmada, we have seen how the adivasis             India have supported the battle against
in Gujarat, screaming against the legal               corruption with faith in our campaign and
violations    and    deprivation    in  the           credibility as people‘s movements based on
rehabilitation work do not receive any                the core values of equity, justice, democracy,
response and the Modi Government is ready             secularism and plurality. This should not be
to submerge the best of agricultural land             compromised at any cost.
and generations old villages and township in
the dam reservoir in three states.

Endorsed by:
Medha       Saraswati Kavula      Kavita Srivastava     Maj Genl. (Retd.) Sudhir Vombatkere
Patkar
Vimalbhai   Sandeep Pandey        Anand Mazgaonkar      Madhuresh Kumar      Thomas Kochhery
Kamayani    Sister Celia          Simpreet Singh        Rajendra Ravi        Arundhati Dhuru
D. Gabriele Suniti S.R.           Uma Shankari          Faisal Khan          Ashish Ranjan




E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                   13
 3. Whose Gujarat is Vibrant?
Pravin Mishra / Ahmedabad Mirror

Gujarat produces some of India’s                 cancellation of the land lease to Nirma.
wealthiest. What is not known widely             Their demand was rejected by the chief
is that the state has the highest                minister.
percentage of poor population, a
whopping 31.8%                                   While this was happening, acres of land
                                                 were granted to Orpat Limited at Rs 40 per
Chief Minister Narendra Modi started             sq metre to construct a tourist resort in
Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in 2003 to         Wankaner taluka. Shockingly, a water body,
attract investors to the state. The first        the only source in the area for drinking and
summit attracted proposals worth Rs 69           irrigation was blocked by 20 feet high
crore. The figures kept increasing since: Rs 1   surrounding walls. The desperate farmers
lakh crore in 2005, Rs 4 lakh crore in 2007,     knocked the doors of Gujarat High Court.
Rs 12 lakh crore in 2009 and almost Rs 21        The court has stayed all the activities in the
lakh crore in 2011. The corporate giants         ill-gotten land and has ordered the
heaped praises on Modi and some even             reconstruction of the irrigation channel by
endorsed him for prime minister‘s job.           demolishing the walls. Was the prime
Gujarat has voted him to power with a            concern for the government creating of a
landslide majority twice. But is today‘s         resort at the cost of depriving thousands of
Gujarat really an economic model?                villagers of drinking water?

Thousands of farmers have been protesting        A good investment climate demands cheap
the allotment of land to Nirma by the            labour and a freehand in exploiting the
Gujarat government for a cement plant in         natural    resources.   But     the    third
Mahuva. According to Kanu Kalsaria, the          requirement, land, is not an easy
BJP MLA from the region, the government          proposition. The super-inflated MoUs give
had granted land rights to Nirma in the          the government tremendous political
heart of a water body created through            mileage. For the corporate, the priceless
prolonged efforts of locals over the years.      land comes free or dirt cheap with no
Nirma demanded a total of 4,415 hectares of      deadlines of the promised investment. The
land on lease for the mining of limestone        adivasi farmers who are dependent on the
from nine villages in Bhavnagar district.        forests and agricultural land are pushed
This includes wet, privately owned               away. These thousands of landless farmers
agricultural land of 3,583 hectares and          have no option but to sell their labour for
―gauchar land‖ of 232 hectares. The Gujarat      cheap to survive. Some do not survive.
government has already given in-principle
approval to 3,460 hectares for mining            Sixteen thousand Gujarati workforce
limestone across the coastline.                  committed suicide during Modi‘s tenure.
                                                 The number consists of 9,829 workers,
The farmers said that the upcoming plant         5,447 farmers and 919 farm labourers. The
would destroy their agriculture and              ‗rich‘ government of a ‗vibrant‘ state cannot
livestock and cause irreparable damage to        save lives of its own people who kill
the environment. Five thousand people,           themselves because they are unable to
including women and children, travelled          survive. State Congress president Arjun
350 km on foot to Gandhinagar in protest         Modhwadia said that these figures were
against the cement plant demanding               from the state government statistics.


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                            14
That Gujarat produces some of India‘s              even have two square meals a day whereas
wealthiest is well known. What is not known        our home-made billionaires plan billions of
so widely is that Gujarat also has the highest     dollars of investment overseas. While our
percentage of poor population, a whopping          chief minister attempts to attract more
31.8 per cent, as per a Planning Commission        investors to our state, let‘s look at it through
data. The vibrant face of the state is full of     the eyes of those who cannot afford to
thick makeup where the real face is no more        survive in this ‗thriving‘ state. Let‘s ask
traceable.                                         ourselves — who is Modi vibrating for?

The plight of the marginalised is not heard        http://www.ahmedabadmirror.com/article/78/
in the deafening decibel of vibrant Gujarat        2011032820110328032129511f285d544/Whose-
celebrations. Millions of Gujaratis cannot         Gujarat-is-vibrant.html




 4. Vibrant Gujarat Again
Shabnam Hashmi

The Planning Commission, in consultation           national media continues to pay tributes to
with the Union ministry of Rural                   the fascist dictator.
Development, has ranked 447 districts out
of a total of 604 districts. In its May 2003                             **
report, the 'Task force on identification of
districts for wage and self employment             Status of Women in the Modi's Mega
programmes' had selected three variables           study
for computing the index of backwardness.
These were: agricultural productivity per          A pilot study conducted by Ahmedabad
worker, agricultural wage rate and schedule        Women‘s Action Group under the ‗Mental
caste (SC)/schedule tribe (ST) population.         Health Care Pilots in Gujarat‘ project
                                                   undertaken by the Indian Institute of
It is interesting to find 6 districts of Gujarat   Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A ) revealed
in the 50 most backward districts, with the        that a whopping 58 per cent of women in
Dangs at No. 1. The list has 20 districts out      Ahmedabad suffer significant mental
of Gujarat 25 districts. If nothing else this at   distress. Ahmedabad which was projected as
least shows Gujarat is as backword as the          a Mega city and an example of Modi‘s
rest of the country.                               developed Gujarat.

