February 21, 2020
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The Gujju Fabric

The Gujju Fabric
A few days before the Gujarat poll, I did a highly unreliable, unscientific survey of the Gujaratis in Delhi and found that, with the exception of a few arty types and babus, everyone was a Modi supporter. While good governance played a role in that support, there is a cultural and social divide among the Gujaratis of Delhi, as it is the world over. We have three main Gujarati associations in the city. The one in the old city is for the shopkeepers in Cloth Market and in the alleys of Chandni Chowk. There are two in south Delhi, one for the elite and the other for the not so elite. There is not a single Gujarati Muslim member in any of them.

The Gujarati Hindus and Muslims simply do not mix. The Hindu will not eat at a Muslim home; the Muslim might not mind a vegetarian meal but he is never invited. Not even at weddings. Some of my closest friends in Delhi are Muslims; my ancestral village is predominantly Muslim but I do not know a single Muslim there. Neither do any of my relatives who have lived there all their lives. This religious divide, with an undercurrent of hostility, is more pronounced among Gujaratis than any other community in the country. And Modi exploited it superbly.

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