Since I started conducting research in March 2011 about the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots, I have learned that the worst way to begin a conversation with a Muslim here in Ahmedabad is to ask about the 2002 riots. I was an eye-witness to the riots in 2002 and I thought my experiences might make some Muslims in Gujarat feel more comfortable speaking with me. I was wrong.
Sometimes I had to interview a person four or five times before they felt comfortable speaking about the 2002 riots. The reasons are varied. Some feel there is no use speaking about the riots as they know justice will never come under Narendra Modi’s watch. Others feel exploited by NGOs and Islamic groups who have used their stories to raise funds for their organizations abroad. And others, as one rape survivor told me, do not want to “relive the trauma.”
But if you ask Muslims in Ahmedabad about Pakistan, chances are you will walk home with a notebook full of comments. Earlier this week I went around my neighborhood of Juhapura—an area pejoratively known as “mini Pakistan”—and asked residents for their comments on Pakistan. The answers are telling. Continue reading Seeing Pakistan from Juhapura: Zahir Janmohamed→
When the riots broke out in 2002 in Ahmedabad, after the burning of the Godhra coach, I was in the tenth standard. I remember listening to the news in the morning, just after which my best friend Ketan had called me and asked “Why did you guys do this?” I didn’t know how to respond to that. I think I just laughed it out and we began discussing what was happening in the city. My father took the phone away from me. I was preparing for my board exams and was just about to leave for one of the last days of school, after which we would go on a study leave. My father, who had experience with riots, told my two elder sisters and me to not go to school and stay at home that day. Continue reading Reflections of a Refugee from Modi’s Gujarat: Reza Noorani→
The photograph above is that of a small protest by People’s Watch yesterday, in Madurai, for justice and reparations in Gujarat. Such demonstrations were held across India. Nothing irks the Narendra Modi Fan Brigade than remembering. Move on, they say, move on, forget it. It happened. The struggle of man against power, said Milan Kundera, is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
The short film below, about making a memorial at Gulberg Society in Ahemdabad, was put out by the Teesta Setalvad-led Sabrang Trust in 2008. Yesterday, tenth anniversary of the day Gujarat began to burn for a few weeks in 2002, Sabrang Trust held a meeting at what is now the Gulberge Memorial. Given below the film is the text read out by Justice Hosbet Suresh read out at the Memorial meeting, which was webcast live by Sabrang Trust.