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Re: Fwd: A Must Read: Brillinat article on the Indian situation by an Indian IAS OfficeR!
by Trich Ganesh
25 March 2002 21:58 UTC
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I have thought and felt the same too: the land called India is almost 
beyond all recognition.  India is becoming the despair of its 
children.  Part of the problem is the money for these operations, 
which I think are financed in no small part by non-resident Hindus 
who work and live abroad, and who regularly send money to fund 
the pogrom-ers.  It is an everlasting shame, and it cuts me to the 
quick, and it makes be horribly ashamed of being born a Hindu.  
Issac Deutscher once wrote a book called "The Non-Jewish Jew", 
where he identifies Marx, Spinoza, Trotsky, among others, as non-
Jewish Jews.  Is it not time for all Hindus everywhere, who have the 
least amount of self-respect and who wish to be contradiction-free 
(as if that were possible!) to declare their allegiance against all 
these rotten-to-the core-Hindus, who are the most shameless, 
most atrocious, most hateful of all the nether-forces that stalk 
today a periphery subject to the unevenly exploitative domination of 
US capital?

I thank you again for bringing this article to my attention.  TKG.

Date sent:              Mon, 25 Mar 2002 13:15:00 +0500 (PKT)
Subject:                Fwd: A Must Read: Brillinat article on the Indian 
situation by an Indian IAS OfficeR!
From:                   "Saima Alvi" <saimaa@lums.edu.pk>
To:                     wsn@csf.colorado.edu
Copies to:              bsc2001@yahoogroups.com
Send reply to:          saimaa@lums.edu.pk

