Modi-baiters and the ghost of 2002

Modi-baiters always choose to ignore what is apparent to the whole world. They have survived by keeping alive the ghost of 2002

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is an active blogger. He writes mostly on matters related to governance, his various initiatives and about the vibrancy of the ongoing developmental process in Gujarat. They are read with enthusiasm by his avid followers and carefully analysed, equally avidly, by his critics and detractors. Information-sharing through blogs, speeches uploaded on YouTube and even through subject-specific websites is so much today that it is possible that one may miss out on important thoughts or messages.

In the context of the Sadbhavana Mission, which has commenced with a three-day fast by Mr Modi, a piece which appears on his blog (dated August 30, 2011) on the “Yoga of Teaching” attains significance. Although it was specifically marking Teachers’ Day, the piece recognised the season of Ganesh, Id and Paryushan. The last paragraph in the piece carries the kernel: “In Jain tradition there is a custom to say “Michhami Dukkadam” during the Paryushan festival. Michhami dukkadam means I ask forgiveness for any hurt I may have caused you by thoughts, words or actions, knowingly or unknowingly.” The piece ended with “Michhami dukkadam to you all”.
A few followers, writers and critics captured this and tried to elaborate on the thought. It is necessary to understand the context of this very sacred Jain expression. On the last day (Samvatsari) of Paryushan with great solemnity and a calm mind, Jains utter these two powerful, charged words. In doing so, it is expected that one ponders forgiveness. The introspection enables the person to handle four different kinds of forgiveness, all interrelated. They are: seeking forgiveness, forgiving others, forgiving self and finally hoping that forgiveness gets extended to all beings around us. Jain scholars suggest that, in addition, it packs in a simple line, “May all beings be healed.” Michhami dukkadam or “may all the evil that has been done be fruitless”, is applicable, therefore, for any hurt that I may have caused you, you may have caused me, I may have caused myself and we may have caused to the beings around us. In short, it can be inferred that it is performed with a hope, irrespective of the doer or recipient, that all evil become fruitless.
In line with this thought, the Sadbhavana Mission’s call is for greater social harmony and brotherhood, bereft of evil or negative in thought, word or deed. It is amateurish, indeed churlish, of the Congress Party to ask “if heavens have fallen on Gujarat” that social harmony has to be worked on from now, as it were.
The vilification of Mr Modi and the elected government of Gujarat have been well orchestrated and stepped up in the run-up to each election held post-2002. Notwithstanding the efficient campaign to demonise Mr Modi and nine years after the riots, not a single first information report (FIR) is found against him. If indeed Mr Modi had committed crimes as alleged by Modi-baiters, and even if he apologises, can anyone pardon him? It is apparent, therefore, Modi-baiters do not respect the basic right of an individual — he is not even an accused, but they pronounce him guilty. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a right enjoyed even by an accused. With an agenda to defame him, having gone around town and even campaigned against him abroad, now some sections of them seem to condemn him for not seeking an apology. Modi-baiters have generated immense vitriol and as a result vitiated the atmosphere in Gujarat and for Gujaratis and thus they have caused hurt. Mr Modi’s michhami dukkadam is, therefore, relevant.
With “sab ka saath, sab ka vikas” (support from all, development for all) as the motto for governance in Gujarat, Mr Modi’s dispensation clearly underlines the principle of growth and development for all without any discrimination. Mr Modi has, in his own terminology, not only coined a slogan but succeeded in implementing it through his government’s programmes. This is not something the Congress can accept. Its much-touted “inclusive growth” is more seen in Gujarat than in any Congress-ruled state. Another piece on Mr Modi’s blog dated September 6, 2011, says, “Real development should not make anyone dependent on the government. Our policy for sustainable growth of any community should be to make them self-reliant. Our collective efforts should be towards inclusive growth to empower the communities. Let us, therefore, work for the growth of every Indian to make growth inclusive in the real sense of the term.” In other words, he has taken them on their own terms.
The bankruptcy of the Opposition Congress’ campaign against every development effort in Gujarat is apparent. If discourse on development can be reduced to pettyfogging, then we feel sorry for the state of affairs of that party. Most government data have repeatedly shown that while job creation saw a drastic decline in the country under the UPA, it was in Gujarat that the number of jobs created for those registered in employment exchanges was the highest among states.
On the specific question of minority welfare, going by the findings of the Sachar Committee Report, Muslims in Gujarat have better access to education (page 287); more are employed in the public sector (page 373); economically far more are prosperous (pages 350 & 365) and so on.
Modi-baiters always choose to ignore what is apparent to the whole world. They have survived by keeping alive a non-existent ghost — the ghost of 2002. It has helped many build their careers and prosper in the name of fighting for justice for victims of the 2002 riots. They never considered the victims of the burnt Sabarmati Express to help them get justice. A few among the human rights activists rubbished other activists’ credibility by filing false affidavits and generated factory-produced witness statements. They did not even leave the dead to rest in peace. They dug up their graves.
Anything that Mr Modi does is tested against the past or gauged with the barometer of the future. It is time that the evil and negative campaign was put to rest and goodwill (sadbhavana) prevailed.

Nirmala Sitharaman is spokesperson of the BJP. The views expressed are her own.

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