‘Young India doesn’t want a 5th-gen dynast’, says historian Ramachandra Guha
Kerala did a disastrous thing by electing a “fifth-generation dynast” Rahul Gandhi to Parliament and the Congress leader has no chance against the “hard-working and self-made” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, historian Ramachandra Guha has said.
Guha, on the second day of the ongoing Kerala Literature Festival (KLF), spelt out other differences between the former Congress president and Prime Minister Modi.
“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 Malayalis make the mistake of re-electing Rahul Gandhi in 2024 too, you are merely handing over an advantage to Narendra Modi,” Guha said, according to news agency PTI, on Friday.
ALSO WATCH | Ramachandra Guha’s ‘fifth generation dynast’ jibe at Rahul Gandhi
“Kerala, you have done many wonderful things for India, but one of the disastrous things you did was to elect Rahul Gandhi to Parliament,” he said while addressing the crowd.
Rahul Gandhi won from the Wayanad parliamentary seat in Kerala but lost from his family bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections held last year.
Guha then went on to list the qualities that make the Prime Minister stand out—from experience to not taking days off—and what makes him tick.
“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,” the 61-year-author said.
Guha went on to say that 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”.
Guha has been critical of Modi in the past and even called him a man with “dictatorial qualities”. He was detained in December last year during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Guha had hit out at the current Bharatiya Janata Party-led administration for using a colonial-era law to “suppress dissent and stifle differing voices.”
He had also accused the Modi government of using CAA—which offers citizenship to undocumented migrants of multiple faiths other than Islam, from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan—to “divert attention from a sinking economy.”
On Friday, Guha also trained his guns on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who reminded him of the Mughal dynasty.
“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 (emperor),” he said.
Quoting his teacher and sociologist Andre Beteille, he described the story of Nehru-Gandhi family as a classic “reversal of the famous Biblical injunction”.
“In Nehru’s case, it is the sins of the seven successive generations have been re-visited… Look at the national debate today. Why is Nehru evoked every time? 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.
During his talk, “Patriotism vs Jingoism”, he also pointed out that reduction of the “great party” during the Independence movement to a “pathetic family firm” is one of the reasons behind the rise of Hindutva and jingoism in the country.
“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.
(With agency inputs)