2002 may be a long way behind for the country, but for Gujarat’s Muslims the year carries a significance like no other. It resonates in every conversation one has with the Muslims of Gujarat and yet it is a time warp most of them would like to escape. On the eve of assembly elections in Gujarat, what are the factors that are motivating the minority vote in Gujarat? CNN IBN‘s Sagarika Ghose traveled across Gujarat to get to the heart of the elections. We profile three Muslims from Gujarat, who told her their Gujarat story. You can see her entire reportage here.
Zaraf Sareshwala, Owner – BMW Showroom
Zaraf Sareshwala can be called the archetypical Gujarati businessman who puts his money where his mouth is. After the 2002 Gujarat riots, he had actively campaigned against the Gujarat CM in order to bring him to the International Court of Justice. But all that seems like a thing of the past.
Owner of a BMW showroom in Ahmedabad, he said, “I have always maintained that the Muslims need to move on. And thanks to the efforts of several people, 200 people have been convicted with life imprisonment.”
But he seems more interested in the fact that there has been a paradoxical economic resurgence among the Muslims as well, much of it without the help of the state. He said, “Last year we have sold 54 BMWs to Muslims. That is no less than 10% of our total sales.”
Rupa Modi and Azhar Modi, Residents of Gulbarga Society
For the residents of the ill-fated Gulbarga Society, personal loss always takes prominence over any development that the Gujarat CM might be ushering in the state. They cannot tide over the fact that their children were murdered in cold blood – a loss that can never be forgotten and forgiven.
They said, “Development has been made over their dead bodies.” When they talk of moving on from the events of 2002, they have only one thing to say – that justice should be delivered.
“The judgement should make history,” they added, like a balm to their wound that according to them cannot be healed by development alone.
J S Bandukwala, Retired Professor
He has a different take on why certain sections of the Muslims are rooting for Modi despite the injustice that has been done to them. He said, “We had advised Modi to apologise, but he did not.”
He has identified three kinds of Muslims who are in the frontrunner for supporting Modi. He said, “The muzawars of the dargahs, the pesh imams and the businessmen who need a favour out of Modi are his key supporters.”
Interestingly, he adds that Bohra Muslims, a class known for being very enterprising would still never support Modi though he might stand in for their mercantile aspirations.