Historian Guha in online row with Rupani, Nirmala

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Historian Ramachandra Guha

was involved in an acerbic online exchange with Gujarat CM

Vijay Rupani

and Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday. The war of words started when Guha tweeted around 8am: "Gujarat, though economically advanced, is culturally a backward province... Bengal in contrast is economically backward but culturally advanced: Philip Spratt, writing in 1939."
Spratt was one of the three British communists - Ben Bradley and

Lester Hutchison

being the other two - who had come to India to organise the trade union movement in the late 1920s. Spratt stayed on and later became "a free-market liberal".
Rupani retorted: "Earlier it was the British who tried to divide and rule. Now it is a group of elites who want to divide Indians... Gujarat is great, Bengal is great...India is united..."
Sitharaman joined the exchange tweeting the link of an article about a king based in Gujarat's Jamnagar who is known to have saved 1,000 Polish children during

World War II

. "In 1939, when Philip Spratt... belonging to the Communist International wrote, this was what was happening in Gujarat..." she tweeted.

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