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Archive: Selected Analytical Articles
- On Muslim Women in Gujarat
By Mukul Dube , March 6, 2005
The violence against Muslims which began in Gujarat on February 28, 2002, the day after the Godhra incident, has been called one-sided and state-sponsored and has been likened to a pogrom. Neither gender was spared, nor any age group. One form of violence, though, could be directed only against women and girls. Rape often took the form of gang rape and was followed by mutilation and finally by the destruction of evidence through the burning of the victims. But some victims of rape were left alive, and for an excellent reason.
- POTA in Gujarat and Its Meaning for India
by Zakia Jowher and Mukul Dube, August 15, 2004
POTA has been systematically used by the Government of Gujarat to terrorise the Muslim community into submission. At the end of 2003, 286 Muslims were booked under POTA on flimsy grounds and a deliberate attempt was made to make it appear that the Muslim community as a whole had taken to terrorism as a reaction to the post Godhra violence directed against it.
- Indian Muslims and Lok Sabha elections
By Asghar Ali Engineer, Published in the 16-31 Mar 2004 print edition of Milligazette
Thus in coming Lok Sabha election too secularism will remain prime consideration for the Muslims throughout India. Whatever Vajpayee says, it is hardly going to influence them because they know that BJP is controlled in final reckoning by the RSS and Vajpayee also has the RSS soul in him and he is atal (firm) on that whatever moderation he displays for his acceptability as the NDA leader. This is the gut feeling of any Muslim anywhere in India.
- One Voice and Two Noises
27 March 2004
Yet (and this is no longer Reddy speaking, at least not explicitly) we are told that India shines, that the BJP will fight and win these elections on the basis of what it calls its superior economic performance.
- Judgment on Aakrosh says Analyzing Riots is Important
Press Release, 13 March 2004
"It is when the hour of conflict is over it may be necessary to understand and analyze the reason for strife. We should not forget that the present state of things is the consequence of the past; and it is natural to inquire as to the sources of the good we enjoy or for the evils we suffer."
- The Rubbish that Surrounds Ayodhya
By: Mukul Dube, 16 March 2004
Pt. Vajpayee, the Elder Statesman seeking to explain a "natural" human reaction, has said that the Ayodhya dispute is a matter of "emotions". Implicit in this is the assumption that emotions are in some way above the law and beyond the reach of rationality itself.
- Gujarat again? Is it not enough?
By: Mukul Dube, 28 February 2004
No, I am not tired of writing about Gujarat. I realise that fewer people will pay attention to my ranting, because Gujarat is no longer news, because it has become old hat. I realise that many are bored with it, having read and seen so much about it. I can see that the media are on the prowl for fresh meat.
- Shredding a legacy
Violence, hatred and riots fetch electoral dividends to some politicians but they also tear apart the fabric of democracy and bring the day of Hitler’s reincarnation closer
By Prakash Burte, Communalism Combat, January 2004
On January 5, 2004 mobocracy took over in Pune and at-tacked the internationally renowned Bhandarkar Orien-tal Research Institute (BORI) established in 1919. Valuable ancient volumes, manuscripts (30 thousand), rare books (18 thousand) and antiques fell prey to the vandalism. A ‘brigade’ floated in the name of king Sambhaji accomplished this act. The storm troopers of the Sambhaji Brigade were called ‘lunatics’ by large sections of the Marathi press. Today it is crucial to condemn unequivocally not only the platoons but also the patrons of such actions who gain political mileage from such acts.
- On the Assembly Elections of 2003
By Mukul Dube, January 1-15, 2004
What do the results of the assembly elections signify? They signify, first, that those who should have been punished have instead been rewarded. Second, they mean that the voters who elected these criminals have not seen the writing on the wall – the clear danger that the same crimes will be repeated elsewhere. Third, and this prospect is terrifying, they may mean that the electorate actually wants the Sangh Parivar´s barbarity to spread across our land.
- Conversions: Escape from high-caste Hindu intolerance
Vijay Rana, Samachar.com, Feature, Ocotber 13, 2003
What Hindus need today is not the VHPs' tunnel visioned, temple obsessed, narrow Hindutva but an intelligent, forward looking, magnanimous, all-embracing Hinduism - a broad church that respects its own people as well as the people of all religions.
- Terrorists in saffron
Hindutva is pseudo-Hinduism and derives inspiration from Hitler, Mussolini, writes Swami Agnivesh
The Indian Express, August 19, 2003
Hinduism, through which divine light first dawned on the Earth, is being poisoned to death. Wearing the mask of Ram bhakti, vested interests are misusing and exploiting Hindu religious sentiments. If this trend is allowed to continue it is doubtful if, a few years from now, Hinduism would be recognisable from other violent and vicious ideologies like fascism and colonialism.
- Gujarat experience explodes the myth of a strong and an independent Indian judiciary
Vahida Nainar, Researcher/Consultant, International Law, Bombay, India, August 12, 2003
The acquittal of alleged perpetrators for 'lack of evidence', in one such case of the Best Bakery in Baroda, firmly sealed off any expectations of justice from the state judiciary.
- The Good Life
She won’t say why she changed her story, but she really had no choice
Mukul Dube, The Indian Express, July 7, 2003
The Best Bakery trial is a resounding national disgrace, but those who orchestrated the macabre farce do not care for such things. The good, the proper, the just — these have no meaning for them. They deal exclusively in death and lies.
- Crisis of Archaeology
Irfan Habib, The Hindustan Times, July 5, 2003
Now that the excavations have proved such a disappointment one suddenly hears once again the demand for ‘compromise’. Both the time and circumstances make the demand most suspect. Now that everything has been destroyed and dug up, why not just wait for the court verdict and obey the law?
- A devious Ayodhya solution will fail
Praful Bidwai, The News International (Pakistan), July 03, 2003
Just as the archaeological excavation ordered by a court at Ayodhya is turning up negative results on the existence of a Hindu temple beneath the demolished Babri mosque, the Bharatiya Janata Party has floated a new proposal for an out-of-court settlement to the dispute. The initiative comes through the Shankaracharya of Kanchi in Tamil Nadu. It has slim chances of winning consensual approval unless the BJP stops being devious and takes an even-handed approach to the issue.
- Fixing witnesses?
