The Gujarat model, of heartbreak homes and drug lords

A dhow full of 3,089 kg charas, 158 kg meth and 25 kg morphine; and a harrowing tale of moving house: '‘I have been barred because I wasn’t born a Gujarati"

Crew of the Iranian dhow laden with drugs with their NCB and Navy captors aboard the Coast Guard ship 'Meera Behn'
Crew of the Iranian dhow laden with drugs with their NCB and Navy captors aboard the Coast Guard ship 'Meera Behn'

AJ Prabal

He shifted to Gujarat, he said, captivated by the prime minister’s grand vision and the promise of GIFT city.

The young man, a vice president with J.P. Morgan, liked what he saw, decided to buy an apartment and paid the advance. A vegetarian and a Baniya by caste, who had lived in Mumbai for years, he did not anticipate any trouble, being neither Muslim nor Dalit.

Heartbreak homes

This is the story of Anirudh Kejriwal, who posted on X: ‘I have been barred from moving in, not because of anything I’ve done, but because I wasn’t born a Gujarati.

'Worse yet, I’m warned that even if I manage to get in, happiness will be out of reach, and troubles will follow.’

The apartment owner told media that Kejriwal would get his advance back.

Kejriwal posted that the delay in getting an NOC from the society was his first inkling that all was not well: ‘My concerns were confirmed when the society’s chairman and management openly stated their refusal to allow people from ‘other’ castes to move in... the situation escalated quickly with nearly 30 people gathering, threatening me with dire consequences if I proceeded. They demanded proofs of ancestry and caste, to which, under pressure, I complied...’

After going public on 25 February, Kejriwal has maintained radio silence on social media.

This young banker’s nightmare is par for the course for those living in Gujarat. Tenants have been told that they would have to vacate if egg shells are found in their dustbins. They are required to submit a declaration that their non-Hindu friends, especially Muslims, if any, would not visit; that plumbers, mechanics and electricians would be engaged only from society-approved panels.

God’s GIFT to humanity? More like the road to hell.

Who are the drug lords?

In the last week of February, the Indian Navy, aided by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), seized a suspicious Iranian dhow carrying 3,089 kg of charas, 158 kg of methamphetamine and 25 kg of morphine.

In the international market, one kilogram of charas is priced at Rs 7 crore. While the Union home minister, Amit Shah, commended the personnel for this ‘historic’ haul—said to be the largest to date—the activity of international drug cartels on the west coast of India, especially along the Gujarat coast, is disturbing.

Nobody knows the quantity of contraband going undetected or the percentage being seized. Clearly, the drug cartels would not send such consignments without recovering part of the total cost.

So, who are the drug lords and who is making the payments? Are there Indians among them and where are the drugs headed to?

Too many unanswered questions.

The famous 'Gujarati model'

Why are people from the state trying to migrate illegally to the UK, Canada and the US, if the ‘Gujarat model’ of development is all it’s cracked up to be?

Among the growing numbers of Indians caught trying to illegally enter the US, a high number is from Gujarat, where the BJP has been in power from 1995.

For a dipstick measure of the state’s achievements during the BJP’s extended run in power, consider its monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE)—in the state’s rural areas, it is Rs 3,798, just a touch higher than the all-India average (Rs 3,773); and for urban Gujarat, Rs 6,621 against the national average of Rs 6,459.

Higher and technical education is privatised and expensive, with 508 new nursing schools approved in the past two years, of which only one is run by the state government.

While 390,000 people had qualified in teacher eligibility tests, as per data tabled in the assembly, there are 5,940 vacant posts of teachers in government higher secondary schools and 3,260 posts in secondary schools.

Go figure.

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