Though there have been enough indicators           The study revealed horrendous forms of
to show the myth of Vibrant Gujarat (              physical violence which included slapping,
farmer's suicides at the peak of Mr Modi's         punching, biting, kicking and even branding
rule, more than 6000 'accidental deaths' of        with cigarette butts!
farmers during the same period, growing
violence against women- domestic as well as        The abuse extended to the bedroom too,
rapes, murders, kidnappings as shown by            where 50 per cent women admitted that
the latest report on Ahmedabad done by             they were forced to engage in forcible sex
awag and iim, Ahmedabad and National               amounting to marital rape!
Family Health Surveys of 2005 and 2006
showing very high anemia rates in women            65 per cent women conceded to being
and children , growing violence against            abused in public and in front of neighbours!
dalits so on), the regional as well as the         35 per cent women reported that their
                                                   children, especially girls, were victims of

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                15
violence and were physically and verbally           report verbal abuse, threats , 62% report
abused by the father.                               lack of support, appreciation
                                                    69% excluded from decision making ,
50% were subject to forcible sex (rape) ,           Slapping | 68 % , Kicking | 62 % , Punching
50% were deprived of sex *Social violence ,         | 53 % , Hitting with hard objects | 49 % ,
76% abused before family , 69% before               Biting | 37 % , Choking | 29 % , Branding
neighbours , 60% before friends , 67% in            with cigarette butts | 22 %
public places , Emotional violence , 70%



 5. The Monumental Myth of Vibrant Gujarat
The monumental myth of vibrant Gujarat
Deepal Trivedi


Nothing is black and white ever but                 will have IT connectivity," the official
Gujarat‘s grey spots are getting frighteningly      informed.
glaring. Last fortnight validated this again.
                                                    Gujarat is the No. 1 state in India when it
Narendra Modi‘s beefy rhetoric stressed             comes to economic freedom index also.
Associated Chamber of Commerce and                  Economic freedom index means absence of
Industry of India (Assocham) had put                government coercion or constraint in the
Gujarat as top investment destination of            production, distribution or consumption of
2008-2009 with 19.91 per cent of the                goods and services beyond the extent
country‘s total investment coming to                necessary for citizens to protect and
Gujarat in mid-June report.                         maintain liberty by itself, he explained
                                                    adding he was indeed sorry for all those
Chief minister Mr Modi tomtommed on                 "pseudos" who fail to see Modi beyond 2002
Twitter about being number one in                   riots. Modi‘s vision is more important than
providing     vocational    training     and        his role, if so any in Gujarat riots, he
employment. A state official explained how          earnestly explained.
Gujarat led the nation in providing jobs
through employment exchanges. Out of the            Past is past and 2002 is history. Gujarat has
total jobs provided in India through                moved          on,        he        reasoned.
employment exchanges, he said the highest,          Admitted it‘s a good to have great roads,
72.77 per cent were provided by Gujarat, he         uninterrupted power supply and world-class
contended. Soon, Gujarat will become the            mall-multiplex culture besides Golfing
first state to have a Bus Rapid Transit             societies and plentiful profit churning
System (BRTS) with bus stands competing             businesses. It‘s a pleasant feeling to be in a
in style and functionality with Curitiba,           state which is number one in so many
Brazil, which is home to the first and one of       sectors besides investment, infrastructure
the most successful BRT systems in the              and industry. But the bad news refuse to
world.                                              fade in the background.

Did you know that the Gujarat government            In fact, several of them. Here are a few
has promised that all 1,8,000 villages in the       samples which are dubbed as stray cases in
state will have all the facilities present in the   an otherwise vibrant Gujarat. A 40-year-old
chief minister‘s chamber, that Gujarat will         pregnant woman went for her check-up to
become the first place in Asia where villages       the G.G. hospital in Jamnagar. Two

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                               16
qualified gynecologists along with the staff     teenager‘s    character,      the     police
pasted a tape on her forehead that screamed      commissioner craftily justified the gang
her HIV positive status. She was then            rape. When Surat literally took him to task,
paraded in different wards of the hospital.      the state government, just to avoid
Shockingly,    none     of   the    medical,     confrontation, transferred the police
paramedical staff who were aware that HIV        commissioner, Deepak Swarup.
status cannot be declared this way, objected
to the woman‘s public parade. The woman          Here is more to Vibrant Gujarat. The
got her two-month-old foetus aborted             Annual Status of Education Report by
because of her health condition, but the         Pratham, a non-governmental organisation,
humiliation of public parade with a tape         points out that Gujarat is worse than Bihar
screaming HIV-seropositive will hang             when it comes to education standards. The
forever.                                         report, sponsored by Google, Oxfam and
                                                 Unicef, categorically says that Gujarat
Little before that, a 12th grader, a brilliant   students    are     behind    their   Bihar
science student with great career goals, left    counterparts. The percentage of students
her home for tuitions when she was               who can read their textbooks, do basic
intercepted by three men posing as cops a        subtraction, tell time or do basic currency
little away from her home early morning.         tasks is much lower in Gujarat than in
She and a male co-student were forced in         Bihar.
the car and the girl was gang raped for 90
minutes before being dumped at the same          Several other reports also authenticate that
spot.                                            Gujarat has been doing miserably in almost
                                                 every index of human development.
This happened in Surat, Gujarat‘s fastest        Gujarat‘s developmental model and module
growing economic paradise. The rapists           has been questioned and dubbed flawed by
filmed the gang rape on their mobiles. After     several social commentators and researcher
the arrest, the police recovered about half a    who have been casually dismissed as "anti
dozen "live" gang rape videos from them.         Gujarat" or "pseudo secular". Infant
                                                 Mortality Rate(IMR) in Gujarat was 69 per
Because Mr Modi scores high on the luck          1,000 in 1991 compared to 80 of India.
quotient in developed but divisive Gujarat,      While the national IMR became 58 per
some local media pithily put it that the         1,000 in 2005, that of Gujarat became 54.
rapists were Muslims feebly attempting to        So, while India on the whole really did much
spare the state government of any blame          better to cut down its IMR, Gujarat‘s
about the law and order situation. What          performance was not actually impressive.
followed was worse. In the HIV positive          The gap between Gujarat and India reduced
case, the only positive action the state         because states like West Bengal, Jharkhand,
government initiated was to ask the doctors      Uttarakhand fared much better than
and nurses involved to go on indefinite          Gujarat. Experts stress IMR is a sensitive
leave. Sadly, in the last three months, 10       indicator of women‘s status in general
HIV positive persons have committed              besides being a mirror of healthcare
suicide in Gujarat after they were socially      facilities for pregnant women.
and economically ostracised. The No. 1 state
did not offer them enough motivation to          A February 2007 Reserve Bank of India
continue with their lives.                       report put Gujarat as 17th among 18 large
                                                 states when it came to social sector budget
In Surat, the first response of the police       allocation. With 31.6 per cent budgetary
commissioner was that the girl was a soft        expenditure on social sector, Gujarat dipped
target for rape because she was with a male      from 12th spot in 1991(then there were 15
co-student. Indirectly hinting at the            large states category) to 17th of the 18 large


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                            17
states proving expenditure on social sector     with innovative thoughts. A leader for
had considerably declined in Mr Modi‘s          whom progress matters more than
regime. In the past, former President Abdul     propaganda. Mr Modi‘s resolve is to put
Kalam has also commented on the need for        Gujarat on top of human development
Gujarat to focus more on its social             index.
development index
                                                Resolution and reality, however, seems to
Mr Modi is described as an iconic leader        have a huge gap which is steadily widening.



