US President Donald Trump is coming to India during February and Gujarat is ‘preparing’ to give him a ‘grand’ welcome at the Sardar Patel Stadium where about one lakh fifty thousand ‘deshbhakts‘ will be brought to ‘listen’ to the US President. The obsession with Gujarat and Gujaratis is the prime focus of the Narendra Modi government.
Even when they want to claim that they are a pan Indian, national party yet BJP leadership at the moment is unable to look beyond Gujarat whose model Narendra Modi and his followers have advertised world over. Whether it is Chinese Prime Minister or Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe or Donald Trump or making Saradar Patel or Gandhi’s legacy or the big stadium,
Modi and Shah are unable to become the citizen of India. Quintessentially, they remain typical Gujaratis, who don’t trust ‘others’ and need everything not merely their meals but their officers too from their states.
Anyway, there is nothing wrong for ‘national’ leaders behaving state ‘specific’ and ‘fulfilling’ their ‘promises’ made to their Janata.
Those of us, who have been travelling Gujarat know the meaning of Gujarat’s Hindu Rashtra is nothing but absolute control of the Savarnas and pure marginalisation of the Dalits, OBCs and of course, Muslims. Look at the protest site in Gandhi nagar where Dalits, Adivasis, Rabaris are seeking complete implementation of the reservation and how Gujarat has denied it.
The city of Ahmedabad is more chaotic than any other metropolitan city in India and is no match to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad but we don’t know why every foreign leader is taken to Gujarat. What for? Is this ground being prepared for Trump’s election rally? There are slums, there is chaos on the road and traffic conditions worst, we are hearing that from Ahmedabad Airport to Motera Stadium, a 600 meter long and 7 ft high wall is being created to ‘cover’ the ‘slums’, so that the global ‘King’ can’t see the ‘dirt’ and have always have a ‘feel good factor’. But it is not that alone, the government want that none who visit India during Trump’s trip get disturbed with the ‘grim realities’ of our life.
It reminds me of an old story in Hindi under title Purdah written by Yashpal where the ‘poverty’ of the family is ‘hidden’ in the purdah that hang in the front door of the house.
Can such things really hide the dirty facts of prevailing situation in the state particularly related to the issues of Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs. Just yesterday, there was news from Bhuj where girl students were asked to even remove their inner wears just to prove that they were not menstruating but then there is no outcry in the Bhakta media? Why are teachers and school officials even allowed to touch the girls physically unless it is required for some assistance. Can anyone imagine the hurt and humiliation that these girl students might have gone through. Where is the ‘guide’ who speak to ‘students’ about ‘how to prepare for exams’? Of course, all the SC-ST-OBC students sitting on Dharana at Gandhi Nagar for fulfilling the constitutional provisions of reservation too are seeking his ‘advice’ and time.
Ahmedabad is the second biggest ‘slum city’ in Gujarat as Surat being number one.
According to a report published in the Times of India, 2016, Gujarat has not notified 2.84 lakh households living in slums. It shows how the government is least concern about their conditions. And since a majority of those living in these slums belong to SC-ST-OBCs the Gujarat model is to keep them vulnerable so that they are unable to stand up and develop their own leadership. The violence on Dalits particularly Dalit women is on rise in Gujarat but that neither become an issue, nor our Brahmanical crooked media in Delhi take note of it. The victims of Una violence are running from puller to post to get justice. Most of the accused in flogging the Dalits openly in public are now out and roaming free.
I wish our Ministers and their advisers use the foreign visit of a dignitary to strengthen the people and not to bring problems in their lives. The wall that is being erected to give a ‘feel good’ feeling to Donald Trump is nothing but humiliation to those people who suffer and are exploited because the state has abdicated its responsibility and it feel people are a burden. The poor people too have a right to life with dignity. All roads to get justice are being closed just to please one man and make him believe that ‘Ahmedabad’ city is truly ‘global’ one. Yes, it is truly global one where you can only enjoy food when you go to the walled city, the old shops and restaurants near the Purani Masjid and Lal Darwaja area, which are normally deliberately abandoned and kept chaotic by the ‘new operational model’ of Gujarat. It is disturbing but the model is exposed though most of the Bhakta media in Delhi will continue to chant about ‘prosperity’ of Gujarat but definitely not all five crore Gujaratis have same living standard, nor do they all have same rights. If all have rights then why is government making a wall in front of the slums and if it was so worried about Trump’s ‘happiness’ then it should have actually regularized the slums in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar and make them ‘world class’, that would have been the real change and I am sure each one of us would be happy and wait for such a VIP visit if that brings change in the lives of people.
In the past when a chief minister or a minister would visit the rural area, the authorities would clean the place and make things look better and people would pray that such netas come every day so that people get their amenities but this Gujarat model is humiliation of people.
Let us hope that the issues of the marginalised will continue. We know it is an event being managed for Donald Trump’s elections but we hope the international media will make efforts to reach the slums as well as get an opportunity to meet all those who face caste violence in the state. Una’s Dalit are waiting for justice and so are many others, including the girls who have been humiliated in Bhuj by their school teachers. Let the international media meet some of them and report that widely when Donald Trump visit India.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
February 16th, 2020