the dedication they are mustering now, maybe, just maybe, 2002 Godhra would not have happened. And yes, how many of the oh-so-secular-intellectuals have noted that before the blood of the 8,000 Sikhs killed had even dried, the oh-so-secular Congress party rushed the 1984 national elections and advanced them by 10 days. And capitalised on the Sikh killing fields by winning 415 of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha.
Not mentioning the 1984 riots is a grotesque error of omission. But there are many errors of commission in the letters from the intellectuals. The major errors of commission involve communicating (whether to impressionable students at Xavier’s or fellow travelers?) that there is something not just wrong, but spectacularly wrong, with the so-called Gujarat model of development.
This intellectual opposition to Gujarat’s Modi is garbed in terms of negatives, e.g., the model is not secular, favours the rich (Adani and Ambani) at the expense of the poor (tribals and Muslims) not an inclusive model of development, inequality has increased, environment has deteriorated, water is not there, electricity connections are there but electrons are not available, etc.
No intellectual points to the miraculous agricultural growth in Gujarat under Modi, a growth that primarily benefits the poor (and so is inclusive, equality inducing, etc). The intellectual is on safer ground when it comes to aspects of life other than income, because no one can counter their bluff, or counter their ideology, or prove them wrong. For example, sociologist Shiv Vishwanathan (again in a letter!) eloquently cites Amartya Sen and the worthiness of the Human
Development Index and openly challenges Modi to “read the report and tell us where Gujarat really stands”. No evidence is provided, because once one mentions Nobel Laureate Sen, no evidence is needed (for the intellectual). And echoing Arundhati Roy and Father Mascarenhas (do left-intellectuals move in packs?) Shiv says, “Gujarat is home to some of the great tribal, nomadic populations and some of great craft societies. What will happen to them when development occurs?”
A sine qua non feature of self-proclaimed anti-Modi intellectual (is there any other kind?) is never to cite any empirical evidence in their accusations. Since both Messrs. Mascarenhas and Vishwanathan go out of their way to cite the sorry, and worsening, state of tribals in Gujarat, it should be at least intellectually worthwhile to examine some inter-related questions about Modi and the welfare of