Congress cannot stomach that Modi has kept Gujarat riot free for the past 12 years.
arendra Modi's opponents, in cahoots with a partisan media, during the last decade have achieved great success in distorting the persona of the real Modi before Indians. This trend seems to be finally reversing.
This week, I had the privilege of releasing Madhu Kishwar's book, Modi, Muslims and Media. Kishwar has done great service by revealing to the public several facts that had been concealed from them deliberately, in a conspiracy between Modi's political opponents who fear him, but control the mechanisms of government, and sections of the media dedicated to divisive communal forces, blessed by certain external powers that seek to ensure that India remains the sick man of Asia forever. We have witnessed this conspiracy during British rule, and we are witnessing it today.
The facts relate to the Godhra incident and its unfortunate aftermath, and the man, Narendra Modi, his political background before he became Chief Minister, his performance as Chief Minister, and his actual interventions after the unfortunate Godhra train burning and the riots that followed.
These facts have been concealed from Indians by the media machinery of the Congress and its so called "secular", but actually communal allies, and snuffed out by influential sections of the public media who for reasons that became partners of the UPA in the demonisation of Modi. I have repeatedly stated in my articles during the last few years that one of the greatest successes of the UPA government has been its Goebbelsian demonisation of Modi. It lasted for a while, but it is clear that retribution is around the corner, and some of his greatest hired detractors, like Teesta Setalvad, are getting their just deserts. A large section of the public, especially the Muslim community have also realised that they have been taken for a ride by the Congress, which kept shoving false information down their throats, while they themselves were plundering the country, all the while perpetuating a schism between the Muslims and the majority community, to suit their political ends.
Let the people know what really happened at Godhra. The carnage on the Sabarmati Express, which was carrying karsevaks from Ayodhya to Ahmedabad, took place on 27 February 2002 at 8.30 a.m., as it moved about 500 yards from Godhra station and was stopped at a signal, through repeated chain pulling by the conspirators. A crowd of around 2,000 Muslims started stoning the train mercilessly and setting fire to the coaches, having prepared the previous night with petroleum and acid bombs. Compartment doors were locked from outside, and the karsevaks were trapped in the fire and smoke. 59 persons, including women and children, in four coaches, were gruesomely burnt alive.
The false defence put up by the criminals, aided and abetted by the Congress, when it came to power, was that it was an accidental fire, caused by a stove or an electrical short circuit. An intelligent fire, certainly, singling out only the karsevaks and their families. Do Indians know who defended the accused in the Godhra train burning incident? It was the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, and the Congress proxy NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch. The criminal conspiracy between Godhra train attackers and the Congress, and their complete lack of sympathy for the Godhra victims, needs no further explanation. Does their being Hindu have something to do with it?
Kishwar informs us of the troubled history of Godhra, and its long history of communal riots from 1925 till 1992, post Independence, all under the Congress government. The worst riots in post partition India happened in 1969 in Ahmedabad where 5,000 Muslims were killed with the Congress in power under Chief Minister Hitendrabhai Desai. Does anyone ask about what action was taken against the perpetrators, what charge sheets were filed? In 1985, under Congress Chief Minister Madhavji Solanki, again there was a major communal riot preceded by smaller ones, with curfew lasting over 200 days. 1987 and 1990 again saw communal riots in Gujarat, under Congress Chief Ministers Amar Singh Chowdhery and Chimanbhai Patel. Let the people judge for themselves who the real Maut ka Saudagar is.
Kishwar extensively quotes Zafar Sareshwala, a respected Gujarati Muslim entrepreneur, who started by wanting to take Modi to the International Court of Justice, and ended up by becoming his friend, after he met him in London in August 2003, and was astonished by his sincerity, his openness, and his good intentions for the Muslim community.
