Debating history, berating history



The 2014 elections aren’t merely about changing the government. The rhetoric ahead of the polls makes one believe that it’s an attempt at once to change historical narratives handed down to successive generation of Indians.

And the man in the forefront of it all is the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. He thinks India would have been better off had Sardar Patel and not Pandit Nehru was the country’s first prime minister. He also wanted to have us believe that Nehru absented himself from Patel’s funeral, an error owned up later, willingly or under duress, by a Hindi daily that regretted having misquoted Modi.

Be that as it may, the Gujarat chief minister isn’t apparently the best of raconteurs of passages of history. It was left to Bihar’s Nitish Kumar to correct the bloomers in his speech at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on Chandragupt Maurya, Taxila and the point from where Alexander was forced to turn back from India.

Modi’s counter to the Prime Minister’s jibes at his ‘wayward sense of history and geography’ was that it was the Congress that changed geography by allowing the country’s Partition in 1947. Now that’s a fact that cannot be challenged. But the men in power at that juncture in history included the Sardar the Gujarat CM so deeply admires that he wants to appropriate his legacy even if it means mauling Nehru’s.

But what left one shocked was that in the same speech, Modi betrayed scant knowledge of his party’s history, especially that of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee who founded the Jana Sangh upon leaving the Congress in 1951.

By the PM-aspirant’s account, Mookerjee, projected so often by the Sangh Parivar as a martyr in the cause of India’s claim over Kashmir, had died in 1930 in Geneva. The reality is that he breathed his last in J&K in 1953 on being imprisoned for defying restrictions on the entry of Indian nationals into the state.

In Mookerjee’s case, Modi was corrected by his party colleagues with whom he shared the stage in Gujarat’s Kheda for inaugurating a hospital set up by Muslims. The media caught the faux pas in his Patna speech only when Nitish detected and ridiculed his sense of history.

Of their own, neither the Congress (barring Shashi Tharoor questioning Modi’s exaggerated figures of China’s expenditure on education) nor the media in general (barring the fiction he spread about Nehru’s absence from Patel’s funeral) had the presence of mind to fact-check Modi’s rhetoric.

As an iconoclast could actually be a vandal, we have to have rigorous standards for every prime ministerial candidate. Governments may come and go. But the idea of India bequeathed to us by Gandhi, Nehru and Patel must sustain.

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  • pankaj#1

    Ha Ha. You too Vinod?
    Stop looking for comma and full stop in a narrative. Focus on the points raised by Namo for present.

    [Reply]

    Sumit Bose Reply:

    Unbridled loot of the economy ( and some droplets of that comes directly into his expense account ) does not concern this dalal.
    Every institution of the country, viz defense forces, courts, infrastructure, government function, health, education etc etc etc, all bled and enfeebled and this does not bother this dalal.
    Price rise that has snatched decent food from even the middle class, leave alone teh poor and the poorest of the poor, and that does not register in this dalal’s radar.
    He reminds me of the English teacher, who on reading his daughter’s “good-bye” note on eloping from the house, is furious at the spelling and grammatical errors in her letter.

    [Reply]

    pankaj#1 Reply:

    Sumit;
    It is not only vinod but as they say in colloquial,- Awan Ka Awan hi Kharab ho gaya hai- meaning that very klin has gone wrong and how you expect good pottery(people) out of it. This klin is congress and bad products are congressmen of present.
    I was not expecting to see this deterioration in one life time, this has happened even faster than that.

    [Reply]

  • Deepak Jain

    Err where did you hear NaMo saying Nehru didn’t attend Patel’s rally? In the newspaper which withdrew the story, isn’t it? So what’s your point?

    [Reply]

  • pankaj#1

    Debating history? berating history??, What about creating history.
    for the first time in may be centuries, world is taking India/ Modi seriously.
    Nazar hai:
    Envoys posted in India rate Narendra Modi highly

    Ronald Reagan. Deng Xiaoping. Vladimir Putin. Barack Obama. Mohammed Mahathir. These are the names that Narendra Modi is being associated with by resident foreign diplomats since the Gujarat strongman’s spectacular rise over the past year.
    They proclaim that he will make India a different order. On the day he is elected prime minister, China and Pakistan will cease their provocations.
    Following Modi’s massively successful public rally in North West Delhi on Sunday, 29 September, most of the foreign missions called in their translation staff early to work on Monday. Modi’s speech was translated in real-time and its contents examined with forensic intensity, analyzed and transmitted to the world capitals with record promptitude.
    The crowds at the rally numbering in excess of 1.5 lac with a majority in the age group of 18-28 with who the Gujarat chief minister magically connects out rightly bedazzled the diplomatic corps.

    [Reply]

  • pankaj#1

    All;
    Waited full one day. No body is coming to this site any longer. Why? We do not agree with Vinod but this is a convenient site to exchange views.
    This, fraudulent- GOI- which goes by name UPA-II, can not influence, election in -MALDIVE-. I am tempted to use ABUSE- and they claim that they are governing India. Shame on them. Extirepate them from polity of India, if Indians want to live with some semblance of dignity.

    [Reply]