 6. Box

16,000 farmers, workers ended life during Modi’s tenure’
Posted: Thu Mar 17 2011, 03:52 hrs

Gandhinagar:

State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia        as per the Suresh P Tendulkar Committee
on Wednesday claimed that 9,829 workers,        appointed by the Planning Commission.
5,447 farmers and 919 farm labourers have
committed suicide in the state during           He said that 31.8 per cent population of
Narendra Modi‘s tenure as Chief Minister.       Gujarat is poor followed by Andhra Pradesh
                                                (29.9 per cent), Tamil Nadu (29.8 per cent),
During the debate on the supplementary          Himachal Pradesh (22.9 per cent), Punjab
budgetary demands in the state Assembly,        (20.9 per cent), Kerala (19.7 %), J-K (13.2
he said these figures were provided by the      %) and Haryana (2.1 %).
state government.
                                                http://www.indianexpress.com/news/16-
Modhwadia further claimed that Gujarat          000-farmers-workers-ended-life-during-
has the highest poverty rate in the country     modis-tenure/763674/


Nano In Gujarat- Make Believe Stature Of Modi
Ram Puniyani

03 November, 2008

Countercurrents.org

Shifting of Nano to Gujarat has been            started saying that Modi is the future of
projected as a feather in Modi‘s cap. With      India and if there are five more Modi‘s the
this his already rising popular rating due to   country will prosper in the real fast way!
the projections by a section of media and       The additional point being made is that he
blind apologists of current pattern of          has shown the path to deal with ‗terror‘; he
development has got a big boost. Some from      can control this problem in effective way
the world of business/vested interests have     etc.!


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                         18
The alternative patterns of development,          from 74.5% to 80.1%. Some of the reports
what are the different components of the          point out the conditions of dalits and
process apart, lets see his record and the        women has deteriorated during last decade.
‗achievements‘ in Gujarat. He is the one who      For women one of the indices is the
gave the final push to convert Gujarat from       declining sex ratio in Gujarat during last
being a part of democratic India to ‗Hindu        decade. The plight of Adivasis is no better.
Nation in one state‘. His projection of
Godhra as the preplanned act by Muslim            Gujarat also witnessed the anti Christian
community and unleashing the carnage              violence during Modi regime and Adivasis
against this hapless minority has few             have been a totally neglected lot in the state,
parallels in the history of India. He presided    reeling under the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams
over a tirade to convert the minorities into      Gharvapasi (Conversion into Hinduism)
second class citizens in his state. Not only      campaigns. Minorities have been reduced to
did he refuse to let the refugee camps            scapegoats and the social partitions are
continue, today over five lakh Muslim             becoming rigid by the day. Some
minority are staying in the proliferating         development has taken place in the state,
ghettoes of Gujarat, denied the facilities by     but Gujarat was always amongst the more
state and the civic authorities. Most of the      developed states of the country. It is not that
indices of Gujarat development relate to          things have started from the scratch.
increasing affluence of the sections of
middle classes while the condition of             As far as terrorism is concerned, the acts of
average and poorer sections are declining         terror did take place in the form of attack on
badly.                                            Akshardham during his regime. After this
                                                  Akshardham attack he romped home to
Poverty levels are rising; employment and         electoral victory. A bit later with his bloated
agriculture are having a bad time. The            chest he started claiming that terrorists dare
agricultural production has been declining,       not enter his state, till of course the bomb
e.g. from 65.71 lakh tones in 2003-2004 to        blasts in Ahmedabad (2008). After this he
51.53 in 2004-2005. A survey conducted by         propagated that he cannot deal with this
NSS in 2005 shows that approximately 40%          phenomenon as he does not have effective
farmers of state said that given the option       laws! This deliberate lie is meant to while
they would like to shift from away                wash the fact that terrorism has deeper
agriculture. Recent studies show that             roots, which cannot be uprooted by brave
agriculture and labor both have suffered          rhetoric‘s which he is adept to dishing out.
extensively during last one decade. Modi in       He has mastered the art of using the
a reply given in state assembly stated that in    opportunity to project him, well assisted by
one year up to Jan 2007, 148 farmers had          the section of media.
committed suicide and the condition is
worsening on that score. While on one side        The pattern of things in Gujarat today is
the state exports electricity, its villages are   clear, it intimidates and brow beat
having a power deficit. Indian Express 8th        minorities, take up policies which help the
April 2007 reported that state is reeling         affluent and upper middle class, project this
under the shortfall of 900 mega Watt of           and hide the backyard where the poor and
power, the victims of this are mainly in the      minorities stay. No wonder this is what
villages. One of the indices of poverty,          attracts the ilk of Tata, who are very
prevalence of anemia is very revealing on         appreciative of Modi, as the backyard of the
this count. The percentage of women               state, the violation of democratic norms has
suffering from anemia has risen from 46.3%        no meaning for them, the only thing which
in 1999 to 55.5% in 2004 (Third round of          matters for them is the proliferating coffers
National Family Health survey report 2006)        of their companies. The considerations of
among women. Amongst children it rose             ethical and holistic development don‘t

