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Updated: March 5, 2012 16:15 IST

The battle against forgetting

Farah Naqvi
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If we accept Gujarat 2002 as something ‘in the past,' as some would like us to, we threaten the meaning of our present, and endanger our future.

Dateline: Shah-e-Alam Relief Camp, Ahmedabad, March 27, 2002:

Among the human debris scattered around the courtyard of the Shah-e-Alam relief camp in Ahmedabad, the largest with over 10,000 survivors, are Saira (age 12), Afsana (age 11), Naina (age 12), Anju (age 12), Rukhsat (age 9), Nilofer (age 10), Nilofer (age 9), Hena (age 11). They are all survivors from Naroda Patiya. And they have seen things no child should see. They know words no child should have to learn.

“Balatkar” (Rape) — they know this word. “Mein bataoon didi?” (Shall I tell you?), volunteers a nine year old. “Balatkar ka matlab jab aurat ko nanga karte hain aur phir use jala dete hain” (Rape is when a woman is stripped naked and then burnt). And then she looks fixedly at the floor. Only a child can tell it like it is. For this is what happened again and again in Naroda Patiya — women were stripped, raped and burnt.” (The Survivors Speak, fact-finding by a women's panel, April 16, 2002. P. 13)

Nothing was left of these mutilated women — no bodies, no evidence, no justice. Nothing but the scars on this little girl's mind. I still remember her face, and today 10 years later, I wonder where she is, how she is making her way through life, scarred by this macabre, twisted image of rape. I wonder where those men are, the ones who butchered so many childhoods and got away with it. I wonder, again and again, at the State, whose constitutional duty it was to protect, that colluded in the massacre of its own citizens.

Remains a wound

Ten years to the pogrom in Gujarat, I try to look back. But for me, like for thousands of survivors and activists, it is impossible. How does one look back at something that is so much a part of one's present? And so, Gujarat remains a wound that stays with me always, deep and continuous. I cried often in 2002. I still cry. And I guess that is all right. Because Gujarat should make us collectively weep. And make us truly ashamed of ourselves as a nation.

What happened 10 years ago is the kind of upheaval that refuses to be historicised. That cannot be consigned to the pages of any history book with a full stop at the end. In part because the violence of Gujarat continued for long after February-March 2002, and is continuing today in the frightened little lives lived by scores of destroyed Muslim families; in the lives of thousands of men, women and children still languishing in ‘resettlement colonies' relegated to the margins of Gujarat's seemingly flourishing towns and cities. In part, because many battles for justice are still being bravely waged in the courts, and the narrative is still unfolding. But in greatest part because the ‘meaning' of what Gujarat did to India remains contested.

People say — “move on, get a life, why do activists keep raking up this ‘unpleasant' past? It's been 10 years.” Why? Because if we settle for the past as some would like it scripted, we threaten the meaning of our present, and endanger our future. These contestations are not just about many battles in courtrooms that must be waged. The contestation is about the meaning of citizenship. It is about the relationship between citizen and State. It is about challenging State impunity. Gujarat is the battle for collective memory against forgetting because it is ultimately the battle for the idea of India.

In 1950, India made a constitutional promise to protect the rights of its minorities to live with dignity and with full rights of citizenship. Time and again, that sacred promise has been violated — in Delhi, Nellie, Meerut, Bhagalpur, Hashimpura, Kandhamal, Gujarat and most recently in Gopalgarh (Sept. 2011). In each case, innocents were murdered, maimed, sexually assaulted, burnt out of hearth and home, scattered to the winds, simply because of their minority identity, because of who they were. In each episode of targeted violence, the officers of the State acted in a biased manner, failing in their duty to protect, to prosecute, and to give justice. How long can this go on? How long will those in political power use the might of the State, the guns, and the police, and sirens against one group of citizens and get away with it? Institutional biases of the State machinery cannot be acceptable in any civilised democracy — that is the lesson of Gujarat.

The challenges

The massacre in Gujarat poses many challenges to us as a nation, exposing holes in our hearts, in our social fabric, as well as in our criminal justice system, laws and jurisprudence. Now we cannot legislate against communal prejudice and hatred in the hearts and minds of people. That is a battle that we as a society and a people must wage in a million different ways at a million different moments in our collective and individual lives. But we can and we must legislate to ensure justice to the weak.

Elusive justice

Unlike any other violent episode in India's recent history, Gujarat 2002 tested the strength and resilience of many of our democratic institutions to the fullest. The National Human Rights Commission, the honourable Supreme Court, and the National Commission for Minorities. Each came forward and acted. And yet somehow, that thing called justice still eludes the victims of Gujarat. These victims and survivors call upon us to restore equality in the working of the law for all citizens; to create a legal remedy for institutional bias by the State; to fill the lacunae in our laws and our jurisprudence that has failed time and again to ensure criminal culpability for those in command, those who are never caught with the knives in their hands, but who instruct others to lie, and kill and misuse the law for electoral gain. These are not very tall orders. For, if we get this right it will help realise, better than we have so far, the constitutional promise of justice and equality before law. And without justice, we cannot move on.

A survivor's courage

On January 18, 2008, Bilkis Bano, a Gujarat survivor who had the courage to speak of the unspeakable, withstanding over 20 days of gruelling cross-examination, found a little justice, when 12 accused who had gang-raped her, murdered and raped 14 members of her family, and smashed her three-year-old daughter to the ground during the horrifying days of 2002, were finally awarded life sentences by a Mumbai Session court.

On January 21, 2008, at a press conference in Delhi, Bilkis made this statement:

“For the last six years I have lived in fear, shuttling from one temporary home to the other, carrying my children with me, trying to protect them from the hatred that I know still exists in the hearts and minds of so many people. This judgment does not mean the end of hatred but it does mean that somewhere, somehow justice can prevail. This judgment is a victory for not only me but for all those innocent Muslims who were massacred and all those women whose bodies were violated only because, like me, they were Muslim. It is a victory because now, hereafter, no one can deny what happened to women in Gujarat in those terrible days and nights of 2002. Because now it will forever be imprinted on the historical record of Gujarat that sexual violence was used as a weapon against us. I pray that the people of Gujarat will some day be unable to live with the stigma of that violence and hatred, and will root it out from the very soil of a State that still remains my home.”

We give up on the battle for justice in Gujarat at our own peril. For in giving up on Gujarat, we give up on hope for a better India — an India that is by right home to each one of us.

(The author is a member of the National Advisory Council. Views expressed here are personal.)

More In: Lead | Opinion

No doubt, the burning of 59 hindus coming from the holy city of Ayodya and then the zakia jafri burning case, were all having no humanitarian ground and we can not venerate these issues being hindus or muslims. And even could not render any community as culprit or hero because both communities suffered there. But our collective duty is now to revere our democracy and its repute as the "largest democracy" in the world. So now it is obligation for both communities to join hands to deliver justice to all whether "muslims" or"hindus." By harking back and creating other grounds for such kind of pogroms, one cannot hope that justice is delivered to the victims.Consider now the way of Ashoka to quit feuds and spread humanity because this ground of India is not the ground of fanatics, linguistics and chauvinistic people but ground of saints,seers and sufis to spread humanity.If retaliation could be a solution then recall the hatred among us

from:  Vivek Mathur
Posted on: Mar 3, 2012 at 17:58 IST

Now, we have to look into the present and future steps that we as
citizen of India will do. It's no use bickering about what happened and
blaming one another. Both and any religion and people, community
related to that has done terrible mistakes during and after and to
that flame fuel has been added by politicians who instead of using
their power to reduce the flame they made it a bomb to their own
selfishness. Almost all generation y and z in India are educated (Not
literate but educated so they must be knowing the difference between
the news they receive, things they listen and use they own
intellectual knowledge and not to follow the cause of other, question
??? argue ??? you will notice even politicians will bow down for it.

I will only say is stop arguing about the issue think about future
solution. Use your mind and heart, but not this about religion but
think it terms of human, life at least.

We all know govt is getting pathetic day by day, what are we going to
do about it?

from:  Maverick
Posted on: Mar 3, 2012 at 04:26 IST

@Shuchi-"The State must be impartial". Well, the SIT report has given a clean chit to the STATE. If people have some other incriminating evidence, please approach the Supreme Court. Else, be a man enough and accept the verdict. Just harping that the State did not do enough withou any proof is a mere waste of time. And on top of this, such one sided articles just makes the whining even more annoying.

from:  Arun Subbu
Posted on: Mar 2, 2012 at 03:33 IST

The author has clearly stayed away from raising the issue of Kashmiri Pandits who are living the life in exile in their own country. Her heart cannot bleed for kashmiris or those who were burnt in Godhara train??? Sad and full of hypocrisy, no one is denying that riots are bad but the approach to selectively highlight only one side cannot deserve appreciation but certainly does raise an important question about her credibility as an activist.

from:  Shiva Mudgil
Posted on: Mar 1, 2012 at 20:29 IST

Its isn't just state machinery that needs to be neutral. The "liberals" and "intellectuals" need to learn to find their voice in all cases of violence like in the train burning case where there was total deafening silence from these people.
Are we also pretending to not hear same people justifying Maoist class violence or from others the justification for years of violence after the babri masjid incident or violence against Jews and Israelis as justified retaliation for their actions in Palestine?
Lets not forget the Kashmiri Pandits too who were ethnically cleansed from their homeland and State and Central machinery and the intellectuals did absolutely nothing.

from:  Hemant
Posted on: Mar 1, 2012 at 18:36 IST

Well, I don't understand why people are commenting that this is not the right time to write this article. Rather it is just so that people are reminded of the atrocities and massacres of 2002. Irrespective of the progress and development that Gujarat has made post these, nothing can pave the way for the Government to put forth the person who was a part of these as face of the nation. Rather such heinous crimes should be condemned and whether or not the courts punish them, the society can do justice to its fellow citizens in their own way by not electing such government. And this stands not only for Gujarat riots but for all including Godhra incident, Babri Masjid etc

from:  Shweta
Posted on: Mar 1, 2012 at 16:43 IST

@Shuchi - Well said. That's absolutely correct.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Mar 1, 2012 at 15:05 IST

