Madhunama: Narendra Modi that Kishwar seeks!

Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur. It was a a journal kept by Zahir Uddin Muhammad Babur (1483–1530), the founder of the Mughal Empire. He is said to have remarked in it, ***‘The facts are as stated here . . . I have set down of good and bad whatever is known.’the truth should be reached in every matter***
***“You don’t judge law and order from police department statistics because there is systematic under reporting of crime in India. States which register lower crime rate are not necessarily the safest places for citizens. The most important indicator is citizens’ perception of safety. If you take that as the benchmark, you will see for yourself that Gujarat is perceived to be a much safer place for women. You will also find that Muslims also feel much more secure than they did before. Criminals don’t act with the kind of impunity that they do in many other states.”*** – as told to Madhu Purnima Kishwar in Nightlife in Ahmadabad by an unknown young woman IT professional.

Madhu Purnima Kishwar [MPK] seems to have taken it upon herself to wash Naredra Modi’s “much maligned image” squeaky clean. Her single handed crusade is against what she terms the systematic demonisation of Modi. On her website [http://www.manushi.in/] one can see at least 7 posts on Modi at a trot on the home page.

MPK is a well known academic at CSDS, a researcher, and founder editor of Manushi magazine. Sometime in late 80s to early 90s when I was staying in Delhi, I had attended a seminar where MPK had presented findings of a study she conducted along with some others into the anatomy of communal riots. She marshaled facts well and reasoned cogently- “riot after riot, they found, were engineered and premeditated, were rarely spontaneous”. The proof lay in only one of the communities suffering major damage, in selective targeting of property even in cheek by jowl situations, and  in  the fact that there were more dead than injured. When I tried to search the web for writings of MPK on this subject, I drew a blank. So much so that I began to believe it was my faulty recollection which credited MPK with that presentation. My search was triggered by two different topics [Madhu [Kishwar], Modi, and Mainstream Media. and MPK: The Disdainful Crusader against “Secular Fatwas”] on which MPK wrote. But in MODINAMA 1 MPK confirmed that my recollection was not faulty, ^^^Having spent a lot of time covering major riots—including the 1984 massacre of Sikhs, series of riots in Meerut, Malliana in the 1980’s, Bombay 1993, Jammu 1989 and having closely studied several others like Biharsharif, Bhiwandi, Jamshedpur, and series of riots in Ahmedabad, Surat, etc, I knew that barring Delhi 1984 all others were jointly orchestrated by the BJP and Congress. Even in the communal polarisation due to Babri Masjid demolition the Congress Party had been an equal partner in crime with the BJP^^^. I therefore take seriously her writings including what rankled her most: ^^^Therefore, when BJP in general and Modi in particular, began to be singled out for attacks and demonised as no other politician before or after in known history, one felt an instinctive uneasiness about Hate and Oust Modi campaign^^^. Here any objective person would have to agree that communal politics of Congress has not been recognised as clearly and scrutinised as intensely as of Modi. This critical aberration is certainly in need of wholesome correction. Anyone would endorse such effort. However, instead of revealing the true face of Congress or even other powerful regional parties, which play their own communal games at the cost of common women and men, the whole effort of MPK seems to be directed to turn Modi into a knight in shining armor, who has come to redeem the Indian people through his brand of good governance. She also fells anyone who criticises Modi as stooges of Congress, and turns the whole into a sustained, conspiratorial campaign: ^^^This uneasiness grew as it became obvious over the years that most of the NGOs, activists, journalists, academics involved in Modi’s demonisation enjoyed active patronage of the Congress Party and some even got huge financial support for carrying out a sustained campaign against Modi^^^. This doesn’t behoove well for someone who contends to seek truth. She has already become a victim of her own “medicine” as someone has contended that she is eyeing a Rajya Sabha [upper house] seat from Gujarat.
The quote from the young, woman, IT professional cited at the beginning, especially its first two sentences, would make any seasoned social scientist proud.  Few ordinary persons unconnected with such issues would be expected to show such acuity. A young IT professional has provided such “insightful quote” stretches credulity beyond breaking point. That is not to say Ahmedabad is not a comparatively safe city in the country, but to show that “many bits” have been inserted into the story, which are less significant by themselves but together impart a powerful flavour to the narrative, and are likely to go unchallenged. Take for example a comment on page 2 of same report, ^^^I was told even that the anti-rape agitation which swept many towns and cities of India did not evoke comparable response in Gujarat because women don’t feel as unsafe^^^. Contrast this with what Mari Marcel reports, ^^^As I entered the Gujarat Vidyapith Sports Ground , there was a feeling of historicity… The grounds were packed. I don’t think anyone took a headcount, but there were easily close to 10,000 people… It soon warmed up and by the end of the evening, the grounds swelled with people, young and old, men and women, dancing the garba, bhangra or anything really, depending on the music^^^. Or see this picture on Time,