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                              19
matter there. This is no different from the            committed to democratic values, values of
attitude of big industrialists towards Hitler.         Indian Constitution or not. While the
They backed him to the hilt in his rampage             management Gurus and money bags are
against the democratic norms. It is not for            comfortable with the likes of Hitler/Modi,
nothing that serious academics like Ashish             for the large sections of deprived population
Nandy describe Modi as the person with                 such rules are a nightmare. What more can
classic fascist traits.                                be said about such a person who comes to
                                                       power through polarizing the society and
The carnage of 2002 and the parallel                   then rules in a manner where false claims
intimidation of Christian minorities have              about amity abound. The aura created
already paved the way for the religious                around him is a sign of ominous dark times
authoritarianism in the state. Modi is                 for the nation, the times threatening to
basking in the glory of ‗personally efficient          engulf the values of our plural culture and
and disciplined‘ person. A person should               values of our freedom movement, which
not be judged by a small part of the policies.         emphasized on democracy and equal rights
What is overlooked in this shortsighted                for all.
evaluation is that whether the said person is


 7. Margin Speak
10 April 2, 2011 Vol xlvi No 14 EPW Economic & Political Weekly


From The Underbelly Of Swarnim Gujarat

By Anand Teltumbde

Nobody noticed little vibrations on the                trembled to do a little ritual, to mark the
literal margins of vibrant Gujarat on 24               taking of its de facto possession. More such
January 2011 but potentially they could                take-overs followed until evening to
cause significant tremors across the                   embolden people to take possession of their
country. In a nondescript village of                   own lands, being illegally cultivated by the
Joradiary in Vav taluka of Banaskantha                 upper castes. In the Vav taluka itself 35
district in North Gujarat, practically on the          Dalit families would be benefitted by the
borders of Rajasthan and Pakistan, a                   ownership of over 150 acres.
procession of 200 odd Dalits accompanied
by beats of drum and slogans of ―long live             Unknown even to Dalits, it was a landmark
Ambedkar‖ marched into a farm under                    event that could be verily likened to the one
illegal control of a Rabari to restore its             that took place in Mahad on 20 March 1927
possession to a Dalit. The Ahmedabad based             when the delegates to the Bahishkrit
Council for Social Justice (CSJ), who led              Conference there had marched under the
this struggle to its culmination was                   leadership of their new found leader Dr
justifiably apprehensive of the beneficiaries          Ambedkar to the chavadar tank and
daring their upper caste tormentors in                 asserted their civil rights to use its water.
taking this bold step and had therefore
strategized to collect Dalits from all villages        Caste Residue of Land Reforms
in taluka at Vav for a public meeting before           At the time of transfer of power in 1947, the
taking the victory march. Indeed, the                  land ownership was virtually concentrated
beneficiary Dalit family, the de jure owner            in the hands of a few landlords, who were
of the farm for last 28 years, literally               erstwhile feudal lords. The ethos of the

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                 20
freedom struggle led the new rulers to            suitably amended to facilitate this
announce the policies like abolition of           acquisition. Two of the most notable
Zamindari and redistribution of surplus           changes in Law were: 1. taking away 8 km
land to tillers. It had salutary impact in        limit for an agriculturist to own agricultural
calming and confusing radical peasant             land from his residence thereby allowing
movements that demanded land reforms.             absentee landlordism and 2. changing the
The glorious Telangana struggle, for              order of priorities from ST, SC and OBC to
instance, was called off by the communists        original landlords and then others for the
precisely     because   of    these  policy       right to cultivate government surplus land.
announcements, pushing them onto the
parliamentary path that would never reach         Through the other Act, (Estate Acquisition
their cherished goal of revolution. Land          Act), the government acquired ‗uncultivable'
reforms did take place but in a calibrated        and     cultivable    wasteland, gochar land
and truncated manner. Some amount of              (village grassland for cattle grazing) and
land was taken from the upper caste feudal        other assets by compensating Girasdars.
lords and distributed among the middle            The huge land that came in possession of
caste tenants. No one fully comprehended          the state became theatre of the land grab
the far reaching consequences of this             struggle in early 1960s by Dalit landless
innocuous development, which would                peasants and agricultural laborers, under
change the basic complexion of rural India.       the leadership of Dalit textile workers of
The capitalist strategy of Green Revolution       Ahmedabad. In the words of Mr.
immediately following it brought in huge          Somchandbhai Makwana, an influential
enrichment to these middle castes, which          leader of that movement, estimated 2 lakh
leveraged it to hegemonize most spheres of        acres of land was grabbed by Dalits and
national life.                                    other backward castes, which still remains
                                                  in their possession, albeit without
Speaking of Gujarat, UN Dhebar, the chief         regularization by the government.
minister of the then Saurashtra state had
enacted the Saurashtra Land Reforms Act,          In many cases Dalit and OBC peasants
1952 , giving occupancy rights to 5 5000          and/or their co-operatives, tilling lands
tenant cultivators over 12 lakh acres of land,    under the government's ek-sali (one year
out of 29 lakh acres held by Girasdars ,          renewable tenure) scheme for several
spread over 1726 villages , the balance being     decades, were evicted and the land was
left for their personal cultivation . Girasdars   reverted back to the ‗original' upper caste
were mainly upper caste Kshatriya, known          landlords.
as Darbars , literally meaning rulers.
Tenant cultivators were mainly Patels by          Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, has
caste, who became the owners of this land.        been a meek witness since last three years to
The Patels enriched them by undertaking           many Dalit families (mostly from
massive cash crop cultivation like                Saurashtra) offering satyagrahas on the
groundnut, cotton, cumin and later                footpath near the Assembly against this
graduating to set up cotton ginning, oil          intrigue. The amendments to the Acts
mills, and other industries. This has been        referred to above emboldened the upper
the evolution of the Saurashtra Patel lobby,      castes and the state machinery to violently
euphemistically known as Telia Rajas (oil         evict Dalits from land they have cultivated
kings), who came to occupy the dominant           for decades. This had manifested into a
position in the politics of Gujarat. With their   macabre incident on 27 November 1999 in
social capital and state backing, they went       Pankhan village in Saurashtra, in which a
on acquiring huge tracts of agricultural          mob of 800 upper caste men had attacked
lands all over the state but most notably in      Dalits with swords, spears, pipes and fire
the tribal belt of south Gujarat. Laws were       arms and seriously injured 60 men and


