Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

Gujarat after two years of ‘normalcy’

A 2004 critique of the Gujarat carnage remains disturbingly relevant to the reality of the state today

(Published in Himal Southasian March-April 2004 and January 2013)

In their famous conversation about words, Humpty Dumpty confides to Alice that while verbs are short-tempered and proud, "you can do anything with adjectives". Humpty also insists that whenever he makes a word do a lot of work, he always pays it extra.

By this token, the adjective 'normal' must have been paid an astronomical bonus for the truly stupendous amount of work that it has done in Gujarat over the past two years. Although his claims were met with disbelief at the time, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been retrospectively vindicated in his insistence that, except for the first 72 hours of the 'action-reaction' sequence, post-Godhra Gujarat has been, well, normal. Indeed, we ought to be grateful to him for drawing attention to Gujarat's most significant contribution to the national ethos since Mahatma Gandhi – the establishment of a new notion of normalcy.

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Himal Southasian