Historian’s interest, Tehelka’s sensation and Common-man’s response

Historian’s interest, Tehelka’s sensation and Common-man’s response
Published on October 27th, 2007 In Uncategorized, Blogging, News, Philosophy, Politics |  Views 541
Historian’s interest, Tehelka’s sensation and Common-man’s response

Historian’s Interest: Steve Farmer isHarvard University historian, working with Michael Witzel, friend of Romila Thapar and other Indian eminent historians. “The Hindu” of Chennai used to publish whatever they write but not that of other Indian historians. For example, Dr. R. Nagaswamy, the former Director of State Archaeology department, Dr. K. V. Raman, the former Head of Ancient History ” Archaeology, Madras University, Dr. K. M. Rao, the former Professor of Sociology, and others respond to them, but “the Hindu” did not publish.

As I have had experience with Steve Farmer, I want to respond. As I have also listened to and questioned Romila Thapar and other historians also during her lectures, I developed interest in history. Today morning, the Steve’s posting provoked me.

My experience with Historians: Therefore, I have no other way but to respond as common man. I am not an historian, but used to read history books, attend conferences and present papers. I follow them faithfully – the style sheet and methodology, irrespective of their ideology.

So here, in the context of Tehelka, I wonder what would or could be interest of American historian in the Indian politics, that too when Indian history has already been highly politicized.

Nowadays, a stage has reached that Indians have no right to read their history, but have to read what others write about them. They cannot point out the wrongs, blunders, mistakes containing in their writings, as immediately, they jump and ask, “What is your qualification”. If I say, “I am interested in history”, they retort, “Why your are interested in history?”

Previously, to become a member of Indian history congress, “just interest in history and age 18” were enough ( up to 1991). But, they amended the bye-laws that one should have “M. A degree in History or presented papers etc” as eligibility. Having presented papers, they tried another tactics by not including in the list, giving only 5 minutes for presentation including discussion and in the worst case, they order just “Read the title, you name and go” (as happened in the Madras session of IHC). This is how the sessions have been going on without any care or love for academic sessions in IHC or any HC.

Here is the posting of Steve Farmer, Harvard University historian:

Steve Farmer, the Harvard University historian writes in the Indo-Eurasian.yahoogroup as follows: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com

Important story in today”s Washington Post. Does anyone have further

http://tinyurl. com/yvekmh

Hindus Detail Involvement In Deadly ‘02 Riots in India
On Video, Assailants Tell of State Collusion
By Rama Lakshmi
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, October 26, 2007;

NEW DELHI, Oct. 25 — Five years after one of India”s worst episodes
of Hindu-Muslim violence, a series of videotaped confessions released
Thursday showed Hindu activists acknowledging their roles in the
killings and detailing blatant state collusion.

In the video footage, recorded as part of an undercover exposé by a
New Delhi-based weekly magazine called Tehelka, Hindu activists and
politicians bragged about hacking Muslims to death and burning their
bodies. One assailant said he slit open a pregnant woman”s stomach.

The violence began in February 2002 when a Muslim mob torched a train
in India”s western Gujarat state, killing 58 Hindu passengers. Angry
Hindu groups launched a wave of reprisal killings and set fire to
Muslim homes and shops across the region. In all, an estimated 1,000
people died.

Human rights groups in India and the United States have charged that
Gujarat”s ruling party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party,
tacitly supported the mob violence against Muslims. Several thousand
cases related to the riots are still pending in Indian courts and
state inquiry committees.

At a packed news conference on Thursday, the editor of Tehelka, Tarun
Tejpal, released the magazine”s forthcoming issue, which contains 106
pages of coverage on the killings. Two national television channels
broadcast images that had been taken as part of the expos¿. In some
parts of Gujarat”s capital, Ahmedabad, where the issue of the riots
remains sensitive, cable operators reportedly switched off their
service to block stories on the subject.

“It is a very disturbing story; it is not a story you can take joy
from,” Tejpal told reporters. “There is a complete absence of remorse
in these confessions. The perpetrators of the violence have
themselves confessed to the crime. It is a story that makes me worry
about the kind of India we are living in.”

The video footage, by Ashish Khetan, a reporter for the magazine,
showed Hindu activists confessing to dousing petrified Muslims in
kerosene and burning them alive. The footage also showed a Hindu
nationalist politician saying that the chief minister of
Gujarat, Narendra Modi, had “given us three days time to do whatever we could.
After three days, he asked to stop and everything came to a halt.”

Modi has previously said the Hindu violence was a spontaneous
reaction to the attack on the trains.