The article is a reminder that such deeds should not be committed in the future! Communication is very good and the media very powerful. The Media makes or breaks a leader. So far no evidence has been found against the Gujrat CM and neither will it be found. If he has erred in certain situations he has also developed the state.
Please examine both sides of the coin! Mr.Modi has gone out of his domain to promote the development of Gujrat. he has even got Mr. Amitabh Bacchan as the brand ambassador for Gujrat tourism. Tourism is booming in Gujrat!! Has any SP,BJP or Congress government done this in Uttar Pradesh?? After the riots in UP! Modiji believes in Peace at all costs! because Peace translates into development!We cannot recall those who have died in the Godhra train and the Gulbarga carnage. We can only condemn! but by putting the clock back our vision of development is marred. Let us shed hatred not blood!!

from:  Ali shahanshah
Posted on: Mar 1, 2012 at 13:19 IST

The question here is not about religion, it is about the rights of women being violated. The author has probably expressed the information she has, but I don't think she is trying to demean any other religion or its people. Wake up and understand that we as a country are one and if you keep thinking along such narrow lines, we will never be able to bridge the differences that have come up in our society !

from:  Juveria
Posted on: Mar 1, 2012 at 10:53 IST

Every word of the author is true. But the sad part is that such episodes will continue as long as we the people of India continue to vote/elect our representatives based on religion, caste and other personal considerations.

from:  Ramesh Kumar
Posted on: Mar 1, 2012 at 09:26 IST

The point that the article is making is NOT that the massacre of innocent Muslims was more or less tragic than Godhra. The point is that the STATE must be impartial. When two children fight, the parents should not play favourites. When two neighbors fight, the police must intervene and be impartial. When two communities have a conflict, the whole state machinery must be honest
and fair. This is very fabric of a functioning democracy. And this is what has been threatened by the Gujarat riots.

from:  Shuchi
Posted on: Mar 1, 2012 at 05:00 IST

@Hemant - I did see your other four points and I have been writing about the very same
issues on all my posts on this article so I didn't want to repeat myself again. Your point about providing a context was interesting so I answered that point in a way I thought made imminent sense. You don't say why and how my argument about context is wrong, but only that it didn't make sense to you. And of course no one is telling anyone to ignore the Hindu victims or the victims of the train massacre and If you read my posts you'll know that.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 22:39 IST

I am with muslims community. So I want to promise those people that I will never vote BJP whenever they will talk about making Prime Minister to Mr. Narendra Modi.

from:  Puneet pushkar mishra
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 21:56 IST

I do not understand people making "Ghodhra" rail car fire and death of
innocent Hindus, a justification and/or reason of rape and killing of thousands of innocent Muslims who had nothing to do with that incident. This argument may carry some weight that too by stretch if such killing was limited to Muslim Community of Ghodhra. After 9/11 Mayors of all major city of the USA immediately provided police protection to all Mosques to ensure that innocent Muslims are not hurt. Unfortunately one or two Sikhs were killed. To the best of my knowledge not a single Muslim was killed in the USA to retaliate 3000 deaths caused by Muslim fanatics. That makes the USA a Modern Civilized society whose citizens respect and comply with the LAW AND ORDER of the country and practice good social behavior towards their fellow citizens or immigrants. I throw up when Indians take pride in their Ancient Civilization and claim to be more "Sanskari"than Western Society.

from:  K. Patel
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 20:54 IST

Shocking aspect of this is that the horrible crimes were committed
mostly by "Educated" middle class Hindus. So called illiterate and poor
Hindus were busy earning a living working and living with their Muslim
neighbors.

from:  KDP
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 20:12 IST

@Raamganesh

You chose to contest only one point out of my five and your comparison to jews makes no sense. There was no single trigger that led to holocaust. You don't have to put the train burning and riots as cause and result. You can put train burning and riots in a single sentence as acts of madness and human failure and condemn both. The author never talked or tried to remember the other 200 or so Hindus victims killed in the same riots. In an article about not forgetting, is this hypocritical or what?
I do think people who try to justify the riots using the train burning share the mentality as the people who choose to ignore train burning and Hindus killed in the riots.
Narender Modi is easy target to pick on but people who choose to remember only one aspect of the incident are no different than him.

from:  Hemant
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 20:04 IST

It is certainly shameful incident on the name on India and Gujarat. When we are asking to give justice to all these small kids, I will say, let's not forgive anyone. If you blame and punish only hindus for killings, than surely it'll develop more hatred in hinuds. We can't get away with killings happened in godhara train or with killers of 84 shikh riots or many more riots happened in past with hindus. Punish each and every individual whether hindu or muslim. I know when my dad used to come back from office in Ahmedabad, my mom used to get worried till he reached home safely everyday!bcoz there were stabbings happening on hindus so many times in muslim areas.there is no justice to all those incidents! and to have guts to punish all these, there should be genuine political party to do this. I entirely blame congress & BJP for creating hindu terrorists and promoting any kind of terrorism by not taking strong actions in past. I am seeking for politics with humanity!

from:  Sagar
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 19:56 IST

The problem is that in India pseudo-secularism has risen to a level where if a person opposes an article like the one above he is immediately casted as a religious fanatics. i disagree with the comments above about the need to mention the Godhra incident. Justice has been delivered in that case which is not the case with the post-Godhra riot. Both hindus and muslims died in the subsequent incident. Why not talk about justice for both of them? Why not talk about justice for Gujratis instead justice only for muslims or hindus ? Why take a side when this clearly was a crime against humanity?

The author talks about the pain of muslims who did not get justice. What about the pain of Hindus who suffered in the same riot and did not even get a mention in this article?

from:  mohak
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 18:37 IST

Mr. Balgopal P. Menon.... It is not that people commented above forgot that people died during 2002 incident were Indians. but it is the author of this article Farah Naqvi who is biased and partial towards Muslims. If it was a matter of Indian people, Farah Naqvi would not have written about "minority", "Muslim" etc. By mentioning these words and completely ignoring the root cause of what we consider as Godhra riot (i.e. burning a train coach), (also completely and willfully ignoring riots and massacres of "majorities" by so called "minorities" in other parts of India) it is Farah Naqvi who this is addressed to.
You too mention about the brutality on the streets of Gujarat. but then, don't forget that burning people alive in train coach isn't innocence. It is a brutality too. Also there were not only Muslims dies on the streets of Gujarat. Hindus too died.

from:  Apurva
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 18:08 IST

If we want to keep reliving the past, why only in Gujarat, that too after many judicial pronouncements including SIT gave a clean cit to Modi. why not Anti Sikh riots which no media is talking about. How many false ciurt cases Gujarat govt has to fight when none of the other State govt where communal riots have taken place repeatedly haqve not been subjected to, by media, by Congress party with their brute power has nothing else to do. In democracy, it is people who decide, Gujarat people have many times heard all these false propaganda and voted Modi back to power. Sathyameva Jayathe. Please stop spending your valuable time on this. Please look at the development that has taken place in Gujarat for the past 10 plus years which everyone, including foriegn govts, UN etc, has appreciated.

from:  bala
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 17:53 IST

After reading the comments posted regarding this article, I have only one question to ask the people who try to justify Modi. Yes, a riot happened for whatever reason or provocation. Thousands of innocents belonging to the two communities were killed. But, what was the Gujarat government during that time? Many eye-witnesses have stated that the policemen were mute spectators at best when women were being dragged out of their homes, raped and burnt alive. This went on for days!! Has Modi ever given an answer for this? On what esteemed morals did he decide to willfully allow the riot to reach a logical conclusion? If people were burnt in Sabarmati express, his verdict was that an entire community comprising women and children have to pay the price for it? This is not just about Gujarat riots. The Congress government has an equal blame to take for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Two wrongs definitely do not make a right, unless you happen to live still in the dark ages of barbarism.

from:  Vineeth
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 17:38 IST

Shouldn't the post-Godhra be credited for putting a stop to the constant riots in that region? The post-Godhra did send a strong message to those who were indulging in riots in the sensitive areas. Something for everyone to think about.

from:  Shrinivas
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 17:04 IST

Those who kill innocent people for whatever purpose have to be punished. That is what rule of law is all about.

It is immaterial where the killing of innocents occurred. In a burning train or on the roads and in residential societies.

How can a society worth its salt remain a silent spectator to the murder, rape and loot of innocent men, women and children.

And what is the judiciary for? For covering up things over time like they have almost done with regards to the murder of Sikhs in 1984 in Rajiv Gandhi's New Delhi.

from:  Sanjay Tirdiya
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 16:54 IST

It is quite shocking to read certain comments here and realise that there is apparently a huge number of people in the country who seem to be justifying the Gujarat riots by arguing that it was a reaction to the Godhra train burning. Are you people so heartless? You still say that Hindus were killed first. But the point in the first place is, it was not the Hindus or the Muslims, but Indians who were murdered in the name of religion, with the active participation of the Narendra Modi government, purportedly, as a retaliation of those who were murdered in the train. Why don't you realise it?! Don't you still realise the magnitude of brutality the victims were meted out in the streets of Gujarat, just because they were Muslim? Children were butchered. Unborn foetuses were burned. Women were raped and burned alive. If you still harbour these thoughts, you will never let this country live in peace.

from:  Balagopal P. Menon
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 15:27 IST

254 Hindus died in the Gujarat Riots... Why not mention them? Just
because Hindus are majority in this country, don't they deserve justice?

Articles like these are a real threat to secular fabric of the country.
How can an average Hindu feel safe in this country when he/she finds
politicians, mainstream media give criminal impunity to certain groups
of people just because they are minorities?

from:  Ganesh
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 14:08 IST

@Hemant - Yes, offering context is sometimes important. But offering a context too has to be done in context. It is true, for example, that the Nazi holocaust happened because the racist Nazis believed that injustices were perpetrated against them historically by the Jews; that's the context of their barbarism against Jews. But I would hardly think it apposite to mention this in an article which recounts the horror of the holocaust victims. Imagine that the comments section in an article talking about the suffering of holocaust victims saying something like "How convenient for the author to forget the injustices done by the Jews to the Germans. I think the holocaust should be put in context in the interest of fairness". Such comments would be seen as despicable there, no? Of course we must remember the Sabarmati victims. But the riot victims had nothing at all to do with Sabarmati and they deserve an article where it should be possible to talk about them without adding a "..But".

