Gandhi has a secret admirer in Modi: Guha

‘He now recognises that Gandhi is the only Indian figure known globally’

Updated - January 12, 2019 12:18 am IST

Published - January 11, 2019 08:56 pm IST - Kozhikode

Ramachandra Guha is yet to figure out why Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “trying to symbolically associate with Mahatma Gandhi.”

The well-known historian and author of two books on the Father of the Nation feels that someone like political psychologist Ashis Nandy should explain Mr. Modi’s photo sessions with world leaders at the Sabarmati Ashram and the use of Gandhi’s images for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Before he became the Prime Minister, Mr. Modi had never mentioned Gandhiji in an appreciative way, he said at a session on ‘Arguments with Gandhi’ with academic Shajahan Madampatt at the Kerala Literature Festival here on Friday. “I think he secretly admires Gandhi. He recognises that Gandhi is the only Indian figure known globally,” Mr. Guha said.

While he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Modi never talked about Gandhi, because the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh training must have kicked in. He wrote a biography of M.S. Golwalkar, the second sarsanghchalak of the RSS, who hated Gandhi. “After he became the PM, however, Mr. Modi has taken every foreign leader to Sabarmati Ashram – Shinto Abe, Netanyahu, Xi Jinping and curiously had photo sessions with them. A man whose entire ideological training and whose whole political style predisposes him to hostility towards Gandhi, why does he secretly furtively want to associate with him?”

He said Mr. Modi might want to “erase and wash off his other sins by going to Sabarmati,” “Or is it that he wants to present himself as a global leader because Gandhi was the great global leader from India,” the historian wondered.

He also said that it was in the northern Indian States such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan that Gandhi's vision of Hindu-Muslim unity was under threat.

“It is an absolute scandal the largest State [in our country] has a Chief Minister like Yogi Adityanath. He is the most bigoted and fundamentalist politician India has ever given birth to,” he noted.

All those who built this country – Nehru, Ambedkar, Patel, and Sarojini Naidu – would have been appalled that such a rabid bigot was in charge of India's largest State. All thinking Indians must worry about it, he added.

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