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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reflections on Firaaq


Yesterday, a friend and I watched Nandita Das’s directorial debut Firaaq, at PVR, Goregaon. I had my apprehensions before watching the movie, mainly fuelled by my impression of intellectual artists. But my fears were clearly unfounded – the movie is a compelling peek into the lives of ordinary people, primarily Muslims, in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots. Firaaq which means ‘separation’ as well as 'quest' is at once understated and hard-hitting in a way that it seriously makes one think how difficult it could potentially be for a Muslim to live in ‘secular’ India.

The movie puts in a few characters into the communal cauldron and stirrs it slowly, very slowly and makes us feel the heat of the situation. The hatred simmers on the surface and threatens occasionally to spill over but Nandita never allows it to burst open. The movie worked for me primarily for a couple of reasons.

It does not resort to finger wagging the way over zealous media persons do as they scream allegations at the possible perpetrators of the crime, but at the same time, it is very clear where Nandita’s sympathies lie. The Rajdeeps and Arnabs always go for an over-kill, repulsing sympathizing members of the majority community. There is, thankfully, no violence shown but the threat always looms largely over the characters. She deftly keeps violence at minimum and uses the fear, frustration and anger of the characters to drive home the point.

Secondly, in many ways, it is mainstream cinema’s (I like to believe that this is actually mainstream) probably first candid admission of the role of the majority community in the riots. It does not flinch in pointing the blame at the recklessness and partisan role played by the government machinery in perpetuating the riots. It does not attempt to sound politically right (unlike Mani Ratnam’s syrupy Bombay), delivers no sermons or half-baked solutions but simply observes the people involved in it.

When Sanjay, a Hindu character, played by Paresh Rawal, feels outraged that had a similar pogrom been unleashed against the Hindu majority, no one would speak up for them, he probably echoes the feelings of many in the country who, either through their actions/words or silence have contributed to the communal cleansing carried out in many parts of the country.

Every time, somebody tries to speak for the minority community, he is branded a pseudo-secularist and reminded of the thousands of Kashmiri Hindus driven out of their homes and living as refugees in parts of the country. There is an underlying assumption that the Hindu community is peace loving and inherently secular and is only reacting to the minorities who are threatening the tranquility of this place.

How many times have we been told that India remains secular largely due to the Hindu majority’s attitude and that Muslims should be happy that they are safer here and not in any of our neighbouring nations? Maybe there is an implicit suggestion that you need to be grateful to the majority community for still tolerating and even nurturing you when the rest of the world considers you as agents of terror.

Every time a Gujarat like pogrom is carried out, it is supposedly due to a set of misguided people and miscreants who have nothing to do with our religion but anytime a bomb explodes anywhere in the world, the Indian Muslim has to hang his head in shame, as if he is responsible in some way for the incident.

We need to distinguish an individual from a community and not indulge in stereotyping but this distinction has been blurred not only by the apathy of the State and the politics involved in playing to the vote bank but also by the role played by the minority leadership, which thrives on playing the oppressed – it is easy to cry foul every time there is an issue but difficult to actually play any constructive role in development.

There is a need for the majority community to constantly reassure the minority community on their well-being. Do not look at this as a vehicle for appeasement but a responsibility to ensure that all is well in the family. In times of communal disharmony (which is quite frequent nowadays), it is this bonding that helps in maintaining sanity among human beings. Everytime a big tree falls, we do not need the ground to shake...

When Raghuvir Yadav, who plays the caretaker to an ailing musician Naseeruddin Shah says “Aapko dukh nahin hota shaher main kitne saare Musalmaanon ki hathya ho rahi hai”, Shah replies – “Dukh is baat ka hai ki ek insaan dossre ko maar raha hai”. This in many ways is the essence of the movie – the thread sustaining humanity is so slender that it merely requires someone to pull ever so slightly at the strings of religion/caste/class and the entire thing collapses, leaving behind a trail of destruction and no true victor.

40 comments:

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  2. i wonder when someone will make a film on the hindus who have been killed in the Sabarmati train ......

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  3. Truly well written!! Makes me want to see the movie immediately .. replace Nikhat Kazmi :D

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  4. Come on, Praf, it is humans who have died…why the need to always think of it in terms of religion…And the majority community was primarily responsible in Gujarat..Godhra or no Godhra, there is no justification for what happened...

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  5. when there is a riot, the majority community has the advantage because of the numbers....that doesnt mean that there were no casualties from the majority because of the minority....and u forget that the whole incident was instigated by the minority when they allegedly burnt a train with people inside....and what do mean that it is just humans who have died....humans are diening everday all around the world...in africa, america , asia , ...everwhere...they are dieing of various reasons...like cancer, starvation, road accident, ...why did nandita das choose this particular conbination of humans dying to make her movies.... could it be that it was the one subject that would endear her to her pseudo intellectual, psuedo secular crowd....

    also, i am not the only one lookin at things in terms of faith...the movie also looks at it in these lines...how come in all these types of crappy movies, the people belonging to the minority faith are poor, sad victims and the people belongin to the other faith are hardcore fundamentalists?? isnt that looking at things in term of religon?

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  6. "It does not flinch in pointing the blame at the recklessness and partisan role played by the government machinery in perpetuating the riots"

    one question:

    is muslim league a secular party?

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  7. good ques...and also...what about nandigram gram where also "humans died"....the sikh riots....sri lanka...etc etc......and while there may have been some level of partisanship in the system, that is not a cause to directly implicate the govt or state machinery.........

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  8. Let me try to answer your points—

    Is Muslim League a secular party? Is the Government responsible?

    Clearly it is not but I’m not sure how it is related to my post. When Gujarat burnt, the Government silent; there is clear evidence as per judicial findings that the police were asked not to intervene in the riots. A senior and highly respected principal IPS Officer, Harsh Mandar, quit after the riots mentioning his sense of shame and inability to do anything to stop the riots because of the mandate issued by the Government of the day. Governments have a clear role in securing the lives of people and even if they do not actively participate in the riots, by not doing anything to quell the riots, Narendra Modi’s Government had abdicated its moral and constitutional responsibility. Even in the Delhi riots and Nandigram, I am clear in my opinion that the Congress and Left Governments of the day were responsible – of course, there were vested interests involved in Nandigram…

    As a member of the majority community, I believe that we have a greater responsibility than the minority in ensuring that peace is maintained every time..Every small incident that happens where somebody from the minority community is involved, we indict the entire community as if he represents the extremist view only…When the Delhi or Gujarat or the missionary attacks happened, it was an attack by miscreants and not Hindus but when 9/11 happens, every Muslim finds himself having to hide his face..Why? Do we have a different yardstick to measure communalism or extremism based on the religion of the attacker???

    You haven’t seen the movie but have called it crappy because you are judging it by your apprehensions about so-called intellectuals; not a very intellectual approach by itself…Call me a pseudo-intellectual but I liked the movie and have felt deeply disturbed by the actions of the majority community on many an occasion..Why Nandita Das decided to make a movie with such a subject is hardly an agreement – Isn’t it her freedom to select what she believes in and do best to propagate it? I myself am fascinated by this subject and am still trying to understand why we hate the minority community??

    Modi has the blood of human beings on his hands –not Hindu/not Muslim but human beings who have been massacred as the great Nero kept fiddling in his own glory..

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  9. Firaaq was in the news last week when it was about to be released last week.I read the review in HINDU, as well as I read the interaction of Nandita Das in Rediff net with the viewers.The Hindu review was on the same lines you have reflected, except they commented that it is bit dragging in the second half.Nandita's interaction was a big bore as the questions asked were rather naive or were mostly adulatory in nature.Of the few questions which was rather provocative like accusing the majority for all maladies and beating the theme of Gujarat riot over and over, she was vague in her answers.
    As a movie it must have moved you and made you go deep in to your own psyche,but sadly at times one wonders at the intentions of such movies, the sponsors behind such ventures and the timing of their release. As you are aware the movie on Bombay riots 'Black out'( hope the name is right) was banned fearing that it will ignite communal passions as it is a direct indictment on minority
    community.Already the movie 'Parsania' was on similar theme and why again one more on the same theme around election times? There are quite a bit of Mody baiters in this country and leftists are on the forefront.Knowing the affiliation of Nandita das , one can easily question the timing of such a movie, however well depicted the movie is ! There is a larger question- why the plight of minorities only make subject for movies in this country? Any human tragedy of this nature should be avoided ,whether it affects any community or not. I wonder why no body thought of making a movie on Sikh riots following Indira Gandhis assassination , in which Congress leaders were the culprits.
    These comments are not to belittle the merits of the movie, but when a particular theme is discussed to to its bare skeleton in the past few years and depicted repeatedly , one start getting doubts on the intentions of such ventures.Time is the healer in many such tragedies, and the goodness in men ultimately triumphs over such inequalities. Movies of this genre only spoil the existing atmosphere and nothing good comes out of it !

