Tehelka Over Narendra Modi

26 Oct

On Tuesday I wrote the following about Narendra Modi after he walked off a talk show when quizzed about the Gujarat riots of 2002: I don’t know whether I should be alarmed that a Chief Minister with national ambitions is so utterly wrapped in cotton wool that he sincerely believes only a couple of people think he has blood on his hands or whether I should read something more sinister into what went down.

Well, it’s Friday now and everything’s come out in the wash. Tehelka, the investigative magazine set up by journalist Tarun Tejpal, has come out with a report that squarely indicts Mr. Modi and his fellow partyworkers of orchestrating a sectarian massacre. It includes secret recordings of several BJP and sister organization VHP activists discussing the events of 2002 and the role they and the chief minister, Narendra Modi, played during those three nightmare days. I’d like to caution readers that clicking on the above link is not for the faint hearted. I’m not being glib here, ladies and gents.Many Indians have long held Mr. Modi responsible for the riots. But his supporters have always chosen to shift the blame elsewhere. At various times they have said:

  • There is no direct evidence to link Mr. Modi to the riots
  • That the riots were an outpouring of public sentiment after a train bogey carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire near the communally sensitive town of Godhra.
  • Mr. Modi is an excellent economic administrator
  • The BJP, under his leadership, has won other elections in the state since the riots, thus proving that the people of Gujarat were behind him
  • Mr. Modi’s detractors are stooges of the Congress Party, commies, lefties and other “Macaulay’s children” not worthy of attention out to defame a hardworking official because he is a proud Hindu

And now that Tehelka has come out with these tapes, the BJP points out that this reveal comes just weeks before a crucial election and further alleges that Tehelka, if not directly in the pay of the Congress, is at least sympathetic to the Congress cause.I’d like to say a few words here – although, if you’re of the rightist, particularly Sangh Parivar, persuasion, you might want to save yourself an ulcer or popped vein or two and skip it because you’re not going to hear anything you like. To start in reverse order:

Tehelka is in the pay of the Congress: Leaving aside the much discussed vendetta carried out by the Vajpayee administration against both Tehelka and its comrade in arms, Outlook, during the Vajpayee administration – a charge by the way that (if memory serves me correctly) the editor, Vinod Mehta, leveled to the face of at least one BJP leader in the Barkha Dutt hosted We the People without being met with any denial whatsoever – let’s say that Tehelka and Tarun Tejpal are Congress toadies as alleged by the BJP.

Are the BJP and VHP “activists” interviewed on camera also Congress toadies? Did they somehow switch parties and neglect to inform anyone? Did Sonia Gandhi or her minions courier a truckload of cash to not one, not two but a whole bunch of BJP and VHP members so they’d admit to murder, rape and loot on camera? So that’s where all the Bofors money is going. No wonder the NDA sat on that investigation while it was in office. Ghoom phir ke isi politician ki economy mein aani hai.

Really, there must be some sort of hidden treasure in Gujarat if the Congress is that desperate to win.

You’re not with us ergo you’re with the Congress: Grow up. I was going to make this huge speech about how there are more things on heaven and earth and blah blah blah – but why bother when it all boils down to this: Grow. Up.

I don’t know if they actually believe this “logic” or whether this is the catchiest thing they could come up with for the TV cameras but either way it’s absurd. There are those of us out there in the wilderness that don’t believe in a single thing that the Congress or the Left believes in, that are very happy and proud of their nationality, culture and religion – and feel absolutely no desire whatsoever in campaigning for a Hindu rashtra, feel belligerent about events that went down 800 years ago or want to shoot the next Muslim we meet.

I know the leaders of the Sangh Parivar think highly of Indira Gandhi’s leadership qualities, but take it from me: nobody bought it 30 years ago when she tried to tell us she was India and we’re not about to buy that you’re India either and that voting against you makes us anti-national. Mrs. Gandhi is what is commonly called a cautionary tale, people. She fucking lost her marbles and got booted out of office for it. Ask Atal Behari Vajpayee about it: I’m sure he remembers a few things from that time.

Modi wins elections: I have an option here. I could remind you of some other people who’ve won elections after doing despicable things or I could remind you that a large part of Gujarat, a large Muslim part of Gujarat, has been effectively disenfranchised since the riots. And this is a state of matters that goes on with the complicity of all parties in the state, including the Congress. Hmmm, options, options.

Modi can do business: Yes he can. And your point is? Have we begun to shine so brightly as a nation that economic success will now absolve a person of all crimes? Let’s get rid of laws that target white collar crime then. Better still, let Salman Khan walk free. After all, not only is he doing some great PR work for India by acting in Bollywood blockbusters that screen around the world but his movies rake in some major cash, supporting the Lord only knows how many film technician families in Mumbai.

