Former state health and tourism minister and Gujarat Government spokesperson Jay Narayan Vyas referred to the 2002 Gujarat riots as a ‘momentary bad dream’, ‘wrong incident’ and averred that ‘nobody in the right sense of mind would justify it’, in a lecture that he delivered on the role of communicators in managing government institutes and issues related to governance.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Role of Communication in shaping Public Institutes and Good Governance’ organised by the Public Relations Society of India-Ahmedabad Chapter in the city on Saturday, he touched upon various functions that can be done by effective communication.
“Many a times you will get a chance to give answers in the face of criticism and I during my debates, which you may have seen in the channels from Gujarat; for instance when they would refer to Sohrabuddin (case) and the 2002 riots, (I)have successfully done that . I said you are only so focused on the bloodshed which happened in 2002 in that particular time- that it is deplorable. Nobody in the right sense of mind would justify it. Are you aware about which you are talking (the city) is one; which is making the highest per capita blood donations in the country. I said this “momentary bad dream” or “wrong incident that happened”; that you would like to bring it to the fore and leave to public memory or will (you) remember Ahmedabad as the city which has a single place as the largest number of kidney transplantations done anywhere in the world; the place where per capita blood donation is the highest in the country. We are only fifth in the world… This is the city where highest number of knee joint replacements take place. Etle aapne aa je sari baju che ene ghani vakhte anjaan kari diye che(Many a times we tend to ignore the positive side).”
Vyas enjoyed a 20 year long career as a government functionary and as a cabinet minister until he lost in the State Assembly elections of 2012 from Siddhpur constituency.
As the former minister and spokesperson of the state government under former CM Narendra Modi, Vyas drew examples from his chequered career as the former Director of iNDEXTb (Industrial Extension Bureau) which he called the ‘marketing office of the state government’ and his stint as a health minister among others to explain the significance of communication as a ‘confidence builder’ and how it helped him turn a crisis into an advantage.
He said, “When an outbreak of Hepatitis B broke out in Modasa (2009), people would walk around with a cloth covering their face even though Hepatitis B does not spread through air. When I went there, I walked a kilometer and even told people about this. The next day, many leading dailies and newspapers carried the headline that ‘Hepatitis B does not spread through air and the health minister himself walked and proved this’ and then Modasa has never got scared of Hepatitis B again.”