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  10. Pradeep: As again another interesting and thought provoking blog from your end. Keep it flowing!!!!

    You have raised an interesting issue in the sense which I believe has no right or wrong answer. A similar one would be did the chicken or the egg came first? Although people may take sides and express their opinions the answer may be inconclusive. Even then I want to share my thoughts. Here we go..

    While I have not seen the movie Firaq, it is inherent in your blog that the movie is taking more of an empathetic step towards the minority community in India. While the Gujarat riots is being mentioned over and over again, everyone keeps forgetting the Godhra incident( Praful indicated it). Pradeep you cannot ignore that part as being not related to your blog, cause that is the underlying factor why the riots broke out... I am totally with you on the fact that killing humans (a Hindu or a Muslim) is NOT the perfect response to the Godhra incident or that the political manipulation involved behind is justifiable. However, being a situational based decision making humans, we all succumb to that factor. Another elemental human nature is our perceptions and biases that often leads to our decision making. BRANDING in the highest order has been set by America by associating terrorism to Islam religion. This is not true but wait a second, the activities that is happening in the world right now leads us to that bias. Is it not a fact that out of the possible 100 attacks 90 of them are done by a Muslim? Though you could argue that fact that the brains behind is someone different, but why do we get biased.. One of my best buddies here is a Muslim from Chennai, India and for work reasons he often travel to the US.. every time the US customs grill shim on his purpose of the visit. Technically this is not a good thing to do and I sympathize with him, but is not Prevention better than cure? Even with all these parameters it is been difficult stopping terrorism. So my point is as a perfectly normal human being I get biased and similarly everyone get biased.
    You have indicated in ur blog that every Muslim has to hide his face for 9/11. Let me take this situation to a micro level.. If someone in a family does something which is perceived as not good, does not the entire family ashamed of it.. Whilst it is not a good practise to commonize things that what actually happens. Coming back the Muslims associate themselves with all the other Muslims in the world. and not the Hindus.. I have a lot of Nepal, Fiji based and silencing Hindu friends.. I have observed that as a group the Hindus never generalize themselves,. They identify as a Indian Hindu/ whatever you want to term. I have seen similar behaviour w.r.t to Christians as well.. In the same sense, if you indicate a Buddhist from Thailand as same as a Buddhist from China, they freak out..... But in Muslims it is not like that, they generalize themselves as one people no matter which country they are from. (This is a from a perspective of me who is living outside the country).

    While whenever there is a human loss, that act is not justifiable in any means. At last religion is what we have given to each other and not natural enough. But why does so many issues are not even projected to the outside world. While Nandita Das and may be the screenplay writer expressed their opinions through the movie, the media brings in a totally different perspective to issues.

    You very easily expressed the fact that Modi has blood in is arms... Do you agree the same with the so called "minority" Muslims killing other people. And I would want you to open your mind to a more global scale than limited to India alone as Hindus are really minority in the world... Again I can go on with so many situations. Why does the Muslims still have their own law in India....while all the Hindus are under the IPC. ( Prem please throw some lights into this). Why does the Mosques in Kerala still has the Old style Speaker, while it has been banned in the state and all the Hindu temples are forcibly asked to change. Why do we call the Malabar are as mini Pakistan. Why did Coimbatore riots happen?, why is Muslim League calling BJP a NON SECULAR party ( Anil: good point). Why is it that AP state has reservation for Muslim community?, this list goes on and on and on......

    Whilst I agree that may be the people dying is Africa, etc etc may not be the essence of the post, some things like Muslim Party calling BJP non secular, and things like that are sort of the platform and I want you to open your mind and analyze it from a bigger perspective.( I know you would always do it, but just in case)

    On a closing note you indicated that "As a member of the majority community, I believe that we have a greater responsibility than the minority in ensuring that peace is maintained every time." If I extrapolate this statement to say that America being a fully developed country and the super power now is justifiable in trying to bring peace to the world. Would you agree?? I believe that everything is a TWO WAY BRIDGE.... It has to be reciprocal... But how we do it is something to be thought about...

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  11. 1. Till date there has been no concrete evidence that Modi was directly involved in any obstruction of justice. Also, let us not forget that people of both communities killed and died in the Gujarat riots. Hence, if the administration has been lax, it has been lax to both the majority and the minority- u cant accuse them of bias in such a scenario. If you want to classify dead bodies in the name of religon, then you are being more communal that even the rioters. Also, Harsh Mandar is a senior IPS officer. Whether he is highy respected or not is purely a matter of judgement. There have been claims that he is close to one particular political party.

    2. "As a member of the majority community, I believe that we have a greater responsibility than the minority in ensuring that peace is maintained every time". Are you serious? This is a preposterous statement. Ensuring peace being maintained is an equal responsibilty of every citizen, no matter what caste, faith or creed. There is no way the majority needs to assume sole responsibilty for this. And what exactly are you suggesting? If the minorities violently attack the majority, the majority should just keep silent because of their supposed greater responsibilty? That is utter nonesense. Also, I think that Hindus are just as ashamed of criminal elements of their religon as much as the members of any other community.

    3."You haven’t seen the movie but have called it crappy because you are judging it by your apprehensions about so-called intellectuals; not a very intellectual approach by itself…" I confess. I am not an intellectual. But I do consider myself much more intelligent than any other so called intellectual whether it be Sitaram Yechury, Arundhathi Roy or Nandita Das. And I dont need to read books by heavily bearded Russian writer to prove it. I am in touch with the real, ground level scenario in the world today and have not kpt my head isolated in some make believe world where one set of people are deemed poor victims and the other set are deemed communal just because of their numbers.
    Modi has as much blood on his hands as any other leader in the world. He also has in his hands, the means to convert Gujarat into the best governed state in India. Even many members of the minority community who had migrated from Gujarat to other "secular" states are returning to Gujarat. Governance is a job for men not boys.

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  12. 1.Why is there no uniform civil law?

    2.Why do we have muslim personal law board?

    3.Why do we allow madrassas to be unregulated?

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  13. some great secular news for nandita das to ignore
    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/kerala-cpm-ally-madhani-is-coimbatore-blasts-accused/88792-37.html

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  14. How come we have a "hindu marraige act" while there is no "muslim marraige act"?.

    Haryana former dy CM divorced his wife by sending sms "talak" 3 times !!! Mockery of the institution of marraige. but acceptable as per muslim personal law board.

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  15. the secular boys are at it again
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/if-sanjay-is-barred-sp-to-field-manyata/439756/
    what a wonderful demonstration of indian democracy....and does Sanjay Dutt have any blood on his hands????

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  16. "Is Muslim League a secular party? Is the Government responsible? Clearly it is not but I’m not sure how it is related to my post."

    E Ahmed is part of gov. If i am rite hes from muslim league? So congress can form alliance with communal parties...?

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  17. I was expecting a mail from Appi, which eventually looks like has gone in UPSC preparation… Anyways now its my turn, I also would want to write in the same lines as that of Mandan’s mail. As he said, I both agree and disagree with Pradeep and also with Praful. Because I think that it is not reason that you kill Muslims because they kill others. Then there is no difference between them and us. And I do agree with Mandan that they (musilims) are not very tolerant. I live in a city (about which Pradeep knows better) wherein Musilms is no more a real minority. And I know from past 6 years of life in here that they really do not belong here (and of course there are exceptions). The small kid also creates a rocket with paper and shoots it up telling that “Rocket against India”. And remember in the T-20 final world cup, the Captain of Pakistan team apologized publically to whole Muslim janta in the world!!!!!. He believed that every musilm around the world wanted Pakistan to win!!!! This is exactly why muslims had to hide their faces after 9/11….But killing them is no solution to all these. It will create only more Hitlers and Edi Amins..

