By Nasiruddin Haider Khan
Who is a Gujarati?
But alas I was wrong, even on the record Mr. Modi was speaking from his heart. On a recent trip to Gujarat, I took an auto-rickshaw from Judges Bunglow road to go to Sabarmati Ashram. It was a journey of 25-30 minutes and as usual I started talking to the driver. My usual questions- who are you? Where are you from? How is Mr. Modi and what will happen in the election?
"I am Gujarati," he said.
"That I can guess from your language."
The he said his name was Raju and said, "all Gujaratis are with Mr. Modi."
"Except for "them"."
"Them!, didn't you understand?" and he laughs.
His laugh gave me the answer what he meant by "them," but I wanted to hear from his mouth. Then he said, "Muslims are not with BJP."
"Aren't Muslims Gujaratis?"
"What are you talking about?, Muslims are not Gujaratis. Hindus are Gujaratis. How can they be Gujarati?"
Aha, I came to my senses, when Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Bhai Modi talks about Gujaratis, it includes everyone except "them."
Finally a lower middle class auto-rickshaw driver helped me understand the rhetoric of Mr. Modi.
While I was still in the midst of this confusion of who is a Gujarati and who is not, I recalled an interview by a Gujarati Lord Meghnad Desai. An economist and social activist Lord Desai said in the interview that for last one and a half decade Sangh Parivar have been actively promoting this thinking among the Hindus that only they are Gujarati and others are "them." This new thinking have been accepted by the middle class, this is the same class that is active in the online world and you can see effect of this thinking in blogs and comments on various sites. This middle class serves as the ideological courier of the Parivar. Now you can easily understand that whenever there is a mention of 5 crore Gujaratis, who is being left out.
What will we call Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, who put Gujarat on the painting map of the world. What about Bandukwala? What name will be given to garba music of Ismail Darbar? Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Saira, Rashida, Niazben where will they fit? Are they Gujarati or just "them" in Modi's Gujarat?
If you want to read this piece and other Gujarat special in Hindi, please visit at www.dhaiakhar.blogspot.com
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