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                             21
women and effectively evicted them from           Dungarshibahai to cultivate but took away
125 acres of land.                                the crop. CSJ filed a criminal complaint and
                                                  put    three     Darbars     behind    bars.
 A Strange Struggle for Land                      Dungarshibhai today is revered as an
 In 1997, santh (title) orders were given for a   unchallenged      Dalit   leader   in    the
total of 150 acres to 40 Dalits of Bharad         Surendranagar district.
village    in   Dhrangadhra       taluka     of
Surendranagar district. Two of these 40,          These struggles were strange as they were
Devjibhai     and     Kanabhai      (a   blind    waged by the de jure owners of land for its
agricultural labourer) asked the upper caste      possession from the illegal holders. While
Patel to vacate the land allotted to them.        the    government       eagerly    publicized
Upper caste landlords responded with              distribution of lands to the SC/ST
violence but were met with serious                beneficiaries, it intentionally or otherwise
resistance. Violent group clashes ensued          ignored their physical handing over. The
and in one such six persons suffered serious      process for handing over physical
injuries. Dalits endured severe social            possession involved village talathi preparing
boycott by the upper castes. Devjibhai was        the records of rights (7/12) and ‗farmers'
apprehended and imprisoned under PASA             book' along with a rough map of the plot.
(Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act) for    After receiving these documents from the
daring to enter the land although he was its      Collector's office, the District Inspector of
de jure owner. It was at this stage that the      Land Records (DILR) had to send surveyors
CSJ stepped in. CSJ creatively combined           to prepare final map, physically mark it out
legal and agitational strategies and got          and hand over its possession to the
Devjibhai released. It organized ―Ambedkar        beneficiary in presence of the collector's
Rath‖ through 28 villages over seven days to      representative. This procedure was not
mobilize Dalit support, which culminated          carried out in most cases. The beneficiaries
into a massive rally of over 10000 landless       were also deprived of Rs 5000 per acre due
Dalits on 6 December 1999, the death              to them as per rules. The officers
anniversary of Dr Ambedkar. The struggle          responsible for it could be punished as per a
encompassed all 12438 acres of prime              government notification of 1989 but no
agricultural land declared surplus vide the       action was taken. In case of the SC/ST
Agriculture Land Ceiling Act, for which           beneficiaries, Atrocities Act also could be
2398 Dalit families and 50 tribal families        invoked.
were given the santh before 3 to 10 years,
but not the actual possession. The land,          The CSJ struggle set the state machinery
apart from being very fertile, was potentially    into action, enabling Dalits in Vav taluka to
valuable because Surendranagar district was       take possession of their lands. But alas, this
to be the biggest beneficiary of the Narmada      impressive struggle sadly failed to enthuse
irrigation scheme.                                the reservation-obsessed middle classes of
                                                  Dalits, revealing the ugly faultline of
 A parallel struggle was articulated in           emerging classes among Dalits.
another village Kaundh, where a young
textile mill worker Dungarshibhai of              Anti-Dalit Attitude of the State
Ahmedabad gave up his job to take cudgels         Although, like any other Dalit episode, this
for his people in village. In defiance of one     may also be a pan Indian phenomenon,
of the biggest and tyrant Darbars in the          nevertheless Gujarat strangely comes out as
district, who owned nearly 3000 acres of          a piece of villain in recent revelations vis-à-
land, he drove the tractor on the land given      vis Dalits. A CSJ study of 400 judgments
to his family in santh but which still was in     delivered by the special courts in 16 districts
possession of the Darbar. As the entire           of Gujarat since 1 April 1995 revealed a
dalits stood behind him, the Darbar allowed       shocking pattern behind the collapse of


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                              22
cases filed under the Atrocities Act: utterly       the Atrocity Act was to be investigated by an
negligent police investigation at both the          officer not above the rank of DSP.
higher and lower levels and distinctly hostile
role played by the public prosecutors. In           One wonders whether this plight of Dalits at
over 95 per cent of the cases, acquittals had       the hands of Gujarat government is because
resulted due to technical lapses by the             of its ideological adherence to Hindutva or
investigation and prosecution, and in the           because of its neoliberal vibrancy. As it
remaining five per cent, court directives           appears, perhaps it is the result of both
were flouted by the government. The                 these mutually reinforcing factors, a kind of
government's      casual     attitude     was       vile resonance!
underscored by the statement of its chief
minister in the Assembly when he stated,            Anand Teltumbde is a writer, political
contrary to the Rule, that the cases under          analyst and civil rights activist with CPDR,
                                                    Mumbai tanandraj@gmail.


Gujarat far behind, Muslims most backward there
The Milli Gazette
Published Online: Mar 29, 2011
Print Issue: 1-15 March 2011

New Delhi: Dr. Abu Saleh Sharif, noted              On the starvation front, Gujarat is nearer to
economist who was also a member of                  those states whose condition is worst, he
Justice Sachar Committee which submitted            said, adding that Mahatma Gandhi National
a report on the overall condition of Muslims        Rural     Employment      Guarantee      Act
in India, said here while speaking in a             (MGNREGA) scheme is very important for
conference on ‗Social and religious                 the employment of common man but
discrimination of Muslims in Gujarat‘               Gujarat‘s share in this scheme is 5% only
sponsored by Institute of Objective Studies         and as far as condition of Muslims is
(IOS) on 12 February that Gujarat is very           concerned, working ratio of Muslims as
much behind in the race of development              compared to Hindus is 10% less.
and Muslims are the most backward.
                                                    Referring to Reserve Bank India‘s 10-year
This in fact is the first programme of this         report on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
series under which the overall progress and         he said that in Maharashtra, FDI was worth
development in different states and the             Rs. 17 lakh crore, in Delhi, Haryana and
condition of Muslims will be reviewed.              NCR (including some parts of UP) it was
Presenting the power point in IOS office in         worth Rs 10 lakh crore but in Gujarat during
Delhi Dr. Sharif said that a lot of                 the course of 10 years it was worth Rs 2.8
propaganda is made about the progress of            lakh crore.
Gujarat but in the light of statistics, the facts
are to the contrary. He said that considering       In reply to a question he said that it is true
the overall progress it (Gujarat) is below          that during its first term the UPA
Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra,                 government had described this state as
adding that the proportion of poverty in            number one from the point of view of
Gujarat should have been low or small but it        development and had honoured it with
is large. He said that in rural areas poverty       award but the statistics of 40 years do not
among Muslims is eight times more than              confirm it. Hence the attention of
other sections whereas in urban areas the           government and media should be specially
ratio is two percent.                               invited to this aspect. He also said that this
                                                    programme is very important in the light of

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                               23
discussions and talks held recently in the            This article appeared in The Milli
country    about    the     progress  and             Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2011 on
development of Gujarat and it will greatly            page no. 21
help in understanding the facts.