In any case, Mr. Modi comes with a handicap in the business arena: he can gladhand whoever comes to India or to his state but the diplomatic snub he received from the United States should tell you something: he’s going to find it terribly hard to wheel and deal without the wheel-and-deal-ee being accused of hobnobbing with shady characters.

There’s also the little information that came out recently that proved Gujarat Shining wasn’t immune to the deadly farmer suicide epidemic that’s been sweeping India for some years now. According to official figures released under the Right to Information Act, at least 489 farmers have killed themselves since 2003. Disparity in economic growth really is a national phenomenon.

No direct evidence & public sentiment: Watch the video. Oh wait, that’s right – you can’t coz the Modi administration has blocked all news channels that are broadcasting news of the sting. That’s exactly what a person with nothing to hide would do – if their name was Indira Gandhi. How did that turn out for her again?

Lucky you, chances are, if you can read this blog then you can see the sting played out over the internet.

Finally, can we please put an end to this “party with a difference” tag that everybody’s been kicking around for so long re: the BJP? By now it should be fairly obvious that this is basically the Congress with a Hindutva slant and no Nehru Gandhi clan to give it weightage at the center.

Here was an excellent chance for the BJP to be truly different – take responsibility, apologize, build fences. Instead, it trots out excuses that the Congress first brought into play in 1984. In fact, it’s interesting to read of the Congress reaction. It shows just how similar they are.


Posted by on October 26, 2007 in News, Newsmakers, Politics


26 responses to “Tehelka Over Narendra Modi

  1. Nits

    October 26, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Hi – weirdly, I posted the same stuff today. Well not weirdly…what else is more important today?

    Anyway, did you read the comments on some of the youtube videos? The ones that talk about Modi being the most charismatic and we need such a strong and Hindu leader…he should be PM etc? It makes my blood churn. These are just people, like you and me. And I know they are just a handful but I know elite upper middle class people who feel this way. Caste politics is every where not just the villages.

    Much as I am thankful to Tehelka I am so nervous about rabid Modi supporters and what they will do if they are indicted.

  2. Balaji

    October 26, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    I think BJP is called the party with a difference because even you know that most people associated with the BJP feel guilty about happened in Gujarat. Saying sorry is not easy. Saying sorry for your colleague’s crimes is not easy at all. I so wish Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership accept their mistakes, apologize and take remedial measures. But I know that if I were a supporter of any other party in India, I will not be having any such hopes.

  3. anangbhai

    October 26, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Just wanted to say that you shouldn’t link to, they’re just a link farm site that copy off of wikipedia.
    I still remember the number of students who heckled Rakesh Sharma when he screened his film at my college. People my age were standing up and talking about how they were in gujarat in 2002 and they didn’t see shit so nothing happened.

  4. OrangeJammies

    October 27, 2007 at 5:50 am

    Fantastic. You have so fabulously articulated exactly what I feel, much better than I could ever hope to. Good going, girl. I totally, completely, absolutely agree. May I please link this post to my page?

  5. Amrita

    October 27, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Nits – I wish they were only a handful but I think for every handful of them out there, there’re a bunch of others who don’t agree with them but will sit silently and go along with it because they feel that’s in their overall best interest. That’s pretty much how every monster that has found his way to power has stayed in power – the silence of the majority. I can only hope that someone will find a conscience somewhere in Gujarat.

    Balaji – with all due respect, I don’t know anything of the sort. They’ve had five years to do something about this. FIVE YEARS. to discipline these people on the quiet if not in public – instead there they are on camera, laughing about raping and murdering people, ripping foetuses out of women’s bellies, hacking men into pieces. And nobody said integrity was an easy virtue… it is in fact a horribly exacting and uncomfortable virtue, that’s why anyone actually practicing it would be “different” because they’re doing something that is not in their immediate interest. But even today they’re trying to throw the blame elsewhere.
    Think of it this way, Balaji – what do you think Ram would have done? In their place as leaders, in your place as a voter?

    Anang – crap, really? I knew it was too good to be true when WP enabled the linkage. Oh well, thanks for the headsup 🙂 re: the student heckling… I can sympathize to an extent with people like them and with Balaji above because what they want is something to believe in, something to fight for. And this kind of truth isnt something that you can stomach easily when you’re invested to that degree to a certain ideology. But that’s what being an adult is all about.

    OJ – you don’t need to ask 🙂 Thank you!