The people of India have never been informed regarding the circumstances under which Modi became Chief Minister of Gujarat. It was because of too much infighting within the Gujarat BJP; to revitalise the party, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee decided to send Modi as the CM. Modi, who was then the general secretary of the BJP working from Delhi, had never fought an election before, had never handled administration or governance, and had not visited Gujarat for the last six years. It was on 7 October 2001 that he became CM. A complete novice, his first great challenge was handling the rehabilitation of the devastating Kutch earthquake of 26 January 2001, to which he announced he was according highest priority. Modi threw all his energy into this, visiting almost every village, including those inhabited only by Muslims, mourning and wiping the tears of the bereaved. He swore that he would convert the disaster into an opportunity, a word that he kept. Through dedicated and honest rehabilitation, villages such as Chobari and Trambe were resurrected, there came modernisation and economic resurgence, urban reconstruction and tourism, and Gujarat became a global role model for disaster management.
Modi's earliest statements after becoming Chief Minister are that of a statesman. They reveal his sagacity, patriotism and secularism, and not a trace of communalism is evident in them. He speaks of the common cause of Gujaratis, the power of oneness, combating corruption, farmers' concerns, border and maritime security, poverty reduction, rural uplift. His slogan was Sabka Saath, Sab ka Vikaas, and he used his leadership and the entire governance structures to translate this into action. Gujarat had 11 universities in 2001. Today, there are 44, including a Sanskrit university.
What the Congress and its communal allies (who derive their political sustenance only by keeping Hindu Muslim division alive for ever) cannot stomach is that Modi has kept Gujarat riot free for the last 12 years, something that never happened from 1925 for 75 years, the worst and with the most bloody riots happening under the Congress rule.
But even before that, the Congress felt severely jolted. They panicked at what Kishwar calls "whirlwind Muslim support" for Modi for his first election from Rajkot in February 2002. 28 Muslim organisations declared support for him, prominent Muslim leaders and Muslim women campaigned for him and in booths where there was more than 70% Muslim population he surged ahead. His subsequent election victories, despite BJP dissidents joining hands with Congress, confirm without doubt that Modi's government is completely inclusive, and Gujarat Muslims have not succumbed to Congress lies and hate campaign.
The Congress had to sever the friendship between Muslims and the liberal face of the BJP, and it was willing to play with fire to engineer the same, including hobnobbing with the ISI, or participate in the riots, for which there is evidence from none other than Maulana Madni, of Jamiat Ulema e Hind.
There is also enough evidence, corroborated by K.P.S. Gill, that Modi took every necessary step to ensure taking control of the situation — indefinite curfew, shoot at sight orders, putting the entire 70,000 police force on public duty, deployment of rapid action force and CISF, request to the Centre for 10 companies of CRPF. Army assistance was requested on the first day. Both the Nanavati Commission and the Supreme Court monitored SIT have found nothing against Modi, and have rubbished the canards spread by his enemies.
I appeal to the Muslims of India not to become victims of the hate propaganda and falsehoods that are being tenaciously and relentlessly pursued by the Congress against Modi. Please understand that the Congress aims to permanently convert you as the "other", so that you will always be on the fringes, and will always have to depend upon them for support. I suggest that you enquire from your brothers in Gujarat, and find out for yourself regarding whatever Modi has done for the prosperity of the Muslim community. Give him a drop of affection and trust and judge for yourself the goodwill he has for your community.
I have had access to most of the vital papers pertaining to the Godhra episode, and I can give a moral guarantee that I have not seen a single action or statement from Modi that suggests any communalism or divisiveness or hatred for the Muslims that the Congress has accused him of. And such a statement from me would carry some credibility, as one thing even my worst detractors cannot accuse me of is communalism. Many people may not be aware that my dear daughter Rani adopted from an orphanage a small Muslim boy of 6 months, and brought him up. My grandson uses my name, Ali Jethmalani, and even though he wanted to become Hindu, we counselled him to come of age and then choose. I need not say anymore.
When Narendra Damodardas Modi took
over as chief minister of Gujarat in
October 2001, he found the state's power situation grim. The Gujarat State
Electricity Board, or GSEB, had posted a loss of Rs 2,246 crore for 2000/01, on
revenues of Rs 6,280 crore. Interest costs alone were Rs 1,227 crore.