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 13:23 IST

Hiding behind the veil of 'Development & Prosperity', Mr. Narendra Modi & (BJP, RSS, VHP, etcetera) are trying to wash their sins off. This article is a humble & fitting reply to Mr. Arun Jaitley's article 'Gujarat, 10 Years after 2002'; I wish Mr. A. Jaitley reads this. The purported retaliation of the other party is equally condemn-able. Mr. M. K. Gandhi said,'An eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind.' But, the saddening situation right now is "the Judiciary, Media & most People of India develop Amnesia, deafness, muted & blindness very soon." The Hindu for so long seemed to be an exception on this lot, hope it continues future too.

from:  Enoch Rufus
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 12:26 IST

It is true that we should not forget what happened in Gujarat and it should be a lesson for all of Indians that what monstrosity can be brought about in the name of religion. But does it help if we keep on poking the old scars and keep on reminding how dreadful days were behind us ?.The wounds can only be healed by hope and positive outlook rather than despair and feeling of misery. I agree with the author that If we settle with the past then we might endanger our future .But living in the past does no good to either the present or future. We should remember the lessons learnt from it rather than revisit the pains of the old scars

from:  vasudev
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 11:46 IST

@Arun Subbu - You say "Nobody says that the Gujarat violence was
right just because the Godhra carnage happened." And I'm not
anywhere accusing people of saying that.
"It is just that the Gujarat violence gets 99% coverage" - Perhaps
because, despicable as the planned Godhra massacre was, the riots
that followed were much much worse for several reasons. There was
disproportionately more bloodshed, there was negligence (or perhaps
collusion) by the state when they were caught suspiciously unawares
even when everyone else in the state was warning of possible riots.
And while several people who were responsible for the train massacre
have been put away, giving the victims some measure of justice,
hardly anyone has been convicted of the riots. People are being
asked to move on without any chance of justice or reconciliation.
For me, both incidents are are despicable, shameful acts, but I am
just questioning those people who seem to seek to balance one crime
against the other.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 11:08 IST

Article is very sensitive and contain pain of victim of 2002 Riot
but no conclusion paragraph. We should not blame each other after
10 year also. All victim should get justice but it should left on
the most honorable court of India.Every one have enough data in
there memory to blame each other on the basis of communal or
religious riot.
We should go one step forward and learn from people from both community who is still working for communal harmony. We also prove it and show the world last year, when supreme court gave decision on BABRI Masjid demolition.
People form all religion should come forward and think abut the >development of there nation and state. Every one must have faith in our judicial system for the justice of past. There should be ban on all the society or organisation which are working only for a particular religion. Either it is shiv sena , ram sena or muslim organisation. People should get treated as a human being not on behalf of caste-ism or religion .

from:  Vikash Shukla
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 10:27 IST

By stoking the hatred that events in Gujarat, we need to be aware that it is counter
productive to the real situation on the ground where muslims need to live and interact
with their Hindu neighbours on an everyday basis. It is in this context that many of the responses that this article has attracted accuse the activist in Farah of having her own agenda. This is not to deny the ferocity of the carnage. It should never have happened. But just imagine an India that would not have put the vandalism and atrocities committed on women by the muslim marauders who swept into our land,as part of our history and moved on to make India what it is today, would we have been fair to our children? My suggestion to Farah and her ilk is,please stop generating more hatred than there already is, and find a statesman like Nelson Mandela, who inspite of being Jailed for thirty odd years, found it necessary to put his personal hardship and those of his people, behind and set up a Truth and Reconciliation.

from:  Leela krishnaswamy
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 06:57 IST

Will the people who have enthusiastically forgotten about 2002 also forget about Mahmud Ghazni, Aurangzeb and others like that? The people who are largly apathetic to most stuff would say yes, but I'd bet a lot that the Modi sychopants would say no. And yet they expect everyone to move on when the people who have been wronged are *still living through it*.

from:  Satish Chandra
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 05:25 IST

@Raamganesh : Nobody says that the Gujarat violence was right just because the Godhra carnage happened. It is just that the Gujarat violence gets 99% coverage, while the well-planned and cold-blooded murder of kar sevaks gets relegated as a footnote. That's the problem - and that's why everyone is painfully reminding the train carnage whenever Gujarat is mentioned.

from:  Arun Subbu
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 05:21 IST

@Raamganesh and other who have issue with mentioning the train fire.:
The reason you mention Sabarmathi Express victims when you mention Gujrat riots - first - the topic of article is to not forget. So why would you forget the Sabarmathi Express victims? Second - it gives context to subsequent riots and does not condone it. Third - To acknowledge that these were victims and victims are equal. Fifth - It is important to understand this - It doesn't lessen the pain of the riots because you mention the train burning but it does lessen it and politicizes the issue if you ignore it.

from:  Hemant
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 00:26 IST

The article on the Gujarat riots seems very biased towards only the
Muslim community. Agreed, the numbers say that they were the largest
sufferers of the riots. But why has the author so conveniently
forgotten to even mention the Hindu victims? Coming from a person of
the stature of member of National advisory council, should it be an
article for all the victims? Aren’t those Hindus equally scarred as
the Muslims? Why has there been a total denial of any repercussions
borne by them?
The death toll of Gujarat riots is approximately 2000. We as a country
should be ashamed of it, because 2000 lives were lost. 700 odd
children were orphaned. All the people who lost someone will be
scarred for life, be it a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian. Sir, our
country’s politics remains to be caste based, because we cannot forget
which caste or religion we belong to when we come out of our homes to
build our nation.

from:  megha
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 00:11 IST

@Raamganesh: Since you are pained so much abou the Post-Gujarath riots and ask some commentators not to speak of Godhra. whats use of remembering if we as citizens aren't working in to ensure fair and transperant police and judiciary in this country. If the aim of the Author was to engage us in taking some concrete action like rallying support for some strong independent police commission which would not allow state to go berserk, then there would have been point in her article. Everybody is aggreived by the riots and rather than getting blindly emotional about certain incident and forgetting the next day,shouldn't we ask ourselves about how are we going to ensur that this does not repeact.Would the gullible public realize why some people see it as "revenge riots".
It is because knowing fully well about the injustice done to kashmir pundits while the chief minister of that time happily enjoys power makes some people believe that in india we have different standards for different people

from:  vamsi
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 23:19 IST

It is true that many precious lives were lost.This can never be
justified or condoned.The author should know that several cases are
pending at various stages in various courts.Investigations have been
carried out.By giving the details of the horror,the author is
unwittingly vitiating the already fragile atmosphere.It appears that the
author is causing further communal divide.Why we should forget the riots
of 2002? Let us not forget any single massacre,may be centuries old.Such
articles do not serve the society.The Hindu could have avoided
publishing it.

from:  S.Srinivasan
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 22:41 IST

Gujarati's are one of the most dynamic, hard working and enterprising people we have in India. Without their contribution a developed India is unthinkable. Regardless of who their chief minister is Gujarati's are very productive. Please do not give credit for a shining Gujarat to its chief minister. Regardless of who their chief minister is Gujarat will always be one of the most developed in the country. Modi is just hiding behind them. He equates an attack on Modi as an attack on Gujaratis. But it is a fact that the majority Gujaratis worship him because Modi helps them cover the guilt within....by being unapologetic.

from:  A Kurien
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 22:13 IST

Naqvi has, indeed, written as heart-felt and poignant a piece as is
possible on the need to remember our past where that past matters most
in understanding our present and charting our future as a nation. As
she so eloquently puts it "if we settle for the past as some would
like it scripted, we threaten the meaning of our present, and endanger
our future." Those who insist on taking a detour around the Past and
moving on to the Future are often the ones least affected by the
genocide and violence of 2002. But for those who lost home and family
in that living nightmare - in that indescribably inhuman way - the
Past will continue to haunt their Present and Future. What matters to
them whether the Justice Banerjee report of 2004 found the Godhra
train fire incident to be an 'accident' or whether the Nanavati
Commission of 2008 found it 'a pre-planned conspiracy'? Between the
confusions & conspiracies, will they ever get their loved ones and
their little ones and their innocent ones back?

from:  Biju
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 22:00 IST

The thing about the battle against forgetting is that you either forget all or you don't forget anything.
Being the 10 years since the riots in Gujrat, I understand the sentiment of the article. But the author should not have forgotten the people burnt to death in the Sabarmathi Express. Is the tragedy any less for the family members for these people?
Let us not forget the Sikh riots of 1984 or Air India - Kanishka bombing or the thousands of people dragged out of buses and homes and shot dead in front of their children in Punjab during the 80s and 90s - Only because they were Hindus.
Let us not forget the tribals in mining areas moved from their ancestral regions. Don't forget the Kashmiri Pandits who were ethnically cleansed and whose homes and property have been occupied by the Kashmiris and who still can't return to their ancestral lands because of death threats.
Lets not try not to be selective about not forgetting. All victims deserve justice and not just some.

from:  Hemant
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 20:49 IST

Justice must indeed be served and that requires Modi's prosecution above all others involved. I, as an Indian and a Gujarati, am ashamed of what happened in 2002 and demand justice. The one question which, I'm afraid, must be asked is what caused the morphing of humans into beasts during those dastardly acts, whether related to the Godhra train or the riots afterwards? Neighbours attacking neighbours, the mass torture of innocents, etc. Reminds one of the atrocities committed during the time of partition. It seems to me that the wounds of partition still run deep in our society and that the pain is far worse in the states that border Pakistan. Historically, it is these states which have borne the brunt of numerous foreign invasions.

from:  Samir Mody
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 20:40 IST

It is distressing to see a number of commenters saying something like..'but what about the
godhra train massacre which was after all the cause of the riots?'. But the train massacre is
the cause of the larger-scale Gujarat riots only in the grotesque minds of those who
perpetrated the riots. Why are we, decent Indians, who would ourselves never think of
massacring innocent members of a community for a crime they never committed, endorsing
the explanation and justification given by those immoral and depraved criminals? Do you not
see that by qualifying any statement on the riots with a 'but, it is a response to the train
massacre', you are offering not just an explanation but a justification for the riots? There are
no two sides in this massacre. There a only two sets of victims. Right-thinking Hindus should
reject the the link between the train massacre and the riots in the same way that right
thinking Muslims should never justify terrorism by pointing to Babri masjid.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 19:45 IST

I was reading the article and some where feel like the views expressed were mostly seen from one side of the coin. I got the answer at the end. [member of NAC]. With due respects to author's view I differ with her on few things. I agree with the author's argument that the people responsible for the heinous act has to be punished.[no second thought in it]. But being in a respectable position and expressing something which is evidently biased and that too at inappropriate time looks unfair. I am surprised that there is no mention of the event which trigerred all these. Nevertheless, the culprits should be brought to justice.

