Aha! Now that I have got your attention with the 10000-killed number I guess I can spin some more. That’s like pulling out a number from the Worli Matka, isn’t it? For those who are new to the concept, Worli Matka was a major gambling racket operated by Ratan Khatri in Worli, Mumbai. Every evening Khatri would draw two sets of lucky cards from the pack. People who bet money on cards would either lose or lose. That’s true, people mostly lost and Khatri made a lot of money. There’s even a fun site called Matka.Com that educates people on the concept without money being involved. But since Khatri closed down a long time ago our media and others have carried forward his gambling concept. This is especially true for the number of Muslims killed in Gujarat 2002 riots. You must have heard numbers like 5000, 3000, 2000 while the official number was 1044 killed and around 223 missing. So, apart from the media, the latest one to use Matka figures and Matka logic is none other Justice Markandeya Katju (MK).
By now most of us have heard of MK’s opinions on almost everything under Pluto. And everyone is tired. So thankfully, like Aaakar Patel and Ram Guha, MK has chosen to “Focus”. And lately his focus is none other than Narendra Modi. He writes in the The Hindu an article called “All the perfumes of Arabia” on February 15. Now, I’m one of those who Katju categorises under 90% fools or idiots so I can’t figure out that title except that it must have to do with some fairy tales we usually associate with Arabian Nights. This time, it is nice little fairy tales about Narendra Modi. There is nothing new in what MK writes. So we will skip the usual rants about Modi and Gujarat and touch upon anything that sounds different. Like Shekhar Gupta who often runs into and chats with people at airports, railway stations and flights, MK starts with a conversation on a flight. Imagine the misfortune of his co-passenger. Let’s read the rant (edited excerpts in blue):
I was flying from Delhi to Bhopal recently. Sitting beside me was a Gujarati businessman. I asked him his opinion of Mr. Modi. He was all praise for him. I interjected and asked him about the killing of nearly 2,000 Muslims in 2002 in Gujarat. He replied that Muslims were always creating problems in Gujarat, but after 2002 they have been put in their place and there is peace since then in the State. I told him this is the peace of the graveyard, and peace can never last long unless it is coupled with justice. At this remark he took offence and changed his seat on the plane. Oh there you are! That Matka figure of 2000 comes in again. I’d have to say this co-passenger was a lucky guy indeed. He could get just get up and walk away to another seat. What if Katju moved in as my neighbour? Frankly, given his continuous outrage on everything and since the 90% can’t live with the 10%, I would definitely considering moving to a new residence which is far more difficult than changing seats on a plane. So MK is so obsessed he probably goes around asking every Gujju he runs into about Modi and then pounds him with his philosophy of justice. Just the other day I ran into a Supreme Court lawyer and asked him his opinion of Katju and he said… No, never mind! I can’t print that.
To call the killings of Muslims in 2002 a spontaneous reaction reminds one of Kristallnacht in Germany in November 1938, when the entire Jewish community in Germany was attacked, many killed, their synagogues burnt, shops vandalised after a German diplomat in Paris was shot dead by a Jewish youth whose family had been persecuted by the Nazis. It was claimed by the Nazi government that this was only a ‘spontaneous’ reaction, but in fact it was planned and executed by the Nazi authorities using fanatic mobs. This is probably the biggest blunder that MK has so far committed in print. The stupid analogy he draws seems to have been totally lost in his prejudiced head and thoughts. The closest that comes to the Nazi reaction he quotes for one single individual being killed is not Gujarat but Indira Gandhi. Because her Sikh guards killed IndiraG, thousands of Sikhs were brutally killed, homes burnt and families destroyed. I suppose Katju probably thinks the killing of one individual (IndiraG) caused a “spontaneous” reaction but burning and killing of 59 people in a train brought about a “planned” reaction. Sheer nonsense as his own example proves. If we apply his Nazi logic at all then it is the IndiraG murder that caused the Nazi reaction he talks about.
In terms of historical evolution, India is broadly a country of immigrants and consequently, it is a land of tremendous diversity. Hence, the only policy which can hold it together and put it on the path of progress is secularism — equal respect and treatment to all communities and sects. This was the policy of the great Emperor Akbar, which was followed by our founding fathers (Pandit Nehru and his colleagues) who gave us a secular Constitution. This is a pet theory of MK; India being a country of immigrants. Yeah right, most people know I am from Honduras. There’s no problem with the diversity, it existed even before and will exist after MK. The truth is, historically some immigrants came as refugees some came as invaders. Some invaders carried swords and some carried guns. Surely, the immigrants of the latter category didn’t come here singing “Kaho naa pyaar hai” did they? As for Nehru’s vision – China, NAM, Kashmir, USSR... less said the better. And no, the founding fathers (if they can be called that for an ancient country) didn’t insert the word “secular” into the constitution. It was inserted by IndiraG during Emergency. The secularism practiced by Nehru’s party is now prominent as pseudo-secularism.
So what’s new about the Gujarat and Modi story that is now floating in the media? First the media mafia started with the story of “Mass murderer, Hitler, Nazi, Fascist, Hero of Hatred, Maut Ka Saudagar” and FAILED. The more they ranted, the more the people backed Modi. Then having failed with that they showered scorn on Gujarat’s economic progress under Modi. They abused economic data to manipulate reports and show a bad picture. FAILED! Left with nothing, they have now come up with one single word mantra: “Malnutrition”. As MK says:
Questionable progress: Today, 48 per cent of Gujarati children are malnourished, which is a higher rate of malnourishment than the national average.
Like a box of parrots, Aakar Patel, Ram Guha, others and now MK, everyone in the media lately talks about “Malnutrition” in Gujarat. Even students who are called for debates are tutored to talk of “Malnutrition” in Gujarat. Funny huh? Malnutrition is a national problem and so too in Gujarat, maybe across the world in some countries. But where the other tags failed they are now into the “Malnutrition” song and dance routine. Here’s how their mundane rant has become and how foolish it really sounds:
Great roads in Gujarat: Okay, but what about malnutrition?
Great infrastructure in Gujarat: Okay, but what about malnutrition?
24X7 Power supply: Okay, but what about malnutrition?
Water in Sabarmati: Okay, but what about malnutrition?
Special incentives for girls: Okay, okay, but what about malnutrition?
Crores of investments: Yeah alright, but what about malnutrition?
Women can move safely: Who cares? What about malnutrition?
Modi is not corrupt & incorruptible: Corruption is normal, what about malnutrition?
Sex-determination tests banned: Minor issue, what about malnutrition?
GDP growth over national average: Fine, fine, what about malnutrition?
DoubleDigit Agri growth for years: See the “larger” picture, what about malnutrition?
So, now that everything else has failed the last straw to clutch is the magic word called malnutrition. And I promise you, you will hear this word over and over again in the next one year. I can understand the agenda of the media mafia but considering MK is a lawman one would have expected a more logical and sensible approach with his criticism. Nothing like that! He too sounds like a parrot. So whether it’s 2000 or 3000 or 5000 killed as these magicians keep pulling out from their hats, what’s wrong if I pull out a Matka figure of 10000? For that matter, what’s wrong if I pulled out a figure of 1 lakh even? There are some newspapers and TV channels who are as good as a Matka. They provide the platform for the Matka logic and some writers are the cards.