Transmission and distribution, or T&D, losses were a substantial 35.27 per
cent, and load shedding was frequent. GSEB had no funds to add generation
capacity on its own, nor was it able to persuade the private sector to invest.
the GSEB, thus, became one of Modi's
top priorities. "He feared that a bankrupt power utility could
derail his vision for the state," says Saurabh Patel, Gujarat's Industries
and Power Minister, then as now. "He knew electricity is crucial for
Whenever would-be prime ministerial candidates of the country for the 2014 elections is being discussed, it cannot be complete without mentioning Narendra Modi, who is, by far, way ahead of any other person across the political spectrum. It is also equally important to make an intellectual analysis as to why Modi, who took charge of a communally surcharged state being a non-starter as a politician in 2002, has reached this level of popularity across the country where no other politician has been able to reach.
You may hate him or you may like him but you cannot ignore him. The journey which Narendra Modi has covered - from being the most hated figure in 2002 to a probable prime ministerial candidate in 2014 - is astounding. Modi's approach has undoubtedly given him the status of a statesman and the architect of the Gujarat growth model.
This could be counted as one of the reasons for the minorities, including the Muslims gravitating towards Narendra Modi. The fruits of this model have touched more or less all sections of the society, and has been inclusive beyond doubt.
The nation did watch the UPA back-patting itself on completing 9 years and the nation also watched Narendra Modi completing 10 years as the Gujarat CM. And no doubt, the applause goes to Narendra Modi. The million-dollar question now is, "What changes have been made in Gujarat in these ten years? And why this gravitation towards Narendra Modi is now creeping across the country?"
Modi and Gujarat are development symbols for the nation. Although the scars of 2002 still remain but it was not just an enigma that more than 31 per cent of the Muslims voted for the BJP in the 2012 Assembly elections. Media has not yet realised this. The reality has not yet dawned that 6 out of 8 Muslim-majority constituencies were won by BJP candidates last December. And this momentum of the Muslims overwhelmingly voting for the BJP continued in the local elections of February 2013. Modi has been time-tested several times in the past decade and this is perhaps the first decade in the last 60 years when Gujarat remained riot-free. The reason was simple. Modi has given the Gujaratis the boon of peace and justice which money can't buy. And across civilisations of the world, people have liked a leader who can provide them peace and justice because prosperity is bound to follow if these are made available to the people.
There are number of reasons for the Muslims of Gujarat to move beyond the 2002 riots, primarily because in the 9 major cases of rioting and arson, the perpetrators of the crime were convicted, justice prevailed and the rule of law was established.
Recently, India's most well-known film script-writer Salim Khan (actor Salmaan Khan's father) has said to a senior journalist in an interview: "Does anyone remember who the chief minister of Maharashtra was during the Mumbai riots which were no less deadly than the Gujarat riots of 2002? Does anyone recall the name of the chief minister of UP during Malliana and Meerut riots or that of the Bihar CM when the Bhagalpur or Jamshedpur riots under Congress regimes took place? Do we hear names of earlier chief ministers of Gujarat under whose charge, hundreds of riots took place in post-Independence India? Does anyone remember who was in-charge of Delhi's security when the 1984 massacre of Sikhs took place in the capital of India? How come Narendra Modi has been singled out as the Devil Incarnate as if he personally carried out all the killings during the riots of 2002?" No speck of doubt about what Salim Khan has said.
Modi, in fact, has given a new formula of inclusive development to our secular country by removing the labels of religion, castes and creed. He approaches the people as one and designs schemes intended to benefit all Gujaratis, thus eliminating the evil divide and rule formula of vote-bank politics from which the country is suffering from. No help or aid or scheme has been launched in Gujarat in the last 11 years in the name of religion or caste. This could be the quintessence of inclusive growth with communal harmony.
No wonder we see the highly respected and eminent Muslim scholar Maulana Vastanvi, a Gujarati Muslim himself, saying that, "Gujarati muslims had benefited from the inclusive development policies of Modi's government." Unfortunately he was forced to resign from his post as Vice-Chancellor of Deoband for saying so.
Another prominent Islamic scholar, Maulana Mehmood Madni of Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind, had agreed that Muslims in Gujarat were better off in many disciplines as compared to other states.