A Hindu religious activist who has been accused of slitting open a
pregnant woman”s stomach said he showed Muslims “what kind of revenge
we can take if our people are killed.”

The disclosures come in the run-up to a December state election in
Gujarat, where the Bharatiya Janata Party is still in power. The
party”s spokesman in New Delhi, Prakash Javdekar, dismissed the
Tehelka story as a political conspiracy by the opposition Congress

For many Muslim leaders, the video footage released Thursday did not
come as a surprise.

“None of these confessions are new to us. We have experienced all
this firsthand,” said Shakeel Ahmed, a legal activist in
Gujarat and
a member of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights. An
application for a new investigation into the violence has been
pending in the Supreme Court for the past two years.

“But this will mount enormous moral pressure on the state government,
because the perpetrators themselves are admitting to the heinous
crimes,” Ahmed said. “Whether it will bring justice depends on
political will. Many of the accused are our rulers today. Who will
investigate them?”

Tehelka’s sensation: As I have already posted, I do not want to repeat.

Common man’s Response: Coming to the Steve’s posting, I have read it carefully several times. When I read Indian newspapers, it would take time to understand who did what on “another” and who is “the another” and why it was done on him / her and so on, because of the Indian secular journalistic ethics and tactics. Many times, we have to research into to the gender also. The Indian journalists have been so secular, so egalitarian so utopian following the Universalistic Constitution. There also, one has to read several times, in the context to understand what had happened to what and to whom and why. Any way, here Rama Lakshmi (whether she wrote voluntarily or otherwise or somebody wrote in her name and all, we do not know) has not troubled us.

But the report again appears to be motivated, as seen from such expressions used:

¹   Five years after one of India”s worst episodes of Hindu-Muslim violence Are Rama Lkashmi or Washington Post or Steve Farmer sure that no riot took place between 1947 and 2002? Or they want this to be glorified as “the worst episode” to be recorded in the modern history ignoring others?

¹   The violence began in February 2002 when a Muslim mob torched a train in
India”s western Gujarat state, killing 58 Hindu passengers. So, it would not come under the category of “riot”. Why “a Muslim mob” should kill, sorry torch “58 Hindu passengers”? Tehelka could have gone to investigate about the “a Muslim mob” to find out how many Muslims were there? Ashish Khetan alias Piyush Aggarwal could have been sent immediately for six-month sojourn, as Tarun has never been short of recourses. “Resources and time were no constraint, said Tarun”, as confessed by Ashish! As they have all capabilities, they could have done! But history works in different way – give importance to the present and forget the past.

¹   In all, an estimated 1,000 people died.Oh my God, what is this? Just I was appreciating Rama Lkshmi for being very open about the identity of “people killed / torched with kerosene etc”! Why then suddenly this generalization without giving religion or gender? Is this American secularism or a transition from Indian to American? What was that “an estimated 1000”, when everything was going on so modern with spy-cam and all? Are Tehelka, Rama Lkashmi, Washington Post are so weak in mathematics? Do one have to resort to DNA test to find out the gender? Or some other method to find out their religion?

¹   Several thousand cases related to the riots are still pending in Indian courts and state inquiry committees.“Several” is definitely more than one. I also used such expression and for me, it was 6 times to understand the nuances of the subject matter in all angles. So here, the minimum is 1000 cases, the next minimum is 2000 cases and of course “several” could include 3, 4, 5 times also, if not “many”! After all, had Sonia wanted, every day a case could have been taken up! And in this 2.7 years (1000/365), all cases could have been settled. The next is – 5.5 years (2000/365) – why then hurrying up? But, why the Sonia government was sleeping? Why all the human rights and other sensible activists could not understand the simple mathematics of dealing with “several 1000 cases” or with reasonably specific 1000, 2000 cases? It is ironical that even Navanethan Pillai could not have thought about it.

¹   cable operators reportedly switched off their service to block stories on the subject.But, I could watch from Madras many-many times throughout the night on 26th October and respond also in internet. When Asish and Tarun are roaming with spycams, how the cable operators could have been so barbaric by living in medieval period? NDTV-Ajtak clearly show that their reporters were roaming in the streets of Ahmedabad interviewing all without leaving anybody! When they “could get the confessions of killers”, is it so difficult in investigate the cable operators for the truth? In Tamil, we used to ask, “Er kathila pu suthreppa = for whose ears, you are garlanding? Garlanding or tying flowers around one’s ears is not so easy task without their yielding. Anyway, Asish has done!

