Monday, August 29, 2022

The Gujarat Files - Rana Ayyub

 Vinod gave me this book. It's a self-published one by Rana Ayyub who was an investigative journalist with Tehelka and who did a series of investigations on the Gujarat riots and the subsequent happenings. Rana, an investigative journalist, goes as an American film maker to find out the truth about the role of the police and the administration in the Gujarat riots backed by her website, Tehelka, and its bosses. 

Rana poses as Maithali Tyagi, a filmmaker who wants to make a film about Gujarat and meets several police officers in trying to uncover the truth. There is nothing to directly implicate the bosses, Modi who was CM and Amit Shah, who was Home Minister, but enough is said to read between the lines. Reading the book brought back all those cases to mind - Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi, Tulasi Prajapati, Ishrat Jahan and the other three boys, Haren Pandya, Ehsan Jaffri. The top cops she met give a lot of information quite willingly and say that the encounters were done at the behest of the Minister. Interestingly they also say that the encounters and other such dirty work was given to the lower caste officers. That Amit Shah went to jail and was banned from entering Gujarat was another piece of information I had forgotten. And that Modi and Amit Shah have been working with and for each other for a long long time is also refreshed. It's incredible where they have reached today.

Rana takes great risks and gets a lot of dope from sources who have been in the thick of the action but Tehelka tells her they cannot carry the story as Modi has become the PM. Rana however self-published it for reasons that are obvious - no publisher would probably touch this book and court trouble. That said, most of the information is what we have read about (not from these sources though). Her own story reads like a film script though - undercover journo, Mike the cameraman, Paani and other characters.

For sheer guts in doing what you did and also self-publishing this book, Rana Ayyub, take a bow. That said there were a few typos (excusable), the interviews were a bit jerky as she kept the relevant portions in I suppose. But highly readable and also important to read as well to know about a part of Indian history that's as controversial as the Emergency perhaps.          

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