Yet another prominent non-resident Gujarati Lord Adam Patel of the UK, during his visit to India, met Modi at Gandhinagar and appreciated his peace initiatives and the inclusive prosperity among the Muslims of Gujarat.
Not only the Muslims of Gujarat, in a recent interview given to 'Milli Gazette', former IG of Police, Maharashtra, SM Mushrif said: "The most safe place for Muslims today is Gujarat." He further says that the state of Maharashtra has done the greatest damage to the Muslim community which is ruled by so-called secular parties like the NCP and the Congress for the last 10 years. So many cannot be wrong at the same time; there remains no doubt about why Muslims are gravitating towards Modi.
No wonder the Modi hate campaigners are finding a hard time to sell their part of story because they are in stark contrast with the ground reality in spite of repeated media-trials.
I remember Mahesh Bhatt, the renowned film director ,once speaking from a Jamiatul Ulema -e-Hind platform in Surat, said and I quote him: "Narendra Modi, sun rahe ho? Jis mazhab ko tum aaye din kehte ho ki ye aatankvadiyon ki gangotri hai, uske Rasool ne kya kaha hai...".as he quoted a Hadith of the Prophet. Mahesh Bhatt soon received a call from Narendra Modi. Modi told him, "Maheshbhai, Musalmaan 5 aaiye, 50 aaiye, 500 aaiye, 5000 aaiye, main milne ko taiyyar hoon, main aapki saari problems ko solve karne ke liye taiyyar hoon. Main aapko ye hi kehna chahta hoon ki main available hoon." Film director Mahesh Bhatt had put forward this to the Islamic leaders of Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind and to the Muslim community in general.
Here the CM seems to have won over the hearts not by practising divide and rule but by ensuring inclusiveness and submissiveness to the people. Taking into context the Muslims of Gujarat, they had never seen such inclusiveness and such a discrimination-free society. The only thing, every Gujarati was looking for, was development.
We all know that the worst riot in post-Partition India happened in 1969 in Ahmedabad and more than 5000 Muslims were killed in that systematic massacre. Because there was no 247 media those days, earlier riots were not documented. At that time Gujarat was ruled by the Congress and Hitendra Desai was the CM while Indira Gandhi was in power at the Centre. Forget about punishment, not even a single charge sheet was filed. The Jagmohan Commission report is there for everyone to see. Whole communities were wiped out without a trace. Has anyone documented where these 5000 families have gone?
In the past, people of Gujarat always lived under the fear of communal riots but efforts and endeavours of prominent Muslims had made it possible for numerous Muslim delegations - Islamic scholars, businessmen, youth, women and even street hawkers to meet Modi. He has met them all and given an ear to their grievances. This was something the Muslims had not seen in the last 40 years of Congress rule. Muslim madarsas were supported. Madarsa students, who had never seen or gone to a school, got a chance to appear for SSC and class XIIth examinations. The famous Sarkhej Roza which was in dilapidated condition was renovated and restored. The numbers of Muslim-owned schools and hospitals in the state have increased. Economic prosperity too has visited Muslim households and as a result, the record turn-out by Muslims to vote for Narendra Modi.
It is important to understand that inclusive growth has benefitted the minority community and we can see that through various growth indicators. Some of them are:
This, being a season of preparations for the Hajj pilgrimage, it is important to see that the total quota for Hajj travellers in Gujarat is 3,500 seats whereas applications for Hajj have exceeded the count of 41,000 already. Going for Hajj is an indicator of economic prosperity of a family because in Islam, it is mandatory to fulfil all your social obligations before going on Hajj.
Gujarat has two of the fastest growing districts in the country and they are Kutch and Bharuch and both these districts have large Muslim populations and there has been unprecedented growth in these districts. Kutch has about 35 per cent Muslim population and Bharuch has around 20 per cent Muslim population.
Similarly, if one looks at the two-wheeler vehicle registration at various RTO's in Gujarat, almost 18 per cent of the vehicles are registered in the names of Muslims who form less than 10 per cent of the total population of the state. Similarly, the registration of 4-wheeler vehicles is also much higher than the communitys proportionate population.
The number of Muslims employed in the police force is 12 per cent in Gujarat,. while Muslims employed by the Gujarat state government is around 10 per cent of the total sarkari workforce.
