Gujrat Riots

Aziz Poonawalla (yes, him again) has the best collection of links to stories about the Hindu-Muslim riots in the Indian province of Gujrat earlier in the year.

Suman Palit responds to Aziz with the “root causes” of the hatred of the Hindu fundamentalists for their local Muslims. I don’t agree with his interpretation though. He goes back a thousand years to the Muslim (Afghan/Central Asian) conquest of India. If we go back that far, everyone will have reasons to hate everyone else.

Aziz has dealt point-by-point with Suman’s post. It’s so comprehensive, I don’t have to bother writing my own response.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

8 thoughts on “Gujrat Riots”

  1. this is all a ploy by politicians who want to remain in power. this corruption is ruining the lives of millions. but we as indians should not succumb to this force. why should we stop loving our neighbors, friends, etc. simply on the basis of religion? we should show the political leaders that being gujrati is not tied to a religious group, but we are gujrati b/c we were born here or live here. the terror can stop if we all work hard

  2. Aziz’s “refutation” is idiotic. Suman is brilliant. Suman isn’t EXCUSING the actions, I hope, but rather explaining the reasons behind it. There are surely some thugs in the hindu right, but Suman’s points still stand. There is a new nationalism in India that is hard for me to explain to muslims/pakistanis. Also, hindu right is using history as a political purpose which it shouldn’t do. History should not be politicised or rewritten. The latter has been done by marxist historians, and the former by hindu extremists. Besides, there are more important things to worry about:

    India’s AIDS epidemic could grow to African levels
    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1507&ncid=1507&e=6&u=/afp/20031113/hl_afp/india_aids_031113120709

  3. swati: Thanks.

    AJ: I have completely forgotten what Suman and Aziz said on the topic since this thread is about a year old.

    The extreme right Hindu nationalists are playing a very dangerous game in India and the moderates in BJP are not doing much to stop them.

    The Hindu nationalists do use history in a way very similar to the fascists, communists and heck the Islamists (yes, I just finished reading Berman’s Terror and Liberalism).

    The AIDS epidemic threat is very real and could devastate South Asia still.

  4. Suman and Aziz with good reasons seem to colour the violence in Gujrat as a continuation of some “Hindu-Muslim” relationship that goes way back in time. This is how things appear on the surface. However I would like to point out that things are more complicated. Looking back in History, weren’t the Zamindars in the days of the Mughals all Hindus. Especially in the North where their legacy has somehow survived seven centuries ? If the Muslim kings of India were such a blow to the Hindu way of life, then why do you still see the retrograde practices of untouchability in rural areas and even in the cities to some extent. How is it, that all these centuries of “Muslim rule” have allowed the legacy of the Thakurs and the Singhs to survive if not flourish ? Why only landlords, I am a Gujrati vaishnav (a Shah) and live in Maharshtra where Brahmins maintain a whiter complexion and hazel eyes due to centuries of segregation from other castes. From what I hear about my past and those of friends, the Brahmin and Baniya traditions seem to have survived those odd years of “Muslim rule” without any loss of colour and collar. The kind of status they have enjoyed over the centuries has survived the Mughals and the British and only in modern times is it abating due to higher education etc. It seems as though, the Mughlas ruled India like Kings, not like Muslims for the most part, so much for Islamic fundamentalism.

    In my view the VHP, the BJP and the RSS are not really forces that defend the Hindu religeon by any means if you recall that Savarkar was an atheist. However they do represent the upper case Hindu Indian, the caste that has always dominated the social scene of India whatever be the political ruler.

    I suddenly realised this when I heard of the organised killing reported in the Gujrat riots. Middle class baniya housewives making petrol bombs for their men to throw on their Muslim neighbours and brainwashed lower middle class clerks getting naked in front of Muslim women women after a heated stone throwing session. If this is not only an extension of the tension that has always existed between the castes in rural areas. It seems the Hindu right is serving old wine in a new bottle albeit a much bigger one and much stronger in it’s flavour. Enough to make us forget our rationality and enjoy the fun of $%#@$ with minorities.

    If all this killing of minorities is not a reworking an old story running through the villages of Bihar and Rajasthan ? Where hatred for the lower caste has been a way of life. As a Hindu frustrated with the Shah Bano case and the CNN images of terrorising middle eastern musilms, I want to add in the Muslims to my laser printed directory of killables.