¹   For many Muslim leaders, the video footage released Thursday did not come as a surprise.With my due condolence to the real happening to Hindus and Muslims, I request them not to politicize the issue with these type of creepy, sensational, thrilling, exiting – exposures going on in the name of freedom of expression, investigative journalism etc. If Muslims know the facts, the Hindus too know the facts, they can to indulge in this type of spy-cam journalism.



2 Responses to “Historian’s interest, Tehelka’s sensation and Common-man’s response”

  1. vedaprakash Says:

    4 Responses to “Historian’s interest, Tehelka’s sensation and Common-man’s response”

    1. nathappan Says:
    Posted on October 27th, 2007

    The more I think of what happened in 2002 in Godhra, it makes my blood boil.

    None of the stupid pseudo-secularists condemned what happened in Godhra, but have the audacity to talk about Gujarat riots thereafter. Shameless ! To hell with the shameless historians and history-twisters !

    At least, as a result of Gujarat riots, Muslims are forced to think twice before acting in haste against Hindus. Thank God for the Gujarathi’s swift action.

    I do not belong to RSS, VHP or BJP or any other organization, but I feel proud of Modi’s achievements in his State and happy about the upbeat economy and model state of Gujarat.

    Wish him all the best !

    2. laadlabakdaas Says:
    Posted on October 29th, 2007

    Ppl like Rama Lakshmi are hypocrites, while they dont’ have the audacity to even write about the Iraq war or the Afghanistan War they think that they are entitled to show a onesided story of a country just because its their origin.

    Thousands of years of Invasion couldn’t shake Hinduism. But the fight within Hinduism has definitely shaken it. Too bad pseudo intellectuals and pseudo seculars like RAMA LAKSHMI couldn’t mention even a word about the agony of the Hindus killed in Godhra and Kashmir. Just shows how hypocritic they are.

    ppl who tend to forget their past are left to condemn their future.

    3. nathappan Says:
    Posted on October 29th, 2007

    An appropriate article:-

    The myth and truth of Godhra
    – Arvind Lavakare, Organiser

    Since no `secularist’ or `liberal’ or `objective’
    person ever challenged the above sets of figures, some
    questions arise: Who killed 200-odd Hindus so early in
    those riots? Was it the police or the Hindus
    themselves? And what made those 40,000 Hindus rush to
    relief camps? Was it fear of Hindu mob violence, rape,
    arson and murder?

    Two recent `news briefs’ in print are critical
    evidence of a reality that’s been totally ignored by
    our `liberals’ who have, for four years running, gone
    on and on and on about the `genocide’ of Muslims in
    Gujarat after the sudden inferno in the S-6
    compartment of Sabarmati Express had consumed 58
    Hindus, including 26 women and 12 children, returning
    home after performing kar seva at Ayodhya.

    In its edition of March 19, 2006, The Sunday Express
    carried the following report from Ahmedabad:

    “Post-Godhra riot case: 7 get lifer
    The city sessions court on Friday convicted seven
    people in a post-Godhra riot case and sentenced them
    to life term for the murder of 35-year-old Mukesh
    Panchal, a resident of Lambha. He was attacked by the
    accused and went missing on November 7, 2003 from
    Shah-e-Alam Darwaza. His mutilated body was found near
    Chandoka Lake on November 11. One of the seven
    accused-Javed Shaukat Ali-meanwhile managed to give
    the cops a slip and fled from the court.”

    In its edition of Wednesday, March 29, 2006 The Indian
    Express carried the following report, also datelined

    “Nine get jail in post-Godhra riot case
    The city sessions court on Tuesday convicted nine
    accused in a post-Godhra riot case. Additional
    Sessions Judge Sonia Gokani sentenced Mushtaq alias
    Kanio Ahmed Sheikh to 10 years in jail for murder and
    attempt to murder. Eight others were sentenced to 18
    months in prison for unlawful assembly, possessing
    weapons and rioting.”

    Out of the five convictions so far in l’affaire
    Godhra, the above two rip the blindfold on Godhra that
    the country was subjected to since March 2002. Those
    two convictions conclusively prove that even as some
    Hindus in Vadodra, Ahmedabad and a few other parts of
    Gujarat were provoked into insane killing, arson and
    loot by the S-6 carnage, the Muslims in that state
    were hardly the cattle hiding from the slaughter house
    that they have been made out by the “secularists” in
    and outside our national English media. Do you, for
    instance, recall reading about the mutilation of
    Mukesh Panchal’s cadaver in any of the English print
    media? Did you hear a sound byte about it on our TV?

