At best this article should have appeared as paid advertisement. Probably the newspaper being one of the entities committed to the ideology that binds the signatories together, one may assume that ‘The Hindu’ contributed publicity space. So as not to reduce revenue, instead of Ad space, news space has been provided.
At worst, this is unsolicited loaded advice. No one asked.
Let us take the description used to describe these people. “A group of noted academics, artists and concerned citizens”
I challenge this self-anointed description here in detail.
All these people seem to have concurred on one thing that is, “These forces (BJP) are led by a person (Narendra Modi) who presided over a pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and has never expressed any contrition over his role in that ghastly incident”
All italics are mine.
Was it a pogrom? Were Muslims the only ones targeted? Were Muslims the only one died? What was the duration of the supposed pogrom?
Pogrom is “Organized massacre of a particular group”. While Wikipedia refuses to call this incident a pogrom, it mentions that “According to the official figures, the riots resulted in the deaths of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus” which shows that it was not selective killing but people have died on both sides. It is not an “organized massacre of a particular group”. This was, as many in the past history of India, as many more that happened since, a riot.
Now if the group of academicians wants to call a riot a ‘pogrom’ there could be few reasons. Either these academicians do not know the meaning of ‘pogrom’, which does not make them academicians. So it is only logical to conclude that these people knowingly use a noun that does not fit the situation.
If the debate starts with replacement of a word like ‘riot’ with a sinister word like ‘pogrom’ it is clear that there is intent to sensationalize the topic to gain advantage that is not clear as of now. The advantage that these people want to gain is linked to their ideology.
Again, if we compare Gujarat-2002 with other riots in India, there have been many in which more Muslims have died in more disproportionate numbers, yet the same academicians want to call a less intense riot a ‘pogrom’ again points to selective accusation, which again, is based on their political agenda. What is it, comes later.
Having made a ‘straw-man’ pogrom, the group goes on to build another ‘straw-man’ of a person (Narendra Modi) presiding over that. Having introduced so many fallacies in the debate, this group, we have to remind ourselves again, is made of academicians. So it is not logical flow of debate that is missing but an unstated agenda steeped in ideology that the group is not willing to openly state as such.
The stand taken by the ‘secular’ forces also take a subvert swing at the judiciary, a critical pillar of democracy, perhaps betraying their scant respect for democracy, while covering their prejudice under 'secularism'. The whole fear mongering has been narrated as if the judiciary and investigative agencies were mere mute spectators. It is intellectual dishonesty to conceal relevant components from debate. Was there a single sentence that refers to the due processes of investigative and Judiciary arms that covered the incident? Is there any doubt in the minds of the ‘eminent academicians’ that the Judiciary failed in naming the riot as ‘pogrom’? They should come clear. On the contrary the highest courts have stated that there is no case against Modi, as it stands today. Why is it not accepted by the ‘academics’ here?
Now after building a fascinating, fear mongering case that appeals to the emotions and not the to the intellect, the ‘academics’ go on to conclude that this is a corporate capital- communal forces coming together without any connection or building a case. Wherefrom sprung capital? Perhaps some Marxists may have asked for that as a price to sign the 'fear mongering' appeal.
Hence my conclusion is that the self-anointed description ‘academic’ is inappropriate to describe this group. This is group of people who have different ideology which cannot be spelt out openly as immediately it will be perceived as threat by all the Indians. Not necessarily all of them have same objective; some may aspire for ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ some for rule by ‘religious supremacist not yet in majority’ and some aspiring for more dole from political parties that have ruled us to this misfortune.
This is a group that is highly prejudiced, shoots and scoots and one that does not act responsibly nor is explicit about its agenda. It is indisputable that these people have somehow been considered as ‘academics’ by probably, intense propaganda and recommendation.
It is imperative that if a new national narrative begins, by defeating the vitiated propaganda of ideologically outdated and so called academics, that these relics be discarded to the dustbin of Indian history and fresh and contemporary political aspirations be begun.
Thanks but no thanks. I am an individual, responsible and have pondered over the situation well enough. I think you are peddling falsehood irresponsibly. Will vote for BJP and neither your Congress nor your SP nor your antiquated Marxists.