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Showing posts from April, 2013

In the name of Gujarat's pride

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By Rajiv Shah
Eight years ago, addressing a gathering of state forest officials at the sprawling campus of the Gujarat Forestry Research and Training Complex in the state capital, Gandhinagar, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi seemed a little unsettled. A few mediapersons too were present, and I happened to be one of them. On April 28, 2005, Modi was confronted with this ticklish query: Will Gir no longer be the only habitat of the Asiatic lion, often addressed as the “Pride of Gujarat”? Announcing that the Asiatic lion's population had risen to 359, a rise of 32 in five years, Modi seemed to feel it was enough to seek publicity on how animal conservation under him had taken new strides – at a time when he had already invited enough ire for failing to conserve the human during the Gujarat riots.
Puzzled by the query, he looked around, but no official dared tell him the truth. Refusing to take a stand on the issue (the Gujarat government for several years had been fighting again…

Urvish Kothari's Sardar

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By Rajiv Shah
It was August 20, 2009 forenoon. I barged into the small cabin of a senior home department babu, an IAS bureaucrat who is currently working in the general administration department of the Narendra Modi administration, seeking to humbly “advise” the government on IAS postings. I found him “busier than he was”, to quote from one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s characterizations. The babu was too engrossed in scanning through BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s book, “Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence”, banned by the Gujarat government a day earlier for allegedly casting aspersions on Sardar Patel’s supposed role in partitioning India. “I am too busy. I have been given the task of finding out the objectionable references which are critical of Sardar Patel”, the official said, frantically looking into the index pages on the backside of the hard cover book. Why now? I wondered. The book had already been banned! “So was the book banned without reading it? And when did you receive the book…