The affidavit filed by ex-cop Sanjiv Bhatt against Narendra Modi in the anti-Muslim Godhra carnage of 2002 may be music to people ranged against him all over the country. That bunch of people includes me; having lived in
Gujarat for two decades, I know exactly what sustains Modi in that state. Which is why I believe that this affidavit will only make Modi stronger. He may face trouble in the Supreme Court, but in Gujarat, he will become an even bigger hero.
I can say with a near guarantee that right now, the people of
Gujarat must be building a protective cover around their CM. They have no doubts about Modi’s role in the riots.....in fact, he did what he did against the muslims, with the full support of his people. It may or may not be proven ever.....but the people of Gujarat know that Modi stopped the police from protecting the Muslims so that they could be taught a lesson. They are proud of him for this act of his. And they have rewarded him amply.....with 3 successive terms.
To understand why the Gujjus support Modi so much, it’s important to understand a little bit of the Gujarati psyche. Gujaratis are primarily a business community. For them, a college education and all that is fine, but the thing that really matters is business. So many college pass-outs opt out of the job market to start something of their own. Many who are unable to start off immediately do a job for a while......but start a little “side business”. Many college students prefer to do a part-time college, because they have already got into business. In fact, Gujaratis feel sympathy (given the humility built into Gujju culture.....they never “look down” upon anyone) for salaried people. No matter how much they may have studied.....how good a job they may be doing......in the eyes of a Gujju, the salaried ones are the unfortunate ones who could not do business. There is nothing new in this Gujju attitude towards “dhandha”.....this piece is not about that. This piece is about how this single minded attitude to business creates guilt in a Gujju’s mind and how he has “outsourced” the cleansing of this guilt to Modi.
In the single minded pursuit of business, the Gujju is willing to deal with anyone. Including with the many successful muslim businessmen of
Gujarat. When it comes to business, it does not matter what the religion or caste of the other person is.....only the color of money matters! Gujjus like all businessmen, are willing to make any “concession”.....dealing with muslims is a concession in their minds......in order to close a business deal. This passion for business creates a huge amount of guilt in the minds of the gujju. Is he doing the right thing by dealing with muslims? Muslims are seen as being anti-Hindu.....the gujju has seen enough and more provocations from Muslims in his life. In the 1980s at least (I don’t know what the scene is now), Muslims in certain pockets of Ahmedabad used to cheer for Pakistan in a cricket match against . In fact, certain parts of Ahmedabad used to be called “mini India ”. There have been innumerable riots in Pakistan Gujarat.....all Hindu-Muslim. The Gujju’s antipathy towards Muslim is well-known.....and yet the Gujju almost always put that aside in the interest of business. Manmohan Singh may have stopped talking to Pakistan for a couple of years after 26/11......the Gujjus would never have done that if the business with was good! Pakistan
This guilt haunts the Gujjus. Since most Gujjus are generally peaceful people (many are Jains), they realize they can never “fight” the muslims themselves. So, to get rid of their guilt, the Gujjus have decided to “outsource” the cleansing to Modi. Modi was smart. He grabbed at this opportunity with both hands. What Modi did in the form of muslim-bashing was on specific instructions from his people. Also, Modi keeps reminding his people about the cleansing he is doing for them. Every time before the elections, he will trigger something that will get all the Hindus to rally behind him. In one election, an ad appeared in the newspapers on the day of the election.....supposedly released by a Muslim organization......asking all Muslims to vote against the BJP. This obviously got the Hindus to support Modi and the BJP en-mass......this was the exact reaction that Modi wanted from his people! It is believed that the ad was planted by Modi himself! Every Gujju knows that Modi stopped the police from controlling the carnage.....but they love him for it. Theirs is a debt of gratitude for ever.
Modi was smart in one more respect. He realized that even while he continued to enjoy the support of his people, he could not possibly build his persona around it. He didn’t want to be known as another Hitler. He had dreams of becoming the PM one day. So he chose to focus the attention of the world on the economic growth of
Gujarat. He took credit for Gujarat’s economic strength. People outside Gujarat attribute Gujarat’s spectacular economic growth to Modi.....but the truth is that the credit for this must go to the people of Gujarat. Between 1960-1990 (Gujarat was formed in 1960), Gujarat became a leader in textiles, engineering, chemicals, petrochemicals, drugs and pharma, dairy, cement and ceramics and Gems and Jewellery. From 1994 to 2002, Gujarat achieved an annual growth of 14% per annum......Modi only came to power in Oct 2001. Gujarat has no power problems because power production increased by 35% between 1995 and 2001. Modi had very little to do with Gujarat’s economic progress.....he was plain lucky to inherit a state like this. To his credit, he has continued with the economic focus......but it was the previous Congress government that made Gujarat as powerful economically as it is today.
Modi cannot be stopped politically in
Gujarat. He will continue winning all elections in Gujarat. The need for Modi has only become stronger. 26/11 was a shot in the arms for Modi. Hatred for muslims flared up again after this 26/11. This resulted in a backlash against muslims all over .....but politically, it was only Modi who could exploit it. India
The real truth is that if Modi has to be removed for his complicity in the Godhra riots, it can only be done by the Judiciary. The Supreme Court could rule against him and ask for his ouster if he’s proven guilty. If however, the case against Modi remain unproved.....and Modi will try everything under the sun to do that......then Modi will rule
Gujarat till the end of his life. Today, Modi is bigger than his party. Gujarat is not BJP-ruled; it’s Modi-ruled. Fortunately for all of us outside Gujarat.....what works for him inside Gujarat works against him outside. Modi may be CM of Gujarat forever....but I doubt if he can ever become PM of ..... India