India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar got into a Twitter spat with historian Ramachandra Guha on Thursday, on whether or not Sardar Vallabhai Patel had ever been excluded from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet.
Jaishankar attended the launch of Narayani Basu’s biography VP Menon : The Unsung Architect of Modern India on Wednesday and said he learnt from the book that “Nehru did not want Patel in the Cabinet in 1947 and omitted him from the initial Cabinet list.”
Learnt from the book that Nehru did not want Patel in the Cabinet in 1947 and omitted him from the initial Cabinet list. Clearly, a subject for much debate. Noted that the author stood her ground on this revelation. pic.twitter.com/FelAMUZxFL— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 12, 2020
Guha on Thursday corrected Jaishankar’s statement, calling it a “myth” and accused him promoting “fake news”.
This is a myth, that has been comprehensively demolished by Professor Srinath Raghavan in The Print.— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) February 13, 2020
Besides, promoting fake news about, and false rivalries between, the builders of modern India is not the job of the Foreign Minister. He should leave this to the BJP’s IT Cell. https://t.co/krAVzmaFkL
Guha quoted Srinath Raghavan’s recent article in The Printtitled ‘Nehru never excluded Patel from cabinet list. Louis Mountbatten and V.P. Menon got it wrong’.
In his article, Raghavan, a Professor of International Relations and History at Ashoka University and a senior fellow at Carnegie India, delineates the history of this claim.
He then goes on to quote the letters Nehru and Patel wrote to each regarding the latter’s inclusion in the cabinet.
He also talks about why Viceroy Louis Mountbatten and V.P. Menon’s claims to the opposite effect were not reliable.
Jaishankar, however, did not back down and passive aggressively asked Guha to read a book.
Some Foreign Ministers do read books. May be a good habit for some Professors too....