Now “comparable response” is a vague term; but going by above accounts Ahmedabad’s response hardly looks tepid or lukewarm. It may be astonishing for someone coming from a city described as the rape capital to see the “carefree” nightlife in Ahmedabad, but not for someone, who has seen other cities like Pune or Bangalore closely or stays there. Some two and half decades ago when we were staying in Delhi, two women friends accompanied Mangala to Pune during winter holidays. The two friends had stepped out of Delhi for the first time. They were thoroughly floored when after watching a play staged late at night, they walked back home un-escorted after a brief stopover to have milkshake on the way. It was a cultural shock- a pleasant one- for them. It stands to reason that even the “nightlife” in Ahmedabad is embedded in its cultural veins for long and is not a product of this or that ruling dispensation. Around the time MPK was visiting Ahmedbad, Gujarat high court pulled up the state police for the rising cases of kidnapping and rapes, ^^^22 January 2013. The order came while hearing a number of Habeas Corpus petitions which had alleged police inaction in case of kidnapping and rape of girls in a few cases. Justice Shah ordered that the concern police officers must immediately register complaint of kidnapping and rape of missing girl or any missing person as and when their parents or siblings come to file a complaint. The court said that if the concerned police officer is not in a position to find the missing women or concerned accused within a period of three months, the same shall be immediately reported to the concerned SP or Dy SP ranked officer^^^.
The “Eyewitnesses” to Modi’s rule whom she interviewed and has published their testimonies so far are substantially only two: Zafar Sareshwala and Asifa Khan. Sareshwala has been Modi supporter for at least 8/9 years, while Asifa Khan crossed over from Congress to BJP just prior to last elections. Both are very excited and enthusiastic over Modi’s leadership and tell us things about Modi, which are little known to others or are little reported in media. The others mentioned and quoted briefly are, Rajat Sharma of India TV, Mahesh Bhatt- director and film producer, and Mehmood Madani- son of Maulana Asad Madni. Sareshwala says [Modinama 5, page 4]: ^^^Today Modi has an active team of highly respected Muslims such as Asifa Khan, A.I. Syed, Mehboob sahib and many other credible persons^^^. He contends there are many other credible and highly respected [Muslim] persons in Modi’s active team, but could only name just Three people. What surprises is that an experienced researcher like MPK has based the edifice of her Modinama on such a narrow and thin base. She is not unaware of her guilt on this account becomes clear when she says [Modinama 5, page 1], ^^^One of the criticisms levelled against my earlier articles on Narendra Modi is that I am relying over much on the accounts provided to me by Zafar Sareshwala. I do so without any apology because: Zafar does not centre the conversation around himself. He is a very perceptive observer of emerging trends in Gujarat’s economy, polity and social life. He provides concrete examples to illustrate every point. The facts he puts forward can be cross checked by anyone. They allow you to reach your own conclusions. Thus far I have not found any discrepancy between what he described and the actual situations on the ground^^^. She is not only guilty of relying too much on one person’s account, but also of relying on few other individuals. She adds for good measure that the “facts he put forwards” can be cross checked by anybody, but isn’t that her responsibility as an unbiased, objective researcher? Take the case of Sareshwala meeting Modi in London [Modinama 1, page 4] along with Maulana Isa Mansuri. Probably even earlier to MPK, Rafat Quadri had interviewed Sareshwala, who gave him this account of what transpired during London meeting: ^^^Our meeting lasted for two and half hours. We asked him uncomfortable questions that IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt or Teesta Setalvad have raised, questions relating right from February 27 till that day. We told him that we wanted peace, and that it can’t be achieved without justice. During our conversation we found he was respectful and did not dodge any question. He assured us that justice will be done. He said “ye mere kaal ka kalank hai, ise mujhe hi dhona hai” (I will have to handle it, it is the blot of my period)^^^. The last highlighted statement, highly significant, doesn’t find mention in MPK’s account? It is highly significant because one of the charge made against Modi is that he has never apologised for what happened in 2002. Why? Did Sareshwala forgot to mention such important statement- unlikely considering how articulate he sounds? Or did he fear contradiction. Maulana Isa Mansuri, who had accompanied Sareshwala, had already contradicted him [see video], ^^^Did Modi express any remorse? According to Maulana, “He did say, ‘both sides have suffered losses; there have been some mistakes that we would try to mend.’ But he did not express any remorse.”^^^.