Yes, we all agree that there was massive destruction of lives and property and Muslims did suffer a lot in 2002. But this was not the first time. Before this, major riots have occurred in Gujarat in 1969, 87, 89, 90, 92. In each one of these riots, many Muslims lost their lives and property worth crores of rupees was looted, but never were the perpetrators of the crime punished. Even FIR's were not registered. The government of the day would not dare to confront the arsonists. But now, for the first time, not only in the history of Gujarat but even elsewhere in the country, more than 200 miscreants belonging to the majority faith have been convicted for their roles in the 2002 riots. Out of these 200 convicts, 150 have been given life imprisonment. Although all these convictions have happened due to the involvement of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT, the role of the Gujarat government in ensuring justice cannot be ignored. These convictions have been like a balm on the wounds of the victims.
Two more cases are at a very advanced stage of conviction: Naroda Gam and Gulburga society where again the convictions of the perpetrators and arsonists are foregone conclusions.
Apart from justice, this government has been able to provide a terror-free atmosphere. So as compared to earlier when a Muslim could not even venture out to some parts, today he or she can freely move around and there is terror-free interaction between the communities. Such an atmosphere was unseen anywhere before 2002 in Gujarat.
People praise the riverfront project on the banks of the Sabarmati in Ahmedabad but people forget that there were some 13000 families living on the bank of the Sabarmati for the last 50 years. Every single family has been rehabilitated in beautiful apartments and 68 per cent of these families were Muslim. No discrimination was done by the state government. The Gujarat government has raised schemes for the weaker sections of the society and there is not a single incident where Muslims have been discriminated.
In spite of the Modi government being reprimanded for not implementing any minority-related financial schemes, Gujarat Minorities Finance Development Corporation has disbursed over Rs 60 crore in the last 10 years. Modi is portrayed as anti-minority whereas the experience of the minorities in Gujarat is that Modi is a very minority-friendly person. Not surprisingly, most Christians vote for Modi. They have never complained against his regime.
In the words of V V Augustine from Kerala, who used to frequently interact with Modi during his tenure as a member of the National Minorities Commission, "People who spread the canard that Modi is against the minorities are reflecting their own political biases. My experience is totally different. He listens very carefully and acts very fast in case of genuine problems. As a member of the Minorities Commission, I dealt with several states. Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar governments have also been good. But no chief minister is as good, as strong and determined as Modi. Now even Muslims realise that Modi is good for them. There are two kinds of Muslims in Gujarat - the rich and the poor. My experience tells me the poor Muslims are solidly with Modi because a riot-free Gujarat and a resurgent economy with new opportunities have benefited the poorer Muslims far more dramatically. It has provided them avenues of upward mobility. Truth is truth, how can I deny facts?"
The end result today is that Gujarat has seen its first ever post-Independence riot-free decade with inclusivene growth. Muslims have gravitated towards Narendra Modi and Modi, the most hated figure in 2002, is the most suitable prime ministerial material for the country in 2013.
Flying over East Asia, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) took this night image of the Korean Peninsula. Unlike daylight images, city lights at night illustrate dramatically the relative economic importance of cities, as gauged by relative size. In this north-looking view, it is immediately obvious that greater Seoul is a major city and that the port of Gunsan is minor by comparison. There are 25.6 million people in the Seoul metropolitan area—more than half of South Korea’s citizens—while Gunsan’s population is 280,000.
North Korea is almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea and China. The darkened land appears as if it were a patch of water joining the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan. Its capital city, Pyongyang, appears like a small island, despite a population of 3.26 million (as of 2008). The light emission from Pyongyang is equivalent to the smaller towns in South Korea.
Coastlines are often very apparent in night imagery, as shown by South Korea’s eastern shoreline. But the coast of North Korea is difficult to detect. These differences are illustrated in per capita power consumption in the two countries, with South Korea at 10,162 kilowatt hours and North Korea at 739 kilowatt hours.
Astronaut photograph ISS038-E-38300 was acquired on January 30, 2014, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 24 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 38 crew. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Jacobs at NASA-JSC.