    But I think all these issues are out of context. The actual blog was about a movie. And I do not agree with Praful, questioning why she didn’t take other issues, Srilanka, Africa etc… this is a movie and you cannot cover all in one. And there have many movies come on these issues before too… So I would believe that we are nobody to tell Nandita that she shall take this or that subject. It her will and wish as long as she can find a producer and distributer for it.

    I also do not agree with Pradeep that majority community has higher responsibility in keeping peace, as others countered it. And I also didn’t like some part of Pradeep’s mail which I thought was going personnel….

    And rest all are cheap politics, CPM joining hands with PDP, Congress allies with Muslim League etc etc have nothing to do with real feelings of common men. It is all for 2 extra votes.

    But as citizen of India I believe, or rather say, would want to believe that Govt. has the responsibility to provide safety to my life, doesn’t matter I am a hindu or Muslim, doesn’t matter it is NDA of UPA.

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  18. 1. There has been a debate in many places whether Godhra was responsible for the riots that happened or not. The inquiries carried out by the National Human Rights Commission and others categorically state that while the Godhra incident may have expedited the events that took place but it was not possible for an event of such magnitude to have happened without any form of preparation – electoral rolls where scanned for establishments run by Muslims and these were marked with flags a few days earlier, large quantities of gasonline and ammunition were brought into the city and stored – these have been well-documented in the Commission’s inquiry. Calling it a spontaneous outburst does not justify the resultant carnage.

    2. The Commission report very clearly reads – The police said that they had no orders to stop what was happening and there have been many recorded incidents where the police drove away the people who pleaded for help when they were attacked. Since the majority of cases attacked were Muslim majority areas and people targeted were Muslims, I mention this (mind you, the Hindu majority areas were relatively peaceful). For 4 days (not sure of the days), the Government stood still and watched the massacre till finally the army was brought in. You may choose to call it incompetence but I’d cal it a combination of incompetence and communal favouritism.

    3. Praful, regarding my statement that - As a member of the majority community, I believe that we have a greater responsibility than the minority in ensuring that peace is maintained every time -, I stand by it. Every minority community in any part of the world is vulnerable to it and so, the majority has to take a greater responsibility and I refer this to not just Hindus in India, but also Muslims in Pakistan, Jews in Israel, Sinhalese in Sri Lanka and all other communities. The majority community in every country has the advantage of numbers and it can actually help in the process better because they are in a better position to do so. A greater responsibility does not mean appeasement but an ability to look at things with a better perspective and handle things in a more mature way.

    4. Modi is indeed the best CM in terms of the economic administration and the things he has done for the state but that does not do away his inability and complicity in standing still when the state burnt. Purely creating a good economically sound state is not enough; the government needs to ensure that all its citizens are taken care of and they feel safe and secure in the country.

    5. Regarding the points raised on marriage law and the other links sent, we can debate them separately. I am referring to human massacres here and let’s not confuse lousy governance and politics with the issue that I am trying to write about. I condemn all kinds of ethical cleansing whether it is Palestinians in West Bank, Muslims in Bosnia, Hindus in Fiji, and Tamils in Sri Lanka – when I talk about the majority, I do not refer to Hindus only…

    I am a Hindu because I am born to Hindu parents and there is nothing else about my religion that I practice. But I still not an atheist and believe in humanity and the need for spiritual education to replace all forms of religious education – Amma’s teachings are about humanity and not Hindus. I agree that I may be naïve (had a one hour long debate with my dad on this post too where he said similar things) and not grounded, as per your definitions, but violence is no remedy….

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  19. 1. Let us begin with then enquiries that were conducted. There have been more than one enquiries that were established, The ones that were influenced by the Congress blamed the state machinery and the ones that were begun by the Gujarat Govt absolved the state machinery. Now if you choose to believe the one that blames the Gujarat Govt, that is entirely your choice. But please do not present the observations of you favoured Commission as if they are facts. We all know how biased commisions and CBI equiries are (eg :Congress' Jagdish Tytler is supposed to be getting a clean chit from the CBI when there are eyewitness account to his onvolvement in the Sikh riots). Also, for every fact you present, I can present to you a counterfact from the commissions get up by the Gujarat Govt. I agree with you that there was a huge amount of ammuntion and gasoline that was stored in the city. There is evidence that the gasoline was stored extremely close to the Godhra station, where it is alleged to have been used to set fire to the Hindu pilgrims.

    2. You yourself have said that the Hindu majority areas were peaceful. That in itself validates mine, Mahesh's and Anil's argument.

    3. Again, your statement in preposterous . I look forward to the day that you or any of the "suddenly awakened political active youth" write articles and attack Pakisthan, Israel, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Bosnia etc for the atrocities that are commited against minorities with the same passion that you attack Modi and Gujarat. Maybe you all can start an online petition to get Nandita Das to direct a movie on those stories as well. Again, if you feel that you have a greater responsibilty , thats ure choice. I do not believe so and I am also a member of the majority community. So there is no way you can speak about what is or what isnt the majority's responsibilty.

    4. Post the Godhra riots, there have been no incidents of communal tension in Gujarat. Even the minority communities of the Gujarat are sick of hearing of this subject. Only the media and the blog happy socially concsious young India seem to be interested. Unlike states like Delhi, UP etc there is no complete breakdown on law and order. The state marches forwrad and sooner or later the country will break out of this state of pseudo-nonsense and understand what is best for it. It might be this year or after 5 ...but rest assured, it is going to happen

    5. I dont think that Anil was trying to say that the Marriage laws were as important as the loss of lives in Gujarat. He was only trying to point out the gross unfairness that exists socially and legally in India today because of appeasement policies. Surely, an intelligent and forward thinking individual such as yourself would not agree that it is fair to have one law for one religion and another for the rest.

    "I am a Hindu because I am born to Hindu parents and there is nothing else about my religion that I practice." This is exactly the reason why you will not understand the emotions that Anil, Mahesh or I may have. Belonging to a religion and not practicising it or not considering it relevant in your life is nothing great. It may make you sound cool in Mumbai at the local Barista but that all it is. I for one believe in my heritage and will stand up when someone challenges it.

    You said your thoughts are naive. They are not. They are stupid (i dont say that u r stupid). They reflect the holier than thou attitude that plagues the upper middle class in this country today. We see this in our admiration of imbeciles like Amartya Sen and Shashi Tharoor, who speak English well, write good books but have absolutely no idea about the ground realities in India. They will never make good leader, just a good guest for Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai to invite to their tea parties.
    Again, you say u abhore violence but let us not discount the fact that while violence ought be the last option, it is still an option. If someone attacks your family and kills them in front of you, will you try to stop them forcefully or will you let them die and write blogs about how you felt about their death the next morning?

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  20. 1. Let us begin with then enquiries that were conducted. There have been more than one enquiries that were established, The ones that were influenced by the Congress blamed the state machinery and the ones that were begun by the Gujarat Govt absolved the state machinery. Now if you choose to believe the one that blames the Gujarat Govt, that is entirely your choice. But please do not present the observations of you favoured Commission as if they are facts. We all know how biased commisions and CBI equiries are (eg :Congress' Jagdish Tytler is supposed to be getting a clean chit from the CBI when there are eyewitness account to his onvolvement in the Sikh riots). Also, for every fact you present, I can present to you a counterfact from the commissions get up by the Gujarat Govt. I agree with you that there was a huge amount of ammuntion and gasoline that was stored in the city. There is evidence that the gasoline was stored extremely close to the Godhra station, where it is alleged to have been used to set fire to the Hindu pilgrims.

    Pradeep: I guess it’s my word against yours until we have the facts in place and since we so not trust any Inquiry Commission, including the NHRC (which I have quoted), I rest my case.

    2. You yourself have said that the Hindu majority areas were peaceful. That in itself validates mine, Mahesh's and Anil's argument.

