Monday, August 08, 2011

Guha caves in

Ever since Banerji & Carlson evicted Deshpande from SCIY thus heralding the Heehsaster, candid expression has been at a discount. Most of the discourse theresince can easily be characterized as motivated and some as downright concocted. Moreover, the kind of ire Pandey & Deshpande et al have attracted from time to time is really astonishing. All their fault is that they have been warning others about an allegedly pernicious book that was published in clear connivance with the establishment.

Judging from the volatile nature of the contents of the book, angry reactions were not unexpected. But the way the retaliation was orchestrated shows how skillfully the whole trajectory has been navigated during the last three years, and lo, now pops up Guha. A columnist is hardly an activist as soliciting a new customer every week is her trade. But unlike Pandey, I have been reading him for years and been swayed by his presentations more often than not.

So, conceiving this Ban/bananas column by incorporating the recent travails of authors of books on national figures and dwelling on relative contradictions involved can, at first glance, be said to be a brilliant Breaking Views, but, wait, there’s a catch. While the facts about the other books covered bear the hallmark of authenticity, the same about the much touted balanced output of Peter Heehs seems to be tainted.

Guha has just copy-pasted the text of someone else; ditto, in his prompt and sharp reply to PKD. As a new pawn in this wearisome game, it is difficult to speculate what are his stakes. One admires the qualities of even an adversary, although the political positions are opposite. But when the facts are deliberately twisted while basking in the solemnity of the broad shoulders of a broadsheet, then Guha stands diminished. [TNM55]                

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