On Thursday, historian Ramchandra Guha's tweet on Gujarat, quoting British writer Phillip Spratt, drew flak from all quarters including Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel.
Quoting Spratt in 1939, Guha wrote, "Gujarat, though economically advanced, is culturally a backward province.... Bengal in contrast is economically backward but culturally advanced."
The historian's tweet triggered a social media furore. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the country won't fall for such tricks. He wrote, "Earlier it was the British who tried to divide and rule. Now it is a group of elites who want to divide Indians. Indians won’t fall for such tricks. Gujarat is great, Bengal is great...India is united. Our cultural foundations are strong, our economic aspirations are high."
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the statement was "ill informed". He added, "From Kutch to Vapi & from Shyamlaji to Dwarka,Gujarat’s culture is built on striking diversity but united through indomitable entrepreneurial spirit. Every culture has it’s unique greatness, backwardness is our failure to understand this fact."
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted an article titled "Poland organises event to honour former Jamnagar King, Maharaja Jam Saheb Digvijaysinhji Jadeja, who saved 1000 Polish children" and wrote, "In 1939, when Philip Spratt, from Britain, belonging to the Communist International wrote, (who @Ram_Guha quotes) this was what was happening in Gujarat: Jamnagar...Maharaja Jam Saheb Digvijaysinhji Jadeja...saved 1000 Polish children #Culture."
Here is how others on the microblogging site reacted to Guha's tweet: