What Goes On In The Mind Of a Mob? Book on Gujarat Riots Tells Us

Revati Laul tells us what made her go to Gujarat post 2002 and write her debut non-fiction ‘The Anatomy of Hate’.

2 min read

Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Cameraperson: Abhishek Ranjan
Video Producer: Chandni Sharma

What’s common between Pranav, Dungar and Suresh Jadeja – three men from Gujarat? Their connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots, that saw the killing of approximately 2,000 people – both Hindus and Muslims.

Senior journalist Revati Laul in her debut non-fiction ‘The Anatomy of Hate’, documents the stories of these men and their role in the mobs across Gujarat, that went on a rampage, following the burning of a train comprising 58 karsevaks in Godhra on 27 February 2002.

Not only does Laul look the mob in the eye in her book published by Context/Westland, she gives it a human form. The gory details of the murders, and the lives of these men beyond the riots, tells an all too human story, revealing humanity’s worst demons. But this story is not all about hate – it’s also about forgiveness.


In a video interview with The Quint, Revati Laul gives us a sneak peak into the book’s three protagonists. Here are some excerpts:

What took you to Gujarat and how did this book come to be?

I used to be NDTV’s Gujarat correspondent the year after the 2002 riots. And I took myself there to understand how an entire state had got radicalised in one way. Everyone I spoke to, all of middle-class Gujarat, kept saying ‘You will not understand why we supported the riots.’

Tell us about the man who killed Majid’s family, who is one of your book’s protagonists.

On one day, on 28 February 2002, 97 people were killed. And some of the most heinous crimes was committed by a man who then became my other protagonist – a man called Suresh Jadeja, who killed Abdul Majid’s family. But if you look at Suresh carefully, you’ll see that he is not just an individual. He represents an orgiastic fantasy for a whole group of people. Because he is bragging about his crimes and he in fact said, ‘I raped Muslim women till they were pulverised to pickle.’

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