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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

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.

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”