'Muslims left behind in Gujarat's growth story'
Nandita Sengupta, TNN, Feb 18, 2011, 03.11am IST

NEW DELHI: Muslims in Gujarat have a                  Orissa and Bihar, with only Jharkhand,
long way to go. A new study shows there's             Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh having
deep-rooted poverty and income inequality             higher hunger levels. Urban poverty among
among the state's lower castes and Muslims.           the state's Muslims is eight times more than
The latter, in particular, fare poorly on             high-caste Hindus, 50% more than OBCs.
parameters of poverty, hunger, education
and vulnerability on security issues —                Muslims are educationally deprived: despite
nowhere benefiting from the feel good                 75% enrolment of Muslim children in
growth story of CM Narendra Modi's state.             primary school, a mere 26% reach
In the study titled "Relative Development of          matriculation. This is against 79%
Gujarat and Socio-Religious Differentials",           enrolment of 'others except SCs/ STs', 41%
economist Abusaleh Shariff used the NSSO,             of who make it to matriculate levels.
NCAER's human development data and the
Sachar Committee report, among others, to             Worsening matters, the study shows 2%
tabulate the status of Gujarat's Muslims.             Muslims in Gujarat face theft and burglary,
"Estimation of poverty by social group is             though they make up merely 11% of
rare, but the NCAER survey data, and                  households. At the national level 13%
NSSO, allow for such estimates," says                 Muslims face theft and burglary with the
Shariff, also chief economist at National             same share of households. Harassment of
Council of Applied Economic research                  Muslim girls is high, with 17% reporting it in
(NCAER).                                              urban areas, though they make up only 11%
                                                      of share of population.
Disturbingly, and surprisingly, says Shariff,
Gujarat's levels of hunger are high alongside



 8. Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious
    Differentials
By Dr Abusaleh Shariff
(Chief Economist, NCAER, New Delhi & Member Secretary, Sachar Committee, New Delhi)
February 12, 2011
Organised by
Institute of Objective Studies

New Delhi, Feb. 12: Gujarat fares relatively          Economic Research (NCAER), said here
better on direct income measures, but the             today.
apparent prosperity masks ―higher poverty
levels and much lower ranking in human                Dr Shariff was speaking at Institute of
development‖, Dr Abusaleh Shariff, chief              Objective Studies on ―Relative Development
economist National Council of Applied                 of     Gujarat       and     Socio-Religious
                                                      Differentials‖. On income measures Gujarat

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                                  24
comes fourth after Punjab, Haryana and          His figures, sourced from SIA Newsletter
Maharashtra, but in Human Development           (various years) showed the actual FDI
Index (HDI) it trails behind Kerala, Tamil      inflows in India from January 2000 to
Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka.                march 2010, as follows: Maharashtra, Rs. 17
                                                lakh crore; N. Delhi, Rs. 10 lakh crore;
                                                Tamil Nadu, Rs. 2.4 lakh crore; Karnataka,
                                                Rs. 3 lakh crore; Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 2 lakh
                                                crore; Gujarat Rs. 2.8 lakh crore. So much
                                                for Gujarat being the first destination for
                                                FDI in India.

                                                Putting the Muslim situation in this larger
                                                framework, Dr Shariff observed, ―Empirical
                                                evidence suggests that relative to other
                                                states and relative to other communities,
                                                Muslims in Gujarat are facing high levels of
                                                discrimination and deprivation‖. He
                                                prefaced the remark with the statement that
L-R: Dr. Abu Saleh Shariff, Dr. M.              Gujarat had some positive features, namely:
Manzoor Alam and Mr. Mushtaque                  90 percent paved roads to villages; 98
Ahmad                                           percent electrified villages with 80 percent
                                                electrified homes and 18 hours of electricity
―In fact, Orissa has resilience in improved     everyday; 86 percent piped water supply
HDI at its own level of development and
poverty‖, Dr Shariff noted. He said that
Gujarat had registered high levels of hunger
among its citizens, though higher levels of
hunger were not expected of a state with
high levels of income.

This suggested deep-rooted poverty and
income inequality, Dr Shariff observed. He
backed his assertions with figures during his
power-point presentation.
He drew the attention of the audience
towards what could be termed ―the politics
of development‖. He talked of the hype and
hooplah built around foreign direct
investment (FDI) in Gujarat.                    and better phone connections, banks, post
                                                offices, bus connection compared to other
―Gujarat is a game for NRI and corporate        states. Agricultural extension work, too, is
politics … played by the corporate to seek      better than in other states. Amid all this,
higher tax subsides, cheap licensing,           poverty, hunger and lack of sense of security
underpriced land and low royalty                thrive.
payments‖.
                                                Muslims have lower levels of work
Investments announced in Gujarat were           participation rates suggesting higher
largely promises, as the real amount            unemployment. ―WPRs for Hindus in
invested was a fraction of the amount           Gujarat are 10 percent higher, suggesting
promised due to practical reasons, he said.     better employment. Muslims in Gujarat
                                                have higher unemployment rates compared
                                                with Maharashtra and West Bengal‖.

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                          25
He presented some startling facts about the       Gujarat has fared very poorly. ―MG-NREGA
Muslim situation in Gujarat where 60              is a national wage employment programme
percent Muslims live in urban areas. Urban        for the poor. Gujarat is the worst performer
poverty among Muslims in ―Gujarat is eight        in MG-NREGA. It has failed to provide
times compared to high-caste Hindus and           employment to the poorest of the poor‖, he
―50 percent more than H-OBCs, even more           said.
than SCs/STs. Rural poverty is two times
more than HHS‖. Banking access to                 Muslims in Gujarat have fared rather poorly
Muslims, who have 12 percent of the               across the board. Regarding pre-matric
accounts, is only 2.6 percent in terms of         scholarships for minorities, a Central
bank loans/outstanding.                           government initiative (with effect from April
                                                  1, 2008) he said Gujarat happened to be the
The village and neighbourhood conflict in         only large state that had not implemented
Gujarat is an astounding 63 percent which         this programme for 55,000 students, which
is as high as in West Bengal. However, it is      included 53,000 Muslims along with other
lower than UP (82 percent) and Uttrakhand.        minorities.

