We are deliriously enthusiastic to explore the sensational and vigorously debated documentary produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) entitled “India: The Modi Question.” The documentary delves into the murky depths of the 2002 Gujarat riots, examining the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the anti-Muslim violence that erupted in Gujarat when he was the Chief Minister of the state. This revelatory film is part of a series titled “India’s Choice,” which scrutinizes the challenges and opportunities confronting India in the twenty-first century.
In this all-encompassing article, we shall plunge headlong into the background, content, and impact of the documentary, as well as the commotion and condemnation it has triggered in India. We shall also address the Indian government’s prohibition of the documentary, its implications for free speech and media freedom, and the responses of the documentary’s supporters and detractors. By the conclusion of this article, you will possess a more profound comprehension of the importance and pertinence of the documentary, and its implications for Indian politics, society, and media.
Background and Context of the Gujarat Riots
To fully grasp the context and importance of the documentary, it is indispensable to provide some background and context of the Gujarat riots. The 2002 Gujarat riots were a series of sectarian violence that erupted in the western Indian state of Gujarat, primarily between the Hindu and Muslim communities. The violence was triggered by the incineration of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, resulting in the deaths of 59 people, mostly Hindus. The incident was widely attributed to Muslim militants, although the investigation and evidence were inconclusive.
The riots that followed the incident resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 people, primarily Muslims, and the displacement and destruction of thousands of homes, businesses, and properties. The riots were characterized by widespread pillaging, arson, rape, and homicide, and were extensively denounced by human rights organizations, civil society, and the international community. The riots were also perceived as a dereliction of duty by the state and central governments to safeguard their citizens and maintain law and order.
Narendra Modi’s Role in the Riots
Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time of the riots and was widely censured for his handling of the situation. The documentary probes the allegations of Modi’s complicity, dereliction, or apathy in the riots, and the repercussions of the riots on his political career and image. The documentary features interviews with survivors, witnesses, activists, journalists, lawyers, and politicians who were involved in or affected by the riots.
The documentary poses numerous questions about Modi’s culpability and accountability for the riots, and whether he could have done more to prevent or contain the violence. The documentary also explores the political and social factors that contributed to the riots, such as the polarization and communalization of society, the role of the media and propaganda, and the impunity and lack of justice for the victims and survivors.
Controversy and Criticism of the Documentary
The documentary has ignited a plethora of controversy and criticism in India, especially from the supporters of Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). They have accused the BBC of being partial, anti-India, and anti-Modi, and of disseminating propaganda and misinformation. They have also questioned the timing and motive of the documentary, which was released just before the state elections in Uttar Pradesh, a crucial battleground for the BJP.
The supporters of Modi and the BJP have also lambasted the documentary for being one-sided, selective, and disregarding the context and facts of the riots. They contend that the riots were a spontaneous and inevitable reaction to the burning of