> Posted from www.ncasindia.org 
> (a website of National Centre for Advocacy Studies located at Serenity 
> Complex, Ramnagar Colony, Pashan, Pune 411 021, India. Tel.: 91+020-
> 2952003/4)
> p.s. in case u dont want to read the entire article, then read from fifth 
> para onwards.
> ========================
> Reflections on the Gujarat massacre
> By Harsh Mander
> (The writer, is a serving IAS Officer, who is working on deputation with a 
> development organisation)
> Numbed with disgust and horror, I return from Gujarat ten days after the
> terror and massacre that convulsed the state. My heart is sickened, my
> soul wearied, my shoulders aching with the burdens of guilt and shame. As
> you walk through the camps of riot survivors in Ahmedabad, in which an
> estimated 53,000 women, men, and children are huddled in 29 temporary
> settlements, displays of overt grief are unusual. People clutch small
> bundles of relief materials, all that they now own in the world, with dry
> and glassy eyes. Some talk in low voices, others busy themselves with the
> tasks of everyday living in these most basic of shelters, looking for
> food and milk for children, tending the wounds of the injured. But once
> you sit anywhere in these camps, people begin to speak and their words
> are like masses of pus released by slitting large festering wounds. The
> horrors that they speak of are so macabre, that my pen falters in the
> writing. The pitiless brutality against women and small children by
> organised bands of armed young men is more savage than anything witnessed
> in the riots that have shamed this nation from time to time during the
> past century.
> I force myself to write a small fraction of all that I heard and saw, 
> because it is important that we all know. Or maybe also because I need to 
> share my own burdens.
> What can you say about a woman eight months pregnant who begged to be
> spared? Her assailants instead slit open her stomach, pulled out her
> foetus and slaughtered it before her eyes. What can you say about a
> family of nineteen being killed by flooding their house with water and
> then electrocuting them with high-tension electricity?
> What can you say? A small boy of six in Juhapara camp described how his
> mother and six brothers and sisters were battered to death before his
> eyes. He survived only because he fell unconscious, and was taken for
> dead. A family escaping from Naroda-Patiya, one of the worst-hit
> settlements in Ahmedabad, spoke of losing a young woman and her three
> month old son, because a police constable directed her to `safety' and
> she found herself instead surrounded by a mob which doused her with
> kerosene and set her and her baby on fire. I have never known a riot
> which has used the sexual subjugation of women so widely as an instrument
> of violence in the recent mass barbarity in Gujarat. There are reports
> every where of gang-rape, of young girls and women, often in the presence
> of members of their families, followed by their murder by burning alive,
> or by bludgeoning with a hammer and in one case with a screw driver.
> Women in the Aman Chowk shelter told appalling stories about how armed
> men disrobed themselves in front of a group of terrified women to cower
> them down further. 
> In Ahmedabad, most people I met - social workers,journalists, survivors - 
> agree that what Gujarat witnessed was not a riot, but a terrorist attack 
> followed by a systematic, planned massacre, a pogrom. Everyone spoke of the 
> pillage and plunder, being organised like a military operation against an 
> external armed enemy. An initial truck would arrive broadcasting 
> inflammatory slogans, soon followed by more trucks which disgorged young 
> men, mostly in khaki shorts and saffron sashes. They were armed with 
> sophisticated explosive materials, country weapons, daggers and trishuls. 
> They also carried water bottles, to sustain them in their exertions. The 
> leaders were seen communicating on mobile telephones from the riot venues, 
> receiving instructions from and reporting back to a co-ordinating centre. 
> Some were seen with documents and computer sheets listing Muslim families 
> and their properties. They had detailed precise knowledge about buildings 
> and businesses held by members of the minority community, such as who were 
> partners say in a restaurant business, or which Muslim homes had Hindu 
> spouses who should be spared in the violence.
> This was not a spontaneous upsurge of mass anger. It was a carefully
> planned pogrom.
> The trucks carried quantities of gas cylinders. Rich Muslim homes and
> business establishments were first systematically looted, stripped down
> of all their valuables, then cooking gas was released from cylinders into
> the buildings for several minutes. A trained member of the group then lit
> the flame which efficiently engulfed the building. In some cases,
> acetylene gas which is used for welding steel, was employed to explode
> large concrete buildings. Mosques and dargahs were razed, and were
> replaced by statues of Hanuman and saffron flags. Some dargahs in
> Ahmedabad city crossings have overnight been demolished and their sites
> covered with road building material, and bulldozed so efficiently that
> these spots are
> indistinguishable from the rest of the road. Traffic now plies over these
> former dargahs, as though they never existed.
> The unconscionable failures and active connivance of the state police and
> administrative machinery is also now widely acknowledged. The police is
> known to have misguided people straight into the hands of rioting mobs.
> They provided protective shields to crowds bent on pillage, arson, rape
> and murder, and were deaf to the pleas of the desperate Muslim victims,
> many of them women and children. There have been many reports of police
> firing directly mostly at the minority community, which was the target of
> most of the mob violence. The large majority of arrests are also from the
> same community which was the main victim of the pogrom.
> As one who has served in the Indian Administrative Service for over two
> decades, I feel great shame at the abdication of duty of my peers in the
> civil and police administration. The law did not require any of them to
> await orders from their political supervisors before they organised the
> decisive use of force to prevent the brutal escalation of violence, and
> to protect vulnerable women and children from the organised, murderous
> mobs. The law instead required them to act independently, fearlessly,
> impartially, decisively, with courage and compassion. If even one
> official had so acted in Ahmedabad, she or he could have deployed the
> police forces and called in the army to halt the violence and protect the
> people in a matter of hours. No riot can continue beyond a few hours
> without the active connivance of the local police and magistracy. The
> blood of hundreds of innocents is on the hands of the police and civil
> authorities of Gujarat, and by sharing in a conspiracy of silence, on the
> entire higher bureaucracy of the country. I have heard senior officials
> blame also the communalism of the police constabulary for their
> connivance in the violence. This too is a thin and disgraceful alibi. The
> same forces have been known to act with impartiality and courage when led
> by officers of professionalism and integrity. The failure is clearly of
> the leadership of the police and civil services, not of the subordinate
> men and women in khaki who are trained to obey their orders.
> Where also, amidst this savagery, injustice, and human suffering is the
> `civil society', the Gandhians, the development workers, the NGOs, the
> fabled spontaneous Gujarathi philanthropy which was so much in evidence
> in the earthquake in Kutch and Ahmedabad? The newspapers reported that at
> the peak of the pogrom, the gates of Sabarmati Asram were closed to
> protect its properties, it should instead have been the city's major
> sanctuary. Which Gandhian leaders, or NGO managers, staked their lives to
> halt the death-dealing throngs? It is one more shame that we as citizens of 
> this country must carry on our already burdened backs, that the camps for 
> the Muslim riot victims in Ahmedabad are being run almost exclusively by
> Muslim organisations. It is as though the monumental pain, loss, betrayal
> and injustice suffered by the Muslim people is the concern only of other
> Muslim people, and the rest of us have no share in the responsibility to
> assuage, to heal and rebuild. The state, which bears the primary
> responsibility to extend both protection and relief to its vulnerable
> citizens, was nowhere in evidence in any of the camps, to manage,
> organise the security, or even to provide the resources that are required
> to feed the tens of thousands of defenceless women, men and children
> huddled in these camps for safety.
> The only passing moments of pride and hope that I experienced in Gujarat,
> were when I saw men like Mujid Ahmed and women like Roshan Bahen who
> served in these camps with tireless, dogged humanism amidst the ruins
> around them. In the Aman Chowk camp, women blessed the young band of
> volunteers who worked from four in the morning until after midnight to
> ensure that none of their children went without food or milk, or that
> their wounds remained untended. Their leader Mujid Ahmed is a graduate,
> his small chemical dyes factory has been burnt down, but he has had no
> time to worry about his own loss. Each day he has to find 1600 kilograms
> of foodgrain to feed some 5000 people who have taken shelter in the camp.
> The challenge is even greater for Roshan Bahen, almost 60, who wipes her
> eyes each time she hears the stories of horror by the residents in
> Juapara camp. But she too has no time for the luxuries of grief or anger.
> She barely sleeps, as her volunteers, mainly working class Muslim women
> and men from the humble tenements around the camp, provide temporary
> toilets, food and solace to the hundreds who have gathered in the grounds
> of a primary school to escape the ferocity of merciless mobs.
> As I walked through the camps, I wondered what Gandhiji would have done
> in these dark hours. I recall the story of the Calcutta riots, when
> Gandhi was fasting for peace. A Hindu man came to him, to speak of his
> young boy who had been killed by Muslim mobs, and of the depth of his
> anger and longing for revenge. And Gandhi is said to have replied: If you
> really wish to overcome your pain, find a young boy, just as young as
> your son, a Muslim boy whose parents have been killed by Hindu mobs.
> Bring up that boy like you would your own son, but bring him up with the
> Muslim faith to which he was born. Only then will you find that you can
> heal your pain, your anger, and your longing for retribution.
> There are no voices like Gandhi's that we hear today. Only discourses on
> Newtonian physics, to justify vengeance on innocents. We need to find
> these voices within our own hearts, we need to believe enough in justice,
> love, tolerance. There is much that the murdering mobs in Gujarat have
> robbed from me. One of them is a song I often sang with pride and
> conviction. The words of the song are:
> Sare jahan se achha Hindustan hamara… It is a song I will never be able
> to sing again.
> -- 
> Saima Alvi
> Research Assistant
> Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)
> Opposite Sector U, DHA, Lahore-54792
> Tel.: 5722670-79; Ext.: 2165

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