Free Press Journal

Guha takes on Shourie, Roy in his new book


In the book’s epilogue, historian Ramachandra Guha takes on both Arun Shourie and Arundhati Roy for their “highly partial” and “highly prejudiced” presentation of Gandhi and Ambedkar.

 New Delhi : In his latest book”Gandhi: The Years That Changed The World, 1914-1948″, a sequel to “Gandhi Before India” (2014), historian Ramachandra Guha tells the story of Gandhi’s life from the time he left South Africa to his assassination in 1948.

According to Guha, Gandhi and Ambedkar are “heroic figures”.

His book, an 1,100-plus-page-tome, brings in political commentators Arun Shourie and Arundhati Roy into the discussion, Guha said to them history means “heroes and villains” only, hence they “elevate one to diminish other”.

Guha said both Shourie and Roy are “works of ideology, not scholarship”.

“Shourie elevates Gandhi to diminish Ambedkar, and Roy elevates Ambedkar to diminish Gandhi. And (doing this) they both suppress the very vital facts about the other person…  It is ironic that they mirror each other and have this deep desire of representing history as heroes and villains only,” he said.

He said Gandhi is someone next to only Buddha in terms of the universal appeal.

In the book’s epilogue, he takes on both Shourie and Roy for their “highly partial” and “highly prejudiced” presentation of the two leaders.

The book also quotes Shourie’s book “Worshipping False Gods” where he makes charges against Ambedkar that “he sided with British colonalists rather than with Indian nationalists”. He also refers to Roy’s statement accusing Gandhi of being a “conservative defender of the caste system who changed his views at a glacial pace”.

“It is entirely possible for a  thinking Indian to say I admire Ambedkar more than Gandhi or I admire Gandhi more than Ambedkar. But to say I admire Gandhi but abuse Ambedkar or vice-verse, then it is distortion to these leaders contribution to history. “Roy and Shourie have contributed to this distortion. And I think it was important to get the record straight … there is difference between proper thorough history and plain polemics,” he said.