Editorial, The Hindu, July 1, 2003
THE ACQUITTAL OF all the 21 accused in the Best Bakery fire, which was part of the post-Godhra Gujarat carnage, is the culmination of a sloppy prosecution marred by interference from members of the ruling establishment.
- Most Wanted: Justice
Gujarat’s Best Bakery case shows the criminal justice system at its worst
Editorial, The Indian Express, June 30, 2003
We need to turn the searchlight on a process of justice that winds up in a blind alley when it doesn’t drag on endlessly. Gujarat 2002 must be rescued from ending up like Delhi 1984 or Bombay 1993. Because the burden of unrequited justice is becoming too heavy for the nation.
- Ayodhya & the paradox of Indian polity
By Harbans Mukhia, The Hindu, June 27, 2003
Those who understand Indian culture and history — and the VHP is not among them — know that extremism is completely alien to all its religions... It is to this history that India needs to return.
- Ayodhya amnesia
If it wasn’t so tragic, it may actually have made a great whodunit
Editorial, The Indian Express, June 23, 2003
Of course, the tragedy is that despite all the statements and intentions, pronouncements and denouncements, threats and promises, we haven’t come even a centimetre closer to solving what is arguably independent India’s most intractable problem. And our chronic amnesia doesn’t help. We seem to have already forgotten what the prime minister observed just a couple of weeks ago that Ayodhya, to be solved, must be freed from politics.
- Because Words Can Kill
Mukul Dube, May 14, 2003
Words kill, therefore lies must be challenged. Howsoever high and mighty, the liar is no more than a miserable, skulking cur.
- McCarthyism's Indian rebirth
Praful Bidwai, REDIFF, May 13, 2003
Today's culture of intolerance is pervasive -- both within the state and society. It's stridently majoritarian too. Unadulterated hate-speech against religious and ethnic minorities has become routine within our public discourse. Our television channels regularly broadcast programmes in which people like Mr Praveen Togadia vent their spleen with perverse delight and rank communalists launch foul attacks on Muslims and advocate suicide-bombing of Pakistani civilians.
- Communalising Kerala
By K.N. Panikkar, The Hindu, May 13, 2003
A transition from the communitarian to the communal has been taking place, slowly but steadily.
- Pandit Miyan and Miyan Pandit
Mukul Dube, The Indian Express, May 12, 2003
“Miyan”, an ordinary, perfectly secular word, has become a term of abuse flung by bigoted self-proclaimed Hindus against all Muslims. What next? Which religion will claim the word “beti” or its exclusive use? And “bhaiya”? Will “bhabhi” be Muslim or Hindu? Will a shared language be split down the middle as a once shared country was?
- ‘McCarthy, where are you?’
By Praful Bidwai, Daily Times, Pakistan, May 12, 2003
Hindutva bigots have mounted a vilification campaign against Romila Thapar, perhaps the country’s most illustrious historian of ancient India. Unless strongly challenged, this will further vitiate our public discourse and legitimise intolerance.
- Faith healers wanted
Swami Agnivesh & Valson Thampu, The Hindustan Times, May 6, 2003
All symbols exist within well-defined contexts, and religious symbols are no exception to this rule. If a symbol is plucked out of its native surroundings, it can be made to carry whatever innuendoes and incitements one wishes to impose on it. When this is done deliberately to religious symbols, there is a need to ask if they remain ‘religious’ at all thereafter.
- A Leap of Faith in Indian Politics
Secular Party Shifts Strategy as Hindu Nationalism Dominates Discourse
By John Lancaster, Washington Post Foreign Service, May 5, 2003
Whatever the scientific basis for Singh's claims, there is no mystery about the political one: Singh, a leading light of India's secular-oriented Congress party, is facing a tough reelection challenge from Uma Bharti, a saffron-robed Hindu mendicant -- who also happens to be a member of Parliament -- from the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which heads India's coalition government.
- Pissed Off With Cows
Mukul Dube, April, 2003
It should be remembered that India is by no means alone in using cattle as draught animals and as milch animals. Except in deserts of both the hot and the cold kinds, all over the globe cattle play precisely the same roles and have precisely the same economic value as they do in India. India specifically, Hinduism is unique in according to cattle a semi-divine and /ritually/important place. Here the economic value of cattle has nothing to do with their veneration.
- Justice and Democracy
Mukul Dube, March, 2003
The Babari Masjid was demolished in 1992 and criminal cases were registered against some people. It is now more than ten years since the event, but no one can say when the cases will finally be tried. They have been shunted from court to court and some of those charged have only grown in prominence.
- How carpet-bombing bombed
Praful Bidwai, The Hindustan Times, March 7, 2003
The BJP isn’t a party that can take criticism, defeat or failure with equanimity or rationality, leave alone grace. It always blames the umpire, and maligns or simply shoots, the messenger. Thus, its first, instinctive reaction last June to J.M. Lyngdoh’s refusal to be stampeded into an immediate poll in Gujarat was to accuse him of an ‘anti-Hindu’ bias and of acting at Sonia Gandhi’s behest by virtue of their shared(!) Christian parentage.
- Tolerance and exclusion
By Andre Beteille, The Hindu, March 6, 2003
Cultural diversity was always accompanied by a measure of social separation... Separation and exclusion were established features of the social structure well before the British or even the Muslims came to India.
- Are the Sikhs Hindus?
By Nonica Datta, The Hindu, March 4, 2003
No matter what the RSS chief, K.S. Sudarshan, might say with regard to the origin and development of Sikhism, Sikh consciousness has invariably followed an independent course.
- Godhra, a year later
By Jyoti Punwani, The Hindu, March 1, 2003
ONE YEAR after the Sabarmati Express was burnt outside Godhra railway station, the town has come full circle — almost. At that time, Hindus and Muslims would not even enter each other's areas. Today, the physical barrier no longer exists, but emotionally, the two communities are back to square one.
- India, after Godhra
Unless justice is done, we cannot put either Godhra or the Gujarat riots behind us
Editorial, The Indian Express, February 28, 2003
In the circumstances, the slapping of the draconian law would appear to confirm suspicions that it is being used to paper over the cracks in the case the police has been able to frame so far. In the case of the inquiry into the post-Godhra riots, the narrative gets yet more opaque. Here, even the pretence of any credible intent to prosecute the guilty seems to be missing. Here, the story so far is about the refusal to register cases, diluted chargesheets, deliberate sabotage, delay. In the probes into both crimes, the inquiry has not been able to keep its head above the politics that swirls around it.
