Monday, October 21, 2013
Straight From A Gujarati Muslim
It was a boring and irritating weekend in Tokyo yesterday. Boring because, one can`t possibly do anything interesting when it rains cats and dogs for a better part of Saturday and remains pretty much the same till late afternoon on Sunday. Like their language even the weather of Japan is becoming more enigmatic to me every passing day. I heard of the notorious British weather but trust me when I say, Japanese weather can`t be too far behind on those parameters. Anyway, I am not here to do a weatherman or act like an expert of weather semantics of various places. I am in fact here to write on a completely different issue.
So here I go. After the rains receded a bit around 3 P.M, I thought of venturing out to make the weekend feel little interesting than what it was till then. Probably to stroll around the streets, have a nice train ride in the city with scantily clad Japanese girls adding to the view or simply to have a drink or two at a good place. After two stations from Ebisu where I boarded, someone looking like an Indian boarded and sat beside me. I said `looking like` because in a foreign land you can`t quite be sure as a handful of Pakistani and Bangladeshi also crowd the place. After some silent ride, out of curiosity I asked if he is an Indian by any chance. To my delight he nodded his head in agreement. As a customary he asked me to which part of India I belong which I answered along with firing the same query at him. What he replied, let it be under the wrap for some time and I will get to that a little later. But before that, I am not sure if it is with Indians only, but we are a set of people who can talk to absolute strangers for quite a length without even knowing their names. Whom we are talking to perhaps features least in our priorities until unless it is a life threatening necessity or some bout of strong courtesy syndrome hits us in between our conversation. After talking to this new found Indian for 15 minutes on various things, including a good doze of Maa-Behen affections towards Ishant Sharma for screwing close to 60 crore people`s joy single handedly, it suddenly struck me. Hell, I haven`t asked this guy his name. Out of nowhere I stopped ornamenting Ishant Sharma further and asked him if he can reveal his name. For privacy I may not expose his name here but to cut short his introduction, he is a Muslim. Now I should get back to the point where I hid the place he belongs. Yes, few of you might have guessed it by now – it is Gujarat and that too from Ahmadabad.
A Muslim and that too from Gujarat; a better stage for a juicy political discussion couldn`t be asked for. More so for a person like me who has some immense interest in Indian political scene and the mayhems those been bestowed upon us in the name of democracy for quite some time. I tell you, on a gloomy day like yesterday, that was a welcome eventuality. I am sure Suresh Kalmadi couldn`t have been any happier than me with the prospect of arranging another mega sports event. This is after good 2 years that I happened to meet a Gujarati Muslim since I met that gentleman on a flight from Bangalore to Delhi. Naturally, once the identities were revealed the discussion was destined to go till 2002 Gujarat riots. And it in fact did in matter of minutes as this Muslim friend was an equal political enthusiast as me; or may be more. And as you all know, Gujarat riots and Modi can`t be separated, much to the delight of our paid media. We talked for 20 minutes on Modi and the riots till we reached Akiahabara. I would be lying if I say I was surprised with the response from this guy as his replies were on the expected lines of truth but what struck me is the context in which this gentleman answered his heart out with all fairness. Before we go to the details of our discussion here is the line from him that I feel could easily go as the gist of our conversation. When I asked, what he feels about Modi as the chief-minister and a human being at large, his reply was classic - `I don`t know if Modi is a good human being or not. I couldn`t even care less. I don`t know if he has a hand in those killings but for sure he is the kind of CM that every state of India needs`.
