Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Ramachandra Guha mad at Malviya pick

Bhagwan Das got a Bharat Ratna for founding the M.G Kashi Vidyapith. Now Malviya has got one for founding Benares Hindu University.

This makes Ramachandra Guha very very angry.

“Giving Vajpayee a Bharat Ratna is fine but one should not award it to people dead or long dead. Awarding Malaviya is a mistake..,” he tweeted. (To be clear, Vajpayee may be dead or as good as dead but he is not long dead. Malaviya died before Independence.)

In a series of tweets, Mr. Guha said, “If Malaviya, why not give Tagore, Phule, Tilak, Gokhale, Vivekananda, Akbar, Shivaji, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Ashoka, Bharat Ratnas too?” The answer, obviously, is that they don't 'match' with Vajpayee. By coupling Vajpayee with Malviya, a graceful assertion about their cultural salience, at least for Hindi speakers, is made.

“The more I think of it, the more the award of the Bharat Ratna to MM Malaviya strikes me as parochial and indefensible,” he said.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweets that Malaviya got the award for his scholarship and patriotism, Mr. Guha said that “in both spheres, there were far greater Indians...”.

Guha has given himself the job of measuring greatness in things like 'scholarship' and 'patriotism'. This is because he has shit for brains. He isn't a 'historian' but a kid who gets into arguments as to whether Spiderman can beat up Robin Hood.

“Gokhale, Tilak, Kamaladevi, Bhagat Singh, contributed far more than Malviya to the freedom struggle, Tagore far more to education/literature.' He says

But Shantiniketan aint a proper Univesity. B.H.U is. Kamaladevi contributed nothing very much to the Freedom Struggle. Scarcely any one has heard of her. Malviya, however, was a heavyweight compared even to her more famous sister-in-law. Bhagat Singh was killed before he could make much of a contribution. There is no suggestion that he was a political heavyweight.

“But Gokhale/Tilak/Bhagat Singh/Kamaladevi/Tagore and other such stalwarts did not work or live in the Prime Minister’s constituency,” he tweeted. Nor does the Prime Minister.

Modi chose to fight from Benares for a reason easily legible to Indian people. Pairing Malviya's name with Vajpayee's, similarly has a certain not particularly flattering cultural valency. Old Brahmins who dragged themselves up by their bootstraps are passe. Honor them by all means. If not dead they are not long dead and de mortuis nihil nisi bonum.

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