    3. Again, your statement in preposterous . I look forward to the day that you or any of the "suddenly awakened political active youth" write articles and attack Pakisthan, Israel, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Bosnia etc for the atrocities that are commited against minorities with the same passion that you attack Modi and Gujarat. Maybe you all can start an online petition to get Nandita Das to direct a movie on those stories as well. Again, if you feel that you have a greater responsibilty , thats ure choice. I do not believe so and I am also a member of the majority community. So there is no way you can speak about what is or what isnt the majority's responsibilty.

    Pradeep: I have always stood my stance on this and one of my earliest articles on the blog was on Israel’s attack on Palestine. I see no reason why I cannot speak on what is the responsibility of the majority – As long as I employ peaceful means to drive home my point, I don’t think I am anywhere in the wrong.

    4. Post the Godhra riots, there have been no incidents of communal tension in Gujarat. Even the minority communities of the Gujarat are sick of hearing of this subject. Only the media and the blog happy socially concsious young India seem to be interested. Unlike states like Delhi, UP etc there is no complete breakdown on law and order. The state marches forwrad and sooner or later the country will break out of this state of pseudo-nonsense and understand what is best for it. It might be this year or after 5 ...but rest assured, it is going to happen

    Pradeep: For the thousand who have lost everything in the riots, it is small consolation that 'Shining India' cares two hoots about the atrocities. There are people who are still scared but the voices will not come out because there is a fear of persecution.

    5. I dont think that Anil was trying to say that the Marriage laws were as important as the loss of lives in Gujarat. He was only trying to point out the gross unfairness that exists socially and legally in India today because of appeasement policies. Surely, an intelligent and forward thinking individual such as yourself would not agree that it is fair to have one law for one religion and another for the rest.

    Pradeep: I am in agreement with a Uniform Civil Code but surely, this does not fit in as an argument in this discussion and seems more like a passionate outburst.

    "I am a Hindu because I am born to Hindu parents and there is nothing else about my religion that I practice." This is exactly the reason why you will not understand the emotions that Anil, Mahesh or I may have. Belonging to a religion and not practicising it or not considering it relevant in your life is nothing great. It may make you sound cool in Mumbai at the local Barista but that all it is. I for one believe in my heritage and will stand up when someone challenges it.

    Pradeep: I must confess that I have never been accused of being cool!!!! I don’t think that there was any intention to sound holier and make it sound great that I don’t practice the religion perse. I believe in spirituality and not religion and I am proud of that and I am equally at home with people who practice active religion. Those who know me well know that I have attempted to understand religion and have never belittled practitioners of this. My heritage has taught me to question religion and not blindly follow it and I have never had problems with this approach.

    You said your thoughts are naive. They are not. They are stupid (i dont say that u r stupid). They reflect the holier than thou attitude that plagues the upper middle class in this country today. We see this in our admiration of imbeciles like Amartya Sen and Shashi Tharoor, who speak English well, write good books but have absolutely no idea about the ground realities in India. They will never make good leader, just a good guest for Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai to invite to their tea parties.

    Pradeep: Well, my thoughts are stupid but not me!!! That’s a fine distinction that you have created to avoid calling me an imbecile…Must confess that I am surprised that you call Amartya Sen an imbecile with no ground realities about India…Every one cannot be a good leader but a country also needs people who can contribute to leadership and surely somebody like Amartya Sen is an asset…Would advice you not to go so ballistic in running down people and objectively analyze their view points, without too much passion…

    Again, you say u abhore violence but let us not discount the fact that while violence ought be the last option, it is still an option. If someone attacks your family and kills them in front of you, will you try to stop them forcefully or will you let them die and write blogs about how you felt about their death the next morning?

    Pradeep: Stopping violence is one thing and propagating violence as a way of life is another…Call me imbecile/stupid/naïve but I continue to admire the Mahatma for standing firm even in the midst of all violence..That path may be difficult but it is the only truly viable option…

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  21. Pradeep: I guess it’s my word against yours until we have the facts in place and since we so not trust any Inquiry Commission, including the NHRC (which I have quoted), I rest my case.

    Praful: NHRC as the "C" in it is name suggests is a Commission. Its neutrality is contestable and hence the case rests. (Maybe it shouldnt have been brought up in the first place)

    Pradeep: I have always stood my stance on this and one of my earliest articles on the blog was on Israel’s attack on Palestine. I see no reason why I cannot speak on what is the responsibility of the majority – As long as I employ peaceful means to drive home my point, I don’t think I am anywhere in the wrong.

    Praful: I did not say that you cannot drive home your point. All I said is that you have no right to say that the entire majorty community has more responsibilty that the monority community. Again, whatever stand anyone has on Israel or Palestine is debatable. So, I dont think it can be used as an excuse to justify anything.

    Pradeep: For the thousand who have lost everything in the riots, it is small consolation that “Shining India” cares two hoots about the atrocities. There are people who are still scared but the voices will not come out because there is a fear of persecution.

    Praful: I do not belive that Shining India cares nothing just because you or the media says so. Yes, there are people too scared to speak up. Some of these people belong to majorty community also. Why no sympathy for them? Why dont you write any articles about the leaders of the minorities who issue fatwas and bounties with gay abandon?

    Pradeep: I am in agreement with a Uniform Civil Code but surely, this does not fit in as an argument in this discussion and seems more like a passionate outburst.

    Praful: Why do you blame Anil for having a passionate outburst. What is wrong with having a passionate outburst? Wasnt your blog also a passionate outburst??

    Pradeep: I must confess that I have never been accused of being cool!!!! I don’t think that there was any intention to sound holier and make it sound great that I don’t practice the religion perse. I believe in spirituality and not religion and I am proud of that and I am equally at home with people who practice active religion. Those who know me well know that I have attempted to understand religion and have never belittled practitioners of this. My heritage has taught me to question religion and not blindly follow it and I have never had problems with this approach.

    Praful: Religion is a pathway to spirituality. One can follow religon without becoming a blind practitioner. There is nothing wrong with questioning and believing. But there is something wrong with not questioning and then, not believing. You have cited Amma as an example. Even Her hymns use religious references.

    Pradeep: Well, my thoughts are stupid but not me!!! That’s a fine distinction that you have created to avoid calling me an imbecile:)…Must confess that I am surprised that you call Amartya Sen an imbecile with no ground realities about India…Every one cannot be a good leader but a country also needs people who can contribute to leadership and surely somebody like Amartya Sen is an asset…Would advice you not to go so ballistic in running down people and objectively analyze their view points, without too much passion…

    Praful: Amartya Sen is a man who has never lived in India and chooses to comment on the country from a far distance. While he may be a noted economist, one still has to be convinced about his social and political relevance. A good reading of any of his books on anything other than the economy will reveal a stark disconnect between the India he sees and the India that is.

    Pradeep: Stopping violence is one thing and propagating violence as a way of life is another…Call me imbecile/stupid/naïve but I continue to admire the Mahatma for standing firm even in the midst of all violence..That path may be difficult but it is the only truly viable option…

    Praful: We all admire the Mahatma but today is not 1947. Do you think that he would have been able to stop terrorosm by going on a hunger strike?

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  22. Dey,

    There is no smoke without fire. There are so many so called troubled areas in the world. In 99 % of these areas, one specific community is involved. Be it in Iraq, Afghanistan, pak or in India? so is it possible it is something inherently wrong with that specific community? or is it that the specific community is not at fault but hindus in india, jews in israel, americans and so on and so forth are at fault?

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  23. Praful,

    1. We need to trust some organization or the other and so, I quoted the NHRC but since I don’t the facts, can’t comment more on that..

    2. Every opinion is debatable at the end of the day and then there is nothing right or nothing wrong in that case. You had stated that 'I look forward to the day that you or any of the "suddenly awakened political active youth" write articles and attack Pakisthan, Israel, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Bosnia etc for the atrocities that are commited against minorities with the same passion that you attack Modi and Gujarat', so I mentioned the fact that I have written about it. I have the right to say that the majority has a greater responsibility; it is your right to disagree with it but not question my right to say that.

