Ramachandra Guha is one of the most respected historians the country has ever produced. His most popular work is India After Gandhi that was released in 2007 and went on to win the Sahitya Akademi Award.
Now, Guha has come out with a new book titled Democrats and Dissenters which talks about the current political scenario of the country. One of the most fascinating observations he has made in the book is with regards to the current political climate wherein he says that the current hegemony that the BJP has, it will last for at least a decade or even 15 years. As a result, Rahul Gandhi, the Vice President of the Indian National Congress should consider retirement, get married and settle down.
He opines in an interview, “….my sense is that what we are probably seeing is the BJP emerging as the only national party in the foreseeable future. The BJP, in terms of its role in Indian politics not in terms of its ideology, will be like the Congress in the 1960s and '70s. There will be some challengers — the Communists in Kerala, the Trinamool in Bengal and the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu — but the BJP will be overall dominant. That was exactly how the Congress was — the Communists came to power in 1957, the DMK in 1967, the Akalis became strong- but overall there was no alternative.”
His opinion on Congress is as follows, “For a long time, I nostalgically thought the Congress could revive, but I am now increasingly sceptical. Outside the Congress echo chamber, there is a sense that the Gandhi family is useless. Rahul Gandhi is an object of ridicule and contempt by people who would otherwise be attracted to a liberal Congress point of view. But they can't become a major force again. Look at the states, there is no party organisation. In Maharashtra, it is declining. Kerala may be one of the few states where there is still a party organisation. Across the Indo-Gangetic plain, the Congress has become invisible. It is a lingering death, it is a terminal illness. Rahul Gandhi should retire from politics, get married and start a family. That will be good for him. That will be good for India also.”
He also calls out the BJP for single-mindedly pursuing a nationalism of paranoia. Needless to say, this is a pretty bold opinion. One that is sure to ignite a plethora of opinions from both the ruling party as well as the opposition. But if you’ve ever read Guha, you won’t be surprised. If you haven’t, do yourself a favour and read him. We as readers deserve it.
You can read the full interview here.
Title image: Flipkart