The article, “Narendra Modi and why 2002 cannot go away” by N. Ram (Nov. 6), has raised several issues of importance. Indian democracy is stronger than the forces set against it. We have, in fact, gone from strength to strength while resisting the forces that are detrimental to democracy. The BJP’s experiment with Mr. Modi will eventually strengthen our democratic values.
What is perhaps preventing Mr. Modi from apologising for the Gujarat riots is the fear of being isolated politically. Also, while refusing to offer a public apology for 2002, he is building up a context in which a mere ‘sorry’ would do to erase the memory of the riots. It should not surprise us if he offers a last-minute apology to make peace.
S.A. Thameemul Ansari,
The question why Mr. Modi has not apologised for the 2002 pogrom is relevant in the context of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s apology for the 1984 riots. It would be naïve to expect Mr. Modi, an ardent disciple of the RSS which swears by Hindu nationalism, to make a democratic, secular leader.
1984 and 2002 are often brushed away as two horrendous wrongs that equalise the Congress and the BJP as far as communalism is concerned. Godhra and post-Godhra were a culmination of over 13 years of orchestrated hatred by the sangh parivar, polarising Hindus and Muslims. While the 1984 riots were barbaric, there was no build-up of animosity between two communities by political parties before the riots.
The corporate-backed propaganda, in the name of moving on for the sake of development, under a cultivated image of a no-nonsense Modi, has made many gullible people think of Mr. Modi as the only alternative to the corrupt Congress. Attempts are on by the powerful elite corporate lobby and the sangh parivar to sabotage the most probable and better alternative of a front of regional parties, strongly backed by the Left.
It appears that people who throng Mr. Modi’s meetings have decided to give him the benefit of the doubt on his role in the post-Godhra happenings. As of now, there seems to be no alternative to him. Rahul Gandhi has not proved the right candidate. The Nehru-Gandhi connection will not help him run the nation.
Mr. Modi had not been implicated by any court for the post-Godhra riots. He won the elections in Gujarat for the third consecutive time, in spite of the malicious propaganda carried out against him by activists and the media. As for apologising for the 2002 riots, he has clearly said if he is guilty, he should be hanged.
Mr. Modi is the favourite according to some surveys not because he is the best but because he is better than other alternatives. The Congress made a big mistake by undermining Dr. Singh and making him do things which were detrimental to his image-building.
That said, is there nothing positive about Mr. Modi? 2002 is no doubt a blot on our history. But to put the entire blame on Mr. Modi is unfair. He had no prior knowledge of the Godhra train carnage. It was the handiwork of divisive forces. Hindu fundamentalists easily fell into the trap and went berserk.
Is 2002 more horrific because Dr. Singh apologised on behalf of the Congress for the anti-Sikh riots? Has any one involved in the riots been convicted after almost 30 years? Those responsible for the 2002 riots, including a Minister in Gujarat Cabinet, have been convicted.
Has Mr. Modi talked about the “so-called” Hindutva agenda after being declared the prime ministerial candidate by the BJP? His speeches are development oriented and highlight the failures of the UPA government.
R. Prabu Ananth,
The article does not highlight Mr. Modi’s pluses. He is a mass leader, incorruptible, hard working, follows a frugal lifestyle, and has the ability to connect with the masses. He hails from the middle class with no family of his own. When was the last time that we had a PM candidate of this genre?
Let us say he has some shortcomings, but the question is: do we have an alternative worth mentioning? About the U.S. not giving him a visa, the lesser said about America’s human rights record, the better.
Human lives cannot be compensated by apologies — heartfelt or otherwise. Justice needs to be meted out by prosecuting those responsible for the riots. On that front, 2002 fares way better than 1984, whose prime accused were given the Congress ticket to contest elections.
As for the insensitivity of Mr. Modi’s remark, let voters decide which of the two statements is more insensitive, “When a big tree falls ...” or “When a puppy comes under the wheel ...”
In a democracy, only elections decide the fate of politicians and political parties. If the BJP is able to secure a majority on its own or through an alliance and elects Mr. Modi as Prime Minister, we have to accept it. One cannot ignore the fact that post-2002, Gujarat has been free from any form of communal violence.
While I agree with some of Mr. Ram’s observations, I do not think Dr. Singh’s so-called apology to the Sikh community was genuine. It was not an apology from the Congress party. No court has convicted Mr. Modi.
If Mr. Modi is found guilty, the law of the land will catch up with him and award him exemplary punishment. Whatever happened to the principle of innocent till proved guilty? Mr. Modi’s appeal across religious groups and strength as a prime ministerial candidate are a direct consequence of UPA II’s many failures. Another Congress-led government, headed by a clueless Rahul Gandhi, will lead to more scams, poverty, befuddled foreign and economic policies and continued manipulation of religious sentiments.
The Gujarat Chief Minister’s role in the Gujarat riots will remain a fodder for debate throughout his political career.
However, in the present context, his development-oriented, decisive leadership has been able to attract many.
N. Sadhasiva Reddy,