Tuesday, May 20, 2014

William Dalrymple: Afghanistan > India

His view has some merit, the problem is we just finished with an Oxford qualified top-notch Prime Minister who had no vote-base and thus no authority. What is happening in Afghanistan is similar to that of 1950s India, elites being imposed top-down on the electorate. Eventually some Imran Khan like charismatic, hardline person will rise up from  the ranks, thus disappointing Dalrymple once more. OTOH a much more likely scenario is that the Taliban will force out democracy and we will have a Caliphate/Emirate once more.
Award winning author William Dalrymple has said that the top three electoral candidates in Afghanistan during their recent general elections are far superior intellectually to India's three leading political figures - Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal.

In an exclusive interview to TOI at the Scottish Parliament on the sidelines of the inaugural conference of the Edinburgh India Institute, Dalrymple expressed his "deep apprehension" about Modi and said he finds Modi "frightening" and a "big mystery".

Dalrymple said that Afghanistan's three leading contenders, Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah and Zalamai Rassoul were all doctorates and had hugely cosmopolitan CVs.

"The three front runners in Afghanistan were deeply sophisticated men. All of them were highly educated and held doctorates. Ghani is a former World Bank official, a PhD from Columbia, a finance minister, and an ex-university chancellor. Compare that to the intellectual level of three of India's top candidates," Dalrymple said.

He further said, "I consider India my first home and the love and adoration I feel for the country is immense. But India, a country of heaving beauty and filled with youth and talent, with majority of its diaspora dominating the world can't produce impressive and intellectual politicians. India is a country alive with geniuses but it is unfortunate that the best talents don't go into politics."

According to him, Gandhi - the grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru is "a complete disappointment who is dim and concerted in public debate and a complete washout. Congress has some young talents in its ranks and should find a new leader". Dalrymple said he found Kejriwal "hugely disappointing".

He added, "I hoped he would be effective and given a choice, I would still vote for him with a heavy heart. But his 49 days in office is a missed opportunity. He missed his chance."

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Dalrymple-ranks-Afghan-leaders-over-Indian-ones/articleshow/35176161.cms



  1. I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

    -William F. Buckley, Jr.


  2. Whereas I do not know who Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah and Zalamai Rassoul are, You should admit, at the minimum, Kejriwal and Rahul G,. have been a big, big disappointment. Especially, Kejriwal is a terrible speaker.

  3. As far as educational background is considered, Kejriwal is an IITIan. I will put that up against a random PHd anytime.