Gujarat Muslims continue to live in sub-human conditions

            Narendra Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister, who supervised the Muslim pogrom in 2002, brought BJP to power on the recent assembly elections. Pf the five states that contested elections, the prime-ministerial candidate of the Hindu Nationalist party blessed the BJP with thumping majority in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh. It emerged single largest party in Delhi but could not stop kejriwal from forming government with Congress support (unconditional),

            Narendra Modi portrayed his state, he continue to rule over the last 12 years, as a model for development and governance. Wherever he campaigned he asked for comparison. BJP also hailed his administration skills for giving Gujarat a peaceful atmosphere, as no communal (read anti-Muslim) riots have surfaced after the post-Godhra massacre’. (Afterall, how could the riots have occurred when Muslims were silenced in subjugation in the Hindutva laboratory and they, at least, resort, resigned to the dictates of Hindu fascists governing the state).

            It is claimed that during Modi’s time in office Gujarat economy has registered a staggering leap and its GDP has grown by 10% a year. But some recent surveys (as the one carried by The Indian Express in its December 31, 2013 edition) have dented holes in the development model projected by the BJP. The ‘Inclusix’ index, compiled by rating agency Crisil and launched by Indian Finance Ministry is a ready reckoner on how the states and districts have fared on the financial inclusion. It measures achievement on the basis of growth in bank branch members, deposits and credit provided. ‘The index shows that in the state-wise sweepstakes, Gujarat ranks a lowly15th with Kerala on top. In fact, no Gujarat district figures in the list of the top 50 districts for financial inclusion…. Kerala has 13 districts on the list with five of them figuring among the top 10. All four southern states are among the top 10 states. In northern India, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab are the leaders at the seventh and eighth positions’. The index also shows ‘587 of the 638 districts in India have improved their performance in 2012 compared to 2011…(but) 20 districts where the Muslim population is above 30 per cent – such as Dhubri, Kishanganj, Mallapuram, Rampur – shows that 14 of them have fallen in the 2012 rankings’. It means nearly 66 per cent Muslims in India have slided into the economic impoverishment and backwardness. Still Indians claim the state is providing equal opportunities for development for all its citizens!

            Amartya Sen is a noted Indian economist. He too has punctured the development model of Gujarat under Narendra Modi. The Indian Express (December 20, 2013) quotes him stating that ‘its (Gujarat’s) infant-mortality rate is more than three times that of Kerala and overall life expectancy ten years lower’.

            Quoting from the United Nations population under ‘Severe poverty’ index, Shila Dixit, the then Chief Minister of Delhi said that while Gujarat was languishing with 19 per cent of the state’s population classified as severely poor, the corresponding figure for Delhi was only three per cent. (The Indian Express, December 3, 2013).

             In an interview the mascot of the BJP Modi proclaimed that his ‘Hindu birth’ and pursuit of ‘growth-oriental nationalism’ made him ‘Hindu nationalist’. Obviously this kind of obsession was an exhortation to all growth-oriented citizens born as Hindus to be Hindu nationalists. All other communities, in particular Muslims – second biggest majority in India – not born as Hindus, automatically opt themselves out from this ‘growth-oriented nationalism’ as long as they don’t get assimilated in Hindu nationalism. This sort of mentality forms the core of the Hindutva BJP and its mascot puts their scruples in. that is why in Modi’s Gujarat where state boasts of 10 per cent growth in GDP per year, Muslims are pushed to poverty. Christopher Jaffrelot of Science Po in Paris argues that Gujarat Muslims – about a 10th of population – remain much worse than other Gujaratis. Wager rates for casual urban workers, who are mostly Muslims, are among India’s lowest despite state’s prosperity’. (The Indian Express Dec 20, 2013). Feeding its communalist agenda, the Muslims in Gujarat are forced to live in ghettos and denied of basic civic amenities. There are two completely different Gujarat’s as one travels through the state. Here we reproduce an account of Vidya Subrahmania to show Muslims there are subjected to state discrimination and how they live in sub-human conditions.

“A tour of Tandalja and Vasna road (in Vadodra Gujarat), two parallel streets only six meters apart. The first was a mostly Muslim area, the second housed Hindus. The contrast wrenched the heart. Mounds of rotten garbage, dark, damp, crowded homes, and desolate young men standing in groups made the Muslim part instantly recognizable. The brightness of Vasna Road equally identified it as Hindu area. The divide is as much physical as mental – and as much in Vadodra as in other Gujarat cities. It is a symbol of complete, absolute Muslim isolation in a state that Mr. Modi claims is ‘number one in Asia’. It is perhaps a consolidation that unhygienic and wretched as their living conditions are, these Muslims at least live in their own homes. There are many who don’t. In October 2006, the National Commission for Minorities reported that over 5000 displaced Muslim families lived in ‘sub-human conditions’ in 46 makeshift colonies spread across the riot-affected districts of Gujarat”. (The Hindu- 09th October, 2007)


            These findings and reports expose the ‘model state’ hyperbole of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. But that in no way is to camouflage the political machinations and anti-Muslim mindset of Secular Congress. It conduct towards Muslims is marked by its brazen double-speak and double-standard. It does in silent “decency” what BJP does arrogantly publicly.