Rediff Columnist Dilip D’Souza was patient enough to read this entry on my old blog (which is defunct for all practical purposes and I don’t visit it myself) and was even more gracious to leave a comment on it. I had ranted randomly in that entry, about the Congress, the BJP, the misdeeds of the Congress, about patriotism, and a few words about patriotism.
But I didn’t realize then, that I had invited the reaction of Dilip D’Souza, whom I had named in that entry, in the following words:
To sum its “achievements,” the Congress is responsible for: […] Indians to feel unpatriotic about their own country: Resident Idiot, Arundhati Roy, Romila Thapar, and Dilip D’Souza, to name a few. These are people who typically draw the world’s attention to India’s negatives and who have made careers out of trashing India and peddling lies. Patriotism comes from a deep knowledge, respect, and appreciation of one’s own culture and heritage.
I thank Dilip for leaving the following comment nearly 6 months after I wrote that entry; it has given me scope for improvement, to revise my own perceptions, knowledge, and the rest.
Someone just pointed me to this, forgive my six-month-old reply. I put this on your old blogsite, but I guess you don’t check that any more.You say:> There was a similar case during the Mumbai> (Bombay) Blasts, (little) known as the> Jogeshwari massacre/Radhabai Chawl massacre,> where many Hindu families were locked up from> the outside and roasted alive by Muslim> miscreants. How many know this?The better question, reading these lines, has got be this: What do YOU know about this?One: The Bombay blasts happened on March 12, 1993. The Radhabai Chawl massacre happened on the night of January 7/8, 1993. Therefore, it would be very interesting to learn from you how the massacre happened “during” the blasts that followed over two months later.Two: One, not “many”, Hindu family was locked up and roasted alive by Muslim miscreants. A crime horrible enough that it doesn’t need to be inflated to “many” families.Three: Radhabai Chawl is hardly “little” known. The Shiv Sena regularly points to it as the spark of the Bombay riots. Which is itself a lie, because the riots went on all through December 1992, but no matter — the point is that it is known. It figures prominently in the Srikrishna report on the riots. A dude who asks of it “How many know this?” only puts on display his own ignorance. Lastly, it would be interesting to hear from you why you appear to believe that “one’s own culture and heritage” don’t include what you call “negatives”.
Now, I read this over and over, and spent loads of time thinking about it. In the interim, I don’t know what prompted Dilip to send me a second comment–this time on my current weblog. Here it is:
Wouldn’t you care to respond to this that I put on your Aug 5 blog? Or is that too hard?
I initially deliberated whether I should send a private email to Dilip D’Souza about this, but later, thought it would be good to have my response as a separate blog entry because he had made this issue public by leaving his comment on my blog. Which is how I’ll deal with it. Now that the tone is set, my response follows.
Dilip’s contention is about my writing on the Radhabai Chawl burning rests on four points –
- I got my dates mixed up
- I got my numbers wrong–i.e, the number of people burnt alive. I mentioned “many” families, whereas he states that it was only family.
- The incident did not happen during the Bombay riots, but much earlier–January 1993
- The incident is widely known, and not as I perceive it, “little known.”
All right, let me admit that I’ve got the numbers wrong, and that it’s really bad on my part not to verify the dates and numbers before writing about it.
However, my point is entirely different; it goes beyond dates, and number of people killed and should be read in that context. How does it matter on what date, how many people were killed? It will however matter, if we use that as a stick to browbeat the issue. All right, I shall then provide some statistics in the vein of Dilip D’Souza just for its own sake. And before that, the “one family” that was burnt, consisted of the following “numbers” – 6 Females, 3 Males (two of whom were minor), out of which 5 died on the spot and one, later in the hospital. So, when Dilip asks, A crime horrible enough that it doesn’t need to be inflated to “many” families, what am I supposed to make of it? That the number of people killed isn’t “enough” for me to express outrage? Or has my erroneous use of the word “many” offended him that bad? In the same vein, when secular reports are circulated about Gujarat riot victims’ tally–2000 when I last heard it, I’m confused. The IIRC reports a figure of 900 out of which 250 are Hindu. Now, shall I apply Dilip’s words to the Gujarat riots: A crime horrible enough that it doesn’t need to be inflated to 2000? This is what I call leading an argument astray by diverging from the issue on hand. Now, is this acceptable? Oh and I forgot to keep my promise about the numbers. And they begin prior to the Radhabhai Chawl incident.
My further number-play yielded me this result:
It is simple to deduce from the comparison that the Muslim death toll was higher on all dates post January 8 1993. The reason is also not far to seek: Hindus resorted to backlash. Oh! by the way, I forgot to mention that these figures are all derived from the
Bhagavad Gita Sri Krishna Commission Report, the same source that Dilip has quoted in his comment. Now that we’re on the subject, is Dilip aware that the Krishna Report is eminently biased, and that it was rejected by the ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister, Manohar Joshi? Or, is Dilip aware that a few years ago, Varsha Bhosle had denounced the Sri Krishna Report, and Dilip’s justification of it?
Coming to the point of how “well-known” or otherwise the Radhabhai Chawl incident is, it is very evident that I spoke in terms of comparison. For those who don’t understand, let me simplify it: how well-known (or should I say, “well-publicized”) is the Radhabhai Chawl incident compared to the Gujarat riots? Dilip, it would be interesting if you could publish a poll and find out how many people know about:
- The Radhabhai Chawl incident
- The Bombay blasts/riots
- The Godhra train burning incident
- The Gujarat riots
I’m most certain you’ll find plenty of dudes who display their collective ignorance, like I have done.
You have signed off your comment with a very interesting statement:
.it would be interesting to hear from you why you appear to believe that “one’s own culture and heritage” don’t include what you call “negatives”.
I believe you have answered that yourself by saying I appear to believe that I don’t see any negatives in my own culture and heritage. That’s right, and I’ll repeat it: I merely appear to believe; in reality, I am aware that my own culture and heritage does have shades of negativity, and realize that it has to be dealt with appropriately.
Conversely, it certainly interests me to see how much you know of “one’s own culture and heritage,” or what you consider to be your culture and heritage before you can make sweeping generalizations about its adherents being fundamentalists.
I really look forward to hear/read your views on that.
For the record, I have a fair idea of it, if your articles on Rediff are any indicators of it.