  6. Kaushal Desai

    October 28, 2007 at 4:21 am

    Well this is really high issue for human life. and I think no one forgive for their crime. There is no doubt that godhara riots victims should get punishments. But the main thing is why tehalaka exposed this matter after 5 years. This incident was happend 5 years ago. And Its really shameful events. But main thing is Gujju peoples are not fool including Hindus and
    Muslims. every one knows what happened at that time? If Mr Modi allow to kill peoples then other religious leader also allow to kill hindus. But that was bad timing. I want to inform Mr. tejpal that after riots when election done in gujarat, Mr Modi got 155 seats in Gujarat in which 25-30 seats are from Muslim Leaders in BJP. At time all are includes in crime hindu and muslims. But it was past. Today we fights with our neighbors in some small small matters. But finally truth is we have to live with them and all Gujjus kniow it very well. People has seen the progress of Gujarat in last 5 yeas. Gujarat has stand up is own identity in this world today under Mr Modi. Gujju people needs agresive and progressive leader. And after so many years they got leader Mr Modi. Y tehlaka not shown Gujarat Progress under Mr.Modi. One thing is clear that Congress leaders know that in Gujarat they never wins weather Mr.Modi is in BJP or not. But I tell u one thing Tehalaka is really bastered becoz they don’t know wat are they expossing. Their tapes increase riots now and not in Gujarat but also in all over the india.. I request people of Gujarat and India that don’t take these tapes seriously now. Becoz all we want to leave free ands happy life weather it is BJP or Congress wins. But I request people to vote those people who really give more progress in Gujarat and India.
    Jai Hind…

  7. sanjay

    October 28, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Interesting sting……I was wondering why there is no mention of what happened at Godhara! I mean, the whole thing started there so that incident must have received some coverage …

    lemme guess……either Tehelka is not concerned about what happened there or they were not ready to face the reality of Godhara incident……….

  8. Amrita

    October 28, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Kaushal – I have no idea why Tehelka does what it does but let me ask you this: if a Muslim political party had raped and killed and set fire to your community, murdered babies and little children, left you destitute and destroyed your entire family BUT promised you a better economy, would you be willing to forgive and forget?
    Would you be willing to see your wife raped, your children murdered, your father and mother hacked to pieces, your house set on fire if you could possibly make a little money later on?
    Right now, you can talk the way you do because you’re on the “winning” side. But sooner or later, when people of this sort have political power, EVERYBODY eventually ends up a loser, money or no money.

    Sanjay – I have an updated version here at DC in which I mention the Godhara incident and my thoughts on it. I dont think you’d like them 🙂 Also, there is an entire Godhara section on the Tehelka page. Do check it out.

  9. sanjay

    October 28, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    yeah, i get the drift….. the burning in Godhara was a case of “spontaneous mob fury”……hmm…….i have read that somewhere else…..yeah, i remember……there have been numerous articles in the press that blamed the unfortunate passengers in Sabarmati express for their own misery!

    fast forward to the day after……. the incidents were a case of premeditated pogrom ( planned months in advance in anticipation of a spontaneous mob fury, anyone?).

    we have seen this script before……:)

  10. bvn

    October 28, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    well written! every passing day, Modi is an embarrassment. Essential logic is that in a working democracy, this dude wouldn’t have lasted an hour after this report. I suspect if this India thing is working 😦

  11. Amrita

    October 29, 2007 at 2:39 am

    Sanjay – um, no thats not what I wrote or what Tehelka said. Actually, I’ve never heard that said about the train fire so I dont know what you’re talking about. In any case, I’d never make that case – i think this exhibition of public sentiment by way of riots is criminal and inexcusable no matter who does it.

    BVN – thanks 🙂 you know, we’re only 60 years old as a democracy, so in a sense we’re still coming to terms with what it means to be democratic. I’m hoping this is adolescent angst and we’ll work it out.

  12. Ashish Joshi

    October 29, 2007 at 9:01 am

    Lets See,
    – If Godra was not pre planned and riots were preplanned then modi should have also planned godra.
    – Yes modi burned the 48 women and children in the train to set the preplanned gujrat riots.

    What a joke…., these secular journalist are trying to make fools out of us…
    They dont shed any tears for the 58 hindu women and children who were burned alive in Godra but they would cry a river for the muslim victims.
    In gujrat riots both hindus and muslims were killed, why no storys for the 300 hindus who were buchered by muslims…
    This is a pathatic situation in our country today, you will not get on the news if you are a hindu victim…
    Terrorist like afzal and haneef are being made heros no coverage for the thousands of securaty personals who die to protect these SOB journalist.
    Pack them all and send to kashmir as hindus and let them get buchered o

  13. Amrita

    October 29, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Ashish – I’d be interested if you could show me a link where someone makes the case that you do because so far you’re the only one I’ve seen make it. Do you know something we don;t? Have a confession to make perhaps?
    And btw those people that died? they may have been such and such number of Hindus and such and such number of Muslims – but each and every one of them was Indian. Think about it.

  14. Nits

    October 29, 2007 at 11:12 am

    To Ashih, I don’t believe in an eye for an eye but if you are counting, 3 times the number of Muslims died in 2002. And if we are justifying the Muslim killings with Sabarmati express, then us Hindus had it coming didn’t we. According to you then we deserved the backlash in Mumbai in 92-93 what with hundredes of thousands of VHP and RSS activists taking down the Babri Masjid (nothing spontaneous about that either). Yes the same RSS that killed Gandhi.

