November 09, 2006

More Orwell

You may remember my HT article Just as Orwell predicted, about the perception that the Bombay bomb blasts of March 12 1993 happened before the Bombay riots of December 1992 and January 1993.

I was reminded of it this morning, when someone circulated a recent article in The Tribune by Amrik Singh, former Vice-Chancellor of Patiala's Punjabi University: The Srikrishna Report: Why it is not being acted upon. It prompted me to dispatch this letter to The Tribune.
    Dear Editor,

    I read with interest Amrik Singh's article The Srikrishna Report: Why it is not being acted upon (October 30 2006). Dr Singh asks a very crucial question that must be answered: why is there no punishment for those who were responsible for the riots in Mumbai in 1992-93? More of us must ask that question and demand justice; I am grateful that Dr Singh has raised this issue.

    But I am puzzled by these lines in his article: "The report on the riots which took place in March 1993 was completed and, after the due process of law, some individuals were found guilty. So far, so good, as they say. But how does the party in power in Maharashtra today answer the question that the due process of law is not being followed in the riots which occurred only a few months later?"

    What does Dr Singh mean by this?

    I suspect he means "blasts" and not "riots" when he says "the riots which took place in March 1993" -- because the blasts (whose trials he refers to in his article) happened on March 12 1993.

    But then Dr Singh refers to the "riots which occurred only a few months later". I am astonished by how many people seem to believe this, that the riots happened after the blasts. In fact, they did not: the riots happened in December 1992 and January 1993. The blasts came two months later, in March 1993.

    What could have persuaded as learned a man as Dr Singh to believe the opposite?

    I would be grateful if you would forward this letter to Dr Singh. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

amazing! im speechless. how do people get it so wrong?? who is the blogger?

Anonymous said...


Nearly by the same token that you took riots as blasts since that happened in Mar'93, perhaps Mr.Singh meant 'few months EARLIER' not later and its an honest mistake.

Off-topic, I have kind of debugged why some of us react to slightly offy observations of yours the way we do.

The altitude from which you attack the 'slottism' inherent in many of us (eg. Muslim, Dalit) is inspiring. This sets up a higher standard of expectations from you. When you slip or seem to slip from those heights, it jars.

I realize both the elevation and descent take place in OUR mindspace.
I am done with it, but pls dont be surprised to continue to receive comments like "Whiney today, Dilip?" from ppl who basically respect you.

You will be held to higher standards since you write higher.


Anonymous said...

appreciate the persistance man, the first article was one of my first reads in this space :)

Dilip D'Souza said...

Pradeep, I find it sort of amazing too.

Jai, I am sure it is a honest mistake. In fact, I'm sure it was a honest mistake with all the previous people I mentioned too. They've just formed this impression in their minds, that's all.

For the rest: I don't know what you mean by "offy". Nor do I know what writing "higher" means. I haven't followed in what respect there's a "slip" from some "heights" in this piece. I also haven't followed how pointing out a mistaken sequence of events amounts to whining, though I have absolutely no problem if you think I am whining.

But please do indeed hold me to standards, the higher the better. It's what I expect and crave.

Anonymous said...

The off-topic comments were just that, off-topic. They were general and nothing to do with the subject of this post; the "whiney" reference was from some other commenter lonng ago.

By 'write higher' I meant your writing generally falls on the higher moral plane, ans tends to make your readers aspire to these standards themselves.


Dilip D'Souza said...

your writing generally falls on the higher moral plane...

No it does not, nor am I interested in it doing so.

Anonymous said...

i googled and found the blogger. what a loser. he goes on and on about his correction. but how'd he get the idea in the firrst place? that point he misses.

Pareshaan said...

So what did start the riots, I was of the opinion that the RadhaBhai Chawl incident was used to get the rioting started. Even Suketu Mehta has the same in his Maximum City - Right?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Pareshaan: in short. Riots happened in December 1992 and January 1993. What's usually called the "first phase" petered out by 3rd week of December. Various violent incidents started happening again on Jan 1 -- killings, stabbings, 50 buses burned one day, 13 people dead another day, that sort of thing. Early on Jan 8 morning, the Radhabai Chawl atrocity happened. The violence continued through most of January.

How an incident that happened in the middle of the two months of riots, and that happened a week after the second phase started, can be considered to have "got the rioting started" is beyond me, but you're right: a number of people do indeed believe that now.

I've been meaning to put up a post with several clippings from Bombay papers from those very January days, to underline all this. I will do it soon.