And so the Godhra 10th anniversary came and passed. I had predicted a “Hang-Modi” weekend in the media. I am pleasantly surprised the extended weekend wasn’t as bad as I expected. While the cacophony over the 10th anniversary of Godhra and the Gujarat riots was all over the media, the anti-Modi, anti-Gujarat hate engineers clearly appear to have lost momentum. This is not so much because they have had a change of heart but somewhere there seems to be a realisation that people on the ground in Gujarat are fighting for a different cause. Rajdeep Sardesai was first off the block with a Ground Zero special on Godhra and after on CNN-IBN, next was Barkha Dutt on NDTV and, of course, Arnab Goswami followed up late on Monday, February 27. As Howard Beale would tell you: “TV is not the truth, it’s an amusement park....We lie like hell”. The Oscar awards show happened the same day taking away a lot of precious time from the Gujarat campaign and that should have upset some of the media crooks.
First, has Gujarat moved on? Have the victims of violence moved on? Yes, Gujarat has certainly moved on but it will take much longer for the victims to move on. For anyone who has lost family members and friends to violence life doesn’t stop but it does take a long time to move on. It took a long time for families to move on from the tragedies of Partition. Some may still have bad memories. In much the same way a decade is too short a period to get over deaths and tragedies from mass violence. The Sikhs of the 1984 genocide are still seeking closure. The victims of Gujarat riots too are seeking closure. Maybe it will take another generation to completely move on from individual tragedies.
There are killers from every tragedy who are still roaming free. Be it the 1984 Sikh massacre, be it the Kashmir ethnic cleansing, be it many other communal riots or be it Gujarat. I believe if one could talk to some of these killers they would probably wonder if they would indulge in such wanton killing as a normal individual. Ask them when sober if they would now do again what they did then, they will probably regret their act. But mob killings are just that. It is like a drunk who isn’t totally aware of his acts. The media and certain NGOs made an industry of the justice campaign. Most of this campaign was based on lies. The only objective of this gang was to get Narendra Modi to resign, be sentenced to death or prison and if all that didn’t work out to somehow apologise. The lies have slowly but surely come undone and most of the hate engineers stand exposed.
Rajdeep Sardesai’s poor display of raw emotion and tears to make an emotionally appealing documentary is a good indicator of muddling facts and reason. His programme wasn’t live and could have been edited to take out the emotional bursts. But hey, who wants to delete good theatre? To his credit Rajdeep consciously avoided even mentioning Modi too often in his show or demonising him as he has done in the past. As an after-thought, CNN-IBN later carried stories about a famous restaurant, Chandra Vilas on the riot-prone Gandhi Road (where Gandhi and Sardar have dined) which was destroyed during the riots and is now back to normal. To balance that there was a muslim shopkeeper who stated he has moved on and 2002 is well buried. And for the first time Rajdeep also featured families of the Godhra train victims.
The worst programme on the anniversary was quite definitely Arnab Goswami’s Newshour. With time, Arnab appears to more ill-behaved, more foul-mouthed and more incoherent than any of the panelists that appear on his show. I dare say he is starting to be India’s own Howard Beale, the deranged TV anchor of ‘Network’. To make matters worse he hosted two discredited liars on his show - Sanjiv Bhatt and Shabnam Hashmi. The motives of these two individuals have long been established and chronicled. In contrast Barkha Dutt was far more subdued. One panelist on her show let out that she had agreed she would not make it a political discussion. That should tell us something about her past programmes on Gujarat. Even so, she had Javed Anand (husband of Teesta Setalvad) who drew parallels with Hitler’s Jewish massacre and so on. Barkha’s question was: Is reconciliation possible without justice? We will come to that later.
In the meantime the usual suspects, including Javed Anand, like Ashutosh of IBN7, Nikhil Wagle of Lokmat were there to rank Modi as Hitler and equate the Gujarat riots to the holocaust. Not that this needs any rebuttal but it reflects the vile campaign that these gentlemen have carried on for years. It is too much to expect of these motivated activists and so called journalists to understand that Hitler’s campaign was one of racial superiority. The systematic killing of Jews, because they were more successful economically and racially inferior, was Hitler’s main cause. And the Jews weren’t exactly burning train-loads of Christian Germans. Was Hitler the only one to persecute Jews? For 2000 years Jews were slaughtered by Christians and Muslims. Surprisingly, none of these hacks would want to talk of the Islamic killing of Jews. It doesn’t fit their agenda. Even today there are Islamic leaders who have sworn to wipe Israel off the world map. Nikhil Wagle and Ashutosh are some of the scumbags who thrive on lies. Ashutosh and Wagle do not possess the polish of a Barkha or Rajdeep but they do not lag in anyway in the skills of lie-mongering. Like Rajdeep and Barkha they too need wardrobe managers to dress up their lies.
And so to that question – Is reconciliation possible without justice? Let’s take murder cases. There are many murder cases that are yet to be solved. These cases have leads, there are possible suspects, even forensic evidence but they remain unsolved. And the victim or the family doesn’t get justice. In mass violence by mobs mostly made up of many unknown faces it is impossible that every offender is brought to justice. Hitler’s killers lived all over the world escaping justice. Simon Wiesenthal fought till the end to bring each of Hitler’s men to justice. Some are dead, others unknown. H.K.L. Bhagat, the man many hold responsible for the Sikh killings of 1984 died. Would he have been brought to justice if he were alive? Nobody knows. There are others like Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar who are accused by victims but are still free. What about the ethnic cleansing of Kashmir? Hardly any investigation was even made into the killings of the Pandits. And I have doubts anyone will ever be brought to justice for those killings. Where mob violence and civil wars are concerned it is nearly impossible to bring justice to every incident. However, there can be reconciliation.
Reconciliation, of course, needs truth to be established and expressed. That is where the media and the NGOs have worked to make it impossible. They have removed Truth so far from the Gujarat riots story that it makes reconciliation that much more difficult. But reconciliation will happen. The clamour for justice for victims of Gujarat riots would have been fair. But that wasn’t what the media celebs and activists wanted. Their single point agenda was Modi and Modi alone. They are guilty of turning the riots into a political battle. The victims of the riots, as with a terror attack or an unsolved murder case, have no option but to move on with or without justice. Justice might reinforce faith in the system but does not help moving on easily. That takes decades or generations to bury the wounds. Moving on needs finding life and happiness in the present and the future and the opportunities it brings. The jews haven’t forgotten and never will but they have moved on.
There is a very disturbing trend in this media madness though. For the first time they did manage to get some victims of the Sabarmati Express in their programmes. However, there are two events in the Gujarat case – One is Godhra and the other is post-Godhra. If one watched all the programmes over the last decade they would lead you to believe that not a single Hindu died post-Godhra. 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus died in the post Godhra riots. Yet, anyone watching the media and the activists would believe only muslims were killed. Not one, I repeat not one, family of the 254 Hindu victims were ever covered by the media. They probably don't even know where these families are. Which is the reason media and the activists failed in their political agenda. Their entire focus was to somehow implicate and nail Modi.
Sanjiv Bhatt even mentions somewhere that he might even join politics. I wonder what he means by that. He IS already in politics, just like Teesta, Shabnam, Mallika, Rajdeep, Barkha, Arnab and the others in the ‘Anti-Modi cottage industry’ are. Most of these people have enriched themselves in their quest for justice for Modi over the past decade while the victims struggle. But that miserable enemy of media called truth sooner or later turned up somewhere. There will be a few noises that will still continue but for a large part their game is well and truly over.