- Restore India's Secular Political Culture
By Smita Narula, The Asian Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2003
As the world deliberates a U.S.-led war in Iraq and braces for more terrorist attacks, the international community has turned a blind eye to the killing of thousands of Muslims in India in the name of fighting terrorism.
- Modi’s Moment
On the anniversary of the ethnic violence in Gujarat, the state's militant
chief minister is both unrepentant and possibly a harbinger of India's political future
By Carla Power With Sudip Mazumdar, 3 March 2003, Newsweek Internationalbr>Newspapers, opposition politicians and human-rights groups charged the Modi government with being complicit in the violence. Even after the riots subsided, Modi's rhetoric did not cool. In his fall campaign for re-election as Gujarat's chief minister, he blatantly played to anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistani sentiments, telling voters that a vote for the opposition Congress Party was a vote for "Mian Musharraf," a phrase that linked the Pakistani leader with defamatory Gujarati slang for Muslim.
- Shattered peace
Harsh Mander, The Hindustan Times, February 25, 2003
This is the reality of ‘normalcy’ in Gujarat today, in the aftermath of the elections. For this segment of hapless residents of this dusty little town, the law of the land no longer seems to apply. Local political leaders of every party refuse to speak out for them. They have nowhere to go. They ask us where their future lies. It is up to all of us to answer them.
- Hindutva and ethnicity
By Gail Omvedt, The Hindu, February 25, 2003
The antagonism to conversion rests on an ideological foundation which takes ethnicity, that is a presumed community of blood and heritage, as central.
- An India of their dreams
India’s Muslims should no longer see themselves only as victims
Mukul Dube, The Indian Express, February 20, 2003
Like the rest of us, Muslims in India must fight for their rights— but for their rights as citizens of a democratic nation, not just for their religious rights. A struggle which uses religion as its justification will only antagonise other religious communities, especially the majority, which will see it as a challenge. This will also be a distortion of the only struggle which is valid today — the struggle for every citizen’s rights, upon which alone a nation can stand.
- A Janus with Three Faces
By Mukul Dube, February 20, 2003
As I have argued elsewhere (Mainstream, 5 October 2002), the stock response of the Sangh Parivar to questions about their misdeeds is one of these two: outright lies or complete silence. The Parivar issues to each of its operatives the same two faces. While one squad puts on Face A, the other wears Face B. Then they switch. And so it goes.
- Replicating the Experiment
By Mukul Dube, January 20, 2003
Maybe the Sangh Parivar cannot repeat elsewhere all that it has done in Gujarat: but certainly it has made great progress in poisoning the minds of the majority.
- Creation of Hindu 'madrasas'
by Rasheed Talib, Chowk.com, December 26, 2002
Text of a talk on "Saffronization of Indian Education" given at the YMCA, New Delhi in September 2002
In the course of my research on Islam, I have realized that there are interesting parallels between on the one hand the Hindu fundamentalist`s attempt to reorient the syllabi and courses of our school system so as to make it reflect a respect for ancient Indian culture and learning, and on the other the academic situation that prevails in Pakistan with the support it officially gives to the `madrasa` system of education.
- Gujarat shames us all
By Praful Bidwai, Rediff, December 24, 2002
No single word or phrase can describe the stunning, stupefying, quality of the Bharatiya Janata Party's electoral victory in Gujarat. The only analogy that comes even remotely close is the succession of waves of hysterical support for the National Socialists in Germany in the 1930s after repeated pogroms of the Jews and the demagogic drumming up of ultra-nationalist and imperialist rhetoric about German 'honour.'
- Buddhism, Bhakti and the VHP - II
By Gail Omvedt, The Hindu, December 24, 2002
Much of the radicalism of the sants of the bhakti movement has been masked by the fact that the history, interpretation and institutionalisation of the movement has been in upper-caste hands.
- Never a Straight Answer
Mukul Dube, December 24, 2002
The people of the Sangh Parivar are masters of double-talk, diversion and evasion. I have yet to hear one of them give a straight answer to a straight question. In interviews to newspapers and on the electronic media, and on talk shows, their routine response to every question begins with "That is not the point" or "That is not what you should ask". They then proceed to deliver their prepared speeches.
- Buddhism, Bhakti and the VHP - I
By Gail Omvedt, The Hindu, December 23, 2002
It is not simply a question of the VHP's problem with Buddhism. Hindutva's supporters today have to falsify even the bhakti movement.
- A historic blunder
Amulya Ganguli, The Hindustan Times, December 22, 2002
The people of Gujarat have made a mistake. Unlike the customer, the voters are not always right. The most celebrated case of such an error of judgment was in Germany when the people enabled Hitler to come to power. There are also instances in India. West Bengal is one. Misled by the communist propaganda, the people chose the Left Front only to find that their state has been devastated by the communists. But more of that later.
- Gujarat Nu Gaurav
By Mukul Dube, The Milli Gazette, December 21, 2002
In his yatras and then in election meetings, Narendra Modi kept summoning up the image of “five crore Gujaratis” who had been “defamed” across the world. That Gujaratis were exclusively Hindus was made clear by constant references to the 9 per cent Muslims as outsiders, “them”, Miyan Musharraf's terrorists. By painting himself as the sole defender of the beleaguered majority community, Modi captured its vote.
- After Gujarat — II
By Radhika Desai, The Hindu, December 20, 2002
Any political force which sees the middle class constituency as a significant part of its support base will either fail (to check the Sangh Parivar) or succumb to soft Hindutva.
- After Gujarat — I
By Radhika Desai, The Hindu, December 19, 2002
Emboldened by the Gujarat victory, the Sangh Parivar can be expected to try hard to make this the country's future.
- Women, interrupted
The Indian Express, December 19, 2002
There is an enormous silence about Muslim women in this country — their lives, the disadvantages they suffer from, their diversities, their expectations. The Muslim Women’s Survey—convened by Zoya Hasan & Ritu Menon and administered by ORG-Marg — is probably the first major baseline survey of its kind. Excerpts, in three parts.
- How do we want to live?