Mansuri does mention though that when he pointed out that relief efforts by various organizations post riots were hampered by government machinery,Modi responded by saying it would be set right; and such change was visible according to the reports Mansuri received from the ground. Elsewhere, ^^^Chairman of Council of Indian Muslims Munaf Zeena has also refuted Zafar Sareshwala’s claims that he had organised protests against Modi and Advani in London as “baseless”. “He did attend one or two meetings organised by the CIM and Awaz once or twice but as far as protests are concerned, he is simply trying to fool the Muslims^^^.The foregoing, therefore, raises a doubt if Sareshwala’s testimony can be trusted as infallible. Moreover, when MPK came out to interview him she would have surely known that he was already well established as a renowned Muslim supporter of Modi, nay- probably the top most Muslim supporter. Sareshwala’s many anecdotal facts involve him and Modi besides few others, something very difficult to verify independently. Rajat Sharma [Who MPK calls BJP insider] told her what Maulana and Modi said at the London meeting [Modinama 1, page 5], ^^^The Maulana then said, “If this is all true, then why don’t you say it openly? Modi said , “You will not see me fail you in action.  But don’t ask me to say it openly.  VHP types will wipe me out.  Elections are right round the corner ^^^. Later in the narrative, Sareshwala reveals a secret [Modinama 1, page 8], ^^^Why do you think Bajrang Dal leaders joined hands with Tehelka team and try to put the blame on Modi in that phoney expose in which they boasted of brutal killings as though they were doing it at Modi’s behest. That was a strategy to curry favour with the Congress because for the Congress anyone who can target Modi is a dear friend and ally^^^. The Tehelka expose came before the 2007 Gujarat Elections, when Dr. Pravin Togadia, Ashok Singhal were on the same page as Modi. Contrary to the expectations of Tehelka team, Ashish Khaitan says that their expose came in for all round criticism, ^^^The Gujarat state election was round the corner and people — which included some responsible human rights activists and Muslim leaders — started a whisper campaign that the sting operation had been orchestrated and sponsored by Narendra Modi himself. The Congress party, which we thought would make our story a national issue, instead tried its best to skirt the revelations made in the TEHELKA tapes. A few Congress leaders even floated the conspiracy theory that as the Congress party was all set to trounce Modi in the upcoming Assembly election, Modi had hired TEHELKA to whip up the communal sentiments of the Hindus by way of inflammatory statements of the riot-accused. On the other hand, the BJP was accusing us of having conducted the sting at the Congress’ behest^^^. The falling out with Togadia and Singhal happened when Modi won Gujarat elections the second time, and company of the former pals started to hurt rather than help. In fact, Modi probably began to distance himself from Sangh Pariwar with definite plan in mind in view of SC pressure to re-open riot cases and to start arresting VHP and Bajrang Dal cadres who led the mobs. Therefore, Sharma and Sareshwala’s “insinuations” cited earlier seem to be a reconstruction in hindsight to insulate Modi from the events of 2002.
MPK raised some innocent looking questions [Modinama 1, page 6, 7]. ^^^If she can go to the Supreme Court, or to the High Court why not meet the elected CM? Are you saying Teesta never tried to meet Modi?^^^ or ^^^When I asked Bhatt why Shabnam Hashmi who he works very closely with had not gone and met Modi, if the offer was any one can come with the problems of Muslims?^^^. These could be genuinely innocuous queries if they came from some passionately idealistic, but woefully inexperienced greenhorn. But when they come from seasoned campaigner like MPK, one has to examine them carefully. Does she genuinely believe that anyone with “problems of Muslims” to solve can just go and meet Modi the way Sareshwala does? Or would she go to Modi for redress of injustice if she, like Teesta probably does, believe that Modi had a hand in it? One may ask equally innocently of MPK, why didn’t  she visit Shabnam, Teesta, or ‘n’ number of Modi’s critics to confront them with “Sareshwala and Asifa Khan’s evidence”?
Modinama 2 runs into two pages and recounts the “facts” as found by MPK in various newspaper reports and other sources. On page 1 at one place she says, ^^^This despite the fact that several BJP leaders, including some who were part of Modi’s own Cabinet, were actively fomenting trouble^^^. Here she clearly admits that BJP leaders including ministers were fomenting trouble, but somehow she wants to believe Modi was not part of it. Unwittingly she has become here a part of the strategy to insulate Modi that we have seen earlier. She does this despite having the benefit of hindsight as we shall see now. Outlook India on 23 February 2012 had published a letter to SIT chairman, R K Raghavan, from Congress MLA, Arjun Modhvadia, Like a Tinder Box. It raised some critical issues, which are pivotal to the recounting of facts that MPK has done in hours and days after 59 persons were charred to death at Godhra. Modhvadia has recounted “facts”, ^^^…(e) That immediately after the postmortem, and after the legal formalities are completed, the dead bodies are handed over to the nearest relative. This was not done in this case. The persons responsible for the above intentional procedural deviation are punishable under section 166, 186 of IPC. You may read with profit the provisions of the Gujarat Police Manual VoI.III as provided in Rule 144, 145, 223 and 224 where you will find salutary provisions recommending a quick dispatch of the bodies for postmortem to the nearest hospital, prohibition of taking photographs which are revolting in nature and quick disposal of dead bodies keeping in mind the sensibilities of the victim’s relatives. And yet in violation of statutory rules on that fateful day, all the dead bodies were transported to Ahmedabad^^^; and has alleged, ^^^Clearly, 59 dead bodies could not have moved more than 200 kilometers to Ahmedabad without the knowledge of the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police. Clearly, an intentional violation of procedure was done for the sole purpose of inflaming the passions of the people especially in view of the call for Gujarat Bandh given by the political party which constituted the government in Gandhinagar^^^. There is not even a whiff of any such irregularity in the “orderly” and “objective” recounting of facts by MPK. Shouldn’t have her quest led her to investigate what Modhvadia wrote in his letter?

