Sunday, December 17, 2006

Harsh Mander on Raj Kamal Jha's novel about Gujarat carnage

Raj Kamal Jha's latest novel 'Fireproof' that deals with the Gujarat riots (carnage) is out. In Hindustan Times, Harsh Mander takes Jha to task for 'demonising only the foot soldiers of hate, not the real masterminds'.

'The novel virtually absolves the State form its enormous crimes of omission and commission in its planning and complicity with the crimes, its tacit or compact with political and social formulations that fomented hatred of a scale never witnessed in independent India.", writes Mander.

Mander says that Jha's treatise rarely extends its outrage beyond individual responsibility. It ignores the larger politics and social perspectives that drove the carnage, the organisations that systematically manufactured hatred over decades, mounted poison that entered people's souls, and meticulously planned a systematic cleansing of a segment of citizens of different faith to break almost fatally their spirit. He takes Jha to task with his final comment where he terms it an 'unwitting betrayal'.

2 comments:

ALI said...

Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Sachar Committee Report in Parliament

ASADUDDIN OWAISI MP (HYDERABAD) : Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I rise to support the Bill that has been tabled in the august House. I have got some important points to bring to the notice of the august House.
The Sachar Committee report has been tabled in this House. It clearly states the educational backwardness of the Muslim community. According to Sachar Report, there are 39 per cent OBCs and 0.8 per cent Scheduled Caste in the Muslim community.
I support this Bill which provides reservation in Central Universities to SCs, STs and OBCs. However, I would like to know as to how fair it is to deny the benefits of reservation on the basis of religion, especially after the Government has tabled the Sachar Report in this august House which shows how bad my educational standards are and my conditions are.
I would just like to quote one point here as far as the report is concerned. Page 73 of Sachar Report clearly says, “The percentage of population of graduates, as far as the Muslims are concerned, is 1.2 and those attending P.G. courses is 16.3.” It is lesser in Muslims than in dalits also. You are not implementing these minority universities over there. But why is it that I am being denied such benefits? Moreover, the Presidential Order of 1950 contravenes the basic fundamental rights given in the Constitution.
How is it that only SCs belonging or professing the religion of Hinduism or Sikhism or neo Buddhism are being given reservation? Why not Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims? This question has to be pondered over by the Government. I would request you sincerely, Sir, that the Government should come forward and ensure that the 1950 Presidential Order, Schedule III is amended. It says that only a person professing Hinduism or Sikhism or neo Buddhism can be classified as Schedule Caste. How is that possible? This Report of yours clearly says this. There is this argument about Muslims and OBCs. Why is it such a low percentage is there? This has to be looked into.
Lastly, about Jamia Milia University, how is that the present Vice-Chancellor wants to implement this present Bill in Jamia Milia University? Why has the Vice-Chancellor overnight changed this position? Why are we being denied such benefits? I would request you that this issue has to be taken care of. They have applied to the National Minority Education Commission also. It is pending over there. If Jamia Milia University is not a minority University, then, which is a minority university? This is a very important question. These are important points I wanted to bring to the notice of the august House.
I support this Bill. I hope that this UPA Government will take affirmative action and will not deny us reservation under Article 16(4). If people are opposed to reservations to Muslims, they should look into the pre-native history of Article 16(4). It is none other than Sardar Vallabhai Patel, who has stated `classes’ means `Minorities’. He was the Chairman of that Advisory Committee. Why are Muslims having reservations in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka? Why can they not be given reservations nationwide? It has to be done. Literacy rate of 13 per cent of population is only 59. There is a huge difference between literate and educated persons. You can very well imagine 13 per cent of population with a literacy of 59 per cent. Hence, I would request that the Government should come forward with the proposal and I hope that the hon. Minister, when he stands up to reply would respond to this or this UPA Government has to amend 1950 Presidential Order. They have to take affirmative action under Articles 15(4) and 16(4).
Thank you.

He writes ficiton said...

I disagree with the Editor on Raj Kamal Jha's novel. A political novel is first and foremost a novel. It is not a treatise on Politics. Harsh Mander should not expect Jha to give his, or a particular, version of the Gujarat riots. A political novel must never pretend to be a substitute for a ploitical article. It is by nature different.
I can say this because I myself have written a political novel, The Tailor's Needle, (Publisher: Picnic Publishing, UK - to be out in July 2009) See the Picnic website, author's blog.
What I discovered during the course of writing the novel is that forcing a political framework too insistently spoils the novel. The narrative takes the author along, quite against the author's wishes.

Lakshmi Raj Sharma

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