In television debates, Twitter, Facebook, news paper editorials, everywhere, people complain about shrinking space for liberal thought. Our sense of justice and fairness is being questioned every day and there are enough examples to prove it, Ayodhya movement , Babri demolition, Shah Bano case, Mandal agitation and Gujarat riots. Critiquing Modi means being anti development, appreciating Gujarat’s development under Modi means being communal. If you are an Indian, all Pakistanis are terrorists and if you are a patriotic Pakistani you have to believe that the whole purpose of an Indian’s existence is existence is to finish everything Pakistani.
Last few days in India belonged to Gujarat as far as the print and electronic media is concerned. Chief minister Narendra Modi’s three-day fast for “peace, unity and harmony” in the state, his remarks-”Constitution of India is supreme for us. As a chief minister of the state, pain of anybody in the state is my pain. (Delivering) Justice to everyone is the duty of the state”, are being interpreted as his first ever expression of regret over the post-Godhra communal riots. Modi’s detractors have dug out Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 2002 letter to Modi. His followers are projecting him as the next PM of the country. I get a feeling of “you are either with us or against us”.
I don’t want to endorse or criticize Modi. In this age of media wars, don’t know when victims become perpetrators, and perpetrators become victims. Last week there was a lot of talk of Supreme Court judgement in the Zakia Jafri’s case, Congress expressed outrage and the BJP glee. I am not a lawyer but I agree with a senior journalist who Tweeted- SC wants to invest the trial court with authority to proceed in this issue. The fact is that Cong shouts about post-Godhra riots and BJP counters it with 1984 and so far there has been no justice, no punishments and no indictments.
I don’t know much about Ehsan Jafri except that he was burnt alive during one of the worst ever riots in Indian history and he was accused of firing at the mob and planning terrorist activities. I read this verse from his book called “Qandeel” ( A Lamp) published in 1994 and thought of sharing-
“Geeton se teri zulfon ko Meera ne sanwara
Gautam ne sada di tujhe Naanak ne pukara
Khusro ne kai rangon se daaman ko nikhara
Har dil mein muhabbat ki ukhuwat ki lagan hai
Ye mera watan mera watan mera watan hai.”