I am not surprised by the indignation of the protectors of brand NaMo, who skip the questions raised and move neatly towards raising doubts about this writer’s credentials, even pulling out in the process, irrelevant family connections from the last century. India has seen great generational changes in its women, and our family was no exception. My grandmother, born in the last decade of the 19th century, naturally reflected the ideas and beliefs of most grandmothers (and grandfathers) raised during the period but she was a wonderful human being and we remained close. My writer mother’s independent life and career as an eminent writer, and my own as a journalist, calmly proceeded to be shaped differently by democracy and the liberal education we were both fortunate enough to receive. And Amma was inordinately proud of the achievements of the succeeding generations.
The same anxiety when failing to defend the indefensible propels a deliberate misreading of my criticism of brand NaMo as a defence of the Prime Minister.
Mr. Goli is at pains to point out that the 2002 riots are sub judice. Do we take it, then, that all Indians must be guided by the vows of “omertà,” and refuse to speak on the subject till the final verdict is delivered? The fact of the matter is that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report and the description of the gruesome riots by Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a black mark on the nation’s forehead, and his advice to the Chief Minister to observe his raj dharma, are clear indicators of the dubious role of the then government and its head.
The fanatical defenders of any carnage finally come to exist in a different dimension, a twilight zone of half-truths and lies, while those of us who try to defend the people’s right to know the whole painful truth must continue mucking about in the dimension of facts.
(Mrinal Pande, a veteran journalist and writer, is Chairperson, Prasar Bharati.)