In general terms of poverty alleviation,

 9. Marginalizing Muslims in Gujarat
Submitted by admin on 20 March 2011 - 9:06am


By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net                 chief mister. This was also a time of many
                                                  political mobilizations and rioting.
TCN series on Gujarat: Part 4
                                                  In 1950s Mahgujarat movement led to the
History of Muslims in Gujarat is older than       formation of the state of Gujarat. 1970s saw
the idea of Gujarat itself, then how is it that   the anti-corruption Navnirman movement
Muslims now find themselves at the edge           led by socialists and joined by Sangh
(both figuratively and literally) of the          Parivar, giving Sanghis their first lessons in
present day Gujarati society?

In the aftermath of partition when most of
north India was burning, Gujarat remained
peaceful. The first major post-independence
Hindu-Muslim violence took place in
Ahmedabad in 1969. But if we go back in
history, from 1714 to 1969 there were only
two incidents of communal violence – 1941
and 1946. The violence of 1969, in which
more than 1100 people were killed, was the
beginning of separation of Hindus and
Muslims but it was 1985 riots that sealed
Muslims‘ fate in the state for years to come.
                                                  Erasing Muslims: Fatema Masjid, the
Since the formation of the state in 1960,             only mosque on Ahmadabad-
Gujarat remained a politically unstable           Gandhinagar highway was bulldozed in
state. Between 1960 and 1990, Gujarat had                      Dec. 2010
eight assemblies, nine chief ministers, and
20 ministries. Only one, Madhavsinh               mass mobilization. This came in handy
Solanki was able to complete his term as          during 1980s anti-reservation movement


E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                             26
when it was hijacked by Sangh activists and    violence between Hindus and Muslims.
turned into anti-Muslim violence. Ram          Army was called in the next day and the
janmbhoomi movement of 1990s and the           then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi paid a
genocide of 2002 was the pay off for the       visit on March 23rd. Violence continued for
Sangh Parivar‘s work of spreading hate over    next four months.
three decades.
                                               Amarsinh Choudhry replaced Solanki as
Dr. Ornit Shani of University of Haifa has     chief minister on July 6th and soon after he
studied the communal violence of 1985 in       agreed to the demands of the anti-
details. She marks 1985 as an important        reservationists. Reservation increase was
point in the marginalization of Muslims in     rolled back and all those detained for
Gujarat.     She     writes     in     her     violence released. From February to July of
book, Communalism, Caste and Hindu             1985, 220 people lost their lives. Only in
Nationalism:                                   Ahmadabad 662 anti-reservation and 743
                                               communal       incidents   were   recorded.
                                               Muslims were the main victims of the riots
―In the 1985 riots, conflicts around the       with 2,500 houses damaged, 1500 shops
reservation of places in educational and       burnt, about 100 killed and hundreds
government institutions for backward-caste     severely injured.
Hindus transmogrified into communal
violence even though there was no prior
religious tension between Hindus and
Muslims, and local Muslims had no part in
the reservation dispute between forward-
and backward-caste Hindus. These riots
marked the beginnings of the shift from
several decades of Congress dominance to
the triumph of the Hindu nationalist BJP in
Gujarat as well as in Indian national
politics.‖

The violence of 1985 came just days after
Congress rode back to power with a
thumping majority under the leadership of
Madhavsinh Solanki. Successful social
engineering of KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan,
Ahir, and Muslim) alliance returned
Congress MLAs in 149 seats with a vote
share of 55.5% which still remains a record.
A week after the formation of the new
government, on March 18th, 1985, a Gujarat
bandh was called by organizations opposed      Another image of Gujarat: grave of Wali
                                                Gujarati was razed in 2002 and road
to the reservation policy. Muslims had
                                               built over-night, it is yet to be restored.
remained aloof from the anti-reservation         [Photo by Nasiruddin Haider Khan]
movement as it neither harmed nor
benefitted them.                               Die was cast for Muslims, Hindus who have
                                               continued to live close to Muslims in old
On the night of March 18th, while savarna      areas of Ahmadabad began to move out,
Hindus were busy in sounding a death-knell     forming a segregated city that continue to
to reservation as part of the day‘s bandh, a   widen the gulf between Hindus and
stone hit a Muslim boy in Naginapol area of    Muslims. ―Physical separation between
Ahmadabad. Soon, this turned into a major      middle and upper middle classes grew to the

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                        27
point where young Ahmedabadis would be        this is best symbolized by the grave of Vali
unlikely to encounter a Muslim. Few Indian    Gujarati which was destroyed during the
cities have managed such a systematic         violence of 2002, overnight a road built over
separation based on caste, class and          it and a decade later the road still exists over
community,‖ writes Prof. Arvind Rajagopal.    a poet‘s grave who sang high praises of
                                              Gujarat‘s plural society.
That physical separation was necessary for
things to come in 1990s and especially the    Vahan sakin hain itne ahle mazhab
genocide of 2002. While the world watched     ke ginne mein na aawe unke mazhab
with horror the violence unleashed in         Agarche voh hai sab ibn-e adam
Gujarat in 2002, the man who presided the     vale binish mein ranga rang aalam
genocide was none other than Narendra         [there live people of different religion, it is
Modi.                                         impossible to count them all
                                              Although all are sons of Adam, they appear
It was no accident that Narendara Modi was    in all colors of the world]
at the helm of affairs. Modi a life-long
member of RSS was a key organizer of          The new Gujarat doesn‘t believe in
Gujarat BJP in 1980s and early 1990s. He      pluralism and it is better if a poet who sang
was the man behind Nyay Yatra in 1987, Lok    about Gujarat and celebrated its pluralism
Shaki Yatra (1989), Gujarat leg of Advani‘s   and diversity remain buried in the ground
Somnath to Ayodhya Yatra (1989), and Ekta     and forgotten.
Yatra (1991). Gujarat was among the state
that sent highest number of karsevaks for     Ref:
demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. All       Arvind Rajagopal, Special political zone:
these yatras and mobilization helped make     urban planning, spatial segregation and
Muslims as the ―other‖ or the ―enemy‖ in      the infrastructure of violence in
Gujarat.                                      Ahmedabad. South Asian History and
                                              Culture, 1947-2501, Volume 1, Issue 4, 01
Muslims, according to Sangh Parivar, have     October 2010, Pages 529 – 556.
no right to exist, are not part of Gujarat,
have no history worth remembering or
contribution in making of Gujarat. Perhaps,


