Israel and India have become great friends with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Jewish nation. As a result Israel will help India to have more sophisticated weapons to fight terror. Friendship should usher in greater peace. That is what friendship in my understanding means. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in a final sense a theft from those who are hungry and not fed,” said Dwight Eisenhower. I think that the Jewish girl Anne Frank is the wisest human being the world has ever seen. And I have been greatly disappointed to see neither the Indian PM nor his Israeli counterpart mentioned Anne and her thoughts against war and destruction, while celebrating the first ever visit of an Indian PM to the Jewish nation.
Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl ‘the single most poignant true-life story to emerge from the Second World War’ describes the misery and destruction wars bring on the innocent. On July 15, 1944, the hardly sixteen years old Anne wrote in her Diary named Kitty: “It is utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of the millions.” After that she could confide to her dearest Kitty only on July 21 and August 1, 1944. On August 4, 1944, Anne, together with her father, mother, sister and others was captured by Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, from the Secret Annexe where they had been hiding for two years. She was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and died there in March 1945, three months before her 16th birthday and barely one month before the Bergen-Belsen was liberated by the Allied Forces.
Still, even seventy two years after the democratic victory over Nazis, we don’t have answers to the pertinent questions the little girl asked. On 3rd May 1944, she wrote: “Why are millions spent on the war each day…? Why do people have to starve when mountains of food are rotting away in other parts of the world? Oh, why are people so crazy? I don’t believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago! There is a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder and kill. And until all of humanity undergoes a metamorphosis, wars will continue to be waged, and everything that has been carefully built up, cultivated and grown up will be cut down and destroyed…”
Humanity is still not ready to have the metamorphosis and millions are still spent on war each day! The difference is that today it is not millions but billions and trillions.
And read the most touching description about the 2002 Gujarat:
“…the mindless violence of 2002 had dealt us another unexpected blow. Innocents were killed. Families rendered helpless. Property built through years of toil destroyed….I was shaken to the core. ‘Grief’, ‘sadness’, ‘misery’, ‘pain’, ‘anguish’, ‘agony’ – mere words could not capture the absolute emptiness one felt on witnessing such inhumanity.”
Do you know who said it? I am sure you don’t. Addressing the Indians as ‘dear sisters and brothers’, it was said by none other than Mr. Narendra Modi in his blog immediately after an Ahmadabad court rejected a petition filed against him by Zakia Jafri in relation to the 2002 riots. See the news report, “Modi says he was ‘shaken to the core’ by 2002 riots” (The Hindu, Dec. 27, 2013, updated: May 12, 2016).
Together with Modi’s ‘remorse’, read the following I am quoting from the March-April 2002 issue of Communalism Combat (named Genocide: Gujarat 2002):
“March 6, 2002. Mass burials sans relatives for Naroda, Gulbarg victims: As many as 96 bodies of genocide victims were buried in a mass grave in the Dudheswar graveyard this evening; another mass grave for about 200 victims was being readied in Sarkhej, on the outskirts of the city.”
“A big grave was dug and the bodies, brought from the Civil Hospital morgue, lowered into it one by one. They were victims of the Naroda Patiya and the Gulberg Society carnages. Among them were five children, including a six-month-old baby; 46 women, including one who was pregnant, and a handicapped man whose crutches lay by the side. 500 persons silently watched. CM Narendra Modi driving less than a kilometer away did not visit the graveyard.”
He was ‘shaken to the core’. That might have been the reason for his not being able to visit the grave yard, I presume.
Sukumaran C. V. is a former JNU student and his articles on gender, communalism and environmental degradation are published in many publications. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org