Even if one accepts what Zafar Sareshwala has told is unalloyed truth, it only tells that he enjoys excellent relationship with Narendra Modi and he has been successful in using it to solve some difficulties of some communities of Muslims. Sareshwala and Asifa Khan are for sure Gujarati Muslims, but they can’t account for all or even significant numbers of Gujarati Muslims. Sareshwala, Asifa Khan, A.I. Syed, Mehboob sahib, all appear to be Modi acolytes, the first two are self confessed ones. MPK needs to enlarge her sample size and also randomise her sampling methods, so that her sample is representative of the population and her research passes the test of academic rigor. Otherwise, the dissenting voices like this: In reality, what Modi does is not what Modi boastsAn open letter to Madhu Purnima Kishwar, or Narendra Modi: Unanswered Questions;would continue to have a field day.
Far worse riots with much horrible consequences have taken place under the supervision of Congress is what both Sareshwala and MPK seem to agree on. I have no reason to disbelieve Congress’ culpability as I have seen 1984 pogrom against Sikhs firsthand. But instead of working to hold Congress responsible for its sins or at least educate people on Congress’ dubious and sordid track record; an opportunity seems to have been sought to absolve Modi of any responsibility for what happened under his supervision. Is this how perceived miscarriage of justice corrected?
If more people in more places on more occasions seem to remember Modi, then Modi only has to be blamed for the larger than life image he has helped create of himself. In Gujarat, by all credible accounts, Modi has kept tight leash on the entire government machinery, whereby nothing of consequence moves without his express approval. If one wants full credit for everything, one should be prepared to face full blame as well. This is the implicit lesson in the film script writer Salim Khan’s comment that MPK has approvingly quoted.
When somebody one respects for academic rigor and meticulous research turns sloppy and turns out shoddy work, it baffles completely.