    3. I believe that my stance has been the same from the beginning and have written even on the other side also. I will try to keep this point in mind when I write in future. But then 2 wrongs don’t make a right, do they? If I believe that there is an issue with my religion or my people, I have the right to condemn it. Just because some other religion is doing something which may not be in sync with what we think is right (like triple talaq or issuing fatwahs), it should not stop us from condemning the ills of our system. So, let us not use the point that why don’t you talk about the others?

    4. You say – 'But there is something wrong with not questioning and then, not believing'- Not sure I know to which this is being referred to. Everyone has his/her own value sets and so, may not believe in things the way you do but that does not make them wrong. Anyway, what’s the point in attacking people and calling them names? If you do not believe in their view points, feel free to communicate your thoughts but do not call them names and lower the dignity of the discussion. As a free country, both the sides are free to express their viewpoints anyway…

    5. Anil’s queries were, I believe, irrelevant to the current discussion and so I mentioned it. Ani, your point about Islam being responsible for many of the issues that it is facing is a fair enough point. It is something that the followers of the religion need to think about. But let me repeat, while I agree with your assertions, my post is against any kind of ethnic cleansing and I’m not talking about supporting any community– Muslims in Sudan are responsible for slaughtering Christians in Southern Sudan and Darfur and that is heinous crime that needs to be condemned.

    6. Condemning Amartya Sen is silly, I’d say. Many of us respect his views, especially his opinions on Welfare Economics, so to say that he’s not in touch with ground realities is ridiculous. I’d suggest try reading articles by P Sainath, who understands ground realities more than any other journalist that I know but whose vies also follow a similar pattern. Gandhi’s views are always relevant; In 1947, during the peak of the Hindu-Muslim riots, he was ridiculed for going on hunger strike, but it was this peaceful protest which stopped the bloodshed in Bengal. I’m not saying that when your house is bombed, you need to go on a fast and do nothing – What happened during the riots is, however, not a solution to vent your frustration against the terror attacks. So many people who died during the riots were mere bystanders who suffered just because they belonged to a particular community and this criticism is valid to both communities…

    Maybe, I will write an article talking about many of the aspects too, so that the views mentioned here are given some level of consideration.

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  24. am not questioning your right to air your views. I am questioning your views itself. You are saying that you feel for the persecuted in Sudan, Fiji etc....but the fact is that it was only when some of wrote disagreeing with your article that you aired your concern about these things. Again, for most points if have mentioned, your answer is "These are my views. I have a right to express them". Yes you do have a right to express them. But that doesnt mean that your views are correct. Go ahead and express them and I assure you I will send a mail to disprove each.

    'In 1947, during the peak of the Hindu-Muslim riots, he was ridiculed for going on hunger strike, but it was this peaceful protest which stopped the bloodshed in Bengal.' Please read the first part of your own sentence. It says 'In 1947' As I said , today is not 1947. If you believe that Qasab and his friends would have stopped the siege of the Taj if Gandhi had fasted outside, then good luck to you. Also, if you believe that all the concerned, compassionate Human Rights people can peacefully stop militants and terrorists from murdering people, the please ask them to put there masterplan into practise. Maybe the next time there is a terrorists strike, you can gather your band of peaceloving moderates and hold group therapy for the LeT etc....

    Again, Amartya Sen is a great economist. I said that earlier. That doesnt mean that his social or political knowledge comes up to squat. i dont respect people just because somebody has given them a Nobel prize or a Booker or an Oscar.

    You seem to say that you feel for people in trouble all around the world. I understand you compassion but please remeber that to do some good, you must first take a stand on one side or the other. The last mail Anil sent mentioned a very valid thought that many people in the world feel today-some in secret and some in the open.

    You have said that you will write an article on other aspects. I am happy that something from my mails had got through to you. Please do mention the majority outrage when Ram is called a fictional character, the Amarnath Shrine is not transfered land as per the Supreme Court orders, when Madani aligns with Secular forces etc.....

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  25. Please feel free to disapprove; I am glad that you have an opinion and a strong one too…I will express them and you can provide feedback; glad to hear them, mate!!!!

    You are again putting words in my mouth when you say 'If you believe that Qasab and his friends would have stopped the siege of the Taj if Gandhi had fasted outside, then good luck to you'. Even Gandhi never suggested that; however, killing members of the community just because of a Qasab is wrong – something similar had happened in the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots when the Sikh community was massacred after the death of Mrs. Gandhi.

    I have not quoted Amartya Sen here but I don’t think his political opinions are too wrong or lack ground realities…I can take a stand based on my convictions instead of nationality/religion and so I’d support the affected party only. So, I am critical of India’s Tibet and Myanmar policy, Indian Army’s aggression in Kashmir and North-East but I also include my criticism for the Taliban, Pakistan and the rest…

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  26. Random thought...@Anil: Most of the places, Muslims were trained in terror tactics by the Americans, in order to reduce the political stability of the countries...Saddam, Osama, Chechnya, Pakistan...

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  27. u always miss the point...people of Qasab's communities were not the only ones who are killed...people of other communites are also being killed....do u want one community to keep silent and bear all insults just because they are the majority? even if you do, i dont think thats fair on the majority....good to hear that u remeber the sikh riots...let ure next article be on how Jagdish Tytler of the Congress is allegdly going to be given a clean chit....I guess the bllod on his hands are not red enough for you write something on it...
    .
    Amartya Sen's political opinions are stupid....he is completely deisconnected from most Indians...he may be connected to you but you dont represent the majority in India....I can see that you are critical of almost anything going on in the world...just being critical is not enough...or have you become a communist, satisfied at pointing fingers and criticizing the whole world just becuase you think you know better....

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  28. have stopped replying now..After being called imbecile, stupid, communist, naïve, critic and what not and curtly informed to stop writing and instructed on what exactly I need to write, I have nothing to add…

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  29. I disagree to the fact that Chopsy is imbecile, stupid, communist, naïve, critic.. etc.. If he was all these then why the hell r we replying to his emails.. ( remember he started the thread).

    Both Praful and Pradeep has thier iwn point of view and Praful I would request you to be more polite (or matured in PP's terms.. hahahaha) when you express your opinions. I am totally aligned with your thoughts but that does not gives us the rights to demean other people's thoughts...

    Pradeep, I guess it is like you have a shcoll of thoyught which all of us disagree and the difference what we find here is that you are the only person who has seen the movie and none of us else have. i would request you to think from an independent perspective.. Although most of ours comments are a little off shoot of you blog content, I would say do not limit yourself just to it.

    1. You still did not touch base on my previous point. If the majority has to show the way can you justify America's action ( they r protecting the world from terrorists as per them). I am of the thought that peace is a two way process and that both the majority and minrotiy people should take initiatives to go towards it.. While you are talking on Gujarat i want to give an example of our own malabar area, where my dad was working for 3 years (Manjeri). During the Ramzan season, the Majority (muslim) community made sure that there r no hotels being opened through the place.. How can one justify it? my dad used to carry food for 3 days together ( he used to stay there and visit us during mid week and weekends). Come back on Wednesday evenings and then again refill for 3 more days until saturday.. it is good that the Muslim people fast during the ramzan season, but how should a non muslim suffer because of that? Now from my dad's perspective, the 3 years that he went through at manjeri, he will never forget in his life and that what he will have in his mind always... And I dare say that nobody can question him ( not because he is my dad, but because of the ordeal he has been through). So what I am trying to say is the peace has to be two ways and just the majority community cannot "initiate & sustain" the process.

    2. Ask any muslim whether he justifies the Babri masjid (yes the most significant of all conflicts) demolition, he/she would say NO.. Ask any Hindu abt the same, he/she u would get varied answers. this clearly shows that we are more opne towards suggestion, critics and if we make a mistake we try to look at it.. Taking the same situation to Godhra incident, ask any Muslim abt it, they would say NO we did not do it,, There is no little hesitance in saying it.... WHY????? If this is the case why would anyone want to talk tot he people. When the Imam of Juma Masjid talked vulgar about Shabana Azmi in LIVE TV, nobody really cared ( other than some little uproar), Sai baba- Puttaparthy ( i am not a big supporter anyways) scadal or kanchi kamakodi scandals was like a feast to all the people. just because we are majority we would be able to take it. No because I can openly say we are more rational in our outlook.

