I saw this new movie New York recently. For those who don’t know, it’s about the retribution faced by Asians (especially Muslims) in America after the 9/11 attacks. A very nicely told story of how a perfectly innocent guy is driven to terrorism and destruction just because of his religion.
The first thing that came to my mind after I saw this movie was, How similar the story and the issue depicted in the movie is to what happened in Gujarat post-godhra in 2002. The more I thought about it, the more I realised how intolerance and prejudice (racial or religious) transcends borders and is the same everywhere.
In New York, the plight of the Muslims in America after the w.t.c attacks is the same as that faced by those in Gujarat in the immediate aftermath of the Godhra massacre. Not only that, even the reason of their misery is similar. While what happened in America was a reaction to the truly evil act committed by a few mindless zealots, what we saw in Gujarat was an outcome of the dastardly act committed by some fanatics in Godhra. The similarity is that in both cases, the people who faced the retribution were totally disconnected from the respective events. The average Asian in America had nothing to do with the terrorists just as the poor Bakery owner in Baroda or Ahmedabad had nothing to do with Godhra.
In the U.S, what happened was due to the prejudice that suddenly sprang up against Muslims, Arabs and Asians along with the free hand given to the investigative agencies there. What we saw in Gujarat was due to the intolerance that has been systematically developed among the Gujarati populace by fanatical right wing organizations that use “Ram” to justify their acts. This intolerance in Gujarat has also percolated into the law enforcement agencies which were mute spectators and at times even active accomplices in what happened.
I ve heard many people praise New York and sympathize with the victims in the movie. All I wish is that we showed similar empathy and solidarity even in real life, in Gujarat. I don’t want to get in to the politics of the issue. I despise Modi for what he did (or didn’t do). I know most of my fellow gujaratis don’t. I don’t care. All I wish is that we, as a civilized, peaceful society; and as a state that gave India Gandhiji and Sardar Patel atleast understand the gravity of what happened in February 2002. I feel saddened by the fact that we have, in the last 7 years, not made a single expression of collective remorse at what happened! We must learn from Australian P.M Kevin Rudd who publically apologized for what the country had done to the aborigines there. Would it be too much to expect our elected leaders to at least say they regret what happened? A little compassion never does any harm….
I know some friends who still justify what happened 7 years ago by using the “Every action has a Reaction” nonsense. To them all I can say is that reactions do not happen hundreds of kilometres away from the action!! I don’t care what view you subscribe to, left, right or centre. At least be humane enough to feel sorry for what happened…..