“I am Izaj in Senior (Kindergarten). After the burning in Chamanpura (a riot-hit area), I came here.”
“They killed everyone.” says the young Muslim boy. He must not be more than 4-5 years old.
“Did you see it? What did you see?”, asks the interviewer to the boy whose family was killed in the Gujarat riots in 2002.
“They attacked with swords.”
“They killed my grandpa and aunt. And when my father tried to save grandpa, they chopped off two of his fingers”, replies the boy and he shows his own hand as a gesture to indicate which fingers of his father were chopped off.”
He goes on,” They stripped the women before killing them”
“In front of you?” asks the interviewer in order to know the horrifying scenario.
“Yes, they stripped my aunt too.”
He asks after a pause,”who did it?”
The young boy replies,”Wo Hindu log aaye the na.” in an innocent voice.
This was the first of the many interviews featured in the well-made, thought-provoking documentary Final Solution which is about the 2002 Gujarat Riots. It was released in 2003 and is banned in India, however, one can find it on YouTube. It is directed by Rakesh Sharma and it has won several international awards.
Sometimes, I wonder why we are said to have freedom of expression even if the govt. can go on banning books and documentaries like this one which are made on neutral grounds.
I am of opinion that the govt. can oppose an idea but it should not be given the right to ban books and films etc. without well justified reasons.
This documentary features many interviews with Gujarat Riot victims, the family members of various Godhra Train Burning victims and Akshardham Temple Attack victims. These victims belong to both the communities− Hindu and Muslim.
After watching this one, I realized that such violence is neither a one time suffering and nor does it cause only the victims or their family to suffer in isolation but these incidents give birth to an exponential hatred towards one-another. It gives birth to a craving for revenge which works as a chain reaction.
In the closing scene of the documentary, Izaj says that he wants to become a soldier. When the interviewer asks why so, he replies— so that he can grow up being a soldier and burn all the Hindus. It was because, in his innocent young mind, he believes that Hindus are bad people. He is not able to differentiate between a Hindu and a bad person.
The interviewer then asks,” I am a Hindu too. Am I also bad? Will you not spare me?”
The boy replies innocently that he will only kill Hindus and the interviewer is not one of them.
Then the interviewer asks him,” Don’t I look like a Hindu to you?”
The young boy shakes his head in disagreement and says,”No, you are a Muslim.” Because the interviewer seems a good man to him.
I can guess, but don’t surely know how such idea got sown in his young innocent mind. But it is very horrifying to know that this kid— along with many other anonymous like him— had to grow up with it.
Maintaining its neutrality and supported by interviews, clippings and facts; the documentary goes on highlighting the role of the then Gujarat Govt., VHP, Bajrang Dal etc. in the whole tragedy. Some accusations are supported by well researched facts, figures and interviews while some accusations have no supportive facts as such.
Through out the whole documentary, there are various clippings of various Hindu leaders and politicians whose speeches are provocative in nature. It gives an idea of the unjustified actions might have been carried out by the VHP, Bajrang Dal etc. pertaining to the whole tragedy.
It is a well made documentary but in my opinion, the documentary could have shown more of the other side of the coin as well. The leaders of the other side, I mean.
Despite the above, being a human being, no matter which community I belong to, no matter what nation I belong to, it’s painful for me to know that a genocide has happened somewhere at some point of time. That innocents are being killed somewhere. Whether be it Hindus of Bangladesh, Sikhs in 1984 or Muslims in 2002, I feel a natural hatred towards the persons responsible.
So, after reading so much of anti-Modi articles and reports, I felt the same towards him.
I wonder why there are no solid facts, videos, letters or anything for that matter that can, without argument, prove the role of Narendra Modi in the whole tragedy. I really wonder about it. If so many people can accuse him of doing so many things, then at least one person could have come out with a solid proof against him.
I think our Indian Judicial System is still so strong that we can prove charges against one man if we have strong proofs against him. Various cases and SITs ran through but no one could prove the charges against him.
