Thursday, December 02, 2004

Pogrom in Gujarat

Javed Anand and Teesta Setalvad are Calling Tavleen Singh's bluff on Indian Express in response to her column The 'communalism' divide where she accuses liberal journalists of maligning India in the guise of fighting communalism while minimizing the threat from radical Islamists.

As our readers know, we have little regard for radical Islamists. We support the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We oppose any concessions in Kashmir to Pakistan or to its jihadist allies.

We are also firmly of the political right -- thus, hardly co-travelers of Arundhati Roy style left-wing nonsense.

BUT, we are not bigots. This means we recognize that the Gujarat horror is a blot on India -- and cannot be swept aside so that we can all pretend all's well in India. The greatness of India is not that she doesn't err -- it is that she makes amends, always. For this, we need to know the truth without caring for hurt feelings of people like Ms. Tavleen Singh. Facing up to ugly truth is not maligning our nation -- it is the necessary first step to prevent future infamy.

We have friends in NRI America who share Ms. Singh's views. To them, the real scandal is less that fellow Indians were burnt alive in Gujarat -- rather they are offended by, what they percieve, hysterical anti-India screeds by liberal journalists and academics. This loss of perspective is obviously preposterous. Even if their criticisms of these journalists are right, are these not merely sideshows to the real tragedy of Gujarat?


sudeep said...

If journalistic shenanigans are merely a sideshow, then why are you wasting "blog-inches" on what is a sideshow in a sideshow (journalists on journalist ethics in relation to the Gujarat riots) ? And what is this post - a sideshow on a sideshow on a sideshow ?

Is it not an implicit admission that the characterization of what happened in Gujarat is as important as what actually happened ?

As for who is calling whose bluff, have you read any of Comunalism Combat articles that they so ostentatiously list as credentials of being balanced and "true secularists" ? Curiously, the archives link on CCs website does appear not work.

btw, just FYI, Tavleen wrote some very harshly worded articles on the Modi govt. in the aftermath of the riots.

Even in this article, she does not criticize liberals per se, only those pretending to be liberals. Her single use of the word liberal in the article is within quotes. Her specific crib appears in the following lines:

This is not about Communalism Combat or the fight between Zaheera and Teesta. What it is about is the number of magazines and NGOs that have thrived on maligning India for being a country as fundamentalist as our Islamic neighbours. Is it not time to ask where their funds come from?

With Hindutva gone for the foreseeable future, can we now please start dealing with the more serious problem of radical Islam? And can we hope that the magazines who thrived on painting India as a country of fanatics will now concentrate on exposing communalism of the other kind? <<<<<<

It is a sentiment that I find almost unexceptionable.

Ofcourse, Javed and Teesta have tried to portray this as a apologia for hindutva - which to me its apparently not.

I have been following your blog for some time with a lot of interest, as its difficult to find Indians with a rightist bent of mind in the online world, but this post - with its implicit categorization of Tavleen (and others who may happen to agree with her) as Bigots - was a disappointment.

Ashish said...

I agree with this post. We should never excuse mass-murders, no matter who is involved. Also, I looked at articles written by the Communalism Combat and did not find any major instances of bias. They have written as much about Kashmiri Pundit's problem as they have about Gujarat riots. So, let's focus our attention where it is needed.