Friday, 7 June 2013

Modinama-0: Outlook Article

{Work in progress}
See also
Modinama 2

This was the first time I saw Madhu Kishwar in the role of atrocity denier and white washer as she attacked the activists -
However, the Gujarat riots of 2002 converted Modi bashing into an extremely rewarding career advancement strategy for media persons, NGO activists, academics and sundry intellectuals. Conversely, you are condemned to lifelong perdition, treated as a political and intellectual outcast subject to unending vilification campaigns starting with being labelled a fascist if you dare say one word either in defence of Modi or suggest a bit of caution to Modi bashers.  
The most unforgivable crime attributed to Modi is that he orchestrated the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims in 2002. He is alleged to be a man with a fascist mindset with Muslims of Gujarat supposedly living as an endangered minority in perpetual fear and insecurity.  Interestingly this charge is most loudly and aggressively levelled by NGO activists who have received massive support—financial material and political form the Congress party and its governments as well as powerful international donor agencies.
Many of the points that she raised were rebutted, but there has been no response from her. According to her, she was unaware of these, Well, now she has been aware for 3 months when I brought them to her notice Some of her claims and actual facts are presented below
Even the highly partisan Sachar committee report provides concrete evidence that Muslims of Gujarat are doing far better than Muslims of Congress or Left ruled states in matters of education, jobs, business opportunities as well as crime-free environment. Recently, the Times of India reported that Gujarat with a 9 % Muslim population has 10% Muslim personnel in its police stations. No other state matches this figure. If this is not proof of inclusive governance, what is? Not a single TV channel thought this vital piece of information worth 5 minutes discussion even though it belies the myth of systematic discrimination against Muslims.

Here is what I found from Frontline of 2006 that Muslim population in Gujarat as about 9% while in Police the figure was under 6% as per National Crime Records Bureau Record  So Muslim representation in Police force in Gujarat had jumped to 10 or 11% under the benign rule of Modi! I was impressed. But knowing of Times of India's record for planted stories, paid news etc., decided to do some independent investigation.

As per National Crime Records Bureau, during the year 2011 the total police personnel in Gujarat was 71670 out of which muslims constituted 3087 making 4.3% of the total. Andhra Pradesh during 2011 had 8933 muslim police personnel out of a total of 89404 making a total of 10% of the total while in the general population as per 2001 census muslims constituted 9.17% of the population. Of course there are other states with worse figure; Gujarat is not at the bottom, it is not at the top. It is one of the average states.

Times of India and Economic Times had earlier come up with stories of Teesta Spicing up Gujarat atrocity stories. The rebutta has not been given enough publicity and even after verdict in Naroda Patiya case, there are sites which repeat the TOI story.
The systematic demonisation of Narendra Modi in the media began with Medha Patkar’s Narmada Bachao Andolan. Though Patkar has played a historic role in raising awareness about the plight of villagers whose lands are arbitrarily taken away for mega dams and “development projects”, she did an incalculable harm to her own cause by overstating her case, especially with regard to resettlement operations of dam oustees in Gujarat. It projected Modi government in particular and all Gujaratis in general as intrinsically demonic forces that were out to decimate the “poor tribals”. 
Till I read Madhu Kishwar's write up in Outlook, I did not even link up her opposition to NBA with Modi. Looking back, I realise that her opposition to NBA was strong only in 2000s. This is what she had written in 2000 (before Modi) --

Sardar Sarovar Project which has been embroiled in a fiery controversy for more than a decade. Opinion is sharply divided. The pro-Dam lobby projects it as a big boon whereas the anti-Dam group has dubbed it as a monumental disaster. Those who have tried to take more balanced or nuanced positions based on the extensive information now available have been effectively marginalized. Even the Supreme Court has failed to resolve the stalemate because the Court can at best grant temporary stay orders but is not in a position to terminate construction of the dam. Numerous international agencies have got involved in the anti-Dam Campaign, leading to still greater confusion and polarization. The two sides have hurled endless accusations through the press but have seldom been brought together to work out a plausible solution except through bureaucratic committees where each side reiterates its position and charges. The stalemate however continues. Despite extensive media coverage of the issue, even highly educated, technically qualified people have been unable to figure out whose claims are more genuine—the environmental concerns, or whether the relief and rehabilitation packages being offered are adequate or unjust. In fact, even journalists are divided along pro-dam and anti-dam lines. Therefore, the coverage has been equally polarized. Articles in the media can be neatly divided into pro NBA (Narmada Bachao Andolan) and pro-SSP (Sardar Sarovar Project) positions.