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PS ^^^In a recent interview with me, film script writer Salim Khan made an interesting comment: “Does anyone remember who the chief minister of Maharashtra was during 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 Bihar CM when the Bhagalpur or Jamshedpur riots under Congress regimes took place? Do we hear the names of earlier chief ministers of Gujarat under whose charge hundreds of riots took place in post-Independence India? Some of these riots were far more deadly than the 2002 outburst.  The state used to explode into violence every second month? 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 Devil Incarnate as if he personally carried out all the killings during the riots of 2002?”^^^

3 Responses to “Madhunama: Narendra Modi that Kishwar seeks!”

  1. Gagan Soni Says:

    Which way Narendra Modi?**Naroda Patiya case: Gujarat to seek death for Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi**The Gujarat government will file an appeal in the Naroda Patiya massacre case to demand capital punishment for 10 convicts including Maya Kodnani, a former minister in the Narendra Modi government, and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Patel alias Bajrangi.In August 2012, a special court in Ahmedabad had sentenced Kodnani to 28 years in jail for the massacre of 97 Muslims in Naroda Patiya on the outskirts of Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots of 2002. Bajrangi was sent to jail for the rest of his life.The state government has also decided to seek an enhancement of the sentences of 22 other convicts from the ordinary 'life term' of 14 years to 30 years.http://www.indianexpress.com/news/naroda-patiya-case-gujarat-to-seek-death-for-kodnani-babu-bajrangi/1103670/

  2. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    This is an extremely strategic move whereby greater distance it seems is sought to be created between those who are caught and those who got away.

  3. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    I came across this very interesting article in Indian Express.First Person SingularAmulya Gopalakrishnan Posted online: Sun Jun 02 2013, 19:51 hrsNew Delhi : Even before her Modi turn, Madhu Kishwar was always a solo actIn her story about herself, Madhu Purnima Kishwar is a woman without attachments, an ideological free agent. She can say it like it is because she sees it like it is. After years of research and advocacy for women, the urban poor, for other misunderstood causes, she has now dedicated herself to presenting us with the truth about Narendra Modi, a man she thinks we never got a chance to know.She has already produced several installments of her Modinama, after visiting Gujarat and listening to people. With these, she means to counter the “intellectual terror” of a media and civil society that, she claims, are proud to vilify the Gujarat chief minister. “I’m not running a campaign, I’m bringing you better information,” she tells me, in her peaceful office in north Delhi, at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies where she heads a project on Indic studies……For full article visit here:http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/1123743/

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