Amrita Shah, The Indian Express, December 19, 2002
It is difficult to escape it. Gujarat dominates the news. Narendra Modi’s overwhelming victory and the repeated predictions that the BJP/VHP’s Gujarat ‘experiment’ of divisiveness and rioting will now be replicated in other parts of the country. There is a certain resignation about this assumption that is as disturbing as the prediction. The implication that violence and destruction is certain and we, as a society are powerless to stop it.
- Secularism as a dirty word
Why the Gujarat elections have made villains of us all
Pamela Philipose, The Indian Express, December 18, 2002
It’s not so much the Modi/BJP victory in Gujarat but the manner in which that victory was created that distresses. It’s is not so much the Congress defeat but the manner in which that defeat was fashioned that depresses.
- The Modi Challenge
Turn Crowd India Into Mob India
Jug Suraiya, The Times of India, December 17, 2002
Verdict Gujarat was the result of a total politics of polarisation: Modi's success was most overwhelming in the riot-hit areas. That an Islamic cleric misguidedly issued a fatwa enjoining Muslims to vote Congress, further helped consolidate the Hindu vote, which this time included Dalits and tribals who had earlier joined in the loot of Muslim property. This enfolding into the BJP's ranks of lower castes could broaden the party's electoral base, and change the poll arithmetic in states like UP where, so far, caste divisions have precluded saffron unification.
- A Well Knit Parivar?
Mukul Dube, The Milli Gazette (India), Dec 01, 2002
A great deal of air time and much newsprint are nowadays devoted to analysing the relations between the different branches of the Sangh Parivar. They are easily seen to be supportive of one another. Where the BJP cannot take to the streets, it deputes this task to the VHP. Where the VHP finds itself short of muscle, it calls in the Bajrang Dal. Where the VHP falls short of respectability, it is helped out by the BJP. And so on. All this is under the watchful and mostly silent RSS, and in furtherance of the pitifully specious "cause" of Hindutva.
- Sarva dharma...if only
Mukul Dube, The Indian Express, November 28, 2002
Indians like to intone sarva dharma sambhava — ‘equal value to all religions’. But equal value to all is possible only in specific circumstances: when each occupies its distinct ‘space’ without intruding into the space of others; and when there is a hermetic separation of the religious and the secular.
- Justice above all
Mukul Dube, The Hindustan Times, November 27, 2002
Compassion is needed. But I would give equal weight to justice. The first is needed because people have suffered; the second, for the same reason and to ensure that others do not suffer in the same way ever again. Compassion should be seen as no more than the people’s right, their legitimate entitlement in the circumstances. But as with any other right, this too will not come to people by itself. It must be fought for. The fight for it must be part of the larger fight for justice.
- Redefining Democracy as a Positive Alternative to Communalism
By Rohini Hensman, November 2002
If we are serious about defending democracy today, we have to be able to combat the forces engaged in destroying it at a number of different levels. We need to use whatever legal resources we have to pressurise the state to clamp down on organisations spreading hate propaganda and organising pogroms; to ensure as far as possible that communal parties and their allies are not elected to power; to combat hierarchy and authoritarianism in the family, schools and colleges, the workplace, and elsewhere, including organisations like trade unions, which often absorb these values from the society around them; to combat nationalism in all its forms, including those that are propagated by anti-globalisers; and to create alternative communities by building bonds of solidarity, friendship and love cutting across traditional communal barriers.
- Tolerant and Secular?
By Mukul Dube, July, 2002: Web posted on November 7, 2002
A country or society cannot be described as secular just because it is home to not one religion but many. To be secular in the full sense, it must have no religion at all. In practice, of course, it is usually considered sufficient if religion does not intrude into the area of civil life.
- Black, White, No Grey
Mukul Dube, November 02, 2002
On paper we are a modern nation whose civil society has the usual paraphernalia of laws, police, judiciary and administrative mechanisms. Why has religion, which is essentially not of the public sphere, come to wield so much power over our lives, our polity, our very thinking?
- Explaining Islam
Times News Network, November 02, 2002
Though Hindus and Muslims have co-existed in the sub-continent for over a thousand years, their knowledge of each other's religion is next to nil. Rare is the example of a contemporary Muslim writer who has explored the eclectic faiths and beliefs of Hinduism with empathy. Rarer still is the example of a Hindu writer who has approached Islam with scholarly detachment. This appalling ignorance explains in large measure the mutual suspicion and hostility between the two communities.
- ‘Reforms, not communalism, driving Sangh-BJP conflict’
Talking With Christophe Jaffrelot : An interview with Ajit Kumar Jha, The Indian Express, October 31, 2002
Christophe Jaffrelot is the Director of the Centre d’Etudes et Recherches Internationales (CERI) part of the Foundation Nationale des Sciences Politiques in Paris. After writing perhaps the most comprehensive book on the Sangh Parivar, titled The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s, Jaffrelot turned his attention towards Mandal politics and the Dalit movement especially in North India. The product is the recently published India’s Silent Revolution: The rise of the Low Castes in North Indian Politics. In between he has also edited a book on rising Islamic fundamentalism called Pakistan: Nationalism without a Nation. In an interview with Ajit Kumar Jha, Jaffrelot talks about the contemporary trends in Indian politics as well as his latest book.
- Keeping the Faith
Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Times News Network, October 31, 2002
General secretary of the Samajwadi Party and editor of Urdu weekly Nai Duniya, Shahid Siddiqui , believes that issues concerning Muslim identity and Quran are increasingly being misinterpreted by "Islam baiters". But he also holds the Muslim elite responsible for not making enough effort to present Islam in a proper light.
In an interview with Firoz Bakht Ahmed , he accuses the Muslim leadership of neglecting the real issues facing the community, namely, economic and social development.
- Doubly Alienated Muslims
Some Implications of the Gujarat Carnage
Anand Chakravarti, EPW Discussion, October 12, 2002
(i) the principal victims of the violence and ghettoisation are by and large poor Muslims in rural and urban areas. They exist today outside the margins of mainstream Indian society in two very fundamental senses: firstly, in terms of material well-being, and secondly, as citizens; (ii) the alienation of poor Muslims is attributable to the process of saffronisation, which diverts attention from the sources of poverty and oppression in Gujarat society. The real oppressors of the underclass at large therefore continue to prosper.
- Akshardham: How Many More Aftermaths?
