Skip to main content

Patidar agitation: Chinese scholars draw parallel with 2002 communal riots, wonder if this is "vibrant Gujarat"

The Chinese paper cartoon in the wake of Patidar agitation
By Our Representative
Two recent commentaries in China’s state-controlled English language newspaper, “The Global Times” have talked of “rampant violence in Ahmedabad” in the wake of the Patidar agitation on August 25, pointing towards how they were the result of poor governance under Prime Minister Narendra Mod’s state.
The titles of the articles themselves are significant. While of them reads, “Caste contentions deepen as Modi struggles to deliver campaign promises”, the second one’s heading says, “Unemployment, youthful population drive riots in Modi’s former province”.
The first article, authored by a PhD scholar, Xie Chao, advises Modi that “development” cannot solve social problems. “Will development solve all problems? Can social problems be solved if the economy simply grows? Obviously, the answer is more complicated than such a simple solution of development”, it says.
Recalling that “at least 10 people” were killed in the wake of the Patidar agitation, the article says,
“The tragic event reminds us of the same state in 2002, when a succession of inter-communal riots caused hundreds of casualties.”
“In 2002, Narendra Modi, currently Indian prime minister and then the chief minister of Gujarat, was widely criticized for his mishandling of the situation after government inaction let violence against Muslims go unchecked”, Chao says.
According to the scholar, “If police inaction caused widespread violence in 2002, it was the excessive use of police force that plunged the state back into violence 13 years later”.
The scholar says, “Amid waves of criticism of the heavy-handed police reaction, Modi came out to endorse the local police and cleared further responsibility for more government attention to communal issues by saying that India needs development.”
Qualifying the talk of development as "the only solution of all problems" a mere “rhetoric”, the scholar says, it has “failed to console the state's minorities.” He adds, “Economic development won't solve all problems. The fact is that fast-growing Indian states cannot save themselves from communal violence, let alone those which are struggling in poverty.”
“Gujarat, after decades of fast development, is now ranked as one of the most prosperous states in India, but the nightmare of communal confrontation continues to haunt it”, the scholar says.
Coming to the Patidars, the scholar says, it is “among the richest” communities in Gujarat, adding, “Historically, they were landowners and farmers and now constitute a visible presence in Gujarat's economy.”
“National brands such as Nirma detergents and Zydus Cadila pharmaceuticals, and 70 percent of the US motel industry, are in their hands. But they are now standing among the fiercest in fighting for reserved places”, the scholar says.
He underlines, “While Modi and some others believe that the 2014 elections were about the economy alone, caste politics still prevails. The current communal upheavals also call into question the image of a prosperous and vibrant Gujarat that Modi tried to sell to the world.”
The scholar adds, “If the Gujarat model was so successful and so transformative, how could this caste-centric mobilization erupt and end so violently? Why should other states buy into the rhetoric?”
The second article, authored by Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, is a little controlled in tone.
Calling Patidar agitation "riots", Gancheng says, “The riots in Gujarat are harmful to Modi's image, since he is a former chief minister of the state. One of the main reasons for Modi's victory in the 2014 general election is the achievements Gujarat has gained under Modi's leadership. But the riots have struck a heavy blow to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.