People are very fascinated with 'Vibrant Gujarat', I'm not, says author Esther David | books | Hindustan Times
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People are very fascinated with 'Vibrant Gujarat', I'm not, says author Esther David

The 2002 Gujarat riots came up as an unexpected topic of discussion during the eighth edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival. Writer Esther David recalls how Ahmedabad was once a city with doors that were open to all.

books Updated: Jan 21, 2015 21:15 IST
Vishakha Saxena
Writer-Esther-David-recalls-how-Ahmedabad-was-once-a-city-with-doors-that-were-open-to-all
Writer-Esther-David-recalls-how-Ahmedabad-was-once-a-city-with-doors-that-were-open-to-all

The 2002 Gujarat riots came up as an unexpected topic of discussion during the eighth edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

During the session on 'Seven Deadly Sins of Our Times', author Esther David said she believed her sin was that she 'couldn't do anything' during the riots. David, who was born into a Bene Israel Jewish family in Ahmedabad, shared anecdotes about the city during the violence that claimed over 1000 lives.

She talked about the Wall of Ahmedabad, the doors of which were once open to all communities.

"That changed after 2002. The doors are closed and each community has a wall of its own."

In another instance, David mentioned how, before 2002, the city wasn't segregated among vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

"Communal riots are not new to Ahmedabad, but 2002 changed things," she said.

"What happened in Gujarat was a breach of trust within the community," said noted litterateur Ashok Vajpeyi adding that the state 'saw the most cruel and violent use of cell phones' in 2002.

Author Anita Anand believes 'religion has being hijacked by many fundamentalists' for various causes.

As the session approached its end, David talked about a synagogue situated in Khamasa - a communally sensitive area - which stood tall even during the riots.

"In the worst riots, Parsis and Jews have gone to synagogues," she said inviting a wave of applause from the audience. "Ahmedabad absolves all violence."

David, wasn't coy about spelling out her stand.

"People are very fascinated with 'Vibrant Gujarat', I'm not," she said.