How Do We Fix The Hole in India’s Soul?

  For sometime now, as I work with my campaign The 50 Million Missing, to bring attention to India’s ongoing femicide, I’ve been wondering about this big HOLE in India’s SOUL.

Shame is always an indication of a human conscience that’s alive and working.  It is the most critical component of human decency.

But I can’t think of a single instance when the people of this great, big nation, have ever felt any kind of a deep remorse, regret, or shame, about any of the horrible human rights violations that happen here.  Not the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi after Indira Gandhi’s assassination; not the systematic annihilation of girls and women in the millions; not the disgraceful feudal economy that powers India’s dream of global Super-powerdom; and not the targeted massacre of hundreds of Muslims in Gujrat facilitated by the state government and Chief Minister Modi.    During that ghastly week in 2002 that Gujrat went into a state of anarchy – telephone directories were used to locate Muslim homes and businesses, to burn, loot, rape and kill.  No one was ever brought to task in the court of law.

Yet, most Indians think that Modi is a good guy because he brought economic prosperity to Gujrat.  This includes a large section of Indian society – the illiterate, the literate, the professionals, and even the intellectuals, like best-selling Indian author Chetan Bhagat, who in his article yesterday  “The Good and Bad of Gujarat”  says:

[Gujrat] is one of the few Indian cultures that celebrates entrepreneurship. That is the need of the hour for the entire nation. It is a state whose now proven development model, if replicated, can dramatically change the country’s fortunes. To ignore that would be harmful for the nation. Many rights do not cover up a wrong. But should a wrong be constantly used to cover up many rights? …And it is very hard to pass judgment in such a situation, especially when it involves several incidents and provocation from both sides.

What is equally worrisome are the readers’ responses.  The following comment got the maximum number of thumbs up:

 Narendra Modi should be made the next Prime Minister of India. If one goes through the history of Hindu-Muslim riots in India, any fool can see that Muslims have always been the initiators. Modi handled the Godhra killing case excellently well and the result is for everyone to see. No more riots in Gujurat !

The comment that most of the Indian readers disagreed with was this one:

Dear Mr. Bhagat.. I was a kid when 1984 riots happened. My country has developed a lot since then mostly under the Congress rule.  [But] Is Cognress exonerated of that blame [of the killing of the Sikhs in Delhi]? When Gujarat happened I was mature enough to understand it. Both incidents and several others are gory and my frustation is that in both these incidents justice for families of victims is not done, will never be done. How can a mass murderer can be exonerated of the gastly acts. He  [Modi] should be provided severe punishment under law of land. Let’s not celebrate him but I have not problem in celebrating Gujarat without him.

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