Historian, journalist and criticis give Modi crash course on India’s history, PM caught lying once again


Days after the BJP President struggled in communicating to Karnataka voters thanks to the local translators, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took on the mantle of campaigning in the poll-bound state.

Addressing a rally in Kalaburagi in Karnataka on Thursday, Modi launched an attack on the ruling Congress by travelling back into history to as far back as 1948. He said, “Karnataka is synonymous with valour. But, how did the Congress governments treat Field Marshall Cariappa and General Thimayya? History has details about it. In 1948, we won the war against Pakistan under the leadership of General Thimayya. But soon after the war, the then Prime Minister (Jawaharlal) Nehru and then Defence Minister Krishna Menon repeatedly insulted General Thimayya. And this is why General Thimayya had to resign from his post.”

Modi has now come for public ridicule for distortion of facts while speaking about General Thimayya. Many people were quick to remind him that Thimayya was not the army chief in 1948. He became the army chief nine years later in 1957. Also, Krishna Menon was not the defence minister of India at that time. As the Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala added, he was India’s ambassador to UK between 1947 and 1952. He became the defence minister only in 1957 and headed the ministry until 1962.

Surjewala, wrote, “Modi ji, Better start reading from a paper to brush up your knowledge of history. Gen Thimayya became Army Chief only on 8th May 1957 and not 1947 as you alleged. V K Krishna Menon was ambassador to UK between 1947-52 & not Defence Minister as you alleged.”

Journalist Vishnu Som, Defence Editor with NDTV, sought to further educate the prime minister. Som wrote, “Modi’s references to Thimayya and Cariappa, great military leaders, all wrong in his Karnataka speech. Modi was referring to the 47-48 war against Pak. Now, Congress, in its retort, says Thimayya was High Commissioner to the UK in 1947 – he was driving tanks up the Zoji pass!”

Som continued, “PM’s references confused – Suggested Thimayya commanded India to victory in 47-48. The Commander in Chief in 47 was Gen Sir Roy Bucher, a British General. References to Cariappa in 62 equally confused. Cariappa had retired several years earlier.”

Activist and Congress supporter Tehseen Poonawalla tagged Modi on Twitter to inform him that it was Baldev Singh and not Krishna Menon, who headed the defence ministry in 1948.

Historian Srinath Raghavan said that far from insulting Thimayya, Nehru appointed him as Chief of Army Staff superseding officers senior to him. He wrote, “Far from insulting Thimayya in 1948 or after, Nehru appointed him as Chief of Army Staff superseding officers senior to him at the time. The PM can ask the Raksha Mantri to show him the relevant files.”

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav wondered why the PMO could not afford a fact-checker since it was getting ’embarrassing.’ He wrote, “No sir, Krishna Menon was Defence Minister from April 1957 to October 1962. General Thimmayya was Army Chief from May 1957 to May 1961. Sir can’t the PMO afford a fact-checker?
It’s so embarrassing!”

This is not the first time Modi has been caught lying during an election campaign. He had come under attack from his own ally, the JDU, during the Gujarat election campaign last year on his lies on Pakistan. After Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor exposed Modi’s lies on Pakistan, the Left and JD(U) had called the development “worrisome and not proper” in a democracy.