    Yes, despite all the media and the consequent
    political, propaganda about the `genocide’ of
    Gujarat’s Muslims, the reality is that some of that
    community were also engaged in murder, rioting and
    unlawful assembly with arms in hand.

    This trend was discernible to the objective person
    four years ago itself. Thus, in its issue of April 28,
    2002, The Times of India reporter, Sanjay Pandey, told
    us that of the 726 people who had been killed by then
    in the post-Godhra riots, 168 were Hindus. In its
    issue of June 24, 2002, India Today carried an article
    saying that the official figure of all people killed
    in Gujarat in the three months following the S-6
    massacre was 800, of which a quarter were Hindus. The
    Union Home Ministry’s Annual Report 2002-03 said that
    about a third of the total dead in the Godhra riots
    were Hindus. It also said that, at one stage, 40,000
    Hindus were in riot relief camps.

    Since no `secularist’ or `liberal’ or `objective’
    person ever challenged the above sets of figures, some
    questions arise: Who killed 200-odd Hindus so early in
    those riots? Was it the police or the Hindus
    themselves? And what made those 40,000 Hindus rush to
    relief camps? Was it fear of Hindu mob violence, rape,
    arson and murder?

    More proof of the blindfold on Godhra came in 2005,
    when the UPA coalition (comprising the `secular’
    friends of Muslims) made a statement in Parliament
    that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in those

    But our national media simply refused to remove the
    blindfold on Godhra. Hence it was that the elites of
    our society continued to rant about the Gujarat
    `pogrom of genocide’; some cussed Indians even
    conspired to deny a US visa to the Chief Minister of
    one of the country’s fastest developing states.

    Aiding and abetting that conspiracy were reports from
    Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International et al. The
    National Human Rights Commission joined in; written
    lies by the likes of Arundhati Roy and fake e-mails
    added fuel to the fire. All of them went to town about
    the Gujarat `genocide’ with blinkers on, a blindfold
    underneath. None wanted to touch upon the minority
    community’s role in that tragedy.

    But the latest criminal conviction of 16 Muslims
    evokes the recall of the Justice Tewatia Report on the
    Godhra issue published on April 26, 2002 under the
    aegis of the Council For International Affairs And
    Human Rights, based in New Delhi.

    It was a report based on a six-day field study of a
    team headed by Justice D.S. Tewatia, former Chief
    Justice, Calcutta High Court and Punjab and Haryana
    High Court. Its other members were Dr J.C. Batra,
    senior advocate, Supreme Court, Dr Krishan Singh,
    academician, Jawahar Lal Kaul, veteran journalist, and
    Prof. B. K. Kuthiala, Dean, Faculty of Media Studies,
    G.J. University, Hisar.

    The five-man team visited three affected areas and
    relief camps in Ahmedabad, interacting freely with the
    public and members of both communities, and without
    government interference. In Godhra, five delegations
    from both communities and also of mixed composition
    presented their views and facts to the team.
    Similarly, free discussions with the public and
    affected communities were held in Vadodra at seven
    affected areas and five relief camps. It collected
    information from the staff at the Godhra Railway
    Station, district administration, including the
    Collector and Police Commissioner, passengers
    traveling in Sabarmati Express on 27.02.02 in S-6
    compartment as well as in other compartments, staff of
    the Fire Brigade, Godhra, reports in 22 newspapers and
    nine magazines (local, regional and Delhi) and views
    on media coverage articulated by some 500 persons
    including intellectuals like lawyers, doctors and
    businessmen. The site where the train was initially
    stopped and stoned was also visited. A high point was
    that 13 delegations consisting of 121 citizens met
    Justice Tewatia’s team and presented their viewpoints
    and information. The delegations ranged from the
    Association of Hoteliers to a group of Vanvasis and
    affected Muslim as well as Hindu women.

    Based on the considerable oral, audio and visual
    evidence obtained from the above interactions, the
    Justice Tewatia team’s conclusions most relevant to
    the blindfold on Godhra were as follows:

    Burning of 58 Hindu pilgrims on February 27, 2002 was
    an act carried out at the behest of then government of
    Pakistan which had planned to burn the entire
    Sabarmati Express carrying some 2000 passengers. The
    primary objective was to create Hindu-Muslim communal
    conflagration in India. The actual perpetrators were
    jehadi elements in the predominantly Muslim town of
    Godhra where

    a very high traffic of telephone calls was recorded
    between Godhra and Pakistan, especially Karachi,
    before the date of the carnage

    an abnormally large number of passports were issued,

    there was a large number of persons without ration

    a large number of unemployed Muslims had mobile

    though there is no tradition of being a Muslim pilgrim
    center and the local Muslims are not affluent, three
    istema (religious gatherings) have been held and
    attended by large numbers of foreigners, and

    an Assistant Collector (a young Muslim from eastern
    UP) went on leave two days before the gory incident
    and did not return till the middle of March though the
    district of his posting was aflame with communal riots
    much earlier.