    3. Why does Theruvu ( a place just 3 kms from Sultanpet in Palakkad), has pakistani flag and a photo of Saddam hussien still put up? Why nobody objects to it ( including us)? Am I happy with IT/ NO I am NOT.... You try going into that place in Palakkad and practise your religion... I can vouch to you that u will not come out alive. But thats not the case in a Hindu majorty area. Because again WE ARE MORE RATIONAL..

    4. why is it that places like Mumbra, kalina, kurla ( muslim domintaed areas in Mumbai), malabar area, part of UP, ukkadam in Coimbatoreetc etc, are always similar...

    I can keep giving you examples like this.. I again state that I do not support any human beng killed at any time, whether it is in india, Pakistan, israel or wherver it is, but everything has to be in 2 ways, u need two hands to clap and make a sound.... Why are you not accepting it? thats my big question... Why do you codemn the majority and support the minority. WHERVER it is..

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  30. Dear Mandan, I totally disagree with your statement - u need two hands to clap and make a sound.

    We don’t need two hand to make a sound, We need only one hand and a normal Pottas Gun to make a sound.

    Come on Mandan….Some times u can see things happening in one way itself.

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  31. I beg to differ with Pradeep. Nandita's take on the Gujarat riot and its aftermath through Cinema is ofcourse laudable. But, is this the time to portray such story on silver screen when elections are nearing?.Or is this a deliberate attempt to tarnish the present Gujarat Govt?.Has she focused on what caused the riots?.It is quite obvious to everyone that the hands of dirty politics plays a prominent factor. But there is something called personal loss which we often forget.For an individual who has lost his family and property, revenge comes first and later on the political goons take over which leads to mass killing.Everyone knows that there is no point in blaming an entire community because of the actions of some miscreants.But how long can we hold our antagonism.The recent terror strikes in Mumbai was organised with the support of the local muslims( admitted by Kasab).The blog world spat venom at the community.How can we separate a few good people from a community which has become an epitome of terrorism?The Gujarat riot was a misfortune.But some pseudo secularits and the biased meadia never projected the Godhra train incident.There were witnesses to that carnage as well.What was done to those perpetrators of the bloodbath ?It was the media which reported ,
    'Eyewitnesses said the Muslim murderers numbered about 500. They said that as soon as the train reached Godhra, some of the [Muslim] miscreants had attacked the [Hindu] passengers chanting religious songs inside the compartment. However, even after some passengers brought this to the notice of the policemen present on the platform, no action was taken, the eyewitnesses said'. Later on the very same media gave credibility to Banerjee Commission report which in total contrast stated that the fire being an accident which resulted out of cooking being carried within the carriage and ruled out the possibility of fire having resulted out of any external attack.Bizzare.......

    Pradeep,I wonder how the Gujarat riot can be called a Pogrom when according to official figures tabled in the parliament says that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus(besides the train carnage) were killed .About 100,000 Muslims and 40,000 Hindus were in relief camps.

    It is a known fact that for muslims, religion comes before nation.Their intolerance and inferiority complex leads to disharmony.They want the rules of the country where they reside to be amended to suit their religion.They thrive like pigs deliberately in places like Malappuram to favour muslim league.

    Gujarat incident is history now.If we take a sneak peek into the state now, it has left other states miles behind in terms of development.Modi govt has gained the confidence of the muslim community as well.People vote for development.Congress is desperately trying to cause a rift by highlighting the Gujarat riot again and again .

    I request the film makers to dump such scripts and take a look at the present Gujarat.

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  32. 1.Peace has to be a 2 way process, as mentioned by Mahesh and it is the responsibility of all religions to ensure that peace is in place. However, by the sheer strength of their numbers, the majority community in any country has a higher leverage. They could use this power to enforce their rule by power or act in a matured manner and ensure that they do not respond to acts of provocation. This is quite possibly a difficult thing to do because when someone is silent, it can be misunderstood as a sign of weakness. But the ability to forgive and act in a matured manner comes only to someone who is strong; sometimes, the easiest thing to do is to react violently and then the result is the situation spills out of control. When the Godhra fire happened, there were Hindus who died but the solution is not go for retribution and kill Muslims in retaliation. (As per the NHRC – an autonomous institution under the Central Government- and the Human Rights Watch (a US based NGO), the suggestion that the Gujarat riots was a spontaneous outburst due to the Godhra fire is not fully conclusive but even if it were, it cannot be justified). What the movie and I condemn is this retribution – largely, we have acted well as a matured majority and I’m sure we all agree on that. The Gujarat incident is possibly an aberration to the general Hindu attitude but it still remains a blot.

    2.With regards to the larger picture of the attitudes of the 2 communities (we have kept the other religions out of this debate), I think we all agree that we are a fairly tolerant religion and have generally been more open in our outlook and this is something to be genuinely proud of. Quite possibly, Muslims have grown up being taught that religion is the most important thing in life and come what may; they need to stand by their faith. However the type of integration that is necessary here cannot be achieved unless Muslims learn to separate religion from the rights and obligations of citizenship of a modem state. The tragedy of Indian Muslims does not lie so much in the backwardness of a vast majority of them in relation to the Hindus which is only a symptom - as in the unwillingness of educated Muslims to undertake a critical reappraisal of their heritage. This is unfortunate that with the noble exception of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Tunisia and a few other countries (you must read about Turkish politics); secular Islam has remained a misnomer. Whenever Muslims are in a majority they have refused to recognize the equal rights of non-Muslim minorities and where they are in a minority they have been generally reluctant to regard themselves as part and parcel of a non-religious nation.

    3.Hindu communalists should not continue to make the tragic blunder of mistaking every Muslim for a communalist. It is true that today it is difficult to find many thoroughly secular Muslims in India. But if we want secular minded Muslims, in the near future, we must encourage and support those Muslims who are already stepping in that direction. There is a necessity to segregate the Church from the state and it is the responsibility of Muslims to do self-introspect and bring about this change but this is a slow process. Politicians and religious leaders have instilled in them fears of being wiped out by non-believers and build barriers between Islam and the rest. It is only when there is greater human-to-human contact that such barriers would break but this requires a fundamental change, which takes time.

    4.Mahesh, I merely support humanity and not any particular faith in particular. It is easy to point fingers at others but difficult to look at yourself critically. So, it’s not just Moditva that I find fault with but also the divisive politics of Ahmedanijad, the Muslim League and all those fanatics who have placed religion above spirituality and humanity.

    I did not think it necessary to separately answer to Sunil but my friend, if you actually believe what you have written – 'They thrive like pigs deliberately in places like Malappuram to favour muslim league', I genuinely feel sad about your outlook.

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  33. I apologize for the grimy language .I should have shown some restraint before I dashed off immaturely.

    I agree with Pradeep . But, the ground reality is always different. Tolerance has limits .It is quite easy to pen down ones views .But, to keep people in line and to maintain peace, there has to be a strong system which, unfortunately, is corrupted. If by modern education a community can be uplifted and brought in line, then we wouldn't have seen SIMI's(Students Islamic Movement Of India ) involvement in any of the terrorist attacks on India .A group of intellectuals(like Doctors, Lawyers and teachers) have a strong viewpoint which favors these attacks which we cannot construe .They always point to Gujarat and Babri Masjid incidents ,which they are not ready to forget, as the reason behind these attacks.Things have gone from bad to worse now.

    Unlike our rogue neighboring states like Pakistan and Bangladesh, India is still a safe haven for its minority. We have a group of pseudo secularists and communists to safeguard the interests of minority and misinterpret hindutva.Hinduism stands for tolerance and its tolerance has now become intolerable.

    Let us take the case of Taslima Nasreen, Author of Lajja. I had gone through few pages in the book. She has not written anything offensive of Islam .She exposed the injustice done to the minority (hindus) in Bangladesh, for which a fatwa was declared by an Islamic sect in India. She was denied shelter in India. The media and the government did not object to this. Where as ,MF Husain has the liberty to display nude paintings of Hindu Goddesses and Bharat Mata.If some hindu organization raises voice against it, it becomes anti- secular and intolerant. This double standard by the media and the Government should be eliminated.

