Dhruv Rathee: Journey from Modi Fandom to Political Criticism

Dhruv Rathee: Journey from Modi Fandom to Political Criticism
Dhruv Rathee [Screengrab/Youtube]
In today's digital age, influencers and content creators have the power to sway public opinion and shape political discourse, making their platforms increasingly important. Dhruv Rathee, an individual who began his journey as an ardent supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and eventually emerged as one of his most vocal critics, represents a fascinating case of political transformation and influence. His transformation from a supporter of "Modiji" to a critic underscores the dynamic nature of political identities and the impact of social media in democracy. Dhruv Rathee's work spans a wide range of topics, including but not limited to, democracy, environmental issues, and social justice, making him a pivotal figure in contemporary discussions on governance and public policy in India.

Beginning with Rathee's early life and education, the article delves into the pivotal moments that marked his shift from a fan to a critic of the current administration. It then explores how he has built a formidable digital presence through platforms like YouTube and Twitter, which have allowed him to reach millions. The impact of Dhruv Rathee's commentary on public discourse, his ability to navigate controversies, and the personal aspects of his life—including details about Dhruv Rathee's wife, age, religion, and educational initiatives like Dhruv Rathee Academy and courses—will also be covered, providing a comprehensive look at how individual voices can influence public opinion and contribute to the democratic process.

Early Life and Education of Dhruv Rathee

Born in Haryana, India

Dhruv Rathee was born on October 8, 1994, into a Hindu Jat family in the Indian state of Haryana. His childhood was deeply rooted in Hindu culture, being raised in a family that upheld the traditions and values of their community. Rathee's early life in Haryana set the stage for his educational pursuits and later, his diverse career.

Educational Journey in Delhi and Germany

Dhruv Rathee's academic journey began in Delhi, where he attended the prestigious Delhi Public School, RK Puram. After completing his high school education, he moved to Germany for higher studies. He enrolled at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, a renowned institution where he pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Following his undergraduate studies, Rathee furthered his education at the same institute, earning a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Delhi. This diverse educational background provided him with a solid foundation in engineering, economics, and political science, which later facilitated his ability to discuss and analyze a wide range of topics in his videos.

Initial Interest in Videography and Travel

From an early age, Rathee exhibited a keen interest in videography and travel. His educational and personal travels across India and Europe not only broadened his horizons but also enhanced his understanding of diverse cultures and global issues. This exposure was instrumental in shaping his perspectives and content creation style, which is evident in his detailed and informative videos. His ability to convey complex topics in an accessible manner can be attributed to his educational background and early interests.

The Shift from Fan to Critic

Modi's Rise to Power: Initial Support

Dhruv Rathee's political engagement began to deepen around 2011, coinciding with significant anticorruption protests against the Congress party, which captured the attention of India's youth. This period marked Narendra Modi's ascent within the national political landscape, advocating strongly against corruption and black money. Rathee, like many others, was drawn to Modi's promise of reform and transparency, which led him to initially support Modi's leadership after his election victory in 2014.

The Turning Point: Disillusionment and Realization

However, Rathee's support for Modi began to waver by 2015. A critical moment came with the conflict between the Central government and the Delhi state government over an anticorruption helpline initiated by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The central government's attempts to control the helpline, perceived by Rathee as a move against anti-corruption efforts, significantly altered his view of Modi's administration. This incident led Rathee to question the sincerity of Modi's anti-corruption stance, culminating in a profound sense of disillusionment.

First Critical Video of Dhruv Rathee : A New Direction

The growing skepticism reached a pivotal point in 2016 when Rathee decided to voice his concerns publicly. On September 16, 2016, he uploaded his first political commentary video on YouTube. Shot on his phone, the video critiqued the BJP's IT cell for its role in manipulating information and spreading misinformation to shape political narratives. This marked the beginning of Rathee's journey as a critic of the Modi government, focusing on issues of governance, democracy, and transparency. His bold move to use social media as a platform for political commentary opened up new avenues for public discourse and highlighted the power of digital media in political activism.

