Historian Ramachandra Guha in news recently for taking part in the anti-CAA protests in Bengaluru where he was detained by the police, said that Kerala did a disastrous thing by electing the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to Parliament and a “fifth-generation dynast” Gandhi has no chance in Indian politics against a “hard-working and self-made” PM Narendra Modi. Though he clarified, “I have nothing against Rahul Gandhi personally. He is a decent fellow, very well-mannered.”
He also said that the ordinary citizens should take back the soul of India from the jingoists who will destroy it.
On the second day of the ongoing Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) at Kozhikode, during his talk, “Patriotism Vs Jingoism”, Guha said on Friday that the reduction of the Congress from a “great party” during the freedom movement to a “pathetic family firm” now is one of the reasons for the ascendency of Hindutva and jingoism in India.
“Young India does not want a fifth-generation dynast. If you Malayalis make the mistake of re-electing Rahul Gandhi in 2024 too, you are merely handing over an advantage to Narendra Modi,” said Guha.
At the talk Guha said, “Kerala, you have done many wonderful things for India, but one of the disastrous thing you did was to elect Rahul Gandhi to the parliament.”
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, lost from his family bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh but won from the Wayanad seat in Kerala.
“Narendra Modi’s great advantage is that he is not Rahul Gandhi. He is self-made. He has run a state for 15 years, he has an administrative experience, he is incredibly hard working and he never takes holidays in Europe. Believe me I am saying all this in all seriousness,” Guha said.
But, even if Rahul Gandhi was “much more intelligent, more hard-working, never took a holiday in Europe, as a fifth generation dynast he still will be at a disadvantage against a self-made person”, the 61-year-old author said.
Further, he quoted his teacher and noted Indian sociologist Andre Beteille to describe the story of Nehru-Gandhi family as a classic “reversal of the famous Biblical injunction”: the sins of the father will be visited upon seven successive generations.
“In the Nehru’s case, it is the sins of the seven successive generations have been re-visited upon Nehru… look at the national debate today. Why is Nehru evoked everytime? Why does Modi always say Nehru ne Kashmir mein yeh kiya, China mein yeh kiya, Triple Talaq mein yeh kiya … because Rahul Gandhi is there. Now if Rahul Gandhi disappears, Modi has to talk about his own policies and why they failed,” he said.
Guha also took on the Left parties. He said, “Hypocrisy of the Indian Left — the fact that they loved other nations more than India”, “rise of aggressive nationalism worldwide” and “the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in neighbouring countries” are some other reasons behind the evident leap of Hindutva in India in the recent times.
Historian William Dalrymple, novelists like Benyamin, Namita Gokhale, Chetan Bhagat and journalists Karan Thapar and Rajdeep Sardesai are among the many other writers who will be attending the four-day festival.
The focus theme of KLF 2020 is environment and climate change.