    The vacuum pipe between the Coaches No. S-6 and S-7
    was cut thereby preventing any further movement of the
    train. Miscreants threw bricks and stones at the train
    as soon as it left Godhra railway station. The stoning
    intensified after it finally stopped about 700 metres
    from the station. The passengers of the train,
    particularly Coaches S-5, S-6 and S-7, were the main
    targets. Burning missiles and acid bulbs were thrown
    on and in the coaches. One such acid missile landed in
    Coach S-7 and a fire started which the passengers were
    able to extinguish. But the attack continued and more
    burning missiles were thrown into the Coach S-6.

    In an effort to control the subsequent riots, the
    Gujarat government

    Publicly announced its decision to employ the Army on
    the evening of the day riots began on February 28
    (Within less than 24 hours at least one brigade of
    Indian Army had air-landed at Ahmedabad),

    Made preventive arrests of over 33,000 people,

    Fired over 12,000 rounds of bullets,

    Fired over 15,000 rounds of tear gas shells,

    The involvement of Vanvasis in the post-Godhra riots
    added a new dimension to the communal violence. In
    rural areas the Vanvasis attacked the Muslim
    moneylenders, shopkeepers and the forest contractors.
    They used their traditional bow and arrows as also
    their implements used to cut trees and grass while
    attacking Muslims. They moved in groups and used coded
    signals for communication. Apparently, the accumulated
    anger of years of exploitation by Muslim moneylenders
    (interest of 50 per cent per annum), shopkeepers and
    forest contractors had become explosive after
    moneylenders sexually exploited their womenfolk.

    The media selected, distorted and added fiction to
    prove their respective points of view. The code of
    ethics prescribed by the Press Council of India was
    violated by the media with impunity. It so enraged the
    citizens that several concerned citizens in the
    disturbed areas suggested that peace could return to
    the state only if some of the TV channels were closed
    for some weeks. Even the Vanvasis complained that the
    media had no time to hear their agony and was
    spreading canards against the Hindus. Newspapers
    published in English from Delhi invariably
    editorialised the news. Direct and indirect comments
    in the news writing were so telling that the personal
    likes and dislikes of the news reporters were too
    obvious to be missed. They appeared to have assumed
    the role of crusaders against the State Government
    from day one. It coloured the entire operation of
    newsgathering, feature writing and editorials.

    Conclusions 1 to 4 above are indicators as to why our
    national media, ever afraid to criticise the Muslim
    and ever ready to indulge in BJP/Hindu bashing,
    bypassed the Justice Tewatia Report, despite its high
    credentials and the fact that it was publicly released
    at a press conference in New Delhi. After all, our
    `secular’ national media simply could not have
    tolerated giving even a line to report’s conclusion 5
    above. Hence, they simply buried the whole report
    itself, put a blindfold on the country vision of it.
    After all, they had found their Hindu-bashing agenda
    in the post-Godhra riots and they were hell-bent in
    pushing it full steam, right up to the Supreme Court
    and beyond to the United Nations.

    Will the criminal conviction of 16 by two separate
    sessions judges in Ahmedabad remove the blindfold on
    Godhra that the `monster media’ put on the people of
    this country?

    (The writer can be contacted at 202, Dosti Erica,
    Antop Hill, Wadala (E), Mumbai 400 037.)
    http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pi d=129&pa\

    Related story:

    4. MNachiappan Says:
    Posted on November 1st, 2007

    The mis-use of history, politicization of history and the role of Indian historians have been intriguing in Indian context.

    The Marxist, Communist, progressive, secular brand of historians earlier dubbed other historians as nationalist, communal, Hindutva and so on. But, how why and how they themselves indulge in their own way of “fascism” dubbng others as fascists?

    What right historian have by misinterpreting history and set people fight with each other in the name of history?

    How a history of India could be interpreted differently in 5 / 6 or dozens of interpretations? If a fact is fact, historical fact, why different views come?

    As for as the response to Tehelka by foreign historians has been quite amusing.

  2. Congress, BJP and the so-called Hindu terror-II « Indology Says:

    […] [4] Vedaprakash, Historian’s interest, Tehelka’s sensation and Common-man’s response, https://indiainteracts.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/historian%E2%80%99s-interest-tehelka%E2%80%99s-sensat… […]

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