"Dynast Rahul" vs "self-made Modi": Historian Ramachandra Guha alleges "distortion & cherry-picking" by media
The respected historian had said "Narendra Modi's great advantage is that he is not Rahul Gandhi. He is self-made."
Historian Ramachandra Guha made headlines Saturday morning when he was quoted as saying that Malayalis electing Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency was "disastrous" and that a "fifth-generation dynast" Rahul Gandhi has no chance in Indian politics against a "hard-working and self-made" PM Narendra Modi.
Speaking at the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) on "patriotism Vs jingoism" in India, the historian also said, 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.
After these statements started making political ripples, the historian has now come out and said that "a reporter has cherry-picked two sentences out of a one hour talk to distort its meaning".
My talk was a defence of constitutional patriotism against Hindutva jingoism. I am sorry that a reporter has cherry picked two sentences out of a one hour talk to distort its meaning. https://t.co/9RDFolywWk— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) January 18, 2020
Though Guha admitted that he has said that "Rahul Gandhi was a fifth-generation dynast" but he also said that was part of a much larger point he was making. He even clarified on Twitter putting out the text he based his speech on.
I did say in my #KLF talk that Rahul Gandhi was a fifth generation dynast, but I said much, much, more. My talk itself will be uploaded soon by #KLF; meanwhile, here’s the text on which it was based. https://t.co/pJ571H9IID— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) January 18, 2020
He then said, "the countrywide movement against Hindutva is handicapped by the fact that the party of the freedom movement is so closely controlled by a single family."
That said, I do believe that the countrywide movement against Hindutva is handicapped by the fact that the party of the freedom movement is so closely controlled by a single family. https://t.co/I92R6V5dvY— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) January 18, 2020
"I have nothing against Rahul Gandhi personally. He is a decent fellow, very well-mannered. But young India does not want a fifth-generation dynast. If you Malayalees make the mistake of re-electing Rahul Gandhi in 2024 too, you are merely handing over an advantage to Narendra Modi," said Mr Guha during his talk at KLF.
Gandhi, who in 2019 general elections lost from his family bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, had won from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala.
Weighing in on why Narendra Modi has an edge over the Gandhi scion, he said "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 administrative experience, he is incredibly hard-working and he never takes holidays in Europe. Believe me, I am saying all this in all seriousness."
He took on Congress president Sonia Gandhi too who, he said, reminded him of the "late Mughal dynasty" and how aloof they were of the state of their kingdom.
"India is becoming more democratic and less feudal, and the Gandhis just don't realise this. You (Sonia) are in Delhi, your kingdom is shrinking more and more but still, your chamchas (sycophants) are telling you that you are still the Badshah," he said.
For the rise of Hindutva and jingoism in recent times, the author blamed the "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."
Watch his speech here: