My Inc’read’ able India journey project was on a 20-month pause. Overtaken by the guilt of inaction, I desired to restart this project with a bang. In an instance, I knew of one state that would fit the bill. It had to be Gujarat, a politically charged state, nestled in the western corner of India.
I had a personal motive as well; Gujarat is unique because my ancestry goes all the way back to the southern region of the state, Saurashtra. Also, one of my best childhood memories is growing up with my Gujarati friend. After a long cricket session, my friend and I would sit down and share a meal from the same plate – which was a custom his family followed.
Gujarat’s history goes way back up to the stone age. From then on, Gujarat’s prominence multiplied in manifolds, especially in education and trade. Naturally, this attracted many rulers, and with that came invasions as well.
Gujarat has been the starting point for many famous personalities: Dhirubhai Ambani, Jamsetji Tata, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Vikram Sarabhai, Feroz Gandhi, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Azim Premji, and even the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Despite all these laurels, I could not overlook the elephant in the room. The 2002 Hindu Muslim clash that left a permanent scare in India’s history.
The elephant in the room
Perhaps more significant harm came from the political repercussions. And that is what this book is all about. A thrilling recounter by an undercover journalist, digging up to uncover the truth behind the various disreputable actions from the public servants.
With political and religious pressure mounting of the politicians back, the final straw that broke their legitimacy was 4 fake police encounters. Instructions were given to specifically target petty Muslim criminals and encounter them. Police officers who voiced out against these politicians were replaced with those who would oblige with the commands. The people in power were not only smart to instate people who would listen to them but were also deceitful in hiding their tracks. They adopted the “use and throw policy” – use people for your benefit and throw them away when things get ruff.
A lot more was done – too much for the taking.
All actions were directed to further stir the Hindu majority mob. Leaders who are meant to stop endless finger-pointing ended up further advancing misguided motives since 2002.
The book showcases various conversations the author had with the primary people involved. Nevertheless, after reading about the different perspectives, it was hard for me to answer the question, “What would I have done if I were in their place?”. Well, even the police are people, and as people, they are not shielded against fear and blackmail.
And my MAK Tip
Despite the helpless state of the victims of the use and throw policy, inaction proved expensive. Despite the fantastic history and laurels of Gujarat, the direction in which it is heading questionable.
This only showcases the fact that power and silence – both are dangerous when used at the wrong time.