Monday, August 08, 2005


Yes, culpability for the horrors of 1984 is important and, given this report, justice must be served.

But, beyond this we need a truth and reconciliation commission because putting a few people out of their jobs, and even in prison, serves justice but really does very little to salve the wounds of 1984. Worse, it does nothing whatsoever to ensure these horrors don't recur.

Indeed, they have. In 2002.

Our problem is that India's veneer of civilization is very thin -- shocking for a people with as long a history as we do; worse still , we live in denial of our vulnerability to the savagery residing just under our skin.

Unless we face this reality squarely, we are condemned to repeat our blood-dimmed cycles of life-letting.

This is why, we need a truth and reconciliation commission -- so that we are forced to face who we really are and what we've really done. Again and again.

We are all guilty. This blogger was a student in Delhi in 1984. He, and friends, did shelter a handful of taxi & truck drivers in our hostels. And we volunteered at hospitals. But, we also stood by (like our pathetic police) as petrol stations were torched and groceries were looted and our neighbors hid in attics because their neighbors, us, were not strong enough to hold back the horror.

Why did we not stand between the killers and their victims? Because we too were scared? Yes. But the real answer is that we were too few. This is our problem. Indians talk a big game but when all hell breaks loose, we watch the unfolding horror as though we were Romans at the Collesium --watching lions eating defenseless humans from our comfortable perches, then moving on as though nothing happened.

We need a truth and reconciliation commission because all else is too little and much too late.


Niket said...

1984, 1992-93, 2002. All this will change only when we face the truth will honesty and courage. Well said!

Primary Red said...

Thanks, Niket.

Kaunteya said...

There's i feel a qualitative difference between riots of Gujarat and Dehli.

Sure both are worth condemnation. But Godhra massacre was unprovoked. No amount of justification can be enough for roasting alive women and children in a train bogie. What is called as a 'pogrom' by Modi government was actually a spontaneous response by Hindus of Gujarat. I am willing to bet my money on the fact that the Gujarat riots would have been equally bad if not worse, even if Congress was ruling the state. Modi or no Modi, the consequences would have been same.

Killing of Ms Gandhi on the other hand had a history behind it. There was operation blue star and Bindrawale. Also the kind of systematic targetting of Sikhs in not only Dehli but also elsewhere required a lot of logistical support from the government agency which the rioters got.

And more importantly more than 300 hindus died during police firing in Gujarat which cannot be said about anti-Sikh riots.

Nanavati may have absolved the top Congress men in his report. It seems unconvincing that such a large scale massacre could have happened without tacit support of Government. It was almost like "Go ahead and we will take care of Law".

The different treatment given to Congress and BJP or Modi and Rajiv Gandhi by "intellectual" English media is a staggering evidence of shameless prejudice and subjective journalism existing in the country. All the so called progressive,secular, intellectuals of the nation owe an explaination to the Sikhs of India. All those professing Human Rights and equality who are now hiding their faces and voices behind the cosmetic condemnation of the government need to revisit their ideologies which have targetted time and again only the Hindus/BJP/RSS.

Gujarat pales in front of Dehli and Bhagalpur. And Media reporting of these 'pogroms' pales in front of Gujarat.

Primary Red said...


We simply cannot accept your assertion that the Gujarat riots (post-Godhara) were not enabled, much like Delhi in 1984, by the Government in the state.

Our point, however, is to ask everyone to get beyond pointing fingers at this party or that -- isn't the larger point that we are susceptible, whether under provocation or via political prodding, to abandon our civilized veneer? This is the problem.

Were we a better people (of the kind we imagine we are), we would overcome our sense of provocation and we would reject political exhortions to violence. Alas, we are so weak as to be unable to do so.

Look at what happened in America, post 9/11 (a horror quantitatively larger than Godhara). The government swung into action to ward off any civic unrest -- which didn't materialize anyway since Americans were, by & large, mature enough to not take out their valid anger on innocent "middle easterners". Those very few who did now face capital punishment.

We, sir, have a long way to go before we can stand with Americans on such matters.

Best regards.

doubtinggaurav said...

Agree that any justification for Gujarat is wrong, as for 1984.

However, I think you are wrong to compare US with India.
Both have a different history.
I dont know how would an average american react under changed circumstances.


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