 10. Interview

Changes Taking Place among                    inter-communal relations and the attitude
Gujarat’s Muslims: Afzal Memon                of the state are concerned?
Afzal Memon is the Director of the
                                              A: Not really. Muslims still live in fear and
Gujarat    Sarvajanik   Welfare    Society,
                                              inter-communal relations are still tense.
Ahmedabad, and Gujarat. He is also a
                                              There has been no change in the attitude
prominent activist of the Tablighi Jamaat,
                                              and role of the state government, which is
In    this    interview    with Yoginder
                                              still very anti-Muslim. Muslims have
Sikand for New Age Islam.com, he talks
                                              suffered a major loss of confidence and
about the changes taking place among
                                              dignity and they feel that they have no hope
Gujarat‘s Muslims.
                                              for justice. The families of those who were
Q: Do you think there is any major change     killed in the violence have not got justice,
in the situation in Gujarat now as far as     and it appears that, if things continue to
                                              proceed the way they have been they never
                                              will. Even today most Muslims do not feel

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                            28
secure. That is why even those Muslims who        should respect it, and if you are a Hindu and
call themselves secular and progressive and       come to my house and want to pray I should
are not particularly religious now prefer to      allow you to do so and must not hurt your
live in Muslim localities, such is the level of   religious sentiments in any way. If we
insecurity.                                       approach religion in this way, I think we can
                                                  help promote better relations between the
To add to this is the fact that Muslims had       different communities.
been ruined economically in the violence.
Many of their businesses were totally             Q: What about modern education among
destroyed. And now they get little or             Muslims in Gujarat? Is there any move to
nothing from the government. In the name          promote modern education, given that at
of Hindu Rashtra, it is the ‗upper‘ castes,       the higher levels of education Gujarati
rich capitalists and big farmers, who are         Muslims are relatively under-represented?
having a field-day, while marginalised and
oppressed communities like Muslims, Dalits        A: Muslims have generally not engaged in
and Tribals remain as they were. In fact,         any sort of planning for the community‘s
their position is steadily worsening. Even        future, but, yes, now there is definitely some
when Muslims want to do something to              sort of soul-searching happening. There is
improve     their    economic    conditions       an increasing realisation that we have to be
themselves, the state government puts             self-dependent in all fields, because, given
major hurdles in their way.                       the fascist anti-Muslim character of the
                                                  state government and the enormous
Q: Are any efforts being made to promote          influence and power of Hindutva groups in
better relations between the different            Gujarat, we cannot hope for the state and
communities in Gujarat?                           the wider civil society to help us. Earlier,
                                                  some Muslims thought that religious
A: No major or very effective measures are        education was enough and that worldly
being taken in this direction. Whatever           education would lead their children astray.
scattered efforts that might be being made        However, that is largely a thing of the past
are like putting ice-cubes into a boiling         and now people, including the ulema,
cauldron. Even NGOs that talk of social           believe that both sorts of education are
justice and peace seem to be doing very little    essential and both go together. Islam says it
in this regard. Many of these NGOs have           is impermissible to abandon the world for
little or no grassroots presence. They            the sake of the faith. Some Muslims say,
organize     conferences   on    communal         ―What is the use of higher education? Why
harmony in fancy hotels, but how can that         should we waste money on this because we
impact on people on the streets and in the        know our children won‘t get good
slums?                                            government service jobs because there is so
                                                  much discrimination against Muslims in
Since I am a believing Muslim, I looking at       Gujarat?‖.      Their     allegation     about
the issue from an Islamic perspective. Many       discrimination is right to an extent, but I
Muslims wrongly blame Hindus alone for            don‘t agree with their opposition to higher
communal hatred and conflict Muslims are          education. I think it is imperative that more
no less responsible and we must                   and more Muslims go to colleges and
acknowledge that. Islam, as I see it, exhorts     universities so that they can help the
me to establish good relations with people        community to assert its rights and can play
of other faiths, and that is what Muslims         a positive role as community leaders.
should also try to do. Yes, we must promote
secularism, but secularism, as I understand       This realisation of the importance of
it, does not mean that you abandon your           modern education is evident even in ulema
religion, culture and identity. Rather, it        circles. The ulema have never opposed
means that you follow your religion and I         modern education as such. However, they

E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                             29
insist that while acquiring modern                 their non-Muslim classmates. So, they fear
education, Muslim children must also learn         that if their daughters go to college they
about their religion. And now, a small but         might do the same. But I don‘t quite agree.
increasing number of madrasas in Gujarat,          There is a chance that while driving a car
as in other states of India, have begun            you might meet with an accident but just for
introducing secular subjects in their              that reason you don‘t stop driving!
syllabus, which is a very positive
development I think.                               Some Muslims are also against their
                                                   children, especially girls, studying along
Q: What about higher education for Muslim          with students from other communities. I am
girls?                                             against this sort of narrow approach. Both
                                                   my daughters studied in Christian schools
A: That, too, is vital. We have very few well      and I am on good terms with some local
educated girls and women in our                    Catholic priests. I think people of different
community and I think that must change.            communities ought to study together. This
Increasingly, many more Muslim families            will lead to friendships across community
are sending their daughters to colleges if         lines. People will go to each other‘s homes
they can afford it. To give a personal             and will begin to see each other as fellow
example, my own daughter is training in a          human beings. But now, because of the
Christian college to become a doctor. Some         enforced ghettoisation of Muslims all over
people find it surprising that I, as an activist   Gujarat, how can that happen?
of the Tablighi Jamaat, should allow this,
but I don‘t see it as un-Islamic, provided         A regular columnist
proper decorum and rules are followed. I           for NewAgeIslam.com, Yoginder
think the opposition on the part of some           Sikand works with the Centre for the
Muslims to girls‘ higher education stems           Study of Social Exclusion at the National
from the few cases of college girls marrying       Law School, Bangalore.



 11. Resources


   1. The Wretched: A Profile
      by Gauhar Raza and Surjit Singh

      A Report of the Socio-Economic Conditions of Internally Displaced in Gujarat

      Published by Anhad and AVHSR 2008

      Anhad, 23 Canning Lane, New Delhi 110001 (anhad.delhi@gmail.com)

   2. Fear and Forgiveness: Aftermath of Massacre

       By Harsh Mander: Penguin Delhi 2009



                                               *****




E-Digest-Myth of Vibrant Gujarat                                                               30

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:253
posted:6/29/2011
language:English
pages:30