To explain this further he has this example to furnish which he and his family endured themselves. According to him, the riots were as bad as it can be. He as a Muslim was seriously annoyed to see people from his brethren getting butchered, as any self-respecting individual would feel. That said, he never seem to have any personal grudge against Modi to begin with. According to him, both the Godhra burning and what followed after that are gruesome and it is the people and their lack of humanity which should be blamed. At no place the administration should be held accountable, he added. Being an educated man himself he understands had there been any hand of Modi or his administration in fueling the riots then how in earth not a single instance of religious overture ever occurred after that. How come a man accused of such ghastly acts turned a savior after that immediately? `Modi is no king Ashoka that he turned a saint after seeing the bloodshed` - were his exact words to defend his analysis. All this while, our media along with numerous NGOs and to great extent the Congress party are beating around a completely wrong bush, he added. When I asked what exactly he means by `wrong bush`, his answer was thrilling. The Congress party which pretends to care for Muslims or the NGOs and the media those are merrymaking on the dead of Gujarat riots are least bothered if the victims get their share of justice. Had they been serious, they would be behind the real culprits with all force, not going after a political leader for personal gain. While the flag bearers of secularism are all busy portraying an elected leader in bad light for political purpose, the real culprits are living their life merrily, he answered. It is this agenda driven cacophony that has forced the spotlight to be shifted from the real thugs of the massacre and positioned on the life and political career of a certain Narendra Modi, when he actually has got nothing to do with the killings. All our investigative agencies are busy framing that one man by hook-or-crook where they should rather be investing their time in unearthing the real culprits and this is what I call `beating around the wrong bush` by purpose, he added.
What came after this lengthy explanation was even more thrilling. Before Modi, Gujarat was anything but structured. The usual touts were having a field day with loot and abject disrespect to public discourse was the norm of the day. Add to that, the architects of secularism were always busy plotting new schemes to keep alive that fear factor among the minority for vote bank. People in general weren`t smart at that time to see through the plots, were they? He looked at me for my approval. The previous Congress governments before Modi did two things absolutely routinely and brilliantly – keep the minorities to remain in a perpetual state of fear and keep looting public money. Had there been no self-gratifying gene among the Gujaratis, we would have been a Lalu`s Bihar long time back. At least the leaders of Congress made sure we will eventually become one, if not for a certain Modi, he added. While the leaders of Congress would flood our ghettos during election times and shed gallons of crocodile tears for vote, they in fact did nothing to elevate our community. All that they offered us in response to our unconditional loyalty is more fear. They never bothered if the Muslims of the state are getting enough opportunities, if there are enough jobs for the youth or for that matter if there are enough hospitals for the citizenry. They only asked for our patronage and that too without any demand and assured us safety from the nonexistent fear in return.
Now it is a different Gujarat altogether. Though the fear still remains, more so after the riots but at least we have graduated our social and economic stature to a new level. At least there is this man who is offering us with opportunity to elevate ourselves after proving our competences unlike the worthless appeasement that Congress threw at us earlier. At least there is one man who is offering us with more avenues to climb the ladder of success, not just crocodile tears for vote bank. And you know the most interesting part – what Modi has done for the Muslims is probably more than all the previous Congress governments put together and yet he never asks us for our votes. Call it his non-appeasement policies or his mission to prove a point after the riots blot, the Muslims are in far, far better position than they were ever before and I am sure, also far better placed than Muslims from any Congress ruled state, he explained. Take my example; had there been a Congress government, I would still be loitering around the streets of Juhapura with that invisible fear in my mind and doing absolutely nothing but waiting for the next appeasement package from these morons. I am an engineer now and visiting different countries on work assignments because there is a man called Modi who elevated our democracy from the level of cheap communal discourse and fear to delivery, opportunities and governance. Do I need to say more, he looked at me and asked?Ahh, two out of two. Ditto sentiments for Modi delivered by that gentleman up 30000 feet to this guy on the ground over a pair of rails. Both of them have their reservations against the killings but at the same time both of them feel, without Modi they would still be languishing in the same fear spectrum that their previous generation did. They may be biased, as natural it can be with anyone but given a chance they would still be electing Narendra Modi as Gujarat CM even after 30 years of his ruling. Does that speak something of this man? Or it still doesn`t if our filthy media were to be believed?