Bina Srinivasan, October 09, 2002
We are more afraid of hunger, they answered. We have had enough. Our children have gone without proper food all these months. How can we live with so much uncertainty? Nothing is in our hands. But we have to think of our rozi-roti. So we will do our work. If they come to send us back home, we will go back. And return once they have gone.
- Question of Faith - Anti-Conversion Legislation in Tamil Nadu
Ram Puniyani, October 09, 2002
Tamil Nadu Govt. has passed a legislation banning the conversions by force, fraud and allurement. Earlier Orissa Govt. had also passed a legislation on similar lines and one bill by Anant Geete of Shiv Sena is pending in the Parliament for discussion. This bill calls for a ban on conversions and also equates free education as allurement!
- Interview: Asghar Ali Engineer: 'Unfair And Unsubstantiated'
By: Yoginder Sikand, Outlookindia.Com, Oct 07, 2002
The leading scholar and activist on the controversy and propaganda regarding madrasas and the need for reform.
- Am I a Hindu?
Ajay Jaiman, The Hindustan Times, September 21, 2002
But as religious extremism gains acceptability across socio-economic groups — from the poorest to the richest culminating in events as they happened in Gujarat — I am forced to rethink and take a stand. I know that the stand may not have large-scale ramifications but I also know that it will have significant impact on my two children and may have some bearing on the lives of a handful of people close to me.
- Demographic Lies and Demonisation
By Ram Puniyani, Web posted on September 21, 2002
One of the major factors in perpetuation of communal violence is the doctoring of the mass consciousness. The social common sense is manufactured in such a way that the targeted community is made to appear as the culprit. The classic case of 'Victim as Culprit'. And that's how so many myths percolate about the minorities.
- To Bhaijaan, with shame
By Dr. Satchit Balsari
At the outset, I would like to clarify that this apology by no measure is meant to soothe your open wounds or undo the grave damage done or belittle the colossal wrong we have done you and continue to do as I write.
But I apologize nevertheless for the blood on my hands.
- On Roots of Communal Violence
By Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Secular Perspective Sept. 16-30, 2002
Communal violence has been increasingly taking place in India for last several decades. There has hardly been any respite throughout period of independence. To understand the phenomenon of communal violence and its roots in our society is highly necessary to find solution if any. Many rationalists reduce it to religion and for them religion is the main culprit. Such reductionism would not help. It is not only oversimplifying an issue it also means ignoring the complexity of a social phenomenon.
- Maun Mushtanda: The Strong, Silent Man
Mukul Dube, August 31, 2002
Mr. Lal K. Advani, Home Minister and now Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of India, is for the most part a silent man. His statements are few and far between. The hush which follows them, which often engulfs even our otherwise increasingly noisy media, suggests that they are The Law. It suggests that Mr. Advani is a Strong Man. Therefore his pronouncements are anxiously awaited. They are widely taken to be barometer and windsock.
- Lies and Silence
Mukul Dube, September 14, 2002
In New York on 12 September 2002, Shri Atal B. Vajpayee, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, declared that Gujarat was "an aberration". The gentleman was perfectly correct: never before in this land had anything so monstrous occurred. It was a new page written in our history, in the blood of hundreds of our fellows.
- A Fine, Upstanding Symbol
Mukul Dube, September 10, 2002
All social groupings which seek to be different from others, use visible marks of identity. Across India, Hinduism has a bewildering variety of marks placed on the forehead to denote caste and sect and so on. The Roman Catholic has the crucifix, and in the same way the Sikh has the kada. In most parts of India, Hindu and Muslim women and men wear distinctively different clothing and accessories.
- Responsibility and Revenge
Mukul Dube, 7 September 2002
In no civilised society are the kinfolk and descendants of criminals punished for the crimes of their relatives and ancestors. If I murder someone and then abscond, my daughter will not hang for my homicide. My neighbourhood will not be punished for my crime, nor my classmates at school, nor my office colleagues, nor my wife's natal relations - nor, certainly, people who may never even have heard of me but who happen to bow to the same divinity as I do.
- Teesta Setalvad Award Acceptance Speech Rajiv Gandhi Sadhbhavna Award, 20 August 2002
Teesta Setalvad, joint editor of Communalism Combat was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Sadhbhavana Award, 2002 along with Harsh Mander, Action Aid India.
While humbly accepting the honour being conferred upon me, my heart and thoughts reach out to the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, six months without home or hearth, 35,000 children who have lost one or both parents and borne witness to debased levels of violence, women who have borne the brunt of their gender and community identities, men and boys who feel shellshocked even now at the conspiracy unleashed -in Gujarat.
- John Dayal's Recommendations at London (Independence Day 2002)
Seminar by South Asia Concerns for Peace And Harmony In India
Source: GUJARAT DEVELOPMENT, August 24, 2002
- Hindutva and caste
By Kancha Ilaiah, The Hindu, August 20, 2002
The BJP is making a show of empowering the Sudra/OBC forces within... But how will the Sangh Parivar resolve the caste contradictions within Hindu religion?
- Price Paid for a Sponsored Genocide
Economic and social dimensions of anti Muslim violence in Gujarat 2002 - and their implications for Western governments and International Financial organisations
By Dr John Dayal
Paper presented on 18th July 2002 at the Seminar in Washington DC, organised by the Policy Institute For Religion And State, 110 Maryland Ave., NE. Suite 510, Washington, DC 2002
- Hindutva and caste
By Kancha Ilaiah, The Hindu, August 20, 2002
The BJP is making a show of empowering the Sudra/OBC forces within... But how will the Sangh Parivar resolve the caste contradictions within Hindu religion?
- For Dissent Against Hindu Extremism
by Angana Chatterji, July 28, 2002
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal, and other Hindu extremist organisations, collectively known as the Sangh Parivar (Hindu fundamentalist family of organisations), are utilising religion to foment communal violence toward organising ultra right, non-secular and undemocratic nationalism in India. Once again, this year has borne heartbreaking testimony to this. As the Sangh Parivar goosesteps to a future predicated on injustice and bigotry, we, as ordinary citizens, must not be lulled into complacent comfort that denies our own complicity.
- Death of Indian Pluralism?