-Naresh

from:  Naresh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 19:41 IST

Some posts are opposing the mention of Godhra incident as a
justification. I think it must be mentioned because 56 or 556 killings
both are heinous. Both are equally painful and forgetting is the only
way to proceed further. Activism has become a business for many. You
start making issue sensational and you start getting fund from
abroad. I am fed-up of this minoritisation. Both the sides
have to forget. Beware of pseudo-secular activists. Don't let them
make a business out of our pain. I think 80 per cent of Hindus are with
Muslim brethren to fight for them against their problems and so are
the 80 per cent Muslim brethren standing with Hindu brethren.

from:  Ajay
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 19:40 IST

This type of "OPINION" does not suite "THE HINDU" one of the most
respected and un-biased newspapers currently in India. Victimization and
sensationalism are the only fundamentals on which Naqvi is writing such
divisive stuff.Request "THE HINDU" to print "OPINION" regarding the sikh
riots and every riot that happened in Indian History.

from:  Nandan Buch
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 19:24 IST

During 1991,when I was working in Kanpur(U.P),immediately after Babri Masjid demolition,communal riots broke out.My daughter's school rickshaw puller was murdered on the street and I happened to see his dead body.I do not know or remember his name or religion or caste.Neither he was related nor even closely known to me.But that poor,innoscent man's face still haunts me and I still remember that face even after 20 years and sometimes lose my sleep.When that be the case,how do you expect the affected people to forget everything so easily and move on.The people who were killed and murdered right in front of their eyes were their own blood and loved ones.Violence in any form,for any reason or cause or means is not acceptable and perpetrators should be punished.

from:  S.Venugopal
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 18:58 IST

This is exemplary of either, how some of us feel the pain of
acquaintances while ignoring that of others and hence seeking a skewed
appeal of justice, or how scarred emotions of people are exploited for
the sake of vote bank in modern politics.

from:  Nikhilesh Kumar
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 18:54 IST

Interesting piece. Factual - yes. One sided - also yes. Playing the minority card - petty. Justice is a much bandied word in the Indian democracy, with what is right alternating with who won the day. Perpetrators of crime need to be brought to justice, irrespective of race and gender. Discussing them in forums and then committing them to the inglorious pages of history serves no purpose. The festering wound of communal violence suffered by India in general must be kept fresh, to remind people about how suffering does not have a religious bias before inflicting itself. But keeping it fresh does not mean adding to its annals with new incidents. The youth of our country is hopefully intelligent enough to differentiate between setting an example and causing a massacre!

from:  Chaitanya K
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 18:45 IST

" Two wrongs don't make a right" What happened with the train incident was bad but the
retaliation was even worse. The Gujarat riots is truly a tragedy in India's recent history, a time
when some citizens stopped behaving like humans. The rest of us just stood and watched
while there was a complete breakdown in the system. We can only learn from our mistakes
and us Indians acknowledging the tragedy itself is a step in the right direction.

from:  Abhi
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 18:39 IST

Sorry to agree but the author of the article is certainly biased. Farah
Naqvi seems to be making a point of not letting forget one particular
aspect of the tragic Godhra 2002, while not throwing any views on the
other. It is only a shame how politics and politicians use such a sorry
incident to score brownie points.

from:  Arpit
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 18:27 IST

Good article.

It was a shame that humans could stoop to such levels of shamelessness. Those who were behind the attacks, on the train and afterwards, MUST be severely punished.

What if they escape the punishment from the eyes of judges or some courts? This is why the day of judgement has been chosen and established by the one who created all of us.

Surah Al Imran (3:25) But how (will they fare) when Allah will gather them together against a day about which there is no doubt, and each soul will be paid out just what it has earned, without (favour or) injustice?

from:  Syed Abdul Raheem
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 18:23 IST

While it is true that there were atrocities committed by both sides even if the
Modi-sponsored ones were considerably greater in magnitude, it is incredible that
some people are trying to simply pass the buck by citing the Godhra train incident
as sufficient excuse for what followed.

Civilized states are not based upon revenge. We are not children to say "They
started it first" to justify our own behavior. The innocents, the children, the women
were slaughtered, maimed, violated. No amount of "They did it first" can justify
that. If anything, then crimes committed on both sides need to be investigated and
the perpetrators and instigators brought to justice. The reason this has not
happened is clear. The crimes of the Modi-regime so excessively dwarf those of
the other side that it has no interest in seeking justice, neither for the karsevaks
nor for the Muslims.

And this in Gandhi's homeland. He must be turning over in his grave, which
mercifully is not in Gujarat!

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 18:09 IST

Gujrat should not happen again. It is shame for the country and more for the people of gujrat who brought this blot on face of India.
It is hard to beleive that in state of Ghandhi, Modi is being seen as God. Justice must be done to protect India from more nazi type killings, rape and arson and care must be taken so no more Modis are born in India. He talks of pride of Gujrat and is responsible for tarnishing the image of not only gujrat, also of our Indian mation. He is a leader of 20th century mindset in 21st century India.

from:  nikkhil dwivedi
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 18:08 IST

Author has mentioned "without justice, we cannot move on", but moving on and forgetting are two different things. Nobody is asking to forget what had happened but rather accept the reality and improve future life. Nobody has forgotten 84 riots including hindus but now both communities are living happily together although the pain of riot is still there in BOTH the communities.
Another point, the moment you see the issue from community point of view, you cannot expect secular views. Till you consider all those died in riots (here godhara and post-godhara and others) as innocent people killed by criminals, you will receive unconditional sympathy from all sections of society but the moment you say that those killed were innocent muslims/hindus/sikhs etc., it (in)directly implies that other community has caused it and justifies killing of their people by victimized community as self-defence.
Victim is just a victim and his/her pain must not be lessened by categorising him/her on any ground.

from:  dhiraj kumar garg
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 17:54 IST

I truly believe that knowledge of Past events shapes who we become and what we do in the future. Which is why of course there is a need to not forget what happened in Godhra or in the multiple camps run by the Nazis.
My issue is with the single minded hatred that is reflected only towards Modi and Gujarat by the media and these so called Human rights activists. It is a fact that more people were killed in riots in Bombay or the Congress's Delhi riots or even the post partition riots, but the only riots and still we are supposed to remember only the Gujarat riots and cry for only those victims.
I do not think Justice has been done to any of the Sikh victims for the horrors inflicted upon them by the Congress party workers. In fact some of those workers have been elected to Ministers, so why is nobody targeting them or even the Gandhi family that still rules the party and these ministers or a Rajiv Gandhi when he was alive as he also like Modi just let these things happen.

from:  Nupura Hautamaki
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 17:49 IST

I apprreciate the efforts of fearless leadership of "THE HINDU" News paper , who is always fair and reasonable; for providing platform to say sensible opinion about sensitive issues.

We can not forget the senseless killing and raping of innocent people by regardless point of view. We can assume that Gujarat State was completely failed during the period of riot.

Now Gujaraties should find the ways to heal the past and look forward for bright future, good life with communal harmoney.

from:  MJ
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 17:38 IST

The massacre of Muslims in Gujarat (and Sikhs in Delhi and other similar atrocities) is a blot on the conscience of India. These incidences are comparable to the Jewish Holocaust in Germany and German occupied lands during the Second World War. These atrocities and the cover-up and prevarications that have followed, have exposed the weakness and ineffectiveness of civil, law enforcement and judicial authorities in India. To demand justice for the victims of these atrocities does not diminish the crimes that preceded these incidents. It is shameful to read that some people cite these crimes (eg. assignation of Indira Gandhi or Godhra) as justification for these atrocities. India and the Indian states would do well to learn from Germany and atone for the existential failure for its civic authorities.

from:  Prabha
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 17:38 IST

There seems to be a concerted efforts on the part of some vested interests not to let people of India in general and of Gujarat in particular to keep the wounds of Godhra fettering. Same happened with anti Sikh riots of 1984 and terrorism in Punjab became even more pronounced. It was only due to involvement of politicians of a prticular party in power that now the widows have been reconciled to their fate. So far as Gujarat riots are concerned there used to be every year violence in walled cities of Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Surat and Veraval also. Godhra has seen many gory incidents (one being butchering of a Hindu woman teacher by rioters of minority community in front of her young students. Gujarat happened because of Godhra. But none of the socalled right actvists,secularists, forums, individuals like Arundhati Roy, Nandita Das, Medha Patkar etc. and ever "fair"English media ever talk about justice for the victims of train carnage.

from:  vinod
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 17:35 IST

Whatever happened in Gujrat was no doubt a very hideous and sorrowfull event. But showing one side of the event and blaming only Mr. Modi or Mr. Advani is certainly not appriciable, looking to the fact that there had been similar events taken place against other religions be it hindu or sikhs. Enjoying minority benifits and doing anti-national and terrorist activities , killing innocent people, doing brutal things and attacking temples , in the name of Almighty is no praiseworthy activity. For many people believe that a few such events against the minority were only to make them realise that other humans also feel pain. As to what socially Mr. Modi had done for the growth and healing is also not a hidden fact. If one has got to speak against the sufferings, then speak for humanity and also speak when it is suffered by others, not just by owns own family or community. Try and be unbaised and open minded.

