Eminent historian and biographer Ramachandra Guha today said Indian pluralism is facing one of its “greatest threats” from religious chauvinists who remain committed to undermine it.
Speaking ahead of the launch of his new book “Democrats and Dissenters” here, Guha said India’s adoption of a quite different model of nationalism saved it from its imminent disintegration as had been predicted by many leading intellectuals of the time.
“Gandhi and others who chose a model of nationalism quite different from European nations which stressed on acknowledging and cherishing Indian diversity and not imposing a single language and single religion on others is what kept India united,” Guha told PTI.
He said a true nationalist must have a “sense of shame” for the crimes his government commits and must accept that his country is not perfect rather than worshiping a symbol and remaining committed only to hoisting of flags on educational institutions.
“Indian nationalism is not adversarial like Pakistani nationalism. The BJP’s nationalism is a mirror image of Pakistani nationalism. Hatred of Pakistan is important to the hindutva view of the world, but that should not be important to an Indian nationalist. An Indian nationalist is someone who cherishes the values of the Constitution. A true nationalist should be a critic of the failures of his government,” he said.
Noting that Indian pluralism is facing one of the its biggest threats today from some chauvinists who remain hellbent on converting a secular India into a “Hindu Pakistan”, Guha said the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan has given rise to competitive Hindu fundamentalism in India.