Home Opinions Ram Guha is intellectually deceitful and his latest flip-flop on Anna Hazare only to target Modi proves it

Ram Guha is intellectually deceitful and his latest flip-flop on Anna Hazare only to target Modi proves it

Ram Guha has been one of the typical hypocrites from the left-liberal ecosystem. He has the knack of twisting the tale in a way that suits his political leanings. He is also known for twisting the truth or manufacturing lies in order to malign RSS and BJP, as he did after the murder of Gauri Lankesh in 2017.

Another classic example of Guha’s theatrics came to light recently when criticised the PM for ignoring Anna Hazare’s letter. Guha plugged an article that reported about letters written by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare regarding corruption and implementation of Lokpal Bill. However, Guha had claimed that Lokpal was not an effective solution to India’s corruption problem way back in 2011. Suddenly, he has realised the importance of the issue in 2018.

For Guha, Anna Hazare was ‘parochial’ when UPA was in power

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In an article titled ‘A PATRIARCH FOR THE NATION?’ – The nation’s problems cannot be solved by a supercop‘, Guha had tried to rationalise as to why Anna Hazare was a ‘village patriarch’ and why middle class could not rely on him to solve the country’s problems.

Ram Guha, had given a casteist twist to Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement in this article published in 2011. He claimed that Dalits and backward castes were seeing it as a ‘reprise of anti-Mandal protests led by Savarna activists. This is an asinine comment as it tries to sideline an issue that affects all citizens irrespective of their caste. Guha’s goal was not only to prove that not all Indians were behind Anna but also rally Dalits and backward castes away from an anti-corruption movement. He wrote (emphasis added) :

Some television channels claim that Anna Hazare represents the overwhelming bulk of Indians. Print, cyberspace and soundings on the street suggest a more complicated picture. Liberals worry about the dangers to policy reform contained in street agitations led by men whose perfervid rhetoric undermines constitutional democracy. Dalits and backward castes see this as a reprise of the anti-Mandal agitation, led and directed by Suvarna activists.

Rather than criticising the scams of UPA, he went on to attack the Gandhian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare of having a ‘deeply Brahminical‘ attitude. After calling Anna Hazare a ‘village patriarch’ he employed his ‘intellect’ to accuse Anna of being the cause of anti-Dalit violence in his village, Ralegan Siddhi. He wrote (emphasis added) :

Large swathes of the middle class have thus embraced Anna Hazare out of disgust with Manmohan Singh’s government. That said, one must caution against an excessive identification with Anna Hazare. Hazare is a good man, perhaps even a saintly man. But his understanding remains that of a village patriarch.

The strengths and limitations of Anna Hazare are identified in Green and Saffron, a book by Mukul Sharma that shall appear later this year. Sharma is an admired environmental journalist, who did extensive fieldwork in Ralegan Siddhi. He was greatly impressed by much of what he saw. Careful management of water had improved crop yields, increased incomes, and reduced indebtedness. On the other hand, he found the approach of Anna Hazare “deeply Brahmanical”. Liquor, tobacco, even cable TV were forbidden. Dalit families were compelled to adopt a vegetarian diet. Those who violated these rules — or orders — were tied to a post and flogged.

Ram Guha had claimed that Lokpal was an ineffective solution in 2011

After the character assassination of Anna Hazare, Guha goes on to pooh-pooh the idea of Lokpal itself. He suggests other larger changes that India had to undergo to weed out corruption. Not even a single sentence in his article criticises the Congress or Manmohan Singh for indulging in corruption. He concludes his article with these lines (emphasis added) :

Anna Hazare claims that the creation of a single lok pal will end 60 per cent to 65 percent of corruption. That remark confuses a village with a nation. A benign (and occasionally brutal) patriarch can bring about improvements in a small community. But a nation’s problems cannot be solved by a Super-Cop or Super-Sarpanch, even (or perhaps especially) if he be assisted (as the legislation envisages) by thousands of busybody and themselves corruptible inspectors.

Improving the quality and functioning of democratic institutions will require far more than a lok pal, whether jan or sarkari. We have to work for, among other things, changes in the law to make funding of elections more transparent, and to completely debar criminals from contesting elections; the reform of political parties to make them less dependent on family and kin; the use of technology to make the delivery of social services less arbitrary and more efficient; the insulation of the bureaucracy and the police from political interference; the lateral entry of professionals into public service, and more. In striving for these changes one must draw upon the experience, and expertise, of the very many Indians who share Hazare’s idealism without being limited by his parochialism.

Ram Guha who had such a low opinion of Anna Hazare has now used him to take a potshot at the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If Anna Hazare had so many deficiencies in ideology as per his own assessment in 2011, then why should he deserve the Prime Ministers attention in 2018?

Unlike Anna Hazare, Ram Guha is not known for consistency or honesty in causes/values he stands for. Under a UPA regime, he saw it as his responsibility to protect a regime which he supported and indulged in a smear campaign against Anna Hazare. But in 2018, he is open to use every opportunity to criticise the prime minister and a regime that he doesn’t support.

This is an open secret among his own ecosystem. However, a common man who is not aware of these tactics might get carried away with such a propaganda. Therein lies the danger for societies who consider such individuals as ‘public intellectuals’

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