And she continues in her article --

Those who wish to be counted among the problem solvers of India need to:
* Keep an open mind, especially with regard to facts, no matter how convinced one is about the correctness of one’s own position.
*One must guard against the tendency to simply trash and reject outright the views of those who are taking an opposing position.
*Avoid the temptation to stick to or seek out only like minded people for debate and discussion.
*Be willing to concede the legitimate grievances of even those they consider political opponents. It is only when one displays the ability to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate grievances and has the political courage to accede to the legitimate demands of even the most unreasonable groups, that one earns the moral right to take a firm, unyielding stance against their unreasonable demands.
*Have a realistic appreciation of what solutions can actually be carried through while bridging the gap between conflicting groups.

Her 2006 position on NBA is here Again Modi does not figure here.
Then she deals with position of agriculture and in particular cash crops like Bt-Cotton
Moreover, Gujarat government is providing 90% subsidy for drip irrigation in order to being about efficient water utilisation.
Now in Tamil Nadu as far as drip irrigation is concerned,
"While 100 per cent subsidy (maximum of Rs.43,816 per acre) is given to small and marginal farmers, other farmers would be able to get 75 per cent subsidy to adopt drip irrigation to cultivate crops like long staple cotton, maize, groundnut and sugarcane."
About recharging ground water, Gujarat is in a better position because of Narmada. But other states are not lagging behind as far as check dams etc are concerned.

No one in TN is tom toming about the next the PM being Karunanidhi or Jayalalitha.
Gulati also explains that Bt Cotton has produced an economic miracle in Gujarat. Cotton yields have gone up by 80% in Gujarat while pesticide consumption has come down dramatically. Gujarat government made it easy for its farmers to access high yielding sturdy seeds whereas the UPA government under pressure from ill-informed NGOs is putting all manners of hurdles in farmers acquiring better seeds. As per Gulati’s estimates, Bt cotton has created a Rs 10,000 cr export potential per year. However, in Maharashtra Bt cotton is comparatively less successful; it has even led to farmer suicides and economic distress. This is because over 50% of the cotton crop area in Gujarat is irrigated while Vidarbha is growing cotton with less than 5% area under irrigation. Bt cotton can’t grow without assured irrigation.
There is very sparse coverage of rural news in Main stream English media. However about Bt cotton story in Gujarat -
After eight years of uninterrupted success, Bt Cotton seems to have run into trouble in Gujarat. Scientists of Monsanto, the multinational giant that developed Bt Cotton in India with Mahyco, have detected unusual survival of pink bollworm (a pest) while monitoring the 2009 cotton crop in Gujarat.
Pink bollworm was found in the cotton crop of Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagarh and Rajkot districts. These districts had reportedly started using Bt Cotton illegally since 1998, four years before the genetically modified variety of cotton was launched for commercial use in the country.
Scientists have found unusual survival of pink bollworm to first-generation single-protein Bollgard cotton. Testing was conducted to assess resistance to Cry1Ac, the Bt protein in Bollgard cotton. Similarly pink bollworm resistance to Cry1Ac was confirmed in the four districts.
Also, escalating costs and other problems have reduced the percentage of farmers growing GM crops in Gujarat. While 80 per cent of Khedbrahma’s farmers were known to be growing Bt cotton till recently, of late the figure has reduced to 10 to 15 per cent. Arvind Bhai, a leading Bt farmer in earlier days, said with exasperation, “I tried all kinds of treatments, spent a lot of money, but my Bt cotton crop did not recover. So I decided to give up this crop.” A similar experience was shared by other farmers of the village like Ashok Bhai.
But then the paid news aspect of Bt- Cotton success story is well known . I am not aware of anyone trashing Sainath siory on that.

To be fair, Madhu Kishwar has pointed out the importance of irrigation for the success of Bt.cotton. Opinions are still divided over it. It is not a simple case of bigotted NGOs on one hand and a progressive CM on the other.


  1. Madam this is impressive. Thank you for taking this up. This was very much needed. Hope you would complete this.

  2. You are doing a great social service. Only such findings fixed the faulty leaders oriented to fascism.


Critical comments welcome