When Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, a staunch proponent of the view that Ramayana and Mahabharata are truthful accounts of events present in the collective memory of people, known for placing primacy of faith over reason, was appointed the head of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) by the BJP-led NDA government, there was widespread dismay in academic circles, but little surprise.
But when Lokesh Chandra, the 87-year-old Indira Gandhi loyalist, with links to leaders of the erstwhile Soviet Union, was appointed president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the country’s cultural interface with the world, many eyebrows were raised.
Why would the BJP choose the man who was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006 for “his contributions to academic life and public discourse” by the UPA government, even though he is eminently qualified, being fluent in 16 languages, with over 596 publications to his name?
Shubhajit Roy raises the question in the Indian Express, and then provides the answer after interviewing the man who will head the ICCR for the next three years:
The answer becomes clearer when Chandra begins to list the qualities that he admires in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For Chandra, Modi is a “man of ideas, not of ideology”; who from a practical point of view “supercedes” Mahatma Gandhi; who has made “a much more meaningful impact” on the lives of the poor than Karl Marx; and who is virtually an incarnation of God (“woh bhagwan ke avatar hain”).
...for Modi, politics is only till the elections. After the polls, he is only thinking of the country.”
“He (Modi) is very open in approach. He has never been vindictive. He rises above all political affiliations, and for him, national concerns are important. For the poor, he is like God. Unke liye, woh bhagwan ke avtaar hain (for the poor, he is an incarnation of God)… Look at his Jan Dhan scheme. Karl Marx wrote so many volumes on poverty, but what was his real contribution? Modi has made a much more meaningful impact to the lives of these poor.” “Modiji”, says Chandra, “in some aspects, supercedes Gandhi when it comes to (a) practical approach.”
”He (Modi) kept a fast for nine days (during Navratra), and kept working, woh bhagwan ke avtar hain (he is an incarnation of the God). This shows he has great attachment to values, and India is based on a value system. He doesn’t have any foreign back accounts and black money. He doesn’t have a son or a son-in-law. For him, the country is his son and son-in-law. India needs such a PM.”
Read the full piece at the Indian Express: Meet the new ICCR chief: Modi avatar of god, bigger than Gandhi