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

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Compelling Anatomy of Communalism and Power

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up by Rana Ayyub, published by Rana Ayyub, 2016; pp 204, ₹295.

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up is an explosive book. But more than that it is a work of rare and raw courage. It brings to us, at enormous personal peril, harrowing conversations with and stories about men and women under whose watch the Gujarat carnage of 2002, and a string of extrajudicial killings that followed, unfolded. Above all Rana Ayyub’s self-published book throws intensely troubling light on the character and motivations of the political, administrative and police leadership of the Government of Gujarat during the fateful decade beginning with the carnage of 2002.

By 2010, Ayyub had already made a name for herself as a feisty and fearless reporter, mainly with audacious and penetrating exposes with the investigative news magazine Tehelka. But the murder at the age of 32 of the heroic youthful lawyer Shahid Azmi—who had spent seven years in jail on false charges as a terrorist and emerged as the defender in court of several other innocent men accused of terror crimes—set off dark months of clinical depression for the young reporter. She narrates her emotional and ethical crises in the opening, deeply personal, section of her book. With characteristic candour and honesty, she describes how she found herself unable to detach herself from the injustices and suffering that she encountered during her many investigations. A doctor, and her mother, encouraged her to heal herself by returning headlong into her work with all the courage of her convictions. That is what she did, and it is this which ultimately restored her.

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