Ramaswamy R Iyer, Economic and Political Weekly, July 20, 2002
- Capitalising on the carnage
Editorial , Communalism Combat, July 2002
- Godse's Gujarat
By Teesta Setalvad , Communalism Combat, July 2002
- The PM’s promise
Editorial, The Hindustan Times, June 29, 2002
The Narendra Modi regime in Gujarat seems to be outside all the doctrines of the Indian Constitution, and flaunting it for the whole world to see.
- Gujarat: Poisoned Edge
The Sangh exploits Dalit and tribal frustration to recruit soldiers for Hindutva's 'war'
Davinder Kumar, Outlookindia.com, Magazine | Jul 01, 2002
Of all the disturbing facts that have emerged from the post-mortem of the communal carnage in Gujarat, the most baffling and alarming is the large-scale participation of Dalits and tribals in the rioting.
- Lies, damned lies
Bhaskar Ghose, Editorial, The Hindustan Times, June 27, 2002
The doings of Narendra Modi and his officials have once again come to public notice; and, as before, for acts which would shame decent people.
- In solidarity with hope
Editorial, The Hindustan Times, June 22, 2002
Yes, Narendra Modi is still there, as unrepentant as ever, and proud of L.K. Advani’s certificate of good conduct. It’s also true that despite the savagery, ‘compassion’ — something A.P.J. Abdul Kalam spoke of in the context of the ‘pain’ of Gujarat — is missing in the power corridors of Gandhinagar.
- Lessons from West Asia
Examples of institutional rot as displayed most vividly in Gujarat are not at all conducive to ending the state of perpetual animosity with our Muslim-majority neighbour to the West.
By Kesava Menon, The Hindu,June 19, 2002
- 'We Need To Stop This Madness'
Full text of the unedited testimony on Gujarat Violence to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
Testimony, Najid Hussain, Outlookindia.com, June 12, 2002
- No need to abandon hope
The incidents in Gujarat have shaken the Muslims of the country. They have developed a deep sense of despair and insecurity. The impact is immense on the younger generation. Fear and confusion are writ large on their faces.
Andalib Akhter, The Indian Express, June 14, 2002
- Borders in the Mind: Glitter and Gloom in Gujarat
In many ways, the savage carnage in Gujarat constitutes a defining moment in our collective contemporary history. The unending tragedy holds up a mirror to us as human beings, and to our society and polity.
Harsh Mander, The Times of India, June 14, 2002
- Meaning of secularism
Whatever be the past history, the Hindu zealots must realise that it is not the sign of wisdom to open the wounds of the past and take revenge for what are perceived as historical injustices.
P.R. Dubhashi, The Hindu, June 11, 2002
- Role Of Police In Gujrat Carnage
Asghar Ali Engineer, Secular Perspective, June 16-30,2002
- Under attack in Gujarat
June 19, 2002
- While Patriotic India is Busy in Its Jingoism, the Victims of the Continuing Genocide in Gujarat Are Rotting By Shabnam Hasmi (in New Delhi), June 21, 2002
- Gujarat Carnage- Can We Halt the March of Religious Fascism?
By Ram Puniyani, June 2002
Distributed by GUJARAT DEVELOPMENT, June 16, 2002
Tragically mainstream Gujarati society has not shown any remorse for this and that partly gets reflected in the attitude displayed towards relief efforts and also in the silent and subtle message that they deserve it!
- The Politics of Gender in the Politics of Hate
By Anuradha M. Chenoy, Aman Ekta Manch Digest no 3, 4 June 2002
The politics of gender were integral in the making of a Hindutva militia that led and carried out the carnage throughout Gujarat State against the minority community. The use, abuse and control of women were a critical aspect of the pogroms conducted in Gujarat in March-April 2002.
- The Communal Carnage In Gujarat
Challenge for secularism
By Asghar Ali Engineer, Deccan Herald, June 1, 2002
The carnage in Gujarat, in which the Narendra Modi government itself was involved, has deep implications for secularism as a state ideology. Secularism was adopted by the Constitution makers despite partition of the country on communal lines. However, the RSS, the Jan Sangh and its ideologues were never enthusiastic about secularism. V D Savarkar, father of the Hindutva ideology, himself propounded the theory of two rashtra (two nations) in 1938, much before Jinnah propounded it in 1940.
- Gujarat Carnage - the Non Resident Indians (NRI) perspective
By Gautam Appa, London School of Economics, 30 May 2002
What can be done in this desperate situation?
A model is provided in Britain by the anti-Nazi league which uses moles to monitor every move that the British National Party makes, opposes every demonstration it organises, carries out counter propaganda, combats it in the streets and fights it every inch of the way. This is in contrast to the reactive strategy followed by the NRIs in the West.
- Gujarat Carnage — A Turning Point
Strategy for ‘Pro-Active’ Secularism
by Gaurang Mehta, May 2002
In many ways the post-Godhra carnage in Gujarat is a turning point in the history of independent India. Not because of the intensity of violence or the extent of brutality that the events represent, but because of the direct threat which the entire phenomenon has posed to the very concept of the modern Indian state established under the First Republic.
- Going Right ahead
By Jayati Srivastava, Editorial, The Pioneer, May 28, 2002
The recent growth of right-wing politics, particularly in Europe, has sent shock waves across the world. The gains of the far right Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of presidential elections in France, the good results shown by the British Nationalist Party in local elections, the ascendancy of the Dutch Lijst Pim Fortuyn and the growing support for the 'Children not Indians' campaign in Germany, are examples of the growing support for hardline ideology. There is a parallel nearer home. The Hindutva ideology that found its application in Gujarat is no different-only it is far more sinister and hideous in form.
- Savior or Devourer - BJP ruled Gujarat States Naked Glory
By Ram Puniyani, May 29, 2002
In the worst ever communal flare up Gujarat has lost over 2000 of its citizens, over 3000 crores worth of social wealth, most of it belonging to Muslims, and has witnessed the decimation of religious places, Dargahs and Masjids. It is not nor for the first time that we have not seen state playing partisan role before but here the matters are qualitatively different.
- The Vedic Taliban
Mukul Dube, Economic and Political Weekly, May 18, 2002, Volume 37 No 20
The events of February-March 2002 in Gujarat were, it has been argued, qualitatively different from anything that had happened there before, or which had happened elsewhere in the unedifying history of our land. They did not constitute ‘just another communal riot’, which we have learnt not to get worked up about, but genocide. So unusual were those events that many have been led to ask for a law specifically to deal with genocide, as that form and degree of murder cannot be taken care of by the existing laws, which apply only to the normal run of violence and killing.