    Please switch on your TV, your radio, open a newspaper. The only Khan name you read is that of celebrities. The majority dominates mainstream media. So every page dedicated to Muslim genocide in Tehelka is one too less. For every Afzal and Haneef there are a hundred Sohrabuddins.

    Amrita, I think about the US and right-wing nuts defending Bush’s every move and think that these nuts have cousins – clones everywhere in the world. The more pervasive a majority the more insecure and protectionist it is.

  15. Amit

    October 29, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Whether it was Hindus or Muslims killed, whichever way it happened, it was barbaric and to think that someone could have stopped it or at least controlled it and chose not to, is the biggest sin of all. It does not have to be a communal issue for one to see how guilty Modi is. Great debate on this this! If you get a chance read this one too

  16. Amrita

    November 2, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Nits – its a combination of myth and fear. A lot of the people who have extreme anti-Muslim sentiment are talking of a community theyve never met and their only reference point is what they hear about. This is why so many people will talk about what happened 800 years ago like it was yesterday – they lack a personal reference point. Partisan politics in the States and India and everywhere else requires people to remain ignorant and dependent upon the interpretation of others to make up their mind for them.
    And couldn’t agree more with your reply to Ashish.

    Amit – the concept of moral responsibility is apparently only limited to the left as far as the rightists are concerned. Thanks for the link! 🙂

  17. Mohsin

    November 17, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    According to me! what tehelka has done is truth reveals & they all Bastards must thrown inside bars. And one more thing the train was not set on fire it was self fire by something there is no hand of any Muslims behind this act, & this is nt coz i m muslim because of CBI report has proved it. And what you all thinks who are side of modi about , attack on babri masjid by VHP and other activitist it is obviously known by everyone that they first attacked on masjid. what would u do when ur mandir is attacked by some people in front of u?????????????

    I m sorry if someone feels bad, my intention is not to hurt neone’s feeling.

  18. lee jin xi

    December 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Just to point out something. The only chinese goverment investement into India has been because of Mr.Modi’s marketing gujarat to the Chinese.

    Mr.Modi is loved by Hu Juntao and the communist leaders of china.

    Mr.Modi is the only advocate for a new delhi -shanghai – six lane highway.

    Mr.Modi is the only advovate in support of the chinese legitimate claim over Taiwan.

    Mr.Modi is the only indian offifical to publically denounce japanese military soliders rape and plunder of over 300,000 chinese men, women and children during world war 2, in Nanjing.

    Mr.Modi is the only indian politician to demand a pan asian subway system connectiing
    china to south india, india to thailand, pakistan to russia.

    Mr.Modi is the only candidate to mentiion the great culture of the Ming dynasty of China.

    Mr.Modi is the conly indian politician to have visited china 11 times.

    THE CHINESE LOVE MR.MODI and as long as china is and will remain a superpower, we will always support Narendra Modi. the greatest indian leader who has shown true compassion for the chinese people. and not just propaganda.


  19. aroon

    December 19, 2007 at 9:57 am

    amri.. if u get a chance see this documentary “The final solution” based on the godhra riots./. its really superb, the director has live speeches of modi and other politicians during that time.. i saw it when i was in xaviers, the director had come to our college

  20. hello

    December 24, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Fuck of karan thaper ..

  21. rightWriter

    December 25, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    “nobody bought it 30 years ago when she tried to tell us she was India and we’re not about to buy that you’re India either and that voting against you makes us anti-national. ”

    who are you? people of gujarat have already shown you the door

  22. rightWriter

    December 25, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    “Watch the video. Oh wait, that’s right – you can’t coz the Modi administration has blocked all news channels that are broadcasting news of the sting.”

    it doesn’t matter. the video doesn’t meet the minimum standards of evidence the the court of law requires, so what’s your point?

    get a life man. there’s a whole new world beyond modi

  23. rightWriter

    December 25, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    “amri.. if u get a chance see this documentary “The final solution” based on the godhra riots./. its really superb, the director has live speeches of modi and other politicians during that time.. i saw it when i was in xaviers, the director had come to our college”

    dont watch b grade hindi movies. read the nanavati report instead. thats all what matters

  24. ravi nair

    December 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    No need to apologize to any muslim. When muslims kill people wily nily all over the globe it is OK. When dealt the same hand, they cry foul.

    Modi will be proven by history to be a great Indian-one that stands up to Islamofacism.

    Open you eyes people-Muslims want everyone to change to their belief system. They on the other hand will NEVER adjust to other people.

    Tell Muslims to try their Islamic nonsense in China or Russia and then see what happens to them!

    Now also tell me when we can build a TEMPLE, CHURCH in Saudi Arabia please.

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