What happened two years ago caused me pain, anger, shame. It caused the same to many others; but I still feel those - pain, anger, shame - when I think about Gujarat, for the reason that the wrongs that were done then have not been righted. That is why I am not tired of writing about it.
Somebody asked me a question today. I shall not name the person. It is two years since the Godhra railway carriage burning though I have never given any importance to calendrical coincidences.
The question was: "Are you not tired of writing about Gujarat? Is it not time to shift your attention to something else?"
My answer appears below.
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.
What happened two years ago caused me pain, anger, shame. It caused the same to many others; but I still feel those - pain, anger, shame -when I think about Gujarat, for the reason that the wrongs that were done then have not been righted. That is why I am not tired of writing about it.
Time is the great healer, they say. I can confirm from experience that this is true. But there are limits to everything: some rocks are not moved even by the strongest push. I doubt that that woman's wounds will ever be healed who was raped, whose husband and brother were killed before her eyes, whose unborn foetus was held aloft on the point of a sword, whose house was destroyed with exploding gas cylinders.
Justice will help, even though it cannot go beyond punishing the criminals, beyond the giving of cheques of compensation, beyond the rebuilding of destroyed homes and shops. It will help, even though it cannot bring back those who are not among the living, even though it cannot restore the personal dignity that was snatched away from so many.
Justice will help primarily by showing the people who suffered - and who are suffering still - that the nation is theirs, that it acts in their interests, that it will uphold their rights: that although it may move slowly, it gets there in the end.
But justice has not been done; and there is no sign of its being done. Murderers and rapists walk free in Gujarat, they strut before their victims. Their victims get neither help nor even sympathy from the rulers but are, instead, kept away from their own homes and are not permitted to work for a living.
I have resumed writing about other things, but I am not tired of writing about Gujarat. The day my pain, my anger, my shame are taken away - that day I shall stop. I want my suffering to end, but that will not happen so long as I know that it is trivial when compared with that of so many thousands in Gujarat: human beings like me, Indian citizens like me. Mine is only a reflection: theirs was and remains real. I am far away, unscathed physically and economically. Not like them.