In all that focus on Humpty Dumpty, Alice in Blunderland and Tarzan, and on Mr Vajpayee's wanting to remove Mr Modi in 2002 and all that happened during Kandahar, what seems to have escaped attention is that Mr Arun Shourie also briefly expounded on what happened in Gujarat, and very much proceeded to offer his own version of "when a big tree falls" and Newton's third law of motion
After pointing out that he "was more affected by Atalji’s pain than by what had happened in Gujarat" and "Maybe this is my inhumanity or something. I can’t claim that I was that great liberal," he went on to say:
"but I must say that I was not all the time for this, that Modi has to go because of the killings, because in my view such things happen as a reaction, as happened in Delhi as a reaction to (Indira) Gandhi’s brutal killing. You can’t then prevent those things. Nobody can prevent those things. "
Shekhar Gupta: Or you need to be an extraordinary leader like Patel to prevent it.
Arun Shourie: Yes. But that is a very rare person.
Shekhar Gupta: But that is what leadership is all about, to do the right thing at the right time.
Arun Shourie: But there is another point to leadership. That is moral authority. You can’t run around behind every policeman and say, ‘No, no you are not checking the riot’. So you must have moral authority... Unless you have that, you cannot control police persons or anybody in such situations.
Shekhar Gupta: I do know that this always rankled with Vajpayee, that he was thwarted.
Arun Shourie: Yes, no doubt about that.
Shekhar Gupta: And I think he finally accepted with resignation that maybe this was too central to the party’s core, he was not able to defy it.
Arun Shourie: Well, either it is the party’s core or it may be his understanding of society. In my view, it is not so much about party as this is about humans... After all, in Delhi it was not the party, it was Congressmen. That is how societies react. If the state abdicates its authority, the state will take its revenge.
This is not how those who saw 1984 or 2002 and have dealt with issues of law and order felt. Why, even the person he quotes with great respect on Kandahar, Mr KPS Gill had said about 2002 in this very programme that the "riots" could well have been controlled:
The mobs were coming like Chinese waves.
They were coming in waves and the people who were affected were constantly ringing up and there was no adequate response. All this cannot just be explained by political pressure. At some point of time you have to stand up and say enough is enough.
In this case the police officers?
Entirely the police officers. The law authorises them to shoot, not the political leaders. You can order an inquiry later on, but that’s a different matter. The police officer has to realise he’s not just an officer but also a human being with a conscience.
...You know, the only time I’ve slept badly in my life was in Gujarat. Just hearing the descriptions of what was happening. Never before, never after. Some of the things that happened there were horrible. If you have to maintain law and order you have to be even-handed. You have to apply it every minute.
What do you think of Mr Shourie's claim that "You can’t then prevent those things. Nobody can prevent those things."?