On the “differences” between Delhi, 1984, and Gujarat, 2002

 

Preetika Nanda

preetika nandaI find it deeply disturbing when debates or articulations tend to neatly categorize tragedies even if it is to highlight lacunae in the way our judiciary functions or various other factors like the extent of media attention to a particular issue and so on. At a very basic human level there is no difference between the pogroms of 1984 and 2002. Both saw the mass murders of innocent people belonging to different minority communities, sanctioned and abetted by those in power.

There is absolutely no doubt that for the right the Muslim is the perpetual other, meant to be demonized and brutalized. But what should also be kept in mind is the fact that these forces have considered Sikhism as a militant wing of Hinduism despite protests from the Sikhs. The dent in the RSS' imagination of India and therefore the supposed violation of the body of "bharat mata" brought about by the upheavals during 1984 and bolstered by the role of external influence of Pakistan (albeit there is minimal evidence) in fuelling the Khalistan cause required that a lesson be taught to the Sikhs for their deviance from their "assigned" role. (In one of the articles in a Hindi monthly Pratipaksha, Nanaji Deshmukh, a veteran of RSS, extolled the invasion of the Golden Temple as a prerequisite to national unity and integrity and justified the Delhi massacres.) And that is precisely what happened: punishment in the form of organized massacres, the nature of attacks designed (burning tyres around the neck of male Sikhs) to destroy the distinct identity, which was militantly being asserted.

In this context, to talk of differences obfuscates the flirtations of the Congress with the right wing in the context of violence perpetrated by those in majority. It obliterates that the very basis of the communalization of the 'Punjab problem' which was to keep the "Hindu vote bank" intact. It fails to highlight the enmeshing of the supposedly secular with the religious. Moreover, it fails to answer: what do we then make of the role played by the RSS cadres in the pogrom of 1984?

1984-riots

Is there then any difference between the pogroms of 1984 and 2002? Or is an overt manifestation of forces of a certain ideology more worrying than seemingly insidious ones?

Various editorials, articles, status updates are pointing out to the "difference" in the two pogroms. Let's look at some of these:

While it is true that the political careers of Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and HKL Bhagat remained on the peripheries, the orchestrator of Gujarat 2002 is the prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming elections. There is thus a difference between the rising and fading stature of these actors, but what again diffuses the "difference" between the two horrendous events is the denial of justice specially when it comes to the principle of chain of command responsibility which is yet to be included in our judicial system.

The more sophisticated justification in the framework of action-reaction by the head of a proclaimed secular party using the metaphorical fall of a big tree as compared to the "Hindu backlash" trope is equally shameful and appalling.

gujarat-riots

While I firmly believe that the lingering danger of fascism and the perennial propagation of the ideology of hatred towards one community needs to be resisted with every possible means at our disposal, we should not however overlook or downplay the aforementioned points.

Moreover, while stressing on differences between the two events which completely altered the lives of the survivors, I believe we are again widening the gap between the two communities which has evolved historically since the inception of the Sikh faith and narrowing the possibility of cross community solidarity beyond the politically conscious.