    Vote bank politics should be condemned and strong system (although a dream) should control this democratic country. Secularism cannot be overstretched and freedom needs to be redefined.

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  34. 1. I thought we werent going to discuss the NHRC but u have done it again. Just because it is a US based NGO doesnt make it better than any other. And it is very easy for you to say that violence is not the answer but I seriously ask u, how much of this nonsense must we bear. How much do u expect the majority to bear before they react violently. Every one has their limits and maybe Godhra burning was the limit for some in Gujarat. It is ver easy to talk like a saint when you are not affected. Why dont you and the movie condemn the train burning also. You are saying that the evidence that the riots beng a spontaneous reaction is not fully conclusive. Well, Modi's involvement is also not fully conclusive or proven. Yet you jump to conclusions about him. What gives you that right???

    2. If you find some way to make these dreams of integration a reality then go ahead.I suspect the very people you wish to integrate will disintegrate you. The rest of us live in the real world.

    3. It is not just Hindu communalists who shouldnt commit the "tragic blunder" of mistaking every Muslim for a communalist. People of all religions shouldnt do so. And you shouldnt commit the "tragic blunder' for thinking that every Hindu who speaks his mind is communal. You said the change of attitudes is a slow process. So, do you expect us to sit silent and bear bomb blasts while your slow process takes place????

    4. If you really want to look at yourself critically, dont just look to your religion critically. Look at your views critically as well. Are you not speaking of things that are nice to write and print but impossible to achieve in the real world??

    Sunil's apology nonwithstanding, in general, please dont pass so much judgement on the language others use. Your means of expression cannot be the only correct one.

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  35. 1. Pradeep how come you are still believing the commission man? You yourself indicated in your past emails that questioning the religion/system and growing up has added value for you. For a change why don't you question the commission??? As we have our own individual view points the commission would have its, whether it is independent or NOT SO independent is another issue? Let us assume that the Riots in Gujarat was NOT a retribution of the Godhra incident, why did it happen. Even if we all know cheap politics is behind it, I still consider it very difficult that in such a short time such a big mass could be mobilized. This was more of a dormant state of mind which was flexed by the Hindus at that time. Again I am not justifying the act but I am trying to understand as to what caused the issue. In retrospect you are looking at post Riot period, whereas understanding as to what happened is what I am looking at... Again talking of the majority, I accept the fact that we have the leverage to bring about peace in the country, but as you have indicated in POINT NO.2, when the other people do not want to change what can the majority do? Added to this is the cheap political people in our country who brings reservation for Muslims(AndraPradesh), offer Friday day Half day for Muslims ( our very own Kerala) who bring about the differences into light. (there were many examples as well which I pointed it out previously). These all will make any practical/rational and normal human being biased or taking their own view or expressing their own anger... Is violence the justifiable cause to it? The answer as u very well know is NO.... but justifying the minority (whether it is India or any where else) is not correct and that is exactly my point is... It has to be a 2 way process. Another wonderful example similar to the Gujarat riots but on a smaller scale is the one that happened in COIMBATORE...

    2. Clearly you yourself has indicated that there is a inherent flaw in the way the Muslims are being brought up or the way their outlook is manipulated. Do you want the majority to go and change that perception of a person who has learnt something from his/her childhood in that way. I have friends from Turkey and Jordan (Jordan is supposed to progressive as well) who have their own thoughts, which are not aligned with what reality is. Who could change the attitude then? you suggest..Similar to us having our own view points and the experiences that teaches us, I can clearly state that we Hindus are more open minded to solutions and why this fairly tolerant Hindus (as per your statement).. erupts sometimes.... We can keep thinking!!!!!!!!!!

    3. I agree to your point of thinking about the future, building peace in that way. Who should do it? or who should initiate it.. Separate the church from the state: Well that's the ROOT problem of all. Is it a Hindu's responsibility to preach it to a Muslim... In a country where PREACHING(yes I mean that word.. PREACHING) Quran is fine in a school, but teaching Bhagavad-Gita is anti-secular, what can I say more............

    4. I understand that point totally and me, praful, anil or none of the others have a different opinion to your statement. We all support humanity. having said that I will state openly that if I am hurt then I will not be in the receiving end alone.. I will not preach Ahimsa..... After all I am also a normal human being and I look at it not from a HINDU view point. I remember Praful indicating is his email. it is not 1947 anymore... it is the time of 911 and I mean it!!!!!!!!!!!! on a side note I also want you to see the movie "Shoot on Sight" by Jag Mundhra. The movie is based on a true secret order of shoot on sight permission given by the UK government after 7/11. The movie looks into both of the aspects of the coin and from what u have said not from one perspective as in the movie by Nandita das.... ( Again I have not seen Firaaq, but just reading it from your emails)

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  36. 1. I guess you need to have faith in somebody and I believe in the NHRC – we’ll take it that you don’t believe its findings. We know that the riots had happened and whatever the reason, it cannot be justified, right? I accept the fact that you don’t justify it but would like to understand why this happened? I do not know why the riots happened – I am still trying to understand. Is the anger against the minority community so much that bloodshed becomes a natural reaction? Let us buy your point of view and say that the ignition was Godhra but every time some incident happens, you cannot burn the daylights of the community whose members have caused the incident. Due to whatever issues, a group of Muslim miscreants set fire to the fire and the result is that riots broke out and thousands suffered for no reason of theirs. If you look at the incident from a larger perspective, the only people who gained from the entire incident were the political parties who gained mileage out of this. If every individual starts taking law into his/her hands, how can society survive? If every decision taken in India favours only the minority, then Muslims would have been the most prosperous community in the country.

    2. Generically, we are a more liberal community but the problem statement is the communalist in every religion who needs to be contained. There is no way to find out who is a fanatic Hindu/Muslim and isolate that person. The reason why we have souls like Amma are to help us to understand life and its meaning; religion is only a tool which could help one to understand self but when you think of this tool as the final goal, you lose your way totally. There is a requirement to separate the State from religion and have humane laws and not religion dependent laws. But this is not so easy, keeping in mind, the mutual suspicions that we have about each other.

    3. Since the Hindu is the majority, he can possibly help in drafting the peace in a better way but at the same time, he cannot do that without the help of the minority. Education, religious tolerance and the freedom of expression are all various attributes that are necessary to create an atmosphere which will facilitate this. If somebody needs to take the lead, why not us?

    4. I know that is easy to say that I will preach Ahimsa even when hurt but I’d really like to do that. But to do that, it requires a level of spiritual growth and I am working at trying to achieve atleast some small improvement in myself. Each movie is a perspective and to each, his or her own perspective. Anyway, will try to see 'Shoot At Sight'……

    Most of the argument seems to stem from my statement that the majority has a greater responsibility in ushering in peace. I have doubly reiterated what I mean it but I guess I have failed in convincing the audience on what I mean. It only means that a majority community has the advantage of numbers, systems in place and an available framework to absorb losses and do progressive things, things that a minority member may not be able to say or do because of a fear of retribution. But the majority member can actually be more fearless and forthright in his/her views and actions and make a difference. It is possible that there is somebody else who’s in the wrong but that should not stop us from doing our dharma. I fully understand that many think that this sounds good only on paper and not in real life but I don’t think so. I am less cynical about this and believe that we can make a true difference, if we really wish to.

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  37. "It only means that a majority community has the advantage of numbers, systems in place and an available framework to absorb losses and do progressive"...aborb losses..??? these losses u speak of are human lives.....u seem to say that the loss of lives of the majority must mean less beuase they have greater numbers...it reflects a distinct insensiticty to those who have lost their lives and their loved ones...i am sorry but i havent reached that spiritual level to look upon the loss of a loved on of mine as a "loss that has to be absorbed"....and i am sure the majority of india hasnt either...
    i sincerely dont understand why you express no outrage at the burning of the train...and why u have presumed that Modi is guilty but doubt the fact that the train was burnt....you say that the communalist in each religion needs to be contained...so do u mean that a communalists of the minority would be contained if the majority keeps silent each time they are attacked? or would the minority communalist beat the majority down to a pulp...? Hindus have been practising religous tolerance for centuries...what you see now is a reaction after the tolerance limits have been reached...
    please dont throw away the sentiments of the majority just becuase they are the majority....the greater numbers do not imply that we have to bear attacks till our numbers reduce to a minority...

