Freedom of speech was never perfect in India: Ramachandra Guha

Eminent historian Ramachandra Guha said the Narendra Modi government is hostile to literature and is the most anti-intellectual government.

Published: 19th June 2017 07:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2017 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

Historian Ramachandra Guha (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

MYSURU: Eminent historian Ramachandra Guha said the Narendra Modi government is hostile to literature and is the most anti-intellectual government. He was interacting with the audience after delivering a talk on ‘History beyond chauvinism’ at a literary festival organised by the Mysuru Literary Association, in Mysuru on Sunday.

He said, “Political leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, George Fernandes and Arun Shourie read and wrote books, but not a single person from the Modi government has penned a single book, as their priorities are different.”

“Freedom of speech was never perfect in the country, and remained imperfect due to restrictions by the Congress government. At present, freedom of expression is exaggerated to dub the dispensation at the Centre as fascist,” he said.

He said, “Writer S L Bhyrappa, a jewel of India, received the Padma Shri, while, Sri Sri Ravishankar of the Art of Living Foundation received the Padma Vibhushan. This shows the priorities of the Modi Government. In the past, Bhyrappa was not recognised because of leftists in Delhi.”

Bhyrappa said writers in India today cannot distinguish between real philosophical issues and issues that are tackled by social scientists. “There is no depth in the writings, and the works do not reach the level of philosophy.” Novelist Shashi Deshpande spoke on the occasion.

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