ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Gujarat riotsSubscribe to Gujarat riots

Contestation and Negotiations

The evidence from elections studies suggests that voters are guided by their perception of the performance of the party in power and their evaluation on this count of the contender party, although organisations of political parties and their modus operandi in mobilising voters also play an important role. At this stage the BJP in Gujarat is not in a comfortable position to convince voters about its ability to provide good governance. But that is not enough. The alternative party will have to articulate and highlight vital socio-economic issues. If it fails in doing so,emotional issue will dominate and work in favour of the BJP.

Limits of Tolerance

A modern democracy cannot tolerate matters of faith trumping over matters of citizenship rights. There can be no question of tolerance when citizens are denied their status as equal citizens. With an intolerant secularism that insists on the inalienable rights of citizens and on the due process of the law, it is easier to mount public pressure against minority hunters and sectarian killers. Here we cannot make exemptions, or look for mitigating circumstances, on grounds of being a minority or impoverished and unemployed.

Gujarat: The Riots and the Larger Decline

Over the last two decades Gujarat's once-pioneering contributions to the country's economic, social and intellectual life have seen a steady decline. The gradual decaying of institutions, neglect of development and drying up of opportunities have fuelled discontent, most palpable among the youth, and created readily identifiable enemies who become easy targets of hatred and violence.

The Second Gujarat Catastrophe

The second act of the catastrophe in Gujarat was carried out within parliamentary portals, in the course of the debate on the Gujarat violence which exposed the hypocrisy that while political discourse might concern itself with people's anguish, it is in reality driven by aspects of competitive politics. Even as extraordinary violence was perpetrated on Indian women, it was women's bodies that provided the necessary domain for the assertion of competitive party politics - a fact reflected in the arguments and counter-arguments offered during the debate. As this essay suggests, the ominous final message that seeps through is that constitutional governance can achieve little except normalise violence, almost as a social cost of democratic politics, in which even structured practices of governance are established that deny as well silence women's sufferings. The task for the 'active citizen' thus is to frame imaginative patterns of social action that would not merely empower victims but also adequately present the voices of suffering, giving voice to the anguish - a task that could effectively challenge the newly instituted narratives of 'pride' and 'honour'.

Gujarat: A Civil Service Failure

The principal reason for administrative and police failure is the growing power that politicians, and ministers in particular, have assumed over civil and police officers directly and indirectly through encouragement and tolerance of inefficiency and misconduct, and by the means of punitive transfers of officials if they act against misbehaving politicians. If the horrific events of the recent past in Gujarat are to be prevented, a sense of the responsibilities under the law should be restored among officials of the state.

Retributive Justice

Given the fate of the survivors of the 1984 Congress-led anti-Sikh carnage, who are still awaiting the judicial punishment of the guilty, it is no surprise that the first judicial verdict on the Gujarat riots has acquitted all accused. The list of those denied retributive justice in India runs long and is growing day by day.

Death of Indian Pluralism?

Gujarat was a watershed. What we are witnessing is the death of Indian pluralism.

Semiotics of Terror

What is new about Gujarat, it is argued here, is best exemplified by what happened to Muslim women and children on the days of the long knives. Not just their killing, not just the sadism, but the larger symbolic purpose behind the killing and the sadism that sums up the nature of ethnic cleansing, the shape of Hindu Rashtra.

Calcutta Diary

A nation, a substantial section of whom holds in great deference Puranic tracts, will be easily enchanted with mythology, any mythology, even that of a small-time defence bureaucrat suddenly catapulting to the status of a saint with the beatific smile. It does not matter if we have zeroed in on a Don Quixote or a Sancho Panza; he is the National Consensus, spelled in capital letters.

Surviving Gujarat 2002

Thousands of people have been coming to Gujarat in the last few months motivated by the need to 'do something' - to mourn, to document and to do whatever they can to redress the injustice perpetrated on one community in the name of another. It is this documentation at all levels that has brought home the composite horror of Gujarat 2002.


Back to Top