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  38. Pradeep , I would like to reiterate my points . We all know that just because of the crime committed by a few people, we cannot hold the whole community to which they belong responsible. This applies to both communities (Hindus & Muslims)

    Gujarat Government and Modi is blamed for Gujarat riot. Who should be blamed for Godhra train carnage?????- I think the lives of the people died in the carnage were as precious as the lives lost in Gujarat riot.

    The present danger our country is facing is terrorism. It is a daunting fact that there are plenty of Islamic terrorist outfits in and around the country ready to strike at any moment. Their hidden agenda is to Talibanise India as well .Some of my friends may disagree, but it’s true that Islam doesn’t speak of tolerance. ‘Eye for an eye’ concept belong to them .It is a young religion and the period it took to get refined seems inadequate .We can’t help but live in suspicion because of the recent atrocities that shook the country. Nothing will work unless or otherwise the pacification of the minority ends. They should realize that to live in a country one has to follow the rules and regulations of the state and not his religion.

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  39. "Live and let live" concept does not seem to get into the head of minority community............. they always want more and more...........

    But its us the majority community to be blamed for our condition.... THe christian community stays united under the church and fights for their rights.... the muslim community also stays united ..... but hindus seem to be confused (Pradeep) and the media and politicians project these confused (but gud at heart) hindus as secularists for their own gains... wake up... stay united..... im not advocating violence... but atleast lets not give up more in terms of jobs/seats in education institutions etc to the so called minorities.... by the way... hindus will be a minority in kerala soon.... muslim + christian population is already 50% of the population... im not sure about the authenticity of the data... maybe chopsy can help verify it?

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  40. 1. PRADEEP: I guess you need to have faith in somebody and I believe in the NHRC – we’ll take it that you don’t believe its findings. We know that the riots had happened and whatever the reason, it cannot be justified, right? I accept the fact that you don’t justify it but would like to understand why this happened? I do not know why the riots happened – I am still trying to understand. Is the anger against the minority community so much that bloodshed becomes a natural reaction? Let us buy your point of view and say that the ignition was Godhra but every time some incident happens, you cannot burn the daylights of the community whose members have caused the incident. Due to whatever issues, a group of Muslim miscreants set fire to the fire and the result is that riots broke out and thousands suffered for no reason of theirs. If you look at the incident from a larger perspective, the only people who gained from the entire incident were the political parties who gained mileage out of this. If every individual starts taking law into his/her hands, how can society survive? If every decision taken in India favours only the minority, then Muslims would have been the most prosperous community in the country.

    Mahesh: Exactly to the point. it is faith that is driving people to what their conclusions. If you can believe a commission like NHRC whose profile you do not know or you have no chance of meeting the people and understanding, how can you judge their behaviour or biases are and draw faith upon their judgements and at the same time how can you NOT believe us ( I mean ur friends who have been with you for the last 10 years) or I should put it as how can you NOT see our reasoning. Is it not what you are showing an example of BLIND FAITH. Let us take this faith to the religion levels. What the extremist and violent believer is doing is out of his/her own faith.. It is not justifiable and no religion preaches an eye for an eye technique. it is us the common people who interprets it in the wrong way. Pradeep I think you did not get my point.. I was just giving you examples of the support or the infrastructure/ whatever u want to term to the minorities and still we see no improvements. having said that I am also very much aware of the political gains/motives and all the normal things happening behind the screen. I concur to the fact that every time a communal incident happens there should not be a retribution, but at the same time, what can we do to stop them? You tell me.. I am ready to listen to it.. Tell me what I should do if a Muslim Mob ( just for an example) attacks me in the name of religion. (I have the presence of mind and maturity as no to punish each and everyone of the Muslim society just because I lost something), but given that situation what should I do? Also after this solution, I want you to give me a suggestion in a more holistic view or a bigger perspective (by that I mean a group of people). Are you also saying that it was just the Muslim community who suffered during the riots????

    2. PRADEEP: Generically, we are a more liberal community but the problem statement is the communalist in every religion who needs to be contained. There is no way to find out who is a fanatic Hindu/Muslim and isolate that person. The reason why we have souls like Amma are to help us to understand life and its meaning; religion is only a tool which could help one to understand self but when you think of this tool as the final goal, you lose your way totally. There is a requirement to separate the State from religion and have humane laws and not religion dependent laws. But this is not so easy, keeping in mind, the mutual suspicions that we have about each other.

    Mahesh: Agreed. I have mentioned the same in my previous emails.. "humane laws and not religion dependent laws" - WHO has this laws??? The majority or the minority. Everyone would have read about the Mangalore pub incident recently.. How many came to know a village in Bihar whose majority is Muslims where they castrated 3 people for trying to be a robber... Does that justify the people taking Law into their hands and why is the media playing partisan politics... May be more cover time and publicity???? We keep talking from one perspective and that's what is the root cause for any revolution (historically)... While your point is totally acceptable and is what we need. How are we going to execute it? A very good friend of mine (Muslim and very well educated and is in a very top position now) on one hand keeps criticising Advani (actually bombarding him with all possible bad words), and the other keeps quiet when the subject of terrorism or mahdani or anything comes up. WHY? At the same time I keep my opinions to me, as I critically analyze the situation before answering. having said that this is what the majority of the majority population does..

    3. PRADEEP: Since the Hindu is the majority, he can possibly help in drafting the peace in a better way but at the same time, he cannot do that without the help of the minority. Education, religious tolerance and the freedom of expression are all various attributes that are necessary to create an atmosphere which will facilitate this. If somebody needs to take the lead, why not us?

    Mahesh: Chopsy you keep talking about teaching the majority. I am saying that almost 90% of this majority are like us (who can critically analyze and take decisions), while 90% of the minority are extremists.. making it in number form u may have more minority people who are extremists than the Hindus.. So tell me who is the MAJORITY then!!!!

    4. PRADEEP: I know that is easy to say that I will preach Ahimsa even when hurt but I’d really like to do that. But to do that, it requires a level of spiritual growth and I am working at trying to achieve atleast some small improvement in myself. Each movie is a perspective and to each, his or her own perspective. Anyway, will try to see “Shoot At Sight”……

    Mahesh: having known you Pradeep I can really say that you will be able to it. no doubt about it.. All religions preach the same. But the suppressed emotions will surface above and it is very difficult to ask people to stop that emotions.. You will love the movie as I indicated it looks into both the perspectives of life... Just to argue with you,, THAT IS MY FAITH... I mean the movie... I have already mentioned that everyone has their own perceptions and perspectives... We see more light or more meaning in something that correlates to what we ideally want to be or what we would love to do. If we see or hear or experience something which we have been yearning for but has been dormant or hidden, it really biases us...or in simple terms forms a basis or faith or whatever we want to term it...

    5. Most of the argument seems to stem from my statement that the majority has a greater responsibility in ushering in peace. I have doubly reiterated what I mean it but I guess I have failed in convincing the audience on what I mean. It only means that a majority community has the advantage of numbers, systems in place and an available framework to absorb losses and do progressive things, things that a minority member may not be able to say or do because of a fear of retribution. But the majority member can actually be more fearless and forthright in his/her views and actions and make a difference. It is possible that there is somebody else who’s in the wrong but that should not stop us from doing our dharma. I fully understand that many think that this sounds good only on paper and not in real life but I don’t think so. I am less cynical about this and believe that we can make a true difference, if we really wish to.

    Mahesh: Chopsy you are wrong here.. We totally understand your perspective of the majority leading by example...But incidents like Mumbai where, 10 to 13 gunmen totally shook the entire population for 3 days, question the credibility of numerical advantage... Even now our discussion is based on the 10% (arbitrary number) of extremists in the Hindu community is wrong....If I am stuck in a riot area (Hopefully I won't) and I have the option of saving a minority member I will do it for sure... (I am sure all of us would do it as well) ( See the movie Hotel Rwanda.. I am very much inspired by it)..

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