Gujarat - The Making Of Tragedy
Author : Siddharth Varadarajan
Publisher : Penguin Books
Language : English
Pages : 460 pages
ISBN : 0143029001-0
This book is intended to be a permanent public archive of the tragedy that is Gujarat. It attempts to bear witness to the unspeakable events which took place there, to write history before it is rewritten, to apportion blame, to ask for justice, to raise questions that all Indians should raise.
A collective endeavour such as this would not have been possible had it not been preceded by the hard work of hundreds of journalists and concerned citizens who gave a voice to stories that might otherwise never have been heard. No less crucial has been the contribution of the relief camp organisers and volunteers, who did all they could during those terrible days and after to provide help and succour to the victims.
In trying to synthesise a coherent narrative from the mass of media accounts and fact-finding reports, my contributors and I have borrowed freely from published material. Where possible, we have acknowledged our debt. But wherever the debt has gone unacknowledged, the omission is purely accidental.
In particular, I would like to express my debt of gratitude to those whose reports have been extracted or extensively referred to: the People's Union for Civil Liberties, Vadodara and Vadodara Shanti Abhiyan, the People's Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi, Communalism Combat, the Women's Panel (Farah Naqvi, Malini Ghose, Syeda Hameed, Ruth Manorama, Sheba George, Mari Thekaekara), Sahrwaru, Awaaz-e-Niswaan and the Forum Against Oppression of Women, Shama Dalvai and Sandhya Mhatre, Kavita Panjabi, Krishna Bandhopadhyay and Bolan Gangopadhyay, Medico Friends Circle, Human Rights Watch, Sahmat, AIDWA, the Independent Commission (Kamal Mitra Chenoy, S.P. Shukla, Achin Vanaik, P.S. Subramaniam), Citizens' Initiative, the Editors Guild, the National Human Rights Commission and the Election Commission of India.
I would also like to thank Aajkal, Amar Ujala, Economic and Political Weekly, Hindu, Hindustan Times, Jan Morcha, Jansatta, Kathadesh, Nirikshak, Outlook, Seminar, Telegraph and Times of India for permission to reprint material. If this book succeeds in capturing the horror, pathos and immediacy of the situation, this is due in no small measure to the contributions by journalists from these publications. I am grateful to them, and to all the other journalists, named and unnamed, whose work has been referred to in footnotes throughout the book. Though the Indian Express produced excellent reportage on Gujarat, I have not been able to reproduce any of its stories since the newspaper, regrettably, declined to grant the necessary permission.
I am grateful to Kamini Mahadevan and David Davidar at Penguin Books India, who first approached me with the idea of a book on Gujarat and who bore patiently with me as the enterprise slowly took shape. Nandini Sundar helped me select and edit a lot of the material and was as keen as me to see this book out. Chinu Srinivasan, Shastri Ramachandaran, Tunku Varadarajan, Om Thanvi, Mrinal Pande and Sarvar Sherry Chand provided help, and had Tejbir Singh and Harsh Sethi not commissioned such fine pieces for their splendid issue of Seminar on Gujarat, this volume would have been so much the poorer.
It is perhaps inevitable that a book of this scale and design, produced at great speed, will contain a few errors, especially since the events described within have been the subject of official indifference, concealment and denial. I have tried my best to check, cross-check and verify every fact from as many different sources as possible; any errors that remain are purely inadvertent.
This book has been edited by me in my individual capacity and though I have received the generosity and cooperation my publishers and colleagues, the views expressed herein should not be taken as the views of the Times of India.
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