Pinpointing "differences" between the two tragedies will only satiate political agendas, it will not concertize the roads to justice, solidarity will.

~~~

 

Preetika Nanda is a post graduate student in Conflict and Peace Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia, and is currently working on her thesis which is tentatively titled 'Patterns of abuse and impunity: a Case Study of the insurgency-ridden Punjab'.

Other Related Articles

MODI-fest or MODI-jest: Making of Deaf India
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
  Mangesh Dahiwale As predicted, the RSS/BJP Government is going for a massive public campaign to display the achievements of the Government after three years. The campaign will be run from a... Read More...
भारतीय सिनेमा का सुपरस्टार - जातिवाद और सामंतवाद का सहज उत्पाद
Monday, 22 May 2017
  संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe) विश्व सिनेमा में धाक जमाने वाले फ्रेंच निर्देशक गोडार्ड... Read More...
Dalit Bahujan Missionary Efforts in North Karnataka
Friday, 19 May 2017
  Rohan Arthur And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. - Matthew 19:24 Religion is for man and... Read More...
Release of 'What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means to Me' eBook: Get your free copy!
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
  The Shared Mirror Publishing House We are happy to share news of the release of our second book. 'What Babasaheb Means to Me' is an edited volume that compiles articles by authors on Round... Read More...
Guru's 'Ethics in Ambedkar's Critique of Gandhi': An exercise in rhetoric
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
  Mangesh Dahiwale Gopal Guru is an erudite scholar and a political scientist of high reputation. His command over political theories is a sign of his scholarship. However the above-mentioned... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Index of Articles in Features
Sunday, 07 May 2017
  2016 ~ Uniform Civil Code & Ashrafiya obsession with Triple Talaq by Ayaz Ahmad ~ Maratha Kranti (Muk) Morcha: When will Maratha women cross the threshold? by Sandhya Gawali ~... Read More...
Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's speech in the Constituent Assembly on 25th November 1949
Saturday, 26 November 2016
  Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's speech in the Constituent Assembly on 25th November 1949 Sir, looking back on the work of the Constituent Assembly it will now be two years, eleven months and... Read More...
Fight against the Misogyny & Casteism of 'Best Indian Memes for Creamy Teens', FB page
Friday, 06 January 2017
  Vinay Shende "My final words of advice to you are Educate, Agitate and Organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side I do not see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a... Read More...
Presenting Angela Davis, the Savarna Style
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
  Sukanya Shantha On Friday, a friend and I walked into a movie hall to watch an American romantic musical, La La Land. Enticed by the cinematic beauty and the dreamy two hours spent in the... Read More...
Gangrape and Murder of a 16 year old Dalit girl in Sendurai, Tamil Nadu
Saturday, 21 January 2017
  (A condensed translation, by Trevor Jeyaraj, of Mr. Venpura Saravanan's Facebook post in Tamil ) N (16), daughter of Rajendran R of Sendurai taluk in Ariyalur district, Tamil Nadu, who... Read More...

Recent Articles in Hindi

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

  संजय जोठे  इस देश में भेदभाव और शोषण से भरी परम्पराओं का विरोध करने वाले अनेक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हुए हैं जिनके बारे में हमें बार-बार पढ़ना और समझना चाहिए. दुर्भाग्य से इस देश के शोषक वर्गों के षड्यंत्र के कारण इन क्रांतिकारियों का जीवन परिचय और समग्र कर्तृत्व छुपाकर रखा जाता है. हमारी अनेकों पीढियां इसी षड्यंत्र में जीती आयीं हैं. किसी देश के उद्भट विचारकों और क्रान्तिकारियों को इस...

Read more

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

(कृष्ण की लोक लुभावन छवि का पुनर्पाठ!)मानुषी आखिर ये मिथकीय कहानियां किस तरह की परवरिश और शिक्षा देती हैं, जहां पुरुषों को सारे अधिकार हैं, चाहे वह स्त्री को अपमानित करे या दंडित, उसे स्त्री पलट कर कुछ नहीं कहती। फिर आज हम रोना रोते हैं कि हमारे बच्चे इतने हिंसक और कुंठित क्यों हो रहे हैं। सारा दोष हम इंटरनेट और टेलीविजन को देकर मुक्त होना चाहते हैं। जबकि स्त्री...

Read more

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

संजय जोठे धर्म जो काम शास्त्र लिखकर करता है वही काम राष्ट्र अब फ़िल्में और विडिओ गेम्स बनाकर बनाकर करते हैं. इसी के साथ सुविधाभोगी पीढ़ी को मौत से बचाने के लिए टेक्नालाजी पर भयानक खर्च भी करना पड़ता है ताकि दूर बैठकर ही देशों का सफाया किया जा सके, और यही असल में उस तथाकथित “स्पेस रिसर्च” और “अक्षय ऊर्जा की खोज” की मूल प्रेरणा है, यूं तो सबको...

Read more