Home Articles & Books redefining Democracy as a Positive to Communalism

Redefining Democracy as a Positive Alternative to Communalism

by Rohini Hensman, Vikalp X13, 2002,


27 February, 1933: one of the blackest days in Germ an history. That was the date when the Berlin Reichstag, the seat of Germany's parliament, was set on fix. Hitler and the Nazis used the event as a pretext to hit at their Communist and Social Democratic opponents, annul basic rights, increase their share of the vote, and consolidate their power- Subsequent investigations showed that those who were accused of plotting and carrying out the arson could not have done so, and it was the Nazis themselves who lighted the fire) But that did not prevent Germany from going through the nightmare of fascism, and the murder of millions of people in Nazi concentration camps and gas chambers.

27 February, 2002: one of the blackest days in Indian history. Following the burning of a bogie of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra station in Gujarat, a genocidal massacre of Muslims throughout Gujarat was unleashed. Reports by numerous agencies who investigated the carnage concluded that it was planned well in advance, and carried out with the active complicity of the state government. Various spokespersons from the Sangh Parivar followed up the slaughter with open threats to do the same in the rest of India.

Initial accusations that the train was burned by a Muslim mob which surrounded it had to be abandoned when the forensic report revealed that the fire had started from within the bogie, fuelled by a large quantity of inflammable material. As in the case of the Reichstag fire, suspects from the community being scapegoated were arrested and apparently found guilty, without any explanation as to how they could have carried out the deed and escaped unharmed from a train packed with hostile Ram sevaks. When the aftermath is taken into account, the 'date begins to appear as something more than an uncanny coincidence.



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