from:  MEDHA
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 17:11 IST

In his recent book on violence, the psychologist Steven Pinker has
looked at the conditions under which people from two groups who have
been involved in a lengthy civil war and an extended period of
mistrust have managed to successfully resolve their differences and
achieve relative peace. His finding has lessons for both sides in
this conflict. Firstly, he finds that a search for perfect justice,
the protracted quest to smoke every last culprit and bring him to
book is counter-productive and does not achieve a lasting peace. He
says that the South African approach of "truth and reconciliation"
works the best, where a majority group openly acknowledged that
wrongs had been committed and the perpetrators too show their
remorse. This means that the groups who might have been even
peripherally involved in the Gujarat massacre must acknowledge the
wrongs, show remorse and express a willingness to reconcile. And the
Muslim groups and human-rights activists must be willing to forgive.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 17:00 IST

I am glad that Farah Naqvi has, at last, on the 10th "anniversary" (sic) of burning of 59 Hindus in the train compartment at Godhra, accepted that forgetting the riots will "threaten the meaning of our present, and endanger our future". I don't belong to the category of "our" as per Farah's definition. The future of Nehru dynasty, Congress and other "secular" (sic) parties, of media men / women like Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt, Kumar Ketkar, Dilip Padgaonkar, Vinod Sharma etc, and the NGOs like Teesta Setlvad's is definitely threatened by burying the past with correct lessons learnt. I learn from Gujarat 2002 riots that members of one community should not burn members of another community in broad daylight, in a pre-meditated fashion. If they don't there will be no further violence. As you reap, shall you sow. This is the only way to ensure long lasting piece. Meanwhile let the "business" of dynasty politics flosurish in the name of "secularism".

from:  Abdul Hamid
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 16:47 IST

yes it's true that without past our present and future can't be provided justice, i do have felt pain for our muslim brothers, but let the law take it course and imprisonment of concerned officials involved should take place. But we cannot over look the fact that for the past 10 years Gujrat has been the most peaceful state, where both hindu-muslim brothers congenial environment has been tried by the state government to set up.So finally i want to state that lets allow the democracy to have its verdict. Let one fault committed shouldn't hamper our improving secular environment in Gujrat. Let allow both ram-rahim to have same stake in their very promising future.

from:  Parakram Singh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 16:41 IST

This is a small battle against forgetting what happened in 2002.
The war is how not to forget what has been happening in the undivided India since 1500 Years.
How much & how long should we remember is the moot question? Should we forget 1947 victims ? or it is too late because it suits some ones narrative.
Again as some readers have pointed out should we have selected amnesia, forget some incidents like anti Sikh riots, and Exodus of Kashmiri Pundits! The worst sufferers of any riots so far, they are banished from their motherland for 22 years. No cover issues, no lead stories WHY?

from:  ashok
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 16:38 IST

Totally Anti BJP article, I have been following articles on Godhra riots and it seems to be that this is the only riot that took place since India was born.

I'm not very sure why all the Print and Channel Media is behind Godhra riots!

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 16:35 IST

This author has not only trivialized an event which has caused great
grief on both sides (Hindus and Muslims) but she has also squarely
placed the blame of a country on one state. Not once is it mentioned
that what triggered the so called "carnage" was the burning of a car
full of Hindus. Instead the author goes on a diatribe about Gujarat
and how it's people are to be blamed for the nation's problems. If the
problems of the nation could be fixed by changing one state, then
India would be a different country now. She needs to focus on how to
create harmony and provide unbiased reports so as not to incite more
anger and furor, especially since she cares so little about the truth.
Anecdotes do make great stories, and the illicit strong emotions,
which is what this author is trying to do, I suspect; but they do not
lead to justice. Anecdotes are subjective and by their very terms
cannot be applied to every Muslim in India, therefore, she should be
wary of generalizing to an entire populat

from:  AP
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 16:26 IST

As shameful as this episode in Gujarat is for fellow Muslims, I am surprised at the comments from Fellow Pakistanis for the target killing of Shias, Ahmedis and forced conversion and marriage of Hindus and other minorites in Sindh.
The likes of Qadri are showered with rose petals while we are huffing and puffing at what Hindus have done to Muslims in india or what Jews have doen to palestinians. I am also pleasantly surprised that many Hindus themselves have condemned the Gujrat massacre as seen in the various comments section.

Let us Pakistanis set our house in order.

from:  Aliya Mohammed
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 16:19 IST

Why is this issus being raked up again and again? Don't people like Farah want the state to move on? No mention of the Hindus killed in the initial incident and subsequent rioting. Cannot compare this with Nazi atrocities as this was not state sponsored. Also if you're going to rake up old issues then why not mention raids and conquest and atrocities by Mughals which was specifically religion based.

from:  Vipul Dave
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:56 IST

@Sonal Singh & @Raamganesh. thanks for putting this tragedy in right
perspective. Those who indirectly justify gujarat riots as an obvious
reciprocation to train (full of human lives) burning, are the
potential ( and real ) danger to our society. This reflects the mindset
they are carrying. There is nothing more shameful than state
sponsoring severe and inhuman atrocities on women and children. While
writing here, one (be it Hindu or Muslim) may feel very confident of
his/her views, but once your own dear ones are brutally killed in a
flick of time, the confidence shatters, your soul is humiliated by
your own brain and life becomes nothing but hollow.

I dont care what background the author comes from, the point here is that
if we simply forget it without any shame and regret, there are even
more gruesome tragedies waiting to happen.

Those who still disagree, please watch the movie "American History X"
and then come back. It's a lesson we need to learn in time.

from:  Prashant
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:56 IST

I certainly admit that 'The battle against forgetting' is an important
lesson that history should be worked on and justice to be provided. My
heart is with those women who suffered for no fault of their.But, at
the same time what was of the fault of the passengers boarded on the
train, the daily commuters at CST on 26/11 who were returning home
after a tiring day back to the family. I understand that these issues
are politicized or religiously aligned and get worsen exponentially.
Justice should be provided and punishment should be announced to the
culprit irrespective of his nationality, breed, political alignment and
cash in the bank account.

from:  Aditi Surana
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:54 IST

Violence has its language of its own & it bears its unique credo.Both parties suffered damage & has causeed pain & infliction to those who are away from religion.The vote-bank politics which is engraved into parochial tendencies of caste,religion & region has brutally torn-out the secular fibre of our nation.Ten years & probe is still on appears a long time & the party in question is the bearer of unwieldy power which appears to use the state machinery for manipulating the system.Religion should be a personal aspect rather than to be a outward manifestation.The concept of one nation & one religion appears to a distant dreams of the reformers.Essentially,the Gujarat riots are most unfortunate nightmare for a common indian.

from:  devesh kumaraswamy
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:51 IST

Can't believe that author completely forgot what triggered the Gujarat Riots. Just think in other way, if S-6 was not burned at Godhra, would there be any riots in Gujarat?

from:  Vasant Parmar
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:43 IST

How come the author does not show sympathy towards those who lost their lives when the train was burnt? Even the Kar Sevaks were somebody's son, brother or Father. The riots were started because the train was burnt by the minoroty religious fanatics. If they had not committed this act, then there would not have been any riots. Why does not anyone understand this? Why keep blaming the majority when the minority religious fanatics were at fault. Any how many of those who burned the train were brought to justice?

from:  Narain
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:29 IST

Among the many comments put forth by readers, are those by some who are putting across their opinions on the Godhra carnage, as a counter to the author's write-up. What I have to say is that it is this kind of thinking and such people that is India's curse. Whenever someone talks about the Gujarat government's role in the riots, these people pretend to deny all that and protest about the the killing of the 'kar-sevaks', and call anyone who voices their opinion against Modi biased. While their protest on their killings is justified, their attempt to use it as a counter-opinion is without reason. It is precisely because of people like these and their opinions, some of which can be seen above, that India has failed as a united, secular country.

from:  Balagopal P. Menon
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:24 IST

Those who think that it is best to forgive and forget ignore the basic building block on which a society resides, justice. Unless justice is done, no matter how much a society progresses, it can never show the 'unity in diversity'. It is the principle of justice which gives confidence to a weak that the society will protect their right to live with dignity. That is why I think the arguments favouring development without doing the justice are farcical.
secondly, both the carnages, godhra train burning and subsequent riot in Gujrat, are abominable. The first incident appears to be communally motivated. But the larger riot in response to that is more regrettable because it shows the polarisation of the society. It tends to create a permanent division between the communities in the soceity which tends to paint everyone with a same brush. thirdly, those, who think that the riots had a social sanction of the majority, fail to appreciate that moditwa failed to transcend beyond gujrat.

from:  biswajit
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:19 IST

Those who burned the bogie at Godhra and the riot victims were totally
different. Hence to talk about any "retaliation" does not make sense.

