Not Just Badal And Mandela: Many Other Historical Figures Have An Indian Version | | BOOM
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Not Just Badal And Mandela: Many Other Historical Figures Have An Indian Version

Not Just Badal And Mandela: Many Other Historical Figures Have An Indian Version


Twitterati had a field day recently when Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared Prakash Singh Badal to Nelson Mandela. Here’s a primer that Modi could use for future speeches.


Last Sunday, October 11, prime minister Narendra Modi said Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal is India’s Nelson Mandela. If you’ve fallen off your chair, or your laptop/tablet has fallen out of your hand, please recover quick. It’s not so far-fetched, especially in election season (although for PM Modi it’s always election season). So let us count the similarities between Mandela and Badal: both started their political career in their early twenties. Nelson Mandela’s wife (at the time) was steeped in controversy: she was accused of kidnapping and murder; Badal’s family is no stranger to controversy either, with accusations of serious corruption and disproportionate assets. And, of course – jail.


At an event celebrating Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan’s 113th birth anniversary, Modi said “Badal Sahab is sitting here…he is the Nelson Mandela of India. He has spent so many years in prison & that too for political reasons.”

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Keeping in mind Modi ji has to make many more speeches, we have a few suggestions. India, it turns out, has a lot of its own versions of famous historical figures.


Asaduddin Owaisi is India’s Martin Luther King Jr.


Owaisi - luther


Just like Luther, Owaisi has steadfastly and unrelentingly been standing for the rights of the marginalised. Both are seen as radicals. Luther once said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Owaisi didn’t say anything of the sort but we are guessing he believes exactly that. On Yakub Memon’s sentencing he said, “I will take it to my grave that Yakub was involved but he did not deserve capital punishment.” Both Owaisi and King are detested by the hardliners on the other side of the political divide, so obviously same-same.


Kishenji (Mallojula Koteswara Rao) is independent India’s Oliver Cromwell.


communist fist


He too fought for the ideal: Power to the people. Both took up arms against the ruling authority to defend their versions of democracy. Even after their deaths, they continue to inspire others to act in the name of ideology. Both are seen as disrupting and rejecting present day structures of governance and both reveled in violence. So, same-same.


Somnath Bharti is India’s Winston Churchill.


somnath bharti


This is the most similar for sure. Churchill was known for his take on the natives and those with a darker skin colour. Bharti has proven himself to reflect the same attitude with his wanting to reform the uncivilsed. Also Churchill loved his pet dog Rufus (a miniature poodle) so much that when Rufus was killed by a car, a replacement was arranged and given the name Rufus 2. Bharti and his dog Don’s love is the stuff of legends, enough to make his wife jealous (Bharti’s, we mean). Woof-woof, same-same.


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Mahima Singh interned with Newslaundry last winter, before coming back this summer to join us full-time. Cats – the only thing she loves more than Newslaundry – is pretty much the only word she can spell correctly. At 20, she is the youngest in the NL office and naturally the Woman-Friday.

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