Left, Right And Centre: Ramachandra Guha On The ‘Ideas’ Of India, Youth Today And More

Posted on February 13, 2015 in Interviews, Politics, Staff Picks, Stories by YKA

By Artika Raj:

In recent times, the buzz around the ‘Idea of India’ has reached a level of cacophony that requires some setting straight. As multiple definitions of being a ‘Hindustani’ and a ‘Bharatiya’ are thrown at us, the average Indian who is a global citizen, is left looking askance when finding his or her place in history. The changing narrative around what it means to be an Indian is one that had us itching for some answers, and the search took us to, well, the one historian who is as much a knowledge bank as he is social media savvy.

Often accused of occupying that sweet spot between the Right and the Left, by admirers to the ‘Internet Hindus’ who berate him for his works, one cannot deny that when he voices his views, no matter which side you are batting for (psst, he’s also a treasure trove of cricketing history), you are required to pay attention. In fact, there is yet to be a befitting rejoinder to his seminal work on the life of the Mahatma and Indian history thereon in ‘Gandhi Before India’ and ‘India After Gandhi’.

So on a slow Sunday evening, (for us, not him – there are talks and talks that he is in town to deliver), Youth Ki Awaaz sat down with Ramachandra Guha, over multiple cups of tea, to talk about this ‘Idea of India’, the ‘Demographic Dividend’ that has become a ‘Demographic Disaster’ in some cases; and a plunge into history, into a time when another ‘bully’ in the playground, the inimitable Mrs. Gandhi ruled, and if our man Modi is cut out from a similar mould.

*The interview has been split up into three independent parts for easy viewing.

On whether history is debatable, how much of it is the historian’s history, and the resurgence of the Right wing…

On the economic aspirations of the young – the good, the bad and the ugly. And if the civil society movements are making themselves heard enough.

Are Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi part of the same ‘authoritarian’ club? And is a Congress revival possible, perhaps with the ousting of Rahul Gandhi? AAP kaun?

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