The Gujarat riots were terribly brutal. People were not just killed.
They were raped and burned. The guilty need to be punished.

from:  Milind Kher
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:17 IST

what happened in gujarat riots should not have happened, i feel that
narendra modi should atleast ask for forgiveness that he could not take
care of the 58 people who were burnt in the train and also for the 2000-
3000 people who were killed in the riots? my heart is heavy still! i
beg for forgiveness from god for everybody !

from:  anand
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 15:11 IST

"First they came for the communists but I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the unionists but I wasn't a unionist.
Then they came for the Jews but I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left"
Could those who are justifying the carnage (consciously or
unconsciously)and want the rest of us to forget, consider this? The
activists who keep this alive are speaking as much for you as they are
for the victims.

from:  Nirmal Kumar
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:50 IST

The feelings of animosity as exhibited in the riots of 2002 by the many,
through acts of sexual violence towards the hapless women are abominable
and disgusting. it is shameful and ignominious for us as human beings...

from:  Richa Prakash
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:47 IST


Our Hon'ble courts need evidence to punish the guilty. The guilty also knew this fact. So the guilty made all efforts to see that all possible evidences are erased and washed out leaving no trace - yes they succeeded in erasing even from the bureaucracy! Now the question is will the court, contrary to hitherto followed norms, stretch one step more and relay heavily on circumstantial evidence than material evidence and pronounce an unprecedented humanitarian verdict. If the court is unable to set such and unprecedented landmark ruling, the victims will have try them in the Court Of God for justice. No other let up. We Indians have the history of our Hon’ble Supreme Court rising above all impediments and predicaments, and coming up with judgments doing just justice in all respects.

from:  Bose A Panicker
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:46 IST

The writer seems to be unaware of Godhra. I am in no way advocating
riots post-Godhra. I hope the writer knows that looking at a burnt bogey and dead
bodies was no less traumatic for those 9-10 years old. We have to
forget those incidents. They won't solve any purpose but increasing
hatred. And nobody knows who started that unfortunate incident. But,
if still, there is a need of judiciary, those who started it should
also be tried equally. Going after a Narendra Modi alone hardly solved
any purpose.

from:  Ramneek Gupta
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:46 IST

Statistics of above number of comments if we go by the name: (Muslims:
10, Hindu and others: 30) That's 25% participation of Muslims as
compared to 13% of the total population of India. If we compare this
participation in any other articles on science, development, politics,
business of India for the same newspaper, participation is quite weak
in numbers and in diversity.

Europeans eradicated there differences and social evils by investing
more time and energy on development, prosperity, rational science and
by learning through bitter experiences. Other evils disappear when you
stop being emotional about them and be practical about life. Factual
history is available.

from:  Ryan
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:45 IST

Any one who has done such heinous crimes must be brought to justice. Hence all sympathies for the victims. However no action But then -
1. Who will decide the criminal and the punishment? The politicians/activists/their sponsors political party/media with vested interest or the ineffective criminal justice system including the courts. None leave any hope for justice.
2. Why this selective profiling? Justice was not delivered in any riot including the anti-Sikh riots and the Maharashtra riots (when Congress was in power) and the Mau riots (which happened much after Godhra riots but no media or secularists cries about just because the perpetrators happened to be Muslims) and many riots in which innocents Hindus/Muslims were brutally killed and murdered and raped.
3. Why single out one individual by publishing wrong facts/right facts in a selective way and without any proof of his complicity? God Help the Victims

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:43 IST

Agony... agony and only agony... This is what happens whenever I read or hear Gujarat. My dear brethern hatred doesn't seem to be seeing an end, though love and harmony are more powerful but not in Gujarat, we do not know how long it will remain, at least not as long as the face of the human butcher is still leading the state, it just can't be. Some are talking about the Godhra carnage, burning of the karsevaks, it is still a mystery as to who did this, not in my view or anybody's personal view, but some of the cynical revealings by the investigating agencies, we do not know if the truth in full will every come out. but if it is carried on by a group of hooligans these culprits shouldn't go unpunished should be hanged in public, taking one innocent life can't be the doing of a normal being, but what is painful is the declared culprits are in power, smiling and happy and garnishing hatred, isn't it painful. The positive comments here are my belief in this country & humanity.

from:  saldec
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:19 IST

While reading the article gave me insight into the barbaric lengths that the peaceful Hindus can go to, more importantly, the comments by other authors that actually helped bring complete perspective by mentioning the Godhra massacre, and the details of people Killed (290 Hindus/750 Muslims).

It is quite evident that an illiterate mob, be Hindu or Muslim, can be swayed by emotions, when suitably incited and hence education is the only way we can help remove this scourge. Every right thinking man should help educate this country, else the day is not far when any one of us - be Hindu or Muslim or Brahmin or OBC or North Indian or 'Madrasi' or Outcaste, will be a victim of an unruly mob.

Those who speak against the article, which I felt like doing too, are comfortably ensconced in the 'majority' bracket. But let's not forget, divisive politics can make any one of us a 'minority' anytime to suit its own interest.

Only a society that empowers the individual ensures us safety.

from:  Amit
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:13 IST

This article in itself is so much biased. Shouldn't you be suggesting to forget the past and move ahead
in life and reap the benifits of overall development. Yet you fail to
mention a single reason for why people shouldn't remember the burning
of 60+ hindus alive the event that led to 2002 riots, the 1984 sikh
massacre, the direct action day in 1946? I am amazed at the fact that
this article found its place in most respected daily "The Hindu".

from:  Sudheendra
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 14:13 IST

a) Those who were responsible for the torching of the S6 coach in Godhra have been brought to book. Convicted. Those who were responsible for the Bombay serial bombblasts were brought to book. Convicted.
b) Those who were responsible of the demolition of Babri Masjid are free. They are the leaders of the largest opporistion party. Same for post Godhra riots. Of the hundreds who died justice has been brought to bear only in a few cases.

Was there a deep sense of remorse after it happened? No, instead we had Narendra Modi revel in baiting minorities in the elections that followed. Instead phrases like Mian Musharaf, and hum paanch, hamaare... were used derisively to polarize Gujarat.

So, herein lies the problem of trying to move on.

When the wait for justice in some cases is 2 decades, and in Gujarat, a decade, one needs to remember and pray that we as citizens will never ourselves to be divided again, and never connive with forces of bigotry and hatred.

from:  Anand
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 13:56 IST

Whatever happened in Gujrat during 2002, is undoubtedly squalor on modern face of the humanity. but we mustn't forget the 1984 riots, targeting sikhs all over the country, how can we forget planned execution of kashmiri Pandits and how we can take our eyes off from Assam where systematically natives are being marginalized. It will be unfortunate and irrational if we look things from a single prospective.

from:  Devendra Singh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 13:45 IST

Why Kasab is still alive when whole nation even world and may be alien planets know he is a terrorist who killed many innocent people? What is the opinion of NAC in this case? May be Hindu should actively initiate interviewing the govt. or NAC why a national threat is treated as VIP by satisfying his daily needs and costing state crores of rupees.

from:  Vamsi
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 13:39 IST

Farah Naqvi and Hindu: How can we Indians forget Gujarat riots allegedly initiated by chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi and demolition of Babari Masjid In Ayodhaya led by prime ministerial aspirant of the BJP Lal Krishna Advani?Both the incidents have not only stirred man-kind in the globe but also put a big bloat on the secularism in India.Practically our secular credentials,propounded in our Constitution, have been shaken. In both the cases, culpirits like Advani and Modi are moving without any punishments thanks to our judicial system!It is suprising that how the court treats a document,related to these subjects confidential and do not make it public for public scruitny?If situation continues in such fashion ,than there will be not only a big question mark before our judicial credeblity but also credibility of India as secular democratic country.Time is not so far when ourdemcratic fabricwill be crumbled under the weight of communal fanatics? my blog www.kksingh1.blogspot.com

from:  krishn kumar singh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 13:32 IST

The article rightly point out the dangers involved in brushing the past under the carpet of present. It is easy to say for others to forget and move on. But what about the victims? Did they get justice? How can we forget and move on when the rapist and murderers are roaming freely? How can we forget and move on when the culprits are laughing at us and seems to say - see we can do whatever we want and you can't even touch us?

People who advocate the forget and move on policy neither have the guts to face the naked truth nor empathy towards the victims.

from:  Shahid
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 13:15 IST

Undoubtedly, Godhra incident is a shocking incident for India as a nation and equally shocking is that it happened in the state of Mahatma, whose life long principle of Non-violence has been forgotten.
Imagine, why throughout his life, he emphasized the importance of Non-violence is because in a moment of rage, we forget that we are human being and not animals.Imagine the scars left on the minds of innocent, are they not for lifelong, will the tendency to take revenge be not ignited by slightest provocation? Violence from any side needs to be condemned.

from:  Amit Rastogi
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 13:12 IST

"Majority","Minority", "Reservation" have remained not only words defined in dictionary and confined to literaery fraternity, rather these have bacame "proverb" which have been used by our maveric politicinas with dexterity as "prolific electoral real estate". The scars of the wars are not only skin-deep. Today, ten years on, what is baffling and agonising is the way this issue is seen with a political prism. Let us pray our leaders don't treat us as "Public Sector Undertaking". Let us fight for the justice not as a minority, not as a majority but as an Indian. After all the assault of wars, rape, butchering affects majority as deep as minority!

from:  Ajeet Tiwari From Patna
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 12:58 IST

many has argued that and still argue that the Godhra burning was the root cause of the riot. but there is a difference between these two. the so called culprits were arrested trailed and punished by the law and the victims and their families were given justice whereas riot culprits have not been arrested nor punished by the law. besides the victims are being punished.
people must be able to see the things as they are. it needs good mind and clear vision.

from:  muhammed ali
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 12:40 IST

11 people were sentenced to death for 59 lives of Godhra carnage. How many were convicted with death sentence for killing thousands of Muslims in the Gujarat riots!! Not even a single. To the least most of us don't even acknowledge that. And we call India gives freedom irrelevant of religion, caste, etc.

from:  Mohideen Saad
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 12:38 IST

What ever may be the precursors or consequences of the communal pogrom
in Gujarat, it is the responsibility of the state to act with guts &
unbiased to book those who are culpable of such heinous crimes.
Development in terms of Physical growth & GDP will not be our saviour if
we cannot have the humanity being on the forefront to deal with such
issues.

from:  Shobhit Namdeo
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 12:28 IST

What happened in Gujarat is mutilation of the glorious face of the
biggest democracy in the world. One cannot justify this act of barbarism
as a reaction to the equally reprehensible act in Godhra. Instead of
politicizing and communalizing the issue we as peace loving Indians,
denizens of the land of Budha, Ashoka, and Gandhi should, collectively,
fight to bring the Ravanas of the land to justice. Having done so we can
prodly claim that indeed, even today, justice and Ramrajya can be
established on the land of Ram. If we fail in this objective we will
prove, ourselves, that we are not worthy of the noble task.

from:  Saleem Ahmed
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 12:28 IST

