India has limited freedom: Ramachandra Guha



India has limited freedom, with women and Dalits still discriminated against, and people are being punished for criticising "big and powerful personalities", historian Ramachandra Guha said here on Monday.

"India has limited freedom. However, it is much better than China. People are being punished in India for their open speak and criticism of big and powerful personalities," Guha said while speaking on 'India at 70: A Historian's Report Card' in Tripura University, a central varsity.

"I am glad that I am not born in China."

"Women and Dalits are still discriminated against and deprived in many fields in India while tribals (adivasis) are worse off than Dalits as they have no strong voices to highlight their causes," he said.

"Except for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, most of the women leaders in India came from either upper caste or affluent families."

During his speech and interaction with students, Guha said since Independence, India's growth has improved with the scope for more and more development. "Slow progress or interrupted growth is yet to achieve the desire goals."

"Though India's growth is more or less good but there are two black spots in it. Unlike China, jobless growth and destruction of the environment are the two black spots."

He said "young people are joining Maoists, jihadis, Bajrang Dal and other such organisations. This is the real problem of such growth. Why should development projects be only at the cost of tribals and adivasis?"

The historian said that in many parts of India, Muslims are sufferings while Hindus and Christians are distressed in a few pockets like Jammu and Kashmir. "Why should this be, as India's Constitution is based on equality and diversity?" he asked.

"Since 1991, impressive liberalised economy has been taking place in India. But inclusive growth has not taken place across the country," he added.

He said simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies would be a "serious blow" to federalism.

Tripura University Vice-Chancellor A.K. Ghosh also spoke in the event.- IANS