Noted historian Ramachandra Guha, whose latest book is a biography of Mahatma Gandhi, said on Sunday that Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel together built India after Gandhi’s assassination in 1948.
Guha said the “rivalry” between the two stalwarts is being cropped up today by people with vested interests and maintained that both Patel and Nehru helped build the foundations of modern India.
“After Gandhi’s death, Patel and Nehru put their differences aside and kept India together. They laid the foundation of modern India. After Patel’s death too, Nehru carried forward Gandhi’s legacy,” he said on the closing day of the ongoing Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival during a session with writer-translator Tridip Suhrud.
He regretted that “posthumously they are being presented as rivals” by those “with vested interests”.
The historian further said that much of the criticism against Gandhi was baseless and arises from lack of understanding.
“But it is impossible to defend Gandhi in his personal life, particularly how he treated his wife and family,” Guha contended.
The criticism against Nehru is different, he said.
“Nehru has descendants who falsely claim his legacy. It is only when (Congress President) Rahul Gandhi retires from politics that we will truly understand Nehru’s greatness. The sins of successive generations have been transferred on to Nehru,” claimed Guha.
The Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, now in its 10th edition, will reach its culmination on Sunday evening.