People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 11

March 11, 2012



Tenth Anniversary of Godhra Carnage &

The Gujarat Anti-Muslim Riots


Kanishka Prasad


GULBERG Society was a community akin to a large joint family with veteran Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri as its benevolent patriarch. A decade ago, the Gulberg Society was torn asunder by the most vicious savagery. Due to Jaffri Sa’ab’s eminence and his perpetual readiness to help others, families from neighbouring areas too had started coming to Gulberg to seek refuge from the violence that had begun to surround them. However, the unimaginable occurred here. Rape, murder including that of Jaffri Sa’ab himself and the gutting of homes meant that life was snuffed out of this complex and replaced with a silent scream that hung over it.


It was this shell of a once lively community that played host to a Ten year Memorial organised by Citizens for Justice and Peace and the Sabrang Trust, Mumbai on February 27, 2012. The memorial after many years brought together a people torn apart that fateful day. The daylong event saw survivor families come together from all parts of Gujarat and rekindle old ties, share memories and through their own stories of suffering and loss commiserate with another. The memorial was conceived at various levels. It sought to remember those who were snatched from their families, to recognise those who went against the tide to save lives of those under attack, to through this sharing of grief reaffirm the resolve to carry on the struggle so gamely fought thus far particularly on the legal front and to recognise the tireless efforts of journalists, activists and jurists who have stood with the survivors in the face of threats to their own lives. As the sun set on this memorial comprised of installations by photographer Ram Rahman, Binita Desai and Chinar Shah, a wailing wall with the pictures of the deceased and missing and a tree upon which ‘wishes’ for Gulberg could be tied, the masterful rendition of compositions by classical singer Shubha Mudgal, seemed to give that scream a voice.


Chale chalo dilo me ghav leke bhi chale chalo,

Chalo lahuluhan pao leke bhi chale chalo,

Chalo ki aaj sath-sath chalne ki zarurate,

Chalo ki khatm ho najaye jindagi ki hasrate.


Same day in Delhi, SAHMAT organised an evening of remembrance and solidarity, titled as ‘Gujarat- Ten Years After’. The programme was held at the SAHMAT office in New Delhi.  Singer Madangopal Singh rendered songs and there was a live telecast of Shubha Mudgal singing at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad. On this occasion, a Tribute Exhibition of photos of devastated Gulberg Society was also put up, that included photos of the house of slain Congress ex-MP, Ehasan Jaffri. Theatre group from Khalsa College also presented a street-play tilted Dharma.