Ram Guha tries to give clean chit to Nehru on Kashmir plebiscite issue, ties himself in knots

On International Yoga Day, when one expects self-proclaimed “liberals” like Ramchandra Guha to write why public display of yoga makes Muslims feel unsafe, the pop-historian-cum-Nehru-worshipper surprised everyone by talking about Kashmir and Nehru. Obsessive compulsive Nehru admiration disorder maybe.

Regardless of what triggered Guha to write about Nehru and Kashmir and not talk about ills of yoga on Yoga Day, what followed was an aasana by Guha that left him all knotted up. Should we call it Guhasana is something left for UN to decide.

So here is what happened. He tried to subtly suggest that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was kind of ‘forced to offer’ plebiscite in Kashmir because Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had already held a plebiscite in Junagarh earlier.

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He essentially tried to blame Patel but didn’t use the exact phrase blaming him. This is where people like Guha excel. They say things without being explicit e.g. they indulge in whataboutery without using the phrase “what about”.

Coming back to the point, here is what he tweeted, trying to shield Nehru for going to UN and promising a plebiscite in Kashmir:

Apart from the beauty of subtly blaming Patel while appearing to say that Patel shouldn’t be blamed, there is another beautiful thing Guha did. His tweet read as if Patel unilaterally decided about plebiscite in Junagarh and even went on to hold it. Poor Nehru had to then follow this template set by Patel.

So was Sardar Patel a rogue Home Minister who went on holding plebiscites here and there without consulting his Prime Minister or getting approval from him?

Guha was clearly trying to be too clever by half, and people could spot it. Soon, the reactions followed:

Realising that he shouldn’t come across as a person who is trying to blame Patel, Guha sent a subsequent tweet where he clarified in as many words that Patel was not responsible for the mess Kashmir is in today.

But following his obsessive compulsive Nehru admiration disorder, while giving clean chit to Patel, Guha issued on a free clean chit to Nehru as well:

Now this is where Guha tied himself in knots. Guha argued that both Nehru and Patel can’t be held responsible for the Kashmir mess because Patel died in 1950 and Nehru died in 1964 i.e. they died much before ugly things started happening in Kashmir.

And what were those ugly things? Being a self-declared liberal, Guha can’t just blame Pakistan for the ugly things like terrorism and bigotry. Therefore, he blamed both India and Pakistan for it. He blamed Pakistan government for promoting violence and discord (because terrorism is too strong a word?) in Kashmir right since 1947, while blamed the Indian government for undermining democracy since 1953 (Guha didn’t clarify what exactly happened in 1953).

And there, while trying to give clean chit to Nehru, Guha tied himself in knots. If the Indian government was responsible for creating the mess in Kashmir from 1953 onward by “undermining democracy” (a serious charge), why should Nehru not share that responsibility? After all he was the Prime Minister of India between 1953 to 1964.

Yet again, this chicanery was spotted by the Twitter users:

Ram Guha has not tried to justify his Maths, logic, or history. And that is expected. A self-declared liberal is always right, and he owes no answer to you trolls.

But what Ram Guha has demonstrated is a window into the soul of ‘neutral’ historians and experts. Where Jawaharlal Nehru (and by extension, his dynasty) must not be held responsible for anything remotely negative. They were innocent people who just happened to be on top and in command, while people lower down in the hierarchy – from the Home Minister to a local Congress leader – did awful things that messed up the economy, society, or politics of India.

We bow to you Guha ji, and Nehru ji.

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