Mysuru: The talk by Historian Dr. Ramachandra Guha on ‘History beyond Chauvinism,’ in the charged atmosphere in the country today created a lot of buzz, especially when he referred to his view on nationalism and patriotism when he propounded his five commandments for a person to become a good historian.
Talking about the Mughal ruler Akbar, he said, “History was contextual and Historians have said, Akbar is secularist but an Aurangzeb is a bigot. But today we are all governed by the Constitution. Irrespective of our caste we are all ruled by the law of the land —the Constituent. And, all of us have the same rights and we continue to be secular. However, to be an Indian patriot, you do not have to be Hindu; you do not have to speak Hindi and do not have to hate Pakistan.”
This view of his led to a few questions and Guha said, “The time has come now to reclaim the idea of nationalism taking a more humanistic and broader view, as Gandhi and Tagore spoke about, rather than the one proposed by V.D. Savarkar who is nothing but a mirror image of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.”
He went on to say, “The Right Wing in India is jingoistic, the Left is guilty of being ‘unpatriotic.’ The Left who always looked up to Russia, China, Vietnam and Cuba are not patriotic towards India and hence, the Right Wing forces are gaining ground in the country today.”