Dressed in Pathani suit, Modi inaugurates heritage week at Sarkhej Dargah

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: Chief Minister Narendra Modi seems to be desperate for his image makeover from a Hindutva hardliner to a liberal Hindutva leader. After fielding Muslims for the first time in Gujarat on BJP election symbol in last month’s local bodies and district panchayat elections, Modi on Friday evening inaugurated the Heritage Week celebrations here at Sarkhej dargah of Sheikh Ahmed Khattu Ganj Bakhsh

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Dressed in Pathani Salwar-Kameez, Modi inaugurated the recently renovated exhibition hall within the campus of the dargah. The campus also houses the graves of three Muslim rulers of Gujarat, a huge water tank and an old palace structure. The Hritage Week is being organized by organized by Archaeological Survey of India, Gujarat Institute of Housing and Estate Developers (GIHED) and Sarkhej dargah management committee.

Appreciating the Sufi tradition, Modi told the audience that Kashmir could perhaps have been free from terror and violence had Sufi tradition been intact in the border state. Known as a Hindutva hardliner, Modi stressed about the need to be liberal in present times and conserve heritage. However, he did not say anything about when the tomb of Gujarat’s famous Urdu poet Vali Gujarati would be restored. The tomb was on the roadside just opposite Ahmedabad Police Commissionerate with huge police presence round the clock, yet it was destroyed by using machines belonging to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation during 2002 anti-Muslim riots and a metalled road was constructed over it. Several memoranda have been submitted to the state government for its restoration since then, but no progress has been reported on this front so far.

Last week, Modi also dropped in at the residence of 96-year-old former Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer at Kochi in Kerala to inquire about his health. Justice (retd) Iyer had headed Citizens Tribunal that had investigated 2002 riots and passed severe observations with regard to state government’s failure to curb the killing and destruction of Muslims. Though Modi’s media managers claimed that Justice(retd) Iyer had wished to meet Modi but the Justice(retd) Iyer later on told media that it was Modi who had expressed his wish to see him. Modi was in Kerala to attend the wedding of Gujarat principal secretary K Kailashnathan who hails from Kerala.

But political analysts say that Modi is using these things as a strategy to promote his political career and somehow takeover the leadership of BJP facing a vacuum at national level. “We are dealing with a difficult customer’’, comments human rights activist J S Bandukwala, adding Modi is adept at the art of gaining publicity.

“However, we will never compromise and allow Modi in his games’’, affirmed Bandukwala.