Why I dislike Romila Thapar’s India
– Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
In an interview to Karan Thapar about how she viewed the last 75 years of India’s independence and what sort of country India has become, prominent historian Romila Thapar said she “doesn’t like Modi’s India”. Explaining why, she said it’s too narrow and too limited. Romila Thapar says Modi’s India does not represent the fulfilment of the dreams and expectations she had in 1947 when she was a 15-year-old who was terribly excited by independence.
As I was teeing into Ruchir Sharma’s data driven and economically rich prognosis that if India grew at the same rate it was it would become the third largest economy in 2032, these thoughts were keyed in. He said that India ( Nehru’s) missed the walk, cycle, rickshaw, auto, car, bus and aero plane in its first 3/4 decades. And we are trying to ‘recoup the losses on every front’ for the last 3/4 decades to get back to where we were ‘6th largest’ in 1947. The ‘ Hindu rate of growth’ that Raj Krishna talked of was Nehrus’s ( that Thapars loved ) gift to India.
I received this message from a retired judge of a constitutional court. “ For the very reason or reasons that prompts Thapar to hate ‘Modi’s India’, I have started to like it. If she hates it, then there must be something right Modi must be doing’. Amen. And then I read this.
“Hate me if you want to, but don’t hate India. Burn my effigy, but don’t burn a poor man’s auto-rickshaw,” Modi said during his speech in the wake of CAA protests. Modi began his speech with a new slogan:” Vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta (unity in diversity is India’s essence) to the cheering crowds. The Thapars would say – Modi only mouthed such platitudes but the ground reality was different.
Sorry, wrong number. Ever since 2014, these Lutyens’ and Khan Market Log have got continued ‘call drops’. And 5 G is not going to help. They want another G. In the saddle. The family. Thapar is too old. One cannot accuse her of angling for freebies on the seminar circuits abroad. And huge tracts of lands to the cronies. But she yearns it for her skewed scholarly acolytes. They cannot ‘tolerate’ Modi. Not necessarily Modi’s India.
And as I was keying in these words, the current edition of India Today dropped on me. It carried the annual Mood of the Nation Poll. Thapars’ would/should be furious to note that 2024 may be a repeat of 2014 and 2019. She better start taking at least a snippet of a ‘like’ for Modi’s India. Otherwise, she is in in for a continued resentful and hateful self and it is not good for her or her scholarly minions and at her age.
It is now time for the India of Sankara, Ramana,Swami Vivekanda, R C Majumdar or Kapil Kumar or even the millennials as Sanjeev Sanyals or Vikram Sampath or Sai Deepaks . The British version of motivated history go blank on our Indic past and it was assiduously picked up by Nehru’s India, as exemplified by the dominance from JNU. Thapar was the leading icon and and cannot digest that their version was being rudely exposed as hiding and camouflaging the truth. ‘They’ cannot stand it.
The Thapars and Jholnawalas from JNU, now go under the umbrella Urban Naxals , and assumed that only the Left had liberals and intellectuals. Honestly, Thapar is smart enough to know ‘Left and Liberal’ never go together. It is chalk and cheese. If China and Russia are on the left and socialists, then they are the left overs. Ruchir Sharma points out that China abandoned all hypocrisy to itself , in 1990s, and ‘embarked on the purest of capitalist models crushing all human right felicities’. Yet, our Thapars swear even today by Xi’s China to Modi’s India.
Anecdotal evidences are picked up to proclaim that Modi’s India was exhibiting totalitarian tendencies and freedom of speech and religion were under stress. The West loves these Thapars’ view. They love to deride India. They love to put us down. These Thapars clap along. It endears them more and more to the seminar circuit and tourist freebies and scholarships for skewed scholarships. Modi came. They lost. How can they tolerate? The loss and Modi?
Indic India deserves its time, day and age. If you care, read the simple school history books brought out by Chinmaya Mission ( surely they have no devious plans ) for children who were deprived of such knowledge. And facts. India was not a losing State. It won many a battle. Britishers did not like it. They suppressed it. And Thapars did not care because Nehru did not. And ‘careers’ were made and built on it. Modi’s India is not lying low. That is why Thapars hate Modi and thereby his India.
And that dear reader, is itself very good reason why I like Modi’s India, even if I am not oblivious that India still has miles’ to make.
Happy Independence Day. Vande Mataram. Bharat Mata ki Jai. Jai Hind.
“ The expressions are author’s personal views”.
( Author of Mahakavi Subramania Bharathiyar, Kalaimagal Publications, to be published on 11th Sept,2022- 101st death anniversary of Bharathiyar-and practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)