In Gujarat communal riots 790 muslims and 254 hindus were killed.We cann't forgive the people who are behind this violence.For this type of communal riots they are also responsible who vote on the basis of caste and religion.Our leader use this as a weapon and they try to get the vote at any cast.This is time for us to change our thinking and to elect the leader who do not ask for vote on the basis of caste and religion.I have full sympathy with the victims of communal riots and its also true that real culprits are still freely wandering.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 12:19 IST

Firtly my condolences to all the victims of this tragedy,
I agree with Shashi Ranjan, find the root cause and mitigate it. No need for exaggeration and some vested interest try to capitalise from that. Till today none of the congress person accepts or took responsibility about Sikh roits. My question is why bias..??

from:  Sam
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 11:58 IST

Comment from Gautam is right. Bringing up the Godhra crime every
time we talk about the Gujarat riots and pretending that it somehow
balances things and makes it fair is fundamentally wrong-headed. Of
course the rioters in Gujarat had "reasons" for committing the
riots. Hitler too had "reasons" for committing the holocaust. But
the reasons why we don't bring up the reasons that motivated Hitler
every time we talk about how the Holocaust is wrong is because those
reasons were BAD REASONS. Likewise, the reasons that those murderers
had to perpetrate the massacre, namely that it was in retaliation to
the Godhra train burning, is a BAD reason. And unless commenters
here calling for fairness believe that those reasons amount to a
justification, please do not demand to "balance" the wrongs of the
Gujarat riot with the wrongs of the Godhra crime.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 11:47 IST

It is indeed very sad to read such incidents again and again in the Indian history. It is true that history repeats itself,but the tragedies like this shouldn't be.If we let go such an atrocity without delivering justice, the feeling of communal harmony is hard to come in the hearts of extremists who are responsible for much of the misery in this world. I completely agree with the author that this incident should not be erased from the minds of ours.

from:  syed ahmed
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 11:40 IST

Its said "Justice delayed is justice denied" Gujrat a blot on the face of india as a nation. Godhra carnage is just one of the incident , we have so many Godhra's happening everyday , and no one is ready to accept the blame.
Why is this so that people after committing crimes walk freely , Is this the largest democracy in the world for ! Past is the experience for the present and the light for the future, People who did this crimes should be hanged without any more delays...otherwise Democracy will surely fall in near future...

from:  Nayeem
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 11:35 IST

The Gujarat Commnual carnage of 2002 will always remain a blot on India's pluralistic tradition. Passage of time or the perceived development work done by the Govt., over the past 10 years alone cannot wipe it away. The people behind this mindless violence including those who were the master mind behind it - need to be brought to justice. Only then, the entire shameful episode will come to an end.

from:  Hariharan
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 11:33 IST

Let me ask you a simple question. Who said IT IS OK THAT THEY KILLED ALL THE KARSEVAKS? The author certainly did not. We HUMANS want justice for both the incidents. The few of us who possess a sane mind wish that both Hindus and Muslims accept each other. Trust me there are thousand things you will still have to hate other humans for, like success, looks, riches, intelligence, etc get the hint?

from:  Nikhilesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 11:25 IST

Why must it be mandatory, every time an article on the Gujarat riots
is written, for the author to mention the Godhra massacre to somehow balance one massacre with the other? The Godhra massacre was terrible and I have never read of an activist ever suggest otherwise. But the scale of the riot that followed is vastly disproportionate to what happened in Godhra, both in terms of the death toll and in terms of what it means for our democracy. What happened in Godhra is a crime, no doubt. What happened in Gujarat following that was several magnitudes worse: a civil riot, a complete breakdown in law and order, when angry young men roamed freely and in broad daylight and killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Godhra incident, for the pure purpose of revenge and retaliation, with the government, allegedly, looking the other way, in a show of either criminal incompetence or outright collusion. We must put these two crimes in perspective.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 11:13 IST

The author presented the very horrific and true picture of pogrom in Gujrat. The caricaturization of horrific days of Gujrat is impossible to present in a single article. Author should be well appreciated for that. But in my view, author could not balance it out.No doubt, he pictured the suffering of people with great articulation. But dedicating a small paragraph to the causes and conditions which led to this massacre could show the sincerity of article. Making it minority and Mjority issue is also wrong. people are fed up with this minority versus majority issue. Make it humanity issue and take everyone on board rather differentiate and divide the people. This type of thinking will not lead to any conclusion and put both side in the defending mood.

from:  Tarun Gupta
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 11:02 IST

@Moshin - You say "As terrible and unimaginable were the crimes
committed against innocent Muslims caught in these meaningless
tragedies, one must not forget that there were crimes committed by
both parties."
Both parties? What crimes did the victims of the Gujarat riots
commit and when did they ever sign-up in support of the carnage that
happened in Godhra? Your logic barely applies in case the people
upon whom the massacre was committed were combatants who actually
were directly responsible for the Godhra incident. But the men,
women and children who were brutally murdered in the riots had
absolutely nothing to do with Godhra and were not "party" to
anything that was perpetrated in Godhra. We must see people as
individuals first and not as card-carrying members of any community
or religion.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 10:58 IST

History is always live , we read legend of Asoka and the kalinga war.The people were massacre about 2200 year ago.How people can forget a incidental in Gujarat in only 2002. But the two thing are were different Asoka repent, his sin and Ultimately became Asoka the great. But in 2002 justice is denied , Supreme court and some institution work for justice .Person involve in Godhra get life sentence but post-Godhra riot they are free.We have full faith in constitution Gandhiji's Gujarat need justice. The Communal bill must be passed in parliament . I hope all the victim irrespective of the cast and religion gets their justice. And their is a urgent need of judicial reformed so that the cases get complete within time limit .All should enjoy the right given by constitution and follow their duty. India should not be compare with Pakistan of Srinagar or the USA because we are Indian nationalist not the foreign nationalist.

from:  S Khan
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 10:55 IST

I'm in total opposite views from writer here. It is always better to
forget past which is going to effect our future. Right now Gujarat is
the most prosperous and developed state of India and most of its
citizens irrespective of these religion are reaping its benifits.

from:  Mitul B
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 10:28 IST

To others who doubt the author's intention in writing this article - so what if she is an NAC member? Even if you doubt that she is a spokesperson for Congress, can you refute the facts stated above? Do you know the truth of Sabarmati Express incident? Do two wrongs make a right? Don't you see the difference between rioting people and state sponsored carnage? Just what kind of people are you? Tomorrow when they come after your child, they will not ask what her religion is, they will simply rape her. Do you even understand the ghoulishness of what you are supporting?

from:  Sonal Singh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 10:24 IST

One thing I like to point out that the article is not about making an issue of the past.But it is logical that
how it can be forgetted.There must be something needed to reduce the agony of that barbaric inhuman act in the history of mankind.Event like godhra shocks the society which we have developed.Few people give the example of development in gujrat for them I like to suggest that they should know the statical data for the poor people living there.Have a look at the index of development for the minorities there,the figure is even less than national average.So what this vibrant Gujrat means to those people. Though the development there is good but it is flawed also that it is still unable to develop a welfare state. So it will be hard for those who have a scar of those horrific days.

from:  Nurul Arfin
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 10:17 IST

Unfortunately the Loss was done to nation.We can't go back in past and bring back what has been lost.But Yes,we can move forward,taking lessons from past,that shamefull act like sectarian voilience is not repeated in future. As a strong nation its a high time we stop playing at the hands of mean politicians.

from:  Asif
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 10:14 IST

People posting here have to put things into perspective. Writing about
the pogrom in Gujarat and reminding us to 'remember' so that it
ultimately leads to our collective redemption as a civilized society
is the writer's primary objective. Some posters here say that the
writer hasn't mentioned about the Godhra train carnage and behind this
veil I see this eerily monstrous logic that these children and woman
suffered because of the burning of kar sevaks in the first place and
seem to unconsciously condone the monstrosities of 2002 in Gujarat.
Redemption and forgiveness becomes a possibility only if we 'remember'
and repent for our collective failure as a responsible tolerant
nation.

from:  Gautam
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 10:03 IST

What are the victims asking: Justice for the inhuman acts committed on their kith and kin. I am appalled that there is section of mass (in)human beings who commit this level of violence on fellow human beings among we Indians. We will be a shameless Nation state if these victims don't get justice within the frame work Indian constitution.

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 10:02 IST

"Gujarat remains a wound that stays with me always, deep and continuous. I cried often in 2002. I still cry. And I guess that is all right. Because Gujarat should make us collectively weep. And make us truly ashamed of ourselves as a nation" felt like someone is speaking out for me. Thanks for such an article

from:  rahul
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:57 IST

Violence begets violence. This heart-wrenching treatise on the post- violence reminiscences in Gujarat a decade ago only substantiates it. Both the incidents of the then unprecedented violence have left permanent scars on the democratic body of the nation. But only non-violence (love) possesses potential to kill violence. Is there any other way? If people (victims and perpetrators) do not forget the past and move towards a non-violent future, the nation will enter a perennially destructive cycle. Howsoever difficult the horrendous experiences of the Gujarat pogrom to forget may be, the only route for both communities to the journey to a bright future, for at least the posterity, is violence- and hatred-less life.

from:  V M Narain
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:54 IST

Sreeram: [There is no other country in world which has 30 % of its population as minorities.] Canada, for example? Well more than thirty percent, and before long the scale will tip and it will be a country with a white minority of forty nine percent. And it's not the only one.

from:  Ashu
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:45 IST

Civilized Democracy,do we as people of the nation really understand
democracy to call us civilized where inhuman, barbaric acts are order
of the day.We pretend that India is a democratic nation,but forget
that we are so intolerant inside.Have we accepted the ideals of
equality,fraternity and Justice embodied in the constitution in our
day to day lives...No.We continue to be the same feudal society where
acts of barbarism continue to decimate opposing ideas.Why have the
Institutions of Human rights failed to give justice to the Gujarat
victims.Cant we as fellow brethren fell the pain which the Gujarat
victims have gone through,have we as society stood for their
fundamental rights anytime.2002 riots can be consider as a collective
failure of all the nation ,its people,its civil society,and political
its so called democratic institutions.All this questions still remain
unanswered ,so when discussion of Gujarat 2002 comes all Indian heads
should hang in Shame.

