In Ahmedabad, the city which witnessed the criminal assault on Muslims in 2002, a museum is being erected.


Gulberg Museum of Resistance will be a professionally built institution of resistance that acknowledges the horrors and scale of inter community conflict that has plagued independent India and contain widespread documentation of the same. Victim survivors will be the soul and centre of this museum of resistance and will every year commemorate the February 28, 2002 with prayers and remembrances. Films, documents, art and literature on the subject will be available on the site that will become a live centre of activities for the anti-communal movement in the country. No one will, when this project is complete, be able to arrive in Ahmedabad city without paying a visit to what transpired here in 2002.


For nearly six years now, over 40,000 survivors of independent India’s state sponsored carnage in the western Indian state of Gujarat have been denied dignified acknowledgement of, or reparation to, the magnitude of the indignity and violence they suffered.  With the recent electoral victory in the state the pain and humiliation of the victim survivors is further denied. A quiet yet dignified and firm resistance to this attempt of brazen state denial lies at the heart of this idea of resistance.


Located in the heart of the Ahmedabad city, Gulberg Society, Meghaninagar that was the scene of a day long massacre in which 70 persons were killed offers the site for this resistance. For six years now, the survivors, waiting for justice have withstood selling out to hawkish buyers who would be happy to obliterate any visible public memory of this state sponsored carnage. The opportunity offers us all, private citizens, foundations and entrepreneurs the opportunity to build a professional institution that energises the survivors and human rights defenders who have stood by their side. The Gulberg Museum of Resistance will be housed in Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace with survivors on the advisory board and while, being rooted in 2002, expand to cover the scores of instances of mass crimes that have dogged us. Survivors from incidents all over Gujarat, including the mass carnages at Godhra, Naroda Gaon and Patiya, Odh Sardarpura, Vadodara, Panchmahal and Dahod…Located in Gujarat, this museum of resistance will map the many and varied instances of communal violence and victimization over the decades…be it the Kashmiri Pandits in the valley or the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir, the Sikh Survivors of 1984, the voices of survivors from Meerut or Bhagalpur -all victims of violence,regardless of community, will find a space and a voice here. Tales of survival of the victim survivors of the Godhra mass arson will sit side by side with those of the post Godhra carnages.


Be it Godhra, Gulberg Society, Meghaninagar, Ahmedabad, Naroda, Sardarpura or Odh, the locations of orgies of violence stand as ghostlike relics even today. The tiny blocks, apartments and homes within Gulberg Society in the city of Ahmedabad have evidence of the depth and scale of the violence unleashed in the damaged and scarred walls, cracked by ravaging furnaces of flames that charred electric connections. Room after room and home after home in this society will be sombre reminders to us all,  supporters of the resistance, of the horrors unleashed by communal violence. From the ashes of these bitter memories will emerge an understanding, programmes and activities that will in themselves give shape to the resistance that we are trying to build.


The Task Ahead: For this to happen and to ensure safe passage of sale to the survivors, we are inviting individual and generous contributions that will make this dream come true. Contributions should be made to Sabrang Trust, Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Mumbai 400049. These will be publicly displayed in a scroll of honour.


Before and After


Hailing from India’s largest religious minority, Gujarat’s survivors today live in hope of justice that has in most cases, been delayed if not denied. Nineteen of Gujarat’s 25 districts were torn apart by bitter targeted strife that left 2,500 dead. To date, of the total of 413 ‘missing’ bodies, 228 have not been found. Four hundred girls and women were victims of sexual violence.  Over 1,68,000 persons were turned, overnight by a remorseless administration into internally displaced persons. Totally, 23,873 homes were seriously damaged or totally destroyed. A total of 14,330 shops, informal businesses and  1,100 hotels were irretrievably damaged. Six years later, the victim survivors face a denial of justice and pathetic compensation. Of the 566 Mosques, Dargahs, Madrassas and Churches specifically targeted in the violence, 167 have still not been repaired. Few were repaired through state funds, a vast majority through community funding.


Teesta Setalvad, Zakia Appa Jafri, Tanvir Jafri, Rupa Mody, Imtiyaz Seed Khan Pathan, Firoz Guzar Pathan, Saira Sandhi, Members of the Board of Trustees of Sabrang and CJP:Vijay Tendulkar (President), IM Kadri (Vice-President), Arvind Krishnaswamy (Treasurer),Alyque Padamsee, Cyrus Guzder, Javed Akhtar, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam, Nandan  Maluste, Anil Dharkar, Rahul Bose and Cedric Prakash.  

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