New Delhi: The debate about `Moditva` is a metaphor for alternative visions for India and its future trajectory will be decisive not only for Gujarat but equally
for BJP, a new book says.
"In a post-Vajpayee, post-Advani age, (Gujarat Chief Minister) Narendra Modi alone among the BJP`s Gen-Next is a proven mass leader, having delivered Gujarat for a unprecedented fourth consecutive term. As the party struggles to redefine itself after the 2009 electoral debacle, the Modi model is seen by a wide section of the party rank and file as the next saviour," says writer-journalist Nalin Mehta in
"Gujarat beyond Gandhi: Identity, Conflict and Society".
According to the author, no major Indian political leader whose name has been associated with a riot has ever had a shot at the throne of Delhi.
"Modi arguably has such a shot. In 2014, is it too far-fetched to imagine a Rahul Gandhi-Narendra Modi battle at the hustings? If it does come to that, it will be a test for the idea of India as never before," the book says.
The birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and the land that produced Pakistan`s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Gujarat has been at the centre-stage of South Asia`s political iconography for over a century. This book is a collection of essays critically exploring the many paradoxes and complexities of modernity and politics in the state that was created in 1960.
The contributors provide much-needed insights into the dominant impulses of identity formation, cultural change, political mobilisation, religious movements and modes of communication that define modern Gujarat.
This book, edited by Mehta and Mona G Mehta and published by Routledge, touches upon a fascinating range of topics - the identity debates at the heart of the idea of
modern Gujarat; the trajectory of Gujarati politics from the 1950s to the present day; bootlegging, the practice of corruption and public power; vegetarianism and violence; urban planning and the enabling infrastructure of antagonism; global
diasporas and provincial politics providing new insights into understanding the enigma of Gujarat.
Tow of the contributors in this collection focus specifically on deeper issues related to the 2002 riots. While Arvind Rajagopal studies urban geographies of violence in
Ahmedabad to understand how historical patterns of spatial ordering may have contributed to a given socio-political imagination, Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi, in contrast, takes an ethnographic approach.
Rajagopal argues that historically urban growth, economic development and ghettoization appear to have worked in tandem in Ahmedabad, with the patterns of spatial expansion and capital accumulation working to force Muslims more closely
together while rendering the rest of the city as a canvas for Hindu aspirations.
Ghassem-Fachandi looks at violence through the fascinating prism of vegetarianism and researches its street discourse to investigate processes of stereotyping in Hindu nationalist mobilisation and the relationship among imageries
of Muslim meat consumption, concepts of diet and worship and Hindu notions of disgust.
There are also contributions on topics like Narmada river, authoritarian developmentalism and Politics of Modi, the Tablighi Jamaat and Svadhyaya and the strong diaspora community.