    Gang rapes of dalit women by “respectable” upper caste men and the brutal treatment meted out to lower castes are not uncommon in rural India. As a middle class person, I find this hatred for the unwashed in myself. It is a part of who I am. And hating the Muslim is an extension of this.

    What the Hindu right has been doing in India sincee the days of Golwalkar (1920’s that is) is neither good for Hindus nor right. It is essentially trying to use this inherent hatred and alienation in people like me and my family to make a political liason of the Zamindars, the Brahmins and the Baniyas. Yes, yes I know they are lately recruiting dalits in the lower berths for opportunistic reasons. But their central program is that of any right wing. They would like to go back to the days of yore (socially that is) where there is a small set of people powerful enough that they could essentially do whatever they liked with those that are outside. They would like peace as one Mr Joshi in Gujrat puts it “if the Muslims and Christians and the Dalits regard us as ‘baaps’”.

    They are building on fear and hatred, blowing up the magnitude of hate in ordinary Indians. Gujratis (the ones in Modi’s Gujrat) I am ashamed to say can describe rape quite as glibly as they define a recipe for gathiya. “Just strip the women and #%*&@ them and then burn them”. Is this the kind of hatred that will not only worsen the alienation of Muslims and leave them fewer options than terrorism and suicide bombing? Are we not making the climate vicious for foriegn investment and tourism ?

    To remind you of the Muslim condition in India, in the last 50 years, they have not been able to rise into the middle class or upper class partly due to discrimination against them by people like myself and my family. We baniyas and Brahmins and zamindars would not live in a neighbourhood that is predominantly Muslim. We would be wary of their beards when they apply for a job or a studentship. Only to remind you that we are already quite high in the social ladder and burning and raping the Muslims and Dalits and Christians is merely a shameful act of cruelty.

    Let us be careful in what we conclude and how we percieve things is all I am saying. Thanks,

    Amit

  5. Hatered against Muslims was the main cause of partition in 1947. You can’t submerge 140 millions Muslims in Indian ocean. If we can’t learn from History, History won’t hesitate to repeat itself.——Shabbir Husain Qureshi

  6. i really think historical events do contribute t hindu-muslim hatred,tearing down of hindu temples,forced coversion of hindus to muslims etc.but only to a certain extent.its the recent events and the present situation that leads to hindu muslim animosity.the agony of kashmiri pundits,and the attitude of muslims towards other cultures,religious groups.but the worst part is what they are doing to their own self.still clamouring to old norms and ideas,and therefore not progressing.look at level of uneducation,birthrate,crime amongst muslims.i think india is one country where everyone has a fair chance to come up,and thrive.agreed we still have caste disputes but its getting better everyday and it is more to do with education than anything.but look at other muslim countries afghanistan,pakistan,iraq,iran,jordan etc,abusing their citizens.nothing against their religion or way of life but they should realize that practicing religion is one thing but blind following some mullahs letting them dictate your way life and hampering your growth is detrimental.at least in india they should use the opportunity,integrate themselves and work for the nations progress,educate themselves and work their way up to middle class.

  7. Genocide of Muslims in Gujrat should not be termed as ‘riots’. It would be a big mistake to look upon the massacre of muslims as something having a communal edge. The organised assault was none less than a ‘pogrom’- a well planned act of fascists supported by state machine. The purpose of pogrom is to establish domination of the fascist party- the Modi gang- over the civil society and to create a sort of supra-state apparatus of terror.

    The calculated policy of organising ‘pogroms’ is not unknown to history. Minority communities have been repeatedly subjected to these massacres, organised under state patronage.

    We must understand that the pogroms are the consciously organised acts of fascism, aimed at dominating the civil society through an unoffical terror-machine, amking the state subservient to the same. Fascism in its turn, is nothing but the policy of Imperialism- the world capitalism- for its defence against the people.

    Those who are seriously interested in preventing the fascists from taking the initiative in their hand must work on the idea of arming the Workers in cities to counter fascist designs and virtually punish any such moves of fascists. Other sections of the population must be organised to follow Workers’ Militias, which must be trained to act swiftly to crush the cobra of fascism, whenever and wherever it raises its ugly head.

    Rajesh Tyagi- 91-011- 22309424

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