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.
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
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.”