Building a Digital Presence

Evolution of Content: From Travel Vlogs to Political Commentary

Dhruv Rathee's journey on YouTube began in 2014, a pivotal year marked by the widespread accessibility of affordable smartphones and the expansion of cellular data, which collectively boosted internet penetration across India. Initially, Rathee ventured into creating travel vlogs, inspired by the content he viewed online. However, he soon identified a significant issue: the lack of critical internet literacy among Indian users, who often accepted information seen on platforms like YouTube or WhatsApp at face value.

This realization steered Rathee towards becoming what he describes as a "YouTube educator." He started crafting videos in Hindi that fact-checked trending topics on Indian social media. His objective was straightforward—to simplify complex issues and make them understandable for the average viewer, thereby educating the public on how to discern and analyze the information they encountered online.

Establishing Reliability Through Research and Clarity

Rathee's commitment to providing well-researched content is evident from his approach to video creation. He emphasizes the importance of breaking down intricate subjects into simpler terms, making them accessible to a broader audience. This method not only enhances understanding but also fosters a more informed public discourse. His videos often include references to government data and international sources, lending credibility and substance to his analyses. Despite facing significant challenges, including governmental pushback and personal threats, Rathee continues to prioritize clarity and factual accuracy in his work.

Growth of Subscriber Base and Viewership

The impact of Dhruv Rathee's educational approach is reflected in the growth of his digital presence, particularly on YouTube. As of the latest updates, his main YouTube channel boasts 20,800,000 subscribers, with a total of 619 videos that have collectively garnered 2.8 billion views. This substantial increase in both subscribers and viewership highlights the resonance of his content with a wide audience. Notably, his subscriber count surged by 100,000 on a single day in May 2024, underscoring the effectiveness of his communication style and the relevance of the topics he addresses.

Rathee's ability to engage with his audience is further evidenced by the average likes his videos receive—approximately 716,000 per video. This level of engagement indicates a strong connection with viewers, many of whom rely on his videos for insights into current affairs and deeper analyses of ongoing issues. His approach has not only educated but also empowered viewers, encouraging them to participate more actively in democratic processes and public discourse.

Impact on Public Discourse

Challenges faced: Government censorship and public backlash

Dhruv Rathee's critical stance towards the Modi government has not come without significant challenges. Several influencers and platforms critical of the BJP have faced bans and censorship. For instance, the Modi administration has been proactive in requesting platforms like YouTube to take down channels such as National Dastak, which are vocal in their criticism. Moreover, during protests by farmers, the government ordered the blocking of nearly 200 social media handles and websites like HindutvaWatch, which tracks hate crimes. This aggressive stance towards digital censorship has been highlighted by media professionals like Seema Chishti, who noted the chilling effects of such actions on free speech.

Rathee himself has been a target of disinformation campaigns, receiving threats against him and his family. Despite these pressures, he maintains that the cost of silence is greater than the risks of speaking out, emphasizing the urgent need to address these issues before it becomes too late.

Supporting fledgling creators: Amplifying voices

Beyond his own content, Rathee has extended support to emerging creators who share his critical perspective but lack the resources to reach a wider audience. Political satirist Arpit Sharma, for example, benefited from Rathee's support when his video critiquing the government reached over 14 million views after Rathee shared it on his platform. This act of amplifying voices is a testament to Rathee's commitment to fostering a more inclusive and diverse media landscape, where varied opinions can coexist and enrich the public discourse.

The importance of a digital platform in shaping opinions

The role of digital platforms in shaping public opinion cannot be understated in Rathee's strategy. His transition from travel vlogs to political commentary underlines the power of accessible, well-researched content in educating and engaging the public. With a significant following on platforms like YouTube, Rathee leverages this digital reach to challenge misinformation and advocate for transparency and accountability in governance. His efforts underscore the transformative potential of digital media in political activism, proving that with the right tools and determination, individuals can indeed make a substantial impact on public discourse and opinion.

Navigating Controversies

Accusations and Their Rebuttal

Dhruv Rathee faced significant accusations when Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal claimed she received rape and death threats following a video Rathee posted about an alleged assault involving Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's aide. Rathee responded firmly to these allegations on social media platforms, emphasizing that the claims were attempts to silence his voice. He stated, "Fake allegations against me, daily threats, dehumanizing insults, coordinated campaigns to defame me…I'm used to it by now." He further highlighted the irony of perpetrators pretending to be victims and asserted that silencing him would only give rise to more voices like his.

