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Monday, July 16, 2018

Silence Please

The hush is still loud in Gandhinagar after Jaswant Singh got back to the BJP last week,a bare nine months after Narendra Modi himself led the charge to shove him out...

Written by Rajeev PI | Published: June 28, 2010 3:06:11 am

The hush is still loud in Gandhinagar after Jaswant Singh got back to the BJP last week,a bare nine months after Narendra Modi himself led the charge to shove him out, spiking his book in one determined swipe. There is no official confirmation if the party in Gujarat had since taken to Lao Tsu,who said silence is a source of great strength.

The issue is not just about banning a book and having that overturned in no time. If something like Alice in Wonderland could be a no-no in China once,and Arundhati Roy’s Booker-winner could be dissected in Supreme Court for sleaze,why not ban a Jaswant Singh tome ?

After all,his was “a defamatory work on Sardar Vallabhai Patel questioning his patriotic spirit…it questions his role in partition… it is an attempt to tarnish his image”. Worse,it was a grave “distortion of historical facts” too. This is what Gujarat was told when the axe fell.

This feeling had crossed divides. The Gujarat Congress,claiming a more than equal Sardar Patel legacy,had demanded “more concrete action” and not just a ban,even if it did not advise what that ought to be.

But the problem with banning books is,someone needs to read them first. The Gujarat High Court had observed throwing the axe,not the book,out of the window : “It is difficult to believe that the author (of the ban notification) has really read or comprehended what the author of the book has to say…….in what manner the contents (of the book) are objectionable and against national interest is not discernible….”.

Until the silence melts,no one would know if the state BJP would now endorse the book’s contents,since Jaswant Singh has stood by it even after his return. Particularly when he may even break bread or hold hands with the Gujarat patriots,unless the state party does him a Nitish Kumar.

A NO-CLUE BLAST

Looking back,it was almost Kafkaesque. Bakranu taju ane chokhu mutton (fresh and clean mutton),said the scrawled board above where the bomb went off,and tore through 15-year-old Jainul Abdeen Ghori’s chest,when he was rushing to buy medicines for his ailing aunt.

A year and a half later,the Gujarat police,which had famously cracked every other bomb blast in no time,has no idea who put the bomb near that packed village mosque in Modasa. No arrests,no clues,no witnesses,no evidence. No matter what the Mumbai ATS had been saying about it looking too similar to the Malegaon blasts. Only one bomb went off,only one boy died,only local cops need to look at it — not even the state Anti-Terror Squad (ATS).

With the Centre finally deciding to step in and hand over the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last week many fingers may still remain crossed,some may fidget.

It is not known how many more Bhakranu taju lambs should go to the slaughter,before the state police decides to be equally capable,no matter who put the bombs where and how.

rajeev.pi@expressindia.com

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