- Gujarat Violence: Meaning and Implications
Riaz Ahmad, Economic and Political Weekly, Commentary, May 18, 2002, Volume 37 No 20
For years to come, the recent communal violence in Gujarat is going to remain a reference point in identity narratives about the 'self' and the 'other'. Therefore, the different narratives of the violence discussed here, along with their internal nuances, will continue to shape and influence collective memories. In a sense, these narratives, in the larger context of the environmental factors, will influence the political orientations of the people.
- Making sense of Gujarat
Bhikhu Parekh, Seminar (New Delhi) # 513 May 2002
THE horrendous violence that has occurred in Gujarat since 27 February raises three questions. First, since intercommunal violence is not new to Gujarat, is its current manifestation significantly different and, if so, how? Second, how does one explain it? And third, what lessons can we learn for the future? I shall take each question in turn. Since all the facts about the recent events are not yet available, my answers to all three, especially the first two questions, are necessarily tentative.
- Obituary of a culture
Ashis Nandy, Seminar (New Delhi) # 513 May 2002
THE massive carnages at Rwanda and Bosnia have taught the students of genocide that the most venomous, brutal killings and atrocities take place when the two communities involved are not distant strangers, but close to each other culturally and socially, and when their lives intersect at many points. When nearness sours or explodes it releases strange, fearsome demons.
- These Ten Years: Sangh Parivar has been busy redefining the nation
By Nalini Taneja, Akhbar, Year 2002, No 2, February-March
This year marks the tenth “anniversary” of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and the first real effort by the Sangh Parivar to build its Ram temple on the ruins of what has become a symbol of peace and co-existence of different communities in India as much as of composite and syncretic nationalism.
- Blazing Gujarat: The Image of India's Future?
By Radhika Desai, Akhbar, Year 2002, No 2, February-March
Once again Gujarat will take the monstrous distinction of experiencing
the worst communal violence in a nation-wide campaign of the Sangh
Parivar. Indeed, it promises to be a lot worse this time around with a
BJP government in Gandhinagar, the structures of the state, including
the police forces, highly communalised, and with a BJP-led government in
power in New Delhi apparently unrestrained by its allies, and certainly
pulled by the bloodthirsty forces it has so long nurtured. The widely
publicised image of a young Muslim man begging mercy from his unseen
assailants, his eyes seeking a small scrap of humanity in them, possibly
vainly, haunts the mind relentlessly.
- Passing Blame on Godhra Muslims
EPW Commentary, May 11, 2002, David Hardiman
A history of 'anti-national' activity is being woven for Godhra putting together a series of incidents from the past. A clear examination of one such incident of 1928 reveals that as in February 2002, then too the hostility was rooted in pernicious but local political traditions, requiring only a spark to prompt a sudden and tragic escalation of violence.
- Myths About Muslims and the Gujrat Carnage
By Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Original Source: Secular Perspective May 16 - 31, 2002
Electronic version circulated by South Asia Citizens Wire Dispatch #2 | 21 May 2002
- Tribute: Gujarat and International Public Opinion
By Ambrose Pinto, Mainstream, Volume No. XL, May 20th 2002
- Moral Catastrophes and Immoral Reasoning
Source: South Asia Citizens Wire Dispatch #2 | 18 May 2002
- Issues in Medical Ethics - Communal violence in Gujarat
Editorial, medicalethicsindia.org April 2002
- Remember Ayodhya for another reason
The 1857 revolt began in this region and it was one waged by both Hindus and
Remember Ayodhya for another reason
May 10, 1857 — the day the spark of revolt was struck at Meerut, to spread like a forest fire all over north India. The year 1857 is well remembered as the year of First War of Independence.
- The mosaic cracks
Opinion:Shail Mayaram, The Hindu, May 16, 2002
The tragedy is that what happened involved the genocide not only of households, neighbourhoods and communities, but also of the idea of Gujarat.
- Gujarat Carnage: Upsurge or Shame
By Ram Puniyani, May 15, 2002
- Gujarat Carnage and a Cynical Democracy
Sumanta Banerjee, EPW Commentary May 4, 2002
While pillorying the BJP – which must surely be done – there is a tendency to treat with kid gloves this gang of self-seeking politicians who have made the NDA government possible. More than the BJP, it is these elements, both within and outside the ruling NDA, who need to be branded with the badge of infamy.
- Caught in a Pitying Gaze
An endless wait for Kaifi's New India
By Saeed Naqvi
Just look what you have gone and done. In Gujarat you robbed me of my mantra. How will I cope with all those people I once confronted with rare self-assurance when they now fix me in a questioning, pitying gaze?
- The social engineering of Gujarat
Essay By by Hemant Babu, May 2002,
HIMAL South Asian
The ongoing violence and its broadening social and geographical base in the state is a consequence of the political recasting of social identities.
- Hindu Nationalists Are Enrolling, and Enlisting, India's Poor
By Somini Sengupta, The New York Times, May 13, 2002 (requires free registration to read online)
Patriotic to some, frightening to others, this school represents a central project of the increasingly militant and powerful Hindu right in this country. It is substantially bankrolled by Indians in the United States and
run by a charity affiliated with the oldest and most prominent of the Hindu nationalist groups, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or the National Voluntary Service, known as the R.S.S.
- Growth after Gujarat
Editorial, Times News Network, May 09, 2002
WITH his head firmly buried in the bloodied sands of Gujarat, chief minister Narendra Modi asserts that the state’s economy is not doing badly. He cites the performance of some public sector units in Gujarat to prove his case. What Mr Modi is yet to realise is that private sector activity has completely collapsed in large parts of Gujarat. Besides, events in the state over the past several weeks have cast their shadow on the national economy.
- A Note on Hindu Rashtra
By Shiv Visvanathan
On 13 November 2002, Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat was awarded the third Milosevic prize. The India Abroad Group reported the award as a unique event as it was the first time that a genocide award had been given to a democratically elected regime. The citation which spelt out the historic details of the achievement also congratulated him for the clarity and precision with which he had developed and pursued the concept of Hindu Rashtra.
