ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Our Future or Our Past?

Post-Godhra Gujarat

Lest We Forget History: Tracing Communal Violence in Gujarat 2002 by P G J Nampoothiri and Gagan Sethi (Bangalore: Books for Change, International Publishing House), 2012; pp xii + 156, Rs 300.

Communal conflagrations in our country have become a cynical means to keep the traumatic memories of the Partition of 1947 alive. The ethnic cleansing in Gujarat in 2002, marks a high point in this pathology of violence. More than the events themselves, the continuing response to them has brought about a new collective struggle for the constitutional ideals we have set ourselves as a “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic”.

P G J Nampoothiri, a retired officer of the Indian Police Service in Gujarat, and Gagan Sethi, a long time human rights activist there, meticulously trace the trajectory of the pogrom in Gujarat and its aftermath in their book Lest We Forget History. The authors follow the horrific events with cool objectivity and no emotional hype. At the very beginning of their report they ask a compelling question that still awaits an answer: “Did 2002 erase 65 years of gains of demo­cracy and nation building at one go?” (Preface, p viii).

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