The Role of Disinformation in Digital Discourse

The controversy surrounding Rathee and Maliwal underscores the broader issue of disinformation within digital discourse. Rathee's situation illustrates how social media can be a double-edged sword, capable of spreading both information and misinformation quickly. The incident with Maliwal escalated due to the one-sided portrayal in the video posted by Rathee, which led to widespread backlash and threats. This scenario highlights the critical need for responsible content creation and consumption on digital platforms to prevent the escalation of unfounded claims and to maintain a healthy public discourse.

Maintaining Objectivity Amidst Political Polarization

Navigating the complex landscape of political criticism, Rathee strives to maintain objectivity despite the highly polarized environment. His critiques of government policies and political figures often draw intense scrutiny and polarized responses. However, he continues to emphasize the importance of fact-based reporting and clear communication to ensure that his analyses contribute constructively to political discourse. Rathee's approach reflects a commitment to upholding democratic values by fostering informed discussions, even in the face of significant opposition and attempts to discredit his work.

Personal Lifeof  Beyond the Screen

Married Life: Juli, the Constant Support

Dhruv Rathee's personal life took a joyous turn when he tied the knot with Juli, a relationship that has evidently been a bedrock of mutual support and understanding. The couple celebrated their union intimately, with only 22 guests in attendance, emphasizing the close-knit nature of their celebration. Their wedding day was filled with moments of public acknowledgment and joy, as passersby honked and congratulated them, a testament to the personal connection they share with their community. Juli's role in Dhruv's life extends beyond companionship; she is a constant pillar of support, encouraging him to pursue his passions and stand firm in his convictions.

Interests Outside of Politics: Travel and Environmental Activism

Apart from his political commentary, Dhruv Rathee is deeply engaged in travel and environmental activism. His travels, which have taken him across India and Europe, are not only a source of relaxation but also a means to educate himself and his audience about diverse cultures and global issues. This exposure is intricately linked to his advocacy for environmental issues. Dhruv is vocal about sustainable living and actively promotes practices that reduce carbon footprints. His commitment to environmental protection is reflected in his support for renewable energy and climate change mitigation, areas he is profoundly knowledgeable about due to his academic background.

Future Aspirations and Endeavors

Looking ahead, Dhruv Rathee is poised to expand his influence and continue his engagement with pressing global and local issues. His aspirations include fostering a more informed and engaged public through his educational content on platforms like the Dhruv Rathee Academy. Here, he aims to equip individuals with practical knowledge and skills that are crucial for navigating today’s complex world. Dhruv’s future endeavors will likely focus on deepening his impact on democratic processes, promoting rationalism, and enhancing critical thinking among his viewers. His dedication to speaking truth to power and advocating for progressive values underscores his ongoing commitment to influencing societal progress positively.


Reflecting on Dhruv Rathee's evolution from a Modi supporter to a vocal critic showcases a significant journey marked by personal transformation and public activism. His story illuminates the dynamic interplay between political beliefs and the power of digital platforms to influence and inform. Rathee's ability to navigate the complexities of political discourse, while facing considerable challenges, demonstrates a relentless pursuit of truth and transparency in an era where these values are increasingly under scrutiny. His journey underscores the critical role of individual voices in shaping the democratic fabric of society, serving as a beacon for those dedicated to fostering informed and engaged citizenry.

In light of Rathee's contributions, the broader implications of his work extend beyond mere political commentary. They encapsulate the essence of digital activism and its capacity to mobilize, educate, and catalyze change. As Rathee continues to drive conversations on critical issues, from environmental activism to social justice, his trajectory offers valuable lessons on the power of resilience, the importance of accurate information, and the indomitable spirit of advocacy. His experiences serve not only as a testament to the transformative potential of individual agency but also as a call to action for others to engage thoughtfully and persistently in the discourse that shapes our world.


How did Dhruv Rathee meet Juli?

Dhruv Rathee, during an interview with The Wire, recounted the charming story of how he first crossed paths with his now-wife, Juli. Their initial encounter took place in 2014 on a tram when both were 19 years old. Dhruv was using the tram to commute to his internship, while Juli was on her way to school.

Post a Comment