18/10/2012

When Gujarat was burning

Harish Khare is one of the few journalists who present honest comments on events and developments straightforwardly and courageously, is man-friendly and advocate of religious impartial values. In his recent article (The Hindu, 4th October) he has presented his personal experience in context of the events of Gujarat 2002. ‘Two days after bloody riots erupted in Gujarat, I got a call late in the evening from an Ahmedabad-based officer of the Indian Police Service. The policeman simply said: “Sir, I am embarrassed to make this call. I am told that a local BJP legislator in Mehsana district is planning to undertake a massacre of Muslims tonight. And I am ashamed that there is no one here who will listen.” Hearing these details from the police officer, I rang up my friend Brajesh Mishra. He listened to me very attentively and said, “Let me see.” Next morning I got another call from the police officer, who was obviously relieved and said: “Sir, I do not know what you did or to whom you talked; within two hours, an army posse reached the spot, rowdies were made to stay put, and their bloody plans sabotaged. Over 100 lives were saved.’

Brajesh Mishra
Mr. Khare in fact wrote this article to pay a tribute to Brajesh Mishra who had died on 28th September at the age of 84. At that time he (Brajesh Mishra) was Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and also National Security Advisor. Harish Khare writes: ‘A few days later, when I went over to the Prime Minister’s Office to have my weekly tea with Mishra,… he observed: “Those of us who have the good fortune to work in this office for the Prime Minister of India can never become indifferent to the obligation of social harmony.”’ (The Hindu, 4th October) Harish writes that Brajesh Mishra was a far-sighted, open-minded, broad-minded and a patriotic person in the true sense. His standpoint was that the progress and stability of the country is not possible without inner security, and inner security is not possible without impartiality between all groups and sections and without total religious neutrality. He considered the activities of Advani, Modi and the Sangh Parivar detrimental to the country, and was in support of developing better relations with Pakistan for the progress and stability of the country. In this regard, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee was his co-believer. These two were sad and concerned over the policy following which Modi and his cohorts came to power once again in 2002.

Three characters of the story
With this article three positive characters come before us: (1) The responsible but helpless police officer who was concerned about the planning of rioters in the village Mehsana; (2) Harish Khare, who was a journalist and political commentator but also wanted to fulfil his responsibility as a responsible citizen which he did well; (3) Brajesh Mishra who was a high and powerful officer in the office of the Prime Minister and he did exploit his powers rightly and at the right time. – The case is about ten years old. During this period many changes took place in politics and government. In Gujarat those who were the killers of humanity got strengthened while at the Centre the standpoint of Brajesh Mishra and Vajpayee got weakened. But ten years later when Harish Khare, while writing on Brajesh Mishra, is stressing the same standpoint, same thinking and same farsightedness, it clearly means that the Indian society is not lacking in right-thinking and principled commentators. Harish was also appointed as Press Advisor to the present Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but later got separated on some principled ground. Anyhow, every responsible citizen will welcome the views of this responsible journalist.

16/ 10/12 khabar-O-Nazar by Parwaaz Rahmani, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Abu Yusuf

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