- PLATFORM: With liquor and cash
Editorial Jay Raina 4 May 2002, Hndustan Times
Gujarat has a long history of communal riots. But now, the State-sponsored terror is of a different kind: it's selected, meticulously planned and targets the minorities with emphasis on destruction of their property and business.
‘Let’s build a superpower of love and tolerance’
Ratnottama Sengupta, The Times of India, Sunday, May 5, 2002
Meghna Gulzar, filmmaker, Jyotiraditya Scindia, MP, Ayaan Ali Bangash, sarod player answers questions like:
- definition of secularism? Should religion have a place in politics?
- is the country’s most pressing problem? How can it be addressed?
- disturbs you most about contemporary India?
- the Under 30 generation become conformist and lost its voice of dissent?
Should religion have a role in politics?
By Times News Network [ Sunday, May 05, 2002
As Gujarat becomes the latest metaphor for communal strife, Urban India's Gen Under-30 clearly blackballs the political notions of secularism handed down by the older generation.
Modernity and its alternatives
By Andre Beteille, The Hindu, May 8, 2002
Indian society has moved too far along the road to modernity for it to be able to turn back now or even to stay at a standstill.
- Gujarat's proclivity to violence
A.R. Vasavi,The Hindu, MAY 05, 2002
The making of the carnage in Gujarat has its roots in the more pervasive and everyday culture of the region. It is distinctly linked to the retention of a social order that privileges hierarchy and relations of dominance and subordination to the growth of a backward capitalism, and to the failure of a political apparatus. In such a corrupted social sphere, it is not surprising that fundamentalisms have found ready and willing participants, says A.R. VASAVI.
- Speaking out
The Hindu, MAY 05, 2002
In the wake of the Gujarat carnage, civil society has largely remained silent. MARI MARCEL THEKAEKARA calls for voices to speak against the outrage and to fight the forces of communalism.
Putting Gujarat in Perspective
Steven I Wilkinson, Economic and Political Weekly Commentary, April 27, 2002
Overshadowed by the recent horrific events in Gujarat is a wider shift in Indian politics that is likely to reduce the country's level of communal violence: growing party competition in the states increases the incentives for politicians to offer minorities protection in return for their political support. High levels of party competition have long been effective in reducing violence for this reason in southern states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The rise elsewhere in India of parties such as the BSP and SP also creates intense competition for Muslim votes, which in turn leads to politicians promising - and delivering - greater security for minorities.
Gujarat: Pogrom and Polls
Dionne Bunsha in Panchmahal and Vadora, Frontline, Volume 19 - Issue 09, Apr. 27 - May 12, 2002
Even as the attacks on the minorities continue relentlessly, the BJP government's priority in Gujarat appears to be holding Assembly elections rather than providing relief and rehabilitation.
- Conversations with one of Us who hates Them
To understand fundamentalism, dig deep into its roots - it's unpleasant and very necessary, says filmmaker Tanuja Chandra, The Indian Express, May 2, 2002
And it wasn't just the tanks or the horrifying mass murders in Gujarat that made me think this way. It was a heartbreaking conversation I had had with a 65-year-old man Dilip who had gently told me one afternoon at work that if there was a Muslim and a snake standing in front of him he wouldn't know who he would attack first! How could a minority threaten a majority in such a serious way, I argued with him, but he wouldn't hear a thing. He was convinced that Hindus wouldn't be able to live in their own country if it wasn't for the fundamentalists protecting them from ''these people''.
Plumbing new depths
Praful Bidwai, Frontline, Volume 19 - Issue 09, Apr. 27 - May 12, 2002
No Indian Prime Minister has justified a communal pogrom the way Vajpayee has. The BJP's Goa conclave marks the lowest point in Hindutva's hardline evolution, underlining the need to punish the BJP politically.
- Why blame foreign envoys when we don't behave properly?
Human rights get precedence
S. K. Singh, The Indian Express, May 2, 2002
The communal violence in Gujarat, ignited by the Godhra incident, has gone on for two months. It is now affecting seriously India's standing as a tolerant, humane, pluralistic society. All these years India enjoyed unparalleled respect as a society that has been peaceful, compassionate and democratic despite facing a multiplicity of problems caused by material poverty and the struggle to develop. Can the Gujarat tragedy be seen as an aberration or a man-made disaster?
Culture and identity under Hindutva
Frontline, Volume 19 - Issue 09, Apr. 27 - May 12, 2002
Look who are the ones that feel they have the power to decide who 'true Indians' are.
TWO recent news items - although on very different matters - have brought into focus the ways in which the notions of culture and identity are being mauled and misinterpreted by the self-proclaimed votaries of "Hindutva".
- Middle ground quakes
Rajni Kothari, The Hindustan Times, Wednesday, May 1, 2002
A propos the spread of communal riots in Gujarat, it needs to be said
that it would be a mistake to think that this is going to be confined
to Gujarat and can be contained within it.
Who's she when she's at home?
Outlook India.Com | Magazine | May 06, 2002
- A Hindu 'laboratory' frightens Muslims
By Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, Inernational Herald Tribune, Monday, April 29, 2002
Significantly, Gujarat is the only one of India's 26 states to be ruled by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Hindu zealots call it the laboratory of the future, meaning the Hindu rashtra (state) of their dreams.
- Call Of Conscience, Cast Of Character
By Harsh Mander, Outlookindia.com, Apr 22, 2002
The IAS officer who resigned in the wake of systematic slaughter of innocents in Gujarat on the role of higher pollice and civil services.
- Naming the guilty
Swami Agnivesh and Rev. Valson Thampu, April 21, 2002
The perpetrators of the violence that has engulfed Gujarat have derived their encouragement and legitimacy from the subjective endorsement extended to partisan and communal sentiments, say SWAMI AGNIVESH and Rev. VALSON THAMPU. The first of a two-part article.
- Caste, Hindutva and Hideousness
By Ghanshyam Shah, EPW Commentary, April 13, 2002
The Hindutva movement has made serious attempts to forge a unity among
Hindus, without disturbing the relative power relations among the
castes. The Sangh parivar, for all its rhetoric on upliftment of the
dalits, hardly ever raises a voice against caste-based discrimination or
atrocities against dalits. This ambivalent attitude has led to
considerable disenchantment and confusion among the dalits which is
exacerbated during times of tension.
- Gujarat Riots: The Top 5 Myths and Facts
By Shalini Gera and Girish Agrawal