Reclaim India from Right, Left, says Guha - The New Indian Express

Reclaim India from Right, Left, says Guha

Published: 29th November 2012 09:22 AM

Last Updated: 29th November 2012 09:22 AM

“The Liberal Centre should hold its own against the chauvinism of the Right and the extremism of the Left to reclaim India from their clutches.”

And this dilemma of the Liberal Centre is what historian and writer Ramachandra Guha deals with in his book Patriots and Partisans’which was released on Wednesday. Published by Penguin Books, the book is a collection of essays written between 2005 and 2011.

“Patriots and Partisans is written by a patriot. Too easily have we allowed the Hindu right to claim the language of patriotism in our country. On the other hand, the extreme Left is anti-patriotic and has never considered India as its fatherland. We have to reclaim our country,” Guha said on the occasion.

Recollecting his experiences from his visit to the riot-hit, Bhagalpur, in late 1989 and Naxal-infested Dantewads in 2006, Guha said these encounters had changed his views on being a Hindu and how state-sponsored violence resulted in the death and displacement of thousands.

Guha’s new book, in his own words, is a collection of socio-political essays based on travels, conversations and observations over a period of 30 years.

“Essay is a very peculiar genre, which is not as perishable as a newspaper column and not as extended as a book. Essay is not just between the two, but it is more pleasurable,” Guha said.

While focusing on thinning bilingual intellectuals, Gandhi’s religious pluralism and Nehru’s reputation after death, Guha also trains his guns towards Congress’ dynasty-obsession and sycophancy.

“Although chamchagiri has been in our country for long, the one Congress has is distinct. The whole culture of sifarish and hero-worshipping has permeated into our institutions,” he said, adding that India needs to revive and rebuild its institutions.

AAP should skip 2014 polls

Guha said social activist Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party should not take part in the 2014 general elections. “Perhaps they can contest the one in 2018,” he said. On Anna Hazare, Guha said his essay ‘The Professor and Protestor’ compares him with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “One has tapped into widespread disgust towards corruption, while another is trying his best to remain in power,” he said.

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