A new controversy has arisen in Gujarat. This time around Ganesh Devy. That the soft-spoken Devy could cause a controversy would surprise many.
…The controversy started after Sankarshan Thakur of Tehelka spoke to Devy after the demolition of a mazar of a Sufi saint in Vadodara by municipal authorities who claimed they had only razed an encroachment. Riots broke out. Tracing the source of the growing violence in Gujarat, Ganesh Devy told Tehelka that there was a relationship between a society’s acquisitive tendency and the emergence of violence. He also talked about the role of the ‘decent’ people in breeding hatred.
…Photocopies of the piece were circulated and nearly everybody in Gujarati literature reacted angrily to Devy’s comments. Articles appeared in newspapers and writers made statements demanding that Devy tender a public apology.
…Wali’s tomb was an encroachment, the Sufi mazar was an encroachment, anything which comes in the way of a seamless Hindu Gujarati identity would be stigmatised as an encroachment and then it would be easy to remove it by popular consent. Wali’s tomb is no more, the Vadodara mazar does not exist anymore. Would the democratic world keep watching till something similar happens to Ganesh Devy?
A previous GN Devy interview by Sankarshan Thakur. An excerpt:
You do not become a bad man in Gujarat if you hate Muslims; you are normal. Decent people hate Muslims. And it is not a city phenomenon alone; this is true of villages as well. If a Muslim is traumatised, it is a normal thing. Just to give a sense of how Gujarati Hindus relate to Muslims, I will come to the Narmada issue. Gujarat is extremely pro-dam and, therefore, extremely anti-Medha Patkar. Gujaratis will call all pro-Medha people Muslims.
Thanks to email prompt by Ishwar Singh Dost for the link to the interview