New Delhi(PTI): India on Thursday downplayed a US Congressional report on International Religious Freedom 2014…
MUMBAI(PTI): Criticising the recent killings of eminent scholars and writers and the ‘inability’ of the administration to prevent such hooliganism, noted historian Ramchandra Guha said Modi government was the “most anti-intellectual” dispensation the country ever had.
Expressing concerns over increasing threats to freedom of expression, Guha came down heavily on the BJP-led government for being “hostile” to the writers community.
“This government is arguably the most anti-intellectual (administration) we ever had,” Guha said while delivering the first Vijay Tendulkar Memorial lecture at the Mumbai University on Thursday evening.
Guha, however, said this kind of behaviour was not peculiar to the Modi government alone but across the board.
“All three (rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, CPI leader Govind Pansare and writer and scholar MM Kalburgi) were killed by rightwing Hindu groups for expressing their views,” he alleged.
“Both the Congress and BJP could have prevented these murders as these killings happened when either the Congress or the BJP was in power in the state or the Centre,” he said.
Talking about the rising culture of banning anything and everything at the drop of a hat, the historian warned that the nation was “slipping down to anarchy”, while describing the present-day India as a 40:60 democracy.
Guha blamed former PM Rajiv Gandhi banning Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in the late 1980s as the root cause of the ‘ban culture’ in the country. He was quick to add that people today are eliminated for expressing their views and not just getting them exiled or their word banned.
Recalling his description of India as 50:50 democracy after his book ‘India After Gandhi’ in 2007, he said, “I have always believed that India is a 50:50 democracy. Here elections are held in a fair manner and we also have free movement of people but we lag in freedom of expression.”