Let me talk about the media trials. If I talk about the various documentaries, news reports, articles and interviews; they— if all combined, at max, but not for sure— only prove what Modi, at best, should have done in that situation. But none can put it strongly forward that Modi had an active hand in all of these. All he can be proven guilty of is following and giving more importance to one religion or community but one can never strongly convict him of doing anything against the other. At least, so far.
There is another angle to the whole idea. The Supreme court of India has recently acquitted Adam Ajmeri who was one of the accused in Akshardham Temple attack. He, with 5 others, is finally proven innocent, on the same day that Modi registered his own victory in Lok Sabha elections.
It is important to note that the Supreme Court accused the Gujarat Police for framing “innocent” people and the Gujarat home minister of “non application of mind” (link:http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/a-different-kind-of-a-victory-in-gujarat/99/). The five other along with Ajmeri were convicted by the lower court, who were found not guilty by the Supreme Court of India.
The idea here is— if the decision of one court can be so contrary to that of the other in the same nation, then how can we count upon the decisions in favor of or clean chits given to Mr. Modi. May be after some years, some court will convict him too. Who knows?
However, back to the media trials, my last and biggest hope was Arnab Goswami’s interview with Narendra Modi. I like his courage and researches that he keeps with him as prerequisites before interviewing the big guns. I remember the way he exposed Rahul Gandhi of his brainless-ness and lack of vision and ideas other than RTI and Woman Empowerment.
To my disappointment, leave Modi aside of his own accusations, Arnab could not even prove that Modi had people in his cabinet who had charges against them related to the riots, at the time when they were the part of the cabinet.
But the biggest thing is that you cannot give clean chits for what better one could have done, morally, by taking the higher road. You cannot convict someone in court for who one could have, on moral grounds, opposed strongly, in order to save innocent lives. We don’t have Penal Codes for should-have-done crimes.
Other than this, look at the results of 2014 elections results. We don’t even have a single Muslim candidate who won from BJP.
Take a look at this excerpt from an article of Shekhar Gupta published in the Indian Express:
“… This is a provocative formulation. It will be contested and, arguably, so. If BJP’s entire Lok Sabha contingent of 272+ does not have a single Muslim — which means a population segment of nearly 15 per cent has found no representation in what is a national wave — can you really call this verdict post-ideological?…” (link:http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/modi-your-time-starts-now/)
Due to all these facts, I am very skeptical of what is coming for us as a nation from a Modi-led BJP government.
Criticising Modi and BJP, the documentary also mentioned the following, 10 years ago:
I happened to read through it in 2013 before Modi was announced the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP. At that time, the speculations were still there, though. I thought that once he would be announced BJP’s PM candidate, he will start following the Hindutva agenda.
But now when I look back and see, I feel very happy that it did not happen.
He won the election with the help of a wave that does not belong much to the sea of communalism or Hindutva ideology but to the ocean of development and opportunities. I feel good that Modi-Wave was less about hatred and more about a dream of “India Shining”.
Except for a few instances, these elections have been more about development and less about religion and caste.
Still, when I think that this govt. has an agenda of development, a thought of radical ideology which might be followed by them comes to my mind. When I think that this government’s strongest leader did not use polarization statements, a number of 272+ which is without any leader of a community that forms 15% of our population, comes to my mind.
That is why, all I want is to hope because hope is a good thing.
I hope for a day when we don’t have to make documentaries on tragedies. If they are to be made, the subject should be development, achievement and happiness.
I hope for a day when the words like “genocide”, “persecution”, “communal-violence” are printed at most in History books, not in newspapers.
I hope that we don’t have to have self-proclaimed thekedars for our Bharat Mata ki Raksha against so-called Pashchimi Sabhyata.
I hope from this goverment for an educated, developed and happy India full of brotherhood and love.
This time, I hope for an “India Shining”.
P.S.: This was written just to share my thoughts and feeling about the new Modi Government. The incidents and interviews of the documentary Final Solution which is highly recommended were used to bring clarity of thought. It might seem that whole thing inclined towards one side. But I want to clarify that even if it seems, I don’t mean anything of that sort.