from:  Dr Deodatt M Suryawanshi
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:41 IST

Thank you Farah for writing this heartfelt piece and thank you Hindu, as always, for helping fight these battles. This is a battle that all right minded Indians must see to the finish. The coldblooded killings of innocent children, women and men should not go unpunished and the general who commandeered them should be put where he belongs. Although it is easy to give into cynicism, Gandhi's thoughts are pertinent to the situation that we find ourselves in:
"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible – in the end, they always fall- think of it, always!”



from:  F Chiramel
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:35 IST

An excellent, inspiring and thought provoking article. I am sure there are many people who are still human and humane in India. I am sure there are so many good people there still all around us. Can we have the courage to look into the eyes of any woman and there recognize in her as my sister and to look into the eyes of any man and there recognize in him as my brother? That will be the moment of our liberation from these prejudices. God bless you Farah!

from:  Lovina
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:29 IST

What you are saying is correct but why you are forgetting the pain and darkness of the families of 42 karsevaks who were Burnt Alive. They were also Humans.They also feel the same pinch.You dont even bothered to mention that. They were also son,Husband and Father of somebody.Why so biased in Your approach.Try to write with a heart of Indian not with a heart of Muslim Or Hindu.

from:  Deepesh Kumar
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:24 IST

Because if we settle for the past as some would like it scripted, we threaten the meaning of
our present, and endanger our future. True...

from:  Ganesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:10 IST

Let us not forget whatever happened in Gujarat. Let us hope and pray for justice to be delivered to the victims of Gujarat. Let us win the battle of the idea of India. India is for all. Today the image of plural India is tainted with the gory gujarat genocide 2002.Let better sense prevail.

from:  T Azeez Luthfullah
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 09:00 IST

A stark reminder of the past. But did we learn our lessons from the past? Absolutely NO, because of several reasons. Firstly,rise in stature of Modi after the riots although he is deemed to be highly responsible for the whole state sponsored massacre. Secondly, failure of the secular state as we continue to bow down to the will of so the extreme fundamentalists i.e VHP,Bajrang Dal. Thirdly, our failure to see the idea of India as pointed out by the author. This country is considered to be a marvel, a contemporary example of a nation which is a combination of people with different faiths, different languages yet confers equal rights on all its citizens and the right to call themselves as Indians.
We all should embrace the idea of India and then only we would realise that everyone around as is first an Indian,a rightful citizen of this democratic,secularist state.

from:  Jayesh
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 08:47 IST

Parliament should enact a law, to immediately take over such states under its rule, when state itself becomes the murderer. When it is not done in time,the murderer by his own dictatorial methods, gains more power over the state. Let not more such evil powers gain controls in other states too. The voters who voted him back again and again, have an equal share in the murders. We are mere spectators and reporters. The crippled democracy of the state, should atleast teach a lesson for the future.History will mark us,as cowards, unable to throw a single mentally sick man, away, from this democratic system. This is shame and mockery of democracy.

from:  Chellakumar
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 06:37 IST

Not forgetting the past is very important.Actually history repeats itself. I read about Great calctta killings in Wikepedia.The direct action day on 16.8.1946,4000 people were killed.Rape,arson,looting occured.The CM Sokrawardy along with his aids spent considerable time in Police control room making sure hindus did not get help. The riots went on for five days.This was followed by Naokhali genocide where 5000 people were killed.Noakhali Carnage was a series of massacres, rapes, abductions and forced conversions of Hindus and loot and arson of Hindu properties, perpetrated by the Muslim community in the districts of Noakhali and Tipperah. The Government of Bengal appointed Edward Skinner Simpson, a retired judge to investigate the incidents in Noakhali. The report submitted by Simpson was covered up by the government. Sounds familiar!!
I think by not forgetting this is going to continue forever.

from:  R.P.Rajan
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 06:22 IST

The crux of the problem so lucidly stated is right here: "to fill the lacunae in our laws and our jurisprudence that has failed time and again to ensure criminal culpability for those in command, those who are never caught with the knives in their hands, but who instruct others to lie, and kill and misuse the law for electoral gain". The crux of the problem was this orchestration of bigotry and hatred, so publicly seen and reported - in the form of rath-yatras, the drumbeat of chauvinism (based on religion), of collecting thousands of >people around disputed sites, goading them into acts of violence that symbolizes everything that India is not, negating the very essence of their religion.
These are criminal acts, hate crimes. Prosecution for these have been few and far between. If the wheels of justice get thwarted by the biased few who continue to be in power, the only thing we can do is remember, and pray that it never happens again, and await justice.

from:  Anand
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 06:17 IST

The point couldn't have been put across more solemnly - at a time when
most of the mainstream media and corporates are enthusiastically
volunteering to portray Mr. Modi as the answer to India's development
woes, with an implicit message that the past be tucked away, it behoves
the rest of the nation to remember that India is no Gujarat - we are
better reconciled to slow and steady development rather than a
staggering one, but one accompanied by the destruction of the social
fabric of our nation.

from:  Rahul L.
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 04:46 IST

It was difficult to hold back tears while going through this very
sad narrative.Pakistan is similarly situated where minorities
continue to be treated in an atrocious way. However mindset in
Pakistan is a step ahead. Educated community of lawyers trained
to uphold law shower rose petals on a confessed murderer. A
retired Chief Justice to secure his place in heaven takes up
defence of the murderer without fee. Roots of this continous
tragedy lie in the politics of the leaders of independence in the
pre -partition years.We are paying for the mind set they
inculcated in the masses. And now we refuse to grow up

from:  anwar ahmed
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 04:40 IST

I agree with the author that the 2002 Gujarat massacre must not be forgotten; to this, I add the 1984 Sikh massacre. In both instances, the Hindu majority and the relevant governments failed the minorities. [Sadly even among the Hindus, certain castes living in rural areas seem to unable to exercise their constitutional rights.] I assume that the author is quite vocal in denouncing any kind of terrorism and injustice.

from:  Kanchi
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 04:32 IST

Heart touching article, brings back the horrors of the riots in Gujarat. The article in my view should have prioritized human suffering rather than making it a issue about minority or majority. I agree that Gujarat is a smaller version of what happened during world war 2. Recently an article was published in HT on the same line asking people not to forget Gujarat riots, but what about the growth and empowerment Gujarat has today? Is it null?
If people did not forget the fact that aurangzeb has committed atrocities on name of religion or the incidents happened during Bangladesh liberation war, we would have been still called Hindustan not India. There is no other country in world which has 30 % of its population as minorities. Our history and culture are unique and so are our problems. I don't think looking back and walking forward would put India in a growth trajectory which is immediately needed to uplift our poor and feed children dying of malnutrition. Lets be one.

from:  sreeram
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 04:21 IST

Dark episode of india's history.Gulbarga is waiting for the justice since the past ten years........this envisages the credibility of indian judiciary
and strength of fabric of the justice in largest democracy of the world.

from:  Mohammad arif ahmad
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 03:42 IST

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

from:  Rajiv Chandra
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 02:28 IST

Justice must be done as it is/was done with Nazis who killed Millions of Jews.

from:  Don
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 02:18 IST

Many innocent persons were killed in the aftermath of the communal riots that erupted when about 60 equally innocent presons were burnt alive when the coaches in which they were travelling was delibrated torched by communal elements at Godhra Railway Station. The author has talked about justice for the the riot victims but not about the 60 persons who were burnt alive. No one, not even the media talks about them. That is the real tragedy. why can't people be impartial and rise above communal politics. Unfortunately, such abominable communal riots will continue to take place so long as politicians play vote bank politics and the media is seen to be biased..

from:  krishna
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 02:10 IST

Such barbarism in modern times has, in all sense, left the nation shocked and nothing short of capital sentence is deserved by these socio-religious fanatics and as far as the sagacity of the works of the social activists are concerned, they are just ensuring that in the future any of these horrendous sights are never seen by any INDIAN..... their unyielding struggle will always be supported by the masses and may the case be TRUTH ALONE TRIUMPHS.

from:  kunal
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 01:30 IST

Sensationalizing tragedy and suffering, this is what this article is
trying to do while trying to influence mass opinion

from:  Tarun
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 01:30 IST

No wonder the author made it to the congress led National advisory council!
The views reflect nothing but the political views of congress! How conveninetly you forget to mention the Godhra carnage. Yes all cuplprits should be punished one who caused godhra and ones which caused riots after that incident. but i never see these activist speaking for godhra victims and so it seems that they have hidden agenda to selectively accuse the people when convenient. I did not see the author protesting when P chidamabaram advised the sikh to forget 84 riots!

from:  ganpaat
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 01:27 IST

It was really hard to read this article about the horrific happenings of Gujarat.As an Indian I feel ashamed about this incident.With all the laws and institutions the justice has not been served to the victims.No matter what religion,caste,creed one belongs to, we cannot be human beings if do not speak out against this inhuman acts of people of law and authority.Shameful episode in India's history.The person responsible for this still roams freely in the name of development and prosperity.If this is called development and prosperity then any normal person would reject such an idea.One cannot runaway from the past but take efforts to correct it by telling the truth and repent the mistakes.I hope long pending justice will prevail and those who suffered rest in peace.

from:  Prem kumar
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 01:12 IST

As terrible and unimaginable were the crimes committed against innocent
Muslims caught in these meaningless tragedies, one must not forget that
there were crimes committed by both parties. And it is now impossible to
say who started what, but one thing is clear - justice has no religion
and it must prevail over all else.

from:  Mohsin
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 00:48 IST

The personal view of Farah Naqvi (a member of NAC) doesn't seem to be limited with personal. Even if, someone try to forget and move on, they will never let the people to do it because of their vested interest. And for them justice has not achieved because Mr. Modi is still alive. Farah Naquvi no where mentioned about the root cause of Ghodhar train burning in which innocent Kar Sevak was burnt alive. you are presenting only one side of coin to appease chairman of NAC.

from:  Shashi Ranjan
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 00:33 IST
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