Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Ramachandra Guha Forgets Netaji

Imagine writing a 944-page history of independent India without mentioning in it even once the name of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Ramachandra Guha achieves this feat in his book India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy

Guha would probably argue that since his book is on India after Mahatma Gandhi, he did not need to mention Bose who is thought to have died in an air crash in 1945. But then why does Guha begin his book with Mirza Ghalib who died in 1869? Why does he call Delhi “Ghalib’s native city”? Why does he talk about leaders like Motilal Nehru and several others who predeceased Gandhi?

For most Indians, Bose is as important as Nehru. In the twenty-first century, there has been a rise in Bose’s popularity and a steep decline in Nehru’s popularity. Delhi is much more Bose’s city than Ghalib's. India is much more Bose’s country than Nehru’s. But left-wingers like Guha worship Nehru; they want to minimize Bose’s role in India’s history.

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